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Social Media detox and other stuff

Katy posted on her blog that she is going to try the social media detox for April. I guess you follow the calendar she has which details when you should or should not consume social media. I wish her lots of luck on that.

As I think about it I believe that I consume social media in an effort to fill in my free time spaces. In other words, instead of doing something constructive with my brain I scroll mindlessly through my Facebook newsfeed or MeWe or whatever other portal I might have an account on. I have always said that social media is like mind candy. There is a psychological appeal for people to spend more and more time on social media which causes an unhealthy addiction.

Just this Saturday I was at a meeting at church for one of our ministry teams. Before the meeting began there were more people staring at their cell phones than not. I assumed that most of them were consuming social media posts. I made a mention of it and everyone just laughed and kept staring at their phones. While this has become a cultural norm in America I feel as if it is rude when you are in a group setting. The whole point of coming together in a group setting is to exchange information and ideas with one another in a personal way.

I am just as guilty of this as the next person. I am trying to become more self aware and put the cell phone down and ignore it while I am out in public with others. Katy and I will go out to eat and both of us wind up staring at our cell phones. One of us will be on Facebook or one of us will be reading a book on our kindle reader. Sometimes we put down our devices and talk and then sometimes we give each other permission to do it.

I remember a time when there were no social media portals. If you wanted to talk to someone you had to pick up the phone and call them or write them a letter. One of my pastors from a church we used to attend told me that some people are wired for more fellowship than others. I am talking about one on one interaction with others via the spoken word. There is no substitution for that type of communication. It is more personal and intimate than typing out a message and posting it on social media.

Typically at church there is 10 or 15 minutes before the service where people can walk around and talk with one another. During the week you do not see your church family and before social media took over if you wanted to chat with a church member you would either find time to go visit them or pick up the phone. Now we just post our life events on social media and connect with people digitally.

There are times when I will go to church or another social setting and I will ask someone if they heard about something that had happened that week. Most people are like sure, I saw you posted about that on Facebook. Some people will say, I am not on Facebook that much so I guess I missed that. Tell me what happened. When that happens you understand how different it is for people to not be digitally connected. Not being so digitally connected might mean that the quality of life for the person who is disconnected may have increased for them.

I understand the convenience of using social media to connect with family and friends who are far removed due to being in another state or country. It does make it more convenient to stay in touch. I believe that when we go the extra mile and write an email or letter or pick up the phone that it increases the quality of the relationship. It helps us to separate ourselves from the digital noise and helps us to focus on relationships that are more important to us.

When it comes to social media I think that we get trapped into believing what we read is factual and real. If it is posted on the Internet it has to be real, right? More often than not, if you do some fact checking you will find that what you are reading might not be real but instead fake news.

No matter where you are on on the political spectrum everyone spins their stories to fit their agenda. Sometimes the stories have no basis in reality. It is just the figment of that persons imagination. It is fake news and it is deisgned to polarize us against one another. Just more digital noise to get people stirred up and angry. I have found that if you remove yourself from that digital noise and fake news you find out that people do not hate one another as much as the Internet pundits would make you think we do.

Also, lets not forget the clever memes that we love to share on Facebook. The memes do the thinking for us and have cleverly crafted words that are there to project a thought or ideology. It is so easy to. jump on the emotional rollercoaster and share them with all of our friends. I am just as guilty as the next person for doing this.

Instead of filling up our digital corridors with memes and messages designed to stir the pot maybe we should be more objective about the social issues we are talking about and come up with some real solutions. I would like to see people stop taking the me vs them attitude and come together to identify the problem and see how can work together to find a compromise or solution.

 

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Seasons

I was reminded this weekend of how important time is.  We mark time by different seasons in our life.  Most of the time when we think of seasons we think of the four seasons of the calendar year.  Those seasons are Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.  Each one of those seasons brings with it something unique that reminds us of that time of year, and why we either love it or dislike it.  For instance, I am not too fond of Summer because it is just so miserably hot.  Once the temperatures start creeping beyond 90 F I find myself staying inside more and outside less.  The only time I do not mind sweating is when I am at the gym.  The rest of the time I do not care to.

We only have so much time here on this earth.  I believe that our allotment of time is given to us by our creator God and that it is our responsibility to use it as we will.  We can either use it productively or we can waste it away with frivolous activities.  As I said earlier, I was reminded of this because one of our members of our men’s life group is in the ICU at one of our local hospitals.  His precious wife woke up early Sunday morning to find her spouse not responding.  Thankfully through CPR and modern medicine they were able to bring him back and is now in ICU fighting for his life.  Why is it that it takes things like this to remind us of how precious life is?  Maybe we just assume that we will have another tomorrow when the reality of it is that we may not.

Seasons brings change.  Some of those changes are good, some are bad.  Some changes bring life and some brings death.  Some of those changes we have no control over like the seasons I described above.  Some things in our lives we do have control over such as how will I spend this 24 hours.  In a 24 hour period I get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep.  That leaves me 16 hours for the rest of the day and 8 of those I spend at work.  That leaves me 8 hours to do with as I will.

Just this week one of my blogging friends described how she intentionally went through a digital detox.  She intentionally stayed away from social media because she realizes how much time she wastes with it.  How many of us can admit to the same thing?  How many hours have  I wasted on Facebook mindlessly scanning my time line to read this and that.  How much of the information I get from my Facebook timeline is a total waste of time?  Probably more than I would like to admit.

One of the things I have decided to do is to go through my Facebook friends list and take a hard look at who I am communicating with and why.  How many of my FB Friends actually communicate with me in a meaningful way?  Out of 462 supposed friends I have about 25 or 30 people that I either know in real life or have been communicating with online for quite some time.  All of those people are now in my Close Friends list and those are the people that I will be communicating with when I post to Facebook.  The rest of the people I moved to the acquaintance list and I unchecked the “follow on time line” so I do not see their posts.  I still have some folks that are not in the close friends list that I will chose to post to my time line because they have something interesting to say.  For the most part I have cut out all the endless drivel about politics and religion.  Some folks are just super obsessed with their view points and I have consumed way too much of it.  I have found that the overload of information about several topics has just affected me in a negative way.  It is time to cut back I believe.

Now that I am going to do less mindless following of my FB timeline I will have time to read books, write in our blog and reconnect with family and friends.  When I say reconnect I mean to reconnect the old fashioned way.  I am going to learn how to pick up the phone and call people.  I might even write a letter or two and drop them in the mail box.  How absolutely wonderful could that be? Would you like to have a pen pal?  If so, hit me up and we can do that.

I also plan on spending more time finding my Happy Places.  I spend some time down the street from our house at a place where I can pull off the road and see the Stono river.  It is relaxing to unplug from social media and enjoy nature.  It is nice to listen to the water lap against the rocks and watch the birds.  The locals like to come out to fish and catch crabs.  Sometimes I like to shut my eyes and just listen and catch a nap.  A small season to relax and enjoy some me time.  A slice of time and a place to reflect on what matters the most.

Do you struggle with things in your life that are a huge waste of time?  How do you deal with it?  I would love to hear from you dear reader.

 

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Roll call of most influential people in my life

I follow Angie Mizzell’s blog and her question today was this.

Who is the one person who had an important influence in your life?

I have been thinking about this on and off during the day and I now have time to respond to the question. I was surprised when I found myself going down memory lane today as I thought of all the people who have had a positive influence in my life. I feel as if they are all equally important so I want to take the time to have an informal roll call.   

James & Hedy Moffitt adopted my sister and I from an orphanage in Germany when we were 1 and 2 years of age. If it were not for their influence in our lives we would not have been able to experience what it is to be an American citizen. Thanks to army doctors I have been able to walk and my sister had her eyesight restored. Had it not been for their generous love and rescuing us from that orphanage, we would have certainly had it much harder as young kids and probably as adults.

Coach Trussell – This was my favorite high school football coach, mentor and friend. Coach lived two streets over from where we lived in Quinlan Texas and I often caught a ride to school with him and his wife when it was raining outside. When the weather was nice I would walk the 2 or 3 miles to school on the other side of town. Coach Trussell was instrumental in helping me to build my self confidence and self esteem. I never was able to play football due to my club foot, but he allowed me to work out with the rest of the team in the weight room. I will never forget how proud he was of me ,and how he would brag on me to the rest of the team. He would tell them that I was once a 90 lb weakling but if I could accomplish the goals with strength training ,then anyone could do it. I will never forget how that made me feel.

Mrs Dean- This was my high school typing teacher. My mother forced me to take 4 years of typing in High School. Little did I know that I would be flying a keyboard for a living many years later. Mrs Dean was influential in my life because every time I would say something negative about myself she would correct me and say something uplifting and positive. She taught me to find self worth and to hold my head high and to find the bright positive things in life. She was an important encourager in my life.

Ida Colombrito’s father- I had several christian friends in high school. Donald and Ida were both friends and they were dating one another. Ida’s father was a volunteer fire dept chaplain. Ida’s father became my friend and was the one who told me about Jesus Christ and his love for me. I will never forget the day in the woods at the age of 17 when I bowed my head and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to come into my life. Apparently Ida’s dad did that with a lot of folks over the years. I will be forever thankful to him for taking the time to encourage a young man who was lost.

Aunts and uncles – I had several aunts and uncles in my life who were very good to my sister and I in our childhood. Needless to say our childhood was a bit troubled and we needed that influence in our lives.   

Tom Glisson – Tom is the pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Goose Creek. Our family are still members there even though we attend a church closer to home. Tom Glisson will always be my pastor because I know that he has a genuine heart for God and for people. Pastor Tom and the church family walked with us as we watched our daughter Jessica battle with cancer in 2000 – 2001. They provided a much needed support system and loved our Jessica no matter what. I am eternally grateful for my relationship with our extended church family in Goose Creek.

Katy Moffitt – the love of my life and best friend. Katy is the most selfless person I know. Katy met me at a singles MASH party at First Baptist church. I had recently gone through an ugly divorce and I had my son Jeremy for the weekend. Katy first took a liking to Jeremy and then later on she took a liking to me despite my rough edges. Despite my best efforts to just be friends, she stole my heart and we got married in May of 1990. As a married couple we have had more than our fair share of trials and tribulations. I would dare say that most marriages would have been destroyed. I believe that our faith in God and our love for one another are the two things that was the glue that held our marriage together. Katy is a giver and a lover. Katy is the true reflection of a virtuous woman. I cannot imagine life without her.

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Losing people

As I have done many times in the past I headed over to Newton Farms at Freshfields Village for lunch. I like to order either a wrap or a sandwich from their sandwich bar in their deli. On many occasions a lady named Melinda would serve me. Melinda was very professional and good at her job. On several occasions I was able to strike up a conversation with her as she was making my lunch. I have been visiting with Melinda for almost 5 years now. Every time I visited with Melinda I enjoyed the short time I had to speak with her. On several occasions Melinda shared her faith in God with me since we have that in common.

When I walked into Newton Farm today I noticed that Melinda was not working as she usually does. As a matter of fact it occurred to me that I had not seen her in the last two or three times I had gone to the sandwich bar. I asked the young lady who was fixing my sandwich where my friend was and I was stunned by her response. The lady told me that Melinda died on February 16th and had been shot and killed by her boyfriend on Johns Island. I guess I just assumed that Melinda would always be working at the sandwich bar and that she would be there when I would come in to order my lunch. It never occurred to me that her life would be prematurely snuffed out by a random act of violence.

My thoughts go out to Melinda’s two teenaged daughters who are now living life without their mother. The news story about this horrible tragedy stated that Melinda was a mother who loved her girls and would enjoy taking them to downtown Charleston to go shopping. I am hopeful that Melinda shared her faith in God with her girls and that they have a support system at church that can help them work through the grief. I will forever miss Melinda and the time that we shared talking over the counter at the sandwich bar. I know that her co workers will miss her a lot as well.

Life is precious and so are people. All people are precious no matter how different they might appear on the outside. I am thankful for the limited time that I was allowed to spend with Melinda. Having learned of this tragedy has reminded me of how important relationships are both in my family but outside of my immediate family as well.

R.I.P. Melinda you are loved.

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Letting go

The hardest part of parenting is letting go. Katy and I are entering into a new stage of life as empty nesters. In so many ways I have looked forward to this stage of life. I especially looked forward to this during the difficult times, when our young people were fighting so hard to be their own individual person, and testing boundaries at every turn. All in all, Katy and I have been very fortunate to have very good children. I believe that all children test boundaries and do what they can to be different.  

Our youngest daughter Kristina has been on her own now for 6 weeks. When Kristina moved out we realized how much noise that she had contributed to the household. It was not just Kristina but also all of her friends that would come over to visit. When she moved out all of that went with her. I especially do not miss being awakened at 3 am when she would come back from concerts.  

For the most part Katy and I are homebodies. We go to work, go to church and have an occasional date night. I think that one of the things that attracted our children’s friends is that there is no drama here. Katy and I cherish peace and quiet and we have a zero tolerance for things that would disturb that.

Now that we are entering into the empty nester stage of life we realize how much time and energy has been invested in our young adults. Our son Justin will be 18 very soon and he has been spending a lot of time on the weekends with his girlfriend and her family. He is savoring the moment that he can save up enough money to get a moped and move out on his own as well.

Katy and Kristina were doing their thing yesterday running errands so I came home and asked Justin if he was hungry. Asking a teenaged boy if he is hungry is really sort of rhetorical.   Teenagers are always hungry. I can always get Justin to hang out with me if food is involved.

After we ate lunch at Subway’s I asked Justin if he felt brave enough to do some driving. He looked at me and told me that you do not have to be brave to drive. In that instance I realized that I was the one that needed to be brave. I have to let go of the control of the vehicle and let him behind the wheel. It is all part of that letting go that I am not so good at. The trip to the DMV on Leeds Avenue was uneventful, and Justin spent some time practicing his three point turns and parallel parking. Once he was done with that he drove us over to Money Man Pawn on Savannah highway. Justin is really big into musical instruments and amplifiers. He is my rock star musician in the making.

I realize that for the most part our job as teachers and mentors will take on a different meaning in the life of our young adults. Hopefully by now we have instilled our beliefs and the difference between right and wrong. We have attempted to teach them good life skills and how to make good decisions. We have taught them to think about what they are about to do and what the consequences are going to be before they do it.

I also realize that our children will always be our children no matter how old they become. I know that they will make choices and decisions that I may not agree with. Despite that we will always love them and be here for them. I can only hope that they will know they are loved and will feel comfortable enough to come to us for advice or just have someone to listen to them. I did not have that in my parents and I have sorely missed it over the years.  

Katy and I will also have to make some adjustments now that we have more time to focus on one another. We find ourselves looking at one another and saying “now what?” Now we move on to the next stage of life and learn how to enjoy life together as a couple. I am looking forward to what the future holds and see how our young adults make lives of their own.

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I quit!!

We have all come to that place where we have to decide to continue fighting or give up.  How many times have we said “I Quit!”.  We are 3/4 of the way through January 2012, but the new year is not too far gone, to make new beginnings.  The year 2011 is gone for good and in the history books. 

As we look back at 2011, and examine our failures, we will find ourselves at a cross roads.  Maybe we failed at a task, or did not realize a dream or vision, because we failed to quit doing something that hindered us in meeting our goals.  Most of the time we view dreams or goals, as a set of tasks, that we must achieve in order to have success.  As we examine those tasks, and the time line that we set up for each of them, maybe we need to ask ourselves a simple question.   What did I do that might have ambushed my success?  

In 2012 the beginning series of messages at Coastal Community Church is the “I Quit” series.  At first it sounds sort of defeatist.  The hand holding up the white flag proclaiming defeat.  As I have sat through the last couple of Sunday sermons, I am being reminded of how powerful change can be.  The first message proclaimed “I quit making excuses!”  If you have read the last couple of blog posts you will remember my proclamation about weight loss.  No more excuses!!  I quit making excuses about not losing weight.  What dream or vision do you have that you are making excuses for?

I once heard a pastor say something that is so true.  If what I tell you on Sunday, can not be put to use in practical ways on Monday, then I am not doing my job.  Once the message is delivered, and we receive it,we have a decision to make.  What am I going to do with the message?  Do I continue to rationalize failure or do I stop making excuses?  Do I decide to step out in faith, and do what I can do, and then let God do what he will do in order for us to be successful. 

The second message is “I quit complaining”.  Do we like to complain about this or that?  Instead of complaining, should we take ownership of what the problem is, and find a solution?  Would that be better than whining?  Let me put this in real terms that you can relate to.  I live in a family of four people.  Two adults and two teenagers who are learning how to become adults.  We delegate to them tasks that they are expected to accomplish.  We want them to understand the value of work and the responsibilities of living in a family that is self sufficient.  In other words, the laundry does not get done by the laundry fairy and the dishes do not get cleaned by the dishes fairy.  No, it is not appropriate to put the dirty dishes on the floor and let the dogs lick them clean. 

On more than one occasion delegated tasks are either half way done and not finished, or just not done at all.  It seems as if the little things in life, the small annoyances tend to set me off the worst.  When I see the clean laundry piled up on the chair in the sun room and not put away it causes me to complain and whine about it.  I do not understand the logic of washing the clothes, drying them and then throwing them into a pile on a chair so they will wrinkle.  I must learn to stop complaining about the little things, and just take matters into my own hands.  When I see the task that is not finished, I need to either finish the task myself, or lovingly redirect my teenagers attention away from TV or the Internet. and get them to complete the task correctly.  At that point I can deal with their complaining and whining about having to do it. 

Making excuses and complaining about something is not going to solve the problem or help us to achieve our goals.  Taking ownership of our problems and having a positive prayerful mindset will take us so much further.  This is my problem, I acknowledge it and I want to figure out a way to fix it.  Sometimes fixing a problem requires going to someone and apologizing for being a jerk or not holding up our end of an agreement.  Sometimes fixing a problem requires making amends in a relationship.  Sometimes fixing a problem requires us to change our mind and heart attitude about a situation or person.   

In 2012 I want to learn how to stop making excuses and to stop complaining.   

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Moving on in 2012

I am happy that 2011 is behind us, and the holiday season is over.  Our family is on the mend and we are all feeling much better.  I am back to work, Justin is back to school, and spring semester for college starts up on January 9th for me.  I am not looking forward to school starting up again, but I am getting closer to my goal with regards to getting my associates degree.  I have three more semesters or 27 credits or 9 classes to complete for my degree program. 

There is a lot of talk on TV and social media about New Years resolutions.  It is a known fact that most folks who make New Years resolutions have a very difficult time keeping those resolutions during the new year.  One New Years resolution is to lose those extra pounds that we packed on as we gorged ourselves during the holidays.  Gym memberships go up and folks make an effort to work out.  I am ahead of the curve on this one folks.  I did not gorge myself during the holidays and I was sick and lost weight.  That was one positive thing about being sick.  My short term goal is to lose 1 lb per week and I am hopeful that I can meet or exceed that goal. 

In 2012 I plan on continuing my healthy living goals which are very simple.  I plan on eating meal choices that are healthier for me.  I also want to work on burning more calories than I consume.  That means that I need to continue down the path of going to Planet Fitness on a regular basis.  I would like to see myself going to Planet Fitness every day and getting a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.  Aerobic exercise is where I will begin to burn fat cells at an increased rate. 

In 2012 I plan on being less critical of myself.  I plan on living one day at a time and do the best I can with what I have.  I am my own worse critic, and boy do I love to judge myself, and remember those stupid mistakes from the past.  There is nothing I can do about the past, other than to learn from those mistakes and move on. 

In 2012 I plan on reducing my consumption of social media.  If I were honest with myself, I would have to say that I am a technology junkie (addict).  Technology to me is like mind candy, and I can not get enough of it.  I love social media, and having the ability to make personal connections with different people, via the many social media apps online.  I have an account with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google Plus, LinkedIN and many more.  My goal is to reduce how much time I spend on the different social media portals.  As I have been consumed with social media, I have gotten caught up in mindlessly wandering through multiple social media streams of endless content. 

In 2012 I want to help others, become more aware for their need for personal and family defense preparedness.  I have begun to work on a series of articles that take a no nonsense approach, to what personal and family defense preparation is and is not.  I want to find a balance between preparing for the end of the world as we know it, and the belief that crime happens to other people.  My goal is to help people to be better prepared to keep themselves and their families safe in the world we live in through common sense solutions. 

In 2012 I want to be a better husband to my wife of 21 years and father to my children.  I want to be more thoughtful, compassionate and loving.  I want to be a better Christ follower and someone that gives of myself back to the community.  I want to be a better friend that brings value to the lives of others.  I want to continue to be an encourager to those that need encouragement.   I want to be a man of integrity, courage and compassion. 

Dear readers, what are your goals for 2012?  Do you share some of my goals or are they very different than mine?  How can we help one another to be who we want to be?  I look forward to your comments. 

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Green ham and eggs

My 19 year old daughter came home tonight. I have learned to expect the unexpected from her. I guess she is a chip off the proverbial block. She is like her dad, predictably unpredictable. I saw her friends car drive up and even though I was not expecting her, I was glad she came home. When I jumped up and opened the door my daughter was there and she looked like a picture of the hippie girl from the Forrest Gump movie. I think that our princess missed the 60’s. Oh yeah, I almost forgot the unpredictable thing. My princess now has green hair. She announced that it will wash out in about a week. She also told us that she was shooting for the color aqua blue and not green. Like I said, she is home safe and sound and for that I am very happy. I really don’t care what color her hair is.

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A beautiful day

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If you are like me you have had some days that were just horrible.  The kind of day that made you want to crawl into bed into a fetal position and just die.  I am happy to say that the good days like I am having today seems to make those days pale in comparison.  I am having an awesome day today and I thought that I would share some of the sunshine with the rest of you.  No, they did not increase my medications and the only meds I am on is blood pressure medicine so that is not the reason.

I am having such a beautiful day because I am somehow in touch with the many things I have in my life that is such a blessing.  I was just thinking a moment ago about how nice it is to have a job on a resort island.  How many people get to drive to a resort island every single day of the week?  How many people can go for a walk down to the beach during lunch and experience the crashing waves coming on shore?  How many people can step out of their office and see deer, raccoons and hear the waves crashing on shore behind their office?

It is hard to believe that 2010 will be in the history books in 2 more days.   This year has been somewhat difficult for us financially thanks to the downturn of the economy and me being the only one working.  The positive part of the economy and our budget is that we have been forced to redefine what our wants are and our needs and budget accordingly and live with less.  In our society and especially in the western world it can be very difficult to live frugally when you are tempted at every nook and corner to buy this or that new gizmo.  The marketing ads are very successful in driving people to separate from their hard earned cash.

This is a beautiful day not because I have lots of cool stuff from Santa Claus or lots of money.  This is a beautiful day because there is a lot of beautiful sunshine outside and because some of that sunshine has leaked into my heart.  This is a beautiful day because I have an awesome family who loves me and who I try to love back every single day.  It is a beautiful day because of my church family both online and offline and all of my friends as well.   This is a beautiful day because I am alive and my family is relatively healthy and we have a place to live and food to eat and clothes to wear.  I have to remind myself that no matter how bad we may think we have it there are folks right here in our own city who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.  There are folks in our city all around us that are fighting with depression or are in prison or the hospital.

This is a beautiful day because I survived one more year of living and might even get to live another year in 2011.  I will have an opportunity to look back at 2010 and learn from my mistakes and set achievable goals for 2011 and work towards them.  My goals for 2011 are very simple.   I want to continue to go to the gym three to four times per week and get myself into shape and lose weight.   I started my healthy living routine in earnest back in June of 2010 and I have seen some very good results.  I want to use that as a spring board in 2011 to continue seeing results.   There is no better present to oneself or ones family than healthy living.  When I say healthy living I mean good eating habits, regular exercise and balanced living.  I could probably write a book just on that last sentence and maybe in 2011 I will try to break all of that down and blog about it more.

Tonight I will bask in the joy of this being a beautiful day because I will be meeting up with some of my social media peeps in North Charleston as we help the HugTrain get started out of Charleston.  According to the website “The HugTrain is a rail trip organized by Arie Moyal, taking him around the USA spreading holiday cheer and raising funds & awareness about mental health one hug at a time.”

I was not aware of this until Andra Watkins wrote about this on her blog and my wife and I have decided we want to support this cause in our own small way.  I am hoping that each of us can donate whatever we are able to donate and get this HugTrain started across the country with a bang.   I understand that with this economy that most of us can not give much.  The important thing is that we give something if only our support this evening by giving and receiving hugs in North Charleston at  the Madra Rua Irish Pub in North Charleston starting at 7 pm.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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When will I learn ?

I am constantly reminded that I am much more interested in being a friend to people who obviously are not my friends but just casual acquaintances. Just recently people whom I thought were my friends got married and they never invited me or my wife to come. I thought that we were friends of the family and I have gone out of my way to be a friend by showing concern and investing emotional energy to do so.

My desire to be a friend out weighed common sense. I was talking to someone the other night via IM and discussed the details of what has been going on and they told me that they did not believe that the folks that I thought were friends really were not. I guess I was living in denial but now that I realize that these folks are really not friends I must move on. I can count my true friends on one hand. They are friends because they accept me for who I am. They take the bad with the good and they do not try to change me into their perception of who I should be. They encourage me when I am down and admonish me when I need to be admonished. My real friends challenge me to take the next step and to do better despite my history of failure. I have this crazy desire to make deep connections with people and be a friend. I am the eternal optimist and think that everyone else wants to make those types of connections when in fact most folks only want to make a superficial connection. Making superficial casual connections does not require any emotional or intellectual investment on their part. I am trying to wrap my head around this fact and move on with life and leave those wishy washy so called friends in my wake. That is not easy for me to do but I must stop wasting emotional energy into relationships that really do not exist anyway.

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