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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | Nibby Priest
Tag Archive - Nibby Priest

My Tri Fest Tow Truck Teaching Adventure

Get towedphoto © 2009 Emran Kassim | more info (via: Wylio)
I love Henderson, Kentucky, and its annual Tri-Fest that starts tomorrow. As I pulled into town tonight to teach a Facebook class at the Henderson County Public Library, they were beginning to set up. Cool!  They have great food, rides, and more, in their historic downtown district.  I parked across the street from the library and went in to prepare.

My classes are taught with my Facebook profile live, on big screen, with my own News Feed.

Just over halfway through the 2-hour class, a Henderson friend posted, “The police just towed all the cars off South Main Street for the Tri-Fest.”

I had parked on South Main Street.

So I excused myself and went across the street. My car was gone. When I tried to ask the festival workers where my car was, my Spanish wasn’t good enough to communicate. So I returned to my class.

“Is your car there?” The class asked.


“Do you need to end class to find it?”

“No. We have 40 minutes left. I can find my car then. If I can teach through an earthquake, a flash flood, and a storm that rips the front door off a building, I can teach through a towed car.”

I didn’t tell them that if I could hitch-hike alone through a thunderstorm in Ireland 25 years ago, survive a near-death hemorrhage during a pregnancy 15 years ago, and rebuild a burned out business 10 years ago, a towed car in Henderson was something I knew would have a happy ending. Somehow. The only thing to do was laugh about it.

This could be an example of Facebook problem solving for my class. I posted that my car was towed during my class, telling the class in the time that remained we would see if Facebook would help me solve my problem. Then we went back to our objectives list to keep going.

Friends posted phone numbers of who to call. I answered conversations while we kept on our to do list. Friends, both in Evansville and Henderson, offered me rides if needed. My friends Jo Ann and Joann both gave invaluable help. My phone started ringing with friends asking me if I needed a ride.

A grandmother taking the class posted on her own wall that my car had gotten towed. Her grandson commented, “WTF?” When she asked me what WTF stood for, I suggested she ask her grandson as I wasn’t going to say it in class.

After the class was over, I called the first number, a towing company who said they had towed nothing. Then I called the police. They had posted in the paper they would tow cars but acknowledged they had posted no signage that out-of-state visitors would see. They asked me what my car was.

“Blue. With 4 doors.” We just bought my car last month, and I was so rattled I could remember neither the make nor the model.

So I called my husband, who had just read my Facebook saga. “What’s my car?”

“You’re joking.”

“No. All I can remember is it’s blue with 4 doors.”

“You can teach any kind of computer class and don’t know your own car?”

“Nope. Not when I just taught a class for 40 minutes after it happened.”

“It’s a Mazda 626.” So I told the Henderson City Police, they told me who had towed it and gave me an address. They said there would be no fine.

A librarian offered to drive me to it, though the address didn’t match Google’s. We drove to the address given, and it was a crop production business. When I called the police, they insisted they gave me the right address and we were lost.

Then Nibby Priest, a dear friend who lives in Henderson, called me. He gave us the correct address, called the towing company, and they said they would have it waiting for me. As we struggled to find the towing company, he talked us by way of speaker phone through the neighborhood for the right house with the tow truck with my car on it.

Another librarian called me various times as we searched for my car, and she met us at the tow truck to make sure I was able to get my car and journey home. I was never so happy to drive to my home sweet home.

Lessons from tonight?

  • Even when bad things happen, good friends can help you survive them.
  • Henderson, KY and Evansville, IN are full of nice people willing to help others.
  • I don’t need to watch reality TV because I live it.
  • My life is a string of adventures that mix Charles Dickens with Bridget Jones with Lucille Ball.
  • If I teach the night before Henderson’s Handy Blues Fest, I’ll pick my parking spot more carefully.

Thanks to the Henderson County Public Library, Nibby, and all my friends who pitched in to help me find my car so I can click my heels and say, 

“There’s no place like home. And no car like my…..blue one with 4 doors.”

Crouching Mama Hidden Ninja

Desktop background created by Mystfren Designs

When Michael Reynolds tossed a Ninja to me at an Inbox Zero workshop last fall, he didn’t know what would happen. That Ninja, trained in the art of email management, is talented with WordPress too. With a new year and new website, I discovered his talent.

The last 2 weeks, I’ve worked to migrate my blog from WordPress.com to self-hosting. The software differences remind me of moving from DOS to Windows or from Lotus to Excel. Many concepts are the same, but the setup is different enough to give me a headache and heartburn. 

With WordPress help and encouragement from Talina Norris-Ryder and Nibby Priest (thank you both!), I’ve made it to the other side of the WordPress aisle.  Many years ago, my husband Richard bought my domain name, saying I would one day want and use it.  In the last two weeks, he’s patiently created, re-created, and tweaked the graphics for the new site.

Learning the new software was harder than I thought it would be. And it was more stressful. For a lifetime, I’ve helped family and friends go after their brass rings. Ten years ago, Richard and I started the Copper Lion, Inc., so he could provide digital graphics to ad agencies.

What I didn’t realize till halfway through the new site is this time, it’s MY behind on the line.  It’s not only my behind, but my name. When I couldn’t find a fast answer to my question, I would jump, yell, and be ready to quit. Then I would see the Ninja on my desk and remember Harrison Painter‘s latest blog on Coffee with Harrison.

As I wrestled with WordPress, I looked at my ninja and repeated Harrison’s advice: knock’em over! Once I remembered that, I became Crouching Mama Hidden Ninja, ready to conquer an army of widgets and subdue Attila the Plugin’s legions.

Victory! If I couldn’t find the answer, I could find someone or some website to help. With time, help, and hard work, the site came together.

Just like any action story, you know the widgets and plugins will be back with future challenges. My Ninja and I are in training, making ourselves stronger so we can handle whatever they try next.

That’s my Ninja story, and I’m sticking to it.

When you hit the wall, what’s your Ninja and what keeps YOU going?

Churches: What’s Your Social Media Footprint?

Last month, Nibby Priest wrote, Are You an Evangelist for Your Community?  

Take that a step further – Are You a Social Media Evangelist for Your Church?  How does your church make use of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, blogs, and Foursquare to reach out to its congregation and beyond?

How does a church approach with new evangelization?

Reserve your name: Even if you don’t plan to use them now, go to social media sites and reserve your name before someone else does.   You can use them later.

Listen first: Listen to your community and people’s concerns.  How can you best be a beacon of light to the hurting?  St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times.  Use words if necessary.”  Listening and helping people works better on social media than standing on a corner posting Bible verses constantly. Don’t proselytize as people will unfriend and unfollow you.

Be generous: Promote and encourage good people in your area.  Share opportunities and ways to help the poor and serve your community.

Be real: Who you are Sunday morning should not contradict who you are Saturday night on the town or Wednesday morning in the office.  Neither should photos or videos.

Where do you get started? 

If you do social media well, it will boost your search engine optimization and make your church’s website appear higher on Google rankings.

Facebook – begin with a Fan Page.  Fan pages work best for public groups to reach others and share information quickly.  Groups work best for private groups where you select and restrict members.

Twitter – we need more Twittering pastors who can be funny, engage in conversation, and lift people’s spirits. Writing in 140 characters or less makes writing more concise.

Youtube – start a video blog with a simple message and talented musicians in your church.  Keep it short.

Blogs – post blogs of no more than 450 words to encourage people.

Foursquare – make sure your church’s location is listed on Foursquare.  Someone can post a tip of when services are held.  Members who are comfortable doing so can “check in” when they are there, and your church’s location with a map will show on anyone using Foursquare in your area.  Visitors who search Foursquare will see your church and see that it is a congregation with active, welcoming members.

Real life relationships begin and can be made stronger with social media.

For centuries, missionaries ventured to foreign lands and mastered new languages to evangelize.  That is still important.

We have a new way to share.

In the beginning was the Word.  Now the Word can be tweeted, blogged, and YouTubed. 

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