I Quit!

…quit giving up my time to wasteful activities, that is. I have made some worthy goals for myself this year, but my follow through has been derailed because of some time wasters I’ve identified and I’m done…done not reaching goals because I can sometimes be undisciplined in the use of the valuable minutes in the days gifted to me.

One huge time waster for me has been Facebook.  While it started out (years ago) as a way to keep in touch with many friends and contacts I’ve made throughout the years, it has turned into something for me to turn to when I have an idle moment.  Those idle moments can easily turn into idle half hours and whole hours and before I know it I have wasted who knows how many hours per week in an activity that really has no bearing on my life–it doesn’t help me get closer to reaching my goals, it doesn’t enhance my relationships, it only serves as a distraction from actually doing something productive for myself or for others.

I have found that although Facebook is supposed to be a way to connect with others, it has actually caused me (and I’m sure countless others) to not actually have to be involved in others’ lives. I can see what people are doing at any moment of the day and therefore it’s not really as necessary to pick up a phone to check up on someone, or schedule a lunch date to catch up, or any other number of things that would cause me to be more actively engaged in other people’s lives.  For an introvert  like me, that’s the way it is anyway.  It’s so easy to just “like” someone’s status or provide a comment, but I find that, for me, that’s not really connecting.  And, as an introvert, I’ve used Facebook as a cop out at times, when I actually need to make myself connect with people face to face, or voice to voice, or text to text.  For me, there’s just something much more personal about even a phone number to phone number text than a comment just posted among the many others. I need to disengage from Facebook in order to re-engage with the people who are important to me.

However, Facebook is also a way to stay informed. I follow many organizations that I want to keep up with and some areas I’m involved in use Facebook to advertise the latest happenings, so I don’t think I am going to go the route of deactivating my account…that would make it easier for me to stay off Facebook, but maybe it’s better that I work on my self-control.  The last several weeks it hasn’t been an issue for me anyway.  The desire to peruse my feed really isn’t there anymore.

I started the year with a goal to focus on joy in the every day by documenting daily moments of joy on social media, but I found myself not wanting to post every day, so I’ve decided to journal them (and maybe blog some) instead. The moments of joy are really for me to personally place my focus on, and hopefully I can share the highlights of what I’ve learned, rather than focusing on feeling like I’ve obligated myself to share daily posts.

my most recent #366momentsofjoy Instagram post

I do love me some Instagram though.  I find that I don’t get lost in an abyss there.  It’s simply scroll through and look at a few photos …it’s harder to overshare on Instagram and I find that most of the people I follow, and who follow me, are actually interested in my life, as I am in theirs. And I save my stupidity for my very few friends on Snapchat (mainly my fam), because sometimes I like to be silly, but not everyone appreciates my silliness, and my family basically has no choice but to put up with it.

So here’s to reading that book per week in 2016, working on my blog (the publicizing of which is another way that Facebook is actually helpful), and engaging more purposefully in important relationships.

 

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Dear Pennsylvania,

I am writing to beg for your forgiveness.  I am sorry for not appreciating what we had together for so many years.  I am sorry that I wanted to leave you because I thought there were more exciting places out there to live.  (Well, I actually left you because God called us elsewhere for a season, but I wanted to leave you before then).  Oh, there are exciting places out there…and they are beautiful, lovely, fun to spend time with.  But there is no place I’d rather LIVE than with you.  And to be honest, it’s not really about you.  It’s about the people within your borders–MY people.  It’s also about the lifetime of memories I have with(in) you.  It’s also because you are breathtakingly beautiful. Your luscious, rolling green hills in the springtime, your brilliantly hued trees of the fall, and yes, even to some extent, the magical white of your winter (although, I’d gladly take one glimpse of this per year than 5 months of it, but I’ll try my best not to complain).  Yes, your seasons.  I’ve missed your seasons the past 2 years that I’ve been away and I can’t wait to get back to experience them with you again.  I had taken you for granted for so many years because you are all I’d ever known.

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I took you for granted so much that I can’t find any good pics of you in my photo albums…

But you need to know that you share part of my heart with someplace else now.  Nicaragua.  Some small roots had begun to grow there thanks to the beautiful people I met and fell in love with and the unique experiences I had. The saying is so very true.  Home is most certainly where your heart is.  But your heart can be in more than one place.  On earth, mine is in two places, with you and with Nica.

So I’m coming back to you soon! I’m coming back to be with my people and to make new memories.  But I’m coming back different.  I’m coming back knowing more about who I am after experiencing life in a new way and spending much focused time with Jesus.  I have a lot more to learn and I don’t want to get comfortable again, but I believe that for me, I function best with the support of my people, my community.  God can use me however He chooses, of course, but He created me as I am and He knew exactly what I needed.  He knew He needed to take me out of my “home” to experience some of the world, so I could be changed and come back to my “home” to share those experiences and that growth with my community.  I’m excited to be with you again!  I am excited to be with my people again!  I’m excited to share the future of my family and of Metanoia with you!  I’M COMING HOME!

Much love,

Jen

Who and What and Why

Our family has been through some change and lots of adventure over the last several years. Our current role is that of missionary family.  But we aren’t the “typical” missionary family you think of raising support, living in a third world country, preaching to the “natives.” Oh, we’ve done some of that.  We raised support to move to Nicaragua to work with Metanoia Missions International. We lived there for a year (June ’13-June ’14), and during that year we realized that our God-given gifts and skills were better utilized by the organization in the States where we can focus on the administrative and fund-raising aspects of our various ministries.  So we moved to Texas for a year, but that proved not to be the place where God wanted us long-term.  So, now we’re back home in PA again, picking up where we left off, with more life-experience and adventure under our collective belt.

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One of our favorite spots in Nicaragua

Our family is uniquely designed.  I have been married to Dave for 14 years and am stepmom to two children who are now adults…woah!  I am mom to two more children, Luke and Sydney. I’m also a mom-in-law and soon-to-be Mimi! Life is crazy…crazy good!

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Our growing family!

I have grown in ways that I never even knew I needed to grow in through the experiences of these past few years.  Many moments have been rough, challenging, and tantrum-inducing on occasion (me being the one throwing them). But I have learned so much about myself and some things about others and a lot about God and His love, mercy, and grace.  I want to share what I have learned to anyone who wants to listen, and if no one wants to listen, I at least want to record it so I can remember it with more clarity.  So here’s to my thoughts on life, for what they’re worth!