Bible Verse

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense. Proverbs 2:3

Friday, January 31, 2014

What's the Deal With Facebook

I like Facebook.  You might say I’m a little hooked on it.  Okay, maybe a lot hooked on it. 

I know, I know..  There’s all kinds of bad things about Facebook.  But you’ll have to admit that there are some good things, too.
You can check in with real friends, new friends that you’ve never met and probably never will, family that you haven’t seen or heard from in years, folks you went to school with, folks you’ve worked with, the people from the bank you used to use, friends from church, elected officials who don’t know you from Adam, authors of books you read, your dentist, your doctor(s), restaurants, somebody else’s relatives, local TV personalities, news stations, favorite TV programs, and weather info.

And while you’re checking in, you can send messages of encouragement to those who need it.  You can refuse to share or even comment on stuff that does not glorify God.  In other words, you can act like a Christian.
There are pictures that you get to see of people you haven’t seen in years.  They sure do look my age.  I mean their age…

You can proudly post pictures of grandchildren and/or pets. 
Appeals for lost pets pop up a lot.  Always sad. 

Facebook is perfect for me in that I get to see what everybody else is doing.  The polite term is “checking in.”  The real term is “being nosy.”
And I am nosy.  I don’t particularly like the shared pages that have pictures with saccharin-sweet clich├ęs and warnings about my future if I don’t share a certain something on my timeline.

And why are the videos people insist upon sharing immediately starting to play before I even decide if I want to see them in action?
And then there’s the games -- Farm Heroes Saga, Candy Crush, Farmville, Criminal Case.  I’m always getting asked to join games or see an announcement that somebody needs something in their game.  I love games.  I’m just not going to play any that involve Facebook so I’m not bothering other people with those same announcements. 

And the “Sorting” drives me nuts.  Why do I have to reset the thing to “Most Recent” several times a week?  Facebook always chooses “Top Stories.”  I want to know how it decides that it’s a top story that I, on my page, want to see instead of the most recent things that are much more relevant to my life.
Whatever that’s called that runs on the side of the page – well, I hate it.  Those mini-status updates keep moving up and down but don’t really gather new material.  If you’re going to have it move, at least let it pick up something I haven’t seen before. 

And while I’m complaining, let’s mention the ads.  Where are they getting their info on which ads to put on my page?  One said “Scary Alzheimer’s Symptoms.”  Gee, thanks.  Others extol the value of retirement investments and hearing aids.
A friend (real friend) objected to which status reports Facebook was selecting for her to see since it doesn’t seem to be a reflection of her “close” friends.

Yeah, Facebook.  Explain that one!
Image courtesy of Master isolated images /

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Sharpest Crayon?

Something happened this past week that brought back memories of when I worked at the Marshall-Jackson Mental Health Center back in the ‘80’s.  I was a secretary doing secretary-type things:  answering the phone for the psychiatrist and therapists, keeping appointment books and typing up the information for the many mental evaluations and progress reports.

Part of the evaluation was to ask the person a series of simple questions to test their mental awareness, stuff that a person should automatically know.
The something that happened this past week was that my 92-year-old mother had a mental evaluation for the first time in her life.  It had to do with an insurance issue.

When Mom and Daddy moved to the assisted living facility where Mom still lives, all the attention was on Daddy because his level of care was much higher than Mom’s.  In fact, Mom helped my dad quite a bit in addition to what the staff did for him.  When he died at 100 years of age in 2011, his mind was still pretty sharp.
A nurse from the insurance company came to Mom’s apartment for the evaluation.  I was there in case I was needed.  (Needed for what, I don’t know.  I guess I have a need to be needed or I’m just plain nosy.)

Nurse Faye (since I can’t remember her name, we’ll just use this) was very kind, and I could tell that she had a heart for the elderly.  Which was good, since I was in the room, too.
Nurse Faye asked Mom some health questions and I helped a little with the dates.  Things were going smoothly.

Until she actually got to the mental stuff.  Just for fun, I decided to answer the questions in my head.
Nurse Faye asked Mom if she knew where she was, her address, the season of the year, where she last lived, etc.  Mom knew all of that, with the exception of the name of the street she lives on.  I know the feeling.  When I was setting up this appointment, I couldn’t remember my own address.  I’m sure the woman on the phone was wondering if the right person was going to be tested.

Nurse Faye then said, “I’m going to say three words, and I want you to say them back to me exactly as I say them.  *”Tree, chair, flower”  And Mom said them back to her perfectly.  I reversed two of them and was certain Mom was wrong until Nurse Faye said, “Good job.  You got them all right.”
Determined not to let a 92-year-old woman beat me, I started concentrating a little more.

Q:  Spell *earth. 
A:   We both got that right.

Q:   Now spell it backwards. 
A:   I was suddenly blank.  How did *earth end?  Mom said, “e-a-r-t-h.”

Q:  What were those three words I had you repeat a little while ago?
A:   I’m thinking, “Words?  What words?  I don’t remember any words.”  And then my mother said, *Tree, chair and flower.”  Oh, yeah, those words.

Q:   I’m going to give you a piece of paper with something written on it, and I want you to read what it says and then do it.
A:  Hey, no fair!  I’m across the room and can’t see it.  Mom closed her eyes.  Another correct one.

I’m feeling left out here.  I haven’t scored very well, so I’m hoping for some easy questions.  Nope.
Q:  Write any complete sentence on that paper.

A:  As Mom wrote, I thought of the sentence I would have written:  I really am sharper than my mother.  Honest.
Q:  Take this paper and pencil and draw this design.

A:  Hey!  I can’t see the design!  How am I supposed to redeem myself if you won’t show me what you’re doing?  Mom completed it and handed it to Nurse Faye.
Q:  Take this paper, fold it in half, and put it on the floor.

A:  All right, that’s it.  I’m reporting this to someone.
While I grumbled to myself, she asked a few more questions and then announced the end of the test.  I tried to be polite to this person who had just shattered any notion I had that I was doing pretty well in the mental health category.

Remind me to never witness another mental evaluation again.  In the meantime, I’m going to get a copy of that thing and memorize the answers. 
I just hope they don’t change the questions.

*In keeping with complete transparency, I really can’t remember these words, so I just made them up.  So sue me…

Mom and Gracie

Friday, January 10, 2014

What's the Deal With Compliments?

Here’s a good question:  Why is it so hard to accept compliments? 

From childhood, we are taught to be polite and say "thank you."  Unfortunately, we outgrow that in our teens, a terribly awkward interval that comes just before the "Hey look at me, I'm legal" phase that starts at age 21.
But a compliment is more than just praise; it's also approval.  We're all wanting approval. 

I think one of the reasons we find it so hard is because we truly don't believe the compliment itself.  We may know the person and know that the person is an honest sort who wouldn't just make something up, but we still, deep down, cannot believe that we merit any special recognition. 
Our insecurities are showing because we're convinced we need to be or do better.  We feel inadequate, uncertain.  We don't want to appear immodest, conceited or rude, but, really, is she kidding?  This blouse?  This incredibly old and outdated blouse?  The one that shows way too much arm flab (and, believe me, I've got plenty)?  Surely not!

I've tried all kinds of ways to be a little smoother about it.  (Disclaimer: I am not looking for compliments nor am I bragging about the ones I occasionally receive J). 
I have tried to just say "thanks," and stop there, but for some reason I also feel compelled to say something about where I got it.  "Thanks.  I picked this up at Wal-Mart.  Super cheap.  Actually, it's not my color, but that was all they had.  I really wish I had gone sooner.  I could have, but just couldn't get in gear.  I saw the ad, just didn't get there until most of them were gone…" 

This is when I realize, to my utter horror, that I am rambling and sounding like a fool, so I abruptly shut up while the poor person who started the whole thing slowly walks away with a small, forced smile, on her way to warn the whole room to steer clear of me unless they want to be tied down for the next 20 minutes.
I've also tried to turn the compliment around so that I am complimenting the compliment-er:  "You are so sweet to say that.  I picked this up at Wal-Mart.  Super cheap.  Actually, it's not my color, but that was all they had…"  Well, so much for progress.

It’s been my experience that insecure people don’t handle compliments very well.  Is that true also for accepting God's compliments?  If we are secure in God's love and protection, we should be able to accept his love and abundance as a natural part of life.  We ought to be very willing to do whatever he wants because if we trust him, it follows that we feel his will is the right way. 
The point is that people who are insecure in their relationship with God may have trouble handling His compliments, which are love and grace.

I'm wondering if we have trouble receiving God's compliments because we don't believe we should have them. 
Well, of course we shouldn’t have them.  Why would a pure and holy God want to have anything at all to do with us when we are so stained by sin?

I don’t know.  But what I do know and believe is this:
For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.     John 3:16 (VOICE)

The ultimate compliment.  Give thanks…