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There is a routine I have in those free times when I turn on my computer. It is usually accompanied by supper or a bowl of Extreme Moosetracks chocolate ice cream.

The first thing I do is pull up my Outlook Express and get it started downloading my emails. Then I open a window of Facebook (more recently via Google Chrome) and log in. While that is loading, I open two more tabs and send them to Blogger and WordPress.

Facebook is a between times activity. When a separate page is loading, or between tasks, I go scroll through my friends’ status updates, commenting on a few of them. I check to see who is listed as “online” at the moment, but hardly ever start chats with them. If a friend wants to chat with me, however, I’m usually up for it.

My Blogger Dashboard has my blog reader listed on it, so I begin scrolling through recently updated blogs for any that look interesting. I always click on the first post from A Holy Experience. That beautiful site plays the most peaceful music in the background, a soothing atmospheric playlist that can repeat for hours without growing old. It is also one of the blogs on which I will read every post until I am caught up. The other blog for which I do that is my brother’s, Silence Spoken. We’re like best friends, so I know most of what he says, though his poetry is a removed perspective, a picturesque turn of words to express the big ideas in his head and heart. Usually I will go through and open all the eye-catching blog titles in their own new tabs, so that I can read them later.

My email takes a while to download, but by this time they should be viewable. I start by deleting the emails I don’t want: updates from Amazon.com, Avon, weather forecasts from the week prior, Human Events ads and articles that I get because they are kind enough to email me Ann Coulter’s articles each week. Then I start at the earliest unread email and begin reading. Most are little Facebook notifications: someone commented on my wall. Another person added a comment to a wall-post or status on which I had commented. Friend requests and acceptances. Every month or so I collect all these into a separate file for archived Facebook notifications. The best things to read are emails sent just to me by a real live friend. Life ponderings, prayers and prayer requests, encouragement, or invitations to get together, these are my computer priority, and almost always earn a reply.

Blogger and WordPress will tell me if I have comments to approve for my blogs. I’ll read those, post them, and reply to them. On Blogger I will check out their profiles and their blogs if they have any. Then I stick in my USB thumb drive to upload the blogs I’ve written during my breaks at work. You can observe for yourself how frequently this happens. Finally I check WordPress for my blog stats, to see which posts are the most popular and if there are any surges of traffic. My most popular articles are about auto warranty telemarketers, chivalry and romanticism, making grilled cheese sandwiches Sometimes I’ll get a hit on a post I forgot I wrote, and I go see what the post was about.

Next I open an additional Internet Explorer or Google Chrome window. I use that to do my projects. Maybe I’m going to search for some information. See if a book I heard about is at my library. Renew library items. Shop. Check my Etsy.com shop, Mi-Re-Do.com website, Googleads, or ebay. I like to download “Let My People Think” at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Maybe I’ll be researching for my blog or my business.

IMDB is the best website for information on movies and actors – unless you want to buy a movie, and then Amazon is the place. When I post book reviews, I post them to Amazon.com as well. To see a decent review of a recent mainstream movie, Plugged In is pretty good. They do have spoilers, and I don’t always agree with their assessments or interpretations, but they have accurate objectionable content evaluation. For Bible Study, I use Blue Letter Bible, which has multiple versions, an online Strong’s concordance that can cross-reference the Greek words and root words too. Del.icio.us is on my toolbar so that I can quickly bookmark any awesome but singular articles I find and want to remember. (WordPress’s widget allows you to see my recent tags on Del.icio.us.)

If I am bored or lonely, I will frequently refresh Facebook and go searching for more than status updates on my friends, looking through their new photo albums especially. The best are babies and weddings, followed very closely by scenic pictures of far-off lands. When inspired, I update my own status. It usually has to do with what I did that day, will do tomorrow, or have been thinking. For some reason movies make frequent appearances.

When it seems my favorite blogs have been insufficiently updated, when I am craving a good intellectual read or a warm, encouraging girlfriend read, I’ll go to blogs that have lots of links and start exploring. Carolyn McCulley often has good links. WordPress has a tag surfer feature to find like-topic blogs. Or I can search places like Ligonier Ministries or Boundless for interesting articles. When I find a blog I may want to follow, I do follow it, pasting its URL into my Blog Reader on Blogger. It’s an eclectic list, as you can see if you look on my Profile.

Before I turn off my computer, I refresh Facebook one more time and check for any new emails. Then I minimize any windows I want to keep open, close the rest, and put my little laptop into hibernation.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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“Hello down there!  Slow going?” – Inigo Montoya, Princess Bride

Slow going down here in the blog world.  I have two book reviews to post, and a blog written up about laughter, even one about football. 

“This is not as easy as it looks.” – Man in Black, Princess Bride

My blog is published on two different host sites: Blogger and WordPress – neither of which have been cooperative recently.  Blame might be shared by my own laptop and internet provider, as well.  And when I have been on my computer, late into the nights and early mornings, my work has been directed towards by business, the one linked on the sidebar here but rarely mentioned.  It has a new name, new look, and even some new products coming just as soon as I can get the pictures taken. 

“I don’t suppose you could speed things up?” – Inigo Montoya, Princess Bride

Three years ago I started this business, hoping to learn a lot about business and accounting without going to school, needing something to do with the extra money I had lying around, and of course wishing to earn enough income to stay home full time.  Self-discipline is something I can do, but only with encouragement.  And sometimes, when things are just too hard, I actually need help. 

Large Mi-Re-Do Business Card

“Throw me the rope.” – Man in Black, Princess Bride

Some of my good friends have been encouraging me lately.  They also have their own business.  We had a long talk about believing in our products, about wanting to make sure that we’re not selling junk, but to be willing to settle for marketing goods and services that won’t revolutionize the world.  My brother asked me why I think people should have what I’m selling.  Questions like that make me think, and usually when I think, I get answers, which turn into the blurb about each item that appears on my website. 

Assistance has come in concrete ways, too.  Several of my friends have advertised for me and referred acquaintances to my business.  The friends above are going to print my government-regulation-required care and contents tags.  And my brother even offered to help with some HTML for my webpage

“I do not mean to pry, but you don’t by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?” – Inigo Montoya, Princess Bride

One of the other goals for my business is to build relationships with customers (thereby changing the world – I just can’t escape that motive!).  Sometimes all it takes is opening the conversation, however unexpected or odd. 

“I’m not left-handed either.” – Man in Black, Princess Bride

Running a business is a risk.  Putting my creativity out in the world for judgment is scary.  I could lose money.  I could waste time.  But there is power in the unexpected.  That’s what I’m trying to offer on my website.  For sale is an eclectic supply of handmade and home-designed accessories that are unlike anything the rest of the marketplace has to offer.  Some taglines I’m using or toying with are: “Mi~Re~Do: Reviving Declining Melodies” and “Buy Mi~Re~Do.  Tilt your perspective.”  By thinking through the practical and aesthetic worth of my products, I’m trying to change the way my customers think about – and live – ordinary life. 

“Get used to disappointment.” – Man in Black, Princess Bride

Still, it’s been three years, and though I’ve sold several items on Ebay, and ventured into Etsy, I have almost zero client base.  I have designed several business cards, and been too timid to hand them out.  Marketing is nonexistent.  And my room is overrun with unsold inventory. 

“I’d just as soon destroy a stained-glass window as an artist like yourself…” – Man in Black, Princess Bride

Artists and dreamers cannot be kept down.  We will keep creating, used to our disappointments but pushing forward anyway.  Companies will succeed because they persevere where others failed, and offer goods that others don’t.  When Buttercup cried, “We’ll never survive!” on the margins of the fireswamp, Westley the eminent business coach countered, “Nonsense!  You only say that because no one ever has.” 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Facebook is a genius’ invention for back door communication.  Rather than asking a person what is going on in their life, you can:

  • Read their wall, and see what others are saying to them, who the others are, and where they are from. 
  • Refresh (F5) Facebook home page (when you’re logged in) constantly in order to track any comments, picture posting, poking that occupies your friends.  Oh – one of the best items on this is relationship status.  Apparently everyone feels obligated to confess on Facebook exactly how they stand with regards to a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse.  I believe the options are “single,” “it’s complicated,” “in a relationship,” and “married.”  If your status changes, Facebook is smart enough to tell all your friends, with a broken heart image if you go from being “in a relationship” to “single.”  If their significant other is/was on Facebook, Facebook even supplies their name.  Of course there is hacking, and teasing, and the disappointment when you think a close friend has started a relationship without telling you. 
  • Comment on a photo in which they are tagged.  This is very indirect, if you wish.  Only those tagged in the photo will be notified, and get the message. Incidentally, if a random friend has something funny, complimentary, or unflattering to say about a photo of you, Facebook will keep you informed. 
  • Become friends with their good friends, and observe all their comments on walls and photos. 
  • Send them a friend suggestion.  Anyone an enterprising matchmaker? 

More direct modes of communication via Facebook are:

  • Writing on their wall.  I like the public nature of this, so that your conversation is monitored and kept necessarily to the topics and style that can be public. 
  • Sending a message.  For the friends who never got around to giving you their email for one reason or another, you can look them up on Facebook and send them a message.  I believe you can send a message on Facebook whether the person is officially your “friend” or not. 
  • Using their contact information listed on their profile to email, IM, or call them. 
  • Write a note and tag them in it.  Unlike tagging pictures, in my experience tagging is an invitation to read your note. 
  • Poke them.  In this form of communication, your intentions and specific meaning are ambiguous.  Observe their reaction to determine their interpretation, which reveals how they think of you and what they want to think of you. 
  • Tag them in a photo.  At least this will let them know that 1) you thought of them, 2) you know their name, and 3) you thought their picture worthy of a place in your Facebook photo albums which are generally public, even to people (if there are such) not on Facebook. 

 Some things to keep in mind:

  • If you change your status on Facebook, everyone can read it. 
  • If you post to someone’s wall regarding their status, the wall stays and the status goes away. 
  • Applications (Superpoke, movie compatibility, bumper stickers, etc.) will almost always ask you to invite all of your friends, and even have every option imaginable selected as default.  Take the time to “unselect” the options you don’t want.  Pay attention to which options are mandatory. 
  • When editing your profile, if you leave a field blank, it will not appear on your profile.  So you can leave blank your politics or religion if you don’t want to get into it. 
  • If you care about security, you’ll probably decline displaying your full birth date or address.  If you’re paranoid you won’t have any profile picture; you’ll use an assumed name, and you’ll only add friends as “limited profile.”  Either way, be careful that you don’t give the same information away on Facebook by writing on someone’s wall or commenting on a photo.  Friends may even tag you in photos using your real name.  Forgive them.  It is hard to remember. 
  • Get your parents on.  It should up your friend count and makes them look cooler, which definitely helps your reputation.  If they never log on, does it really matter? 
  • If you are a parent, make your kids add you on Facebook (and Myspace) – and make sure they don’t have an alter-ego they’re really using.  Show up every once in a while and comment.  Don’t say anything embarrassing.  Try something funny like, “Dinner’s ready.”  After all, we’re always looking for ways to improve inter-family communication. 
  • If you are a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, especially one officially recognized (by being posted on Facebook), drop by each others’ walls from time to time.  Don’t get mushy.  Share a link or comment on a photo.  Be a part of each others’ lives, even on Facebook.  After all, do you want the stalkers to get the wrong impression? 
  • Do not spend money on Facebook.  Seriously.  It’s the thought that counts.  Write something on a friend’s wall, or post a funny picture of them.  Draw them a picture using paint, and post it.  But do something free and thoughtful to show you care. 
  • Am I the only person who can’t handle the surge of envy when they read those applications like “top friends” or “voted best friend for advice,” etc.?  All because I’m too cool to add those applications and wasn’t an option, so obviously my friends didn’t vote for me?  Relax.  Be realistic.  It’s just Facebook. 
  • I’m not as paranoid as the hypothetical person I described above, but I think it’s a good idea if a log out button exists, to use it.  Amazon.com doesn’t have one, and every time I am on that website it knows my name.  Cookies. 
  • Be aware that Facebook has a million options for privacy settings, so some people are less present and visible on Facebook.  Deal with it or ask them to change.  (I suggested to one such friend that I could cure her fear of stalkers by writing a blog all about her with her name and phone numbers and pictures – but I won’t.) 
  • Select the options for email notification.  Email is my catch-all notification box, and I don’t have to type in any passwords to retrieve it on my home computer.  I have Outlook Express set up to sort my emails the way I want, so whenever something important happens to my profile on Facebook, I find out.  (I also get blog comment moderation notices).  So if you’re worried about getting addicted to Facebook, decide only to get on when you get a notification via email.  Do not live on Facebook – or Myspace, Blogger, or WordPress for that matter. 

Facebook is a site for social networking.  The more obvious modes of communication are the harder to use on Facebook.  Is there a reason for this?  Maybe.  Never underestimate the power or omnipresence of links.  Remember that people can read what you do.  Be yourself on Facebook, but be more yourself in real life. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

 

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I’m sitting here, sinking into my computer screen as only happens when I’m completely tired. One boot is on, and one is off. I’ve been eating an indulgent amount of chocolate cheesecake. A friend told me this week that her favorite version of Little Women is that with June Allyson (an many other famous people, including a whole entourage also appearing in Meet Me In St. Louis), so I was watching that. When I read the book I was young and not all that attentive to detail, but I’m pretty sure the newest adaptation is more accurate. This version was delightful, though.

My finger is better today, still carefully protected by a band-aid. A patient gave me a bracelet that is in a variety of pretty pastels, including two shades of pink but only one of blue, green, and purple. I’m enjoying drinking out of a glass and pondering the extensive contamination our world has with plastic.

At work today I spent every free moment studying Shechem, which was an exciting biblical exercise, and with a little more research completed when I am fully conscious, will be a blog post. I imagine my faithful readers checking my blog and thinking me crazy, for the information is quite long, and I’m not entirely sure of its relevance. But I feel sure that it is important, and I am very interested.

Also coming up will be a review of the final Jane Austen Season offering from Masterpiece: Sense and Sensibility. I intend to watch the entirety in one sitting at some point to form my opinion sufficiently for blog authority.

My cat is awake, and so is a family member, since they just turned their doorknob (fortunately those handles are not homicidal). This week I finished sewing a shirt for my sister which I began before her birthday in January. Buttons on my black coat are mended into security. But curtains I made for Mom’s birthday in November 2006 are still not entirely functional; we use clothespins to hold them up and let light in – without which we get cabin fever and insist on turning on each of the five lamps in the room. All this so we can gaze transportedly into laptop or television screens.

With the best of intentions I resolved to get to bed on time and rise earlier to pray more diligently beginning this week. Though I set my alarm at 8 this morning, I only got up at 9, but fortunately had time enough to put gas in my car (sufficient to get me to work) and stop for a doughnut. Now it is after 1 AM, and I am still not being self-disciplined in my schedule. My problem, I think, is the food supply in our house. I feel obligated to eat dinner, and if I eat it ought to be something substantial, but either there is nothing or it is the same something I ate twice already this week. By the time I convince myself those excuses are petty, I’ve wasted positively hours. Not to worry; I spend the whole intervals between opening cupboards and refrigerators conversing pleasantly with my tolerant and sympathetic family. Then I supplement my decisions with cheesecake or ice cream, and the world doesn’t seem bad at all.

Before I had a blog I rambled like this in emails to my friends. Some bloggers would divide this into many posts. I don’t consider my consolidation lazy. I am quite willing to separate my topics, but WordPress and Blogger are so tedious.

Let me close tonight by sharing with you something I once said so casually and sincerely that without it being considered by a dear friend to be my motto, I would have forgotten. “You can laugh at me; I do.”

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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Sets of four?  Sounds like rummy!  I love being asked questions.  For one thing, answers are so much easier then. 

1. 4 movies you can always watch: Wives and Daughters, While You Were Sleeping, Two Towers, Pride and Prejudice with Kam Heskin (no, I’m not Mormon)

2. 4 bands you can never get enough of: Bands aren’t my think, but oh, I like Boyz In the Sink  After that we’ll have to do singers: Michael Card, Steve Green, (stealing one from Woven and Spun) Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack

3. 4 towns you lived in: Blue Springs, MO; Aurora, CO; Farmer’s Branch, TX; Garland, TX

4. 4 shows you like to watch: Pushing Daisies, Leave it to Beaver, Numbers, Joan of Arcadia
5. 4 websites you visit daily: WordPress, Biblical Womanhood Blog, Amy’s Humble Musings, Elect Exiles

6. 4 favorite foods: chocolate, pizza, hamburgers, strawberries
7. 4 places you’d like to be now: Chicago, Scotland, the mall, Israel
8. 4 songs that really move you: Christmas Shoes, Held, We Will Dance, Beauty and the Beast

9. 4 books you will always love:The Walk by Michael Card, Lord of the Rings, Passion and Purity, That Hideous Strength
10. 4 colors that will always be in your closet: navy blue, white, black, green

11.4 authors you’ll always love: Jane Austen, Elisabeth Elliot, Michael Card, Dr. Henry Morris
12. 4 favorite actors/actresses whose talent you honestly respect: Gerard Butler, Cary Grant, Sandra Bullock, Bill Paterson
13.4 languages you’d love to be fluent in: Hebrew, Old English, German, French
14.4 other countries you would like to live in: Scotland, Israel, New Zealand, Ecuador
15.4 skills you would like to improve: sewing, teaching, writing, cooking

16.4 items that are “a few of your favorite things”: white curtains, soft throws, my trifle dish, fog

17. 4 items you actually use like they’re your favorites: laptop, car, tiny hair clips, denim skirt

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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