Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Five Minute Drill

I realized earlier this week that I haven't been doing well at keeping up my blog pages lately. I have fallen out of the habit of writing my gratitude list in my moleskin notebook as it happens...and by the end of the day I have forgotten.  I tried to hurriedly enter the titles of books that I have read/listened to on the reading log, thinking I would write something about them, but then I rushed off to my next task and never looked back.

So, as I was searching for the link to Nora Ephron's book Thursday afternoon, I realized how long it has been since I told you about the books I have been reading. I do not pretend to be a book reviewer by any stretch of the imagination. But I do like looking back to read my favorite quotes or how the story worked into the framework of my life situations.
So, today I am challenging myself to take 5 minutes to recall what I can from each book on the reading list that I have completed.

Ready, set, go...

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I read this book over the period of a weekend so that I could go see the movie on opening weekend. The book had been recommended to me last year. I bought it at once but it had been sitting in Will's room for months untouched. I thought I would wait until after he had read it...but I ended up stealing it from him so that I could meet my deadline. I LOVED IT! As usual, the movie was good...but the book was so much better. As the book is totally in the voice of Katniss, you think like she thinks. You feel what she feels. And your only basis for interpreting life's events is through her eyes. It made the scenes from the Games so much more intense that the movie could portray. I haven't read the other two YET! But neither have I forgotten how this story moved me. This one may well be my favorite young adult fiction since Harry Potter.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This was my Classics read for the year. I have heard so much about it through the years but it still did not disappoint. Even though the beans had been spilled (many times over) about the plot twist, it was worth the time it took me to read it. Honestly, I had a bit of a hard time getting into the lyrical writing at first. But just as was true with other classics I have read, once I got into the flow of the writing style, the story swept me away. I have recorded the latest movie version on the DVR but haven't had an opportunity to watch it yet. Since, you know, my house if filled with guys who have been watching the NBA playoffs and the Masters and Sports Center and....well, you get the drift.

Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs

As I noted on my reading page, I technically did not read this -- but listened to the author read it as I drove into and out of Houston for a week. I really enjoy AJ Jacobs 'voice' as he attempts to become the healthiest man in the world over the matter of two years. (I think it was a little short of that time frame, but it was definitely over a year.) This audio book inspired me to make changes to my own life. Not as drastic a change as the author subjected himself to, but changes nonetheless. Oh, and I felt so hip after listening to this. It seemed like every magazine I opened or news program I watched mentioned one of the diets or exercises or studies that Jacobs mentioned in the book. It has peaked my interest to read his other books.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

I enjoyed Drop Dead Healthy so much that I ran to Half Price Books and scoured their audio book section. When I saw Tina Fey's book sitting on the shelf and noticed that she was reading it herself, I knew I had to have it. Tina does not disappoint. What a sense of humor...and yet she remains so believable and likable. When she began the chapter about her dad, "That's Don Fey", I laughed out loud! It was great! I honestly did not want this audiobook to end. And, I will probably listen to it again.

Made To Crave by Lysa TerKuerst

This wasn't a fun read, but it has certainly helped me to look at some things in my life differently. I have seen the book around the blogosphere for some time. I actually picked it up just after Jim's accident last year at the recommendation of a friend. But I knew that the time was not quite right to begin reading it. So, it sat on my bookshelf with the accompanying devotional until I was ready. I have so many quotes that float around in my head from this book. I am reading the devotional now along with also visiting Lysa's blog. It helps to keep me focused and to remind me of where this battle really resides.

I have put Mike Huckabee's audiobook aside for now. I think I have hit my capacity of nonfiction reading until after the lake house vacation. With the garden and the constant ESPN on the television, I need a little bit of escape reading in my life about now.

I am about halfway through the Charles Stanley book on forgiveness. I have been marking it with a pink highlighter and, boy is that thing looking pretty pink! I know it is nonfiction too, but I have been feeling the Lord calling me to take a look at this area of my He gives me strength to keep going. Plus, I love Charles Stanley and the wonderfully simple way he can explain the most complicated of matters. His writing has helped me to understand several Biblical big picture items over the years and I am enjoying this read very much even though it hurts at times.

Okay, so some of these took me a little longer than five minutes...but I am not a very efficient mini-keyboardist!

What have you been reading this summer?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 29, 2012

Goodbye, Nora

I read a blog on Wednesday morning that mentioned the passing of Nora Ephron; author, screenwriter, director, playwright (etc., etc.) and it made me a little sad.

The first thing that came to my mind was the evening Robin, Stacy and I spent in New York City at the play she co-wrote with her sister; Love, Loss and What I Wore.  Remember?  We got to meet the lovely Robin Strasser afterwards.

Next I thought about how much I enjoyed her book I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman which I read back in May of 2010

But then, I began seeing people commenting on their favorite Nora Ephron films (whether as screenwriter, producer or director) and I realized just how many of them I have seen.  Twelve of the fifteen as noted on Wikipedia.  From Silkwood to Julie and Julia...I have only missed Cookie, This Is My Life and All I Wanna Do.  (One of those looks awfully familiar, but I am not sure.)  My favorite Nora Ephron film?  Not the usual, When Harry Met Sally.  Nor Sleepless In Seattle.  Not even You've Got Mail.  (Though that may be my second favorite.)  My all time favorite Nora Ephron film is Hanging Up with Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow and Walter Matthau.  I wanted to slap some compassion into Georgia, shake self-indulgent Maddy until she could see beyond herself, and hire a therapist for codependant Eve, who set herself up for the responsibility that is now draining her.  I loved, loved, LOVED this movie.  And I still watch it every time I run across it on cable television.  And I still cry!  Every. Single. Time. 

RIP, Nora.  Thanks for the memories that your work has sown into my life. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Weight Loss Wednesday: When Something's Not Working

Here I am again, awake in the middle of my prime sleeping hours.  The good news is that I am finally yawning.  The bad news is that I have to be up in two hours anyway!  I really need to check my food journal to see if there are any similarities between what I ate last Thursday night and what I ate last night that might cause these early morning blog sessions. 

If that is not the case, then I guess it is the guilt I feel from leaving you hanging on Wednesdays that wakes me up with a stomach ache.  LOL

Okay, on to the issue at hand...weight loss.

I stepped on the scales Monday morning at the appointed time and my weight loss for the week was just under a pound. 

That put me 6 ounces away from losing 10 pounds since this journey began. 

Once again, I realized that the weekends are not my best times for sticking with a weight loss plan.  Even though I try not to blow it at any point in time, weekends nearly always contain some sort of family celebration that I want to be able to participate in and not feel deprived.  Last weekend it was a friend's birthday party.  Though I had a chicken breast without the bun for dinner, I did indulge in a small bowl of chips with cheese dip and a small slice of birthday cake.  (The cake was camoflauge!  How is a girl supposed to resist that?)

Could I have done without either of those things?  Yes.  But, I had planned for this variation from my meal plan beforehand by cutting calories throughout the day leading up to the party. 

I don't want to be the person who refuses to do life with others because it doesn't fit in with my weight loss plans.  I don't want to be the one who turns down times of fellowship because I am afraid of the food.  I remember an instance from years ago when the current diet craze nearly destroyed the fellowship of a Bible study due to hurt feelings on both sides.  For that reason, I try to keep a balance between being a stumbling block and falling completely off the wagon.

Having said that, I still try to stay within my daily calorie count and to make wise choices from what is available.

The weekends are also hard because our schedules are much more unstructured than the weekdays.  Some mornings we sleep in or work in the garden early, thus delaying breakfast until nearly lunch time.  Other days we have the family over and do a late lunch/early dinner combo meal to fit everyone's schedules.

It is because of all of these things that Monday morning weigh-ins are no longer working for me.  I hate entering the week feeling defeated or kicking myself for not making the perfect choices.  So, I have decided to move my weigh ins to Wendesdays. 

I told you last week that I stepped on the scale on Wednesday and the number was much different from Monday.  I tried it again yesterday and, once again, big difference.  As of Wednesday morning I have reached the 10 pound mark!!  Woo Hoo!

 That is an average of 1.25 pounds a week!  I can live with that!

Yes, I would like for it to be 2 pounds a week...but considering that it has taken me years to put it on...I will celebrate taking it off in weeks.

Next week we will be on vacation with the family.  I am looking forward to the
time to relax and enjoy my children, son-in-loves and grandchildren.  We will be fishing and swimming and tubing and just spending time together.  While I am away I may not even step on the scales...I am giving myself a pass for a week.  A pass from the scales, mind you, not a pass from eating better and moving more.  So, if you don't hear from me next will know why.  And if I come back in two weeks sleepless and crying over my poor choices?  Well, y'all can feel free to just skip reading that one!

How are you doing in the goals you have set for yourself this year?  Are there things that just aren't working for you and that need to be tweaked?  I would love to hear....even if your goal isn't weight loss.  We can all learn from one another.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cattle Herding On A Summer's Day

This morning I got to play 'Make Believe' before heading in to work for the day.   I was pretending to be a Big Rancher's Wife, like Pioneer Woman.  Only she's in Oklahoma and I'm in Waller County, Texas.
My son-in-love, Josh, showed up bright and early with a trailer to herd cattle and get the calves to the vet for their vaccinations.  I couldn't resist the opportunity to grab my Olympus and start snapping pictures.

William and his life-long friend, Sam, guided the trailer placement.  Oh, did I mention that we only have two calves?  Yeah, Pioneer Woman has LOTS more than two!. There ours are, right by the gate trying to figure out what was going on.  Doesn't seem like there will be much herding today, huh? 
The closest one in this picture is Jim's baby...Arya.  The one in the back is the 'little bull'.  Well, at least that was what we were calling him this morning.  This afternoon we will call him Lord Varys.  If you watch Game of Thrones you will understand why his name was changed after the vet visit.

The calves didn't stay near the gate for long.  They couldn't figure out what in the world was happening with those panels so they decided to take an impromptu meeting near the water trough to talk over their options.
"But wait a minute, there is that all familiar red Folger's coffee can." 

"Can it be true?"

"Are we eating early today?"

"That looks like my food, but I have never seen this white contraption that it is lying in before."

"I usually find it in my bowl!"

"I really want to eat...but do I dare?"


"Where are you going with my red Folgers coffee can full of goodness?"

"I'm hungry!"

Ever the watchful and graceful creature, Arya stays back just far enough to watch the procedings with suspicion.
Little Bull, he is all about the red Folger's coffee can of goodness.

While he is pigging out, Josh begins to swing the panel around to herd them into the trailer.

Arya tries to make a run for it...but she just wasn't quite fast enough!  This ain't Josh's first rodeo!

There they go.  Headed into town to see Doc.  When they get home this afternoon they will have all of their toddler vaccinations up to date and be ready for preschool.

Oh yeah, and Little Bull will be a steer.  OUCH!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Weight Loss Wednesday: On Friday (ish)

Hey, guys!  I apologize for taking so long to post this week.  I usually try to get my Wednesday post up by Tuesday afternoon, but this week I had shower pictures and Father's Day pictures to share. I took the day off of work Wednesday and thought that I would get a chance to post sometime during the day.  But...fifteen jars of hamburger dill pickles, thirteen jars of pickled hot peppers, six jars of jalapeno jelly and sixteen freezer bags of peas later...I was wiped out!  Plus it was nearing eleven o'clock in the evening, so I did what any sane person would do...I watched Swamp People with my hubby and went to bed.  Yes, that's right...we record Troy, Liz and the gang for our late night viewing pleasure.

Oh, and by the way, work would have been much easier than staying home on Wednesday!  Just sayin'!

So, of course Thursday was spent catching up at work...which was followed by a big family dinner out with Bri and Josh...who just came in from his stint in Africa...where he lost twelve pounds on the he was looking forward to a meal at his favorite Mexican restaurant.

And now it is 3:30 AM on Friday morning.  Don't believe me?


I woke around 3 AM to the sound of the cat crying, only it wasn't the cat.  I can't figure out what it was...maybe I was dreaming. Or maybe Jim was making some funny little sound in his breathing until I disturbed him with my tossing and turning.  Once awake I could hear Allie barking under the house.  Only she sounded like a little dog at the far corner of the property.  Then I could hear Brian's bass from his video game in his room. !I walked outside to see where the barking was coming from, only it had stopped.  Since I was already out there, I walked over to Brian's room to tell him to turn down the volume.  Only he was asleep.  ASLEEP!  I sacred him to death when he awoke to me standing over his television trying to find the volume control in the dark. And then I had indigestion from the Mexican food. So I went on the search for my Maalox. Which all explains why I am posting on Friday (ish).  Aren't you so glad you asked?!?!

Now what was I talking about again?

Oh, yeah, weight loss.

Well, Monday morning was not kind to me.  I stepped on the scale only to have lost half a pound!  I was a little bummed by the number, but felt in my heart that it was not accurate.  I really believe that all the salt in Jim's Father's Day meal did me in.  We had a lot of vegetables, but fresh veggies need salt.  Am I right?

I usually only weigh once a week, which is Monday morning.  But this week I had to know if there was any change, so I stepped on the scale Wednesday morning and boy, what a change.  I'm not counting it yet though.  The challenge is to keep it off until next Monday's weigh in.  Well, and forever after too!

I am not doing well in my workouts. Actually none this week.  But between harvesting the garden, preparing the veggies and preserving them...I am wiped out. (Oh, my goodness at the peas we have harvested the past week and a half!) Plus I think all the squatting and bending and lifting heavy baskets or pots filled with steaming water is quite a workout without the hand weights.

Okay, Brian just came through the house and I think the antacid is finally kicking in so I am heading off to bed now.  I hope y'all have a wonderful Friday.  Thanks for stopping by!

I reserve the right to blame any rambling or disconnected thoughts on the hour of this posting.  I have read articles on the dangers of texting or ordering from the home shopping network while under the influence of alcohol...I am thinking it may be just as dangerous to make a blog post under the influence of Maalox at 4 AM.  Especially since the Spell Check feature is currently on the fritz!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day Comes Early (Yet Late) At The Goode Household

Since all the girls were near the house for Brianne's shower on Saturday, they decided to go ahead and celebrate Father's Day with Jim afterwards.

But Jim and Derrick, who were playing golf while we were at the shower, decided to play and play and play!  The kids were dying for Pappaw to get home and open his presents!

The girls all went together and bought him four remote controlled boats for racing in the pond.  Since the boys didn't get back home until nearly 9, we had to have boat races by the light of the Polaris.  Never underestimate the ingenuity of the Goode's when it comes to having a little friendly competition!

Since the celebrations were on Saturday, Sunday was a pretty laid back day.  And since it was super hot out, Jim stayed in and helped me shell peas while we watched television.

Lots and lots of peas!  I put up 3 pints of black eyed peas and 10 pints of purple hulls -- while cooking a big mess for dinner Sunday night.  I think we probably have about this many more out on the vines waiting for us to pick tonight!

All in all, we had a wonderful Father's Day with a wonderful man who is willing to help a girl out of a jam...even though it was his day to do whatever he wanted.  Have I ever told y'all how lucky I am!  

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Shower Of Blessing Indeed!

Saturday afternoon we gathered to celebrate Brianne and Josh with a wedding shower.   Meagan and Kelli did a wonderful job of setting up for the special event.

The tables were decorated in the wedding colors and pictures of the bride and groom were spread around the room so that everyone would be able to see them dressed in their wedding attire.

We hired the hall to cater the event, but the girls provided the desserts.
Here are the two hostesses putting the finishing touches on the hall.

We had a spread that would have fed an army!  It was delicious.
Our bride requested that we not play any games, but take our time to visit instead. 
After the time to catch up with one another, we watched the bride open presents.

Thank you to all the precious women who drove long distances to celebrate Josh and Bri's marriage with us!  You have showered our family with the blessing of friendship time and time again!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Garden of 2012

I can hardly believe that I have failed to show you pictures of this year's garden and it is already the middle of June!
Even though we haven't increased the size of the garden, we have more rows this year.  That is what happens when you use the right tools for the job.

We have watermelons, cantaloupe, purple hull peas, summer squash, black eyed peas, red onions, tomatoes (several varieties), banana peppers, zucchini, jalapenos, bell peppers, okra and cucumbers. 

Thus far, we have picked over 240 pounds...mostly tomatoes and yellow squash.  The cucumbers are finally hitting their stride so I think pickles are in my weekend plans.  I have canned LOTS of salsa.  But really, can you ever have too much salsa?  I don't think so!

This is the first time we have grown black eyed peas and we LOVE them!  I had never eaten them fresh before.  Jim says that the purple hulls are out after this year.  We will see about that.  I still like a good purple hull pea.  (He says the black eye gives him more bang for the buck and doesn't turn his fingers purple!)

Okay, well now you know what I will be doing this weekend.  How about you?

And if you need any jalapenos, please let me know!  My Hero sure can grow the peppers!!!  I have even resorted to making my own jalapeno pepper jelly just to use more of them.  (But it is really good, so how much of sacrifice could that be, right?)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

All In A Goode Family Weekend

Last weekend was a whirlwind of activity. Some weekends are just that way. Others, I sit at home and watch the plants grow!

So, to share our whirlwind with you, last weekend we:

Went to a baseball game 
What a lucky girl am I?  I had four handsome escorts to watch the Sugar Land Skeeters play last Friday night.  Sam, Will, Maddux and Davin

The Skeeters mascot: Swatson

Davin is ready to catch any foul balls heading Nonna's way!

Maddux watching the game

Great seats!!  Thanks, Robin!

It was Star Wars Night at Constellation Field:
Davin and Maddux had a blast getting their picture made with this Storm Trooper!  Maddux looked for the Storm Troopers every time we left our seats!
Attended a wedding:
Davin dancing with the Maid of Honor, Monica Morales

He is a party animal.  Meagan and Derrick had better watch out!
Went to a dance recital:
Matt, Bri, Brooke, Meagan, Kelli, Davin, Jim and Maddux

Our Tiny Dancer, Brooke

Her costume was of a kitty cat.  I wish y'all could have seen Davin's face when she finished her dance and came to sit with us.  His eyes got big and he was mesmerized by her 'fur'!  She LOVED all of the attention!  (Davin brought her the teddy bear...we all showered her with FOUR flower bouquets!  They were bigger than she was!)
The weekend was filled with reasons to celebrate and to enjoy one another.  I am so thankful for that opportunity.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weight Loss Wednesday: When You Want To Quit

I'm back! Did you miss me?

Actually, I know of two of you who did miss me. And I want to thank Kelli (my daughter and This Little Piggy blogger) and Tammy (at Loving Every Second of Life) for gently and lovingly saying..."I missed you and I noticed". Not in those words exactly, but close to it.

Even though I post Weight Loss Wednesdays, I actually do my weigh-ins on Monday mornings. Last week I did not want to weigh.

...because I fell off the journaling wagon after my weight gain

...because I couldn't find my bathroom scale (it was in the kitchen being used for weighing vegetables from the garden)

...because I took time off from exercise during our anniversary trip and never got back to it

...because I was hormonal (and this pre-menopause stuff is hard!)


...because I was afraid
*of more weight gain
*of failure
*of your disapproval
*of sharing more of my heart only to fall down again

Then, last Wednesday, I read a quote from "Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst that made me write these words in my journal:

"Time to get back on the wagon!"

What was that quote, you ask?

"Whether we're on the path toward victory or defeat is determined by the very next choice we make."

So, I chose to open my journal and begin an honest dialogue with myself about my fears and failures.

I also downloaded an app on my iPhone that came highly recommended by Skinny Mom's Kitchen. It is called MyFitnessPal. It makes it so much easier to record my food intake because it has so much of the nutrition information at my fingertips. (Plus a bar code reader for prepared foods, yay!) Seriously, have you ever tried to find the calorie count of say black-eyed peas? Google it and you could get twenty different answers!

I finished "Made To Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food" on Sunday night and am now reading the 60 day devotional of the same name. It helps me to keep this information ever before me and fresh on my mind.

And how did my Monday morning weigh in go, you ask?

Down four pounds from the last weigh-in two weeks ago! Woo Hoo!! That is a total of 8 pounds lost since April 30 when this journey began. Not too shabby!

And really...I NEED for you to ask! Not just want you to ask...NEED for you to ask. Not to be mean or legalistic...but like Kelli and Tammy both did, because they cared! Thanks, girls!

How do you stay on track when you just 'want to quit'?

edited on Wednesday to add web links to post and correct the name of the iPhone app.  I apologize if you are getting this twice!  The iPad blogger program did not make linking (or spell checking) easy!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Anniversary To Us

Last Wednesday Jim and I celebrated our 31st anniversary with a little get away to Galveston Island and a fishing trip.  My husband has always been a wonderful romantic.  He presented me with my first box of long stemmed red roses when we were dating.  He has surprised me with pieces of jewelry over and over...not the least of which were the pearls he gave me a few days before Kelli's wedding.  So sweet.

In these past thirty one years I have learned that he likes to 'do something'...and hunting or fishing are always considered to be 'something'!  I have been wanting to head out to the bay with a local fishing guide since we first began saltwater fishing.  We discussed our options for our anniversary trip and decided to make this our excuse for hiring a guide and heading out to the water.

Now, I didn't really think this trip through very well.  We were on our anniversary trip to the island and it was supposed to be relaxing.  But this fishing business means no sleeping in.  We were to meet our guide in San Leon at 6 AM.  That meant my alarm was set for 5 AM...on my VACATION! 

It was still pretty dusky when we arrived at the dock, so I sort of wiped the sleep out of my eyes and strained as I tried to make sense of the sight before me.
There was a pony foraging around the dock!  The pony had evidently broken loose from his home as there was a lead rope dragging behind him.  I snapped this picture from as close as I dared get so as not to spook him, so once I lightened it up enough to see him it was pretty grainy.  But there is the evidence that this was not going to be an ordinary day on the bay!

Is a pony good luck, you think?

After meeting our captain and loading our cooler and snacks, we headed out.  Watching the sun rise over the water was relaxing.  Even at 6:15 AM.

As we pulled up to our first fishing hole, this sight caused me to just stop and stare.  Gorgeous!

And speaking of gorgeous, my fishing partner is pretty gorgeous too!

As we cast and cast and cast some more with no luck of fish, I noticed other things in the water around us.
I certainly didn't want to fall in that water.  I haven't seen that many jellyfish in Galveston Bay EVER! 

Our first two holes were dry runs as far as keepers go, then at the third I managed to throw a fish in the box.  Captain Mike added the next one shortly after and Jim finally added one about thirty minutes later.  (I told him that mine was the biggest...but really his was.  Shhh!  Don't tell him!)

Around noon we moved back to our first hole and man did those fish bite.  It was soooo much fun!  I was reeling them in as fast as I could throw out the bait.  And then Jim switched his bait to match mine.  As quickly as I started catching, it stopped.  But by then Jim was reeling them in left and right.  Honestly, I had grown so tired of reeling that I was thankful for an opportunity to sit down. 

And then, it all came to a screeching halt.  Our boat had drifted off the honey hole and by the time we made our way back, lunchtime was over.  The Specs were ready for a siesta.

So, we headed back to shore.  Tired.  Happy.  And a little bit sunburned.

Back at the dock there was no sign of the pony, but the pelicans were upset with us for taking their parking spot. 
We brought in eleven good sized specs.  Nothing that rivaled a record, but honestly, these were the first ones I had ever caught!  (I tend to catch the hardheads and the dog fish on our boat!) 

It was a wonderful way to celebrate thirty-one years together.  We were able to experience something new together, laugh and make memories. 

And later that week, we had a fish fry!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Blessings And Curses Of Facebook

Saturday morning I sat in my chair "thumbing" through the April issue of Real Simple magazine on my iPad.  I had recently downloaded the app and was making sure that I could indeed access my subscription just as the print version said I would be able to do. 

I was reading "the Simple List" column when I came across this:

The average number of people linking any two strangers, according to scientists from Facebook and the University of Milan, who studied 721 million Facebook users.  That's quite a status update to the six-degrees-of-separation theory of psychologist Stanley Milgram.  In 1967 the professor asked a group of volunteers to send a document to a random Massachusetts resident via people they thought might know him.  Milgram found that the process required about six jumps for the document to reach its intended recipient.  The population may be expanding, but the world is getting smaller.

I shared this tidbit with Jim who was sitting next to me in his chair.

"That means an event that happens in California can be known in New York in a matter of minutes."  he said.

"Yeah," I agreed.  "And not just big events but any odd or random thing."

We briefly discussed the wonder of social media and then, as the commercial break was over, he went back to watching someone deep sea fishing off the coast of Florida while I perused the April issue of Real Simple on my iPad.

Sunday afternoon around 2:30, I "thumbed" through my Facebook page to see what everyone was up to on this first weekend of summer.  (At least, it was our first official weekend of summer as school had just been released on Wednesday.)

There among the recital pictures of a friend's granddaughter and the updates from Austin about the State Softball Championship (which Deer Park won), was a simple statement posted by an extended family member, "Headed to tha river!".  I remember smiling as I read that and thinking to myself, "I hope they have fun."  You see, I was sitting at home alone while Jim and the boys were off playing golf.

At around 8:10 Sunday evening I received a phone call from Kelli.  "Mom, what's going on in Arkansas?"  I didn't know...hadn't heard anything.  I had been busy watching Food Network and HGTV all afternoon, so I hadn't even checked my Facebook again.  She said that one of my cousins had asked for prayer for our Arkansas family.

After assuring Kelli that I would make some phone calls and get back with her, I checked my phone.  Sure enough there was a text message from my cousin in Michigan that had arrived about 15 minutes earlier asking me if I had heard the bad news.  I texted her first and then decided to just call, but couldn't reach her.  I checked Facebook myself and I knew.  I didn't know what...and I didn't know how...but I knew who.  "Headed to tha river!" had not turned out to be the fun day I had hoped for them.

I called my dad who lives two houses away from them.  He didn't know anything about it.  I called my cousin again, this time a few answers.  I called my dad back to share the news.  He made a few phone calls and when we spoke again we realized that this tragedy had just happened and the family had not all been notified yet. 

It was well past midnight before I was able to get any sleep Sunday night.  Piece meal reports of the health of family members were coming in via texts and private Facebook messages.  I was at once grateful for and appalled by the Facebook posts that I read.  Rumors spread quickly.  Names are given of the deceased and the injured when the families have not yet been notified.  And injuries are blown all out of proportion.  BUT, I was also able to know who was where and thus who could give me accurate information and who only had hearsay. 

I think the most shocking thing for me (besides the loss my family was suffering) was how interconnected my Facebook friends really are.  One of Jim's classmates commented on my second cousin's post and I had no idea they even knew each other.  Old friends from junior high school were commenting about the other people involved in the accident from which I was able to fit the bits and pieces together of what was going on with my own family over time.  The distance between me and Southeast Arkansas seemed HUGE and yet, through Facebook, my world seemed small indeed.

I really don't think that much about it all when I am reading the good news...the births, the graduations, viewing the holiday and vacation photos.  But when tragedy strikes, Facebook is both a blessing and a curse.  I was reminded of how we shared updates on the loss of our granddaughter through private Facebook messages to family.  It was a blessing to only have to type the information once and simply copy all.  At the same time, my heart hurt as I read the pleas of family members asking people not to comment with names and rumors while the family was still scrambling to understand the extent of loss and injury.

I guess my point to all of this is that I never want to be guilty of hurting anyone through my Facebook posts.  I tend to err on the side of caution and send private messages because I myself am a private person.  (So why do I have a blog then, right???)  I want to be a blessing...both on Facebook and this blog.  If I should ever inadvertantly (and I assure you, if it happens it will not be intentional), so if I should ever inadvertanly cause you harm by something said here or on not hesitiate to let me know.

Honestly, the degrees-of-separation are often much less than 6 or even let's be careful of what we share while remaining authentic in our love and concern for one another.

Much love,