Wipeout!

So we’ve been living in Scotland since the end of July (2017), and every single day has be absolutely amazing.  I cannot tell you all the incredible experiences I’ve had just in the short time we’ve been here, but I can tell you about one of the most awkward moments I’ve had to date.

At the end of September one of our friends was celebrating a milestone birthday, and his lovely wife decided to throw him a surprise birthday part to mark the occasion.  On the day of the event she asks me to come over and give her a hand is setting everything up.  Fine, no problem, I was very happy to help.

She and I and another lass spent the morning wiping down patio furniture and halogen lights,  setting up a number of extra chairs, a buffet table, and a large outdoor tent – thank goodness I’ve had lots of practice at craft shows setting up those foolish things!  While we’re setting up the tent my friend accidentally stumbles into the flagstone patio and promptly breaks her pinky toe.  I cringe at the memory of the “crunch” her poor wee piggie made.  In spite of the pain and nausea she soldiered on though, because that’s what Scottish women do!

That evening, after a much needed shower and rest we returned to the party scene.  The house was packed with folks, and everyone was doing what strangers do at a party….milling about making small talk over glasses of champagne.  Men were clustered around the BBQ grill, beer in hand, talking about the latest football matches.  The hostess was running around like a chicken with her head cut off, making sure everyone had drinks and appetizers, offering introductions, and generally looking frazzled.  Of course, me being me, offered to give her a hand with the final dinner preparations.

At the offer of help I was promptly put in charge of boiling the potatoes for the buffet.  No problem!  Cooking, I can handle.  As I stood at the stove in the middle of the kitchen, surrounded by slightly buzzed strangers I felt right at home.  When you’re the help, no one takes notice of you, unless you do something really stupid, like drop a tray full of champagne glasses on the floor.  Thankfully I wasn’t in charge of the drinks table, so I was safe from scrutiny…for the most part.

As I stirred the pot of potatoes I found myself approached by several middle-aged men who had obviously come with a spouse or date, but had managed to lose them at some point.  I was quite flattered by their curiosity and attention, having never really spent much time on the receiving end of pick-up lines,  being married by the ripe old age of barely 22.  But it didn’t take long to go from being a curiosity to being a spectacle, because that’s how I roll.

Flattery over and taters cooked, I had one task left before my hour of service was over and we could all settle into an evening of music, dancing, and well mannered birthday frivolity – the taters needed to get to the buffet table so dinner could begin.  No problem, right?  Um, yeah….you keep telling yourself that….

crock pot w locking lidSo I’ve got this pot of boiled taters transferred to my brand new slow cooker, the kind with the snap-down top.  By the way, this slow cooker is fantastic!  Whoever thought to put a snap down lid on a slow-cooker should win a Nobel Prize or something.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spilled chili and other soups in my car, down the front of me, and all over the floor because the lid of the slow cooker didn’t seal properly.  But I digress…

I pick up the slow cooker, considering for a minute whether or not I should snap down the lid, thinking to myself, “I’ve only got to get from the kitchen to the back yard, but deciding to not risk it since I had on a thin, silk top and didn’t really fancy wearing salty tater water down the front of my blouse the rest of the night.  Thank you Jesus for that moment of sanity!

I make my way through the press of people in the kitchen and down 3 stairs to the conservatory.  I could see the buffet table set up just off the flagstone patio about 30 feet from the back door.  It was a beautiful, bright, {rare} warm Scottish evening with a faint breeze and not a cloud in the sky.  The sun was beginning to make its way toward the horizon, the sea taking on the characteristic late summer afternoon shift from green to blue-black to golden as the sun dropped lower in the sky.  Most of the party attenders were in the conservatory around the drinks table and milling around the patio in groups of three or four, admiring the view and talking in subdued tones.

Dodging around a couple of women who were teetering on their heels and giggling over their glasses of champagne at the opportunity for a Friday night out of the house, I picked up my pace, wanting to deposit the heavy slow cooker full of hot boiled taters onto the buffet table so I could find my own drink and re-join my husband and friends.

The next thing I know, I’m lurch forward through the air as I step out the back door.  Both my feet have left the ground, and somehow I’m making a nose dive toward the rough flagstone patio directly in front of me. Now a normal person would probably have thrown the slow cooker away from their body, allowing for themselves to brace their fall with their hands to avoid a face plant.  Not me though!  For some unknown reason, I folded the slow cooker against my chest, the lid pressed tight against my ample bosom, fingers clenched around the plastic handles on the side of the pot like I was heading out into the ocean for an afternoon of body surfing.

Moments later, the serenity of the party is broken by the ungodly screeching sound of metal against stone as I land on top of the slow cooker, sliding across the uneven flags of the patio in a spray of sparks from the bottom of the cooker.  As my ears are processing the high pitched wheal I can feel my feet gain momentum faster than my body and my legs begin to curl back over my body, and I’m feeling pretty certain that I’m about a heartbeat away from flipping over this crazy slow cooker in a bloody face plant.  Somehow, I managed to press my legs to the ground to halt my progress, stopping the ear splitting screeching, and as I abruptly ceased motion my glasses flew off my face and skidded a further 6 feet in front of me, thankfully coming to rest upside-down on the frames rather than the lenses.

I took a breath.  And another.  The crowd had fallen completely silent and in the absence of noise I could feel every pair of eyes at the party trained on my back.  My own eyes popped open and I realized simultaneously that my face was only inches from the rough flagstones, and I was somehow perched on top of the slow cooker like a hen on top of her nest of eggs.  I felt Sam lay his hand on my back, bending down to see if I was alive.  Prompted by a mortifying sense of embarrassment I heard myself repeating, “I’m okay,” two or three times before my brain had a chance to take stock of whether or not the words were true.

As my brain began to engage my body, I could feel the lid handle pressing hard against my breastbone and every breath I tried to draw in sent a twinge of pain through my chest.  The heat from the boiling water and hot potatoes was radiating through the glass lid and thin silk of my duck-egg blue blouse, causing my chest to burn as hotly red from the contents of the cooker as my face was from embarrassment.  My knees had slammed sharply against the flagstones and they felt like someone had run a hot poker against the kneecaps.  I silently cursed myself for wearing my favorite jeans, figuring they were probably ripped and ruined.

And then the gravity of the situation hit me…I was laying on top of a slow cooker of boiled potatoes in the middle of a crowd of strangers, and the worst part of the whole situation was, I was going to have to try and get up off the ground, preferably without looking like a turtle that was flipped over on its back, and without showing off my extra-large bum.  If I made it off the ground, I was going to have to find a way to exit the party quickly, most likely covered in a ruined top of smashed taters and hot salty water…. In that moment I was certain the social gods hated me.

Thank you Jesus for adrenaline.  In the time it took for a party-goer to retrieve my glasses from the patio, I had managed to burpee off the slow cooker into an upright position.  Sam plucked the slow cooker from the patio, which was somehow, miraculously still in one piece (although it will never sit level again), lid securely clipped down, and not a drop of hot contents spilled!  And I found that while my knees burned like fire my jeans were not ripped, and my bum had been securely covered by the tails of my silky blouse the entire time!  Within 90 seconds the party began buzzing again, and I was able to retrieve the vestiges of my dignity, smile at a few of the remaining gawkers, and sachet to the drinks table like nothing had happened.  Of course my cheeks never did lose their rosy red glow, and I noticed several of the chaps who’d paid me complements 15 minutes earlier were shooting me mischievous smiles of amusement before turning their attention back to their dates.  Oh, what a night to remember.

Only me, right?!  *sigh*

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Resurrection!

I'm back

Hello friends!  Wow, it’s been a while, right?  I can’t even believe this site is still an active site on WordPress, but hey, that’s the beauty of technology.  So I’ve got a wacky idea, lets resurrect this blog and see what happens.

I noticed my last post was written 5 years ago.  What?!  That’s crazyness!  And what’s even more insane is how different my life looks today from way back then.  To say a lot has happened in 5 years is really just an understatement, so let me catch you up on all the madness…

IMAG0420
Is this not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?! This is Romeo and he’s babysitting by also doubling as a jungle gym!

2012: sold our dream home and move to a tiny little repo’d farm in the middle of no-where Georgia.  Seriously guys, I traded in my heels and designer handbags for rubber boots and overalls.  I know, insane, right?!  We downsized from a 4,000 s/f home in an upscale neighborhood to 1153 s/f of double-wide trailer on acreage.  Talk about a step or ten down in the world, BUT……the farm was PAID FOR in CASH from the sale of our house…..so that really made it a step UP!  Sadly, I broke my back at the end of the year and it’s really put a damper on my dancing days since then.

2013: husband was downsized from his extremely well paying corporate job in the beginning of 2013.  We knew it would happen, but that doesn’t make it any less painful psychologically.  Thankfully we had sold our house in town and were living in a place with no mortgage and lots of land to grow our own food, which we did.  That was an experience, for sure.  But God is good, and we never missed a meal, never had unpaid bills, and never felt we were going without.

IMG_20150223_172030722_HDR2014 – 2016: I started my own soap company as a way to bring extra income to our little homestead.  I was fairly successful in our area of north Georgia, and I loved making body products.  I was a terrible businesswoman though, so I really kept it from growing as much as it could, but I enjoyed every day of my work, plus I got to meet so many amazing people, both in the business and from the business.  I sold the business in January 2017 and it’s still going strong, which makes my heart very happy.

findochty harbor

2017: began fundraising for our international move to Scotland!  Yes, that’s right folks, I’m sitting in my office in the north of Scotland, looking out over the sea.  We live in a little coastal village called Buckie on the coast of the Moray Firth (North Sea).  Our view is amazing!  Okay, I’m bragging a little bit, I know it.  But y’all, it is so incredible here!  My beloved is the pastor of a wee little congregation and our life is like an episode of the Vicar of Dibley…well, not exactly, but sort of.

Honestly, I know it doesn’t look like much has happened from that brief explanation above, but it really has.  If I were to write about every single event that’s happened over the past 5 years this blog would be super long and y’all wouldn’t stick around to read it anyway.  I’m a realist, and what you really need to know is that I’m back, at least as much as I can be, and as often as I’m inspired to be.  I have no idea yet where this blog will go in the future, although I suspect it will probably be very much in the same vein as before with my crazy musings, my two-cents worth on social issues, and my story-telling ideas, plus a little bit of cooking, crafting, and village life thrown in for good measure.  I’ve missed y’all, and I’m looking forward to us getting to know each other all over again.   So until next time…

{Muah!}

Charity begins

I really believe that Americans are some of the most generous people in the world.  I also believe that Americans are some of the most selfish people in the world.  And I most certainly include myself in these statements.  I know, it’s confusing.

As a whole, when a crisis occurs, as in the 9/11 tragedy, America pulled together.  We were united in our desire to help our neighbors, loved ones, friends, and strangers.  We willingly emptied our pockets and our hearts to help those who were so closely affected by the terrorist attacks on our nation.  It was a beautiful thing to watch perfect strangers reach out to each other in a way our nation has not done before.  Sometimes it was done through organizations like American Red Cross, but in many cases it was just one person offering a helping hand to another.  It was endearing and noble, and selfless.  It was charity in perfection.

Recently we received the first of many Christmas giving catalogs.  We like to support organizations that are helping to feed, clothe, and train people out of poverty.  I often have tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat as I look through these catalogs.  Not just because of the moving photos and heart-warming success stories, but because I look around my own house and see nothing but excess.   We’re not rich by any American standard.  We’re solidly middle-class.  We work hard for what we have, and we have more than we’ll ever need really.  And yet I often find myself using sentences like, “I need a new pair of shoes,” or “I need to get my hair colored,” or “I need some mums to plant in the yard for fall.”  Of course these really aren’t ‘needs’, just wants.  But in our American mindset these are often treated as needs.  As a whole, and yes, this is a very broad statement, we are a needy, selfish bunch of people who live in excess rather than necessity.

The reason I get teary eyed looking at these charity catalogs is because I see people who can truly live and thrive with the most meager and humble of possessions.  The gift of a single goat to a family in Guatemala can change their life monumentally.  It seems like such a trivial thing to us, and yet these are people who can build a business out of one animal.  They can feed their family.  They can help others.  It’s just a single goat, not world peace.  But that’s the key.  They don’t need world peace to make a difference.  And neither do we.  It just takes one person, doing something for someone else to make that difference.

I’m sure I don’t have to say it, but the holidays are fast approaching.  Kids are already starting to get those Christmas catalogs too.  The ones filled with toys and games and gadgets.  Already phrases like, “I need a cell phone,” or “I need a new PS3,” or “I need a new Macbook” are starting to fly around.  And the sad thing is, they really believe they ‘need’ these things too.  Just like I believe I need mums for the yard or another pair of shoes.

But what we really need is to develop a sense of charity.  We need to look around us and be more sensitive to the guy standing on the street corner holding a sign asking for help.  We need to realize that shelters in our community are filled with people who truly have no place to go.  That families are being torn apart by violence, drugs, alcohol, and abuses of other kinds.  These are our neighbors, our loved ones, our friends, and even strangers.  And sure, there are people out there who are playing the system.  There are genuine crooks, scammers, and bums who want to take advantage of the compassion of others.  And that’s okay.  Some day they’ll have to answer for their actions, whether it’s here or in eternity.  But we have to not worry about being ripped off.  We have to stop expecting the worst of people.  We need to train ourselves out of the mindset of “I need…” and start thinking more along the lines of “how can I help?”  It starts with us.  Not with Governments.  Not with foundations.  Not even with churches.  Just us.  If we want to change the world we have to start doing it ourselves.  Charity needs to begin in the heart.  It needs to begin now.

Doesn’t that just figure!

In an effort to continue on our path of self-sufficiency and healthier eating, I ordered a nut grinding machine.  I love natural peanut butter, but to purchase it in the grocery store is dreadfully expensive.  How does that work exactly?  Process it less, add fewer ingredients, and charge more.  Seems like a great gimmick to me.  So I searched online for an economical, home grinding machine, and I found one.  Only one.  It had a few reviews, which were all favorable and seemed to indicate that this machine would be perfect for our needs.  So I ordered it.  That was this spring!

A couple of weeks passed and I didn’t receive the order.  I checked our bank account and the money hadn’t come out yet either, so I sent an email to customer service requesting an update on my order.  I received a prompt reply that went something like this:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your recent order.  Unfortunately, this item is temporarily out of stock.  We do not have an estimated restock date from the manufacturer at this time.  Your account will be charged when this item is ready for shipment.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.  Have a nice life.

Okay, I didn’t end with “Have a nice life,” but it might as well have.  Basically, what that response told me was you ordered something that no longer exists, so don’t hold out any hope of ever receiving it.  After all, how many people do you know who grind their own nut butters?

This past week Kroger was having one of their 10 for $10 sales, and peanut butter was included in that.  So we decided it was time to stock up since our nut grinder was obviously not going to come through for us.  And stock up we did.  We now have 20 jars of peanut butter in our pantry.  Did I mention that we’re suckers for a good deal?!  But who doesn’t use peanut butter?  It’s not like it has a short shelf life.  It’s practically as indestructible as Twinkies are.

On Monday morning I sat down at my computer with my coffee in hand and pulled up my email.  And wouldn’t ya know it!  Smack dab in the middle of my list of emails was a notification from the nut grinder place.  My order is getting ready to ship.  Well, doesn’t that just figure.  Maybe I can give jars of peanut butter away as stocking stuffers this year…

What does this look like?

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  James 5:16 (NKJV)

In the modern-day world, I just don’t understand what the effectual fervent prayer looks like.  In Christian circles we like to talk about being in an attitude of prayer during the day, but is that what effectual fervent prayer means?  I feel I’m in that kind of attitude most of the day.
And if so, why then are my prayers not being answered?  Even the ones I’ve been praying about for years.  I’d certainly classify those as fervent prayers.

“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.”  James 5:17 (NKJV)

How is it that Elijah prayed and no rain fell for over three years, and then he prayed again and rain fell?  Just like that – nothing else to it – just a simple prayer.  Since becoming a Christian, I’ve prayed for rain before, and the rain never came.  Why is it that God chooses to answer the prayers of some and not others?  Sam tells me that it has something to do with the motivation of the prayer, and the righteousness of the man.  This makes me wonder just how differently from Elijah my Christian motivation and my righteousness are before God.  Sometimes I wish I could see myself through God’s eyes so I could know what areas are keeping me from being the Elijah kind of righteous.   I want that kind of righteousness in my life.  Truly.

“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”  James 4:17 (NLT)

I wonder if this is why I don’t see myself through God’s eyes?  I wonder if this is what keeps my prayers from being answered in the Elijah kind of way?  If I take a good, hard, long look at myself I can see that I choose to sin every day.  Most of the time it’s not even consciously.  I can really relate to Paul’s words – I can’t stop myself from doing things I don’t want to do, and I can’t seem to do the things I do want to. What a spiritual quandary this flesh puts me in.  Some day I hope to master my flesh in total surrender to God – there’s another quandary for you – I am perfected only through surrender.  Sheesh, and some people say Christianity is a crutch…seems to me that giving up control is a whole lot harder than doing things on your own.   Well those are my random thoughts for the day.  What are yours?

Reading is FUNdamental

Did you know that 50% of American adults are unable to read and comprehend an 8th grade level book? (1)

Or how about this: 46% of American adults cannot understand the label on their prescriptions. (2)  That’s a scary thought….

1/3 of all high school graduates will never read another book the rest of their life; and 42% of college graduates will never read another book after college. (3)

80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year. (3)

70% of American adults have not been in a bookstore within the last 5 years. (3)

57% of new books purchased are not read to completion. (3)

Of those people surveyed who do read, 53% read fiction, and 43% read non-fiction.   The most popular fiction category is mystery and suspense, which accounts for 19% of all fiction read.  (4)

This one was a shocker for me.  A successful fiction book only sells 5,000 copies, and a successful non-fiction book only sells 7,500 copies.  (5)

Each day in the U.S. people spend 4 hours watching television, 3 hours listening to the radio, and only 15 minutes reading magazine articles.  (6)

There are about 120,000 new books published each year, however of that number 70% of them never make a profit or even enough to cover their advance. (7)

The point I’m trying to make here is that most American’s do not read.  I find that so sad.  And not that I’m a great connoisseur of the written word myself, but merely the fact that we have allowed ourselves to become so uneducated.  For me, the biggest shocker was the statistic that points to America’s obsession with television.  I don’t know what year that statistic was generated, but I suspect the internet would rival at least the amount of time people spend listening to the radio.  Frankly, I fail to see the appeal in television.  We canceled our cable service about nine months ago, and I haven’t even for a second missed it – we didn’t watch it when we were paying for it either.  I find television to be frustrating – too many ridiculous commercials.

As you might have noticed, I’ve added a Bookshelf to my blog – it’s in the right hand column just past my Blogroll.  As I’ve already said, I’m not a great reader.  For me it goes in spurts.  If I find a good book I can’t put it down.  If I find a bad book I won’t ever pick it back up again.  I am primarily a fiction reader – I adore brain candy.  I prefer two types of fiction: mystery and suspense, and Christian romance – more specifically, Amish romance.  I’m a huge sucker for Beverly Lewis and have read all of her books.  In the mystery and suspense category my three favorite authors are Agatha Christie (specifically, Hercule Poiroit and Miss. Marple mysteries), Tim Downs (I can’t get enough of the Bug Man novels), and Patricia Cornwall, although Ms. Cornwall tends to get a bit potty mouthed for my taste at times.  I’ve had to stop reading more than one of her books because the language just got too graphic for me.

But as you might notice from my Bookshelf, it’s not just fiction on the list.  I am also reading Crazy Love, Radical (by David Platt – not the Saul Olinsky book), and Lies Women Believe.  So far, these have turned out to be excellent Christian living and devotional books.  The first two take a fresh look at authentic Christianity; well fresh isn’t quite the right word as the truth they’re touting are actually old – first century kinda truths, but far beyond the bounds and comforts of our modern day Christianity.  And Lies Women Believe has been a profound read into the mind and heart of the very deception and Deceiver who seeks to destroy Christian women everywhere.  I think I’m going to be using this as one of my fall Bible study books for my ladies group.

But enough about me, what about you?  Are you a reader?  If so, what kinds of books do  you like?  Do you have a favorite author or series you just can’t put down?  If you’re not a reader, why is that?  I’m terribly curious.

(1) Jonathan Kozal, Illiterate America  (2) American Medical Association  (3) The Jenkins Group Inc. & Para Publishing  (4) Publishers Weekly  (5) The Author’s Guild  (6) Veronis, Suhler and Associates  (7) Bookwire & Jenkins Group Inc.

What’s it saying about you?

Yesterday I mowed the grass.  I really like this task as it gives me nearly two solid hours to myself to really just think about stuff (oh yeah, and to sweat and sunburn).  Sometimes having that much time alone is a good thing, and sometimes, well, it’s not so good.  However, yesterday it was one of those days that I was feeling a bit introspective.  So keep in mind, this post is directed at me as much as it’s directed at anyone else……

I’m a Facebook user.  My beloved would probably classify me as a Facebook “junkie”.  He’s probably right, but the first step to recovery is always denial, right?!  Besides, I can stop anytime I want to!  He doesn’t understand the appeal that Facebook has for most people.  He has an account, but he rarely uses it.  He thinks of it as a “networking and marketing tool” for his various blogs, books, and the farm.  I however see it as one of my few social outlets.  It’s so sad, to be only virtually sociable….but that’s a post for another day.

What is your Facebook profile saying about you?

Every time I get a friend request (yes, I actually get them, not just send them out!), I check out the person’s profile before I accept them (and sometimes their photos if I’m not sure who they are – its been a LONG time since high school and college mind you).  I read the entire profile page, including the “groups” section.  Do you know, I can read through the bio and feel really good about a person, and then get to their “groups” or their “fan pages” and my stomach almost immediately sours.  Let me give you an example (by the way, this is not a ‘real’ example, although it might feel like some of y’all’s pages)………

BIO:

** I’m a Christian mom (or dad) who homeschools my 17 children – ages 6 months to 25 years.  We live on a farm in the middle of God’s country, and we milk our herd of 30 Jersey’s daily.  I make cheese with the  milk.  My children and I work our one acre garden and sell produce at the local farmer’s market.  We gather eggs from our hen’s each day and we donate about 15 dozen each week to the local food pantry as we want to help give back to our impoverished community.  My husband and I attend our small community church each week where I teach the 4 and 5 year old Sunday School and my husband is an elder in the church.  My life is blessed beyond measure.  I have great friends, a loving family, and I serve an amazing God who has seen fit to not only take care of my every need, but to give me some of the things I long for as well.  Praise the Lord!  **

Now after reading through that, if this were a person who has sent me a ‘friend request’ I’d feel pretty good about accepting them.  That is, until I get to their favorite pages or groups….see if you don’t agree…..

GROUPS: (Yes, I know some of these groups are real Facebook groups)

* If I had it to do all over again, I’d be a lesbian! *

* My daily Bible verse *

* Hope & Change for America *

* Yes, I’ll smile and wave, but deep down I think you’re a dirty rotten two-faced whore. *

* Mafia Wars *

* FarmVille *

* What’s wrong with having a National Healthcare system? *

* Biggest Loser *

* Glory To God Christian Church, Mytown, USA *

* Desperate Housewives *

* Bejeweled Blitz Masters: Learn all the tips and tricks for the highest scores possible *

* Curvy girls are better lovers than skinny girls *

* P.E.T.A. *

See what I mean?  The BIO looks pretty good, and this ‘person’ might genuinely feel blessed by God, but their PAGES/GROUPS speak volumes about who you really are…deep down inside…when you think no one is looking.  Even if they joined these groups because they thought they were funny.  How would I know if that’s the reason?  On the surface all I see is, they belong to these groups, whatever the reason.  Now I realize that it’s not likely that this type of person would be involved with all of these groups, but there are some of these groups that people who claim to be Christian’s are a part of, or other groups that are just as sketch.  Simply put, some of our “favorites” send very mixed messages; if not destroy our witness all together.  Remember, you might be the best Jesus some people ever see.

The internet is cloaked in an overwhelming sense of (false) security.  In and of itself, the net is a-moral (neither bad nor good), however its us that pervert and twist it.  What goes on between our fingertips and the keyboard is who we really are.  On the net, we can spend countless hours surfing websites, browsing for everything from cooking spices and ingredients to sexy lingerie to homeschooling curriculum to plastic surgery to gardening how-tos’ and  videos of people doing Lord knows what.  We can spend our alone time on message boards (anonymously, of course) for married couple’s seeking affairs, or on boards for people who want to know more about farming and livestock.  There are virtually millions of places we can go, but why would we?

The danger of too much internet time (at least for me) is becoming ensnared in the virtual world, and forgetting (or not wanting) to live  in the real world.  Through Facebook and other social networking sites we can find just about anything we want – from support groups to church groups to discount coupon clubs and old flames from high school and college.  There are games and special interest groups and political forums as well.  Pretty much, everything a body could ever want can be found online.  Unfortunately, more and more marriages are being lost to social networking affairs.  People are losing their jobs because they spend all night gaming or chatting and are too tired to go into work the next day.  Others are being caught up in the world of evil-ex bashing or co-worker bashing and forgetting that these are real people too (maybe not nice people, but my mama always told me that if I couldn’t say anything nice about someone I shouldn’t say anything at all.  And she’s been right – taking the high road is always the better option.).

Philippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

This verse doesn’t just apply to our outward life, but also our inward life (our virtual life, as it were).  I know that there weren’t computers and iPhones in Paul’s day, but it seems that this verse was written specifically for today.  We must always be fixing our thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.  It’s hard to do sometimes, especially when we’re feeling lonely, bored, tired, under-appreciated and over-worked, angry with your spouse, or a dozen other feelings that can get us all into trouble.  But if we strive to always honor God, even in our private life, we will find we’re even more blessed than we think.  Besides, keep in mind that Jesus is always right with you – He sees all you do…even when no one else is looking!