old advice made new

Remember bulletin boards in elementary school? Before those teacher supply stores sold all the specialty borders and letters? Before chalkboard paint was a thing?

I saw a hand-lettered board just the other day. The poorly stapled message would have benefitted from a level. It annoyed me, possibly because it was shoddy work, but more likely because I was already annoyed by someone on Twitter.

True story. I was annoyed by a stranger on Twitter.

Unfollow you might say. Block. Well, yes. That’s an option. But it got me thinking about this person who is, quite possibly, a chronically unhappy individual and is constantly posting rounds of negativity, whining, and complaints. It’s a sad cycle of unhappiness, followed by complaints of unhappiness, which can’t possibly lift anyone’s spirit, so back again to a renewed round of unhappiness.

Unfortunately, it affected me.

I got to thinking, how often do I post something negative on Twitter because it is a convenient sounding board and forget someone is going to read it and perhaps have a reaction to it?

Do I really want to be that person spewing the garbage all the time? So I decided to make my own bulletin board here, reminiscent of the kinds I saw in the hallways at school:

T.H.I.N.K. Before You Tweet

T — is your comment truthful?

H — is it helpful?

I — does it inspire?

N — is it noteworthy?

K — is it kind?

just another sepia evening

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 8.31.29 PM

A few days ago on Catholic Weekend I mentioned to my pals on the show that somehow the leaves hadn’t peaked here. I figured everything would just turn brown and then it would be winter.

I was delighted to capture this picture on my way home. There’s a little causeway that crosses a small lake in my neighborhood and I cross it twice, on the way in, and on the way out. Although I took this picture and played with a filter and some cropping, I failed  to see the beauty in it.

Oh, sure, I saw something beautiful that I wanted to capture. I finally saw the leaves changing color. I saw the reflection in the still water. But I didn’t see it.

I posted the picture to Twitter, more out of reflex than any real thought, and then a tweet from a friend gave me pause.  She asked if I got to see that EVERY DAY.

Yes. I just don’t pay attention.

It was one of those moments that are thought provoking, and possibly a little life changing.  A gentle reminder to be a little more present to the world around me. Thanks.



Welcome Mission Conference 2013

Welcome to my humble little blog. I hope you’ll learn quite a bit about how to use social media, maybe dare a little to post on Facebook or Google+  or Twitter if you are beginners, or really push yourselves if you make the leap into blogging.

Whatever you choose, remember one very important thing: be yourself.

If you like gardening, then write about gardening.

If you like music, share what moves you.

I you like books, review your favorites.

You see, we’re all unique and have things to share with others, but we share one great thing in common: we love the Lord. Write about that, too. Not as an apologist, unless you are one, but rather, as a faithful Catholic, living your life and doing the things you do.

Give it a try, share it with your family and friends, and join the online conversation.

What would you write about?

gratitude and twitter

Woohoo! back in the CatholicMom.com playground this weekend. So awesome to be with so many thoughtful ladies (and guys, too! it’s true!). I hope you follow the link to see what I share over there, and then look around and read some of the other great posts.

For all its practical uses and community building, Twitter can also easily turn into a source of self-absorption, where we go to whine and bemoan the petty ills that befall us.

It’s not just that no one wants to listen to a sourpuss all day. There’s a real danger in engaging in this persistent negativity. It brings us down, and brings others down with us. It turns us into ungrateful social media brats. And it’s contagious.

What if, instead of getting on social media first thing in the morning and complaining about not having enough sleep, we Tweeted in thanksgiving for having a bed to sleep in? What would happen to us if our first thought of the day was to express gratitude for our blessings?

[read the rest here]

The Great Twitter Wars

This has nothing to do with Twitter.com.

It has everything to do with discerning birds, two very different bird feeders, and a very self-satisfied husband who is, well, not at all self-satisfied at the moment.

The story begins at the beginning, when the grand scheme to landscape the backyard began.

It was a good idea at the time…hubby wanted to make a pretty oasis for us. I am grateful for every part of it — even when I thought I’d hate the roof instead of a pergola…and adding a retaining wall … and extending the driveway.

In short, I bitched and moaned my way into loving all the little things he did. Silly me.

And still, he asks me what I’d like. When I picked a red birdhouse that is big and fairly nondescript except the color, he asked me if I wouldn’t rather have this green one that looks a little sturdier.

I said “no” so he dutifully bought and installed the red one, all the while asking me if I didn’t really prefer the green one.

You know the green one showed up in the yard, right? LOL. It was a matter of time.

Enter the birds.

They prefer the red feeder. In fact, they have practically rejected the green one. I’d laugh if it wasn’t hurting my poor honey’s feelings — oh to be rejected by these greedy birds. They’ve gone through 20 pounds of bird feed in less than 2 weeks.

Today was just too much. We were sitting in the cool morning shadows, drinking coffee and chatting when he became distracted by the birds that were insisting on getting every last bit of feed out of the feeder while barely checking out the other one, close by and full.

He observed that the red feeder, easily accessible and overflowing with feed that comes out so quickly it not only feeds a variety (and a ton!) of birds, but even the squirrels and chipmunks are feasting on the excess.

And then he pointed out that my feeder is the welfare state — greedy birds abusing the food and using it and wasting it, and then angry with each other when it’s all gone, while his feeder is serving the dignified birds in an orderly way, with an abundance of food available to the birds who don’t mind the extra wait and effort to land on the arm that opens the feed.


I’d laugh, except the analogy is too good.



back with some Quick Takes

Check out the collection of other 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, hosted at Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary


My inability to be present on social media has been a little random and mostly non-existent. At first I was distressed by it because it wasn’t necessarily a choice, but it has coincided with Lent, and working out rather nicely. I admit that I’m not all that distressed by it. I’m checking in a few times…in the morning, maybe late afternoon. It’s working out well for me…you know, not so many “I’m having a cup of coffee” tweets, instead, I’m enjoying some real time banter and then moving on.


Speaking of Twitter, had a hilarious exchange with my daughter. Actually, it was a couple of retweets, and her wry observation that followed. There was a lot of buzz about Leap Day, and these played nicely into that fun:

My retweet:

Her retweet:

Immediately after that I got this text message from her:

Your most recent retweet followed by my most recent retweet is a funny juxtaposition of our generation’s mentalities 🙂

It led to a really great conversation in real time, on the phone, and what’s not to love about that?


Gonna have a little trip to New Orleans! I’ll take an epi-pen. Should I eat this?


A series of delightful events this week reminded me of this lovely picture I took a while ago at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center in Augusta, GA. I posted a bunch of pictures here. I really like this picture because the sun beams illuminate the whole space. I’ve been thinking an awful lot about Mary’s fiat since I’m working through a total consecration to Jesus through Mary.


Sometimes I get in wild moods and write poetry and actually share it, instead of shoving it under my mattress. A couple of people actually read it. I mean, besides my mother. The nice people over at Catholic Lane  are posting it! Click on my pretty little picture and you can read it, too!



My honey gave me an early birthday present! In fact, it was a lovely launch for birthday week! (yes, my birthday is very soon).


And the birthday week celebrations continue…this was breakfast, made by my own Honey, with some local honey. It better hold me til dinner 🙂


All that we behold is full of blessings. ~William Wordsworth

Today marks Day 30 of my Grateful Tweet exercise. The idea behind this Twitter campaign, and the subsequent use of the hashtag, #gratefultweet, is simple. Before launching into a day of social media filled with posts ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, the first tweet of the day should be in thanksgiving. [read more about it]

I know of the importance of gratitude, particularly when it’s difficult to be grateful. I’d say its importance increases with the level of difficulty we’re encountering.

St. Paul tells us to “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Sure, St. Paul, easy for you to say, you’re a Saint! As for me, I’m definitely not a Saint, and I sometimes feel like every day is an insurmountable failure at achieving even marginal saintliness. Instead of being disheartened, I decided to treat this challenge as a spiritual exercise.

I figured, if I could make it for 30 days and establish a habit of gratefulness in the morning, at least I will have started my day with a strong moment of praise. Too often I treat my prayer life like a to-do list — Angelus: check; Rosary: check; Scripture: check. The grateful tweet was just another check.

And then, it wasn’t.

I started to really notice the things for which I am grateful; my husband, my children, my friends — the many gifts God has given me that bring me joy. If that had been all, it would have been a successful experiment.

But of course, there’s more. In every instance when I have invited God into my life, it was a springboard for more. You see, this month when I’ve had the inclination to tweet a complaint or a negative comment, I’ve sometimes remembered to look for any redeeming element in the thing causing me grief. I usually found something that made me grateful.

Look, I’m no saint, and the last place I thought I’d find some spiritual growth is Twitter, yet here I am, extolling the value of gratitude, 140 characters at a time.

Give it a try. What are you grateful for?

wake up from your snoring!

Me...and Daisy, Sarah's hat. What are we pondering?

Hey! I have a guest post at Sarah Reinhard’s blog, SnoringScholar.com, at, um snoringscholar.com. She’s so gracious with her fun sandbox so I’m playing over there today.

Here’s a little bit of what I say:

We’ve all heard it – The Internet is an insidious source of distraction and evil in contemporary society. It’s true!

I blame a certain little addiction to cute farm animals and shiny pink tractors as one of those distractions. Thanks to family and friends mocking me at every obnoxious status update, I had an intervention and am pleased to report I’ve been Farmville-free for 18 months.

Of course, I’m making light of it – or am I? Social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google + or [insert your favorite distraction here], can be a powerful time suck. It can be a black hole that takes us away from our families and friends, makes us less productive, and does nothing, nothing to make us better people.

Is it a crazy anti-internet rant? A public confession and self-flagellation left over from Farmville days? Maybe. NO! One should never rant without a solution. See what a lot of people are doing to inject the internet with some positive medicine. Read the rest of my post here.

is anybody out there?

I love this video that Msgr. Charles Pope posted on his great discussion of the one-way talking that’s generally going on in social media. We talk about it on this week’s Catholic Weekend.  You can read Pope’s post here, but I can’t help sharing the video with you …

you know what?

I had an interesting experience in my evening composition classes. I teach two sections of what most people know as Freshman Composition I. It’s a challenging class during the day. Add to the mix the likelihood that the majority of my students are older adults returning to school after years of raising kids and working full time, and the difficulty grows exponentially. I have to compete with the kids who are constantly textmessaging and the older folks freaking out because I expect them to submit their papers to an on-line plagiarism detection site and they can’t handle the technology. And to think I used to believe the challenge was getting them to back up their work.

Last night’s lesson revolved around the creation of effective thesis statements. Ladies and gentlemen, I have been doing this for almost 25 years. I can create an academic thesis statement on any mundane insipid topic you throw at me. I can write about healthcare, war, and ice cream.

I discovered last night that I can do this in 140 characters or less.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Are you kidding me? Has Twitter affected the way I write? I’m a little depressed. And a lot amused. Sadly, only a couple of people got it when I did my little dance of incredulity. Oh well.

As a result, I present to you this neat little video that might get you thinking about your own social media use.