The 5 Reasons I Will Unfollow You on Twitter

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Note: I had hoped that by moving out of America, I would be able to sober up from my social media addiction. However, it definitely made it worse. I cling to the familiarity, so sue me.

Another note: the following post is only like 93% serious. 

The 5 Reasons I Will Unfollow You on Twitter

1. You unfollowed me.

Unfortunately, with the inventions of apps that track unfollowers, I knew that you were the cause of my follower count dropping by one. Maybe you thought I wouldn’t notice? Well I did. You are rude and you hurt my feelings. Without you adding to my follower count, there is really no reason for me to continue following you.

1a. Can we all agree that the people who follow you so that you will follow them back and then UNFOLLOW everyone so they are following like 3 people and have 5000 followers are INFURIATING? Yeah, I SEE YOU. 

2. You never followed me back.

Listen up, buttercup. Unless you are the Pope, Obama, or Taylor Swift, your tweets aren’t worth messing up my follower/following ratio. You have a certain amount of time to follow me back before you lose me as a follower. Please don’t make me regret following you in the first place.

3. You are a hater.

Please tell me some more how much you hate my favorite Football/Basketball/Baseball teams. I understand that everyone is entitled to his or her opinions, so I will let this slide for a little bit. But if it is all that you tweet, my competiveness and blood pressure require that I tell you “Adios.”
(ps. Your teams suck.)

4. You are negative.

Yes, I do realize that life can be less than favorable. And I don’t expect for everything you tweet to be all rainbows and sunshine. But if you are consistently using all of your 140 characters to detail your miseries, it’s probably making me miserable too. The Internet is not your diary, and I don’t need your negativity in my life.

5. You tweet too much.

Now, this might be me getting too picky. But I think that unless it is the Super Bowl or some other noteworthy event, your tweeting/retweeting should have a daily limit. I don’t care how invested you are in Duck Dynasty, if you tweet one more thing about it today, I’m going to punch you in the face. Or, just unfollow you.

It’s Probably Okay

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My name is Liz, and I make poor decisions.

It is currently 2:47 am, and about thirty minutes ago, my body woke me up. I was nauseous, sweating, and trying to figure out why my body was tormenting me. As I fiddled in the dark for my Pepto-Bismol, I kept thinking, “What did I eat?” My diet is pretty consistent, and I didn’t really think I had varied from it. As I was trying to figure out why my body was being so rude, my hand came across not medicine, but a package. This package explained my current predicament.

Photo on 2014-02-23 at 02.37

That says, “Milk Chocolate Pop”.

You see. Not only do I make poor decisions, but I also like to keep friends that make poor decisions. Back in December, one of my best friends in the whole entire world (who shall remain nameless) mailed me a phenomenal Christmas package with a lot of knick-knacks. In that package, this friend included some chocolate – a “Milk Chocolate Pop” to be exact. (Now, to save you from making a poor decision, I am going to suggest a small tip when it comes to mailing things internationally: Don’t mail chocolate.) Luckily, the melted-ness that was this chocolate was contained in the cool package it came in. I decided to put it in the freezer because it would come out easier, and I could still keep the package, which had crosswords, and other fun puzzles.

Fast-forward two months to the present. Tonight, I found the package in the freezer. And I actually cannot walk you through my thought process. I could lie to you and tell you I forgot what this chocolate had been through. I could tell you that I forgot THIS was the chocolate that had been mailed, melted, and frozen. But my memory is strong, and my thoughts were more along the lines of “It’s probably okay.”

My body’s answer? “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

I wish I could blame this on someone else. I wish I could tell you this was the only poor decision I’ve made recently. But. I can’t. And it’s not. I learned how to use a fire extinguisher because I forgot to put water in the electric kettle before turning it on. I drank 5 cups of coffee after 8:00pm because “caffeine doesn’t affect me.” I got one of the worst sunburns of my life because it was windy and I didn’t think I was getting burnt. I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning writing about poor decisions even though my alarm is going off in two hours. I got my head stuck in the head of my bed because.. yeah, I don’t know how to explain this one either. Because I was bored? Because I was leaning on it and realized if I just pushed a little, my head would fit? Because I thought, “It’s probably okay.”

"My head can totally fit in that."

Yeah. It’s probably okay.

And honestly, that’s what I’m learning. It IS probably okay. Things might not be completely pleasant, but they turn out okay. The GOOD thing about making poor decisions is that I’m learning other things too. Like how to use fire-extinguishers, and the knowledge that caffeine DOES affect me, and to reapply sunscreen EVEN if I don’t feel like I am getting burned, and how to remain calm even though I am having a panic attack because my head is stuck, and to just throw away the chocolate so I’m not tempted in two months.

All of this to say, I am making a declaration.

I am going to try REALLY hard to make better decisions.

So, pray for me friends. This doesn’t promise to be an easy journey.

But it’s probably going to be okay.

Identity Crisis

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Today, I visited the US Embassy in Botswana. After a 15-minute procedure that included metal detectors and the confiscation of my cell phone and bag, a security escort walked us into the compound. Guys. It was AWESOME. I saw a group of American people in front of the building I was going into. There was flag, hanging high. And I am not sure how they did it, but I am pretty sure it smelled like a baseball field. I am 100% thankful for the troops and the privileges I grew up with, but I have never considered myself to be a super patriotic person. But life is funny, and in those 30 minutes, there was NO ONE on this planet that was happier/prouder/more excited to be an American than Elizabeth Anne Callahan.

A lady said ONE WORD to a security person and her voice made me SMILE WITH GLEE. I was directed to a small room with three glass windows. It was an empty room and no one was at any window. I rang a bell and a lady came from one of the back offices.  The kindness that radiated through her voice when she said, “How can I help you?” had me grinning like an idiot. If I felt glee with the one word from the first lady, this lady’s 5 words brought euphoria. It took everything in my entire being not to ask her who she was, where she lived, and if she wanted to meet for coffee and talk about American things. I happily paid a ridiculous fee for something because it also bought me 5 more minutes in this office that, in the US, I would have dreaded being in. (Maybe I am a little homesick, but it’s fine.) Even though I didn’t get that much accomplished with the trip, I was SO HAPPY.

Today, I identified with being an American and it brought me joy.

But most of the time, the things I identify with bring me anxiety.

In junior high, I remember being told that when we wear a school shirt in public, we are representing our ENTIRE school. I took that SERIOUSLY. I opened doors for elderly people, picked up trash at the little league fields, and tried to not do ANYTHING wrong, all while making sure my body was positioned so that people could read my shirt. It was when I saw a boy in my class put his boogers into someone else’s hair that I realized I had a major problem. HE was representing me.

I remember wishing that he would move to my rival school.

How unfair is it that this person who happens to go to the same school as me is representing me and who I am? Answer: SUPER UNFAIR.

Recently, I’ve found myself having these same types of thoughts. How unfair is it that OTHER PEOPLE represent me? Just because they went to the same college, are from the same state, eat the same foods, are a part of the same religion, etc. as me, they get to represent me? WHAT? NO. STOP. I identify with these things, and these people who “represent” me are making me want to pull my hair out. I mean, come on. If you are going to put a Jesus sticker on your car, can you at least TRY to be a better driver and refrain from flipping the bird so much? (Side note: If I were a terrible driver, I would totally put stickers of things I hate on my car. Luckily, I am a terrific driver.)

In addition to that, it is a lot of pressure to be responsible to all of the people I am connected to, as I guess that I semi-represent them. (Sorry any family member/FB friend/twitter follower/acquaintance, I mess up/disappoint/sin A LOT.)

This all makes me question who I am, where I am from, what I believe, etc.

When all of these things have me on the brink of tears, Jesus sweeps in and is like, “Hey, remember me?” Oh.

Tonight, I randomly picked up a Hymnal. You might be familiar with the song that I opened to:

 Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing.

 Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

 No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

 He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.

God always has a way of smacking me in the face. My identity isn’t in other people. It’s in HIM. It is in my Lord. My King. The one who came to this world. To this earth. The one whose blessings flow. The one who rules the world with truth and grace. This righteous God. This loving Savior. THIS is my identity. It isn’t things. It isn’t people. It’s Jesus.

So tonight, I am clinging to my identity in Jesus. It’s anxiety-free, we aren’t separated by a glass window, and it brings more joy than I have ever experienced/could ever describe.

I recommend it.

Don’t be a chicken.

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(WARNING: This post could probably classify as a very hypocritical rant. Carry on.)

I was washing dishes today and got to a pan that I had made eggs in. Since non-stick spray isn’t really a thing I wanted to spend money on, there was a good amount of egg left on the bottom. I didn’t want to let the egg go down the drain or throw it in the trash can to stink up the kitchen. So I did what I am good at. I opened the window and threw it out into the yard. I’m not sure what I thought would happen when I did that, but I was dismayed when all of the chickens in the yard raced for the egg scraps. I couldn’t help but think of the morbid-ness and irony that was happening in front of me, as the chickens ate the eggs unashamedly, with no regrets. But my mind quickly drifted to other important things like what I was going to have for lunch, and how long I could nap this afternoon without being judged.

I finished the dishes and headed for my laptop and the glorious Internet that accompanies it. As I was cruising through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, I could not ignore the horrible feeling that was creeping over me. The thoughts that flashed through my head came in rapid succession, and I could feel my pulse speeding up as a feeling that can only be described as fury swept throughout my entire body.

-OH. MY. GOSH.

-When did we turn into freaking chickens?

-Why is everyone so hateful?

-Why is negativity something that is popular and loved?

-Just because the Internet makes it easy to voice your opinion doesn’t mean you should. (Yes, I do realize this is me using the Internet to voice my opinion.)

-Most of the negative-ness is not constructive or helpful. It’s just rude.

-When did it become human instinct to be a big fat jerk?

-We tear apart each other without even thinking about it.

-We race to eat our own, and we have no regrets.

I eventually calmed down, but I am still frustrated. Probably, because I am no different. It’s easy to judge, and the hate-trains can be attractive.

But I can’t help but wonder what would happen if as fellow human beings, we used the energy we spend on boarding the hate trains to board the kind ones. If instead of saying negative things, positivity flowed out of our mouths. If instead of being critical, we were complimentary.

What would happen if hopefulness and optimism replaced the gloom and the pessimism that seems to have overtaken our hearts, our thoughts, and our words?

Let’s stop being chickens. Let’s be encouraging. Let’s be uplifting. Let’s be kind. Let’s be gracious. Let’s be loving. Let’s be humans that don’t suck.

Suicidal Hedgehogs and Effective Communication

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I don’t even remember the name of the movie. Or what it was about. But at the time, I was obviously invested and cared more about it than the noise coming from the kitchen table.  My roommate’s hedgehog, Sunshine, was in her cage on the table, and had been making noises throughout the movie. After the movie, we clapped on the lights (because clappers are cool and college is fun). I glanced toward the table just in time to see Sunshine do a suicidal roll off of the table and sprint down the hallway. And when I say sprint, I am not kidding. I was not aware that hedgehogs could move that fast, but I firmly believe that Sunshine could have ran a 40 yard dash in 4 seconds flat.

Things happened so quickly.

In this situation, most people would alert others by saying something along the lines of, “Hey, the hedgehog just got out of it’s cage.”

I just screamed.

And pointed. And started to semi-hyperventilate due to laughing (because seeing a hedgehog roll off a table is one of the most hilarious things one can ever see) and screaming (because there was now a very pokey loose creature). Eventually, I was able to form Chelsea’s (my roommate’s) name. Meanwhile, my friends Abi and Abby had no idea why I was screaming or that Sunshine had escaped. Evidently, I had not communicated that well. The looks of concern on their faces made me laugh even harder and my semi-hyperventilation escalated to full blown hyperventilation. Abby (a special ed major) had backed me into a corner, put her hands on my shoulders, and was yelling at me (or at least, sternly telling me) to calm down and count backward from ten. She clearly did not understand that there was no time to count backward from ten because THE HEDGEHOG HAD ESCAPED.

Chelsea finally responded to my screams and came out of her room after what seemed like an eternity. In a valiant attempt to explain the current situation, I was only able to get out the word, “rodent.” She quickly realized that Sunshine was no longer in her cage and started to freak out with me. I calmed down enough to tell her that Sunshine had jumped off the table and ran down the hallway.

But at that point, it was too late. Sunshine was gone.

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Even though all of the doors to all of the rooms were closed except for the door to Katie’s (our other roommate’s) bathroom, we could not find Sunshine anywhere. She was not in that bathroom. She wasn’t in the living room. She wasn’t in any of our rooms. We flipped the apartment upside down.  We could not understand where Sunshine was. We went to bed that night, defeated, with a missing hedgehog somewhere in out apartment. (I was pretty confident Sunshine was going to attack me in my bed that night, but luckily, that didn’t happen.)

The next day, we flipped the apartment upside down again. There were search parties. A dog was brought in. Sunshine was nowhere to be found. I was positive Sunshine was dead.

But after three days of being missing, Katie came into my room at 7 in the morning and very gleefully announced that she had found Sunshine. Alive. The hedgehog had been next to her toilet when she woke up that morning. (NOTE: Sunshine was DEFINITELY not there before.) I was happy Sunshine was alive, but mostly, because I didn’t want to have to console Chelsea over the loss of her hedgehog.

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You should know that people often accuse me of being bad at communicating. I’m not sure what that means, because I feel as though I am an excellent communicator.

Do I scream a lot? Sure.

Do I find it necessary to form words to convey my thoughts? Not really.

Could I have saved Chelsea three days of agony due to her missing hedgehog if I had been able to form words sooner? Maybe. BUT WE DON’T KNOW. Sunshine was fast and clearly suicidal.

I was able to tell them about the hedgehog’s escape eventually, and Sunshine lived.

So if that isn’t effective communication, I don’t know what is.

Oh, crappy day.

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Let me just tell you about my day.

This morning, I woke up to find that I had a visitor in my bed. And by visitor, I mean a fan. And by a fan, I don’t mean my mom (because she is my biggest fan); I mean the piece of equipment that I purchased a couple of days ago to help lessen the amount of sweat that I produce.  Sometime, in the middle of the night, the fan had found its way into my bed. The main part of the fan was against my chest and both of my legs were wrapped around it. Fanny (I have now named the fan) was on full blast. So while I was thoroughly confused when I woke up, it was not a completely unpleasant experience.

Once I stumbled out of bed, I went to the bathroom to pee, brush my teeth, etc. It was in the bathroom that I found my second visitor of the day. We will call this visitor, “Birdy.” As soon as I stepped into the bathroom, Birdy attacked. Sometime, in the middle of the night, Birdy had found his way into the bathroom. And clearly, Birdy wasn’t smart enough to fly out of the same window it had probably flown into.

I am not sure if you have been in a small confined area with a very confused bird, but it is a HIGHLY unpleasant experience. I have always been told that birds have the most beautiful voices, but I am here to tell you that they also have the most horrendous, bloodcurdling screeches that make your brain want to explode. In addition to that, I am positive that Birdy thought he was a bull and I was wearing red. I ran for my toothbrush and sprinted out of the bathroom to leave Birdy to his new territory. At this point, I had been awake for at most 5 minutes, and I was not about to deal with that nonsense. On my way out, I did notice that Birdy had left some presents in the tub. How nice of him.

I hate birds.

I hate birds.

I continued on with my morning activities. It may be hot, but Botswana is a beautiful place to be. I don’t know if it is the clear air, or the bright sun, or the wonderful people, but it is hard not to be happy. Around noon, I ran into the pastor and told him about the bird incident this morning. His response was, “Oh, there was a bird in there?! I saw its ..what do you call it…. Bird shit in the tub.” I choked back laughter as he continued to repeat the words “Bird shit” over and over as he made his tea. He then looked at me, smiled, and said, “Your day started with bird shit.”

My friends, not only did my day start with bird shit, but also it is going to end with bird shit. You see, even though Birdy has fled, his presents are still in the tub. And as much as I really don’t want to, the amount of sweat that has perspired from me today requires a shower. After I finish writing this, I am going to have to go deal with Birdy’s crap.

I don’t know what your day has been like. I don’t know if it started shitty. Or if it is going to end shitty. I don’t know what visitors you’ve had or whose crap you’ve had to deal with. But my prayer for your day is that you can find joy in the midst of it all. It is a GOOD DAY, my friend. You woke up, the earth is still spinning, and Jesus is Lord.

Happy Wednesday!!

(Mom – Sorry for saying sh*t so much, but the pastor said it first!!)

Why I hate the letter R.

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In third grade, I could not pronounce my r’s. I didn’t really mind because I just strategically avoided words like “world” and “girl”. Why stress myself out when I could just say “globe” and “lady”? That is what they invented synonyms for, right?! I guess my parents didn’t see eye to eye with me on the issue, because they made me go to speech class.  I don’t remember my exact feelings, but I know that I would have rather eaten ice cream with chicken feathers in it than go to speech class. (In case you were wondering, I am strongly opposed to ice cream with feathers. See previous post: Feathers.) Even though the class was taught by Mrs. Carol Kuehl, AKA the greatest person ever, I absolutely dreaded it. It was WAY more embarrassing for me to have to go to that class than to not be able to say some words.

The speech classroom was in the 4th grade hallway. At the end of class, if you were there and did what was asked of you, you got a sticker put by your name. If you got to a certain number of stickers, you could get a prize out of the prize box. Let me tell you something. What I cared about was not the sticker or the prize. Third grade was also the point in time that I figured out I had pretty decent hand and eye coordination and a knack for the game of softball. I started playing select softball (ASA), and a lot of my teammates were in the fourth grade. That means they were in the fourth grade hallway. So what I cared about was getting out of that classroom and out of that hallway before they saw me in that class. I saw the need for help with speech as a weakness, and I did not want to be perceived as weak. What that means is that as soon as we were done, I did not stick around for a silly sticker. I bolted, and thus, never got a sticker or a prize. This is the first reason I hate the letter r.

Fast forward in my life to high school. It was time to enroll in a language class. Spanish was the easy choice because umm.. I lived in Texas, duh. It seemed like it would be the most useful for my life. I actually really enjoyed the Spanish classes. Maybe, it was because I could use my memorization skills to succeed in it. Perhaps, it was because I got to be in the classes with my friends. But most likely, it was because of the really great teachers. However, the great teachers did insist on things that I did not enjoy. As early as Spanish 1, part of the class was going around the room and reading aloud. This was fine, except for one small problem: the double r. I could not (no matter how many hours I spent trying), roll my r’s. Luckily, my Spanish 1 teacher was Mr. Wood. As much as I hate to admit it, he was probably one of the best teachers that I had in high school. I very vividly remember him encouraging me with not being able to roll my r’s by telling me that he majored in Spanish, and could not roll his r’s until college. This did make me feel better, but I was still a little embarrassed that I could not roll my r’s. Especially because my 7 year old brother could. This is the second reason I hate the letter r.

Fast forward to Botswana. This morning, I had my first Setswana language lesson with my Language and Cross-cultural Facilitator (LCF), Tonic. Tonic is awesome, and we got through a lot in our first session. Even though fluent speakers talk much quicker than I do, I am already picking out some words, and understanding more than I could have yesterday.

You could definitely say that today was going well. I was learning greetings and some useful phrases. I was feeling pretty invincible. And then we got to it. The r.

How the r is said in Setswana is similar to how the double r is in Spanish. And unfortunately for me, the double r sound did not come to me in college.

Language learning includes a lot of repetition. A LOT.  And I’m not sure if you know, but it is REALLY HARD to repeat something that you cannot say in the first place. Stupid mouth. Tonic was super encouraging as well, but I could not help but be a little disheartened/embarrassed that I couldn’t get my mouth to form this key piece to this language. This is the third reason that I hate the letter r.

But then, I remembered third grade.

Like I said, there was one point in time where I could not pronounce my English r. Even though I was embarrassed to go to that class, today I can say “world” and “girl” like a champ. And then I remembered high school Spanish. And I remember that even though I couldn’t roll my double r’s, I was able to communicate in El Salvador and abroad with Spanish speakers because of the knowledge that I acquired in those classes.

And that gives me hope for now. Even though I can’t currently say that r correctly, I AM learning. I AM beginning to communicate with native speakers. And I am NOT embarrassed. I would be glad to take that sticker now! Even though I sound like a small child, I am getting better each day. I’m realizing that having weakness is okay. Because with a little bit of persistence and a whole lot of Jesus, weaknesses become strengths.

But I still hate the letter r.