7 Quick Takes about isolation, Chardonnaydo, and the creepiness of Furbies (vol. 232)

September 13, 2013 | 61 comments

— 1 —

I’m getting a late start writing this because I’ve been sucked in by all the great comments to the Facebook post. If I had to summarize the responses, which would be a daunting task since such a wide range of strong (very strong!) opinions were represented, I would say that the consensus was this:

Don’t get an account unless you think you really need one. If you do, you can make it work as long as you’re careful about whom you connect with.

That last part is the problem. This undoubtedly goes back to unresolved feelings about my less-than-lovely junior high experience, but there’s no way I could be strict about my friends list. I am extremely sensitive about not making other people feel left out. I’m sure I’ve done it by accident occasionally, but I would never intentionally make someone feel like they’re not part of any group, even if it were a stupid group that no one cares about like my Facebook friends list.

I mean, I’d say that I’d limit it to “real friends only!”, but then someone would contact me saying, “I read a post of yours back in 2008. I didn’t like it. But your name sounds familiar. So let’s be friends on Facebook.” And I’d be like, Friend! And then, from what I understand, it would be a matter of hours until my Facebook feed began to ruin my life. So…maybe this won’t work after all.

(I’m not saying it’s wrong that other people limit their friends lists; I’m saying that I think I’m probably too crazy to have a personal Facebook account.)

— 2 —

Jenny left a comment yesterday that I keep thinking about. She was talking about her experience getting off of Facebook, but I think it applies to anyone who’s ever online at all. She wrote:

Just the other day I was talking with a friend and I told her to look up whomever’s feast day it was and give that saint an extra shout out for prayers answered and…it was Bl. Mother Teresa. How cool! And I hadn’t already read 4 quotes from [Mother Teresa], seen 6 memes featuring her image, or visually glutted myself on factoids from her exemplary life. I can’t explain how cool it was to organically ‘discover’ the knowledge for myself instead of passively and automatically ingesting it (and therefore not really processing it) when I logged in every morning. And mid morning. And late mid morning. And lunchtime. And…well, you get the picture.

There is a wealth of food for thought in this concept of “passively and automatically ingesting information (and therefore not really processing it).” It’s something that happens all the time when you’re online, whether or not you’re on Facebook — and, to Jenny’s point, I think that important concepts and event can become just more clutter in our already-overcluttered brains when we’re bombarded with 15 memes about them before we’ve even had our coffee.

Someone please go write a brilliant and insightful blog post that unpacks this issue. Thanks.

— 3 —

Why didn’t someone tell me how totally creepy Furbies are? I got my seven-year-old daughter one for her birthday, and that thing is constantly freaking me out. It frequently changes personalities, and one of them is this evil-sounding gremlin voice that rattles off a bunch of gibberish the way dolls always do in movies before they come to life and start stabbing people.

Last night I went to check on my daughter after she was asleep, and the stupid Furby was chattering away next to her head. There is no way to turn these things off, so I threw it in the downstairs bathroom to get it away from everyone. I forgot that it was there, and an hour later I almost had a heart attack when I opened the door to see this:


After I regained the ability to breathe, I thought about leaving it there since I did not have the energy to be dealing with bad behavior from toys. But then I remembered that my eight-year-old son sometimes comes downstairs at night to get a book he forgot or a drink of water. I imagined him wandering downstairs through the darkened house, and pausing as he notices a faint glow coming from beneath the closed bathroom door. He approaches with great trepidation, and just as he draws near, a burst of evil gremlin chatter erupts from inside.

Yeah. Since I do not have the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be required for his intensive psychotherapy after that moment, I threw it in the trunk of the car.

— 4 —

Somehow Sharknado came up the last time Joe and I were out on a date night. At first Joe showed no interest in the subject, since he said that the only way this could be awesome were if I were talking about a movie that features a tornado made of sharks, and obviously it couldn’t be that, so he would only be setting himself up for disappointment if we continued this conversation. When I told him that there was indeed a movie of this caliber — and that not only was the tornado made of sharks, but people used chainsaws to fight it — I think Joe was afraid to hope it could be true.

I pulled up the Youtube trailer on my phone (which I’m sure all the other patrons at El Monumento really appreciated), and for a moment, he was quiet with wonder. Then, after he’d had a while to meditate on what he’d just beheld as he sipped his wine, he said that someone needs to make a sequel called Chardonnaydo.

I’ve been thinking about that ever since, and I want to assure you of this:

It is only because I’m in a crazy season of life that I am not taking that comment as a call to action. I give you my solemn promise that if I had the time or the resources, there would be a Youtube video posted under my account by the end of a week with a short movie about a tornado made of Chardonnay. The trailer would feature a scene where a rugged-looking man looks to the horizon, sees the Chardonnaydo coming, and says in a grave, gravely voice, “We’re going to have to drink it.”

Do not tell me this is a bad idea. I am a producer, after all.

— 5 —

I recently read The Fault in Our Stars, which was as powerful and moving as the 4, 000 Amazon reviewers said it was (and did not strike me as a Young Adult book, for the record — it felt more like an adult book that happened to be about teenagers). I kind of tear up any time I think about it, actually.

Anyway, I looked up an interview with the author, John Green, and I love what he had to say about writing and the unspoken writer/reader contract:

I think the writer’s responsibility is to tell an honest story (which is also, I would argue, definitionally a hopeful story) and to make it as a gift to the reader. The reader violates the contract when s/he reads poorly or distractedly or ungenerously. (It seems to me that mutual generosity is kind of the key to the reader-writer relationship. We are basically trying to give each other a gift, but it doesn’t work unless both of us are really trying.)

If you’re a writer or a big fiction fan, the whole Q&A is worth skimming. Lots of great thoughts there. (But skim it after you’ve read the book, as it contains major spoilers.)

— 6 —

I’ve been thinking a lot about the issues of isolation and the unique pressures of modern life lately, and while I was praying the other day I was suddenly inspired with this idea for how Joe and I might one day be able to help families who don’t have their own village. I’m sure this was directly from God, since it’s a really cool vision:

I have four daughters, and they all love helping with young children. One day, when they’re older, I’d love to host an occasional free babysitting night, where we put the word out to friends that they’re welcome to drop their kids off at our house and have an evening to themselves, free of charge. We’d probably have to limit it to a couple of families at a time since so many people we know have lots of kids, but we could hammer out the details at the time. Isn’t that a cool idea?

— 7 —

Do me a favor. If you ever find a 106-year-old message in a bottle during a walk on the beach, PLEASE OPEN IT.



  1. sayin' i love you

    Hi Jen 🙂 If you decide to get a Facebook account you can always befriend whoever you want and make different lists where you can keep people according to what you want to share with them and they will never know. Also, don’t worry about the newsfeed getting long, there’s a way that you can choose what you want to see from each person. First time commenting 😀

    • Hanne

      I completely agree!
      I have a small amount of friends on my Facebook (“small” being +/- 125), but only about 40 of those can see my posts, and they are mainly my and my fiance’s family and close friends from home (I live abroad). There are barely any people on it from work, apart from the people I really trust not to go spreading around my information. I had an issue with that on my blog a few months back, which made me go private. I went back public a few weeks ago and yesterday someone again used this to berate me on my own blog, so I had to put all of my old posts to private. It’s such a pain!!!!

      • MemeGRL

        I was coming here to say the same thing (and Susan, below). I started this ages ago, when I was one of the 4% of Facebook users over 30. (Seriously, there was a time when it was like that.) People to whom I wished no ill will, but with whom I was not close enough to, say, share pictures of my kids, were sending me friend requests. So I created two lists (now three) and limit what they can see. I feel better, nobody is unfriended, and no one knows if I am just an infrequent commenter, or a REALLY infrequent commenter.

  2. Susan

    Jen, you can friend people and then hide them from your newsfeed.

  3. Beth Anne

    OMG I DIED laughing at the Furby take. My sister and I each had a Furby when we were in late elementary/middle school the first time they were “big” no joke those things were being sold for over $100 at flea markets. We got ours on sale at Toys R Us. But yes those things were ANNOYING. They were always talking and snoring and stuff we eventually took the batteries out to get them to stop talking and then wondered why the heck we wanted the stupid things.

  4. Laura

    You can still friend whoever you want, and they will have no idea if you block or limit to visibility of their posts (if they start to annoy you or you simply have no interest in seeing their updates). If you know someone (or a group of ppl) is particularly cynical, you can protect your posts from being seen by them. Also, you can restrict posts, updates, photos, etc. to groups you create (e.g., “family”, “close friends”). I find it simple to use Facebook without feeling used by it; just take a few minutes once you create your account to educate yourself. Look into privacy settings… You are tech savvy, so I see it being no problem for you.

  5. Becki Boop

    Oh man, I would love to look out on the horizon to see a Chardonnaydo. If that is not in the cards, I WOULD support your movie 100%!

  6. Sarah

    Those Furbies are so freaky. Warning: when the batteries start to run out they sound even more diabolical!A university friend of mine used to keep one as a kind of pet, but I can’t help thinking a yappy dog would have been LESS annoying!!

  7. Jamie

    You have such an active blog with comments galore I don’t see why you’d need a Facebook account. Most of us use it as a way to connect with others and we enjoy the comments and updates. You would likely be overwhelmed given what you already read about here. Anyone from the past can find you here and comment here.
    As far as your village vision- I’d like to comment about my Muslim neighbors. The girls aren’t in a bunch of after school activities, so every day I had a 12 year old girl who was more than happy to hang out, watch my kids play in the street, make up crafts with them, get them a snack- basically whatever. I had a new baby so I’d be sitting nursing much of the time and I loved hearing about her jr. high days- all the drama the teachers/friends you name it. She was my buddy. And she ended up helping me quite a lot with my 4 and 2 year old kids. She also got to see me parent young children both the love and discipline and all of their behaviors from tantrums to sweetness. I loved her so much! Unfortunately her family moved when she was 14 but we still keep in touch on Facebook 🙂 She’s 16 now.

  8. Cate

    I just read The Fault in Our Stars a month or two ago. It is such an outstanding book, and I agree that the “young adult” designation seems limiting (but I think that about many good books categorized as young adults). Since reading the book, I have come across so many interviews or quotes by John Green that deeply impress me. It’s wonderful to hear from the author of a brilliant work a feel as though he lives up to the image you had of him.

  9. Erin

    The furby (or is it furbie?) thing was hysterical… Probably because it feels like a page out of my future playbook. Good call on removing it from the bathroom, those surprise eyes would make even a grown man cry! The only time I would have considered leaving it in there is if you first had the room set up with a hidden camera. Who makes a sinister voice talking creepy glow in the dark eyes toy and doesn’t include an off switch anyway? By the way, that last sentence probably needed a comma or hyphen or some sort of punctuation mark but I’m still fixated on the nightmare guaranteeing photo to think clearly.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Oooh, that hidden camera idea is genius. You shouldn’t have given me that idea. 🙂

  10. Meg

    I just shivered and pulled away from the computer when I saw the picture of the Furby. My brother had one when they first came out and my mother lasted less than a week before getting rid of it. With all of the technological advances since that time, I cannot imagine how awful they are now. I’m sorry for y’all.

    Re : Facebook — I lasted many years keeping my friends under 100. With my younger cousins growing up, that’s not possible, but primarily because I work in theatre and the most efficient way to network . . . is Facebook. Unfortunately.

  11. Meghan

    This is so great! I just got an email saying The Fault in Our Stars is ready for me to pick up at the library. I was sort of hoping it would be good based on ratings and the super-long hold list. But now I am quite convinced I will enjoy it, because after thoroughly enjoying The Long Ships based on your recommendation, I will happily follow in your fictional footsteps(:

  12. Marie

    I once had a babysitter from a bible college in town. She and her mother and their church firmly believed that Furbies had satanic roots. She showed me articles about it and encouraged me not to buy my children any. This was about 15 years ago.
    I didn’t even know they still made them.

  13. Mary

    What a great wonderful amazing thing for you to consider doing for people regarding the babysitting! I’m still waiting for my home schooled teenage girl to move in next door…

    And laughing out loud about the chardonaydo. I can’t even believe that the sharknado thing is a thing!! I am so in a bubble when it comes to modern entertainment.

  14. Joanne

    Can you make your village about an hour outside of Raleigh, NC? I totally need some responsible young {Catholic} teens around here. Catholics are such a novelty around here it would be fun to storm the area with a ton of Catholics. We could keep up the commune pool or garden in exchange for childcare! : )

  15. christine

    I didn’t know they still made Furbies! That is one creepy toy. I knew the exact fear you experienced when you found it in the bathroom. My MIL is really into giving us holiday decorations for birthdays, and one year gave us a light-activated Santa head you hung on the wall. When you walked by, it would talk in a really loud voice. I discovered it also did it at 2am when you turned the bathroom light on.

    The babysitting other people’s children is a great idea! We have friends who used to do that for us every December. It was the best gift ever given, since we have no family in the state. We told them that we could never repay them, but we would pay it forward and do the same for others in the same situation.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      I laughed out loud at your Santa story. Oh my gosh. I would have passed out.

  16. Kathleen Basi

    The whole middle of your post had me choking on laughter so I don’t wake the rest of the house!

    I love, love, LOVE your idea for amilies. I mean, who wouldn’t????

  17. Christine Johnson

    I have a book I should send you about setting up a babysitting co-op (for while you’re waiting to have your own children be old enough to sit). When my girls were young, several homeschool families set one up. It was excellent, and gave us all the date time needed. Of course, we were all without local families, but you might still be interested.

  18. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    I loved The Fault in our Stars. I almost quit reading it really early on, because my son had childhood cancer, and one of the characters in the book is basically living out the worst case scenario our oncologist warned us about (as a slim, but real, possibility). Yipes.

    I hadn’t seen that John Green interview yet–thanks for sharing!

    And I love, love, love #6.

  19. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    As someone who doesn’t have a “village” and desperately wants one, the babysitting idea is perfect! You are going to be such a blessing to many stressed out parents!

  20. TheresaEH

    I am over the age of 50, and if I got up in the middle of the night and saw a glowing ferbie I would also sign my self up for intense psychotherapy eh 😉 (after I recovered from the stroke it would give me)

  21. Laura M

    The furby thing is too funny and the idea of babysitting for free is amazing.

  22. Steph

    This summer we were walking on the beach beneath the white cliffs of South England when my mother stumbled upon a bottle with a message inside. She opened it up and and we all stood around wondering what it would say, how far it had traveled, how long had it been bobbing in the sea.

    The message said, “you are gay.”

  23. Britt

    I love the idea of free babysitting – what a wonderful way to serve others and get to be around little kids from time to time! And, the furbies, yeah…they are terrible.

  24. Renee

    Now I want to get off Facebook. I always felt guilty declining an friend request, as well the fear of being denied a friend request. Then there is the way you can post, in which only some friends can see. So now I wonder if your Facebook feed is empty because you are not active or that I’m the no-see list.

    I actually post my phone number/address on my profile in which anyone who is a ‘friend’ can see. I feel if I have no problem sharing my cell with you, then fine be my friend.

  25. Lisa


    Love it all! Especially the Furby bit. However, is it possible for you to set your post so that links open in a new tab? I hate having to find my way back here after I enjoy each of your lovely links. Thanks!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Good question. I think there must be. I’ll look into it!

      • Kathy B.

        Hey there! You can set it up to open links in a new tab in your browser Options.

  26. MemeGRL

    On the babysitting: Last night was the elementary Back to School Night. It was also the high school football game (moved from Friday due to Yom Kippur). That meant a severe babysitter drought since between the band, the team, and the cheerleaders, over half the high school was busy. Two boys down the street (and their mom) organized an evening for all the boys on our block. (There are girls, but only two of them, and there are 11 boys in 1st-10th grade.) They played Apples to Apples, M&M poker, and ghost in the graveyard all night. It was amazing. My boys are exhausted today but so, so happy and it was a great thing for the block! So yeah: hugely awesome idea. Go for it, eventually.

  27. KristyB

    I’m a new reader, but I’ve heard of your blog often in the Catholic circle of blogs I frequent :). Regarding FB… I just made the decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from it. I didn’t delete, but deactivated and told all my friends I’d be leaving. I’m sure the post rang with some sort of self-importance, but I didn’t want to leave the few I regularly interact with hanging. I’ve given up FB for Lent the last two years, and it was challenging and I didn’t do very well (I cheated some days). This time, I couldn’t quite put a finger on why I wanted out. I don’t deal with much drama on there, and I’d hidden many friends from my feed that sputtered on constantly about not much of anything. I found I still struggled with envy, feeling left out if two friends posted about getting together, and as you wonderfully summarized, too much mental clutter. In only being “gone” for a few days now, I feel a mixture of freedom, a bit of loss, but also that organic “discovered it on my own”/”heard it for the first time” appreciation for events and people. I can ask what’s going on, instead of bringing up what they already posted on FB, or listen to the local Catholic radio show and be entertained by the topic having not known anything about it beforehand (the host posts throughout the day to generate conversation). This is long, sorry. But all to say, I’m glad I’ve found your blog and the timeliness of the first post about FB. It has helped me to know I’m not alone in my thoughts 🙂 Peace (from someone who lived in South Austin for 5 years and misses it dearly…)

  28. monica

    I admire you so much. You love learning about yourself and you seek to do the things that will bring you and your family the most peace. l applaud you for your continual efforts to “know thyself” ! Your blog is such a pleasure to read. A real breath of fresh air.

    I’m glad you aren’t joining Facebook. l think it would increase your mental clutter and cause way too much unnecessary thinking about trivial matters. Keep your mind free from that and resist curiosity.

    Your post made me think about the reasons I quit Facebook a year ago. It was this passage from “The Love That Keeps Us Sane : Living the Little way of St.Therese of Lisieux”:

    “‘…you should live in the monestary as though no one else were in it. And thus you should never, by word or thought, meddle in things that happen in the community, nor with individulas in it desiring not to notice their good or bad qualities… You should practice this with great fortitude, for you will thereby free yourself from many sins and imperfections and guard the tranquility and quietude of you soul.’ (St. John of the Cross)
    ‘Living in the monestary, office, and other places as though no one else were in it is not advocating apathy but cautioning against curiosity. Curiosity is like the itch of poison ivy. The more we scratch, the worse it gets. It increases our distractibility and destroys thr tranquility and quietude of our souls. It is an inner restlessness that is dying to know the latest gossip or dying to tell a juicy tidbit of news. It is often a symptom of a very corrosive spiritual syndrome that the desert writers of the fourth century called acedia (sloth).'” (pg. 44)

    that sealed the deal for me. l needed to be Facebook-free.

  29. Amy Caroline {Knit Together}

    The Fault in our Stars was an amazing book. one of the best I have read in a very long time. And Green is rather brilliant. He does a vlog on You Tube with his brother Hank, called vlogbrothers. I actually posted a few of their videos last week on the blog.

    I have been questioning the whole Facebook thing. It is something I can’t quite stop myself from blurting out on. It can be an introverts dream to quickly blurt out things and not see anyone’s reactions, lol. Anyway, the only reason I keep it (despite my thinking it isn’t good for me, lol) is that I have family half a continent away and I feel more connected to them seeing them on facebook. Sigh. I know I am giving it up for Lent this year as a test to my resolve and see how much I really need it to be connected.

  30. Mrs. K

    I love your blog. I think our nights were similar last night as I almost killed my seven year old daughter’s furby. I have a great tip that at least works for the furby boom: if you pull the tail and keep pulling it, it will go to sleep. I try to avoid swearing while doing this. I do not like this new friend in our house!

    And Facebook – I only befriend family members so I can keep up with them and I don’t befriend any friends and I let them know that. I follow friends and my fav bloggers who I like to call friends on Instagram. It feels less intimate that way. Good luck with your choice!!

  31. Catholic Kara

    FB isn’t worth it. I hate it and have wanted to break free for years. But now I’m there and need it for certain things and can’t. Ugh. Stay away!! Run away!!!

  32. Hannah

    Furbys – I lived with a family while in school. Their son (graduated from high school last year!) has one. They still freak me out.

    I am opening any message in a bottle that crosses my path. I open junk mail addressed to other people so a bottle would not remain closed.

    Not to make you discouraged, my daycare provider once had a mom drop off a child for 6mths before grandma came to pick him up…

  33. Allison

    I appreciate your village comment today. I got a little “sniffy” at your other post (jealous, actually) because we don’t have family nearby (5000 miles) and they don’t like us anyway. I comforted myself with the knowledge that Ma Ingalls didn’t have a village and did just fine. Fine.

    You guys have a good weekend!

  34. Angie

    Darn it, Jen! As if there weren’t enough things to wonder about in my life, will this diaper be explosive, why is her poo that color, how can a trip to the grocery store be enough to make me actually contemplate heading back to the wine sample lady eleventybillion times, NOW I have to wonder about the bottle too? Sigh.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      I KNOW! It’s driving me crazy. I’m kind of hoping that someone breaks into his house and opens it. 🙂

  35. Joy @ Caspara

    I forgot to comment yesterday on the FB post, but I totally could relate to #’s 7 and 8. For me, having been a missionary kid who grew up all of the world and became a military spouse who moved all over the world, FB allows me to keep in contact with all those people that I would otherwise probably “lose” and for that I am so grateful. I know it’s difficult for someone who didn’t go through those circumstance to understand (I.e. my husband), but yes! Even my Australian friends whom I haven’t seen in19 years *are* still like family to me. I want to know their babies’ names and birthweights! I love knowing that if they showed up at my door tomorrow we could talk without having to play 19 Years of Catch-Up. Prior to our move here four months ago, I had the chance to see the woman who was the school nurse at my boarding school — and who is a (very dear) FB friend. And it was literally like no time at all had passed… Except that I was married with four kids. 😉

    Anyway, all this to say, I try not to get sucked into the noise of it all, but it’s a challenge. I try to use it to reach out to people who might be hurting. For instance, I just wrote a quick “Happy Birthday” note on one friend’s wall and was blown away by the note she wrote back about how much it meant to her that I would take the time to do that. Really?? I type fast, it took me like 40 seconds! But it meant something to her. So FB has (while annoying me greatly sometimes) been very eye-opening for me to see ways to reach out to people that I wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to do.

    Okay, but Furbies… Why are they still making these? I remember my husband played a trick one with them 14 years ago with my nephew’s Furby! How have they not been sued by people having heart attacks because of them??

  36. Josee

    The babysitting idea is great.Don’t forget it.It will be a blessing to a couple needing some alone time for the health of their marriage.What a generous idea!

  37. Christine Johnson

    Not sure if I could possibly have waited much longer to do this, but there you go!

  38. Gina

    Dying laughing at the Furby story! Those things ARE evil!

    Here’s one you’ll appreciate: I used to have this glow-in-the-dark green Silly Putty when I was a kid. Once I left it in my pocket and it went through the wash, and, of course, ended up on my mother’s pillowcase. So she turns over in the dark that night to behold two glowing green “eyes” looking at her.

    I believe all the green Silly Putty in the house got thrown out very shortly after that.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      That is too funny – and sounds exactly like something that would happen around here!

  39. Lisa-Jo @lisajobaker

    Your Furbies photo just made me snort pizza. I kid you not. And then I couldn’t stop imagining how your eight year old son (since I have one too) would react and the pizza sauce, it is everywhere. Sigh, really needed that.

    Gratefully yours,

  40. Emily Davis


    you always make me smile.

    Furby’s are scary. I am happy my son never wanted one.

    I might look a little like that after I step on his legos at night… so it all evens out. HA!


  41. Shannon

    Jennifer, no one seems to have mentioned it, so I will. You can set yourself up with an Author Page on FB. Then think of what you post on there as business related things: when the book is coming out, author appearances, etc. It give you a presence, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. People can like your page, but you’re the one who sets who can post to it.

  42. JR

    I’ve never seen Sharknado…but I do have a friend who is deathly afraid of sharks. She and I had a brief Facebook conversation on potential sequels: Sharknami and Sharkicane.

    Of course…there could definitely Chardonnayicanes and Chardonnaynamis as well 😉

  43. Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

    I thought it was only me who has issues with Furbies!
    I hate it when toys talk and it takes me a while to figure out its just a toy and not some evil entity creeping up on me! 🙂

  44. Dreena

    I tried to stay out of this, honestly. But alas . . .
    Facebook can be a time suck. But I waste time on blog reading. And Pinterest. And magazines. And lots of stuff that’s not on line. If you want to avoid your real life and waste time you will find a way to do so.

    What I love about Facebook and my many “friends” (many of whom came to me almost exactly the way you fear yours will) is that I do get to keep up with people I genuinely care about in a world in which no one (including me) writes letters anymore. I don’t read people’s game requests or Memes or political commentary. I read their little notes about their joys and struggles and when I finally get to see them in person in a week or a year or ten years– we are, at least a little, caught up and I can know that I know them! Some of the aforementioned are friends from grade school — best friends in fact — and I have been out of high school 36 years! I LOVE this.

    When I unexpectedly had health issues and spent 9 days in the ICU it was through Facebook that my local friends found out and rushed to aid my family. It was amazing.

    When my best buddy from college lost his job, I heard it on Facebook first and was able to reach out with a phone call at a devastating point in his life when he needed to hear from me but was too bummed to reach out.

    My little nephews and nieces almost 3000 miles away – I see their dance recital videos and their sweet faces and it’s almost like I’m there which is so cool because I can’t be.

    So I am not distracted by the few hundreds I don’t really know — and sometimes they are the ones to inspire rather than distract me.

    Fbook is no more or less a tool than anything else; you can use it to hacksaw up your schedule or to open your heart. For me, it’s the latter.

  45. Isabelle

    I love your share the village idea. A slight twist on it would be to consider inviting childless couples over to enjoy time with your family. My husband and I, due to infertility and illness, have never had our own children. We so enjoyed opportunities to spend to time with our Godson’s large family.

    Often childless couples are isolated from other families their age who have children and we don’t want to impose. Our lives are pulled in different directions but being around children brings great joy and hope.

  46. J.R. Baldwin

    Furbies are the scariest, scariest creatures ever. We had a book about them growing up and they came from egg pods. WHY???? And then my pediatrician’s name was Dr. Furby and I was always verrrrry suspicious of him. His eyes didn’t glow, though.

    I support Chardonnaydo!

    The village idea is a great one too! (Says the oldest of four girls, plus two brothers!)

  47. Monica Benninghoff

    Actually, you probably qualify as a public figure on Facebook and would have “FANS” and not “FRIENDS” … people would have the opportunity to “Like” you or “Unlike” as the case may be. I believe this has something to do with the number of people who follow you.

    Justin Bieber has 56.6 MILLION “Likes” … which is ridiculous compared to Pope Francis who has 200,000 or 100,000, depending on which FB page you visit… (both unofficial).

    As for the bottle, I vote to leave it sealed, or to open it in a lab so the air inside can be analyzed in a few more hundred years!

  48. Heather

    I loved The Fault in Our Stars. It was the best of his books that I have read. Just a FYI, John Green also does a series of highly entertaining educational internet videos called “Crash Course” on a variety of topics (ranging from chemistry to world history to literature – he’s currently doing a series on American history that even I as a Canadian find interesting).

    And yes. Furbies are extremely creepy.

  49. elizabethe

    Here’s what I’m thinking about the whole being too well-informed and getting information passively and mental clutter.

    It drowns out the beautiful and wonderful experience of serendipity.

    When you already know everything, you can’t be surprised and delighted by discovering anything (as your commenter said).

    Plus, when you learn that information in the context of your daily news dump, it loses any chance to have a larger context of meaning. It’s just a disconnected item. As opposed to when you have a specific interest and then research it that information is connected to your interest and it has a greater meaning. It forms a big picture.

    It also takes away some of the delight of sharing information in conversation.

    I’m seriously about to unplug for good and I am so much less plugged in than most people. I was so much happier in college before we had all of this techno-junk. On the internet, I get little instances of disconnected happiness, but the daily reality of my lived life is fragmented. I get pleasure at the expense of peace.

  50. Beth

    I like your babysitting idea…I have two older daughters and we did this for a before school starts shopping day for moms with small kids. We just said they were free to drop kids off for a couple of hours while the moms ran errands. We had a lot of fun and might do it again around Christmas. I think the date night would be very much appreciated…evenings are just harder to plan for us.

  51. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    Furbies are the CREEPIEST TOY EVER! I am so sorry you actually bought one. I don’t know why they make them. CREEPY.

    If Chardonnaydo ever comes to be, I’d be happy to be an extra as long it actually involved the drinking of wine. You don’t even have to pay me. You’re welcome. 🙂

  52. Michelle @ Endless Strength

    I love your idea for the free babysitting night!

    I read your entry the other day on the FB dilemma. I read, with interest, the comments. I recently tightened up my lists a little bit. I think FB is totally a self-control type of thing and it’s not FB’s fault that there are people who waste a lot of time. It seems to me, that people will find a way to waste their time SOMEwhere, if they are wont to do so…it may be FB, it may be watching movies/shows on tv/netflix…. It’s just a matter of where you can live with yourself knowing you’re wasting time doing a certain thing. 🙂

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- Subscribe on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates