Could YOU Abandon Facebook?

addicted to facebook

Facebook is a much needed necessity and important way of life for a vast amount of people these days.   In the ever-growing world of social media,  Facebook provides so many opportunities that were not around even just a few years ago.    When I graduated from high school, we did not have social media as we do now, much like  e-mail and cell phones.     Twenty-five years ago, it was difficult to keep in touch with friends or people you went to school with as you grew up and moved on with your life.   I can guarantee you that if Facebook had been around when I graduated from high school, my life would have been very different.

Facebook provides a level of interconnectedness that otherwise would not exist.  I  love Facebook for many reasons.  It helps me keep in touch with my large family who are located all over the country, puts me in touch with friends and co-workers from years gone by and it has provided me with so many ways to meet new people and become involved with new experiences.   Trust me when I say that I have many reasons to be thankful and grateful for the invention of Facebook.

Why do I mention all of this?  I mention it because I was starting to think about what my life was like before I was on Facebook.    I was thinking about how my life is now versus the pre-Facebook days.    Sometimes you don’t realize you need a break from something until you actually get it, and you see how nice it was to just have a little time away.   On occasion, I found that Facebook took up more time  than it should  and I was beginning to neglect or put off important things. What started as a “Let me check Facebook for a few minutes” quickly turned into an hour or sometimes more and, in turn, put me behind schedule in so many ways.   Sine this was becoming a small issue for me, I decided to take a few days off from it and see what it would be like.

This “break” was by no means easy – not at all.   In all honesty, it was so hard in the beginning.   I was shaking and crying and needed to be restrained from logging into Facebook at times (well, not really, but you know where I am going with this).   I  actually felt a little lonely, disconnected and in a way afraid that I would be forgotten or, even worse, that people would not even know I was gone and– in some cases– this was true.

As the days progressed, it was still hard but it did force me to balance my life and the responsibilities I have.  The Facebook vacation was difficult to take. During those few days, I was able to accomplish so much and felt more organized.    Now please understand me when I say that I am not saying that Facebook is in any way a bad thing.   To the contrary, I think Facebook is a fantastic outlet as long as you do not abuse it or let it affect your other responsibilities and priorities.   I am happy to say that I am back on Facebook with a greater appreciation for it.  I’m now able to stop looking into everyone else’s life while watching mine fly by.    There can be a balance and I’m grateful I’ve found it.

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How Cancer Changed my Identity (Click for a Cure)

The early morning air was frigid.  The snow crunched under my feet, and a single tear rolled down my chapped cheek.  Headphones on, I was listening to Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying,” but this time, the words  cut through me and took up residence in my head.

He said I was in my early forties, with a lot of  life before me
And one moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days, looking at the x-rays
Talking bout’ the options and talking bout’ sweet times.
I asked him when it sank in, that this might really be the real end
How’s it hit ‘cha when you get that kind of news?
Man what did ya do?
He said

Chorus
I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denyin’
And he said some day I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin’…

You always remember exactly where you are when you get the news.  I was a morning anchor in Cleveland,  and my husband had just been diagnosed with cancer.  Melanoma.  True to my nature, I remained optimistic, but I would be lying if I said the thought of being a widow in my thirties didn’t enter my head. My husband is a fighter, much like my sister-in-law, who at the time,  had just beaten breast and thyroid cancer.  He wanted to keep the issue private and just wanted the cancer GONE, so shortly before Christmas he had a five and a half hour surgery at The Cleveland Clinic to remove the cancer that had spread across his face, down his neck and into his chest.  It was quite possibly the longest five hours of my life. To say the wait at the clinic–alone–was agonizing is an understatement, but I’m happy to say that although he hasn’t been cancer free, he has been melanoma free for six years.

Since that day,  cancer has taken the lives of  several friends and family members-  most recently, my grandmother,  who lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.

Many of you have asked where I am and what I’ve been doing since I left my job as the evening anchor in Providence.  We initially traveled around the country, but when we got to Georgia, where my parents live, they had some unexpected news for us.  My dad–the full of energy, West Point graduate, Air Force General–has cancer.  Specifically, stage 4 throat cancer. He has a tumor at the base of his tongue and the cancer has spread to his lymph nodes. He has had four chemo treatments so far and, I think, 20 radiation treatments.  Honestly, I’ve lost count.  This round of chemo is over and now he must continue going to radiation TWICE a day, five days a week, for three more weeks.  Doctors will then see about removing the –hopefully dead– nodes and will check to see if surgery to remove the tumor is an option.  My dad also has Leukemia (CLL) & Diabetes, which makes all these treatments a little more complicated.

 

radiation for cancer patient

radiation

I am the youngest in the family and am used to everyone looking after me, regardless of whether I need it: older siblings to protect me, parents to be over-protective. Being here, as my dad battles cancer,  has forced me to see myself in a new light…that of caretaker. For the first time in my life, I feel like I can really be of help to my parents.  I don’t have a job that I am tied to, yet if the right opportunity presents itself I can take it. This is the first time in my adult life I’ve ever spent any considerable amount of time with my parents, and the most time they’ve ever gotten to spend with my 20 month old daughter.  She is such a welcome distraction, not only to my dad, but to my mom, who is taking my dad’s diagnosis especially hard.

 

grandfather and granddaughter

Dad & Paige amusing each other

 

grandfather & baby

Fun at the pool!

Click for a cureI don’t know what the future holds for my dad.  We can only live one day at a time and be hopeful for many more great years together. I know it will get worse before it gets better, but I am so grateful for this time we have together.  So many families have been touched by cancer, including many of you reading this article.  My hope and prayer is that we can someday find a cure.  I am not asking you to donate any money; I know times are tough and everyone has charities that are important to them.  I would, however, be so grateful if you could find the 15 seconds it takes to “like” a company on Facebook. Overhead Door Garage Headquarters has generously offered to donate $1  to the Tomorrow Fund for each facebook “like” Overhead Door gets from the start of this campaign.  My hope is that we can help “close the door” on cancer by sending  thousands of  “likes” their way and, in turn, thousands of dollars to the Tomorrow Fund to help find a cure for this horrible disease.  So, please, spread the word, re-post, and take thirty seconds to check out Overhead Door Garage Headquarters and “like” their page.  When the campaign is over, we will be doing a check presentation.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

baby & grandfather

Where My Love for Reading Took Me……

I have enjoyed blogging so much on Allison Alexander‘s fabulous site, aMomKnowsBest, that I decided I would try it out it myself!  I am a former teacher who absolutely loves reading, so I thought,  why not make a blog geared towards reading? So, that’s what I’ve decided to do with my new blog MamaLuvsBooks!

Here is the outline for what I will be blogging about:

Mondays: Kids’ Book Reviews

Tuesdays: Tips and Advice for teaching kids to read

Wednesdays: Wordless Wednesdays (pictures posted related to reading/writing)

Thursdays: What’s Mom Reading? (reviews of parenting books, or just books moms like to read)

Fridays: Discussion Day (questions and answers, and the first Friday of each month will be our “Virtual Book Club”)

* “Virtual Book Club” will be a discussion on Twitter on the first Friday of each month from 8-9pm.  We will talk via #hashtags that will be provided before the discussion.  The books will be posted a month in advance (maybe sooner) so you will know what to read!  It should be fun, and hopefully in the near future I can supply prizes during the discussion!

Now, how to blog……..

I wasn’t quite sure where to start, so I asked around a bit.  I heard from most people that Blogger is a good place for a first blog.  It’s kind of like a nice safe car for a first time driver.  I started with following everything I needed to do in order to set-up the blog through Blogger.  It was very step-by-step and easy to follow.

Next, I had to navigate around Blogger to find out how to do certain things; like post blogs, add gadgets (things listed on your sidebar), change the look of the blog (design), make a TwitterFacebook and StumbleUpon button so people could connect to me there as well, and learn to check stats/views.  This took a while to search around, but just play with the menu bar up top and you will learn a lot.  The “help” section also answers a lot of questions.

I decided after that to purchase my domain (URL).  This way I could make it what I wanted without the “blogspot” being in my URL.  It was only $10 for the year to purchase the domain.  Totally worth it,  I think!  It’s much easier for people to remember a shorter URL.  Why do you think phone numbers are only 7 digits?  Our brains can only hold so much information at one time.

The next things I learned that are important in blogging are to have a Twitter page with a handle set-up (one that relates to your blog), and also a Facebook page set-up to have people follow you.  Not everyone has an account to be able to follow your blog through Google Friend Connect (GFC).  Having the Facebook page to “Like” gives others the opportunity to follow you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m learning currently is Twitter etiquette (to make sure I don’t chase any followers away), meeting other bloggers on-line (blog hops are good ways to meet people and promote your blog), and using AdSense and Amazon Associates to possibly earn some money from doing my blog.  That is set-up through Blogger as well and can give you money when people click on Ads on your page.  I am still working on all of these!

In the meantime, I’m just going to write and have fun!  My site was set-up because I LOVE books and reading, and sharing that love and any advice I can give people is my main goal.

If you want to follow my new blog, please check me out at:  http://www.mamaluvsbooks.com, or you can find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MamaLuvsBooks, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MamaLuvsBooks

*  I have a 100 Follower Giveaway going for people that “Like” my Facebook page, or follow me on my blog through Google Friend Connect!  The winner will get a choice of a book from Usborne Books for Kids!

If you have any questions about setting up a blog, then please comment below and ask.  Or if you are a blogger and have advice to share, then I would LOVE to hear it!  I’m learning as I go!  THANKS!!!  And thank you Allison for getting me interested in blogging!!!

Kristin Wheeler

How Social Media Makes Saying Goodbye a Little Easier

As I’ve moved around quite a bit in the past few years, moving from Virginia to Oklahoma to California to Illinois to finally Rhode Island, I’ve had to say goodbye many times to good friends.  Unfortunately, it never seems to get any easier.  This time I happen not to be the one moving, but our good friend and owner of amomknowsbest.com, Allison Alexander, is the one moving.  It’s very sad to see a friend moving away, but at least as technology has progressed over the past few years it is easier to keep in touch.  I would always say, “Let’s keep in touch!  We’ll write each other and call,” but everyone knows that is easier said than done (unfortunately).  Moms are busy, both working and raising kids, and day to day life in the new place becomes all consuming.  You make new friends, you move on, but you do always hold in your heart the friends you had in other places.  Now technology is giving us the chance to keep up with friends easier!

(Part of the AMKB Contributor Crew with Allison, Owner of AMKB)

The greatest thing now is the expansion of social media.  I created a Facebook profile in 2006, and have connected with many friends and family through that outlet ever since.  It’s such an easy way to keep in touch and see what friends are doing.  I have been able to connect (and even reconnect) with friends from all the States I’ve lived in.  It makes it so you can actually say, “Let’s keep in touch!” and truly mean it.  Our group at amomknowsbest.com will use social media (Facebook and Twitter) and other technology available to keep in touch with Allison on a very frequent basis.  I’m sure we will be Skyping her in at meetings!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Friends I keep in touch with from Illinois through Facebook!)

Technology is always advancing and bringing us new great ways to communicate.  My parents, even in their 60’s and 70’s, are using tools to commute with us!  We just spoke to them from their Alaskan Cruise, via my father’s iPad 2 to my MacBook Pro, using Facetime (the Mac version of Skype).  It’s just really amazing how much technology has advanced even in the past 10 years.  One of our AMKB contributors, Joanna Stepka, was able to view her child’s crib on her phone from the restaurant we were eating (see her article).  Now that’s some great technology!   I guess we’ll see what they think of next!

(Skyping with my kids while my parents were babysitting them)

 

Allison Alexander, we will miss you here in Rhode Island, but we know you will be just a mouse-click or Skype call away!

*  How do you use technology to keep in touch with friends?

 

 

Kristin Wheeler

My Life Just Changed Forever

 My life just changed forever. That was my facebook status message two years ago today.  May 10th was the day.  Mother’s Day.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.  After years of wanting a baby and worrying that maybe it just wasn’t in the cards for me, I had been blessed with the greatest miracle of all.  Craig was out of town, so it was just the dog and me.  I was bursting with excitement and needed to tell someone.  Of course I would post something on facebook.  Of course I would

Oddly enough, the night before, I was at a friend’s house talking about motherhood, having what would be my last glass of wine for what seemed like an eternity.  My friend sent me a picture of his yard the following morning.  A massive tree had fallen down in the exact spot where I had been sitting, almost as if to say, “this phase of your life is over.”  I got that text at 10 a.m. Mother’s Day morning, moments after seeing the word “PREGNANT” on my pregnancy test.

I, so badly, wanted to tell my husband in person.  He was supposed to be home in three days and I **thought** I could wait.  I waited…about 30 seconds.  I told him on the phone.  He didn’t believe me.  My next call was to new friend Audrey of Mom Generations, who lives right down the street from me.  She had just asked me to breakfast the week before, which turned into a 5 hour gab-fest, where she asked me about kids and I confided in her that I could be pregnant at that very moment.  Actually, now that I think of it, I think I tried to call my husband and he wasn’t there, so maybe Audrey knew FIRST and my husband knew second.  No matter.  In time, the whole world would know, because I told basically ANYONE WHO WOULD LISTEN.  Later that day, I went on a walk with Jane who also writes at Mom Generations and is Audrey’s sister.  I met the whole family that day and that’s when a great friendship was born.  For those who live in Rhode Island, or who have done business with Barrington Printing or Mom Generations, you know how wonderful this family is.  They’re huggers, which I LOVE and they let me talk on and on and on about this little miracle inside of me.

 

 

Oh, this note really is from my husband.  You might be wondering about that since his name is written in ink.  You see, my husband and I have been calling each other “Mav” and “Goose” since we were dating.  It’s even engraved on the inside of our wedding rings.  So, when he sent me flowers he signed them, “Always, M.”  Sixty years from now, when we are dead, I didn’t want my grandchildren to imagine some family drama and think that there was funny business going on with some guy whose name started with “M,” so I wrote Craig on the card.  Hey, I never claimed to be normal…too early to blame it on pregnancy hormones?

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