Embracing Social Media for the Right Reasons

I came to social media kicking and screaming.  Already bouncing too many ping pong balls under my paddle, I feared adding another.  One more activity threatened to destroy all sense of order in my complicated life. The time commitment alone made me wince.

I attended a conference where a social media instructor said, “Pick three and stick with them. If you try to follow them all, you’ll go crazy.” Thinking about adding one, I was already there.

Following her advice, I joined the fray—Facebook my first attempt. Connecting with colleagues followed simply enough, family and friends next.

 When I added Twitter, I remember my confusion about how it worked. I asked my husband if anyone he knew at work understood the process. He looked at me askance and said, “You think I’m going to ask that crew of men if any of them twitter?”

Guess not.

My third connection was Linked In. And while I kept adding professionals to my network, I had no idea how the system worked. But I did it.

Not long after, something wonderful began to happen. I started receiving “friend” requests from high school acquaintances. My chemistry lab partner asked first. Amazed that she would want to connect after suffering through test tubes and Bunsen burners with me so many years ago, I was thrilled. We shared common threads—same faith-based life, political party, and world concerns.

I friended the braniacs soon thereafter—two fellows with whom I had vied for the top scholar in our class all through high school. At graduation the three of us shared the spotlight together—one valedictorian and two salutatorians— the guys reminding me that I was .01 per cent lower in grade point average than them. One became a doctor in psychology and the other a scientist. Who knew?

Other requests followed those initial three and I found myself  searching for people I’d forgotten.

 In Ecclesiastes 4:9 we are told, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.”

Someone once wrote, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” So Christy, Ruth, Chuck, and everyone else, be advised. I’m on the hunt.

Listening To Others–A Lost Art

When my physician retired, I faced the arduous task of replacing him. I asked friends for recommendations, surfed the internet for reviews, and plotted locations for the commute. At last I chose a doctor based on a friend’s referral, disregarding the fact that this provider worked for a large, collective of physicians with outlets as numerous as coffee kiosks.

The moment I entered I knew I’d made a mistake.  Not interested in hearing my health history, the doctor recited every test and immunization known to man. As though she had a quota to meet, she emphasized my need to participate in each suggestion. When I offered input, she rejected the query with sarcasm. I left feeling like a cadaver that had been probed for signs of life.

 The bill she submitted to my insurance company made me gasp. A charge for every procedure she’d named was listed—to the tune of nearly five hundred dollars. Divide that sum by fifteen minutes and. . .well, you get the picture.

Beginning again, I studied my original list and found another doctor I’d overlooked in my earlier search. She’d substituted for my retiring physician whenever he took vacations. Though I’d never been seen by her, I trusted my former doctor’s wisdom and decided to take a chance.

As night is different from day, this doctor cared about my concerns from the onset. She listened to me, offered advice, and commended me for the actions I’d taken to guard my own health. Ever the professional, she treated me like a human being, a friend with whom she journeyed this planet. All because she took the time to listen.

God’s word tells us He wants us to listen. In Isaiah 55:2b-3 (NKJV) we read: “Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good. And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to me. Hear, and your soul shall live. And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—”

Who needs you to listen today?  Giving your attention to someone who’s anxious to be heard is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow. Who knows? God might wait for an opening to speak.




Happy Birthday, Mom–You’re Missed


Today would have been my mother’s ninety-first birthday. She suffered from a number of ailments at the end of her life—no one worse than another—until the collection of maladies claimed her in 2000. 

The daughter of a carpenter, Mom grew up like a tomboy working beside her father, becoming as skilled at swinging a hammer as transcribing dictation, an occupation girls learned in the 30’s. She could nail two-by-fours with the best of them, yet was able to pause long enough to repair a ripped hem or make a pan of spaghetti for five. My earliest memory is one of her on a ladder at my grandparents’ home, painting the siding while I fell into the fishpond, a sputtering five-year-old who thought I’d drown in two feet of water. 

A timid person, Mom met my dad on a blind date—he was a twenty-one-year-old man of the world, she was a recent high school grad. When World War II loomed and my father was drafted, he asked if she’d marry him. They wed November 8,1941, three weeks before Pearl Harbor.

Using her secretarial skills to find employment, Mom followed Dad from assignment to assignment, traveling the East Coast working for the Army as office clerical staff. When Dad’s infantry unit shipped overseas to Europe, Mom came home, commendations from her superior officer in her hand.

Together they reared three children to their teens before Dad left her a widow at age forty-six. Dusting off the rust from her clerical training, she surged forward, typing invoices for a local lumber mill.  She poured herself into her children, finishing the job she and Dad began by making certain my younger siblings and I arrived on the threshold of adulthood intact.

Though she had opportunity she never remarried, a testimony to her love for my father, devotion she carried to her grave. Setting an example for us to follow, she taught us to work hard, respect others, and love unreservedly.  Thanks, Mom. You are missed.

Proverbs 31:10 “For who can find a virtuous woman? Her price is far above rubies.”

Saving Hope–A Must-Read for Mothers of Teen Girls

Human trafficking and the sale of girls into sexual slavery often make the headlines, but little information beyond the brazen captions makes its way into the conversations around the family dinner table.

 In Saving Hope, author Margaret Daly explores the dark world that exists for many unwilling victims.  And though the content is frightening, every mother of a girl between the ages of twelve and seventeen should read the book and discuss it with her daughter. Soon.

Kate Winslow, reared in a wealthy Texas family, has decided to make a difference in the lives of girls caught up in prostitution. She opens Beacon of  Hope, a refuge center to help underage teens who make their living on the streets find new lives. When one of her charges turns up missing—a girl beaten senseless and left for dead—Kate doesn’t believe the young woman’s disappearance was voluntary. Kate determines to find her.

 Enter Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan, a single father of a teen daughter, who has been assigned to the child welfare investigative unit and involves himself in the case. What neither Wyatt nor Kate know is that they are entering the world of a human trafficking kingpin who will stop at nothing to protect his territory.

Daly clearly describes the tactics used by traffickers to lure the girls into their lair. Often wandering the malls, recruiters prey on teen girls at a time in their lives when their self-esteem is shaky, their view about themselves is still forming, and their need for independence often creates rifts in their family structure.  If you are a mother of a teen girl, you will find yourself on the edge of your seat.

Published by Abingdon Press and available wherever good books are sold.