Monday, March 18, 2019

Be One: Being One with the Saints

Hi! πŸ˜€ Yesterday morning, I was a speaker in my ward's sacrament meeting! I had several friends ask if they could have a copy of my talk, so I decided to publish it here on my blog! πŸ˜ƒ While I had such a great time researching and writing my talk (I would have enjoyed the process even if it was only for me!), I'm so very happy others found my words to be helpful! πŸ’› I hope you enjoy them, too! 😘 Have a wonderful day! 😁


Be One: Being One with the Saints 
Adrie Peterson

Good morning! πŸ˜€ I’m super excited with the topic I’ve been asked to speak about, which is: Be One: Being One with the Saints. 

To begin, let’s discuss what it really means to be considered a saint. We’re not talking about the worldly view of sainthood—you know, the one that engenders the image of perfection with a halo on top—rather, the true, foundational definition of saints contained in the scriptures.

While summarizing the Book of Acts with my daughter for her World Religions class, I enjoyed knowing that the first disciples of Christ—the believers—were always called saints—even though they fumbled their way through everything and frequently made mistakes. In the Bible Dictionary, it clarifies that in the New Testament, saints are all those who entered into the Christian covenant through baptism. In Guide to the Scriptures, a saint is defined as a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Mosiah 3:19 explains that we becometh saints through the atonement of Christ the Lord. Romans 1:7 tells us that those who are “beloved of God” are “called to be saints.”

From these examples, it’s evident that if we’ve been given the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we’ve been baptized in His name, and we’re striving our best to be His disciples, and we’re faithfully utilizing His Atonement, and we are obviously “beloved of God,” then we, too, are called to be saints—the latter-day version! 😊

Okay, so now that we know all current members of the Church of Jesus Christ are called to be Latter-day Saints, why is it important that we continually be one with the saints?

As you well know, we are currently living in a fallen world where things are definitely less than celestial.

Journalist and author, Sebastian Junger, has written a book that talks about how our modern society—while great for ease, convenience, physical health, safety, affluence, and other positives—is actually causing us significant psychological problems, which include increasing rates of depression, PTSD, and suicide.

He points out our great need for belonging in tight-knit communities that highlight loyalty, meaning, and opportunities to help others. He explains that when humans don’t have those close, interpersonal relationships with opportunities to participate, collaborate, and be involved in others’ lives, we will absolutely not do well. He further states that, “Humans do not survive alone in nature—they don’t survive psychologically, and they don’t survive physically—they die in every sense.”

He also writes about how contempt is especially corrosive to the unity we humans are seeking and yearning for because it implies that one group doesn’t deserve society’s benefits.

All of that said, Mr. Junger shares this good news: that being embedded in a close community buffers people from their psychological problems. He absolutely believes that the way to save humanity begins at the community level.

I couldn’t help but associate all of that information with the significant benefits of being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s amazing to see how our Church—and all it encompasses—meets every one of his criteria for psychological health and well-being. We just have to be willing to fully participate in the Church—to the best of our abilities! 😊

To further back up my feelings, I’d like to share a little of what I’ve been learning through my study of positive psychology—which is defined as: the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive.

Positive psychologists have found that the ancient Greeks were right in their definition of happiness, which is: the joy that we feel in striving for our potential. Researchers have also found that joy is inextricably linked to meaning, and happiness is linked to the way we live our lives. They’ve concluded that real social connection is as predictive of how long we’ll end up living as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking. Their findings prove just how much we genuinely need each other!

After all I’ve experienced and researched in my life, I can’t think of a better place where people can go to strive toward their potential, find meaning, and experience happiness, than our Church. Truly, living the gospel of Jesus Christ is our Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness! 😊

For years, scientific studies have found that when people practice and experience more gratitude, they report feeling happier, healthier, and more connected to others. Grateful people also feel humble and have a larger response in the brain toward charitable giving.

Positive psychology research also shows that when meditation is combined with gratitude, the body relaxes, breathing is regulated, and the brain experiences feelings of safety and love. And those benefits last longer the more a person practices it. In fact, if a person meditates on gratitude for less than two minutes every morning for 21 days, they will become happier and more optimistic!

While that happy information is fantastic all on its own, neuroscientist Andrew Newberg has found through his research that prayer is much better and more powerful than basic meditation or mindfulness training. He has proof that when athletes—who believe in God—pray, something happens in their brains that actually improves their athletic performance!

But let’s take all of that information a spiritual step further. I find it fascinating that in our Church, we know through revelation that the second step of prayer—after lovingly addressing our Father in Heaven—is to express gratitude and thanksgiving. It’s wonderful that, from day one, we are taught the four principles of prayer. Yes, Heavenly Father created His plan so that every one of us will succeed in happiness throughout our entire lives if we will simply pray with gratitude every day! 😊

“Happiness researchers” have also discovered that when people write in their journals about gratitude—including reflecting on all the people and even their ancestors who helped them get where they are in their lives—their brains show a greater neural response to giving, their gratitude increases, and their overall happiness increases, which helps them rise to their challenges of daily living.

They also found that when people write in their journals about one meaningful experience they’ve had over the past 24 hours, their brain doubles the value of that experience. If they do that journaling exercise for 21 days, they’ll find an upward trajectory of meaning in their lives which results in greater happiness!

That reminds me of our Church leaders’ continual counsel to keep a journal, and the power that accompanies our writing efforts. It’s not a coincidence that the scriptures contain verses that urge record keeping. And just think about the amazing opportunity we’re given to do temple and family history work because of our Church. The blessings of turning our hearts to our fathers and mothers are legitimate!

I could go on for days about the scientifically-proven physical and emotional benefits of exercising! Every day, our bodies are meant to move at whatever level of ability we’ve been given. When we follow the crucial health principle of physical exercise, our brains understand that our behavior matters—which is optimism—which causes us to create an entire constellation of positive habits around us. And this falls right in line with the scriptural teaching that each of our precious bodies are temples of God, and we must care for them as such.

Positive psychologists have also found that random acts of kindness are happiness multipliers. Not only do random acts of kindness make the receiver happy, but as soon as the giver starts talking about those acts, or thinking back on them, they immediately start to smile. Random acts of kindness also show us how powerful we are—that we have the power to change the reality we see around us; that we can improve the lives of others!

Obviously, we can choose to do random acts of kindness for others every day of our lives—it’s exactly what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to do! But again, we have so many additional opportunities to bless the lives of others because of our membership and dedicated service in the Church.

I enjoy knowing that the science of positive psychology is now validating what many souls have found in religion for thousands of years. Science keeps showing that the things religious traditions have been teaching are actually valid. Oh how I would love to introduce those researchers, psychologists, and scientists to the benefits of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

But wait! There’s more! πŸ˜€

While researching stem cells, I came across a study that floored me. Dr. Omar Yilmaz, a gastrointestinal pathologist and professor, has discovered that a single 24-hour fast dramatically improves the function of stem cells and their ability to regenerate—regardless of the age of the patient.

I’ve personally experienced and witnessed the awesome and humbling miracles of following the Lord’s commandment of fasting, but this new information about stem cells was positively thrilling! And just as a side-note reminder from President Joseph F. Smith, “There is such a thing as overdoing. A man may fast and pray till he kills himself; and there isn’t any necessity for it; nor wisdom in it.”

Last year, I was excited to learn of the scientifically-proven physical and emotional benefits of singing in a choir which include: strengthened feelings of togetherness; regulated heart rates; reductions in stress levels and depression; improved symptoms of Parkinson’s and lung disease; improved feelings of social well-being; and increased life expectancies.

I’ve always loved singing in ward choirs because each musical experience fills my soul—so I would have kept participating regardless of what the research shows. But you must admit how fun it is that science is now backing up what D&C 25:15 has taught us for years: “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.”

Yet, when we really think about it, should any of this wonderful news I’ve shared today surprise us? Because as we know from Moses 3:5, “...the Lord God created all things…spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.” Of course, our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us! He has clearly told us that His work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men and women—He has fully provided our way to happiness! All we have to do is follow His plan!

Three days ago, I was introduced to the amazing conversion story of Dusty Smith on one of my favorite podcasts, “This is the Gospel.” As I listened to his testimony of how he became a member of our beloved Church, was subsequently excommunicated, and ultimately and humbly came back into the fold 26 years later, I was overcome with emotion! His utterly miraculous story shows just how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each and every one of us, and how intimately involved They are in our lives! Brother Smith’s incredible experiences remind us how vitally important it is for each of us to be one with the saints.

Finally, we are taught in 1st Corinthians 1:10 and Ephesians 2:19–20 that we should strive to have no divisions among us, be perfectly joined together as fellowcitizens with the saints, and be of the household of God who are built upon the cornerstone of Jesus Christ.

What it all comes down to is that our Heavenly Father dearly loves each of us and wants us to be like Him! He wants us to experience true joy through continual learning and personal growth. He wants us to follow the supreme example of Jesus Christ and return home to His eternal family. πŸ’›

I encourage each of us to follow Elder Quentin L. Cook’s wise words. He said, “As individuals, we would do well to evaluate our effort[s] in pursuing missionary work, temple and family history work, and preparations to meet God.” Yes, truly, this life is our time to prepare to meet God! 😊

I have a great love for our Heavenly Parents, our Savior, and His Church. I am a true believer in every sense of the word. I am enthusiastically and gratefully all in the gospel of Jesus Christ. πŸ˜Š

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. πŸ’›

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Joining the Twitterverse

Good morning! So you might have been wondering where I've been these past three months. Well, I've been living! Ha ha. But seriously, life has been a bundle of surprises, changes, and a lot of work. Being a supportive wife, mother of three teenagers, homemaker, part-time piano teacher, occasional substitute teacher, and remaining strongly committed to my fitness regimen is surprisingly time consuming!

Every day, I think I'm going to have or make time for blogging, but then 11:00 p.m. arrives and I'm like, "Okay! I'll blog tomorrow!" Yeah, that's been one of my repeating phrases in my mind for umpteen weeks now! πŸ˜… Someday, I'll actually be consistent at blogging again! Yet at this stage of my life, blogging as much as I want (my heart wants it so much!) is just not going to happen, and I'm okay with that. Right now, I'm so happy to help my children, husband, church, and myself with everything that is most important! But it would be such fun to have three extra hours each day to do more! Oh, yes, it would! 😁 One day, I know I'll have more time and energy to devote to my happiest Enthusiastic Fantastic! Until then, sporadic blog posts is my holding pattern. 😊

That said, I made a little progress this morning: I joined Twitter! I know, can you even believe I just wrote that?! I'm shocked, too! Ha ha. The reason I joined Twitter is because Google+ is going away. 😒

I've shared my blog post links on Google+ for years now, and I always loved the way my posts' images showed up on my profile page. So I was totally bummed out(!) when I found out that Google+ is being deleted from our Internet world! Seriously, what the heck, Google?! I still have my public Instagram account open, but I'm standing Wonder-Woman strong in my stance against Facebook, so I won't be posting publicly there (on my public Instagram account) anymore. When I looked at our world's social media ways, I determined that Twitter was my best option for sharing my blog post links from here on out. Yay me! πŸ‘πŸ˜

While I'm disappointed that Twitter won't show my blog post links as prettily as Google+ did, I'm happy I have a place to share my links at all! It could definitely be worse!

I struggled with the fact that Twitter wouldn't let me create the user name I really want—@EnthusiasticFantastic—because it's over their character limit. What the what?! Why, Twitter, why?! After trying many user names that were either too long, already taken, or too short (seriously, Twitter?!!), I finally settled on @EnthusiasticAP. I'm going to let my handle sit for a while and see if I really like it. If not, I'll change it to something else. *But after searching and thinking deeply for quite a while, I really do think that @EnthusiasticAP is where I'll stay in the Twitterverse! Yay!

Okay, my happy blogging time is up—I get to go workout now! Catch ya later! πŸ‘‹

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Updating "Enthusiastic Fantastic"!

Hi, Everyone! I have super happy news! Remember when I recently posted that I wanted to buy a Chromebook to help me post to my blog more often? Well, I made my dream come true! Yippee! 😁

A couple of weeks ago, I purchased this awesome Acer 15.6" Chromebook(!), and I found this fabulous laptop bag to go with it—I love them both sooo much! I did a lot of research (on Google, of course! πŸ˜„) before purchasing my new friend, and let me tell you, I found the perfect Chromebook for me and what I want to accomplish!

In other words, even though my Chromebook doesn't have the biggest memory at 16GB, I literally don't need anything more than that because I'm only using it for online content—I won't be saving anything to its hard drive. Its RAM at 4GB is totally perfect for my needs, it's as speedy as can be! And please let me tell you how much I love my Chromebook's huge screen and battery life!! They really are amazing!! And while I didn't initially plan to use my Chromebook's speakers for anything, I've now used them for watching several videos (election research πŸ˜„), and they are spot-on exactly what I didn't know I wanted! Yeah yeah yeah!

All of that said, the screen resolution could be a tad crisper, but it's nothing I can't handle. I just wanted a big screen to make blogging easier on my eyes, and that mission has been totally accomplished with Acer's 15.6" display. If I want better screen resolution for other things, I can use my desktop computer monitor or our HD TVs. And seriously, if screen resolution is my only and very minor complaint, I'm doing great!

Plus, I've been a huge fan of Google Chrome for many years, so to have a laptop with a Chrome operating system is pretty darn enjoyable for this Googling lady! Ha ha.

Basically, my main goal for my happy new Chromebook is to post to my blog more frequently and pin to Pinterest all of the fascinating finds I've discovered (I'm super behind in that area). And my Acer is already helping me achieve that goal! Woohoo!

Although, I have to admit...I'm super bummed because I bought my Acer Chromebook at the regular price, not the sale price. #sosadface! I checked to see if I could utilize Best Buy's price-match guarantee and get a $30 refund, but I'm outside of their 15-day purchase window (or whatever it's called). Darn! 😞 Alas, such is life. That said, my laptop bag was on sale when I bought it, and now it's not! So at least I scored in that area! Yay yay happy day!

So, long story short, I'm completely thrilled that my process has begun for updating Enthusiastic Fantastic! For any of you following my blog updates, you'll probably see me posting a lot of stuff from days gone by. I'm sorry it's not current information, but, as I explained in my post about Instagram's changes, I'm now transferring my content from my public Instagram account over to my blog. It will be a  l o n g  process, but I'm excited to make it happen!

Oh yeah, and I've been having lots of fun figuring out all of my Chromebook's tips and tricks! This fabulous machine and its operating system do so many delightful things! And I really love typing on my new keyboard! Clickety-typety! πŸ’»

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful week! πŸ˜€

P.S. I created this post because I wanted to share my good news with the world! My opinion was not paid for, nor was I asked by anyone to write this post. πŸ‘

Monday, October 15, 2018

Guest Post by Greg Peterson: "Remember Who You Are"

Hi, Everyone! Today, I have a special treat to share—a guest post by my wonderful husband! Greg wrote his very first bishopric message for our ward's newsletter that was published and delivered to our neighborhood just yesterday! Yay Greg! I love Greg's message so much that I feel it must be shared with the world!

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, Greg was called, sustained, and set apart as the second counselor in our ward's bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Sunday, August 5th, 2018. If you'd like to know more about how the Church is led, read this informative outline, "Lay Leadership: Volunteer Ministry of the Church," found on the Church's Newsroom.

In the spirit of full disclosure, yes, I edited small grammar issues in Greg's composition, but the message is 100% absolutely his. Oh, how I love reading my husband's words!! Remember? Greg and I wrote letters to each other for two+ years while he served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission for the Church! If you'd like to know a little bit about that time in our lives, read my blog post, "Choosing Power."

*Disclaimer: My husband and I are not official representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We simply love being members of the Church and greatly enjoy serving our fellow brothers and sisters. πŸ˜€

Without further ado, here are my Gregor's fabulous words!

Twenty-four years ago on June 30th, 1994, I asked a lovely young lady named Adrie out on a first date. Our plan was to see a new Disney movie that had opened the previous week called The Lion King. Going to see that movie changed the direction of my life—for so many reasons. First, that lovely young lady now shares my last name! Second, there were life lessons within the film that helped me better understand the gospel then and continues to guide my life even today.

Some people say The Lion King is a blatant rip off of a Japanese comic book series from the 1950's called Kimba the White Lion, (ジャングル倧帝 Janguru Taitei, or Jungle Emperor) which tells the story of an orphaned lion who becomes king. What it may lack in originality it makes up for in great voice acting, beautiful animation, and a truly inspirational story line. There is a quote from that movie that I can’t help but share today because I think it is so powerful.

Simba has rejected what his legacy says he should be. His role in life—to be the next king—has been usurped by another (his murderous uncle), and instead of fighting for his rightful place, Simba adopts the philosophy of “hakuna matata,” or “no worries.” He now looks at the past this way: Sometimes bad things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Simba is acutely aware of his inadequacy. He knows he is not living up to his potential and that his father, Mufasa, would not be proud of the way he is living his life.

What happens next is the turning point of the movie: a visit from a crazy old baboon who claims to be able to show Mufasa to Simba. Simba follows this baboon named Rafiki to a pool, and Rafiki points into the water. “Look down there,” says the baboon. Simba looks down and sees only his reflection. He tries to blame it on his father, shouting at the nighttime sky, “You promised you’d always be there for me. But you’re not!” Rafiki points into the water again, “No, look harder.” Again Simba looks, and now he sees not his own reflection, but a reflection of his father. “You see?” says Rafiki, “He lives in you.”

The wind howls, the sky darkens, and in the rumbling thunder, Simba sees his father in the clouds. Mufasa speaks in a low but powerful voice (imagine James Earl Jones), “Simba, you have forgotten me.” The young lion argues, “No! How could I?” But his father is firm, “You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become… Remember who you are… Remember…”

As an eighteen-year-old on a first date, sitting in a cold, dark movie theater, the words brought tears to my eyes as I thought about their power.

How often do we forget who we are? As a child of God, we are the son or daughter of a king. But do we remember? Or do we choose to live our lives believing hakuna matata: no worries for the rest of our days, a problem-free philosophy?

But is it problem-free? We were created to live lives of responsibility and meaning. “No worries” doesn’t exist. Sure, we don’t need to worry about everything that happens in our lives, but choosing to “put your past behind you” and just moving on is no way to live. We all need to see where we’ve come from and learn from our experiences—so we can be what we are meant to be!

How often does Heavenly Father need to say to us, “You are more than what you have become?” Do we sacrifice our identity as children of God for lives of leisure and ease? Our telestial world (similar to Simba's pride land) can be a difficult place where we must battle against an enemy and stand for what is right. That takes work. It's much easier to stay in an easy place of pleasure—entertained and enjoyed—than to fight against an enemy who has robbed us of our identity.

Mufasa didn’t tell Simba he should have gotten another degree, live in a bigger house, or make more money. He simply said, “You are more than what you have become.” Becoming more is much different than having or doing more.

It’s easier to quantify doing than being.

We can quantify what we do: how many sales we made, how many miles we drove, how many chairs were built, or how many pages were written. It’s also easy to see things that need to be done—dishes need to be washed, beds need to be made, lawns need to be mowed. Being is harder to quantify and measure: a great mom; an inspiring spiritual leader; a compassionate friend; an understanding boss; a caring, loving neighbor.

Becoming more may require doing less.

Who are you? Who have you become? And is that the person you were created to be? Our loving Heavenly Father has big plans for each of us, and we can’t consider ourselves fully developed now because we are continually learning and growing every day. The fact is that we are all more than we have become, and we need to keep working on ourselves so we can become everything we are intended to be.

How we live our lives matters, and not just for ourselves, but for all the people around us whose lives we might also affect in ways we don’t even realize. We never know when we might matter to someone else—when someone else is watching us or learning from our example, or when we are meant to touch someone’s life. And it’s up to us to rise to the potential that God knows we are capable of achieving!

Brothers and Sisters, our loving Heavenly Father continually calls out to each of us and invites us to “Remember who you are.” It is my testimony that through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can be washed clean of our sins and return to live with Him someday.

P.S. When I copied/pasted Greg's bishopric message to my blog, I was shocked to realize that I missed a few typos! 😬 Hopefully, I fixed the rest of them now, but it was a good reminder for me to get more sleep! Yes, I was very sleep deprived when I edited Greg's message. πŸ˜ͺ Oops! πŸ˜„

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What to Do with Instagram Now That Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom Resigned

Yesterday morning, I came across an article that totally bummed me out. While reading it, and researching further (before I believe anything I read online, I research and read multiple sources), I came to the sad conclusion that Instagram's founders are truly leaving Instagram (and Facebook)—for good. Here are the articles I read, in the order I read them:

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Fakebook (feel free to read my post, "Just Do It! Dump Facebook! :)"). Thus, when changes began happening to Instagram over the past couple of years that felt very Facebook-ey to me, I became concerned. In March, 2018, I even looked to quit Instagram altogether and join Vero. Yet after signing up, my brother-in-law shared the information he'd researched about Vero's owners and I immediately deleted my newly-created accounts—they were worse than Fakebook!

Since my happy Instagram world was so coldly disrupted yesterday morning by Facebook 😒, I've tried to rationalize how I could maintain my Instagram accounts and remain true to who I am and what I believe. While researching other Instagram-related articles, I came across an article (below) that reminded me that Facebook and its leaders are NOT our friends. When it really comes down to it, they are all about making money, and that will never change.

The quote "If you're not paying for it, you are the product" fully and completely applies to Facebook and all of its products, which sadly includes Instagram.

Furthermore, the fact that Instagram's founders are willingly leaving their high-paying, cushy Instagram/Facebook positions tells me they can't live with themselves under the fake-umbrella-of-happiness, either! Their choice to leave Facebook shows they are remaining true to who they are—regardless of the money—and I applaud them for it. (Okay, I'm reaching there, but it's totally plausible they resigned for that reason!) *Yet in the same breath, I counter that with, "Why did you sell-out to Fakebook in the first place?! Why would you choose money over your loyal users' beautiful Instagram experiences?!" So sad, right?!

Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom claim they will keep their Instagram accounts, but I wonder how long they'll actually stay active on it? Instagram was their creation, so maybe they can't bear to part with their baby? I don't blame them if they continue using Instagram, but I'll be surprised if they remain on it long-term.

So, what am I to do now with this frustrating information? (I know I may be in the minority with my strong feelings, but I don't care. I can write whatever I want on my blog! 😁) Here are the thoughts I've had over the past several hours—I might change, delete, or update these points as more information about Instagram becomes available:

  • Unlike many Instagram users, I've never made money because of my participation there. Even though I genuinely love my Instagram world I've created (so much!), I was also hoping that my IG contributions would translate into readers of my blog—which would then translate into advertising revenue. If you've read my previous blog post, you'll know that advertisements on my blog most definitely haven't paid off.
  • I've not received nor retained the amount of Instagram followers I thought possible. I wasn't expecting to gain thousands of followers, by any means, but I topped out at 250 followers, and that number always regressed if I didn't follow back said followers. And I most definitely did not follow back people just for the sake of following back. I followed Instagram accounts because I really wanted to see their content, I don't give fake or hollow follows anywhere. Also, if I didn't post at least weekly on IG, I would lose even more followers, which was annoying because I wanted to post whenever I felt like it, not because I needed to retain followers.
  • Now that I've removed advertisements from my blog, the point of gaining new readers for advertising dollars doesn't even matter. While I'm truly super happy if people find my blog helpful (I love helping readers!), I blog for myself because I genuinely love it! Thus, with these most recent Instagram developments, I don't feel the need to post to my public Instagram account and link it back to my blog anymore. If people find Enthusiastic Fantastic while searching the Internet, that's great! But the loss of time I spent posting to my public Instagram account definitely outweighed any benefits of gaining new followers/readers.
  • I'm not willing to self-promote and/or collaborate to the lengths needed to succeed monetarily speaking on Instagram. My posts never have been and never will be about making money or jumping on the popular train. The same applies here on my blog.
  • There are way too many advertisements on Instagram! I can't say for sure, but it feels like my public Instagram feed is 40% sponsored posts! This is not how Instagram used to be when I first began using it in 2014 (private account) and 2015 (public account). I honestly remember scrolling through both of my feeds and not seeing one single advertisement for such a long time! When advertisements began coming through my public feed, I sort of expected and understood it—as the Instagram algorithm determined I was a "business" account. Yet when advertisements began showing up on my private feed, I was like, "Nooooo!!! You can't do this to me!" But I put up with them because I loved my happy Instaland so very much!
  • Instagram's new algorithm (created by Facebook) doesn't show posts in the way I enjoy. I want to see every post from every account I follow, in the order they were posted! I don't want to see posts and advertisements that the algorithm determines I would rather look at! I mean, why is that so freaking hard for Facebook to understand?! We users chose to stay with Instagram because that's how it started: posts were shown in chronological order, regardless of potential advertising revenue! Yet Fakebook ruined that, too. Rest assured, Facebook's leaders fully know exactly what they're doing. They are consciously choosing to put advertisers' dollars ahead of users' experiences. And I have a major problem with that.
  • I've wasted a lot of time on Instagram. About a week-and-a-half ago, I realized that I needed to stop leisurely scrolling away my valuable minutes on my public Instagram feed. I finally recognized that Instagram has basically become a digital magazine for me—with fun, helpful, interesting, or beautiful information squeezed in between advertisements. Let me explain: back when I was a newer mom, I subscribed to several life/style/improvement magazines. I not only loved reading those magazines, I felt the need to read them cover-to-cover because I paid for them. I didn't want to be throwing away magazines (before we had the option of curbside recycling) without having read them, or it felt like a huge waste of money. But after several months of that behavior, I realized what a tremendous waste of time my magazine-reading habit was. I saw that I was missing out on precious time with my babies, and I wasn't quite as productive as I could have been for our family's improved happiness and well-being. Thus, I determined that I needed to cancel all of my magazine subscriptions, and I did exactly that! Let me tell you, it was a wonderfully freeing feeling and I never looked back! Thus, with this latest Instagram revelation of who will really be controlling the content we consume, i.e., The Big Bad Facebook, I've decided it's time to cancel my public "subscription"!
  • I will keep my private Instagram "subscription" and follow only my family members, friends, and Church leaders. *This may seem like a cop-out to the points I've just made, but I can't reconcile losing my connection to the most important people in my life—especially since I'm not on Fakebook anymore! Thus, until a better alternative becomes available, I'm stuck with my private Instagram account—stupid advertisements, algorithm, and all. Thankfully, the amount of people I follow privately is relatively small, so it will be easy to keep up on their posts—unlike my public IG account where I follow 300+ people/organizations. When I just looked at how many public accounts I follow, I'm even more motivated to be done with the commercial side of Instagram!
  • I love the posts I created on my public Instagram account and I don't want to lose them! Thus, I will keep my public Instagram account as-is until I transfer all of my non-blog posts over here to Enthusiastic Fantastic. That will be a labor of love and will take quite a while to finish, but it's totally worth it!
  • I will keep my public Instagram account open indefinitely as a way for people to find me and my blog—plus, I don't want to give away my awesome @enthusiasticfantastic username(!) πŸ˜†—but I'll stop my time-consuming habit of posting there and scrolling through that feed asap.
  • Eventually, I'll compose a final post on my public Instagram page, detailing where to find me at Enthusiastic Fantastic! Of course, that's assuming anyone actually wants to find me! Ha ha. It will be such a sad day for my Instaland-happy heart 😒, but I know deep down it's what I really want to do. I'm looking forward to the outcome of this big decision because, overall,  I know my life will improve!
  • I'm actually really excited about the fact that I don't have to use a photo in order to post here on my blog! Instagram was so much fun to be a part of, but sometimes I didn't like that I always had to include a new photo, or a screenshot of text, or a typographic design if I wanted to post anything there. I can't wait to just typety-type-type and click "Publish" to Enthusiastic Fantastic!
  • I'm completely thrilled that there are no character limits here on my blog! I can write as many words as I like, and—unlike Instagram—Blogger never tells me to stop writing! πŸ˜„ For this wordy girl, that is an unbelievably happy feeling! Yes, that was another way I wasted time on Instagram: I was always trying to figure out ways to compose my posts without going over their 2,200 character limit. With my focus returning to blogging, I won't have that stumbling block to worry about anymore! Praise be and hallelujah!

All of that shared, now I have the ginormous job of retraining my brain to come to my computer to compose posts on my blog instead of continuing to go to the easy default of my smartphone and posting on Instagram. It will take some time, but I know I can do it! Again, I am just not okay with Facebook ruling Instagram! If Instagram's founders would have stayed and continued running Instaland as they saw fit, I most definitely would have remained an Instagrammer forever! But The Big Bad Facebook has trampled Kevin and Mike, and I refuse to just fall in line!

As I round out my thoughts of yesterday's social media news, I've come to the surprising conclusion that I want to buy a Chromebook! I think it will help having another way to post to my blog whenever and wherever I want. 😊

Wish me luck in my new endeavors!

*Update: 09/26/18*

After publishing my post very early this morning, I've now read two more articles about Instagram and Facebook that I feel are completely worth sharing. They both illustrate that Instagram is now doomed under Facebook's unsupervised/unchallenged rule.

I also read a bombshell of an interview with WhatsApp cofounder, Brian Acton. His experience of dealing with Facebook's executives is mind blowing! And not in a good way.

These three articles reiterate that Facebook cannot ever be trusted to put its users first—no matter what kind of image its leaders try to create through feel-good commercials and personal posts. Yes, I am soooo over and done with Facebook and its greedy executives!