Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

Learning Curves

We moved last Tuesday in what seemed like an endless whirl of exhaustion and lack of focus for DAYS!  Not only did we prepare our home that we own in Renton, WA for new renters by cleaning and painting, but we also moved to a different city.  We planned, packed, rented a moving truck and spent two nights with just our mattress on the first floor to better clean and organize.  By the time we got the truck, loaded it up and made sure everything was in pristine condition behind us, we hardly knew our own names.

Moving is not for the faint-hearted.  In fact, I do not recommend it for everyone.  It takes enormous amounts of strength, endurance and quick recovery.  So much easier to do when we were in our 30’s and 40’s.  I don’t think I’ve ever been this exhausted in my whole life.

fall3

And so we arrived last Tuesday to a beautiful little home, with new paint and carpeting.  And we hurried to get things unloaded and unpacked.  Because we are brand new property managers here, we had to quickly learn how to do that.  We will be learning it for a long time.  Rent had to be collected, new applications for residence taken, a new lease signed for a home in our community – all in a week’s worth of time.  Then there’s a software program to learn, hours to set, phones to be answered deposits to be made and files to be set up.

I feel as though we have been preparing for this new learning curve for a long time.  Having our own businesses from our home taught us many of the things that could not have been learned any other way.  Setting ones own hours, priorities and ways to organize an office – we already had learned long ago from just living day-to-day.

And we will continue to learn it.  If you want to follow our journey with property management – we have a page on Facebook.  Just type in “Union Gap West” and you’ll find us 🙂

Life is a journey – and if you are open to it, many strange and wonderful new learning curves.

God Bless

Timehop

Timehop menu

Timehop menu (Photo credit: Yandle)

Last week my friend Deanna introduced me to a wonderful little app called “Timehop”.  When downloaded on to iPhone, iPad or desktop computer this app allows you to see what you wrote on facebook up to four years ago.  I have been enjoying the pictures and status updates from a time long ago – even if it’s just last year.

As a long time journal writer – it has always been interesting to me when I write something.  Not just why I write it – but when.  And I have always had this weird practice of going back and looking at where I was one year ago or further.  When I was in high school I kept journals pretty religiously (I still have them) and would write down at night before bed, what I was going through or feeling at that exact moment.  Then I would look back at what I was doing or feeling one month before on that exact date.  It was always enlightening to me – and usually it was remarkable how I made it through a hurt or disappointment that I thought would finish me.  Keeping a record helped me remember.  And be thankful.

It is much the same with Timehop.  Only this time I am grown up.  And yet still – there are things I have gone through and still continue to go through.  It is a positive thing to see how far I’ve come from year to year.  And though things are often not expressed in those updates – I know and remember where I was and what was going on in my world.

How about you?  Do you ever timehop?  What would be your reaction to see what you were doing one year ago today, or two, three or four?

Try it out!  You will love it.

 

God Bless

Guest Post From Ray Carroll

I’m excited to feature a very special article today from my friend, Ray Carroll.  You can find his blog here at: Fallen Pastor. Ray knows first hand what it feels like to fail, be forgiven and restored again to health.  He is passionate about helping others.  His articles and story are compelling and encouraging.  Failure has made him a different man.  He has written a book about his experiences, available at Amazon.com entitled: Fallen Pastor.  If you know of anyone that needs a little help or someone to talk to – Ray is an excellent person.

Below is his response to the recent news events that touch the Christian community.  You will find his statements powerful and provocative, but right on.  I hope you will read it and enjoy it as much as I have.

Enjoy and God Bless!

Gay Marriage, the Church, and the Jesus Response

I was so thankful yesterday to get a Facebook inbox message from a friend who was concerned about the current argument in America over gay marriage. Like many Christians, she was concerned about the moral failure of the country. She had been watching Facebook and so have I. I too, have seen many comments like, “Why don’t people see what Scripture says?”

I’ll be honest. I don’t watch television news. For a good reason. It’s only purpose seems to be to rile people up over things that are insignificant. You get stressed out. I mentioned in an online magazine recently how watching TV news in a constant flow caused my mother anxiety.

She said she read my blog occasionally and never saw me write anything about the issue. I don’t. My blog is about fallen

Pic courtesy of PBS

Pic courtesy of PBS

pastors, mostly. Then, I write about issues secondary to that. Then, after that, I write about what tickles my fancy. I don’t avoid the big issues. I’ve written about big issues before, but they’re just not on the radar of what I do.

My response to her was probably not what she expected, but I hope it was biblical. (She did thank me for the sermon :) ) I want to post it here then add some comments after. Here it is, verbatim:

Here is what I would say. And I pray it’s the biblical thing, because any response of my own would be wrong.

I’d take it back to the apostle Paul who wrote to a church that was probably going through more moral decay than we are, if you can imagine. In his time, it wasn’t just the culture, it was members of the church who were declining in morality. Members of the church were going up to the pagan temple and sleeping with temple prostitutes.

Paul was surrounded by a pagan Roman culture that was filled with violence, sex, child molestation, and hedonism – and all of it was legal. But Paul didn’t write against the evil around him in the world. He wrote about the sin within the church. He says something interesting in 1 Corinthians 5:

Please take time to read more important stuff after the jump:

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.

seekPaul tells the church that the church should be watching out for immorality within it, not outside of it. There’s plenty of immorality within to watch out for. He was right. Today, there is sexual immorality, pornography, adultery, gluttony, and all kinds of sin within our own four walls – I should know. We have our own problems to attend to. God will take care of the problems outside.

And on that issue – does that mean we aren’t to care about the world we live in? Of course not. In John 16:33, Jesus said:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

If the world will change, it will be because of Christ and the Gospel. It won’t be because Christians get on Facebook and complain. It will be because we care about people in this world, show the love and compassion of Christ to those in this world who are not like us, those who are outright sinners, rejected and thrown away by 99% of most churches.

Does that mean we accept all types of sin? Nope. But we love them and let God work on them.

Does it hurt to call a Congressman or Senator when a bill comes up that we don’t like or want to support? No, we should. We should be good citizens. But we should be even better citizens of heaven. Loving the rejected.

Remember that Christ didn’t minister to those who were religious. He went first to the outcast, the ill, the worst sinners in the bunch. Who would religious people see those people as today? I think it’s something to think about.

One more thing that I think is important. I think it’s easy to get worked up on one issue today. I don’t think gay marriage or any one other issue is going to ruin our country. Sin has been around since the fall of man. There is good news – that’s what Resurrection Sunday is about. We aren’t fighting a losing battle, we are in a winning one. Because of Christ, all is won for those who believe. There is always victory and he has given it to us.

Be confident in the future of the world that God has created. Be joyous in this life and know that Christ was victorious at the cross and continues to be victorious today.

That’s it. But I want to add a couple of things.

outcastsIt’s been a while since I pastored. If I was still the same man I was before I committed adultery, I think I’d probably be in the pulpit speaking a different message. And I think I would have been wrong. Have I gone into a grey area? No, I don’t think so.

Here is what has changed. I’ve seen what Christ did when he came to us. He didn’t waste his time with the religious people of the day. He went straight for the outcasts. Those who knew they needed something to happen in their lives. And he made it happen. They were broken people and they were ready to listen. Go check it out. Any story where Christ saved someone. Any story in Acts where people were saved after Christ ascended. Those people were broken. Their sins weren’t called out one by one, they just wanted to know God and they were called upon to repent.

What I see today is a church that is the religious right of Jesus’ day. Christ corrected those people. He interacted with the religious people, but he mostly told them that their hearts weren’t right. He told them that they needed internal cleansing. Then, he spent no more time with them and turned his attention to the people the religious crowd wanted nothing to do with.

Ask yourself – who are the people most mainline denominations want nothing to do with? That’s an easy answer. Who isn’t visiting your church? Bikers, ex-cons, homosexuals, thieves, adulterers, drug addicts, single parents with bratty children, fallen pastors, people with tattoos all over their bodies, alcoholics, people who have been married three or more times, suicidal people, those who have severe depression, those with severe financial difficulty, and if you’re in a white church – African-Americans, Latinos, or any other ethnic group.

I am afraid that our churches have become safe-havens for the self-righteous.

Our immediate response is, “Well, those people need to repent before they come to Christ.” Friends, our job isn’t the same job as God. God’s job is the work of salvation. Ours is to love and speak truth and show compassion. Salvation is entirely the work of God.

If we really, really believe that God can change a person who is not like us, then we will welcome them into our community of faith and treat them like Christ treated them. With love and compassion. When we rail against any people group with hatred, we’ve lost them. I’m not saying there isn’t sin in this world. There is. But God is judge of what is right. And He is the one who changes hearts.

Our job? Love. Embrace those in this world. Give them space, shelter, love, empathy and maybe for the first time a friendsteps who knows Jesus Christ.

Listen. Go ahead and do your Good Friday reconstruction of Jesus on the cross. Have some forty year old guy stand on some wooden platform for six hours this week. People will drive by on their way home from work, after 40 hours of torture, look up and say, “What in the heck are those people doing?” There’s no message for them there. They are looking for authenticity. They want people who just love them for who they are.

That’s what Christ did. He loved people for who they were. That’s what we are supposed to do. Let God sort it out after that. Our job isn’t to say, “Well, I don’t think that person will fit in here. They don’t dress well, they have personal issues, they sure are strange.” Nope.

You know what happened when Christ loved people? They responded with repentance. He didn’t excuse sin. But he showed them love beyond borders. He showed them something the religious establishment of the day wasn’t giving them. I say that’s what’s going on in the majority of churches today. I pray it isn’t so. But I believe it is.

We are to love. Plain and simple. Get over ourselves. Start loving like Christ did and then turn anyone who comes over to Him and see the miracle He can do.

This is what makes me want to start a church in my own county where anyone who walks through the door is accepted, loved and will be treated kindly. Anyone can come in, know they don’t have to give money, know they will hear the good news, and know that there is hope. May the compassionate Christ resonate during this Resurrection week.

Using Facebook For Good

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

I’ve hesitated to write on this subject for over 3 years now.  It is a sensitive issue – but as I always want to be an encourager and my purpose is to build up – here goes.

Is Facebook bad?  Can Facebook be evil?  I hear almost everyday – someone, somewhere telling me that they will never join Facebook because of what they’ve heard.  Or another person will write on a status update that they need to “fast” Facebook because they feel convicted as it can be time-consuming and maybe even tempt them in unhealthy ways and relationships.  Some pastors even believe that they should get their church members off Facebook.  That feels very discouraging to me.  Especially when I read about it in a person’s status update.  It is better to be encouraging and positive.  I love to read what other pastors and leaders say on the subject.  Those that use it for good.  They say that Facebook is not evil – people have sometimes misused it and made it that way.  But it is also a great tool for connecting with people.  This is so true.

I have been saddened by some status updates.  Status updates that say someone is taking a fast or going away altogether – leaving the impression by those of us still using social networking – that we have missed the boat – are wasting time or something worse.  It is these same people who feel convicted and then try to “convict” everyone else on connecting with people.  And while sometimes past connections can be unhealthy – or at least not the best, Facebook should not be blamed.

As long as we have had people – there has always been a tendency to wander and step outside the boundaries.  Affairs with people from the past happened as far back as the Bible days and before.  If you have the desire to go outside your marriage – you don’t need Facebook to do that.

I love Facebook.  It has allowed me to connect with people from our past ministry life and those I thought we would never see again – and be a very real part of their lives again.  It’s a miracle.  I also love seeing pictures and updates on students of mine past and present – and our wonderful family and close friends.

The problem comes when we listen to negative propaganda that claims that Facebook is the number one reason that marriages fail.  It is not because of Facebook, people.  It’s because people are flawed human beings.  If you are looking for that sort of thing – you can find it and not just on social networking.  Facebook is simply a tool.  It’s neutral.  Neither positive or negative.  If you want to message someone and have private conversations you can do this on Facebook – just like you can also do that on email or by regular mail, texting and cell phone calls.  Like any other resource and tool – it needs to be used wisely – not blamed when you or others mess up.

I believe Facebook can and should be used for good.  You can be an encourager.  You can be that positive role model – spreading around joy and hope for others.  You can use humor as a great way of relieving stress in everyday life.  And you can share pictures and updates in a way that build up – not tear down.  But most of all – you can stay connected to those that are a real part of your life.

Now I know what some of you are going to say.  “There’s so much drama and negative stuff on Facebook now – and what about those political opinions from those VERY VOCAL and opinionated!”  And ALL THOSE GAME REQUESTS!!!!  Here is what I do.  I don’t get involved in politics on Facebook.  You can’t win.  If I feel that someone is being too vocal on certain subjects and I’m uncomfortable – I just go to the home page and click the “x” on the right side of the comment.  This gives me the option of seeing any more comments from them.  It has cleaned up many things on my home page – so I simply don’t see the negative, inappropriate and the unnecessary.  I block any game request I don’t want or remove the app altogether.  I also clean up my friend list once in a while too – I simply don’t connect with everyone on my list and so I remove them.  When that is not an option – the “hiding” of their comments is better for me.

Here’s another thing I’ve done lately.  I’ve put the ones I talk to and connect with most often in a “list” called “close friends”.  I have another one for “Current students”  “Church friends” “Family” etc.  Instead of having my regular “News Feed” on my home page – I just pull up the list that I want and write a status update so that those people on my list are the only ones who see what I write.  This works great for me getting messages to my students without having to write a private message.  I also only “friend” people that I know.  This is a HUGE bonus.  If someone requests me that I don’t – I will not friend them unless it is a friend of a student or a friend of a friend.  If people from my past make me uncomfortable and try to friend me – I just don’t accept.  There’s no fear here – I am in control of who I talk to and let into my world.

Another blessing has been the ability to promote my music studio by having a “fan page” just for that purpose.  I show photos and videos of past recitals and the students who are involved with taking music lessons.  It is a great link to my actual website – since so many people are now on Facebook.

If you’re reading this and have done some of the status updates that I’ve mentioned above – those that would try to “convict” and “moralize” something that you feel strongly about – here’s what you could do next time.  Simply disconnect with others that are making you feel this way, unfriend those that need to be unfriended and if you are really having trouble with being disciplined with your time you spend – instead of making a statement about that – just walk away for a while.  You don’t need to tell anyone – or find excuses for why you’re leaving – because you are going to find that most people on Facebook really love what they’re doing – and the people who they’re connected with.  And making people feel bad should never be a conscious decision.   Being positive and allowing others to be who they are – is always a better choice.  

I’m hoping you will join me in using something so wonderful – a vehicle for staying connected with others – for good.

 

God Bless

Partings and Meetings

Life is full of “meetings and partings” but rarely do we get to have it the other way around. Two years ago I wrote an article: Memories And Lost Boys. If you missed it – check it out.  It is because of that article going viral that one of my “lost boys” was able to do a “google search” for his own name – and stumble upon the article I had written several months before.  This has taken all of us on a strange and wonderful adventure and ended yesterday in a “meeting” after a “parting” some 26 years before.  When you read the article you will see that the brother, William (or Bill as we knew him back when he was just 18 years old) wrote me a comment saying, “two lost boys found” and ended up in many email and Facebook communications since then.

But I must back up.  In the article it explains that Greg and I were youth pastors in Jeannette PA in 1984 and 1985.  This is where our story began with these “boys” – four of them in fact listed in the above article.  We had a special connection with them – all four boys dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ while we were there and Greg ‘baptized’ all of them as well.  Then our world was turned upside down as the church board asked our senior pastor (a man we loved and looked up to) to resign after 10 years ministry.  We had only been there a year, but it was not an option for us to remain without the pastor who had brought us to this church from where we were living in Fairbanks, Alaska.  We soon found another position in New Castle, about 2 hours drive from Jeannette.  The brothers, John and Bill came to see us while I was pregnant with Ashlee in early 1986.  After that – the boys moved to New York with their mother and the others dispersed and went on with their lives.  We lost touch.  This was in a day before internet, email and cell phones.  When you said goodbye – it was forever – there was no way to stay in touch.  Here is what everyone looked like 27 years ago.

John is on the bike – Bill in the blue shirt.

Greg and Bill above.

John, Bill and Greg above.

Some of the girls we’ve never found – John, Bill and me above.

We lived in New Castle 3 1/2 years – and when our time was up in that church we looked to the West Coast where we both were from.  Soon we settled in a little church in California where Greg was the lead and only pastor for 3 years.  From there we ended up in Fort Worth, Texas, Vero Beach Florida and then back in Seattle where we have lived since 1995.

Not a year went by that I didn’t think of those kids in the youth group and especially the boys we had been close to.  It’s funny to think of it – Greg and I were not much older than any of them – at the time it seemed HUGE!   BUT the age gap closed in as I began to think of them and wonder where they were – knowing full well that these were not “boys” anymore but grown men – probably with families of their own – like us!

Fast forward to the age of email and internet.  Opening doors for those of us who had literally lived all over the United States!!  I was able to find some people through email – if they had been good about staying in touch – with others in was near impossible – like searching for a needle in a haystack.  When internet searching became available right around the time of our first computer, back in the late 90’s – I looked every 6 months or so for those boys.  When MySpace was all the rage – I looked for them then – when Facebook was more popular I looked again – every few months.

Fast forward to 2 years ago – the time when I wrote the article above about “lost boys”. I took a chance and listed their names – just on the perchance that someone would come across it – I didn’t know how – I just did it because you never know, right?

I forgot about it – and a few months later I found the two other boys on Facebook.  We were so excited to find Randy and Todd were both on facebook by then – and had emails and Facebook conversations with them both.  We even Skyped with Randy a couple of times and it was really wonderful to catch up on all the lost years.  But still no Bill or John.  We searched, Randy even helped me – and we looked for some of the other people from the youth group – but hit a couple of dead ends.

Then OUT OF THE BLUE I got the comment left to me on the above article by Bill – telling me I had found them and explaining a little bit about he and his brother – what they were doing now etc.  That was followed up by other emails and Facebook greetings and conversations.  It seemed like a miracle to me especially because all of us lived much of life before internet.

That miracle has been such a blessing – as we met William (Bill) with his new wife, Donna in Seattle and had a wonderful dinner together and a time rejoicing over how good God is in bringing us all together again after so many years.  Bill shared with us that those lost years had been tough ones as his mother died shortly after we lost touch with them – his father had left them many years before that.  The brothers were truly on their own after that and had some rough years.  Bill said that he spent many years running from God and searching for things in all the wrong places – had a few failed relationship and was “lost” – until a man approached him in the lobby of somewhere he was passing through and told Bill, “you look lost”.  This man prayed for Bill right there – and though it took another year for Bill to really turn his life around – he finally did begin by saying to himself, “I need to find a church”.  Soon after he rededicated his life to Christ and became very involved in his local church.  He told us last night that he never forgot being baptized by Greg and the impact that had made on his life – it was his turning point for sure.  He described it “like a marriage” for him.  It was a beautiful moment in the restaurant and Donna and I were very teary.  The picture of that lost boy – (now man) coming full circle and coming back to something he had once believe so strongly in – was a miracle.

He met Donna at that church after recommitting his life back to Christ and they were married a year ago last February.  She is a wonderful lady – so perfect for Bill and we are so happy for them both.

Here are some pictures of our very joyful reunion last night with Bill who is not 18 anymore – but 46!!!  How can this be???


Greg, me and Bill


Bill and Donna


Greg and Bill


Bill and Donna

I am hoping you will be encouraged by what has happened to Greg and me the last couple of years – and that you will know for sure that God orders our steps and allows us to make the impact on lives for His purpose and in His great timing.  Never be weary in well doing – for in time you will reap a great harvest if you don’t give up.  Those you touch and influence for His glory – will never be in vain.

God Bless

Authentic Me!

I am authentic

I am real

I am down to earth

 

These are all “catch phrases” that we toss around today.  And it’s especially popular to hear this among Christian pastors and leaders.  But how many really are?

Our pastor led the way last Sunday morning, for it to be okay to be “real” and share with us an area that he has been struggling with.  It was honest and had no pretense. He was just a human being with needs and struggles like the rest of us – he experiences good times and bad, highs and lows.  It was the first really honest moment I’ve witnessed from the pulpit in a long time – if ever.

Now that being said, there are some that would disagree with this approach.  In fact my husband and I were both raised in an era where the pastor (or leader) had to be above reproach and almost ghost-like in perfection.  That was of course, because he (or she) would never allow anyone into their world and all that was personal was highly protected.  It seemed that the worst thing they could do was to let people really know who they were.  The thought being, “They cannot lead others if they admit they don’t have it all together”.

Those of us from my generation and older – bought into this.  We believed you couldn’t have close friends in ministry – believed that others did not want a flawed leader – believed that showing anything less than the perfect role model – would hinder the testimony of Christ.  This caused a false sense of security for others trying to live up to that standard.  And much guilt on the part of the minister and his family.

We discussed this dilemma much in our small group last night.  All of us were there last Sunday morning to witness the beautiful worship service – and Stephen’s willingness to “go there” – for the sake of being truly authentic.  And gave permission for everyone to feel the same – reach out and know that there are others that feel the same way.  It was really beautiful.

As we talked about it in our group, I was very aware of the balance between “sharing” and “sharing too much”.  Who can we really be that “real” with?  Is it important to let people know what you’ve come from – how you handled it and how God has worked in your life?  Or is it better to just talk about surface issues and keep it light?

I know it’s a touchy subject and although some, like me – are grateful for this new freedom in sharing – I know that there are some that simply don’t feel comfortable sharing – or having others share with them.  It is a risk, and certainly some will even look differently at you when you open your heart.  But in light of all these things – I still choose to be a more authentic me.

Here’s why.

I am not perfect.

I struggle with thoughts.

I am selfish by nature.

I like to be right.

I like to have the last word.

I don’t have it all together.

Three years ago I went through a traumatic experience of the heart and emotions.  I started writing a blog to express things I was unhappy about and things I hoped to change.  I went on a journey both spiritually and emotionally and my writing was a vehicle of healing for me.  I tried to be authentic about the way I was feeling.  I knew it would be criticized, as a former pastor’s wife – we aren’t allowed to be sad or struggling – but I plodded along anyway.  The benefit was two-fold:

1.  Others read my writings and daily personal thoughts, as I searched for answers and hung on to the fact that in spite of pain – God is still good.  I connected with many people who would either comment – or privately contact me on Facebook or by email – telling me how helpful and encouraging my writings were and are to them.  Being authentic had a purpose after all – to others who are struggling, questioning and hurting.  It provided a vehicle for them to share – and know for sure that they weren’t alone.

2. It helped me personally.  My empathy and sensitivity grew with my writing journey. Things I had no patience with before – I found compassion and understanding.  I found others who struggled and needed a friend to lend a hand.  While helping, coaching and counseling with others – I’ve found a new purpose for things I was allowed to go through.  And the friendships were and are numerous.

But there is a down-side.  There always is.  I have been burned by sharing myself.  It’s made me more cautious – and I question things more.  I wish I did not.  I wish that I still believed that everyone had my best interest in mind – but now I question that too.  It doesn’t entirely stop me – but it has changed me.  Anytime someone doesn’t understand us or does not validate us in some way – it is very hard.

But I still choose to be a more authentic me.  I choose to take the gifts and blessings God has given me – and reach out to those who need that extra help, support and love. I choose to learn from the painful, dry and empty times along my journey – and share with others what I’ve learned – how God has helped me and most of all – how it’s NOT fatal to go through times of failure, uncertainty and darkness.  It’s been in those times that my heart was much more open to hearing what God was telling me.  And the biggest blessings came when God didn’t answer me at all, instead gave me the tools to find joy again – by writing and opening my heart.

I encourage you today – it’s a scary thing to open up and share, but find someone you trust and have a heart-to-heart with them today.  You may find that the person you’re opening up to – will do the same and there will be strength and blessing in your authenticity.  Even if you’ve been hurt before – you need to trust again.

Have you ever had a truly authentic moment?  This last year?  This last week?  How did others around you respond?

God Bless

Yes I Really Do Have 700 Friends On Facebook

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

The other day I attempted to “cut my friend list” on facebook.  You know how it goes – you have an account for a while, and pretty soon people just start “appearing” on your friend list until you have near 1000 people!  This happened to me a few years ago.  I heard the snickers and taunts from my other facebook friends, “no one has 100o friends!” and set out to cut it back and only have people there I actually knew in person and had a connection with.

That was 2 or 3 years ago.  Then over time it crept up again as I slowly added those that were “late adopters” in joining the social media world.  Students, former students and people I had a relationship with on some level all came on board and asked to “friend” me.  Usually I did – because I knew them, or a friend knew them.

And like you, I have also been forced to eliminate some who I don’t need to be seeing every little thing they do, have contact with – or who for some reason have made me feel uncomfortable by status updates, pictures and comments.  And some people I do not feel comfortable with them seeing every little thing about me either.  But luckily this number is very small.

The other day I noticed my numbers were climbing up there again.  “NO ONE has 800 or 1000 close friends”, I said to myself.  I went through my list of “friends” and started eliminating based on whether or not I ever had a conversation with them.  As I was cutting back my list – I noticed something.  Most of these people are students, former students, past ministry life, or current friendships and church connections.  And because I love being connected with those I have had a part in the investing process – I don’t want to cut it loose.  Students grow up, get jobs, get married and have children – how much I would miss if I didn’t have them on facebook.

I guess the bottom line is this:

Yes I REALLY DO have 700 friends in my life.  I would not have known that until I went to look at them closely, individually, one by one.  Each face is a reminder of an event in both our lives that made that special connection.  Some are people I know only through the blogging community and many of them I have been able to talk with on Skype, although I have not met them in person.  They are daily contributors to my world of writing – and we have a common faith in Jesus Christ.

For those of you who are not aware who is on your friend list – I encourage you to do the same thing.  Look at your list and for each person you keep, remember why they are in your life and what brought you to this point in time.

I love making new friends – but mostly the people who I remain in contact with are the relationships that have stood the test of time and have meaning in my life today.

I am thankful for facebook.  It has allowed me to stay in touch and be a part of those I love as we share pictures, love and laughter together, encouraging and praying for each other – it helps to fill in those times when we can’t be together in person 🙂

As a teacher – facebook has been a great tool for keeping students and parents informed.  I have a page for my music studio as well as one for my blog.  These have both been great tools of communication!

And I’m a sucker for former and current students “dropping by” my page and saying “hello” to me 🙂

How many “friends” do you have on facebook?

God Bless

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