Lent 2014

As I start this blog I can’t help feeling an overwhelming sense of deja vu. I feel like I’ve already written this post, which is odd because I most certainly have never endeavored to do anything like this project before.

As most of you know the Lenten season begins today, March 5th with Ash Wednesday. and goes until April 19th, Holy Saturday. It is common practice to “give something up” for Lent, a practice that even those who aren’t church go-ers often participate in. There are two beliefs for the fasting. The first is that you fast as a form of penitence for your sins. The second theory is that the fasting is a reminder of the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert being tempted. I’m not sure that these two things really have to be mutually exclusive. 

This year for Lent I have decided to do two things. The first thing I am doing is giving up Facebook and Twitter. I’ll be honest these two vices are big distractions in my life. I am actually glad at the excuse to forgo them for 40 days. Granted, just because I am glad at the excuse, does not mean it will be easy. I do believe them both to be a source of negative energy in my life, and in many ways they ‘tempt’ me to sin. They evoke gossip and judgements about people in my life. They steal time away from more noble pursuits. And while it is never something I intend, they also may serve as a platform for boastfulness. So for these reasons, I am giving them up. I am allowing myself to stay on some social media (Goodreads, Instagram) because I feel like I don’t waste nearly the amount of energy or time on them, and I feel like they are positive outlets for my passions in life.

The next thing I am doing is a more ‘contemporary’ view of Lent

Instead of fasting, I will be indulging. Indulging in the word of God that is, and indulging in the interpretation of it by other spiritual leaders. Each day I will devote the time to reading the selected passages from my YouVersion bible app. It’s a program that will lead you through the Bible in a year. I’ve gotten behind so I’m actually only in Exodus right now (Pharoh Pharoh just let his people go!- please get the camp song reference there). The next thing I am adding is reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I knew I wanted to add a devotional type activity, and this book actually works well for it. It’s 40 chapters I believe.  And I believe the version I am getting (coming in the mail today) will have those little bar codes you can scan with your phone to get additional content online. I am a little tentative because I feel like I’ve heard negative things about Rick Warren for some reason, but I am optimistic about the experience.

I know that Lent should be a time of sacrifice and so I can’t help but feel like I’m doing it a little bit “wrong” that I am actually excited and happy about the changes this Lent season may bring to my life. It is what it is though. What are you giving up for Lent? Are you adding something? Please let me know what you’re up to and what you think of my plans. I’d love the feedback!



July Round-up

I absolutely cannot believe today is July 31st! I started my blog at the beginning of the month, and I figured like just about everything else I start, I’d grow tired of it. As the month has gone on I’ve grown even more addicted to it though. I love finding new blogs, I love thinking about how my blog can grown all on it’s own. In my first month on wordpress I’ve gotten 32 comments, 43 followers, and 360 views. I’ve also written sixteen posts, SIXTEEN. I am beyond proud of my commitment to this blog. It’s not about the views or the followers but there is just something nice about knowing people are reading the things you have to say.

As a way of letting people know what I’ve been up to who maybe haven’t gone back and checked out my other posts, and as a way in the future for people to easily check out summaries of past blog posts, I am doing a monthly round-up. I’ll categorize everything for you and link it to the original post, that way if you’re interested, you’ll be able to check them out!

Oh, and before we get to that. I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t share this tid-bit with all of my readers. July 31st, next to December 31st, is my favorite 31st of the year. Want to know why? Today is Harry Potter’s Birthday!! 🙂 Enjoy the round-up below, and let me know what you think of “The Coffee Darling” in a comment to this post.

Essie’s Cute As A Button

Book Reviews
Garden of Stones: A Book Review
The Art Forger: A Book Review
The Expats, by Chris Pavone: A Book Review

Daily or Weekly Challenges
Facebook: My Love Affair with The Beast
Sugar Spice and Everything Nice
Back to School
Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece

The Coffee Darling
The Great Tootsie Pop Mystery
I’m on Bloglovin’
20 Something Rut
I’m on Vacation

Easy Stuffed Shells
Adventures in Jam Making

Facebook: My Love Affair with the Beast

By the time I was 11 I had my first web-page. For the life of me I can’t remember the host of the website, but I wasn’t alone. The most tech savvy of my friends also had them. They all had the same format, a brief about yourself paragraph touting all your wonderful 11 year old qualities followed by lines of shout-outs to your “girls” and “boys”. 

As I progressed into middle school websites like Xanga and Live-Journal came about. Although slightly different in format the idea was the same: brag about yourself, shout out your friends and how wonderful they are. 

By the time I was into high school, MySpace was “it”. Compared to the previous websites where you could create a place for yourself on the internet, MySpace was revolutionary. MySpace let you post things for all your friends to see, your friends could write things on your wall, you could show off who your “besties” were on your “Top 8”, and it even had a blog function. As I think back to high school, I try to ask myself if there was any “drama” surrounding MySpace. I’m sure there was, but honestly all I remember was that it mostly served as a way to show how quirky you were, how cute you looked in that mirror picture, and how many friends you did or didn’t have.

Come the fall of 2005, most of my friends had gone off to college and discovered the new world of Facebook. I remember my best friend telling me how cool it was and that I had to get one. I got one- and I swore I’d never use it.  When I first joined Facebook the things people posted were trivial “Brittany Smith is SOOO putting off this psychology paper she has to write!!” (Remember, back when facebook started all your status updates for you?) You could find out who was dating who, what someone was dressing up as for Halloween, and read the wall-posts between your friends who were trying to make plans for the next weekend. In 2006, Facebook was still a growing beast. No one really thought too much about what they put on it.

In the 18 months that followed Facebook grew from what felt like a relatively exclusive population to an absolute necessity. By the Spring of 2007 quite literally everyone and their Mom was on Facebook. The term “Facebook Stalking” was said without so much of a blink. I was a freshman in college and absolutely everyone  was on Facebook. I remember almost every Sunday afternoon by room-mate would upload all the party pictures from the previous three nights up onto Facebook, and the tagging would begin. No one thought too much about it. Sure they were barely dressed and had drinks in their hands, but so what, everyone was doing it. 

It was about that point that Facebook snowball’ed. People started to put more and more things on it. There wasn’t a thought about who could see it (As long as it wasn’t mom!). People were checking things all the time, posting new ‘content’ all the time. The “filter” just disappeared. Did you come home to find your dog pooped on the rug? Better do a status update about that. Five weeks pregnant, not even been to the doctor yet? Better do a status update about that. Just get engaged, haven’t even told Mom & Dad yet? better do a status update about that. It just grew bigger and bigger. People at this point have become, what I consider, literally addicted, to Facebook. 

Hello, my name is TheCoffeeDarling, and I am addicted to Facebook. Two years ago for no particular reason- I decided I’d try to go a month without Facebook. I made a big status about it, letting people know that they should text or call me if they needed me. I lasted 36 hours. 

I’ve reached a point where I almost feel as if the things I do in my daily life do not count unless I share them on facebook. Yesterday for example, I ran three miles and then decided to take my dogs on a two mile walk. At some point my MapMyRun app had a glitch and it showed that I’d only done a mile dog walk. I’d been planning on posting that to Facebook. I actually felt genuine sadness that I couldn’t anymore- after all, a one mile dog walk isn’t nearly as impressive. 

I would definitely call myself a Facebook Addict. I know that might sound extreme, but it’s genuinely how I feel. Facebook is bad for me but I continue to use and love it anyway.

Facebook makes me feel like I have to keep up with the Jones’. I feel like I need to be doing the types of things other people are doing. Facebook makes me feel alone. It makes me aware that 99% of my “friends” aren’t people I could call on. Instead of being focused on the people I do have in my life, I’m reminded constantly, that I don’t really know these people. If I got a flat tire- I could never call them. Facebook is a crutch.  It makes me feel like I don’t need to go out and see the people I care about, because I can just read about it, or see pictures of them from my own home. 

I hate Facebook, but I don’t know if I will ever be able to leave it behind until our society as a whole moves away from this trend of “over-sharing.” The way Facebook has affected me makes me worry about the kids 10 years younger than me, who will have been aware and users of social media since they were in diapers. How will their lives be different from mine because of this? 

I find myself hoping that in the next couple years society reaches it’s breaking point and begins to move away from internet based lives, and back to the lives we had before Facebook. What do you think? Are you a Facebook addict? Are you an oversharer? Are you a lurker? Have you ever Facebook stalked? 

Note: This post is in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge