Sunday Smiles – Connections

There are days when the internet makes me twitchy.  I log on to Facebook to be met head on with a barrage of negativity.  This candidate is a hate monger.  That candidate is a criminal.  I see “friends” tearing one another apart with snide comments, all because they sit on different sides of the political fence.  I read post after post disparaging this group or that, this thing or that.  Cops suck, the weather sucks, the traffic sucks, this restaurant sucks, work sucks…everything just sucks.

I “unfollow” a few political pages (I could have sworn I had removed them all).  I hit the “hide post” option multiple times as I scroll through my newsfeed.  I am almost thankful to come across a few cute cat memes.  I “like” a picture of an idyllic beach in Aruba.

I scroll a bit further, sigh a discouraged sigh, and prepare to log off.  But wait, what’s this?  Could it be?  An uplifting post?  Yes!  I click happily on a story about a former classmate’s 11-year-old son reporting on the NCAA Tournament for Sports Illustrated Kids.  I read with delight about one of the coaches taking the time to applaud this young man for his thoughtful question.  (You can view more about this here.)

Feeling hopeful, I read some other posts.  Oh look, a friend received good news on a medical issue.  Another friend just finished her first half marathon.  Yet another is celebrating buying a new home.  Yay! Here it is!  The good stuff!

Now it comes back to me, and I remember why I still log on to Facebook every day.  I do it not to learn the political leanings of friends and family.  I do it so that I can hear the news of their lives.  I continue to scroll and read in order to tie the past in with the present.  I put up with the negative aspects to reap the benefits of the positive ones.

I return again and again because of the connections.  We can cross the miles, cross the years, and cross the distance to come together as if we had never been apart.  We can share in each others’ victories and console one another during trying times.  We can use words to convey emotions from afar, as sure as the touch of a comforting hand on a shoulder.

Yes, it is the connections that I crave and that I seek.   It is the connections that lead me back to this blog after a writing sabbatical.  It is the connections that sustain our souls the way that food sustains our bodies.  It is the connections that bond us together as humans, in friendship and in love.

Thank you for being one of my connections.  Cheers! Karen

Stay connected with me and “like” Fill Your Own Glass on Facebook here!

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Unpinned: A Shout-out to Less Than Crafty Moms

Moms out there, I feel your pain.  I don’t have any children, but I empathize with you.  I can only imagine the pressure you face these days.  It’s no longer enough to sit down to spend quality time doing arts and crafts with your kids.  These days your projects must produce Instagram worthy results.  You have to pin this and pin that and make sure that your creations turn out perfect and Facebook shareable.

I hear your cries for help.  I see them in the form of your social media statuses, where you share craft and baking ideas in the hopes that one of your friends will be the first brave soul to try them out.  Which one of you will take the plunge and attempt to make something that remotely resembles whatever it is you are supposed to be making?  Who will emerge from the crowd posting the victory photo that will help you to believe you can successfully complete one (just one, please, that’s all you ask!) of these artsy undertakings?

So what happens when your last Pinterest attempt was a disastrous fail?  The bunny cake that looked amazing on your tablet screen now sits on your kitchen counter looking more like a sad pile of roadkill.  Your caterpillar-shaped apple treats have lost their little heads.  The adorable baby owls that you painstakingly fashioned from toilet paper rolls and tissue paper are molting at an alarming rate.  You feel doomed to sit with your head down, sad and alone, in the arts and crafts hall of shame.

Friends, I have some good news for you.  Your kids still love you.  I promise, it’s true.  They don’t care about the decapitated snack food or the featherless birds.  They care about you, moms, and the fact that you are spending time with them.

Please don’t misunderstand me here.  If crafting is your thing then by all means, craft your happy little heart out.  Keep dazzling us with fondant covered baked goods.  You will continue to be a source of both inspiration and irritation to those of us who remain glue gun-challenged.  We’ll ooh and ahh over your painted pallet trees, and we’ll mean it.

I’m not telling you that it’s not okay to be an arts and crafts savant.  I’m telling you that it’s okay not to be one.  The holidays will not be ruined because you can’t fashion ribbon and pinecones into a spotlight-deserving front door masterpiece.  Your babies will still have magical birthdays, even if it looks like they wrapped their own presents.  T

How do I know this?  I was a kid once.  I remember happily finger painting away, thrilled to be allowed to make a mess.  I recall fashioning crude Thanksgiving turkeys out of paper plates and construction paper.  I have memories of cupcakes my mom made for birthdays, the simple and delicious vanilla ones with chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

The point I’m trying to make is that nowhere in those moments did my child self ever question my mom’s artistic, baking, or decorating talents.  I had no idea if what we were making was perfection or garbage because it just didn’t matter.  The only thing I knew, and still know, is that I was happy simply having her there with me.

So moms, breathe easy and carry on.  Get out those supplies and gather up the little ones for some crafting fun.  Make a masterpiece, or make a mess.  Laugh over the Pinterest shortfalls and marvel at the magical successes.  Because someday your kids are going to remember these days, not for what you did or didn’t accomplish, but for the fact that you did it together.  You’ve got this, moms.  You’ve got this.

All photo credits:


Stop Using Social Media as a Weapon

I scroll through my Facebook Newsfeed, smiling at a few jokes and memes.  I get my dose of popular and unpopular opinion as I slide by posts about the cause du jour.  I hit the “Like” button on a picture of a friend’s impossibly adorable children.  I leave a congratulatory comment on a post with good news, and I share a motivational quote on my own wall.

Then I hit on that post.  The one that makes me cringe.  The one that makes me suck in my breath.  The one that causes my inner voice to cock its head back and say, “Oh no she didn’t…”

Oh yes she did.  One of my friends has called out her spouse in a withering, sarcastic post, and it is right there for me to see.  Me and several hundred of her other closest friends.  Throw in close to a thousand more, because to add insult to injury she has tagged him, making the post visible to everyone on his friends list, too.  Ouch.

Well now, this is awkward.  It is also infuriating.  It sets my teeth on edge like few things do.  No, I am not angry at your spouse for the alleged egregious act you outlined with such relish in your diatribe.  I am, in fact, furious with you for putting me, your spouse, and all of your friends in this position.

Maybe your spouse failed to complete a requested home improvement project. Perhaps he was less than helpful with the children.  He may have insulted you or made you feel less than appreciated.  These are all things that matter, and if you feel hurt or wronged they should be addressed.  They should not, however, be tackled on a public forum.  The days of shaming in the town square are long gone.  Call a friend or a close family member if you need to vent or seek advice.

I find myself questioning your motives.  If you are seeking attention there are far better ways to get it.   If you are trying to make yourself look good by making him look bad you are failing.  You have not diminished your spouse in my eyes.  You have not gained an ally in your domestic skirmish.  You have, however, knocked yourself several rungs down my respect ladder.

You may remove the post after you cool down.  You will forgive your spouse and let him back in your good graces.  You will carry on with your daily life and with your marriage. You may even forget about the post or the reason for it, but I will not.  I cannot unsee what I have seen, and I will forevermore relate my thoughts of you back to this incident in much the same way that a certain song evokes an instant memory.  If it will stay with me I can imagine it will stay with the hundreds of others privy to it as well.  Ponder the amount of discomfort you have spread with that one little post.

In this age of advanced technology and rampant oversharing you need to understand that there are still some things that should not be fodder for discussion on social media.  I know friends who have gone through difficult divorces or break ups within the past few years, and they have exercised restraint by never speaking a bad word on the internet about the other party.  If they can exhibit that level of class in dealing with their situations then it should not be asking too much for you to do the same with yours.  I hope you consider this with care in the future, and I ask you to think twice before hitting that “Post” button.

Stop using social media as a weapon.  Facebook is not your personal battlefield.  Leave the media wars to the celebrities and the political pundits.  Save those status updates for your diary.  Even an open book like me understands that some chapters are best kept private.

(Note: I use the term spouse here for purposes of illustration and brevity. The message applies to husbands, wives, significant others, and partners equally.)

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Do you believe there is such a thing as oversharing, or are all topics fair game?  As always I welcome your comments and feedback.


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I Am a Twitterer

Twitterist?  She who tweets?  However you say it, I promised myself I would become more social media savvy this year so you can now find me on Twitter @fillyourownglas  (Yes, I had to crop off my last “s”…finding out in a hurry that the Twitter gods like to have number limits for everything!)

I apologize in advance as I am sure to break Twitterquette more than once as I stumble along and figure it all out! Hope to see you all where the little blue bird flies! Cheers! Karen

The Unbreakable Ones

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photo credit

I did not break the internet. It tried its best, though, to break me these past few weeks. Yes, the internet, and social media in particular, provided a swift and clear reminder as to just how cruel it could be. Or, to be accurate, how horrid and thoughtless small-minded humans can be under cover of a computer screen.

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Has Social Media Caused the Death of Civility?

Am I alone in noticing a disturbing trend in the manner in which people are communicating these days on social media? Or has it been happening for a while now and I have been slow to notice? It seems that people are forgetting the basic manners they should have learned in early childhood. Are we allowing ourselves to hide behind our keyboards, spewing rudeness disguised as knowledge?

I am referring to recent posts I have seen on Facebook as this is my most used of the social media outlets. Over the past several months I have found that my News Feed has been full of more negative than positive posts. I alleviated part of the problem by unfollowing any political pages, pages where supporters of all parties act like schoolyard bullies when any dare to disagree with their viewpoints. I was still left with daily status updates from friends covering topics ranging from police shootings, domestic abuse policies in the NFL, and how to handle the ISIS crisis to name a few. Here I must admit in favor of full disclosure that I myself posted two updates with my feelings concerning police officers but refusing to discuss specific events. I am not saying that I believe anyone should be censored from posting whatever status update they choose. My issue comes into play in how people are responding to said posts. It is more in the subsequent comments on these posts and the nastiness of them.

Is the idea of having a friends list on Facebook not to have people on your list who are actually friends? Or at the least someone you have some degree of appreciation and respect for? Has friend become a relative definition subject to interpretation? Can we not disagree, dissent, or have a debate without disdain and disrespect? If you are commenting on a thread then you need to remember that you are, allegedly, a friend to this person…or that you are at the least responding to a mutual friend of your friend. I think before people type they should stop and ask themselves, “Is this what I would say if this person was sitting face-to-face with me? Or might I choose my words more carefully?” I’m all for open discussion, but it can be done minus the sanctimony and plain rudeness. Believe me, I am at times more than tempted to jump into the fray. My hands frequently hover over the keyboard, twitching in anticipation of virtually slapping someone into place after they have responded condescendingly to another. I am learning to breathe deeply and walk away for a while. I am learning to instead type a polite response advocating the right to agree politely to disagree.

I’m trying to do my part to start a movement toward a return to kindness in social media interaction. I hope others will join me in remembering that we are discoursing not with machines, laptop-to-laptop or tablet-to-tablet, but that we are having discussions with the people behind the screens.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this topic, and thank you for listening to what is on my mind this morning!

Visualize a calming place or image before responding to comments or posts may help!

Visualize a calming place or image before responding to comments or posts may help!