Why just being “Social” doesn’t work

I’ve recently had several things I could blog about here, but… I can’t. As I started to write each post I realized that I would not be able to hit the “publish” button because what I would write could hurt others. Although my blog is a place for me to journal, express my opinions and get out some “stuff” – it’s not a place to cause strife or to upset others in undue ways.

This got me thinking that being “social” online is often the same that it is in real life. Although I’ve seen many people online that think they can post and comment in any way they want without hurting anyone’s feelings – I know this isn’t so. I digress often from posting things on this blog that I know my close friends and family may read. It’s not a place to air my dirty laundry. It’s a place, instead, to connect with others in a way that benefits everyone.

In real life, I often keep things to my self. Some people call it a “filter” or “keeping my mouth shut.” I know several people who have lost their filters… (one I’m married to, but I love him anyway). All too often in life, I rein (did I use that right Roberta?) in my opinions, feelings and “snark” because it just keeps me out of trouble. But it also leads sometimes to a life of solitude. It’s hard to find someone who thinks and feels the same way when we can’t express how we truly think and feel. The same is true in this medium and other online “social” media sites.

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We’re told so often to “be social” to gain more followers and, while we can try to be social to some extent, we can’t really be totally true to who we are and connect with others because, just like in real life, we have to hold some things in. We need to keep some things close to the vest…or risk being hated by people we love and don’t want to hurt in the long run.

I realized that I can’t connect via this medium about some family issues because… well, family reads this. I can’t write about my disillusionment with some areas of my life… again, because the people involved in those areas with me read my blog.

I know I would find soulmates out there who understand, but I can’t talk to you about it. It’s still held up…pent up…inside due to these same restrictions as in our real lives. Although I can reach out across continents to talk about God’s love (which I enjoy and am blessed by), I can’t get to the true heart of my personal matters here with you.

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So this is why I think that even being “social” online – like we’re told we HAVE to be in order to have followers – still doesn’t work in helping others see the true US in the long run. Although being superficially social (“Hi, I love your post!” or “That’s a great idea!”) is good (and appreciated) – being social online will never replace a deep conversation with a close, trusted friend; it will never replace a hug from someone who knows; it can never replace that special moment with someone, in person, who just gets it.

So don’t just be “social” online – or even in real life – find some people (some REAL people whom you see in person) who truly understand you and connect with them. (Perhaps even a counselor.) It’s better than any social media outlet out there. Better yet – connect with God. He understands you at the core of YOU. And He already knows every worry, every fear, and every heartache and He won’t judge you. Instead – He extends His love to you.

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one (1)

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Q is for Q and A

I met Michelle Lazurek at the West Branch Christian Writer’s Conference a few years back and her seminar on character development was so fun! Recently, I was a beta reader for her new book, An Invitation to the Table, and now she has two wonderful new children’s books coming out about being beautiful and strong. She is certainly a disciple for Christ and I am honored to know her and learn from her.

Here are a few questions (perfect for the “Q” of our A to Z Challenge!) she answered for me so you can get to know her a bit better too! Be sure to check out all her books on her website (link below!) PLUS, if you’re in my neck of the woods, be sure to come check out Michelle and her books at our Book Fest tomorrow!

Michelle, tell me a little about yourself.

I am a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. I’ve been in ministry for over fifteen years. I’m married to my wonderful husband Joe for fifteen years and have two children, Caleb and Leah.

How did you become a writer?

I’ve often said that I didn’t choose writing; writing chose me. In 2009, while attending a women’s retreat, I felt God impress upon my heart to write a book. I had never written anything before in my life. I was terrified! I prayed and asked God what he wanted me to write about, and I began to notice in the gospel of John how many times John referred to himself as “the disciple ‘Whom Jesus loved.'” As I researched, I found no one had written anything about that topic. That’s when my first book “Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved” was born. I’ve been writing ever since.

What kind of difficulties have you experienced as a pastor’s wife, and how did you handle those difficulties?

When you are in a position of power, there will always be people who try to take advantage of that power. It’s especially tough when you are in a place of spiritual power. The enemy will always seek to knock you own, using the same people who praise with you on a Sunday morning. Besides loneliness, that’s the hardest part about being a pastor’s wife- those within your congregation who don’t treat you with the same level of mutual respect because they believe things should be handled or organized differently.

You have two new children’s books that are being released in early October. Tell me what they are about.

When my daughter was four years old, she would spend hours parading in front of my husband, twirling around in her princess dresses and asking “Daddy, Am I Beautiful?” I realized in that moment that is the cry of every young girl’s heart—to be told by her father she is beautiful. My book explores the concept of self-esteem from a young girl’s perspective and teaches them that it is not what’s on the outside that makes you beautiful, but what’s on the inside. Mommy Am I Strong? is written for boys and explores the concept of their self-esteem. Boys want to be seen as strong and use their strength to prove their worth. This book teaches that true strength comes from the inside, not on the outside.

What lesson would you like young girls and boys take away from your childrens books?

Society is tough to raise Christian men and women in, especially for women. In this overly sexualized world, we tend to teach girls that their value in life comes from exploiting their bodies for others’ pleasure. I want girls to feel they are more than that. I want them to come away with the confidence that their worth does not come from their body type, but from God’s approval of them just as they are. With the increasing popularity of superheroes, boys are taught early that their worth comes from their strength. I want young boys to believe that even someone with a disability can be strong because of their ability to display humility and grace in the face of trials.

What are some upcoming projects?

I have a non-fiction book on hospitality titled An Invitation to the Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality that releases in spring of 2016.

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michellelazurek

Michelle S. Lazurek is a pastor’s wife, a mother, an author, and a speaker. A member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she has been published in numerous places such as Charisma Magazine and Movieguide Magazine. Her newest book An Invitation to the Table explores hospitality and discipleship. For more information, Please visit her website at www.michellelazurek.com.

 

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Work in Progress

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. It seems like every time I turn around there is something new to be done or someone else asking me for a favor. I have a hard time saying No  to people. Maybe you’re like me? So when my days got quite filled up, before I knew it most days, and I still hadn’t written a single word in my work in progress (WIP), I became quite agitated.

First, I’m working on an event for my writer’s group. We’re holding our first ever Book Fest and it’s a lot of work. I’ll be honest that I took on a lot of the work myself, but it’s mainly because I didn’t see anyone else jumping in to help and everyone else had their own things going on. Second, I’m doing some editing work and dealing with deadlines. Although it keeps the cash flow going, I often put that work first and don’t get to writing. And third, family issues have popped up that you just can’t avoid. People get sick, or die, there are familial obligations and responsibilities. It happens.

To-Do-List

Some mornings I get up too late (due to my poor sleeping habits) that I just delve right into work and not into God’s word like I should. It’s happened a few times this week – including today. I still try to make time to pray, but I need to get into His word in order to truly work on my WIP. I’ve been frustrated with myself because I don’t make enough time for it or I make excuses. I bet you’ve done that too, right? I know we’re not all that different as a species.

In addition, I’m reading a book called, “Let God Be God” by Ray C. Stedman. It’s a study of the Book of Job. I struggle with Job a lot. How could God let him suffer they way He did? Why did that have to happen? It bothers me so much – enough to borrow a book from the library about it to see if I could make sense, and put my mind to ease, about it. But I don’t read it. Or not enough. I read a small chapter here and there and then put it back down. “I’m so busy,” I rationalize. “I’ll get to it later.” But later never comes.

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I’ve renewed it from the library about three times now and two times I had not even read a single page. But I’m determined to dig into it. So yesterday, when I had to go sit at the hospital with a friend, I took it along. As she slept, I read. I got farther than I’ve ever gotten into it before she woke up. And it was good. I am beginning to understand how Job not only relates to me, but also how his story helps me relate to God.

It’s still a struggle – both understanding God and reading this book – but I hope to find more time for both (and for my WIP). It’s a daily choice to put God ahead of other things. I truly feel that this is part of my growth and my research for the WIP so I will push forward. I’ll get that WIP done and, hopefully, grow my relationship with God in the process. It make take me until I’m old and gray, but it will be a life full of learning and love.

What about you? What are you reading – is it light or heavy and why are you reading it?

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P is for Project Party!

As many of you know I’m also a Simply Said Designer in my “free” time. Simply Said allows people to style their space with personalized designs.

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One of the ways some designers are helping their customers to see all the unique possibilities of our personalized designs is by having a “Project Party” utilizing Simply Said designs and products. I’m sure you’ve heard of Wine and Design parties going on in your area – this works much in the same way. We gather together a group of women (or men!) who want to enjoy a fun night or afternoon out while exploring their creative side!

One project party I’m working on (hopefully for October) is using our new Shadow Boxes. These are made from wood, can be filled with almost any substance and are easily hung anywhere in your home. The three I like the most are the laundry, wine and travel ones, but I’ve also seen boxes filled with sand, Christmas ornaments, candy and even money! The ideas are really limitless. And the best part? The insert with the vinyl can be switched out! We have extra inserts that can be purchased separately so you can easily add another vinyl to it and change out your shadow box all year long!

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Another idea combines leftover wood from other projects and some of our fun letters and holiday designs. It’s easy to create something from scraps! Plus, you get the added benefit of knowing that you recycled!

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How cute are these for Fall? Simply paint some wood to look like pumpkins and then use our jack-o-lantern vinyl design. No need to worry if your jack-o-lantern face will turn out perfectly when you can use our Simply Said vinyl to do the trick!

I’m loving this idea too – they are reversible and use our lettering options! So easy to do and completely versatile!

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I’m so excited to get my first Project Party started! Now it’s just a matter of choosing which project I want to show my customers!

Which one is your favorite?

Check out my website for all the latest designs and inspirational ideas for your home.

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The Contents of the Nightstand

My nightstand is a veritable treasure trove into my intricate balance as a human being. For some people, there is lotions and different odds and ends…maybe a pen to write a note. I have all those too – multiples in fact – but there is much more.

  • Several hair bands for when my hair gets long and I need to keep it off my face. I hate how it feels to sleep in, but waking up with a mouthful of hair strands is worse.
  • Lotions of every shape, size and duty. There is cuticle cream for when the skin around my nails becomes so dry that I bite it until it bleeds. Peppermint scented lotion for migraines. Lavender scented to help me relax (I have about 3 of these). Shea butter for those difficult, and dry, winter months when my feet become like strips of sand paper.
  • Cortisone cream. This is for my ears (and occasionally for those chewed on fingers). My ears often become dry inside and the doctor has recommended a little cortisone inside for healing.
  • A mini flashlight. I can’t tell you how often this has come in handy and I use it for more than a late night trip to the bathroom.
  • Tweezers…combined often with the flashlight.
  • 3 tubes of chapstick. I like various kinds for various effects. One is healing, one smells good and one tastes good.
  • Earplugs. Any woman with a husband does not need to ask what these are for.
  • Various toe nail clippers, sanding implements and tools to keep my pedicures looking pristine.
  • A notebook and three pens. There is actually a small, wire bound notebook in the drawer, one on the top of the stand beneath my Kindle and one in the side pocket of the stand. Just in case. Oh… and a small pad of paper on my dresser too.
  • A cloth for cleaning my glasses which seem to need cleaning every night. I’m pretty sure tiny people come in the darkness and touch every inch of the glass in the frames, leaving smudges in their wake. I should have them dusted for prints.
  • 3 nail files. (I sense a pattern of 3’s…)
  • 2 (breaking that pattern…) jars of Tiger Balm. Better than BenGay and smells better too.

Well, maybe it’s a normal drawer after all. You tell me…what’s in your drawer?

You can find me on Instagram and Twitter too! I love new followers!

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O is for Obituary

Sue A. Fairchild, 102, Tamarindo, Costa Rica, died peacefully at her home on Monday, October 5, 2076 at 10 in the morning.

Sue is survived by her adoring and handsome husband, John, and their five dogs (all currently now up for adoption). Preceding her into the joyful afterlife where she now sits with God are her parents, grandparents, five additional dogs (whom all died of unnatural causes, but the case has been closed on each in order to avoid divorce proceedings) and her beloved iguana, Umberto.

Sue’s life was a tortured tale of heartache and woe until meeting her husband, John, in 2006 at the home of a friend. Her career was as tortured and sketchy, with wide gaps between times of employment, but she enjoyed (or sometimes endured) careers in graphic design, insurance, writing and customer service. In addition to the numerous books she has published, Sue was most proud of her over 1000 published devotionals and twenty Chicken Soup for the Soul stories. Her life’s goal was to reach others with the Gospel of her Lord Jesus Christ through her writing.

Sue enjoyed writing and sitting on the beach and…well that’s pretty much it. She lived in Costa Rica for crying out loud – what else is there to do? And who cares to do anything else while living in Costa Rica?

Friends and family will probably not care to come pay their respects… as they are all dead already and even the ones left cannot afford the trip to Costa Rica. Sue’s ashes will be tossed out to sea by her loving husband at his convenience (or flushed down the toilet – whichever he prefers. He’s almost 100 himself you know.)

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 1 Cor. 5:8

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Sorry is not the hardest word…it’s goodbye

Okay, well I’m not saying goodbye… only changing it up a bit. For the past two years or so, I’ve been writing three blogs a week. Now I know some bloggers who would say, “Oh my! That’s a lot!” and others that would say, “What? Only three?” I think it’s up to the individual person really and three was working for me for a long time. It was my pattern.

BUT. It seems to be zapping my creative energies to come up with three posts a week. Truly, I struggle. In an effort to 1) make my content more enticing, scintillating and worth reading and 2) to, hopefully, leave behind some creative juices for other writing, I am cutting back on my average blog posts per week.

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I’m not leaving! (And please don’t be this girl…) I’m just cutting back. I will still post Fridays – especially until my A to Z Challenge is finished. (Once I start something, I finish it.) However, I will only be posting one other day of the week. More than likely that day will be Monday for now. I may switch it off and on to Wednesdays – especially if I have a “Wisdom from the Word” post to share because that alliteration demands that I use Wednesday’s for those.

I pray you will all still stick with me and, perhaps, find that my posts are better. Maybe you’ll even share them with your friends (please share them with your friends).

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In the meantime, I want to make you a promise that I am going to write my book. I’m going to spend this extra time working on putting pen to paper and publishing an inspirational book that I pray you’ll love. I’ve found that I need to not only make promises to myself, but to others (I tend to keep the ones to others better than I do to myself) and I need a deadline. But with the demands of three posts a week… I’ve been failing to write anything else and not a stitch has been written.

Thanks for understanding and your prayers and encouragements are deeply appreciated.

Stay tuned for book updates!

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