An online legacy is tricky. Even if we don’t have a specific online website “home”, what we post on Facebook, Twitter, photos in Instagram and recipes or crafts on our boards in Pinterest, become our legacy.
These online social forums detail who we are by showing
our emotions and reactions
what we treasure
what we dislike
our view of the future and the past
our opinions about people and events
This thought isn’t new to you, I’m sure. I’m not trying to put fear, uncertainty or doubt into your minds. I’m just trying to prompt some awareness.
Why am I writing this post now? Well, a few days ago I had a shock. A heart-breaking awakening. And a special awareness is growing…
How will our children view our online legacy?
Amanda Kelly was a Christ follower, a mother and a wife who believed worship was a way of life. She wanted to inspire women to realize that worshipping God is more than corporate worship in church, but can be an everyday practice where God is in control, and gets the glory for every aspect of life.
How did she do that? She wrote. Online. She left an online legacy on her blog, and all the other places we all post items online: pinterest, instagram, facebook etc. Here’s an example of her view and tribute to her oldest daughter.
A post shared by Mandy Kelly (@worshipfulliving) on
Her life wasn’t easy. It included both infertility and waiting quite a while to be a wife. I’m sure there were days where she didn’t want to get out of bed and other days where the commitments she’d made in ministry, in family, in the local church and elsewhere felt very heavy.
Where was she focusing?
In all her posts online, and on social media, Mandy honored her God, Jesus, her husband, family and her role as a mom – both as a step-parent, and adoptive mother.
Why am I highlighting Amanda Kelly and online legacy?
On Tuesday morning, March 21, 2017, Mandy, her husband Scott and two of their four children died in a house fire.
I’m sure she was a normal human like you and me – she had her good days and not-so-great days. Those days are documented on her Instagram feed and in facebook posts, just like mine and yours. However, her online legacy for her remaining children has great value.
Yes. This event is a tragedy. Those who know me realize I usually refer to bad life happenings as “not a tragedy“. This one is a devastating life happening for the children and extended family still on this earth. But Amanda Kelly leaves behind a beautiful online legacy for those children and family.
Her words and desires for her children’s future remain for all of us. It is a beautiful online legacy we can all appreciate.
Now, what about you? What about me? Consider all you’ve posted online in the last week…
3 Ways to Be Sure Your Online Legacy Will Be Appreciated
I’ve been pondering this online life we all are subject to – in greater or lesser ways. One of our church leaders recently wrote a note about our activity online as Christians and it has also impacted my thoughts. Only God knows how long our online world will exist and in what form. But for now… it does.
Here are the three points I’ve considered:
1 – We need to focus on what will please God – loving Him first.
To be sure our online legacy will be valued and appreciated, honor God. Give Him the glory. First. Please God, before we please humans. Matthew 22:37 Whatever is true, noble,right, pure, lovely, admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— we need to think about such things — and express those things. Philippians 4:8
Do your online posts reflect your desire to please God?
2 – Followers of Christ need to live and lead like Jesus.
We are striving to live and lead like Jesus, so we need to apply our energies – offline and online – to being Christ-like. What does this mean? When we’re online, we must realize we are one in Christ – Galations 3:28 – Enough of this divisiveness – it’s not from God! And communicating with our heavenly Father, the Creator, must happen regularily. Jesus is our model. John 17 Leading life like Jesus will make sure our online legacy will be appreciated and valued.
How do you demonstrate online that you live and lead like Jesus?
3 – Our view must be greater than ourselves.
How are you serving? How are you loving your fellow-human? Matthew 22:39 Self care is important, but so is loving others. It must go hand-in-hand. Your online legacy will be valued and appreciated if you love others as you love yourself.
Is your love for those around you evident in what you post online?
Of course, we’re all fallible humans, with uncountable flaws… we aren’t perfect. That’s a given.
BUT — we are forgiven.
What else would you add to these 3 things?
I’m sure there’s more to add.
How would you suggest our online presence leave a legacy which our children and grandchildren will value?
They’re both professors at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. But more importantly to us is the fact that they’re both in a long-term marriage. Geoff has been married to Maureen for more than 35 years. Kathy has been married to Dave for more than 40 years. They both know what it’s like to be in the middle of marriage, how to be a friend to their spouse, and how build friendships as couples.
They’re not just talking theory on how to make the most from your couple friendships – they’re living it!
Research Concepts from Two Plus Two
What struck me first about their research is how easy it was to understand.
Deal and Geif have interviewed 123 couples together, 122 individuals who are part of a couple, 58 divorced individuals, two couples who have been friends for more than 40 years, and a group of seven couples who have been meeting for years together.
…mutual respect and enjoyment of each other’s company. They tend to know each other intimately – they are well versed in each other’s likes, dislikes, personality quirks, hopes and dreams. They have an abiding regard for each other and express this fondness not just in the big ways but in little ways day in and day out.
And then go on to cite many other researchers’ points on why friendships are a healthy part of life.
I found it interesting and helpful how they dealt with some of the factors that make friendships with other couples both a challenge and a joy:
differences beween women and men
age as a factor in friendships
race as a factor in friendships
socioeconomic class in friendships
how parents modeled friendships (positive & negative)
partnered vs married
extended family connections that (may) impede making outside friendships
how to fit in couple friendships into your life as husband and wife
“love him – hate her” issue in couple friendships
how television/social media has impacted our view of couple friendships
After researching they’ve come to the conclusion that there are two ways of thinking about couple friendships: Style and Interaction. These two concepts are going to help you navigate how make the most from your couple friendships.
“The most outgoing couples we call Seekers. These couples seek other couples for social, intellectual, and emotional stimulation. Both partners enjoy the company of others.
A second, and the largest group of couples, are ones we call Keepers. They tend to see couple friends as an important but not vital part of their lives. They have a significant number of friends, are close with those friends, and are not too interested in making new couple friends.
Nesters. A third group of couples that we see from our research are those that are not particularly interested in couple friendships. Either or both partners do not place a high value on them,and they are content to just spend time with the other partner, with their individual friends, or with one or two close couples. They are not oriented by personality style to a great deal of socializing with other couples. We call them Nesters because, without putting any value on their behavior, they are content to be in their nest with just each other or with a small group of friends. Some Nesters found each other late in life or in a second marriage and are fiercely protective of the time they have.”
Moving forward in the book, from Greif and Deal’s research they show how these three styles of interactors “live out their friendhips and how a couple’s interaction style affects what they do when they get together.”
What we need to know is that each couple might have different friendship styles. For example, I’m a Nester and Robert is a Keeper in couple friendship styles. Or, (to add complexity) an individual in a couple relationship could have an affinity for two of the three styles…
Bottom line? Knowing each other’s friendship style is important when you’re negotiating who you’ll be spending time with, and how often, and how to make the most from your couple friendships.
Interaction in Couple Friendships
Imagine a sliding continuum : Fun Seekers to Emotion Seekers.
In their research, Greif and Deal suggest that more than two-thirds of those they interviewed identified with the fun seeking description in couple friendships. They hung out together, and the emphasis was on “doing something”. Most often the Fun Seekers had children under 18 in their home, in comparison to couples who leaned toward emotion sharing friendships who didn’t have dependents living with them.
Others referred to the best kinds of couple friendships as being able to do both – share emotions, and thoughts along with enjoyment when doing things together.
“We did discover characteristics of emotion sharing couples, however, that distinguish them from fun sharing couples. Emotion sharing couples tend to identify couple friendships as more important to them than do fun sharing couples. They tend to describe a strong emotional investment in the couple friendships that they have. Further, they tend to be more affected by the breakup or divorce of their couple friends than are fun sharing couples. They have invested more in their couple friends and thus lose more when the friendships dissolve. Emotion sharing couples frequently mentioned how important couple friendships were to their lives, at times referring to another couple as “like family.””
Well – there probably won’t be final thoughts on this book.. 😉 There’s so much to ponder and review.
It’s a book heavy on theory, research, notations and citations, etc. What makes it readable for a non-academic is how the authors have woven in the personal stories of the couples they’ve interviewed. Those stories make the theory real and relatable to make the most from your couple friendships. From all the chapters, these are the most practical:
I especially enjoyed Chapter 10 – Building Couple Friendships for the Future because this section answered the questions on how to make the most from your couple friendships.Deal and Greif provide insights from the couples who they interviewed, and their own recommendations.
Appendix B has questions for marriage enrichment groups that I’m looking forward to asking our own couple friends!
Appendix C has a couple’s quiz to explore whether you’re a seeker, keeper or nester.
The whole book is fascinating if you’re someone who likes to gather insights and data. It felt like candy to me…
But I need to be clear with you — this is NOT a self-help book.
There aren’t “x” number of steps to make better friendships… It’s about research on the topic. And from the authors’ view, this might be the only book on this topic.
Why are we talking about this book?
Our discussion started with our first mid-marriage encouragement topic: making new connections in the middle of marriage… and how hard it is!
Take a look at our video— We’re reaching out – kicking it up a notch in 2017- to encourage YOU!
We’ve created resources – 2 PDFs – for you to download on our Patreon page for this video topic. We’ll be sharing a new Mid-Marriage Encouragement Video with you each week, along with resources as a challenge for you and your spouse to lead a meaningful life.
We challenge you to reach out and make new friends!
Don’t let the age or stage or your marriage deprive you of the depth that good friends can provide for your life.
Who could you call today – and make a time for a double-date?
Plan your evening. Then get up and have a remarkable day. Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful?I’ve been having difficulty with my days – most have been disjointed and unproductive. Can you relate?
Some of my disjointed-ness might be attributed to our nomadic lifestyle. We’re sleeping in different beds two or three times a week, and shlepping our stuff from house-sitting, back to the RV, and then onto taking care of dogs at another house. Don’t misunderstand me – I LOVE our experiences. I’m having such fun with soaking in a hot-tub and looking up at the blue sky at one house-sit, (along with cooking in a real oven, and having a washer/dryer at hand!) and loving on two big dogs at the other house-sit.
I thought all this moving about was messing with my productivity during the day – it’s not!
It occurred to me – it’s not so much what I’m doing during the day that’s the big problem – it’s my evenings!
Rob and I are indulging in multiple episodes of Big Bang Theory on video.
I’m not watching the time – and go to bed much too late – with my head full of computer or TV stuff
Instagram, twitter and other social media are sucking me in and it’s mindless
The evenings are being eaten up by stupid, mindless stuff. Worse yet, none of what I’m doing is preparing me for the day ahead. After an evening of messing-about, I don’t sleep well. And then the next day begins and I’m already at a disadvantage. (sigh) And this doesn’t help Rob or me or anyone else. At all.
I decided to invest in her course. 14 Days. 14 Videos. A 59-page digital workbook. It seemed like a do-able investment for a reasonable investment to plan your evening…
And I’ve been working through it.
Plan Your Evening
At first I believed the course would be like making a list and following that list. But it’s so much more. Crystal started off by encouraging me to think about why I want a change… the prompt included these questions:
What is the most frustrating thing in my life right now?
What is one area that, if changed, would make the biggest impact?
What am I struggling with most right now?
What drew me to consider starting this course in the frst place?
At the end of this course, if I only changed one thing, what one thing would make the biggest difference in my life?
Over the 14 days she had me looking at my calendar, facing my flaws (my greatest is procrastination, if you didn’t already know), deciding how to prep for the day ahead, priortizing what’s really important, and more.
14 Days of doing things differently in the evening has resulted in remarkable days!
(At the end of this post I have some photos of what Rob and I have been working on! It’s a brand new experience!)
What does my planned evening look like?
Your evenings will look different than mine – especially if you have growing children at home! But here’s a little insight into how I’ve changed my evening, despite our nomadic lifestyle:
I no longer join Rob for his nightly Big Bang episode(s) – they weren’t meeting my needs
we pray together before we both are in bed, because he goes to bed after I do.
the computer is shut down by 8PM & I read before bed – things that will help my mind settle for sleep
deciding the priorities for the next day, including making sure we have breakfast planned
and more that makes for a better sleep, and a remarkable day ahead
Is it all working well? No. I still struggle with procrastinating, and the time still gets away with me. But it’s only been a few weeks.
And you know what’s different… ?
I have a PLAN!
I think that’s the biggest benefit for me after going through this course – I have a plan to have a better evening. I really, truly understand the deeper reason why I need a plan for my evenings – and that keeps me focused.
No matter where I’m going to sleep (in our little-house-on-wheels, or in a hotel, or taking care of someone’s dogs/home while they’re away), I have a plan for my evening that will start the next day well – wherever I am. Remarkable.
I need more remarkable days in my life… don’t you?
Yes. I am an affiliate for this course to plan your evening. At no cost to you, I’ll receive a commission if you purchase. I became an affilitate because this product is working for me. It has value – with a 59-page workbook, worksheets included, and videos that are to-the-point. (I’m not a fan of fluff.)
I’ve been sharing what I’m learning with Rob, and it’s one reason we’ve decided to change how we pray in the evening (the timing and intention). Though this course isn’t designed to change your family’s evening – just yours – it’ll have a positive impact on everyone in your family, including your spouse!
What have we been doing since January?
How have our days been remarkable? Well – we’ve been stepping out in faith… even though we’re not pretty TV people… and we’ve been making videos! For you! Mid-marriage Encouragement Videos. To learn more, go to our Patreon page!We will be posting one video every week.
The first part of each video is scripted – and short, usually around 25 seconds. The second half of each video is longer (up to 5 minutes), where we discuss the concept and provide insights and suggestions to challenge you and your spouse to lead a meaningful life! We have 30 videos in the works. We record at YourLocalStudio in front of a green-screen. Then I chose a background (suggestions from Instagram were for us to be in the kitchen!). I’m learning to edit using Premier Pro, including adding in background music and transitions!
your spouse, your children, your parents, your beloved friends and family?
We’re not talking about duties like chauffering the kids to a game or a lesson… or attending the “usual” Sunday-after-church-dinner at your parent’s house. Sure, you might be looking forward to the Super-bowl party on Sunday (so are we), but that event won’t provide a time to open your heart, and listen without an agenda.
But busyness is not providing opportunities to become closer to each other.
If asked, or if loved one comes with a problem or concern,
we might throw out a few words of advice…
Advice = head (not heart)
Do you really want to help?
Do you really want
this hurt, this concern, this dilemna, this fear, this soul-crushing weight
to be lifted from the person you love?
Do your actions truly demonstrate you want your spouse, children or beloved family and friends to feel heard, understood and encouraged?
It might feel odd – or awkward to open your heart.
Maybe listening without an agenda isn’t something you’ve done very often.
Would it feel odd to simply listen – without interjecting or contributing – when your spouse speaks?
Might you feel as though you’re not doing your “job” if you aren’t providing a solution, or an opinion?
Perhaps you could try something new?
Your challenge this weekend:
Arrange a time to be alone together.
(Somewhere without a television and leave your phones elsewhere.)
Hold your spouse’s hand.
Listen to her/him without an agenda,
with full attention, and no words.
Open your heart to understand.
Don’t know where to start a deeper conversation? If you’re at a loss, try concepts from reading these posts from Christian Marriage Bloggers:
10% of our worries are over minor and trivial issues
Only 8% of our worries are real, legitimate issues
As convicting as these numbers are (92% of items we worry about aren’t worth our time to worry over) worrying and anxiety is a big topic. There are 206,743 items under the tag “worry” if you look on Amazon.
One blog post isn’t going to solve a life-long habit.** Nor will it address the serious medical disorder of anxiety.
Even so – consider this:
Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
Learning more about the ingredients of encouragement could add some ammunition to your arsenal against the delibitating condition of worry. Regardless if what you’re both worrying about is part of the 8% of legitimate worries, or not, we still need address the issue(s).
Here’s how to begin through the 5 ingredients of encouragement:
1. Use HOPE to encourage your spouse to stop worrying:
Often worry leads us down the road imagining all the negatives. We worry about things that might happen, or could happen. Rarely can the focus be on a positive outcome to a situation if you’re busy worrying. This iswhere making a list will be useful. *Go through this process with your spouse on paper:
What is the problem?
What is the cause of the problem?
What are all the possible solutions? (really delve deep – be thorough)
What is the best solution to the problem?
Once you’ve decided on the best solution to what you and/or your spouse are worrying about, then it’s time to talk about how the outcome to the solution will feel.
Deciding on the best solution will create a sense of hope and inspire you both to stop worrying.
*This, and many other insights on how to deal with worry are found in this older book by Dale Carnegie: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living You won’t find any new or radical ideas here – it’s mostly common sense. (When you’re both overcome with worry, common-sense might be hard to find.)
3. LOVE your spouse – without condition or prerequisite.
Love makes a difference in every situation in marriage.
YOU are the other part of this relationship. If the encouragement of love doesn’t come from you… then from where is it supposed to come? Sometimes worry and anxiety have their roots in fear, so remind your spouse how much you love her/him… and how much GOD loves…
…nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—…
4. To encourage your spouse to stop worrying, PRAY with and for him/her.
Prayer changes things. Robert and I cannot stress enough the power of prayer in and for every situation. If you’re hesitant to pray, then begin small. Take a look at this post and this one on prayer. Reach out to ask someone to pray with you. In prayer you’re seeking help from the Creator of all things, and the One who knows every hair on your heads. Prayer makes a difference.
5. Take ACTION to encourage your spouse to stop worrying.
Here’s where the rubber-meets-the-road: in supportive action. Make a difference by:
seeking wise counsel: be supportive by talking with an expert on the topics you and your spouse are worrying about. Sometimes an expert will have new insights you and your spouse can’t imagine right now.
reading on the topic of worry: be supportive by reading this book – or this one – or ask for recommendations at the library to learn more about how to overcome worry.
**speaking to a trained counselor: if worry and anxiety have overtaken your life as husband and wife, then be supportive by going with your spouse to a trained counselor. Keep looking until you find one you both can trust. Ask for recommendations of trained therapists from those you respect. If your spouse is hesitant, then pave the way by going to speak with a therapist yourself.
Your action will encourage your spouse. Start. Begin.
Encourage your spouse to stop worrying through the power of HOPE, FAITH, LOVE, PRAYER, and supportive ACTION. Your entire family will benefit if you and your spouse learn proactive ways to deal with worry.
** There are times when worry and anxiety are so great that nothing you can do will change your spouse’s heart/mind. Seek professional help immediately.
If you’d like to download a PDF to print the Scriptures — click here!