Social Media Free update: 2 months in

After 2 months of being Facebook and Instagram FREE, here are the things I find I do and do not miss.

What I DO miss:

  • Seeing all of the updates, silly or serious, from my friends and family to know how or what they’re doing.
  • Getting ideas from seeing what other people are learning or doing in their homes, schooling, parenting, reading, church, and work.
  • Asking questions to get others’ opinions, insights, suggestions. I love asking questions, so this has been something I have greatly missed.
  • I do miss being inspired and encouraged by others’ updates, as well as purposing to inspire and encourage others.

What I DO NOT miss:

  • Political tension
  • Surveys
  • Wasting time when I could be productive
  • The addiction that comes with social media
  • Caring about what others think
  • Feeling frustrated when others are critical
  • Finding myself being more judgmental than I care to admit (there truly is freedom from not knowing everything about everyone all of the time … ignorance truly is bliss)
  • How I stared at my Facebook page more than my own children’s Faces (real life “faces”, imagine that)
  • Feeling like I’m never doing enough as I compare my life to what I see in others’ FB lives
  • Having an opinion about everything I saw on Facebook
  • Getting quickly sucked in to scroll and scroll and scroll
  • Having a sore neck from looking down at my phone so much
  • Joining and leaving various groups … so much to keep track of in the News Feed
  • Following link after link after link which was another reason for getting sucked into Facebook and Instagram
  • Blocking people because I got so annoyed and frustrated with their whining, complaining, negativity, or arrogance
  • Having yet another thing to check when I got a new notification
  • Feeling compelled to respond to people, because it is the right and polite thing to do
  • Trying to keep up on all of the “latest”
  • Feeling guilty I didn’t wish people happy birthday when I saw it was their birthday
  • Finding so many things I wanted (but didn’t need) to buy on the local “garage sale” pages
  • Getting invited to so many local events and feeling lame for not going to them

As you can see, the lists are quite lopsided.

Overall, I currently find myself more content, less stressed, and just all around better. I am much more relaxed, in general. I am connecting more intentionally with people instead of relying on Facebook to give me the feeling (illusion?) of being connected.

I had absolutely no idea how much social media controlled my every day, until I cut the chains. My eyes were opened wide: freedom.

Even though I do miss a few aspects of it, I do not regret stepping away from social media … not for a single second.

To God be the Glory!

Am I cheating?

Friends, by now, you probably know I am going social media free for all of 2017. It’s been brought to my attention, that blogging is a form of social media. So, am I cheating? Am I not really going social media free?

It’s a good question to ponder and answer.

In short, blogging is indeed a form of social media. It’s true. According to Wikipedia, social media is using “computer-mediated technologies that allow the creating and sharing of information, ideas, career interest and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.”

That’s what I am doing here. I’m sharing my information and ideas through this virtual community of blogs.

So, why I am allowing myself to pick and choose what social media I use and what I don’t use?

It all boils down to time.

With Instagram, Facebook and Periscope, I can easily get sucked in and participate for hours at a time, during the day, on my phone. Time is gone, with very little to show for it, and my family is set aside in the process. Not good.

Blogging has a different … feel.

It’s all done on the computer, not my phone, so it’s not as easy to get sucked into it wherever I am at the time. The computer also isn’t on as much during the day, and when it is, the kids are typically using it for schoolwork, or I’m catching up on emails. Thus, I am not as tempted to be on it because it’s simply not as available or convenient.

Most of my blogging is also done early in the morning (it’s 5:46am as I type this), or late in the evening when everyone is sleeping. I tend to think more clearly when it’s quiet. So, most of my thinking, writing and sharing is done when it least impacts the family and when I can easily process my thoughts.

This is not to say I never do any blogging during the day, it’s just not as common. I’m intentionally freeing myself from the constant need to be online. In this scenario, it’s the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law. The essence of why I’m banning some and permitting others is based on how well I know what I can and cannot handle. Boundaries. I’ve cut what I needed to cut in social media, and am deliberately pursuing what I love in its place, which is writing (even though it’s being done through a social media-type platform, oh the irony).

Overall, I find I am a healthier person in processing my thoughts in written form, and my family isn’t suffering from my time on the blog. In fact, one of the most beautiful gifts from this journey so far (3 weeks into it), is that my kids are asking to read my posts. They ask when a new one is up and if they can read it. Sometimes we talk about the posts, sometimes we don’t. But, I love that they are interested in reading my thoughts. I think they enjoy seeing a different side of their Momma. It’s true, their Momma has dreams, ideas and passions, just like anyone else! 🙂

So yes, blogging is a form of social media. But, I’m OK with that.

To God be the Glory!

No more books is a wonderful site. I have been a member for years now, and continue to love their service. I can order any number of items and have them delivered right to my front door. With a houseful of kids, it’s much easier for me to click and purchase, than load ’em all up in the car and head to the store. I’d rather sip my coffee in my comfy clothes and get it all sent right to me.

So easy.

So convenient.

Unfortunately for this girl, it’s often too easy and far too convenient.

You see, I have a weakness for books. I love gathering, researching, owning and reading books. For whatever reason, it brings me great joy to buy books. I see people share the latest books they’ve read and I jump onto Amazon to read the reviews. More often than not, I order it if it catches my fancy.

I’m a sucker for a good book recommendation.

Case in point, just before typing this post, I went onto Amazon and looked at all of my orders for 2016. I scrolled through the pages and counted all of the books I purchased last year for my personal reading. To clarify, I did not count any cookbooks, school books, books gifted to others, or books for the kids to read. I simply counted how many I purchased for my own enjoyment.

Care to guess how many physical (not kindle-type) books I bought over the year?

I knew it was a lot, but it was quite eye-opening to discover the reality of my obsession.

If I counted accurately, I purchased 29 books in 2016. Twenty-nine!! Oy!!! This may not seem like a lot to some of you, but it’s A LOT for me.

To top it off, I would guess I actually completed only 4 of them. FOUR! [blush] I started many of the books, finished few, and didn’t even crack the spine of the rest.

Y’all, I spent WAY too much money last year on books to, essentially, decorate my shelves. It truly was (is) a guilty pleasure.

This 2017 year is going to be different.  I have put a hold on my spending and committed to purchasing ZERO books for myself this year. If I want to read something, I can pick up one of the books already sitting on my shelves that I ordered last year. If I really want to read a book that I do not own, I’ll borrow it from the library and read it for free. I’m brilliant, I know. haha!

I actually anticipate this no-more-purchasing-books year to be a fairly easy one. The main reason being, I was introduced to almost all of my new books via social media, and primarily through Facebook. Without being on there for the year to see any book recommendations, I won’t even know what I’m missing! YAY!

Now, to go look at my current stash and figure out what I’m going to read next …


(For those interested, I just finished up a beautiful book titled, “The Magnolia Story” by  Chip and Joanna Gaines. What an inspiring book. I highly recommend it and so do a couple of my kids who read and enjoyed it as well! My sister recommends the audiobook version as Chip and Joanna are the ones who actually read it aloud. How fun is that?!)

Two weeks down, fifty more to go

As I type this in the darkness of my dining room, it is Saturday night, January 14th. It’s hard to believe, but it has already been two full weeks since I stepped away from Facebook, Instagram and Periscope.

Can I just tell you? I have not regretted stepping away from any of them!

I am pleasantly surprised with how smooth it is going at this stage. I expected to be tempted to sneak a peak or check in with friends and family through these social media platforms. I also anticipated feeling very alone and left out of the loop. Remarkably, this isn’t the case.

[happy dance]

This may be, in part, due to my parents visiting us (from out-of-state) during the first week and a half of January. Their physical presence likely made it easier for me to be a bit distracted from the lack of social media connection. The timing for their visit was seemingly impeccable. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

Fortunately, even with my parents gone the past few days, I still feel pretty good! I’ve been on my phone less, overall, than I have in a long time. I’ve engaged with my kids more (though there is still room for improvement in this area!). My kids share some fascinating ideas and interesting stories when they have an attentive audience to listen to them. 🙂

There are times I still check my phone too often throughout the day out of habit. I am trying to kick this habit by leaving my phone on silent or in the other room. Part of my daily routine for so long has been to check and see if people are trying to get a hold of me in any way, shape or form. This pattern kept my phone close to my side at all times. It’s hard to let go of that comfort, that safety line. While I still desire to remain connected to friends and family, I am still trying to figure out how to accomplish doing this through different means.

It/I will continue to be a work in progress.

One step at a time.

An interesting revelation I have had since beginning this journey, is that I like my “voice” to be heard. I enjoy sharing with others my thoughts, ideas, experiences, hardships, triumphs, beliefs, ponderings, and overall life. Even if no one hears me but I am able to get it out, I feel … better. I’m learning that if I bottle up my thoughts, if I can’t ask the questions, if I can’t share my journey, if I can’t write … I feel bound. It’s as if there’s a dam with stagnant (or raging) water in me. When I share, the dam breaks, the waters are released, and fresh water is brought in its place. To get out what is going on inside, helps me sort through and navigate my journey in a healthier way.

Hhhmmm, to clarify, I’m not saying only junk comes out of me, haha, I am only realizing that it gets junky if I keep it in. I can’t keep it all in. I need a healthy outlet.

For this time and season, this blog is my outlet.

As long as it’s healthy for me to share here, I will continue to do so.

With (at least) 50 more weeks to go in being Social Media Free, I anticipate many more revelations and learning experiences along the way. I already know of a few more insights from this new journey, but I’ll save those to share in future posts.

Until then, have a wonderful weekend!

To God be the Glory!

What started the process

During a conversation yesterday about my decision to go “social media free” for a year, a dear friend asked me what started the whole process.  At what point did I begin toying with this idea of stepping away from social media.

As I contemplated this question, I thought back to try and recall what significant event occurred in the Fall to bring me to this experience. It came to me quickly: Bro turned 16.

It was in those months and days leading up to and following his 16th birthday that had me thinking about time.

Time is short.

I often feel it’s far too short. Blink, and it’s already passed.

I remember mulling over how time with Bro (living at home) was whizzing by at a rapid pace. According to our culture, we have approximately 2 years left before he moves out on his own. Two years, folks. Time was and is of the essence.

I was missing it.

There are so many things I still want to do before Bro is an independent adult.  I want to teach him more about life. I have words of wisdom I desire to impart to him. I want to experience more adventures with him. I long to create lasting memories with him. I want to be available for when he wants to share his latest ideas, books he’s read, music he likes, friends he hangs with, and about his journey of faith.

If I am looking down at my little iPhone screen more than into his face, I will look up and find him gone. I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to miss him. I don’t want to miss seeing him growing into a young man. I don’t want to neglect this precious time we have together, now.

No regrets.

Something needed to change. I needed a powerful shift to take place in my daily habits, behaviors, and commitments.  It was in these first thoughts that I felt a pull to kick social media to the curb. Not that social media is inherently bad or wrong, but I was allowing it to rule my time. More specifically, I was allowing it to suck my time dry so I had nothing extra to give my family beyond the basics. I was spending more time looking at a screen than into my son’s face; his boyish face that was now transforming into a handsome young man’s face.

This is what caused me to reevaluate things. It took me a few months to fully grasp the magnitude of this decision. Yet, I knew in the depths of my heart that it was the right decision to step away from social media for this season, for this 2017 year.

This journey was further confirmed when Bro shared in my bio that “it’s fun when you spend time with us.” This isn’t a one-way street, friends. He enjoys spending time with me, too! Praise the Lord!

I am ready and eager to be fully present with and available to my son, my family, and those near and dear to me throughout this year.

To God be the Glory!

Here we go!

It is officially day 2 in the year of 2017.

In some aspects, I’m not ready to begin a new year. I’m not ready for my children to be another year older. I’m not ready to begin schooling after winter break. I’m not ready to leave the past behind and press on to the future.

Yet, here we are. Here I am. Time keeps ticking. We are thrust into the present.


Hmmmm, even as I am typing, that word stands out to me. Present. Present in the here and now.  Present. Not in the future or the past, but in the moment. Present. I like it. Perhaps it will be my “word of the year?” I’m not sure. I simply know it fits with what I am committing to do this year.

Let me explain.

This last year marked the completion of my 10th official year on social media.  It’s my favorite way to use up any of my spare time. I love Facebook. I love Instagram. I love Periscope. The virtual connection I feel with other people gives me a weird … high. Being able to share what’s happening in my own life, catching glimpses into others’ lives, looking at pictures, asking questions, doing silly surveys, joining groups, seeking information, and finding support, are just a few reasons why social media is a beautiful world to me.

I love it. Truly. I love it a lot.

Therein lies the problem.

I love it so much that it literally sucks hours and hours of my time each week. Dare I say, I might even have an addiction. Yes, I think I do.

You know those  studies showing people look at their phones over a hundred (or more?) times a day? I believe it. Not because I see others do it (though that’s the case, too), but because I do it. I love looking at my little cracked iPhone screen.

Most of my friends and family may not know this, but social media to me is similar to how a pacifier, bottle or special blankie is to a baby.  Always looking for it. Always needing it. Always holding it close. There’s comfort within it. Take it away and tantrums, of varying proportions, may ensue.

As I enter my 11th year of virtually connecting with friends, family and strangers near and far, I am making the decision to let go. I’m letting go for an entire year. No social media for all of 2017. It’s getting real here, folks.

In choosing to let go of a piece of my security, I am hoping there won’t be any tantrums, fits of rage, or tears. Well, maybe the last one isn’t true. I actually do expect tears. The withdrawals are going to be hard, really hard. Harder than I may be anticipating, yet, I know it’s what I need to do.

I’ve known since the Fall of 2016 that I needed to do this. I told my husband about it at the beginning of December 2016. I let the Facebook world know shortly after Christmas time.

There’s no turning back.

Though I anticipate the first few days, weeks and months to be hard, I anticipate more the freedom it will bring. The benefits and gains will far outweigh any loss.

This new blog is to help me process the journey. It’s to help me share the essence of one and all that is going on in my life. I want to share what I’m learning, what I’m thinking, and what I’m doing. I love to write. For some strange reason, I think I’ll have some more time on my hands in this 2017 year. I suspect you’ll be hearing from me again soon.

Happy New Year! It’s going to be a great year!

To God be the Glory!