Proust.com – Social Networking for Nostalgic Seniors

There are dozens of social networking sites available today…MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, & Google+ just to name a few popular ones. While social media sites typically go after a younger generation, a new service out this week is decidedly going after the opposite demographic. Proust.com, a memory-sharing service targeting nostalgic seniors heading into their twilight years.

The private social network, named for French novelist Marcel Proust, is modeled after the “Proust Questionnaire,” and designed to help family members and close friends tell their life stories. Proust tries to solve the age-old issue of writing in the blank white box. That is, Proust helps facilitate content creation from its users by creating topic prompts based on the “Proust Questionnaire.” Rather than leave sharing in the hands of the person, Proust helps the process move along with questions. Fun questions like “If you could have any natural talent what would it be?”, probing questions like “What did you learn the hard way?”, and nostalgic questions like “Who was your first kiss and how did it happen?”. Proust.com is a place for families and close friends to share the stuff that really matters; and is a private place to capture our life stories, thoughts, and aspirations to spark meaningful conversations about who we are.

Charity Spotlight – Mission of Hope

The Mission of Hope concentrates on serving people throughout poverty stricken rural areas of Appalachia in Southeast Kentucky and Northeast Tennessee. To accomplish their goals of providing assistance, the Mission of Hope seeks supplies, resources, monetary donations and grants from individuals, businesses, corporations, service groups and civic organizations. The Mission of Hope then distributes donated items and purchased materials to areas of rural Appalachia where they are then delivered to needy individuals and families through the support of school resource centers and local ministries, already established within the communities which they serve.

The Mission of Hope is a year round ministry that assists many of our Appalachian neighbors with much needed goods and resources; college scholarships; and help with basic educational, health care and home repair needs. There are lots of ways that you can help the Mission of Hope. One of the most important ways you can help is to keep their ministry and those they serve in your prayers. There are also numerous opportunities to volunteer your time both in their Knoxville office and warehouse and in the areas they serve. Of course, monetary donations are always a great way to help as it allows them to use the funds where it is needed most.

Resource Links: MOH Facebook Page ~~ MOH Twitter Feed ~~ WBIR Interview with Emmette Thompson

Charity Spotlight – Ronald McDonald House

The Ronald McDonald House of Knoxville provides a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. The House provides a comfortable, supportive, temporary residence near the medical facility where family members can sleep, eat, relax and find support from other families in similar situations. Knoxville’s Ronald McDonald House has been serving families of sick and injured children since 1985.

There are numerous ways in which you can help the Ronald McDonald House: Monetarily, become a volunteer, bring items from their Wish List, participate in upcoming events, or check out their list of  other ways to help.

Resource Links: RMH Web Site ~~ RMH Facebook Page ~~ RMH Twitter Feed

With Friends Like These…

The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to me to have quality friendships and true friends. Most of us will go through life with many friendships, but few of us will have true friends. While going through some old e-mails, I came across this article from LifeWay that talks about the types of friends we need to round out our circle of friends. At work, at church, and in life, we all need friends; and we all need to be a friend. Which type of friend are you?

A friend loves at all times, according to Proverbs 17:17. But not all friends love in the same way. To round out your circle of friends, add these:

• On-Your-Knees Friend. “The greatest role my friends fulfill in my life is as pray-ers,” says Janet Holm McHenry, author of My Prayer Buddy Devotional: For a Sisterhood of Prayer Partners. With four kids and a busy career as a high school teacher, she says, “I always have some need for prayer, and I’ve found that my deepest relationships are those with the women who pray with and for me.”

• Go-for-the-Gusto Friend. Your idea of a great vacation is a mountain cabin filled with good food and a big-screen TV. His is hiking to the highest peak and rappelling down. Why not join in the adventure once in a while? It just might do you some good. After all, it feels great to get out of our comfort zones now and then, right?

• All-in-the-Family Friend. After her mother died, Susie Ratliff found a new friend in her mom’s sister. “Our relationship has grown since Mother died,” she says. “Shelley is not a substitute mom, but we love each other and we’ve helped each other through grief by sharing past memories and building new ones.”

• Puzzle-Piece Friend. This friend fills in your gaps. Laurie Copeland, co-author of The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Peace, says, “I spent many years making friends with people just like me. But my best relationships have been with people who were my polar opposite. Like Rocky Balboa said [of Adrian], ‘She’s got gaps, I got gaps; together we fill gaps.’ We may rub each other wrong at times, but we become better people because of our differences.”

• Been-There-Before Friend. Mentoring expert Edna Ellison says we all need “a friend who’s further along in her spiritual development, who walks alongside you, counseling and guiding you toward a closer walk with God.” Mentors can also lead us into a more satisfying career, help us make savvy financial and family decisions, and steer us toward Christ-centered priorities. Ellison says we can be that friend to another when we “share our wisdom, no matter how small it is, with another who needs to know what we’ve learned from God about life.”

• Younger Friend. The Apostle Paul poured his life into two younger friends, Timothy and Titus. He called them “young sons in the faith.” We all need someone we can pour our lives into and who can remind us to stay hopeful and look to the future. Carolyn Curtis, editor of On Mission magazine, notes, “I seek out younger friends because they provide me with a fresh perspective, one that’s informed by the hope of youth and energized by their expectations of what’s ahead.”

• You’ve-Got-Mail Friend. Though separated by many miles, this friend knows the meaning of KIT (keep in touch). Montana wife, mom, and writer Tricia Goyer started an e-mail support group nearly 10 years ago after meeting several women at a conference. “As aspiring writers, we faced many of the same struggles,” she says. “We share what’s happening in our lives; then we follow up.” Members of the group have gone through infertility, family deaths, lost jobs, and big moves. Through e-mail, they’ve been able to “mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice, and pray without ceasing for one another’s needs,” Goyer says.

• Non-Christian Friend. No doubt about it: We need Christian friends to walk with us through life. But we also need non-Christian friends. They keep us in touch with the world we live in. They ask questions that challenge us to know why we believe what we do. When we surround ourselves only with people like us, we miss out on wonderful relationships and opportunities for growth. The key is not to approach a friend as a soul-winning project but to offer respect and to invest in a life. You might be surprised by what God has in store for that friend through your influence.

• Accountable Friend. Julie Morris meets with her accountability partner every week for an hour to pray and discuss their lives. “We also talk about any problems we’re having and what we think the Lord would have us do about them,” Morris says. “We don’t lecture each other; we ask thought-provoking questions such as ‘How could you have made more effective choices?’”

• At-All-Times Friend. “A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same,” according to Elbert Hubbard. That’s the friend who’s known you forever and loves you in good times and bad. Eva Marie Everson, a novelist living in Florida, says, “The joy of having this kind of friend is that no matter what, no matter how much time goes by without a call or without seeing each other, no matter the different roads we choose to take and then walk down — this [friend] knows me inside out and upside down.”

• Common-Ground Friend. This is a friend who loves an activity as much as you do — hiking, tennis, movies, coffee — and is always eager to join. Or maybe it’s a friend with kids the same age as your kids, someone who can provide small doses of sanity and “so I’m not the only one who feels that!” relief in the midst of life.

• You-Can-Do-It Friend. When we hit the proverbial wall, our children embarrass us in front of the preacher, or a seemingly impossible work deadline looms, we need a cheerleader who will say, “You’re doing great” or, “You’re almost there. Keep going!”

• Truthful Friend. We all need a friend who can offer an objective opinion. That’s someone you trust completely who loves you enough to look you in the eyes and gently tell you when you’re on the wrong path or making a bad choice.

• Creative-Soul Friend. This friend helps you see the world in a new way by introducing you to new music and encouraging you to make what could be the most mundane chore — from gardening to home remodeling — into art. This friend reminds you to see what’s beautiful in the world and brings out the creative flair that’s been lying dormant.

• Say-Nothing Friend. “True friendship,” wrote David Tyson Gentry, “comes when silence between two people is comfortable.” When we’re going through hard times, sometimes we need someone who will just be there.

• In-Need Friend. Ecclesiastes 4:10-11 says, “If either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.” We need friends in need who we can lift up and help, friends who make us take our eyes off ourselves if even for a moment.

• Call-Out-My-Name Friend. Who hasn’t been stirred up by the lyrics from Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” made famous by James Taylor: “You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running …” That’s the kind of friend Jesus is, and it’s the kind of friend that those who love Him can be in each other’s lives.

Friends are one of God’s greatest gifts to us. As Beth Kephart writes in her book Into the Tangle of Friendship: “Throughout our lives, friends enclose us, like pairs of parentheses. They shift our boundaries, crater our terrain. … They are the antidote, not to our aloneness, but to our loneliness.”

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Dena Dyer is a writer with credits in more than 125 magazines. She’s also the author of Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms and co-author of The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Peace. Visit her Web site at www.denadyer.com.

Friend Friday – Photographers

Since Fridays are usually Photo Fridays, I have decided to do something different today. I would like to introduce you to a couple of friends who are great photographers. Both are in the Knoxville area and are wonderful to work with. I have known Chelsea and Wade for years and highly recommend either of them. If you are looking for some to photograph your high school senior, engagement or wedding, baby, children, or family; check our Chelsea B. Photography or Gallery Portraits.

Chelsea B. Photography
Chelsea Weaver Cusick

Gallery Portraits
Wade Tiption

Change the World!

By Lee Colan

Some people literally change the world; people like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Ben Franklin.

Although it’s an ambitious goal to change the world, we often underestimate our singular power to change the world of those around us. We don’t have to be Oprah giving away new cars to positively change someone’s world. We each have that same power. We don’t even have to do anything! We only have to say three simple words.

Try one of these three-word, power-packed statements to change someone’s world:

I love you.
I thank you.
You are terrific.
I am sorry.

I trust you.
I promise you. (and keep it!)
God bless you.
I can help.

I understand you.
You are talented.
I believe you.
You will succeed.

You inspire me.
It’s no problem.
I forgive you.
You’re the best!

Whether we have a long conversation with a friend or simply place an order at a restaurant, every word makes a difference. The results of our interactions are rarely neutral; they are almost always positive or negative. Ask yourself, “Do my words reflect my commitment to helping others, creating win-wins, continuously learning, embracing change, supporting my team’s success?”

Words are the seeds of commitment. We plant the seeds with each movement of our lips. Once they are spoken, our words either grow in the form of an immediate response or they take time to germinate. Whether the result becomes apparent sooner or later, we cannot speak words of failure and defeat and expect a life of success and victory.

Plant the seeds of success in someone’s mind and heart today. You’ll start a positive ripple effect that can be felt by many people and many miles away, not to mention the positive effect you will feel inside.

Do not do a thing! Just say three simple words.

I will close with a three-word challenge: JUST SAY IT!