Monday, July 26, 2010

Finding the good in internet social networking

I've been blogging now for a little over 3 years, and have been on Facebook less than that. Experiences are teaching me and refining my use of both, and hopefully in a better way. These means of sharing info can do great harm. But I don't want to talk about that. I want to illustrate one way they do great good.

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised when a "long lost cousin" popped up on one of my daughters' FB pages. Actually she is a cousin once removed (I think that's the correct lingo). She's really my dad's cousin, but she's younger than me by 8 years.

Anyway, I haven't seen or had any contact with her since Gail and I visited my great-uncle and great-aunt in 1978 where we all lived in close proximity on the West Coast. Gail and I only lived there for about 15 months, so when we moved to the center of the US, we lost touch with them.

Do to various family dynamics this cousin and her sister really didn't know any of their other Lawrenson family than the little contact they had with our family in the 70's and early 80's. They grew up and moved themselves, starting their own families.

Over the years I've asked Dad about them. But years ago he lost touch and just knew they had moved to another state. Both of her parents died back in the 90's.

Then yesterday there is this reply to a photo of my family, "I'm crying right now! You are family! I have pictures of us in CA with my parents...and sister...! How are you? Please, please contact me!"

After a couple of messages and replies we talked on the phone for about 30 minutes.

Later she posted this: "Today I am blessed beyond belief. I have made contact with treasured family from my beloved Dad's side! The Lawrenson legacy continues! Rick, I love you, Cousin!"

But how exciting was all that? The irony is that she and her sister live in a city that Gail and I visited on our Road Trip earlier in the year. If we had only known!

As I get older I have found that re-connecting with dormant relationships of friends and family is important to me. As one of my long lost friends noted, there is some redeeming value in these newfangled means of communication. I'm glad that I'm not too old to appreciate that.

Like anything else in this world, the internet can be used for good or bad. I'm going to focus on making my part good.

Just don't ask me to become a farmer or whatever.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Return of the Purple Lady

Years ago when visiting, then living in the Portsmouth, VA area I used to wonder about the legendary "Purple Lady" and those telephone poles along US 17 that were painted purple up to about 6 feet off the ground. Why? Who is this person?

Now 24 years after moving away from there I learned the answers.

Life is best lived when we follow our passions. True, her's was a bit out there. But she brought a lot of people smiles and enjoyment by doing what she loved. How about you? Are you doing what you love and loving what you're doing?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Talk is cheap

Saturday morning I was having breakfast at the counter of my #1 breakfast place. This time of year Saturday mornings are slammed at local restaurants with vacationers on their way home grabbing one last meal before hitting the road. I was alone and there was one seat at the counter; so I gladly took it.

At the seats to my right were a mom and her teenage son, having some "mother-son time" as she put it. But she added, "The conversation was all her". What mom of a teenage boy doesn't relate to that?

I had a poster about our July 4 Block Party, which invites the commmunity to use our church parking lot for the fireworks show across the sound. Along with free parking we had free hot dogs, inflatable games for the kids, slushees and live music. She saw the poster and asked about it.

They were, she said, scheduled to leave for home on Sunday morning, but might just stay for the fireworks. "Which church is this?", she asked. "Nags Head Church, right next to Jockey's Ridge." "What kind of church is it?", and I told her our affiliation. "That's what we are, too. Maybe we'll come to church in the morning."

They didn't show - at least I didn't see them - but that's not a big deal. They were on vacation and headed home. I really didn't expect to see them.

But before church on Sundays I often get breakfast there. My waitress asked me, "Do you remember that woman who sat beside you yesterday? She wanted to pay with an American Express card, which posed a problem since we don't honor American Express and said she'd be back later with cash."

Bet you know what she said next.

I said that if I saw her at church (which I seriously doubted) I would remind her to stop by the restaurant. (These people are my friends). "How much was her tab?" It was over $35. For breakfast?!

"Well, she had a couple of mixed drinks, too."

Anybody can say, "I'm a Christ-follower". But following Christ is not about saying the words. Jesus warned that many would look at Him on judgment day and say, "Lord, Lord", but His response will be, "I don't know you."

Faith is more accurately expressed in our actions, which include integrity and honest character; not in empty words meant to try and impress somebody.

I wasn't impressed. Nor was I surprised that she said she belonged to a similar flavored church as mine, because talk is cheap.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

One Nation Under God

Thanks to the brave and Christian men who risked all by signing their names to the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. They had no problem acknowledging the Creator's integral and ongoing role in human affairs.

Happy Birthday, USA!