Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Blessing of the InTRAnet

The Internet can be a scary place (my father-in-law called it the inTRAnet in the beginning). You have to be so careful with your personal information, because of all the crazies out there. Not only that, when you post stuff, you have to be prepared that there might be an onslaught of negative comments about it from people who don't agree with you.


Fortunately, for me, those times are very rare.

One of the coolest things about the internet, for me, is that it can be one big prayer chain. I remember when Clark was diagnosed with cancer back when he was little. We didn't have Facebook or blogs, but we did have email. I remember people telling me, "my parent's church in Kansas is praying for Clark." Or "my friends in Washington state are praying for Clark." One of my friends told me that they emailed the prayer request to the missionaries from their church who were serving in Japan...and THEY were praying for Clark.

Exciting and humbling.

One of my most favorite things to do this time of year, is to check the mail. I LOVE getting Christmas cards and letters from our friends and family. I love seeing all the pictures, and reading about their lives. One of the most fun things EVER happened last week. I got a Christmas card from someone I don't know. I mean, I KNOW her, but I don't KNOW her, KNOW her.

I "met" her on the Internet.

She comments on my blog and we became "friends" on Facebook. She has a son with Down Syndrome and I have a son with Down Syndrome. I am just a little further down the road than she is. 

OKAY, nosie-rosie, I am a LOT further down the road than she is. Is it further or farther? I never know. Either way, I'm in the next county...and down the hill...and around the curve. Because I'm OLD.

But she is young and fresh, and I am amazed at all she does to advocate for those with various abilities and challenges, all the while being married and raising 3 children.

And, you know what? When she asked for my address, I didn't have one single thought that I shouldn't do it. And you know what? I asked for hers as well.

And last week, I received her Christmas card in the mail...and when I put the picture of her beautiful family up on The Big Board in our kitchen, my family said, "who are those people?" I said, "that's my pretend internet friend, Deborah, and her family." And they all went, "MOMMMMMMMMM!" because they pretty much think I'm crazy. 

Jim and I have spent YEARS telling our kids to be careful with their personal information and don't talk to strangers or "friend" someone on Facebook that you don't know in real life.

All good ideas.

BUT then I come along and say things like, "my friend, Sophie, said..." Or, my friend, Kelly, said..." And my family says, "WHO?" Because I don't have any friends by those names...that they know of! Usually one of my kids will say, "MOM...okay...is this a REAL friend, or one of your pretend internet friends?" 

And that's when I have to look down at the floor and say, "a pretend internet friend."

Holly JUST told me tonight that I shouldn't go around saying things like, "my pretend internet friend," because people will think I'm strange.

Well, stand in line, honey.

When this whole thing started, I wanted NOTHING to do with it. No social media for me, no ma'am. I was very reluctant, and my kids like to remind me of things I said about it, like, "I will NEVER have FACEBOOK...what a waste of time."

For the record, I probably said the same thing about Pinterest.


Also, my 18 year old son claims he is NEVER on Facebook anymore, because "it's just not the same since the OLD PEOPLE started using it."

So there's that.

For me, this whole social media experience has been mostly positive. So far!

I love that I can get prayer requests from all over the world from people I don't even know...and I can pray for them. I love that I can keep up with family and friends, even after we move away from each other. I love that I can get recipes and decorating ideas and find out the most popular paint colors for our front door. I love getting information on things from medical issues to spiritual issues. I can "read" books on-line. I have several blogs that I read daily and I've gotten so much helpful information from them...from fashion advice and what's on sale at what store...to finding out about great books and Bible studies. Overall, it's been such a positive experience.

This whole blog started because of my sister, Leanne. She and Holly got it all set up for me and it just sat there untouched for months. Now, I love keeping track of our days. It has been a great way to journal our lives...to record what the Lord is teaching us and where He's brought us. If the whole thing crashes, I don't even care about my banking and other things that people put on their computers (note: Jim cares about all of that. He cares very much). I care about my pictures and my blog and keeping up with my friends. I have loved the connection that the internet brings. Not that it takes the place of actual human interaction...it should never do that. I just love that it can bring us all together...in a good way.

That's how Heaven is gonna be, right? Except we won't need our computers or our smart phones. All of the believers will be together in one place with God.

I can't wait!

"Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever." 1 Thessalonians 4:17

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