3 types of social media posts that make me crazy

I love social media. I still use Facebook and like that I can keep up with friends from high school and elsewhere, no matter where we may live now. Twitter keeps me up-to-date and is usually good for a laugh.

But there are a few things people do on social media that make me a little crazy. And I’m willing to bet some of you agree, too.

1. The Lure.
The Lure is that social media post designed to elicit a response from the reader. It takes many forms, many of which you probably know well. I’m so OVER it. Can’t take it anymore. I can’t believe he did that! Maybe those examples seem a little melodramatic, but I’ve seen similar posts many times. The lure is often passive aggressive. It’s meant to draw attention to yourself and cause readers to ask questions like: What’s wrong?, Need to talk?, or How can I help? I’m not saying every status update or tweet has to be happy; that’s not real life. But they don’t have to be passive aggressive. So, if you think you might be about to post “The Lure,” ask yourself:

  • Is this designed to get a response that makes people feel sorry for or focus their attention on me? 
  • Am I being intentionally vague so that people will ask me a lot of questions?
  • Is my desire to feel like the center of attention? 

2. The Sell.
I love that you have found a product you love or a company that you want to work for. I really do enjoy seeing posts about the amazingly crafty things you make and have for sale. But I don’t like it when EVERYthing you post is an attempt to sell me something. Truth be told, I don’t buy into the essential oils craze, I think losing weight involves more than drinking a specific drink, and your skin products are probably amazing, but I can’t afford them—and I don’t want to join your team. For me, social media is social and about connecting, not advancing business. If you want to sell on social media, I’m fine with that. But create a page or separate account for your product or business and use that to sell your wares, not your personal account. Questions to consider if you’re a repeat offender of “The Sell”:

  • Are my social media posts on my personal pages more about my business or my life? 
  • When I interact with my friends via social media is it about actual life stuff or trying to sell them my product?
  • Are there people that THE only time I interact with them on social media is to ask them to buy something?

3. Private Made Public.
Maybe this one is just me. Perhaps I’m just too sheltered or think some things should remain private. I truly get when you want to wish your spouse or significant other a happy anniversary or birthday, or even just honor them in some way publicly. And I think choosing to publicly honor that special someone is laudable. Who wants to be with someone who never says they love you in front of others? But you don’t have to overshare in those posts and outline every aspect of your relationship. A simple Happy Anniversary! Thanks for standing by me all these years, even though I don’t deserve it! would suffice. We don’t have to read the personal note you’d inscribe in a card or letter thanking him/her for being your best friend, lover, encourager, etc. It’s your relationship and part of what makes that special is the intimacy. Guard that intimacy; don’t slap it on social media for the world to see. Questions to ask if you think your post might be TMI:

  • Would I be embarrassed if my mom, dad, brother, sister, teen child, pastor, boss, etc. read this? More than that, will it embarrass my significant other?
  • Is this something personal that would be better said in person or shared in a personal note, card, or letter?
  • Am I striving to create a facade of intimacy online, rather than investing in the relationship in person?
  • Is there a simpler, less exploitative way to let people know how happy I am and how much I love this person?

I’m sure there are many more social media faux pas that make you crazy. Share them in the comments!

Saying good-bye

Yesterday, I did something I’ve never done before. I started training someone to take over my job.

I’ve had interns and trained younger editors. I’ve tried to explain what all my job entails to teenagers and adults alike. But I’ve never actually trained someone to take over, to do the job because I won’t be here.

I was 24 years old when I started this job. I went to grad school straight out of undergrad and started in this position the same week I graduated with my Master’s. They actually gave me the Friday of graduation off, though I’d only worked about three or four days and didn’t have any vacation days on paper. I was a copy editor for several years, working on undated and dated curriculum pieces, then promoted to editor. For the last 10 years, I have been the editor of our daily devotional for teens, which comes out each month. I also maintain the social media presence and provide the content for the app.

There are so many memories here. The time I had coffee with the Jonas Brothers, long before they were well known. That day we stuck sticky notes all over Karen’s office. The time I was leading a visiting musician upstairs for an interview and walked right out of my shoe on the stairs. When my favorite past intern told me she had fallen down those same stairs when she came for her interview. Lunches when we laughed, so much that Mike’s face turned red and others in the cafeteria turned to stare. People who have supported, challenged, and encouraged me.

Twelve years can be a lifetime. I was 24 when I came and thought I knew so much. And now, I’m 36 and know that no one knows that much and that being an adult and a professional doesn’t mean you’ll magically have insight or wisdom. I came here for my first job, and I thought for a long time that it would be my career. But God has opened another door, and I need to see where it leads.

So, yesterday, I began to train the young woman who will replace me. I wrote outlines for an issue I won’t edit. I tried to tell her tasks and things I do that are second nature to me, as natural and commonplace as breathing. I tried to give her a history of the resource she’ll edit because, in many ways, I’m the only one here who still knows the history. I’ve created lists and spreadsheets, all trying to capture 10 years of my life’s work.

It’s hard to say good-bye, even to a job, even when you know that it’s time and are excited about your new opportunities. It’s hard to let go of something that has been a defining part of your life for so many years.

But it is also a new beginning—and beginnings are good.

A little grace

Several months ago—maybe as long as a year—I read a Facebook status update that has stuck with me.

It was one of those posts where someone is obviously working out passive-aggressive frustration online in public view. And the writer boldly declared that everyone needed to stop saying they were “tired,” because only people with children or medical disorders could truly say that.

My fingers itched to type a response. I actually started one once or twice but decided that my words wouldn’t be written or delivered in love so I needed to keep my mouth shut—or the virtual equivalent of that.

But the comment stayed with me. And so did the reminder that I’ve so often needed to call to mind when I’ve been frustrated or upset with someone’s behavior:

You don’t know what that person going through. You don’t know what it’s like to walk in his or her shoes.

It’s easy to pass judgment, to see someone’s situation from our point of view and proclaim that they’re lazy, unorganized, or don’t really know what tired (or stressed or depressed or poor or whatever) is because you’ve got the corner on the market.

We go through life making easy judgments about the people we interact with, when we have no idea about the inner workings of their lives. The stress at work she downplays. The marriage that feels like it’s falling apart. The child who is making choices that causes him to stay up at night, praying for God to help and protect that son or daughter. Grief that comes when she least expects it and threatens to drown her in the waves. Fear. Debt. Mistrust.

Instead of passing judgment when someone doesn’t behave the way you think they should, I’m proposing a new option. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Acknowledge that you don’t know the things they are going through that may be causing turmoil under a seemingly calm and perfect life. And instead of getting angry or assuming you know more than you do, commit to show them grace. Grace that they don’t deserve. Grace that is confounding to the world and overwhelming and doesn’t make sense.


Like the grace God has shown you.


Good Things (episode 5)

Well, it’s Friday and it’s a “Good Things” Friday here at Unfinished Business. So, let’s just get started listing a few blessings and happy things in my life over the last couple of weeks!

  • Yummy cobbler. With ice cream. And friends.
  • While we’re on the topic of food, let’s put homemade cinnamon rolls up there. I made some to help encourage some coworkers with a big deadline today—and the cinnamon rolls may have also encouraged me.
  • It’s my month again to teach in the children’s area of my church. My friend Michelle and I teach a kindergarten class. Last week was a little rough with all the kids being amped up from July 4, but I’m still happy I get to hang out with them. They move up to a new class at the end of the month, and I’m so amazed at how much they have grown up and matured over these last few months. I hope we’ve planted some seeds of the gospel!
  • This guy.
  • Meeting a printer deadline with no stress or tears! Yay!
  • Wimbledon.
  • A Cardinals come-from-behind win (in the 9th) over the Cubs on Wednesday night. I may have stood up in my living room and cheered (and told the Cubs fans to sit down. ) You know, because they can hear you through the TV.
  • Feeling like I’m doing a good job tying up loose ends and ending a chapter in my life at my current job well.

    It swelled a little and was sore, but it’s better now!
  • Getting the silverware drawer open after a large spatula jammed it—with only minor
  • injuries to my hand.
  • The weekend, folks. The weekend. It’s coming! ENJOY IT!

July 4 demands cobbler.

As you can tell from the recipes I’ve posted lately, I’ve been on a cobbler kick.

Actually, since I made and posted my blackberry cobbler recipe a few weeks ago, a friend of mine has been nagging me for a blackberry peach cobbler for her. Since I made the plain ole’ blackberry cobbler for a get-together with work friends, she didn’t get to have any. . . . but she was hosting July 4 at her house and her blackberry peach cobbler seemed like the perfect dessert for me to bring.

Blackberry peach may seem like a weird combo, but don’t knock it IMG_3935until you try it. I dreamed it up several years ago after I made a blackberry peach smoothie, and it was delicious. Around the same time, a pie place in town that I really like (The Loving Pie Company), served up a blackberry peach pie—so if people who make pie for a living think it’s a good idea, I had to try it.

Y’all, it was delicious. And definitely worth making again to celebrate Independence Day. So, with no further ado, the recipe. (And, guys, if you haven’t caught on, my cobbler recipes are all variations of the same recipe. So, get the crust recipe here. )

Blackberry Peach Cobbler Filling: 
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (You can use frozen, but fresh is so, so good. I used Peach Truck peaches.)
3 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed (Once again, you can use frozen, but I got some beautiful organic ones 2 for $5 at Kroger.) 

1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.IMG_3939 Follow the directions here to prepare the crust.

3. Make the filling. Combine sugar and flour and mix well. Add peaches, blackberries, water, and vanilla. Stir. Spoon into baking dish and top with butter, cut into smaller pieces.


4. Top with the remaining crust and pinch edges of crust together. Cut slits into the top crust (or use your star cookie cutter) to vent the cobbler. Sprinkle with sugar.


5. Bake at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbles. Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream and friends!

IMG_3942  IMG_3945

Mac and the trip to the vet


 Hey, dudes! It’s me, Mac the Magnificent!

I have a story the world just needs to hear. See, this past weekend, I got hurt. Mandy’s not quite sure what happened (she was at church), but when she came home, I was sure to let her know something was wrong.

Cause, dudes, I don’t cry. Even when Mandy accidentally steps on my feet. Even when I run into something when I’m playing with my stuffed Care Bear or my ewok.

Mac. Don’t. Cry.

But I cried on Sunday when Mandy picked me up. My back hurt!

What I can’t tell her is that is happened when I was jumping off the furniture. I got so excited when she came home and decided to do one of my amazing dismounts and somehow ended up wrenching my back. On Monday, Mandy took me to the vet. My vet says it happens with dogs with long torsos and short legs. I insisted I was not short!

But I’m on some anti-inflamatory meds now and feeling pretty good.

And don’t tell Mandy that I’m jumping off the furniture again. Right. now.

All About Me

Two things happened today on my way to work.

The first is an ongoing issue in my condo complex. Right outside my unit is a large v-shaped speed bump. The curb after this speed bump (and nearest my unit) is painted bright yellow, marking it as a no parking zone. Yet, over the past month, a frequent overnight guest of a neighbor continually parks there, probably because it’s more convenient to get to her friend’s house.

The problem with parking there—beside that it’s a no parking zone—is that because of the location of the car, the speed bump, and the layout of the parking lot, it turns our street from a 2-way street to a 1-way street.

But, instead of thinking about others and assuming the rules don’t apply to her, the driver parks there several times a week and usually overnight.

Then, as I was sitting on Rosa Parks, about to turn left onto Broadway in downtown Nashville, I looked across the street. The oncoming lane of traffic is actually divided into two lanes there. One that goes straight, and one from which you can turn right onto Broadway or go straight.

And a massive pickup truck sat there at the red light, straddling both lanes, while smaller cars attempted to edge past him to the right lane so they could turn onto Broadway and not damage their vehicles in the process.

I get that we all have rights and freedoms. What I don’t get is when exactly we became so entitled and self-focused. My neighbor’s friend parks in a no parking zone because it’s most convenient for her, even though it is ILLEGAL and inconveniences every other resident. This pickup truck driver can straddle the lanes because his truck is huge and nobody can do anything about it. He has the right, so why not exercise it?

I know today that I’ll deal with the same thoughts. What’s easiest for me? What’s most convenient for me? Why shouldn’t I say that remark that isn’t helpful, encouraging, or edifying? It’s my right, isn’t it? 

When those thoughts and feelings come bubbling up, I’m going to make a conscious choice to choose to push them aside. I’m not the most important person in the universe.

Lord, help me to serve others today, even if it means inconveniencing myself. 

Good Things (episode 4)

Just a few of the good things in my life over the last couple of weeks:

  • A good price on a windshield replacement. I called my insurance agent (Shelter) to check the deductible and confirmed what I already knew: the replacement would likely be smaller than my deductible. But the agency suggested I call a couple of companies they often work with and let them know I had my insurance with them. That resulted in a really good price! Thanks, Shelter!
  • A good visit to Missouri during which I really got to spend time with my family and just hang out.
  • Half price shakes at Sonic after 8 p.m. Chocolate-covered banana. Yum.
  • A new opportunity in the form of a new job. I start in August.
  •   Early mornings with Mac. This dog wakes up SO happy, and he makes me happier. Even at 5 a.m.
  • The realization that I am going to hit a deadline without killing myself.
  • A yoga class in which I did not feel sheer hatred for the teacher and her endless planks and downward dog poses. (It was a different teacher and she didn’t make us do a plank once!)
  • Nephew's team playing T-ball
    Nephew’s team playing T-ball

    Watching my nephew play T-ball. It’s pretty much the most anticlimactic and boring sport ever, but he had fun and so did Aunt Mandy!

The Memory Palace

I fell in love with stories a long time ago.

A hero or heroine, an unexpected twist, a truth that somehow applies to my life, a character who voices my thoughts.

I love a good story, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, family lore or historical. I like to read stories, watch them, and tell a few myself.

So last year, it was no surprise that I got sucked into the podcast “Serial.” I’m a mystery fan and often find myself lost in true crime stories and TV shows. I was late the “Serial” bandwagon, listening to the episodes as I drove to Missouri for Christmas.

And when I finished, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have another season to listen to yet, and I hadn’t found an audio book that captured my attention. I needed a new podcast.

That’s when I found “The Memory Palace” by Nate Dimeo. A guy with a journalism background, Nate likes to tell stories, too. When I found the podcast, I started listening—and kept listening until I had listened to every episode. Nate combines two things I love: good storytelling and little-known or little considered bits of history.

Just last weekend, Nate started a new season of “The Memory Palace.” He sometimes calls it the first real season of the podcast, since prior to this it was updated sporadically as he had time and energy to do so. For the next few weeks, he’ll be posting an episode a week and continuing to tell stories in his plaintive, thoughtful way.

If you need something to listen to during your commute, I highly recommend “The Memory Palace.” You’ll learn something, and if nothing else, enjoy a good story.

If you’re in NYC or the West Coast, check out the website for some upcoming live shows. Let me know if you’d like some recommendations of my favorite episodes! 

“A finished person is a boring person.” Anna Quindlen


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