Embrace the sun this summer

Hilton Head Island, SC, Summer 2020

Is it plagiarism and lazy if you steal your own blog article that was a guest post on someone else’s blog from two summers ago? I hope not. I’m on summer vacation and this post seems especially nostalgic and appropriate for right now. Although I’ve given it a 2020 update, the sentiments are the same.
Thanks to my precious, longtime friend, Betsy Pendergrass, who invited me to write on her blog and reminded me that I need to make words more often. Betsy has an amazing website, a podcast, inspiring products and a wonderful community to join – check her out at Gathering Around

Summer. 

The word is packed with so much potential! The idea of summer always holds the possibility for unforgettable moments. When I think about the summer memories I cherish, they range from the mundane to the spectacular.

Just this morning, I’m sitting here on a summer vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina with my husband and two sons. We’re vacationing in the time of the coronavirus. The limitations of that make me especially grateful that last summer, we took an epic two-week trip out West when it was possible to travel with no restrictions.

Living in the moment  – especially now – is more important than ever. 

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The Grand Canyon, North Rim (Summer 2019) and The Grand Canyon, South Rim (Summer 1985)

Over the years we’ve spent together as a family unit of four, I realize I’ve been borderline obsessed with making every summer special. I inherited this charge from my parents, who took me and my brother on a variety of memorable trips without ever getting on a plane.

I recall a cross-country trip in the 1980’s when my family left Alabama in a large yellow Buick bearing a ROLL TIDE bumper sticker and a handmade California or Bust sign in the window.  Clearly we weren’t trying to blend in on our journey West. On this trip, I somehow became the only witness to a shooting in South Central L.A. We were lost. There was no GPS. There were no cell phones. These were simpler times. Thankfully God had plans to keep me around to create equally terrifying and terrific memories for another generation. 

Even with the way technology has changed the way we travel today, my family has enjoyed and endured many similar adventures. We’ve packed a lot into the 20 years since my oldest was born. We’ve done the tourist traps at the beach and the mountains, we’ve been to a Yankees game, we’ve eaten Chicago deep-dish pizza, we’ve done the theme parks, and we’ve sailed on a Caribbean cruise. We’ve overspent and perhaps overcompensated for who knows what, but I still wouldn’t change a thing. 

Embrace the Sun
New York City, Summer 2011

As awesome and photo-worthy as those memories are, I’ve found that some of the sweetest memories have been much simpler, closer to home, and cheaper. When I was blessed to be a work-at-home mom and the boys were little, our summer days were magic. After they slept late, we would eat Cream of Wheat for breakfast, fill up the baby pool, and read stories at night before bedtime. We rode bikes, went to story time at the library, and slathered hydrocortisone on mosquito bites.

It wasn’t fancy, but it was good.

Years later, summers started filling up with sports and activities, but I still purposed to capture something meaningful. We would go swimming with friends, enjoy longer visits with their grandparents, and stay up late every night to watch movies and make popcorn.

As the years raced by and the boys naturally started gravitating toward more time with friends and their teenage interests (PS4 and working out — need I say more?), I’ve found myself sometimes feeling lost. Where do I really fit in anymore? In a true “Hail Mary” attempt to keep our evolving relationships intact, we bought a small, used camper several years ago. It was my desperate effort to make the most of what was left of our dwindling summer family time.

As possibly the least outdoorsy family to go camping EVER, we went for it and never looked back. Fast forward and I’m proud to say we’ve enjoyed several camping trips together. They were not without challenges such as getting locked outside the camper, toilet problems, rainy campsites, no heat, an incessant smoke alarm, and grumpy hiking treks. I also should mention that my family did not even fit comfortably in this camper that barely slept four (see update in photo below). To call us happy campers all the time would have been a stretch.

But regardless of how imperfect our summer memories may be, they are OURS and ours alone. For me, summer is perhaps the most defining part of childhood. It’s a condensed version of the highs and lows that define every family dynamic and it’s deeply personal. The point of summer isn’t to make it Instagram worthy or spend the most money, it’s just to make it uniquely YOURS and embrace every second.

Make precious family memories while you can in this brief ray of sun. It only shines for a season, but its warmth will stay with you forever.

The camper that was. In my normal spontaneous manner, I bought this camper before doing even five minutes of research. It is a “low profile” camper, which means the ceilings are lower for garage storage. With the exception of me and my youngest before he grew a foot and a half, we are not low profile people. We have since sold the camper since my 6 foot+ husband and boys have zero head space inside. I am looking forward to another camper with more vertical space in our future!

It’s time we got busy

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Over the past few weeks, many of us have re-entered society in some way. Like zombies, we are all dragging our bodies back into places where the people are, and we are hungry for people! At least I know I am.

All gross Walking Dead references aside, it really feels that way. The world has changed into a Bizarro version of the world we once knew. It also feels different because our rhythms aren’t the same, familiar spaces are marred by arrows and instructions, and we’ve all developed new social norms in our efforts to social distance.

In stores, people look weird in their masks and they act even weirder. We’re learning to read “eye language” – how strange is that? I watched a woman gently escorted out of a store while yelling the entire time about her stimulus check. I don’t know the whole story, but I found myself searching for the nearest exit.

I thought, we aren’t ready yet. But ready or not, here we are.

At home, I was suddenly faced with the prospect of wearing real pants and jewelry for the first time in over 30 days. I felt like an alien in my own closet. I couldn’t find my favorite earrings or my go-to belt. It’s impossible to retrace your steps when your last “steps” were almost two months ago.

When I finally put myself together, I went back to my office last week. The first thing I noticed was my plant in the window. Poor guy. He was barely hanging on. I had failed to bring it home pre-quarantine and now it was headed for the trash. Lesson learned.

But then I thought, why not try to save it? So I watered it, tore away the dead parts, and gave it a chance to reach for the sunlight again. In just a few days, tiny new leaves were emerging on its stems. The surviving leaves were full again.

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The outcome was very different because I chose to see life instead of death.

I chose to reimagine what the ending could be.

As insignificant as that wimpy plant is, it’s also the perfect representation of our current state of being. To borrow a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption – 

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Although “busy” may represent something brand new right now, it doesn’t have to be what it used to be. If I learned anything while sheltering at home, I learned that I have used “busy” as an excuse to store my passions away on a shelf for decades. Decades!

Instead, I should use “busy” to focus on my priorities and realize that everything created by God needs nurturing and pruning. That everything includes me – my relationships, my interests, my faith, and my journey. What that looks like is subject to change, but that’s the best part of the process. Something new is always growing! And growth means we’re doing something right.

FUN FACTS: The film “The Shawshank Redemption,” produced by Castle Rock Entertainment, was based on the 1982 Stephen King novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.” (PHOTO: https://www.the-solute.com/the-shawshank-redemption-at-25/)

 

 

Keep running to end racism

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Ahmaud Arbery (left) and the 2.23 miles #IRanWithMaud yesterday, 5/8/20.

Normally I stay far away from all the controversial topics – religion (not to be confused with faith), politics and social justice. I have views like everyone else, but the online world can be a dangerous place to engage these subjects. It’s shaky ground. So here I am, taking a very cautious step, praying the floor doesn’t collapse beneath me. So be gentle friends. This comes from a sincere place.

By now, you’ve likely seen the video or heard the story of Ahmaud Arbery. In February, this young, black man was gunned down in the middle of a Sunday afternoon jog on a quiet, Georgia street. His attackers were two white men in a pickup truck on a vigilante mission to “protect” their neighborhood. Thanks to public outcry and the video, those men have finally been charged with the crime and arrested – 2+ months later (!) – although their fate is far from sealed. Once again, we’ll have to rely on a justice system that has failed every race and gender, despite the commendable efforts of many good men and women with a badge or a gavel.

After forcing myself to watch the shocking video of Ahmaud’s very public death, I am completely shaken. It isn’t that I haven’t seen violent crime before, but the brazenness of this act and the complete lack of accountability are staggering. None of us are immune from random acts of violence, danger is everywhere, but this crime seemed far from random. So that leads me here with the need to say something, anything, to try and make sense of this completely senseless crime.

Short of storming the courthouse in Glynn County, Ga., what can I do, what can we do? Our outrage and our hashtags are needed, but where is the solution? Where is the remedy to heal the sickness of racism that has been spread – yes, like a virus – from one generation to the next? It may mutate and infect people differently, but the symptoms are the same.

We can’t tiptoe around racist attitudes in our country anymore just because we don’t engage in intentional racist behavior and our friendships extend beyond our own race. Its ugliness continues to shape and stain our country and our collective experience.

If we aren’t willing to face this evil in the harshest light, and own it, it will never change.

I see the best opportunity and hope for lasting change in our children. We have a lot to learn from the next “greatest generation.” My two sons have taught me so much about tolerance in their short time on earth. They’ve helped me recognize my own implicit biases, even when I couldn’t see them for myself. They may not pick up their wet towels or make the Honor Roll, but they are good people who love their friends, regardless of race. That love reveals the most beautiful part of them, and our humanity, because they care.

Because that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? That we actually care about our fellow man, all of them? That we truly love one another as God designed us and demands from us, despite all differences?

When we are honest and intentional, then real change can begin. We have to push back on institutions that insist we are so very different. Our churches, our schools, our social ”playgrounds” and our politics are places that focus on our differences. The establishment of “us” and “them” is not okay.

Over the past year, my oldest son has experienced a radical shift in his personal experience with race. He began his college football career at a large public university in Tennessee after attending predominantly white, private schools his entire life. On the team, he became the minority overnight. I thank God that this opportunity will continually open his eyes and heart wide and give him a valuable perspective – one that I embrace when he shares it at home.

During his first semester of college, he shared a revealing story with us. One night, he went to meet a tutor, but a GPS mix-up led him to the wrong house on the wrong street. When he rang the doorbell, a man opened the door quickly and glared at him. My son retreated, realizing his mistake, and apologized as he safely returned to his car. It was an innocent and thankfully harmless error, but the truth of that moment hit him hard – what if that had happened to one of his black teammates? Knowing that such a small mistake could potentially end in prison or death is something that no one should have to fear in a country that we call free.

Growing up in a small, all-white town in Alabama, I didn’t have opportunities in my childhood to form any authentic relationships outside of my race. I feel cheated that I didn’t know a diverse community until adulthood, but I’m forever grateful to my parents that I wasn’t raised to hate.

It’s in recognizing where we can stretch and grow that our culture can actually change. It’s in our everyday living that we can truly make a difference. We have a moral obligation to examine ourselves, our hearts, our motives, and our actions – even the subtle ones that can leave unintended misunderstandings. We also have an obligation to speak up and share truth. Especially with our children. Because our country will never be truly safe or free for everyone until stories like Ahmad’s are sealed in the past.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” – I John 4:11

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Land ho! Remember the journey

One of the places where I slow down and reflect on life. My neighbor doesn’t have much to say, but he’s a great listener, especially when I bring apples to the conversation.

Reflecting on life has become an almost daily occurrence in my current situation, which could be described as a reality show that I’ll call Suburban Survivor. Outside of cooking, sanitizing and filling my grocery pickup basket AGAIN, I find myself frequently taking inventory of my little world and the people in it.

Deep thoughts won’t give me any rest.

And it isn’t that I’ve been given extra hours, even though each day feels almost twice as long. It’s because there is finally a break in the noise from the frantic parade I was chasing every day. Trying to keep pace with the lineup was distracting and exhausting. Most days after working and parenting and adulting, I was just too tired to think. This would probably explain my affinity for shows like The Bachelor and Married at First Sight.

So…in reflecting on our collective quarantine experience, I picture the RMS Titanic before it sank. Cue Celine Dion, do you hear her?

RMS Titanic

Photo Credit: Brittanica.com

It’s a bad and unfortunate analogy, I know, but it’s what my mind sees. I see a colossal ship sailing across the ocean, heading toward a port where we hope to arrive soon. It’s one man’s prison and another man’s escape. It’s luxury and retreat for some, and it’s survival and sadness for others.

But together, we are all passengers on this unfamiliar and unpredictable journey. We must ALL wait patiently before disembarking to find where this vessel has landed. Because let’s be honest – the place where we boarded some six to eight weeks ago is not the same place where we’ve arrived. We have traveled to a distant shore that looks very different from the homeland we once knew. 

And thankfully, unlike those aboard the Titanic, most of us will make it to shore.

Nautical clichés aside, I hope that when we slowly and cautiously rejoin the world, that we don’t forget the journey and what we learned along the way. Hopefully we learned that not everyone is meant to be a chef, a singer, an artist, an athlete, or TikTok famous… and that’s okay (stay in your lane bro – at least you tried).

Hopefully, we also learned resiliency, self-sacrifice, the practice of slowing down, and what it means to be a good neighbor again.

Ironically, it’s trips like these – when we feel like we’re stuck in a station wagon with the Griswolds on some remote, scenic highway – that change us forever.

Let’s not walk away from this journey unchanged.

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My family’s version of National Lampoon’s Vacation almost one year ago. It was equally exhausting and amazing, but trips like this stay with you forever. Ride on!

Are you over it yet?

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Actual photo of me hitting a wall and my hair in its current quarantine natural state. This has to end soon.

This week, we hit a wall. Did you feel it?

I think it’s safe to say that any novelty related to our country’s pandemic lockdown has officially worn off. Toilet paper jokes are no longer funny. Our children are starting to resemble the children from The Lord of the Flies. We’ve made everything we know how to cook, and then we’ve made it again. Our home gyms are not getting the job done. We’re becoming a disconnected society all while scrambling to fight for a Wi-Fi connection in our neighborhoods.

We’ve reached a boiling point, and we’re wearing on the nerves of our household, and let’s be honest, ourselves.

It’s time… or is it? To roll the dice and reopen the world? Just a little?

Protesters who were once fighting for other causes are spilling out into the streets. The team spirit we enjoyed with memes and hashtags just a week ago seems a little less spirited this week. The Disney Family Singalong?? Yeah…even that felt too late and a little out of touch, even for my Disney-loving self. 

The replaying of the same routine, day after day after day, has finally pushed us all to ask ourselves – how much longer can we bear this burden?

I’m not a research scientist or a world leader, so thankfully the tough decisions won’t rest with me, or you. The consequences of these choices will prove to be serious in one way or another, to one group or another. Who plays God and decides who is the least of these? Again, I’m glad it’s not me.

While we all sit idly by, waiting and wondering, let’s cling to the semblance of unity we enjoyed over the last several weeks. And let’s not forget it. Resist the temptation to choose sides and brandish a bullhorn. Opinions are fine. It’s America after all. But regardless of where you stand on these serious issues, be kind, don’t judge, and show some grace. It may seem like we’re all in the same place, experiencing this crisis in the same way, but we’re not.

We can only defeat the virus if we focus on it as one very real, common enemy together. We must give it our best fight as ONE.

Until the day that we celebrate that victory together, stay safe and stay nice America!

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Bojangles, my obese cat, who now has his own Instagram page thanks to my boredom during the quarantine. Yes, it’s come to this – Follow him at @mrbojangles21!

Searching for peace on the ground

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Rocks and a hollowed out piece of wood found during my quarantine escape to the woods.

A week ago, my family made a spontaneous escape during this new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. We rented a lake cabin in the woods that wasn’t too far from home. It offered a welcome change of scenery while allowing us to maintain plenty of “social distance.” The day after we arrived, our governor declared a stay-at-home order, so the cabin became our new home for a few days. I can think of worse prisons.

While making lemonade out of lemons, we did the usual activities – fishing, hiking through the woods, reading, resting and eating a lot of calorie rich food. My favorite thing to do, hands down (other than consuming gooey desserts), is the hiking. My family is not as fond of that activity as they should be…but I love them just the same.

Every time we venture into the woods or near water, I start lagging behind because I’m on the ground finding stones, sticks or shells. Many of them make their way home with us. This hobby once delayed us at an airport while I unloaded my treasures that put our luggage over the weight limit. That’s a special memory that my family still loves to bring up every time I hoard more nature away in my backpack.

I don’t know why I like rocks. Or sticks. Or essentially… dirty things on the ground.

I think it must be their connection to the earth, which is also a connection to its Creator. I don’t feel particularly spiritual in these moments of digging and gathering, but back at home they provide a direct link to a path, a sandy shore, a mossy seat underneath a tree, a memory. They remind me of our uniqueness, and how diversity is essential to nature and humankind. They strip away the counterfeit and trivial, and provide me with a hands-on experience that is tangible and authentic. They convict me that God is as real as a rock in my hand, even when He feels very far away.

In all situations, we can find something to touch, see, smell or hear that reveals His presence. In the midst of this current season of uncertainty, or any that you will face in our lifetime, take hold of the very real things – laughter, tears, music, art, food, animals, literature…or a piece of driftwood, to name a few. Hold them close and relish in the simple, but honest beauty of these creations. I pray that you can find a quiet and reassuring peace, knowing that God is also holding and admiring us.

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How the Coronavirus might cure us all

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As the days turn into weeks during this new reality of the COVID-19 outbreak, I’ll admit I’ve participated in my fair share of mindless activities. I’m doing my part to “flatten the curve” while also working from home and trying to homeschool a 16-year old and a college freshman (I’m not qualified!). I’ve sucked down some whipped topping from the can. I’ve become catatonic watching daily news conferences. And while I haven’t watched Tiger King YET on Netflix, it’s next after finishing Love is Blind.

Although I don’t have much to show for this time, I feel like I’ve found some clarity in the midst of the chaos. Now that the daily “to do list” in my busy, American life seems largely irrelevant, I am listening more to my mind, and to my heart, and actually… (wait for it)…THINKING. In fact, the abundant gift of all this extra time alone with my thoughts has forced me to reflect on life in a pretty poignant way. My guess is that I’m not alone.

Over the last few days, I’ve reflected on my disdain for research papers even though I was once really good at them. My son has been working on his first major college research paper and OUCH… revisiting MLA format and navigating those waters with him has been a real downer during this quarantine.

This time has also been incredibly insightful because his paper is titled “The Effects of Technology on Learning and the Brain.” For years, I’ve been suspect that our society has essentially invited the “fox into the hen house” when we welcomed the magic of smart tech with open arms. We hardly paused. It can be so intoxicating! But now that the buzz has worn off, what’s left? Is our current state of dependence irreversible?

Ever since the invasion of the internet and its amazing devices, I’ve been confronted with my own lazy brain and a growing fatigue for reading books or processing complex information. And I don’t think it’s because I’m aging. My 80-year old Dad discovered a pure joy for reading books later in life, and guess what (?) – he doesn’t have OR want a smartphone.

So before I lose your attention (because let’s be honest, I’m competing with cat videos and karaoke in cars), I encourage you to read up and form your own opinions (see links to some of the source material for my son’s paper below). When we no longer have to “shelter in place,” what will we have learned? Despite the very real and tragic losses of this pandemic, maybe we’ll also walk away with something gained – a much needed reality check.

While we can’t go back in time and throw the baby out, I want to believe there’s still time to refresh the bathwater. Maybe we’ll finally turn something off and tune back in.

Is Google Making Us Stupid? by: Nicholas Carr
(And to think this is over 10 years old – telling and a little scary.) 

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction by: Matt Richtel

How Classroom Technology is Holding Students Back by: Natalie Wexler

Why we need to hear NO

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One thing is a constant from childhood through adulthood. Sometimes the answer is just NO. Your teenager says NO to an opportunity that you know would boost his confidence. Your boss says NO to the great idea you’ve been so passionately pursuing. Your jeans simply say NO to buttoning up. No matter what the issue, a NO always stings in the moment. And in that moment, no matter what our age, we will momentarily declare to ourselves…

That’s. Not. Fair.

And you know what? It probably isn’t fair.
It isn’t fair that you put the work in for that promotion or job, but the opportunity went to someone else.
It isn’t fair that you have to delay a family vacation to repair the roof or fix your car.
It isn’t fair that you just started exercising again only to step in a hole and sprain your ankle.
It isn’t fair that someone has written you off, when you know the motives of your heart and actions were good.

In all those situations and so many more, we won’t always get the YES we’re looking for, but all isn’t lost. In fact, I’m convinced that NO’s are essential for our survival.

Consider the archetype of the “spoiled brat”  – the little monster we all love to hate, but can never see in ourselves. This kid can’t even process the word NO. The brat pitches a fit and demands that the NO be changed to a YES, and right now! This child insists that the rules, the environment, and essentially the entire world shift on its axis to accommodate the concerns that are critical to him or her.

Watched the news lately? Does this logic sound familiar on both sides of the political aisle? Ever heard the terms “snowflake” and “safe space?” The world is full of Nellie Olsens and over sensitivity. Perpetual victimhood is exhausting and teaches us nothing. We have to tap into our maturity and wisdom and use them to our advantage. If we don’t, we’ll miss the greatest gifts that come with the NO’s.

When we hear NO, suddenly the gray areas of our life become black and white.
When we hear NO, we learn more about ourselves and what we value the most.
When we hear NO, we can move out of gridlock and make the hard decisions.
When we hear NO, we can better accept our lack of control and acknowledge a God who is IN control.
When we hear NO, we identify the people in our life who are truly in our corner.
When we hear NO, we can steer our ship toward a definitive YES on a different shore.

Imagine if every NO you’ve ever heard in your life had been a YES? Would your life look the same? Would there be a huge It’s a Wonderful Life kind of gaping hole in the life you lead every day? Would you even be with the same people?

While we all hold some regrets and might desire a do-over or two, looking back affords us the perspective to find purpose in our disappointments. When we don’t handle our NO’s gracefully, we risk becoming the unholy terror who always gets what she wants, but not always what she needs.

The next time you hear a NO, don’t throw a fit or a pity party. Remember the immeasurable power it has to transform your life. Allow it to lead you away from the kids’ table to the front of the adult buffet. Before you know it, you’ll have so many wonderful YES’s to choose from that you’ll be coming back for seconds.

 

 

 

What we’ve missed looking down

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Over the course of the last few years, I’ve grown increasingly unhappy with my relationship to and dependency on technology. I don’t know if it’s laziness, complacency or insecurity, but I’m slowly forgetting how to just BE. I fear that by mostly looking down instead of all around, we are becoming numb to real emotion, real relationships and real experiences. There’s no room for discomfort, for confronting the hard things, and for handling life as people, not profiles.

To avoid introspection or a potentially awkward human interaction, we binge watch another TV show or lose sleep agonizing over the hidden meaning of a LIKE or the absence of a LIKE. Are those people really praying or just Facebook praying? If you use emojis do you ever have to be in touch with your real emotions? Really? Our society has come to this? It’s a recipe for judgment overload and social anarchy. I don’t think anyone can deny that civility is dying a cruel death on every front.

Since I addressed social media specifically, don’t misinterpret my feelings. I have a lot of love for social media and I’d be a hypocrite if I denied it. I enjoy keeping in touch with friends far and near. I am thankful for the ability to capture and archive moments as they happen. It’s a powerful channel for looking back and remembering in great detail some of the best memories of our lives. But where’s the boundary and when does it become too much? It’s probably a different answer for every individual, but just consider … if we all continue capturing EVERY moment in edited perfection, will we even recognize our own lives 20 years from now? What was real, and what was manufactured? When does the presentation of the moment outshine the moment itself? It seems unfair to our actual memories to get second billing.

I can’t remember the last time I managed to read a book cover to cover in a reasonable amount of time. I’m a fast reader and my supposed LOVE for books surrounds me on shelves, in boxes and ironically on my Kindle. Yet they’re all collecting dust. Why? It’s a part of me lost to distraction. I read books in chunks, and when I finally get to the end (mostly out of guilt), I lose track of important details that take too much effort to recall. I can’t hit refresh and get back what was lost when my attention was diverted. And my attention span grows shorter each year. Sure I’m over 40, but I don’t think growing older is the problem. It’s more that I’m growing away from the things I truly love and I’m replacing them with a shallow substitute of mind numbing content on a glowing screen.

Finally, I think about where this hits me the hardest. My family. I LOVE my family, but if I’m being honest, there are many days I probably spend more time on Facebook than I do in face time with them. Even if I’m talking about them, I’m not really WITH them. We have memories, but is anything ours alone? I won’t always get this balance right, but I’m going to pause more before posting this year. If I want to save a moment for me without sharing, I can always change my settings or do something crazy like print my photos or write in a journal! Mind blowing I know.

Please don’t misinterpret the tone of my rant. None of it is intended to be a guilt trip or a technology trash talk. These tools provide us with so many amazing ways to connect in the world. They give us access to information and experiences that we could have never imagined just a few decades ago. The irony isn’t lost on me that I’m using a tool of technology to share this, but at least I’m writing again – something I once enjoyed that predates my insta-babble. We just have to be cautious and not confuse this still very new frontier with humanity. Technology may fulfill some human needs, but it doesn’t have a heart and it doesn’t have the capacity to love you. No matter what you’re watching on the Sci-Fi Channel, none of it is REAL

This year, I want to remember what’s real. I want to reconnect to my humanity. I want to notice what I might never see when my head is down instead of up. I want to hear more by actually listening instead of staying locked inside headphones. I want to use all five senses again instead of primarily one. What have I missed already? There’s no way to turn it all off, but starting today, don’t be a part of the head down herd. Look up. What’s right in front of you is all you ever truly have to hold on to. Don’t let it go.

Look what I missed when I normally have my head down like everyone else in the Starbucks line. Who knew?