Social Media: separate or combine?

While perusing some of the “tags” I follow in my Reader yesterday I came across a post by Alice pondering upon something I had struggled with in the past: her post’s title tells it all, Personal vs Work Related Profiles. After reading her post and commenting I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject here. 

While I do maintain two separate blogs, I only have one Instagram and Twitter account, both under my name (surprise! LOL). I have a couple of topics that I write, tweet, and share photos of, including a daily verse from Scripture that I make into a graphic art (maybe not real art) piece I post (almost) every day; one of the other things I frequently post is tobacco pipe related. While the two things actually do go hand-in-hand, both historically and still today, I know that all of my followers aren’t “into” each of them. At first I was not sure if I should separate the two or not, like I have with the blogs. But after a while I came to a simple conclusion: I am who I am and my faith is going to show through no matter where or how I go about things, which is good. And I want my online friends and followers to see all of me, not a censored version, so to speak. So for me it really was an easy decision to have just one account. Now, back to the separate blogs that I keep.  

Even though I intended this blog in the beginning to be about my journey as a diabetic it quickly began to evolve into much more. And my faith has been a prominent part of this blog already, too. As I said before, that is who I am so it should be prominent here just as it is in my daily life. I do everything online as “me” because I have nothing to hide or that I’m ashamed of that I post/publish. That’s not to say I post everything I think, say, do, or have an opinion on because I don’t; some things I keep to myself and I think that’s how it should be. What a better place the World Wide Web would be if everyone had to be accountable for there posts, rants, and ramblings, in my humble opinion anyway. But that’s another subject for another day – perhaps. 

Family Day Trip to the Mountains

This week is one of family time; my wife is on vacation and we have our grandson with us all week. Since we are planning a beach trip in August we decided to make this week one of family time and day trips. Yesterday we took a grand adventure to the Hawks Nest State Park area. 

We began the day with some fishing at Kanawha Falls. Though I struck out (I was bait and tackle master LOL), everyone else caught a few small to medium sized fish. My grandson even managed to land his first largemouth bass! 

First largemouth bass 

After fishing, we went for a picnic lunch up the road at a roadside park, in some much needed shade. The ham and cheese sandwiches were good but the company was better! From our picnic sight you could see the backside of the falls, roped off to keep unsuspecting folks from being swept over into a nasty situation!  

Backside of Kanawha FallsFrom here we drove up to Cathedral Falls. This is a beautiful, natural tourist attraction. I think it was our grandson’s first visit to this sight. You have to cross over this footbridge to gain access to the top of the falls, a very steep and tricky climb which we weren’t prepared to try on this trip. But we were able to get in around the lower area; my family got in there, it’s too uneven for me to ambulate over that terrain.  

Footbridge to the falls  

Catherdral Falls   

While they played in the pools of water and took some photos of their own I snapped the above shots and a few more of the bottom of the falls area.   

Base of Cathedral FallsAfter taking a few photos I decided to have a seat on the covered picnic table near the parking area, a perfect place to take a cursory look at my pictures and enjoy my pipe. As I headed for the covered shelter I noticed a cave on the mountain above and behind it. This area was, long ago, heavily populated with Native Americans; the name Kanawha comes from the indigenous tribe that once inhabited the area. While I can’t say for certain, this could have been an old “Indian cave”. 

A possible Indian Cave

A possible Indian Cave

 It was here I noticed an unusual message among the graffiti, one that gave me a bit of a chuckle. 

Enjoying my corn cob pipe.

Enjoying my corn cob pipe.

  God is watching! I can only imagine who wrote this: It doesn’t look like a child’s penmanship to me and it was about 8′ off the ground so …..  

Since the tradition seemed to be for folks to write or carve a message on the table or its shelter I figured I ought not break it. But I didn’t want to be too destructive or obtrusive so I chose to lightly carve my and my wife’s initials with my penknife while I waited. Lightly carved initialsJust as I was finishing up my family made their way back to me. We packed up and headed off for a little more adventure …. but that’s another post for, another day – perhaps. 

Family collage

What is Bliss?

Bliss, not a word that I use particularly often. What is bliss? Well, I reckon it depends on who’s answering the question. According to the dictionary bliss is:

supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment:
wedded bliss.
Theology. the joy of heaven.
heaven; paradise:
the road to eternal bliss.
Archaic. a cause of great joy or happiness.

A cursory search for #bliss on Twitter turned up many different ideas by many different folks, such as these:

And that is only a few examples.

Christmas Day 2014

Family photo from Christmas Day 2014

Family collage

A collage of the family.

To be honest, I don’t think I have really ever thought about it before now. There are several things that come to mind and almost all of them involve my family. There’s no doubt that some of my happiest memories/occasions occur with/around them.

Then there are our “fur kids”, whose company brings me a lot of joy and company. And also a good number of laughs – and sloppy dog-kisses!

Our fur kids

Clockwise from top left- Gypsy, Jack, Petey, and Morkie, who’s crossed the Rainbow Bridge now.

But let me be honest, no matter how much I love and enjoy my family, furry and non-furry alike, there are times when they cause angst, interruption, and general chaos. And if you don’t ever feel similarly some times you’re either a much better person than I am – or a fibber! LOL

After considering the given definition and the varied posts and tweets I saw I am all the more affirmed in my theory that the answer is very relative. However it doesn’t answer the question “What is bliss to me?”  I think my answer would have to be the me time I get.

Haiku photo collage

A few of the haiga you’ll find on the blog.

Several mornings a week a wake to an (almost) empty house; the dogs and I don’t work or go to school. 🙂  It’s on these mornings I have my time, time of reflection, time of meditation, time of, well, bliss I reckon. Weather permitting, I’ll load up a pipe, brew a fresh cup of coffee, and head outside to our covered deck. Here I enjoy my pipe, my coffee, and the sights and sounds of Creation. This is the time I connect with God, in prayer and meditation and through the study of His Word. It is also the time when I write, edit, or come up with ideas for writing, be it poems, haiku, lessons. etcetera, this is when most of it happens.These precious hours, filled with quiet contemplation, just me and the Lord, this is my bliss.

My pipe, coffee, and writing; a blissfill morning

My idea of bliss: quiet time with my pipe, coffee, and God.

I’m Just Me

When I first started this blog, I think I’ve mentioned this before, I planned on using it primarily as a healing and coping tool; I’d just learned I had type-2 (T2) diabetes and was suffering from some very serious symptoms from it. Many years ago I’d done the same thing on a blog, now long defunct, to cope with (and help other with) my neurological disorder and it was a great help then so, I figured, it would be again. 

Fifteen years ago there were only a hundred or so recognized/diagnosed cases of Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES), which is what I have. Diabetes, especially T2, is way more commone than CES; it was then and it still is today. Even though CES is being properly diagnosed sooner now it still remains a minority disorder, especially cases as severe as mine.   It didn’t take me too long to figure out unless I just wanted an online journal there wasn’t going to be much content here. And as I began to get my disease under control (still working at it though it’s much better) I saw there was going to be even less content, perhaps even making this not only unnecessary but a waste of time.

I have some pretty limited mobility, partly due to the nerve damage I’ve suffered and partly – increasingly to be honest – due to arthritis in my back and ankle; its in other joints from other issues as well but we’ll leave this here for the point I’m going after. Winter was pretty tough on me this year and kept me in a lot. And when I say “in” I mean not just inside the house but also upstairs, out of my garage workshop where I do my “tinkering”; I have a couple of hobbies that occupy my time and energy, at my doctor’s suggestion, and not being able to get to the workshop made me battle with something closer to depression than just the “winter blues”. 

Somewhere along the way I found this new to me thing called haiku challenges. It turns out there are a lot of “challenges” out there in the interwebs: writing, poetry, haiku, photography and probably a whole slew I’m either forgetting or unaware of. Having enjoyed writing haiku and other poetry in my youth, still enjoying writing over the years, including up to now, this seemed like the perfect way to have something I could do without having to get to the workshop! So, off I set to try my hand, after not writing a haiku in two-plus decades. Amd you know what? It was still fun for me! I was learning techniques and terminology and all kinds of things I had no clue about from my junior high and high school writing classes. Soon I found a couple of these challenges or prompts and I dove right in, knowing my compositions weren’t the best (but hopefully were/are improving), and helping break out of that grip of depression before it got too tight. 

If you read much of my postings, be they here, my other blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or anyplace I might be forgetting, I’m certain there’s one thing you have (or quickly will) realized: I am a Christian, a child of the one living God, a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Now, if you had any doubt, misgivings, uncertainty, etcetera, they should be 100% cleared up, dispelled, straightened out, or however you’d like to word it.  My faith shows through in everything I do: it is a huge part of my life and something I gloss over or conceal in any way. I actually like wrote daily devotions for a fairly large private email list: five time a week for three or four years. And I’ve written articles, lessons, outlines, and other biblically based virtual-papers as well, all of which I have kept – intentionally – separate on the other blog. So, even though my intention was to keep the content separate I soon realized I can’t because of how large a part of my life my faith is. 

At the end of the day, I’m just another child of God negotiating the potholes of this life on my way Home. 

This piece was written, in part, I’ve the last several weeks. Today I completed it for the first day of Blogging 101. If you are interested in some of the things mentioned in this post just poke around a bit; it’s all here or HERE on my other blog.