Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All Dogs Go To Heaven

(Photo's by Jeffrey Williams - Jawdropping Photography)
It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since Bo, our 10 year old white shepherd mix died.  My grief still hangs with me – as if it were yesterday.  I’ll never forget the moment Jeff said, “He’s dead.”  I was completely and utterly rocked.  Bo died of a heart attack suddenly on the morning of my mother’s 80th surprise birthday party.  Shortly after his breakfast he had seemed somewhat lethargic, acting a little strange and his movement was labored. He literally died lying at our feet while we were looking up the phone number to the vet.   Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions we went through that day –celebrating long life and sudden death within a matter of hours?  

Who was Bo? 
Bo was a beautiful, loving White Shepherd/Akita mix who came into our lives in May of 2002.  Our son, Cal, had saved money; he really needed (wanted) a companion.  We visited a shelter, actually for another dog, when Cal saw Bo.  He looked over at Bo’s bright, fluffy face and said, “He’s the one mom, I see it in his eyes”.  At first I was hesitant, but like Cal, I could see Bo was very eager to be with us.  When we got him home, he was very rambunctious and a little wild.  He instantly began following Cal everywhere, the two became best friends.  Bo grew to be one of the most loyal, loving family pets we have ever had and when Cal moved out, Bo became my dog.  (There was no way he was taking Bo to live with him!)

As pet owners we become so deeply attached to our animals – they become our extended family.  When one of them dies, we experience a tremendous amount of suffering. 
 It’s taken me a year to process the grief and loss associated with Bo’s death. In many ways, I have become detached, especially from my writing, filling my time and spaces with projects that keep me too busy to even think.  CatherineHilker, my friend and colleague, has been encouraging me through it all, mainly to start writing again, beginning with writing about Bo’s death and my grief.  Although I allow myself to share my feelings and emotions in many ways, when it comes to feelings associated with Bo’s death, I remained stuck.   This is my attempt to open up and let it go. 

Weeks after Bo’s death, I remember saying to my mom, “I feel almost as much grief as when my father died”.  (If my father were here, I know he’d get it - I know that Bo has found my dad and they are eagerly awaiting the rest of us!) There were times I could literally feel Bo’s presence.  Allie, our 10 year old Australian shepherd, felt it, too.  Bo and Allie were inseparable.  They ate, walked, played and slept together.  The weeks after his death, she didn’t eat; she would startle for no apparent reason or look up at the window as if he were standing right there.  One day she and I had a conversation – yes a real conversation.  I actually think she understood me.  I simply told her that he wasn’t coming back, that she had to eat to live.  Within minutes, she began to devour her food.

In March, we brought home another white shepherd to keep Allie company (keep Allie company … right).  The new baby’s name is Izzie, short for Isabeau – named after Bo, of course and a character from the movie Lady Hawk.  Izzie is an AKC registered White German Shepherd.  Although Izzie has her own personality and is by no means a replacement for Bo, in many ways she is like him:  the innocent look on her face when she gets the mashed potatoes out of the trash, how she wraps her entire body as close as possible to the air conditioning vent for some cool air, the way she dances beautifully around the kitchen for her meals, and that as soon as she wakes up each morning she surrounds both her and me with every single toy she has. 

It’s time for me to move forward, like re-emerging from a cocoon
I’m grateful for Bo’s presence in our family, for every animal that has crossed my path over the years.  (Thank you, thank you, and thank you!) The unconditional love and joy pets bring to us is truly a gift.  What we learn from them is to shake it off (and shake your booty), eat when you’re hungry, play more than you work, take lots of naps, treats are a good thing, everything is interesting, love beyond measure and so much more.  I’m off to enjoy another cup of coffee, a couple of dogs and the pile of toys lying at my feet.  Woof Woof!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love the new Facebook Timeline!

My clients have been apprehensive about the new Facebook Timeline.  I have to admit, I was a little on edge about it myself.  After a couple of months of using it, I can say I LOVE IT!

To make the transition easier for my clients, and you, I asked my colleague and friend, Heather Coleman-Voss  (a sister social networking lover) to collaborate on a list to make it easy and simple for them and for you!  Here you have it!

So what appears on your Timeline?  Basically the same information that you've recorded in your profile:  Status updates, photos, friendships made, as well as job history, marital status changes, and other information.  Now, you can choose how it appears, when it will appear and to whom it will appear for.

Here are the top 15 features we focused on first, to maneuver through the new Timeline.  Today, we love the look of the Timeline.  We think it's fresh and exciting.

1.  Your Timeline Page:  Your main page is your Timeline page. You control everything from here – posts - past and present, photos, videos, etc.

2.  Your Cover Photo:  Be sure that your cover photo, the photo that looks like a banner, completely expresses who you are.  Teri’s is a picture her husband took at Ford HQ in Dearborn, MI.  She is in the center of a sunflower patch with her arms extended, celebrating her BLISS! Heather’s cover photo is a cloud photo generated from her social media presence which describes her areas of expertise professionally as well as what is most important to her – being a wife, a mother and a big supporter of Metro Detroit. (mirror.me) You can also GOOGLE “Facebook Cover Photos” to find some great options on designing a cover photo with impact!

3.  Your Main Picture:  Make sure you are smiling in your profile picture (the small picture in the bottom left of your Timeline photo).  A smile is the most inviting feature you can offer anyone.

4.  Your Home Page (Newsfeed page):  The new Timeline replaces YOUR wall, NOT your Home Page, your newsfeed - basically, your home page stays the same.  The Home Page is where you will see all of your "friends" updates, make comments on their feed or even update your status.  Your status update will appear on your main page.  On the Home Page you will see all of your groups, links to messages, events and apps.

You can update your status, add video and ask questions on your Home page and your wall.

5.  Post Options:  Every Timeline Post gives you the option to post Status Updates, Photo, Place, or Life event, across the top of the box marked "What's on your mind..?"  Simply add content as desired.

6.  Privacy per post:  Every Timeline Post has options on who can view your post. Next to the "POST" icon, you can pick who can view the post, ie:  friends, family, colleagues, all.  It is important to understand that what you post publicly will be seen by anyone who wishes to subscribe to you and/or those looking you up (or recruiting talent) on Facebook. Choose strategically to post about community events, helpful information/blog posts, career-related information within your field of expertise and so forth. Posts that you prefer to keep to your friends, mark as “Friends.” The same applies to photos.

7. Viewing Your Profile: To see what your profile looks like to those who are not your friends (this includes your subscribers), click on the drop down area next to the “Activity” button on your profile. Choose “View As” to see how your public profile looks.

8. Subscribe and Subscribers:  You can subscribe to other people, similar to “following” people on Twitter. This is valuable if you are seeking specific information from someone who you do not know (ie a career coach, musician, social media expert). Their public information will show up in your News Feed.

People can also subscribe to your public updates. When people subscribe or add you as a friend, they are automatically able to receive your public updates even if you do not friend them. To check who is subscribing to your public updates, click on the “Subscribers” thumbnail. You will find this in the same section as your friends, “Likes” and so forth.

9.  Editing Icons:  Every Timeline entry has 2 icons, one for editing and deleting, (shaped like a pen) and one for adjusting the size of the post, (shaped like a star).

10.  Timeline Dates/History:  In the upper right corner of the new Timeline on your page, you will see a list of dates, going back to your first post on Facebook.  You can delete and edit posts from here.

11.  Your Profile Information:  By clicking on the "About” tab, under your main photo box, you can edit your profile and what information goes on your main page. Or you can click on the Update Info icon directly under your cover photo

12.  Information boxes:  By clicking on the arrow next to the boxes under your main photo box, you can rearrange the boxes that appear below it; i.e.:  friends, photos, subscribers, etc.

13.  Activity Log: This feature allows you to see a list of events that appear on your Timeline.  You have options here, too.  Delete or feature each post, from a list view, by clicking on the year at the top right of the Activity Log Page

14.  Adding a Badge:  Next to the Activity Log icon is an asterisks and an arrow.  By clicking on the arrow pointing down, you can add badges to Blogger, Wordpress, or other sites you have built.  You can also add photo badges, LIKE badges and more.

15. Adding Life Events:  Adding Life Events is a valuable feature if used strategically. Focus on the birth of your children, your marriage, etc. Now focus on the professional value of Life Events! Some examples are: Volunteer work, receiving a promotion, a new position, a big conference at which you are speaking and so forth.

Don't have time to keep up with Facebook or want to know more about how Social Media can increase your bottom line?  Give me a shout out - I LOVE helping small business owners expand through the use of Facebook, Twitter and Linked IN! For more information or a simple lesson in moving through it all, feel free to email me at teri@theblissnetwork.com.

Happy Facebooking!

Chief Visionary Officer/Bliss Ambassador
Teri Williams
Multi Media and Publishing Services
A division of the Mythic Group, LLC
Heather Coleman-Voss
Career and Social Media Coach/Consultant