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Thursday, December 15, 2016

In Memory...

There's not a single selfie of her and I on my camera roll. We weren't those kind of friends - not the kind who "hang out" on a regular basis or go to lunch. We met through our husbands when I was still just dating mine - about 11 years ago now. She was one of the first people I told when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, since she'd gotten pregnant with her daughter just months before. She had jokingly told me I needed to have one, too. I hadn't really meant to follow suit, but it happened, and I had no idea then how intermeshed our lives would end up. 

I visited her in the hospital when both her youngest children were born, she was the first one to ever see my baby girl via ultrasound and I was who she called for reassurance when someone completely unqualified ridiculously told her they thought her middle son might have autism.
When I decided to quit my job and stay home to work on finishing my degree and open a home daycare, she signed up her youngest daughter post haste. So, at 10 months old I became sort of mom number 2 and formed about as close an attachment as you can with a child who isn't your very own. Jady was never threatened by that - not even when her only daughter started calling me "Momma" for a year or so. She'd just laugh and make jokes about it. And our daughters became more than friends; they're family.
This morning when I heard she was gone I cried for 3 hours and had to leave work. I felt kind of ridiculous for getting so upset. We weren't "best friends," after all. It took me the day to pinpoint my reasons for unraveling at the news. I looked back through my texts to see the last time we had talked. On Oct 2nd she had sent me pics of the girls on a train ride they'd invited my youngest to go on. On Oct. 13th she sent me a picture to show my mom. On Nov. 16th I sent her a picture I knew she'd think was hilarious because her sense of humor was like mine. On Nov. 30th I texted her about my daughter's birthday party this Sunday and she said they'd be there.
But, she won't be there.  And that's why my heart is broken. Because for 11 years now we may not have been "best friends," but she's been a fixture in my life. She's been a running text conversation of shared laughs, pictures of our kids, and even some serious dialogue.  We may not have done lunch but I'd go pick up her girl to come play and step in the house and commiserate about laundry and laugh with her. We would talk about when our girls start driving or when they graduate High School.  It breaks my heart that she won't be there for those things.  There are those people in your life who are just there kind of always in the background and you assume they'll always be there.
She was so genuine and so unique - you couldn't help but love Jady.  One thing she knew about, though, was loss. She lived her life - especially when it came to her kids - knowing full well she wasn't promised tomorrow. We had that conversation more than once. We could all take a lesson from her life; she loved the people around her well and it's evident she has left a lasting impression on everyone who knew her.  I don't know for sure how long it will take before the urge to text her something will pass. I don't even know how I could ever take her name out of my phone.  I do know that today I'm going to take a page out of her book and hug my family close and know I'm not promised tomorrow.
Goodbye, beautiful Jady. Thank you for over a decade of laughter and thank you for sharing your daughter with me. I promise to always help take care of her for you just like I always have.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Back to Reality

Hello, my name is Christin, and I am a social media addict. This is not a blog post to warn you of the evils of social media or to shame you in to deactivating your accounts. I think social media has some great things going on!! This is just a little blurb about a spiritual journey I went on and insights I gained along the way...

About 90 days ago I started a Facebook fast. Why? Several reasons, but mainly just because I noticed I didn't like the way it was making me feel. I didn't like how I was turning to Facebook for validation and how it was controlling my emotions - how many likes did my last post get? Who all liked it? Will that post make this particular person upset with me? Was that passive aggressive post directed at me?? Will this picture be taken the wrong way? Did I forget to tag anyone? Am I misrepresenting myself? Am I sharing too much? Will my children be kidnapped and sold in to slavery because I post too many pictures of them? (No, really. Actual thought in my head!)

Can you see the underlying theme? All these thoughts center on one thing... ME!! This outlet meant to connect me with the world was somehow turning me in to a narcissistic ME-junkie and that was making me unhappy. So, I got a verse and the verse was this:
"And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."
Matthew 5:30

God told me to fast from Facebook, and although I'm ashamed to say it took a few messages before I complied, I finally settled on a 90 day break. I slipped silently from the world of Facebook (aside from the pages I run for my blog and work) amidst scoffing and disbelief from those who know me well. (Of course with the exception of my ever-supportive husband who I'm fairly certain believes in me more than I do myself!)

Here are the things that happened to me during this little fast:

1. My inner monologue is no longer in the form of "status posts."
I'm sorry to admit this one took quite a while! I realized my thought processes seemed to revolve around clever things to post on Facebook. This might be a great thing if I was a celebrity or something but in the whole scheme of the world, my self-deemed-clever posts to my roughly 300 followers were not making a difference in the world. Not enough to warrant the amount of time my brain spent coming up with them. Hashtag lame!

2. My pictures quit being for public viewing.
I've always been a photographer! WAY before the invention of the camera phone, I was obsessed with capturing everything on film (Some of you youngsters may have to Google 35mm film!). I was one of the first on the digital camera bandwagon. I LOVE pictures. I love taking them, I love editing them, I love looking back at them years later... But, my picture taking had the joy sucked out of it because it became driven by who would see the picture, how many "likes" it would get, and what it would portray publicly. I just had the amazing opportunity to take a trip to Puerto Rico for work and it was so freeing to travel and take pictures without thinking about who would see them! (Of course, aside from the selfies I sent back to my hubby, kids, and besties!)

3. God revealed I had been living in a false and mediocre version of community. Seeing someone's dinner on Facebook or Snapchat does not constitute sharing a meal with them! I have been labeled an "outgoing introvert" by some of my closest friends and that made Facebook a beautiful social crutch for me. I was able to put myself out there only as much as I wanted to and share ideas without the risk of putting my truly authentic self on the line. I could see everyone and share but not have to truly interact. What I figured out is: That. Is. Not. Real. That's generic! That's like dipping your toes in the water on a super hot Summer day - it's fine for a while and it feels refreshing, but man! You're missing out by not jumping in the pool. Sure! Your hair gets messy and your eye makeup drips on your face, but being immersed in the cool, all-encompassing water is what we need. Social media is just getting our toes wet and making sure no one sees our hair messed up.  I'm over it. I want real, genuine connections, conversations, dinners, hugs, neighbors in my messy house, and people on my actual porch. To get that, I know I have to get my nose out of my phone.

4. My family needs me to be present.
Do I need to explain this one? Do I need to keep going and step on all our toes here? Facebook is just the start of this for me, but I'm working on it. I don't want to miss these precious years with all my babies at home because I was counting the likes on my latest selfie. Y-U-C-K

5. Waisting time is dumb.
Please no one ever figure up the hours I've spent on social media. Please don't. I don't even want to know that data! There are so many other things I need to be doing with my time.  There are some things I want to do; more importantly there are some things God wants me to do! And social media came in and distracted me from my purpose.  So, I'm walking away from it. Not forever. I'm not deactivating my account. I'm not going to "never be on Facebook again." But, I'm going to discipline myself to only designated times.

6. Whales
I saw whales while in Puerto Rico (albeit at quite a distance off) - a lifelong dream of mine!  I almost missed them, initially dismissing them as boats on the horizon. I have to wonder if 90 days ago I would have possibly missed them altogether. Would I have been so distracted by sharing my scenery with the virtual community online that I would have totally missed this possibly once in a lifetime experience? God put whales right in front of me - FOR ME. How sad it would have been to miss that because my phone was in my face instead! Oh, how many things have I missed already?  

I had certain expectations for what would happen in these 90+ days, but God showed up with me and He revealed things to me that I wasn't expecting! He took me deeper in to my relationship with Him and that is priceless! I think we tend to look at fasting in the sense of food, but sometimes we need to think outside the box. Is there anything in your life right now that needs to be cut out? Even for a season? For me, it was worth it!  I never want to miss a "whale" again!!!