A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Quick Hits: 2013 healthcare changes. Fasting from facebook. Water into wine cooler.

  • Whether you love or hate the PPACA (A.K.A. “Obamacare”), you need to realize that those thousands of pages of new legislation is going to have a direct impact on your day to day expenses and what kinds of coverage you have. No matter if you prefer to believe the shiny promises or the gloomy predictions, you can’t afford to be surprised by higher premiums and tax changes. Here are a list of seven changes that are coming down the pipe for healthcare in 2013. You won’t be able to prepare for it if you don’t know what’s in it.
  • It’s the season of Lent, and it seems like we’re inundated with people who are fasting from facebook. Well, sort of. More like, “I’m fasting from facebook for Lent, but every time I do anything else online it updates my facebook status and each time you can see my profile image that clearly states that I’m fasting from facebook for Lent.”  I love Jon Acuff’s take on this phenomenon, because it rings so true. Especially Step 2. Anyway, for Lent, I’ve given up people who are fasting from facebook for Lent. Maybe I should write a blog post about it. No, I think one post about facebook is enough, for now.

March 5, 2013 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits: 2013 healthcare changes. Fasting from facebook. Water into wine cooler.

Five Rules for Facebook

While I’ve never been reluctant to use the Interwebs for everything from employment to entertainment to education, I’ll admit that I was initially very slow when it came to adopting the use of social networking. I had a bunch of excuses, but the fact was that it just another area in my life where I was resisting being open and sharing. Once I pulled my head out of my a…the sand and realized that I was missing a huge opportunity because of fear, I took the plunge and joined facebook.

Y'know, I think a more honest name for the site would be 'postblahblahblah' right?

Try not to judge too harshly, but I found those first few months of poking and posting to be kind of stupid. After sharing my pictures, playing the games, and trying the features, I realized that in order to use facebook in a way that would be representative of my life and values, while still being an effective tool for connecting and communicating with friends near and far, I was going to have to set a few ground-rules.

Now, obviously, these are my rules for using facebook. This is what I’ve come up with so far based on my experiences with social networking in general and facebook in specific. I’m not expecting everyone to adopt, or even respect them, but they work for me.

  • Rule #1 – Friend People You’ve Actually Met. Currently, around 98% of the people I’ve friended on facebook are individuals that I have spent face-to-face time with. Usually, that means more than 24 cumulative hours together at one time or another. If the current trend continues, that percentage will only go up, because exceptions to this rule are very rare and special, or they’ve been grandfathered in since it’s been enacted. Before I call you friend online, I want you to be one in real life.
  • Rule #2 – Don’t Friend the Opposite Sex Lightly. As a general rule, I don’t initiate online connections with single women or the wives of other men. If I do, I’m being intentional as to why I’m making the connection, and my wife knows about it ahead of time. If a woman  tries to friend me on facebook, I make my wife aware of it and she has veto power over my friend list (which she hardly ever uses). Giving my wife that much access has built trust, and helped me to avoid future issues with impropriety.
  • Rule #3 – Don’t Play Games. Facebook is already a drain on my productivity. I will not make it worse by farming for virtual crops or building virtual homes. Apart from an occasional evening on an MMO, playing games is something I do face-to-face with my family or with friends. Note: When I receive a game request on facebook, I actually do click it. Once I can navigate to the game’s application page, I can block it, and I never have to see it again. So, keep sending those requests.
  • Rule #4 – Ignore Chain Posts. At least twice a day, some picture or post will pop up in my facebook feed that all but commands me to like it or share it if I agree with the sentiment (i.e. “Share this if you have the best daughter in the world!”, or whatever.). No, thank you. I think my faith, ideology, family and life all deserve more thought and depth, and if I share something about any of those it will be crafted by me. (Unless I find it incredibly inspiring…or very, very clever and funny. Anyway, moving on…)
  • Rule #5 – Share With Care. I always try to be honest and real when I write something on the Interwebs, whether it’s here at ABiM for the entire world to see, or if it’s just to my friends on facebook. However, my good judgement only extends so far. So, I try to run everything I post or share through a few extra filters before it goes public.
    – Would I hang this on my office wall at home? Where the kids can see or read it?
    – Could I hang it at work? Would it reflect well on my career?
    – Would my wife approve of it? (I’ve asked her directly, at times.)
    – Would my Mom approve of it? (That’s actually a really bad filter, though.)
    There have been times each of those filters have kept me from posting something questionable. Especially my wife. (She kept me from goring a particular sacred cow on facebook last year, and I thank her for it.)  Of course, there have also been times when all of those filters have said “Don’t!” and I decided I needed to do it anyway.

And those are my core rules when it comes to facebook. (There are one or two other cursory rules that I use, but they’re conditional and not important here.) Obviously, each social networking option has different hurdles and struggles. Some of these rules aren’t applicable to twitter, for example, and even Google+ doesn’t quite work the same. It’s important, though, to always set some guidelines. You have a family, career and future to watch over.

What rules do you follow when you’re online? Which social networks do you use, and how do you use them? 

[Image Credit, slightly modified]

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Marriage and Family, Past and Future | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Too afraid to be free

Alright, I’m not trying to flog my vacation. Really. I’ve already posted enough about the trip, but something interesting came up while we were away, and it triggered a bigger issue that I feel the need to address. After this week, we’ll have a California-free zone.

During the trip, I posted here that we would be out of town for the week.  I also made a few quick personal updates to Facebook* during the trip. After the third update, it happened.

Hey, are you sure you want to let everyone know that you’re not home?

You want the world to know that your house is vacant and ripe for break-in?

Now, they were just looking out for my family’s well being, and I’m not knocking them for showing concern. The media has issued warnings about this. There are stories on the Internet. I certainly don’t want our home to be robbed. That would suck.

Our house wasn’t vacant, though. We’d asked a friend to house-sit, because we didn’t want our house to be empty for a week. But we would have done that whether or not there were media warnings and Internet stories. It’s just common sense.

What really frustrated me about my friends’ comments wasn’t that they were concerned. It was that I had had the exact same conversation in my head before I’d finally forced myself to post. And again right before I had written each update. I was tired of fighting with the fear.

Blue? I thought yellow was the color of fear. That's what the Blackest Night crossover taught me, anyway.

Fear doesn’t prevent death. It prevents life.

– Unknown

As a private, introverted person, I don’t share as much of my life and my thoughts as I should. Convincing myself that I should let my guard down this one time, despite my fears, was a chore. It always is.

Fear is convenient. It’s easy. We are able to fall comfortably back on it when an opportunity presents itself that will require us to stretch and grow. When there’s risk involved, fear is an excuse always within reach.

We’ve been hurt before by friends or lovers, so we won’t allow another the chance to do the same. We put up walls, quickly find fault, and extend no grace when a new person enters our lives. We deny ourselves community, family, and love just to avoid the potential of pain. Out of fear.

We’ve been attacked for our beliefs before, so we remain silent and avoid the conflict. Our faith is hidden safely away, practiced behind closed doors so the world won’t be offended. Ideology suffers a similar fate, never to be challenged, confirmed, strengthened or softened. Out of fear.

Again and again, in circumstances too numerous to imagine, fear rises up and we instinctively respond with the safe, easy answer. That’s disappointing, because we need to take risks. We need conflict. We need to engage each other, do new things, challenge ourselves, and grow.I'm big Ben Franklin and this shant be pretty. Let me instruct you how we battle in the city of Philly.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

– Benjamin Franklin

The minuscule chance that my house might be robbed is a terrible reason not to share the amazing and mundane experiences that I get the privilege of living through, no matter what the medium.

The friends that I’ve lost in pain have saddened me. How much should I be saddened by those who I’ve never had the opportunity to know out of fear of pain?

And my faith touches every part of my life. Hiding it is an offense to my Lord and Creator.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:6-7

Stop living in fear!

(On a similar note, the very tiny risk that your child might be abducted by a nefarious stranger is a terrible reason to seclude them and deny them the opportunities of childhood. Stop spreading this paranoia to the next generation!)

Question: What experience are you denying yourself because you’re afraid of failure or pain? What have you done despite your fear that led to something awesome in your life?

*(As an aside, on Facebook I just friend people whom I’ve physically met with only a few exceptions. You can request, but please don’t be offended if I decline.)

[first image, modified from original, credit]
[second image, public domain]

October 22, 2012 Posted by | Marriage and Family, Past and Future, Politics and Other Insects, Work and Money | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Too afraid to be free