Monday, November 3, 2014


Media Week.

For one week, I cut seven forms of media from my life. This was difficult for me, but mainly because I ALREADY do not have a Smartphone, do not have internet at home, and do not have cable at home. Those are the three big ones, so what else do I cut out?

The seven I chose were: texting (ouch!), Facebook, Pinterest/Twitter, radio, television (meaning my Gilmore Girls DVD’s), and all extra Internet browsing.
(I was inspired by the book “7” by Jen Hatmaker)

All in all, and I’ve gone through this week twice now, I love the real connections it gives me with people. When I do a Media Fast, it forces me to pick up the phone and call people. I know it may sound prehistoric, but it so soothing to my soul to pick up the phone just to chat. Remember middle school, when you couldn’t go an evening without talking to your best friend on the phone, catching up about your days, planning what to wear the next day, working on your homework together over the phone? Well, I do, and I’m glad I grew up in the decade I did. So, this last week, my friend Maggie was also doing the fast. And she and I exchanged calls and voicemails EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK. It reminded me of middle school, and it was so awesome!

Can I be honest for a second?
I have a really hard time with Facebook. I don’t have a smartphone, so sometimes I feel left out, like I don’t get to post as often as others do, and I don’t get to post as many pictures, so I don’t get as many “likes”. People “like” posts with pictures; it’s just what we do. So when my posts don’t include pictures, I know they don’t “draw the eye”, and I know people scroll past my posts without reading them, and I know people aren’t interested. And that kinda sucks.

Or how about everyone posting pictures of their awesome trips and vacations, or their new cars, or purses, or new babies, or their recent half-marathon? How do these make me feel when I haven’t had a vacation in a while, have driven the same car for 30 years, can’t run a mile to save my life, or had my babies 20 years ago, before I could share their every milestone moment instantly? They make me feel left out, like I somehow don’t fit in, like I’m missing something.

It’s a sometimes difficult, really raw, at times confusing place to be: knowing I don’t fit into the norm, but refusing to do the things to place myself there. Knowing that I don’t have something that 90% of the country has, but knowing in my heart that I never want to have it. Knowing that I will always be missing something, because I can’t change society, or technology, AND that I'm not willing to partake of said technology....

I write this as an insecure, vulnerable person. But the thing is, I’m not the only one out there. At least I’m one of the Insecure who purposefully puts distance between myself and the Pressure of Facebook, and I’m not sitting at home, living through other people, posting attention-seeking statuses, coveting what others have or experience, begging someone, ANYONE to take an interest in me.

But there are such people out there. Impressionable people--kids, teens, young adults.

So what message are we sending to these people, when we tell them, "Get with the times" or "you really need to get a new phone", and just what are we allowing technology to become?

These thoughts may not make sense to everybody, but I'm just sharing here......

Nothing to Give

The assignment this week: focus on possessions, giving away 7 items a day for a week straight (I was inspired by the book “7” by Jen Hatmaker).

I really hate this week.

I actually spent most of the week worrying about how to complete the task, thinking to myself, “I have nothing to give.”

In trying to write about it, some memories came out instead:

Once when I was about 9 years old, my dad said we were loading up his truck with all of our old toys, clothes, books, and stuff.  We then drove an hour down the road to some remote little pueblo outside of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.  It was December, shortly before Christmas, and we parked the truck in the middle of the road and called out to the people in their houses.  They ran next door to grab their friends, and soon, my younger sister and I were handing our well-loved Barbies to little girls who were very excited to receive them.  I remember one older gentleman asking my dad specifically for a ball cap that I believe was actually a children’s size, but it fit him, so it didn’t matter.

I never looked at a dirt-road, lean-to neighborhood the same way again.
We visited our neighboring border towns quite often, especially since my grandmother lived in one of them, so I did a lot of looking out the window, wondering about people’s lives, asking hard questions, and worrying.  Yes, between the ages of 9 and 14.

I don’t think my dad took us down there that December morning to make us worry incessantly for the rest of our lives.  But I do believe this memory has remained with me for so long because the event stirred something deep inside of me.

Another, earlier, memory is from California, when I was probably about 7 years old. I’ve mentioned before that we were a migrant agricultural family of sorts.  We spent about half the year in Yuma, Arizona, and the rest of the time in Salinas, California.

From what I remember about Salinas, it was a bigger city than Yuma.  There were more freeway on-ramps, and we seemed to use them a lot to get around town.  Because of the nature of my parents’ work, we always had boxes and boxes of fresh or packaged produce and vegetables (they got sent home with the workers sometimes).

So one day, my dad decided we were taking some produce in the car with us.  I remember sitting in the backseat, holding bags of baby carrots in my lap.  Upon reaching one of the stoplights at an on-ramp/overpass/underpass, my dad rolled down the window and began to hand out the bags of vegetables to the man who was standing on the corner holding a cardboard sign.

When my dad reached back to me, I handed him only one of the bags of baby carrots.  My dad corrected me and asked for the other bag as well, and I reluctantly gave it to him. “All yours, buddy,” he said cheerfully to the man.

“Esta pensando en todos los demas,” my mom said to my dad with quiet, marked realization.

“She’s thinking of all the others.”

I remember knowing, just KNOWING, that I had seen other men like this one, and that they were hungry too, and now I had nothing left to give to any of them.

We went along our way that day, but I remember being a little confused and maybe even a little
angry. Why hadn’t we saved some vegetables (there was celery, too) for other men? Why couldn’t we share more, why couldn’t we help everyone?

I think one of the many lessons my dad was trying to teach me that day was that even when I get this crazy overwhelming feeling, be it guilt, or worry, or panic, or sorrow, it can never cancel out the good deed I am doing right then and there, right in that moment.  And to never let the fear of not being able to fix the whole problem, keep me from taking a stab at the need right in front of me.

To always give what you can, even if it’s a humble bag of vegetables. To never become blind to my blessings, and to always keep unwrapping and rearranging life’s little “extras” and presents, until I find a way to use them to bless somebody else.

Even when the last bag of baby carrots is gone, there is never nothing to give.