Thoughts on Blogging, Social Media, and Finding the Right Balance

I’ve been giving my social media habits a great deal of thought lately.

I won’t go into the messy details, but over the past few months my habits have changed a great deal.  In January, I made the decision to scale back my consumption and deleted Facebook from my phone.  This may not be a huge change, but it’s deeply impacted the way I experience the social media world.

For one thing, I have more time on my hands.  Instead of wiling away the hours scrolling through status updates and baby photos and engagement announcements, I spend my time doing things that I love.  I go for long walks.  I read more.  I hang out with family.

Another consequence is that I’ve shifted more time to Instagram.  With only photos and stories, Instagram is more curated and eats up far less time.  The more time I spend on Instagram, the more I fall in love with it.  I love putting together photos that I find beautiful and coming up with captions and quotes.  This summer, I started using the story feature and am able to share quirky, more casual bits of my life.

And then there’s my blog.  At the beginning of this year, I set out to be more of an official blogger… and quickly fizzled out.  I attempted to do a series of posts of literary places I’ve visited.  That lasted for two weeks.  Here and there, I’ve done several one-off posts that I’ve been pleased with.

I’ve been blogging for nearly ten years now on a variety of sites and, over the years, I’ve tried a number of different techniques.  (And, before you ask, no I will not share a link to my blog from high school.)

I think that part of my inconsistency is that I lack a central focus and vision.  While I adore my title, Keep Your Feet, and all that it implies, I definitely don’t have a theme.  Sometimes, I’m a book blogger.  Other times I write about travel and adventures.  Other times, I write about more personal things.  And, sometimes, I hardly post at all. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 7/30/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be at my local coffee shop once more.  It’s a full house for a Sunday and I had to take a table close to the counter, which is noisier than where I usually sit.  I have a clear sight of the door and keep getting distracted by all the people coming in.

If I were to pick a word to describe this week, it would be quiet.  My parents have been on vacation for the past week and I’ve had the house to myself.  The solitude has been a much-needed break.  I’ve been able to dive into my head in a way I haven’t in a long time.  I’ve been writing again in a way that feels fresh and natural.  And I’ve been reading!  Between audiobooks from my commute and normal reading, I’ve finished about five books over the past seven days.  Whew!

Not that I’ve been home much… with work and doing things with friends, I’ve kept pretty busy.

I had an enjoyable dinner with an old friend, who was visiting from the East Coast (where she’s about to start her PhD program).  Yesterday afternoon, a college friend came to visit me.  I’ve been trying to get her up here for years and was so glad it finally happened!  We had quite the adventure!  I showed her around our apple orchard and took her to the coffee shop (where I now sit).  Then, we wandered around this really cool sculpture garden and hung out at my local State Park.  The evening wrapped up at the vintage Drive In restaurant, with rootbeer floats and burgers–the perfect summer meal.

Over the next couple of days, my family will slowly fill the house again.  My parents return from their week by the lake in the north woods this evening.  Tomorrow, my younger brother comes home from his summer internship in North Carolina.  It’ll be weird having everyone around again, but a nice kind of weird.  Too much time alone makes me go crazy.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the quiet while it lasts.  I have absolutely no plans for today and tomorrow and I intend to take advantage of it.  I’m hoping for long hours reading on a blanket in my back yard and at least one big hike in my local state park.

But enough about me!  What have you been up to this week?  What would you share over coffee?

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster. Be sure to check out the weekly Link Up to see what everyone has been up to.

TTT: L’Abri Film Night

I’m celebrating this week’s movie freebie by reminiscing about my time at L’Abri, a Christian hospitality ministry.  I was at their location in England for three months earlier this year.  Every week, on Wednesday evening, our study room was transformed into a theater.  One of the staff members would pick a film and we would watch it while eating cinnamon-sugar popcorn.  When the movie ended, we’d spend half an hour or so discussing it.

The movies that were chosen were usually the kind that make you think.  I got to see several fantastic titles (some of which I’ve included in my list) and lots of foreign films.  I love watching movies that engage you on a deeper level than mere entertainment.

So, I’ve chosen a list of movies that I would show at L’Abri if I had the chance.

  1. Midnight in Paris (2011): One of my all-time favorites, this movie has a lot to say about nostalgia and the dangers of Golden-Age thinking.
  2. The Imitation Game (2014): I watched this one on an airplane and had to stop it multiple times just to think about what was going on.  In addition to being a great historical piece, the messages about homosexuality is an important one.
  3. Les Miserables (2012): Although I prefer the stage version, the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece raises great questions about grace, forgiveness, and redemption.
  4. Inside Out (2015): I watched this one while at L’Abri.  Pixar movies do such a great job at creating movies that are both entertaining and enlightening.  Inside Out is no exception with messages about the complexity of emotions.  It can also be seen as a critique of American uber-positivity.
  5. Lars and the Real Girl (2007): Here’s another one I was introduced to at L’Abri.  The premise is odd and uncomfortable at times, but it’s really a beautiful message about community.
  6. About Time (2013): Again, one of my favorite movies and one of the few to make me cry.  You think it’s going to be a happy romantic comedy, but then it turns out to be a beautiful story about family and what makes life worthwhile.
  7. Her (2013): This movie is super weird and uncomfortable at points.  I include it on my list because, when we watched it at L’Abri, it raised so many question and thoughts that we were still talking about it for a week and a half later.
  8. The Truman Show (1998): This movie raises so many ethical questions, especially since it predates the rise of reality television, and I’d love to have a discussion about it.

What movies make you think?  What ones would you like to have an intellectual group discussion about?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted at The Broke and the Bookish

For more of my bookish adventures, add me on Goodreads!

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR List Additions

I’ve been exploring lots of bookish sites lately and have added many titles to my To-Be-Read list… here are a few.

  1. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
  2. Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman by Lindy West
  3. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
  4. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
  5. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  6. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
  7. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  8. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  9. Upstream by Mary Oliver
  10. The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted at The Broke and the Bookish

For more of my bookish adventures, add me on Goodreads!

 

Inbox//Outbox: November 7, 2016

Since becoming a librarian, my book intake has dramatically increased.  From new access to YA titles as soon as they’re released to audiobooks on my commute to bags of fantasy titles from donations… I’m consuming the written word faster than I can write about it.  Occasionally, I’m able to do full reviews in my On the Shelf series, but those have become few and far between.

I’m excited to present a new feature: Inbox//Outbox!  My goal is to make a two lists and post them every other week: Books I’m about to begin and books I’ve recently finished.  I hope this will be a fun way to talk about the different things I’m reading in a way that isn’t as time-consuming as writing a full review. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Fall Colors and Full Houses

If we were having coffee, I’d comment first on the weather.  It was a beautiful week!  Sunshine, morning fog, crisp Autumn air… it doesn’t get much better than this.  I live for this time of year.  Summer is too hot, winter too long, but fall?  The best.

Inspired by the weather, I was able to get outside for some early morning walks.  Inspired by the foliage, I pieced together this video.  I’m no professional when it comes to videography, but I sure do enjoy experimenting.  It’s amazing what you can do with an iPhone!

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday:

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday centers on recommendations.  This is a tricky subject because of times when people recommend books to me, interest ends with the conversation.  I either forget to follow through or know it’s not something I would like.

Nevertheless, I do follow through every once in a while and here is a list of some my favorites.  (Interestingly enough, a high number of books on this list are fairly progressive Christian nonfiction.) Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Camping & Old Books

If we were having coffee, I would first tell you that I’ve been pretty absent from the blogosphere over the past couple of weeks and that I have missed you.  Things have been pretty busy in Amelia land–I’ve barely opened my laptop in the past few weeks.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I went camping last weekend with my friend, Maddie.  We spent two nights camping on the North Shore of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota.  Well, I say camping… we actually stayed in my great-uncle’s secluded cabin in the woods.  We had a roof over our heads, but it was fairly primitive.  We cooked over a fire, had to walk for water, use a biffy, and there were no other residences in sight.  It was an introvert’s paradise! Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Summer Festivals & Small Towns

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that things are changing quickly in my corner of the world–so quickly that blogging has fallen by the wayside.  My job hunt continues to progress.  Some days it moves forward in bounds and others it simply creeps along.  I’ve been learning a lot over the past weeks, but won’t say more here…I have a post scheduled about it for tomorrow.  So stay tuned! Continue reading

Traveling Solo: Thoughts From the Road

I’m about two weeks into my European adventure… and boy, is it going fast.  It feels like yesterday that I was preparing to leave L’Abri and now I’ve been to Scotland, Holland, and Germany.  There are so many posts I want to write, but every time I sit down, I’m too exhausted to find the words.

(On a side note, if you want more frequent updates, I post photos regularly on Instagram.  My username is ameliab648.  I keep my account private, so send a request.)

Maybe some day, I’ll tell you about the two days I spent in Utrecht with my Dutch friends, Jorijn and Petra.  Maybe someday, I’ll tell you about wandering the beautiful town of Heidelberg, Germany.  Maybe someday, I’ll tell you about all the footage I’m taking on my phone for videography projects.

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Heidelberg, Germany
Today, though, I’ll tell you that traveling alone is hard, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  After months surrounded by people all the time, it is sometimes comforting to be alone. Sometimes, though, it’s not.  It’s lonely and, at points, I long for someone to share my adventures with.  Often times, I’ll go a full day without having a single conversation.  When I come to stretches of my journey where I’m staying with people, I find it hard to stop talking.  All the words that have been building rush out.

So far, I have only had one emotional meltdown and that was because I forgot to take care of my basic needs.  When you haven’t eaten or slept for a long time, your body tends to shut down.  In order to pay for all the museums and castles (and ensure that I’ll still have money when I get home) I’m keeping myself on a tight budget, so most of my meals have been supermarket food–sandwiches, yogurt, bananas, salad, nuts.  It’s healthy food and keeps me going.  I do like to splurge once in every country to try an authentic meal.

I’ve learned that half the battle is the hostel.  When living on the road, it’s important to feel secure in the place you sleep.  No matter where I am, I see my bed as a safe place, a refuge from the chaos of the world.  My bed is my temporary home. In it, I can relax, breathe, and have peace.  There are other things, though, that make or break a hostel: cleanliness, locker space in the rooms, plugs by every bed, good wifi, and a self service kitchen.  It’s important to know that my laptop and phone will have a place to charge, that my belongings will be secure when I am gone, and that I can cook a hot meal for myself.

As I journey from place to place on busses, trains, and airplanes, I usually pass the time with a book.   I’m reading That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis, the final novel in his Space Trilogy.  It’s a pretty heavy book, so I’m taking my time with it. Being in the Scottish Highlands put me in the mood for Susanna Kearsley, who writes historical romances.  I’ve finished The Winter Sea and am close to the end of The Firebird.

Another important part of any adventure is the soundtrack!  Music helps me stay sane as I wait out long bus rides and navigate strange cities.  Since its release on Friday, I’ve been listening non-stop to The Lumineers’ new album, Cleopatra. Here’s the title track:

I wish I could write more, but I’m off to catch my bus to Nuremberg… Until next time!