Blog#6 – 5 People to Enrich Your Life

So far we have explored both activities and objects that enrich your life. There is a story that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. These people touch our lives, shape and make who we are. These are the people we want to or need to include in our lives. Who are the people in your life? What is their relationship to you? Are they still in your life? In this blog we will explore the people that enrich our lives.

 

5 People that Enrich My Life

OK… truth be told these are groups of people not individuals but I could not narrow it down. They are also all “lifers” not just reasons or seasons although I believe those exist. I am grateful for the many people who bless my life.

1. My Parents… My Examples

My MIMG_1629om & Dad are in their 80’s and live in their own home. They live life actively in their community, hold hands while watching tv at night, and laugh at each their own humorous hearing-impaired mis-communication. I grew up with Mom at home with our family… always there; house clean, home cooked meals, entertaining, school council leader, UCW leader, and choir master. She leads life with organization, commitment, faith and grace… a true lady. My Dad was all business or all pleasure. Dad had no end of energy or interests from 6-day work weeks, to hospital auxiliaries, to boating, hunting, gardening, bird watching, and singing.   He taught me to work hard by day and play hard by night. Together they truly depict the saying of “Live, Love, Laugh”.

2. My Sisters… My Comrades

I have 3 sisters each of whom I connect with very differently. Penny, the oldest, is my mentor throughout all of life’s challenges. She is the first person I turn to and despite my struggles and our 12 years difference she treats me as her equal. Margaret is full of fun, fashion, and love. If I need an interior decorating tip, borrow some jewelry, go to the beach, or a big hug, she is there in a flash. Barbara is special needs. She has Asperger’s and is very difficult to live with. We do not get along well. However, she continues to teach me life lessons like persevering in the face of trials and forcing me to grow to be a tolerant and accepting person.

3. My Spouse… My Partner and Love

Dave and I have been married 18 years. There have been many good times and many difficulties. He makes me laugh and makes me boil.   He works hard and doesn’t finish projects. He is fun-loving and sleeps in late.   He is a fun and thoughtful father and has a short temper. He is a fantastic lover and

My family... 2005

My family… 2005

picky eater who exercises little. He is my biggest supporter and a strongly opinionated man. He is faithful (no opposite required). Moral of the story… he is the perfect partner to me.  He is a beautiful and admirable human being and despite his faults is doing his best and loves me for the same.  What else can I ask for?

4. My Children… My Reason

I have 3 children Emily 16, Madelyn 14, and Zackery 11. Why didn’t anyone tell me that children are so much work? It is such a huge amount of sacrifice. I have given up sleep, money, time, work, fears and tears. But I have gained smiles, laughter, family, growth, and love that are deeper than any other human connection. This story says it all… many years ago my husband and I were trying to have a conversation but could not hear over our children’s talking, playing, and chaos. My husband yelled, “That’s it! All little people out of this room… now!” Our 3-year-old blond cutie spun in a little circle and replied very sweetly “I am not a little people. I am a big people. I am as big as a miracle.” Truth often comes out of the mouths of babes.

5. My Girlfriends… My Supporters

What would I do without them? I have many good friends from very different eras of my life Michelle from elementary school, Chris from high school, Joni, Esther and Kory from university, Brenda and Courtney from motherhood.   I connect with them for very different reasons. Michelle has always been ready for an adventure and loves and hates passionately. Chris has such a way with words and always makes me feel good about myself. Joni is my dancing partner. Esther gives me spiritual mantras. Kory is a true friend. Brenda loves her children and God the way I do. Courtney is a blast of laughter and whimsy. These are the women that fill my soul whether far or near.

These are the people who have enriched my life and keep me going.  Who are yours?  I would love to hear your stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Objects to Enrich Your Life

Last blog we explored “5 Activities to Enrich Your Life”. Is it possible that there are also objects that can enrich your life? I think most of us would agree that things are not what is important in our lives but admittedly we still seek to own certain treasures both small and large. So… what things put a smile on your face or a skip in your step? What do you admire in the stores? What do you spend money on when you are able? In this blog we will explore…  

 5 Objects to Enrich Your Life:

 1. Delectable Treats 

winechocolateEveryone has a weakness… sweet or salty. A rich glass of red wine and dark chocolate or crisp white wine and milk chocolate provides a soothing combination of mouth-watering pleasure for me. What’s your guilty pleasure?

 2. Beautiful Art

Wandering through small local art galleries is both calming and inspiring. Fine art, pottery, sculptures, or re-purposed pieces capture emotions, life moments, beauty, and creativity. Whether I purchase or leave empty-handed I feel inspired.

(Kryart – favourite local gallery 🙂 )

3. New Clothes

images-3Every season should start with 1 new outfit if possible. Every time you put it on the day is a little sweeter and you walk with a little more confidence.

Sing it with me… “I feel pretty… Oh so pretty…”

4. Jewelry

images-4Ok, I am a sucker for jewelry. I know… typical girl. The few pieces of jewelry I have received as gifts have had great meaning to me because of why they were given to me. Every time I wear it I feel that person’s love. Most literally it is an “object of their affections”.

5. A Clean Organized House 

What is the saying? “A cluttered house is a cluttered mind”.  I cannot work or relax in my home when it is cluttered.   It feels dis-organized, chaotic, and unsettling. The process of getting that clean, organized house is arduous. However, the result is surroundings that allow me to feel calm and peaceful.

 

As I write I realize it is not the objects that are of value to me but the emotions they evoke; self-indulgence, inspiration, confidence, love, peace. That is the reason I seek these things and find them valuable in my life. What objects enrich YOUR life?  What do they do for YOU?

 

Next Blog – 5 People to Enrich Your Life.

5 Activities to Enrich Your Life

The definition of enrich is to “improve or enhance the quality or value of”.   So, to enrich your life it begs the questions… “What brings value or meaning to my life?”   “What makes me feel excited (and I don’t mean just sex 😉 ), happy, proud, content, or peaceful? There are countless different ways to enrich your life through activities, objects, and people. Some of these things we turn to intuitively, others we have to be purposeful to include in our lives when life gets busy.  In this blog we will explore…  5 Activities to Enrich Your Life:

 1. Go for a walk.

1487750_stock-photo-woman-walking-at-beachMy favourite places to walk are on the beach or on a trail through the woods. The fresh air and warm sunshine are refreshing. The good muscle feeling of exercise is rejuvenating. The time to think or talk is a good opportunity for mental processing (some of us need the extra time to process 🙂 )

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2. Watch a theatrical production 

The energy of the music and dance is invigorating. Watching the actors put themselves “out there” is inspiring.   Check out Toronto’s live theatre productions or a local theatre near you.

3. Make music

Making music challenges the brain. It is (sometimes) beautiful to the ear. It allows you to open your heart and express a story, a picture, or an emotion.

4. Dance

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Moving to the beat. Who can resist it? It doesn’t matter if it is ballroom, ballet, jazz or hip-hop.   Once you free your self-conscious mind you can free the body. It is invigorating and confidence building.

5. Travel 

images-2There are so many places and things to see in this world, both man-made or naturally made.  Meeting new people, eating new foods, and experiencing new cultures. Every experience is an eye-opening experience.

 

Okay, okay… truth be told these are MY top 5 activities. These are the activities that add to my life… body, mind, or spirit. What are YOUR top 5 Activities? Think about it. I’d love to hear them.

Next Blog – 5 Objects to Enrich Your Life.

Blog#3 – Social Media – The Ugly

Blog #3

Social Media – The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

This is blog three of three, a continuing review of Social Media and it’s affects on society. In my last blog, ”Social Media – The Bad” affects were considered including hindering personal relationships, developing poor grammar habits, overwhelming selection, difficult learning curve, and time consuming.  Unfortunately, there are even worse outcomes of social media use which I will consider in “Social Media – The Ugly”.

Social Media – The Ugly

Lack of Privacy

Many social media networking sites such as Facebook and Linked In lack privacy. A person may intend for only friends to see their pictures, comments and personal information, it can easily be accessed and made public. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how public their information is or how to move around the website to block their information. As a result people have lost jobs their jobs because of compromising photos of unprofessional conduct  “11 Brutal Reminders that You Can and Will Get Fired For”.

Additionally, comments can be held against you, and personal information can be accessed to find you. Houses have been robbed after vacation timelines were posted or similar personal information carelessly revealed,  “Picture of Money on FaceBook Lures Robbers”

Social media privacy can be summed up with the Miranda Warning… “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say (or do) can be used against you…” For tips on how to increase your privacy settings, see “Basic Privacy Settings for FaceBook” .

 

Bullying

Social media bullying has become a source of extreme social pressure especially amongst our youth. Unfortunately, this was the case for our daughter only 1 month ago. Her classroom teacher left a note for the supply teacher with the names of students who had behavioural or academic challenges and their specifics. (It was not written within good political/professional conduct.) The supply teacher carelessly handed it out with some other papers. The student who received it, kept it, and showed his/her friends. The friend took a picture and put it on Snapchat. Within minutes the entire class had the list and could see everyone’s “damning” personal information. This series of careless mistakes and immature decisions resulted in embarrassing and hurtful comments with lasting social repercussions for many young students.

 

Unfortunately, this type of act can be extended to damaging photos and rumours which get posted and go “viral” over social media causing self-esteem issues leading to depression and suicide.  Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth age 15-24 years old. Amanda Todd from BC is only one of the many stories of this happening to.  Amanda, age 15, committed suicide in 2012 after being blackmailed into exposing her breasts via webcam, being bullied, and physically assaulted. She posted a video on YouTube prior to her death using a series of flashcards to tell her experience.

Committed suicide at age 15 as a result of Cyberbullying

Committed suicide at age 15 as a result of Cyberbullying

 CyberCrime

Social media has become one of the easiest channels for cyber crime.   It provides ideal sources to obtain personal information for crimes consisting of identity theft, phishing schemes, fraud, and data mining. In spring 2014 a 19-year-old man was charged for hacking into a Revenue Canada data base resulting in financial vulnerability and possible identity theft for over 900 Canadians, see “Revenue Canada Hacked”

Hatemongering, terrorism, child pornography, and other violent crimes have also learned how to effectively use social media to further their objectives.  The convenience, affordability and the broad reach of social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have allowed these groups to further their goals and/or spread their message. In 2014 an American Journalist was beheaded, videoed, and posted on YouTube as a warning to the American people after air strikes on Iraq.  Read his story  “CNN – Story of James Foley”

 

Social Media – Tool or Weapon?

Social Media - Tool or Weapon?

Social Media – Tool or Weapon?

As children, our parents would teach us what was right and what was wrong, what to say or not to say, how to act or not to act. These teachings must extend to the world of social media. Each of us must learn and be mindful about how to use it for good and how to protect ourselves and others from the bad and the ugly.  Social media can be a  productive and powerful tool.  However, in the wrong hands it can be a destructive and powerful weapon.

 

How are we going to use social media… as a tool or a weapon?

 

Blog #2 – Social Media – “The Bad”

Blog #2

Social Media – The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

9748110_s1-2In my first blog I introduced the concept that “society has changed” with the onset of social media. I explored all “The Good” that has come about due to mass communication such as connecting with distant family & friends, meeting new people, establishing support groups, marketing businesses, and spreading awareness through mass messaging capability.   However, with the positive also come some negative affects on society. Today’s blog will look at “The Bad” affects of social media on society.

Social Media – The Bad

While social media can connect you with friends and family on a global basis like never before, it strangely disconnects you with the people that you are physically present. The people that we are actually with ie. parents, siblings, spouse, children, close friends; are generally speaking the people who are the biggest and most important part of our lives. However, while we try to “stay connected” on social media personally & professionally, we end up ignoring those important people in our lives who are right beside us. People are often caught texting at a meal, “privately” laughing at a post, or stopping all conversation to have a different conversation. In an immediate sense it is poor manners and ignorant. In an ongoing sense it sends a hurtful message to the people you are physically with that others are more important then they are. Over the long term it can damage or even destroy a relationship through mis-communication, lack of communication, lack of attention and even trust.

The use of social media promotes poor grammar and written communication. I repeatedly receive and occasionally send texts with no capitals, poor spelling, word substitution typos, and full of acronyms. People are expected to ignore and accept these shortcomings as they read it. For the older generation this is inexcusable. In my generation it is ignored based on “we know what they meant”. However, for the younger generation with little grammatical foundation to begin with, it produces a society that can no longer communicate effectively.   Welcome to a society who through mass communication ability are losing their ability to communicate verbally or written.

Check out this effective and emotional video called on social media and humanity.  I saw this a year ago.  To me, it says it all.

 

While social media has become a great tool for communication, it has also become very time consuming. When I was growing up, if we wanted to contact someone we did so by phone or letter. Eventually, we even had an answering machine so if someone phoned we could hear their message and call back. It was pretty simple. Now I find that people communicate in so many different ways that I have an abundance of different venues I need to check on, on a daily basis just to “stay connected”. I still need to check my phone messages and mail box. I also need to check my emails, Facebook, linked-in, text messages on my phone, Instagram, and snap chat and various other “reminder” links. It’s time consuming and somewhat of a burden. I need to figure out how to communicate, how other groups and friends like to communicate, and then make sure I check on these daily.

Check out this Ted Talk called “Gotta Share” for a humorous look at the number of social media choices people use and the time spent using them.

 

Social Media venue choices to use can be overwhelming. As I read and learn in my “Introduction to Social Media” class about all the social media options including blogging, chatting, wikis, photos sharing, bookmarking, and networks (half of which I was unaware of) it is an overwhelming selection. I feel like I’m looking at a wall full of Campbell’s Soup cans; an impressive number of red & white cans that all look the same and yet are all different. An impressive number of choices but so many that it renders the purchase decision to a halt.   I can’t grab and go. I need to stop, read carefully to discover my choices or to find the one I already know and like. Social media is much the same. Wimageshat are my choices? Which do I use? How do I use it? Which is better ie. facebook or google, delicious or pinterest, wordpress or blogger etc. etc. etc.

Social media capabilities can be overwhelming. After making a choice of which social media venue to use, it is difficult to learn how to use it to its full potential. Much learning is through hands on use, tutorials, help lines, or person to person direction. The software capabilities are either used in a limited manner or a long road of frustrating learning.   Then when you think you have it all figured out there is something newer, better, and faster. Social media constantly changes and must be kept up with to keep current both personally and professionally.

Social Media has also become time consuming for businesses. In today’s business world, much of the communication is also done via websites and social media tools. These need to be created and kept current. Not only does the business need to communicate their message to the public they also need to respond to the public on social media. Social media does imply after all 2-way communication. For a business this means an extra person hired or whole departments full of people to manage the business’s social media. This results in a whole new expense in the world of business.

For example the Applebee chain was once condemned for firing an employee after posting a derogatory comment from a customer ( see: 6 Examples of Social Media Crisis).  The firing was not viewed well by the public.  Within 24 hours 19,000 negative comments were posted.  Applebee tried hiding the post but was further condemned.  Moral of the story for Applebee was not to try to defend or argue with the customers on-line.  Moral of the story for me, is the amount of time and expense involved with “caring” for social media in business.  Tricky business!

That’s a long list of “Bads”.  What do you think?  Does the bad outweigh the good?shutterstock80931163

 

 

 

Social Media – The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

For a number of years my husband and I resisted the widespreadExclusion use of technology. We did not need the expense or constant communication of cell phones. We did not want our children sitting in front of video games for hours at a time. We did not want to expose our lives on Facebook. However, we began to realize that we were being “left in the dust” with events and with friends, our children were “out of the loop” in school, and we were rapidly becoming “old-time thinkers”. We realized that we needed to embrace technology before we were completely isolated by society.

For generations people have said, “society has changed”. Our forefathers have seen technology change communication from letters to phone calls, transportation from horse-drawn carriages to cars, materials from hand-made goods to factory-made products, meals from home-made to pre-made microwavable dinners. With each of these shifts in society and lifestyles it brings an improvement to the quality of life and something that suffers along the way. Within my lifetime I have seen the onset of the Internet and social media. I feel I can now join my forefathers’ voices and truly say “society has changed”. We are in a generation, where information is massively accessible and communication is global and almost instant. To be honest I struggle with it. Is it an improvement or a hinderance to communicating? Does it make life easier or more difficult? Do I enjoy using it or not?  This is the first of 3 blogs contemplating the good, the bad, and the ugly effects of social media in our society.

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The Good:

Snapchat

Snapchat

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Skype

Like no other time before family and friends can stay connected via the written word (email), photographs (snapchat), and audio and video (Skype & FaceTime). This has allowed families and friends to stay connected affordably, regularly, and in real-time, no matter the distance or continent. Relationships with family and friends have been kept alive and healthy from these forms of communication.

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Facebook

People can now meet new individuals through venues like dating websites (eHarmony), or specialized like-minded social groups in schools, help groups (Facebook).

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Twitter

Company’s websites (amazon) and social media sites (twitter) have been able to connect with customers. Two-way communication has brought changes about for both the consumer and businesses.  The consumer can purchase and have goods delivered from the comfort of their homes.  In turn, businesses can receive feedback from consumers allowing the opportunity for improved products/customer service and inevitably sales.

Mass communication is possible by individuals and companies to raise awareness or rally support in the general public. (ALS Ice Bucket Origin on YouTube)

 Communication is at its best ever…

world wide, instantly, and massively!

 Stay tuned for my next blogs on…“The Bad” and “The Ugly”