Tag Archives: love

A Year Without Facebook 

​It’s embarrassing to admit, but I used to be addicted to social media. My drug of choice? Facebook. 
I realized a long time ago it was a problem, but I couldn’t control my time on there unless I deactivated my account. It was always short lived, though. I gave it up for Lent one year and felt wonderful, but quickly fell back into my old habits.

When my husband died in 2010 Facebook became my pseudo-therapist. I poured out my emotions for everyone to see. I needed to purge the pain raging inside of me. Sometimes I’d post 7 times in one day. I was essentially publishing my diary and all the dirt that my grief journey was collecting.

The attention fueled me to continue, and I cared very little that it wasn’t all positive. Some people walked away because they couldn’t stand to see the mess I had made of my life, others couldn’t help but watch the train wreck that unfolded before their eyes. They could pop their bag of popcorn, and watch the chaos that consumed my existence from the comfort of their homes. Still, there were many who offered me unconditional love and support, and stood by my side through it all. Those are the people I am most thankful for, though I cannot fault any who walked away.

Facebook evolved into my place to vent about the ridiculousness of the world at large and especially our own politics.

I decided that my New Year’s Resolution for 2016 would be a year without social media (i.e. mainly Facebook). I wondered when I took on the challenge if I’d make it, and if so what my life would look like a year later.

I’m delighted to say that it was the wisest and healthiest decision I could have possibly made for myself and my children.

2016 was one of the best years of my life. I was present in my life and with my children. They didn’t complain that I was “always on my phone” because I wasn’t. I focused on what’s truly important – my children, my life, that which is in front of me in reality, not everyone else’s lives, not what’s going on 3,000 miles away, and definitely not the political spectacle that seemed to define the year for so many.

My head wasn’t in the sandbox, though I tried to keep it there as much as possible. I knee what was going on, but not being connected and consumed by the social media frenzy gave me the objective perspective I would have never gotten otherwise.

From what I can tell, 2016 was marked with anger, hatred, and division that seems reminiscent days long past in our nation politically, racially, and genderally (yes, I know it’s not a real word).

I would have been swept up by the fury had I not unplugged for the year, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed my life nearly as much. More importantly, my children wouldn’t have enjoyed  me as much, and they are what’s most important.

Yes, what’s going on in the world and our nation are very important, but nothing is as important as our children, families, and communities.

Here’s the thing: We will never all agree on anything, so to get along best we need to be willing to agree to disagree. Sure there are moral issues that need to be addressed, but we get so worked up over things that are not truly significant in the long here.

Here’s something else: There are so many worthy causes that need to be fought for. We can’t all fight for all of them, so it’s a good thing our passions are different. While I care deeply about animals (to the point I may have yelled at someone recently who was trying to hit a dog, and I have rescued 6 animals in the last 4 years), my passion is more for Human Trafficking. I have a cousin whose passion is animals and not people.

My point is, the world can balance itself if we invest in our passions. If we spend our time taking care of our families and our communities, and bringing awareness to the plight of those both near and far in a non-hateful way we could get so much more done. If we stopped using social media to attack others and spread hate. If we used social media to solve problems instead of just complain about them.

I’m not judging because I’m guilty of many of these things myself. But the truth is if we don’t stop worrying about everyone else’s lives and start taking care of our own then the world will continue to self-destruct. 

Be the light the people around you need to see. 

As for me, I’m staying off of Facebook. I know my limits and the past few days have shown me I’d rather not be sucked back into the vortex of chaos. 

Peace, love, faith, and contentment to you all. 

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A Sick Kitten and a Changed Boy

​We adopted Marvin and Coco one year ago today. The kittens were part of my children’s Christmas presents. Little did we know then that 4 month old Marvin was sick. We took many trips to the vet over the next few months and spent hundreds of dollars trying to get him well.
There was no pushing this kitty away when bacon or salmon were around, but I knee something was really wrong when I offered and he wouldn’t take it – he wouldn’t eat and barely drank anything.

We went back to the vet in May, and he told me Marvin needed surgery. The assumption was he had swallowed something that was obstructing his intestines, but I couldn’t afford the $1,500 price tag after all I had already spent. So, they sent us elsewhere.

We ended up at WellPet Humane in Atlanta. The owner came in on her day off because it was deemed an emergency and the other vets were booked solid.

When she called in the middle of surgery, I assumed it was to tell me it was worse than expected and would cost more than originally thought. Sadly, it was to ask permission to euthanize our beloved Marvin. He was dying and and there was no way to save him. To finish the surgery would be inhumane because he would starve to death in the following weeks. Of course, I gave my permission to end his suffering as my heart broke and my eyes flooded with tears.

I gained my composure and went to take my babies out of school early to say our goodbyes. My sweet, innocent Avery thought we were just going to go visit him while he recovered. But Nathan saw my tear stained face, and said, “He didn’t… did he,” as tears welled up in his eyes. It wasn’t a question. He knew Marvin didn’t make it.

I hadn’t felt such grief since the early months after Tom’s death. I had lost pets before including one I’d had from the time I was 3 to 20, but none had ever made my heart ache like this.

My sweet, sweet boy, who has been through more than any child should, lost his beloved kitten just 6 days after the 6th anniversary of his Dad’s death. Our whole family felt it. Coco hid in my closet staring at the wall refusing to eat unless I carried her to the food bowl for weeks.

Marvin and Coco have both blessed our hearts more than I knew animals could. And Marvin (both his life and death) did something even more powerful than I could have ever imagined – he softened my sweet boy’s heart.

Marvin’s death allowed me the opportunity to comfort my son like I should have and couldn’t do when his Dad died. It gave him the permission he needed to cry – the permission that had been stripped from him when a close family member told Nathan that he was the man of the house now and needed to be tough. Marvin brought our family closer together in life and even more so in death.

God knew that sweet kitten wouldn’t live long, but he needed love while he was here – and we gave it to him. God also knew we needed Marvin more than he needed us.

It still aches. We still cry and tell each other how much we miss Marvin. But in the seemingly simple act of adopting a shelter kitten we were given such a gift that transcends grief and pain. 

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