A Look Back at January

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It’s the last day of the month and time for me to reflect on my intentions for January. Let’s see how I did:

1.     Give up meat for 21 Days of Prayer (a time of fasting and rededication at my church).
I did successfully give up meat for 21 days. Unfortunately it did not accomplish what I had hoped. I thought not eating meat would force me to eat more healthily. Instead I just ate lots and lots of cheese.
And as you know I decided to fast social media as well, which taught me a great deal about myself.
2.     Grow closer to God during 21 Days of Prayer.
I did grow closer to God during 21 Days of Prayer, but I didn’t focus on prayer and bible study as much as I should have. I really regret that.
3.     Try Pole Yourself Thin fitness class. (What? Church going gals can be sexy too!)
I didn’t make it to the class I planned to attend this month. I was too tired from my run that morning.  
4.     Continue training for my upcoming half marathon.
I have been training but unfortunately not as much as I should. I can’t really control this, however. I’m working on a huge project for my day job and I don’t get home until 7 p.m. or later.
5.     Write more articles for Clutch and Guerrero Howe.
I didn’t write for Clutch  as I had to give up reading that publication during my fast (since it’s technically a blog), but I did write for Guerrero Howe.
Swing by tomorrow for my February intentions.

Love Letter to Social Media

Sunday, January 29, 2012

image via

Dear Social Media,

I’ve missed you.

I know this trial separation was my idea, but I really missed you.  And now that I’m returning I hope you’ll take me back with open arms. Sure, we were only apart for three weeks, but I learned a lot about you and about myself during those 21 days.

As silly as it will sound to people who don’t understand you, I realized that you make everything better. With Foursquare you turn an ordinary trip to the grocery store or pharmacy into an exciting adventure in which I tussle with residents to be crowned as mayor of my favorite local establishments. The hours I spend grading essays and reading quizzes don’t seem so bad when I can take occasional breaks to browse my favorite blogs. And when I get home from a long day at work and I’m too tired to read or write (or I’m tired of watching hours upon hours of wrestling with hubster) you are there with Pinterest letting me just relax and click through beautiful photographs. Then you inspire me to create digital vision boards of my own because you get that I’m a dreamer and you remind me I’m not the only one.

And yes I even will admit that sometimes I’m lost without. I’m not ashamed to say I get most of my news from you, at least indirectly. I  know what’s going on in my city, my state, my country, and in my world because of the news articles you direct me to through blog posts, Twitter timelines and  Facebook feeds.  When storms came raging through my town before sunrise last Monday morning, I was so afraid without you to cling to. I’m so used to tracking tornadoes through my favorite meteorologist’s tweets. The thought never crossed my mind to just turn on the television. It’s crazy how much I depend on you.

And therein lies the problem. I missed you and I am looking forward to having you back in my life, but some things between us must change.

1)      I need my friends. I realized over these past three weeks that I’ve allowed you to make me a bad friend. I’m always so busy trying to update my blogs and read all the interesting articles being posted on Facebook and Twitter that I don’t make time to have real conversations with my friends. During our break, I spent hours on the phone talking to my gal pals and I really enjoyed it. And so I hope you’ll understand that sometimes I need to step away from my computer and pick up the phone (and not just to text).

2)      I need my fun. When I announced on all my social media networks that I’d be taking a sabbatical I thought my heart would break a bit with each “See You Later” post. But instead, I felt a great weight lift from my shoulders. You see, somewhere along the way our relationship stopped being fun. There was a time when blogging was one of the great joys of my life. Then I found myself wrapped up in SEO, page views, and editorial calendars. And even worse I developed a bad case of blog envy – you know, scrolling through my favorite blogs coveting their huge number of followers, comments, and revenue-generating sponsors. What we had used to be so easy and lately it’s seemed like a chore. This has to change.  I know that like any relationship, ours will require work. But I want our romance to be a labor of love, not just labor.

3)      I need my freedom. Next January, I think I will need another break. I hope that doesn’t hurt your feelings, but it’s just something I think I’ll need to do. Let’s not forget that I stepped away from you for a while because I was even sacrificing my spiritual life to spend more time with you. My pastor helped me realize that is idolatry and I must be free from that. So as we reunite I hope you understand that things will be different. I must use more of my free time to pray and study the Bible and to read things other than blogs. I love to read books (Hello? I’m an English teacher!) but I rarely have time to do so because I spend hours each day writing blog posts and checking Twitter for, well, ideas for more blog posts.

I know you’ll understand; you get me and that’s why I love you. But I just wanted to let you know where I stand.

Now let’s go take some new Facebook profile pictures and try to recover my Foursquare mayorships!


Why I'm Taking a Social Media Sabbatical

Sunday, January 8, 2012

image via

Today marked the beginning of my church’s annual 21 Days of Prayer – a time of intensive prayer and fasting. While the word fasting may to some of you only mean giving up food, our pastor also encourages us to abstain from anything that may be a hindrance to our relationship with God or others.  

This morning I went to church with my mind made up to give up meat for the next three weeks in hopes that this would force me to make healthier choices in my diet. A month or so ago I had considered also giving up social media – including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Pinterest, and even blogging. But I later decided against it, mainly for the sake of GeorgiaMae.com and my goal of growing this blog.

Then Pastor Chris began his sermon for today and started talking about idolatry, which simply means putting other things before God. “Have you made social media an idol?” Pastor Chris asked. “Of course not,” I thought to myself. Suddenly I felt something inside say, “Really?”

Uh oh. Then I remembered all those nights when I was up late reading through my Twitter feed and browsing my favorite blogs for post ideas when I should have been using that time to pray or study the Bible or I should have gone to sleep so I could wake up early the next day and have a longer morning devotion. These thoughts would even go through my mind as I surfed the web, but I would rationalize my choices saying I was too tired to do something like read the Bible because that would take so much concentration; on the other hand clicking through a few links wouldn’t require much brainpower.

But the bottom line is even though I’m not one of those people who update their Facebook statuses constantly and tweet every five minutes, I was putting social media before God. And I have been for quite some time.  

So for the next three weeks I’m taking a social media sabbatical. Don’t worry; Edd will hold down the fort at GeorgiaMae.com and I am confident I will return with lots of energy and ideas that I will pour into this blog. If you need me, you can always reach me via e-mail. And if the Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, as the old folks say, I’ll be back Sunday, Jan. 29.  


January Intentions

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!


I hope 2012 is off to a great start for everyone. 

Each December I spend most of my free time drafting a ridiculously long list of goals -- both big and small -- for the upcoming year. Last month was no different and, in fact, my list for 2012 is my longest yet, coming in at over 150 goals. 

Inspired by Kaileen Elise, I've decided that this year in order to make all these goals a bit more manageable I'm going to post a few intentions for the month. These intentions will help me focus on certain things for the month and will be related to my personal mission for 2012, which is to be physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually well. 

So here are my January intentions:

1. Give up meat for 21 Days of Prayer (a time of fasting and rededication at my church). 
2. Grow closer to God during 21 Days of Prayer. 
3. Try Pole Yourself Thin fitness class. (What? Church going gals can be sexy too!)
4. Continue training for my upcoming half marathon. 
5. Write more articles for Clutch and Guerrero Howe. 

What do you intend to do this month?