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Social Suffocation


Disc-LAME-er: There will be cliches, self-quoting, photos and a few words strung together to attempt an explanation as to why my last post was in January. But all that is lame. So…  how about we just enjoy moving forward from here? Work for you? Awesome! 😀

Okay, so let me start by saying that life can get the better of us at times. I’m not immune to its affects. It has certainly gotten the better of me. Well, at least it did back in January when I was laid off from my job of 6+ years. Lots of wonderful things have happened and I honestly meant to chronicle it all. But we all know how that turned out. 😛 I just hate the fact that when I finally come up for air, months have passed. 😦 So this is a public apology… especially to certain people who may have felt slighted by the circumstances of my life. I’ve been absent from most social media, with the exception of photos posted to Instagram that are cross-posted to Twitter and Facebook. (So follow me on those sites to stay up-to-date on my crazy, awesome life!) 😉

That being said… here’s what has been going on for the past 8 months.

January – I was laid off from my job. But instead of seeing it as a setback, my wife and I saw it as an opportunity. I’ve since gone back to school, working to obtain my degree in Human Development.JAN 10928856_10152855775201773_479394116374237407_n

February – We’ve been working together to homeschool our four younger children.I’ve always loved to teach, and now I can
play and active role in the overall education of my children! We alternate days of teaching the children and being full-time writers. We get to enjoy our children, as well as the beauty of each day.

FEB 1509885_10152936578756773_2315914500998318247_nThis month we also celebrated Aaron’s 8th birthday!

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March – My oldest son finished his run as the lead in USC’s “Six Degrees of Separation”. He was brilliant in the role and I couldn’t have been more proud.

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April – In April we celebrated, not just one, but two birthdays! A kid turning 2APR 10957005_10153012293131773_7301658854740171243_n

…and another turning 4.APR 11159983_10153060443701773_1136301091559878253_n

This was also the month that my amazing wife ran one of the most intense marathons! It was the SoCal Ragnar Relay Series! It consisted of 12 amazing women who came together to run all day and all through the night from Huntington Beach to San Diego! That’s like 200 miles! I was so proud of her and her team. We actually collaborated on a little video that chronicles the journey. You can view it here: Ragnar Relay – Lola’s Moving Co. Video.

May – This month, one of the highlights was my only daughter and I having another one of our Daddy/Daughter dates. She is just the most warm-hearted person ever, and I am so thankful that she is mine and I am hers. ❤

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June – As I mentioned briefly, we are both pursuing our dreams of becoming published writers! Well, this month we made that dream a reality by publishing my wife’s first (of many to come) book! She started working on it in March, and in about three months time, she finished writing it, and together, we self-published it through Amazon.com. It’s titled, “How To Shop Mostly Organic At The 99¢ Only Store” and it’s fantastic! It gives in-depth pointers on finding Organic, Gluten-Free and Non-GMO foods, so that you can live well and get the most out of your shopping trips to the 99¢ Only Stores. Click on the book to check it out. It’s available as both a hard copy and e-book!

Click here to purchase your own copy!

This was also the month that my second oldest son graduated from High School.

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He is now in his Freshman year at Fresno State University. Wow… time really flies. I can remember when he was 9 like it was yesterday…

Micah 2007-08

July – This month we enjoyed some good ol’ fashioned family time. You know, just being silly…

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…or roughing it in the woods, camping with 20+ family and friends from our church. It’s one of the things we most look forward to during the summer. This was our 5th annual camping trip and each year it only gets better.

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August – This month we sent our second oldest off to college, and finally had an opportunity to get away, just the two of us, for our wedding anniversary. The first time we’ve been able to do so in more then five years! We went to Ojai, CA and stayed at the Capri Hotel. It was a dazzling few days (with intense heat to match) that we both loved. 30 mile bike rides. Midnight pool swimming. Sushi for lunch and frozen yogurt runs in the evening. One of the best times I’ve had in like… forever! lol

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There’s a ton more I could say, but I’m hoping that this will help to spark my writing and get me back to being more consistent with my blog. Thank you for everyone who’s stuck around. I won’t keep you waiting like that ever again. 😉

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Categories: family, marriage, personal, photos, relationships, stories, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Interrobang Nightmares


It’s a recurring dream…

I’m thrust into a crowded room filled with raucous, complaining punctuation marks: Parentheses… Periods… Exclamation Points… Commas… Semi-Colons… even the reclusive Interrobang. 75px-Interrobang.svg

I steady myself after stumbling into the middle of the room. It’s then that I notice their voices settling into guarded whispers as awareness of my presence spreads among them.

Catching me a bit off guard, I hear someone loudly clearing their throat. I feel a tap on my back and turn around to see a rather bold apostrophe frowning at me.

“You. Human,” it says accusingly.

I feign ignorance and point to myself, well aware of the fact that I’m the only human in the room. “Who me?”

It scowls at me with disgust. “Don’t pretend to be clueless with me human. Your kind has put us off long enough. I just need you to answer one simple question.”

“And what question is that?” I say, kneeling down so that I can be eye-level with its… bulbous curvature.

“Why do people on Facebook hate us so much?”

“They don’t hate you,” I reply dismissively, rolling my eyes.

“LIAR!” It barks. “We’re routinely misplaced, overused or forgotten about completely!” Its tone growing angrier by the second. “I have proof!” A moment later, an image appears on a nearby wall. It’s my Facebook news feed. “Look at this and tell me there is no malice behind it!”

I glance at the scrolling image as various shouting punctuation marks behind me point out egregiously poor writing on nearly every other status.
“I… I don’t know.” As if in disbelief, a question mark punches me in the shoulder. “Ow! No, seriously! I don’t know why people are so careless with punctuation.”

Their arguing voices are interrupted by the sound of hard knocking. Everything in the room turns toward the doors behind me. As the doors open, I see the letters A, E, I, O and U standing just outside the door frame.

O steps forward and speaks with an air of authority, or maybe it’s just the fact that it has an unnaturally large mouth. “Thank you for inviting us, Apostrophe,” it says in a calm tone. I raise an eyebrow and scratch my head in confusion. It tosses me a impatient glance and then continues.

“As we are all painfully aware, misspellings, LOLspeak and emoticons are butchering the written language. We must act swiftly to remedy this situation. For if we allow this deplorable behavior to continue, many letters, vowels in particular, will become obsolete.”

Squeals and cheers of agreement echo throughout the crowd.

“Now that we’ve captured one of the humans, we have a real chance of achieving this goal.”

I swallow hard. “Wait… what??”

Just then, I notice something running toward the gathered letters by the door. Panting and nearly out of breath, the letter Y squeezes between A and E and asks, “Am I too late?”

Then I wake up.

Categories: commentary, humor, parody, writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

For Your Protection


I’m a relatively transparent kind of guy. Meaning, I don’t mind sharing some information about my history, my family and where I work. I certainly wouldn’t post my home address or social security number online. But for the most part, I will answer just about any question asked of me within reason. But there are many people who are none too keen about sharing anything remotely personal online. Everything is locked down… real name, city and state, cell number, school they went/go to, names of relatives, etc.

Why do I bring this up? Because I was listening to the news on my way to work this morning and I heard about the Colorado DOC Chief who was killed in his home after answering the front door.  I immediately began to wonder what the assailant’s motivation may have been and how they found out where the Chief lived. I wondered if they were a disgruntled subordinate… maybe a recently parolee seeking revenge… maybe just a deranged person who gets kicks out of wounding or killing authority figures. Or maybe it was none of that and it was a random act of violence, a case of mistaken identity, or a jilted lover.

Maybe we’ll never know.

But that line of thought also reminded me of a conversation I had a couple years ago with someone who was concerned about the fact that people knew my real name. It went something like this:

THEM: Aren’t you afraid of what people might do?

(said with genuine concern for my safety)

ME: Do? Like what?

(not really understanding what they were getting at)

THEM: Well, that someone might use your name to find out where you live or work and like, come kill you or take you hostage or something.

ME: (laughing) Nah, I’m nobody important. No one cares where I work or live. If I were more in the public eye, I’d certainly err on the side of caution. But for now, I’m so far off the radar that I have first cousins who couldn’t even tell you the city I live in to save their lives.

(true story)

THEM: Yeah, maybe. But still… I NEVER post my real name online. Not even on Facebook.

(as if Facebook is a breeding ground for stalkers)

ME: I can appreciate that. I just don’t think my first and last name is an issue of privacy. Names are easily acquired. I can go to the grocery store and see the cashier’s first and last name printed on the badge they wear. Or I can go to a city website and find out the name and office location for the director of Parks and Recreation.

THEM: I guess so. Still, I’d just rather be safe than sorry.

ME: To each their own I suppose.

It makes me wonder how concerned other people are about their privacy online. I know it’s not just an issue of paranoia. Some of the concern is definitely justified. But I think that everyone draws the line at a different point of comfort.

What’s yours?

Categories: commentary, current events, personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Social Distortion


I was talking to a friend the other day about music and we got onto a topic regarding my concern about how everything in life seems to be moving toward Social Media. Currently, at your fingertips you can instantaneously enjoy music, movies, and eBooks. Unfortunately, I believe that this has created a culture of impatience. Especially in the current generation of teens that never knew TVs without a remote, never used a record player when it was actually a household appliance, and can hardly believe there was ever a time when people didn’t have mobile phones, let alone caller ID. But what I’m MOST concerned about is how this culture of immediacy has affected interpersonal relationships. Especially the romantic kind.

See, in an era where relationship statuses are broadcast in real time all over the world, couples are rarely given time to work out their issues before you get:

  • 50 people liking the fact that you’ve gone from “in a relationship” or “married”, to “single” or “it’s complicated”
  • a few dozen comments on how he/she was no good for you, interspersed with a handful of people making jokes about his/her appearance
  • name changed and photos of the ex-SO either deleted or untagged in less than 15 minutes

I think social media allows far too many outside influences and doesn’t give many fledgling relationship time to breathe, and the people in them time to grow and mature. I believe this causes people to make hasty decisions based on emotion instead of taking the time to come to a rational and often peaceful resolution. Instead, Social Networking promotes the “spectator mentality” so that people are drawn to online relationship conflicts in the same way that people will run to the scene of an accident. This increasing interference is what I like to call “Social Distortion”.

Sadly, it would seem that young people are more susceptible to this interference because they have so little life experience and diminishing personal references for healthy relationships. My hope is that by working to model healthy communication and interaction in my own marriage, it might help my children avoid buying into the restless lifestyle and unnecessary heartbreak.

What do you think, do you think the tide of social distortion can be turned?

Or are we headed for further deterioration of intimate relationships?

Categories: intimacy, marriage, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seasonal Relationships


(Don’t mind me, I’m just unloading my thoughts…)

I’m always amazed by how much things can change in such a short period of time. Back when I was really active online, either blogging, chatting or emailing, I made some really good friends. People I admire, respect and value. Maintaining relationships of any kind require effort and I try to make sure that people know that they’re important to me.

So yesterday I sent a friend of mine a message on Facebook saying that I miss them and we need to catch up because it’s been far too long since we’ve chatted. Now this person is someone I would talk to fairly regularly in the past. We’d grown close to the point that we would even exchange holiday cards throughout the year. Of course, when life gets in the way then days between chats turn into weeks that turn into months until eventually I couldn’t remember the last time we actually talked. I was so happy when they responded with enthusiasm about us MAKING time to reconnect with one another! I’m looking forward to it.

That being said, there are still a couple people who used to be friends of mine that are friends no longer. Now if it were simply a matter of time between contact or some sort of escalated disagreement, I would totally understand. But these people left my life for reasons that they still haven’t chosen to reveal to me. Now I know that some relationships are only for a season as people come and go from our lives. I realized a long time ago that I will never please everyone and there will be times when I offend people unintentionally. But for me, it helps to at least know why a season with a particular person has passed. Especially if there has been some unknown offense from which I might learn and grow.

In spite of feeling like there’s never enough time in a day, I really do value my relationships with other people and what they add to my life. I’m not one of those people who need constant affirmation and will do anything to get it (I have a wife for that) 😉 But there are times when I just need to understand what is taking place. I don’t have to be your best friend, but I at least want to be a good friend. The only way that can happen is if we communicate with one another if there are issues that need to be addressed.

What prompted this post is that I happened to read a message from one of these former friends this morning. They were wishing me a happy birthday in 2010 and hoped I had a splendid day. The message finished with a P.S. saying that we needed to catch up… and eventually we did. But a few months later all communication from this person stopped. When I tried to ask them what happened, all my attempts to contact this person were ignored for weeks until finally they responded saying that they didn’t want to tell me right then. That was nearly a year ago.

Over the past year I’ve sent out an olive branch message every few months or so, hoping to find out what happened. But to date it has proven unsuccessful. I could understand if this person were extremely busy, but we have mutual friends with whom they continue to interact. I can only assume that there’s an issue between us personally. But the only way I can become a better person is for others to point out the areas in which I might improve. I hope someday to at least have an answer for what has taken place, because this feels uncomfortably unfinished.

So if you and I are currently friends, I only ask that you promise to be honest with me about how you feel. If you feel that I haven’t given our relationship enough attention, let me know. You’re in my life for a reason and I want you to understand your value and place in my heart.

Categories: personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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