Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Silencing Social Media

Earlier this month, one of my friends posted on all social media sites that she was taking the 30 Day Challenge from social media. In my mind, I applauded her! 

I've taken "social media breaks" pretty often since the MySpace days. Then, as more and more sites became popular and I tried to stay on the edge of all the new trends for my job, I realized how consumed we all are with tweeting that and instagramming that. 

It wasn't until January of this year, that I realized why that practice was so important and I was so glad I had done it. 

1. Time Waster: Once we became consumed with caring for Jace full-time and focusing on his treatment, our jobs and our girls, we didn't have any extra time to waste. Sure it was good to read through our timeline and "escape" our reality, but we soon learned reading about everyone else's "perfect" days was exhausting. 

2. Unnecessary Annoyances: It is fascinating to me that we all love being on social media and yet at the same time we can be so annoyed with the things we read on there. There's only so many times you can see photos of babies doing the same thing, read about the number of times someone works out, or covet someone else's dinner. For me, particularly, it's very difficult to read people complain about such trivial and small things of daily life, especially this year. I'm sure people are just as annoyed with me about all of my posts of gratitude. ;) 

3. Harmful to Self Image: Comparison is the biggest thief of our happiness. Social media is such a place that encourages this comparison. As humans, it's DIFFICULT to not compare ourselves anyway: they make more money, they have a nicer car/house, their kids are cuter, they are skinnier, their family photos are better, they got to go on a vacation. And then with the comparison, usually comes criticism. Criticism says way more about you than it ever does about the person you're criticizing.

4.  Neglecting Those in Front of You: While it's good to connect with other people all over the world, and it can create a supportive environment at times,  social media can create an environment where you're also neglecting those loved ones right in front of you. The world today is already really busy and we get caught up in bouncing from activity to activity to activity and then bed and repeat usually 6 days a week. When are we taking time to sit face to face with those we love the most? 

5. Only A Moment in Time: Your social media life probably isn't 100% reflective of your real life. We choose to share only a moment of time or a small window of what the rest of our days entail. What people think they know about me from this blog, my Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter accounts, isn't a complete knowledge of me. Knowing me on social media ISN'T the same thing as knowing me in person. 

Once again, I find myself needing and seeking solitude and silence. 

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. ~ Mother Teresa

I've decided to begin my own 30 Day Challenge. I cannot think of a better time than right before, during and after Christmas. Our goal this year has been to simplify. We simplified decor, schedules, gifts, and celebrations. 

So, I took the plunge this week and deleted my Facebook app from my phone. I turned off all notifications on my phone and won't be scrolling through any feeds. I'll only be updating, periodically, on Jace's progress on his websites (found above) and you may catch a Christmas photo on Instagram or  maybe a random blog here. You can also email, text, or call if it's urgent! :) 

This time with my family is precious and as the anniversary of Jace's diagnosis peeks closer, I know that the less noise in my head, the better. The more silence and solitude I find, the more I grow and learn. 

I challenge YOU to take time away if only for a day or a week and see how much clearer your mind feels! 

Love and Gratitude, 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

37 Gifts

*If you're looking for Operation Love, the blog, item list and details are found here

Today, 37 years ago I became a part of this world. I was born with no idea who my family was, but I had a PROMISE bigger than I even knew. 

Our circumstances DO NOT have to be our future. 

Two years ago, I asked you to donate to an adoption organization. (Yes, I had another blog before OTWG. So, if you're bored you can read blogs, there, too.) 

Last year, I asked you to join me in 36 Random Acts of Kindness and I had, hands-down, THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! You can read about it and see photos here.

Today, in lieu of getting anything for myself, instead of the 100 Facebook messages or texts, I, again, challenge YOU

Instead of doing that, do THIS


Use your time and energy doing something for someone else. Open the door an extra minute. Pay for someone's food in the fast food or coffee line. Surprise someone with a text message or email. If for no other reason, do it for me, for my birthday. :) Let the celebration be about GIVING

Your giving doesn't have to be BIG to make a HUGE impact.

Today, I will be seeing a tiny idea and dream come to fruition. Operation Love was born months ago after our own family learned what childhood cancer TRIES to do to families. This project has been tweaked, thought out and discussed with so many, including those that inspired the idea, those that listened every time I talked about it, those that shared ideas of how to help, those that donated items, those that allowed me to speak to groups about our mission, those that are in the same boat we are, those that wanted to help but didn't know how... 

Today, I will make a delivery of 37+ "gratitude bags" to Children's Medical Center in Dallas. (You can check Instagram for photos!) Today, someone will receive YOUR donations. 

Today, someone will know they are NOT alone. 

Last year at 36, I had no idea what the future held nor how it would test our faith, but THIS year I say WATCH me spread the same love, hope and life into others that has been given to me. 

Here's to another year of changing the world!