The fear of forgetting.


An adjective meaning truthful and straightforward, or frank. When referring to people, it usually is referring to a photo taken without that person’s knowledge, in the moment, not posed, and unplanned. Whether it’s a phone being held at arm’s length with the camera turned to face the photographer, or a photo that appears traditionally snapped, everybody poses. Everybody knows their best angle; everybody knows just how their eyebrows should be held; their hands by their side or on their waist; their smile crooked and closed, or wide showing every white tooth; red lips and done-up eyes, or au naturel.

Despite all of the posing that we know is going on, everybody seems to be fighting for this candid quality to their photos. They do everything to make it look like the photo was taken in-the-moment, without being planned. Yet I have seen girls walking down the mall at the university, camera held aloft, suddenly smiling huge smiles with their eyebrows raised, and stopping every three steps to take and retake their “candid” photo. As soon as the camera goes away, so do the smiles, and the bouncy walk, and the flipping hair. They’re just walking and talking again, as if nothing happened, while both of them stare at their phones, glancing at each other and giving a small wave before saying goodbye, while trying to choose the perfect filter combination.

There’s something about my generation’s picture-taking and status posting habits. The world of social media has given us a space where we can create whoever we wish to be, hide ourselves behind a screen, and then be that person to everybody watching from behind their own screens. We can select which parts of our lives, even which parts of our faces or bodies, we wish to show.

That’s not honest, not straightforward, and most of it is not “in the moment.”

And isn’t that the exact opposite of candid?

Social media, while claiming to connect people, actually puts wedges between them much of the time. When you use Instagram to filter your life so that your friends and family only see small parts of it, that’s not building relationships. Life is all about the relationships you build, and if you can’t be honest with a single person who’s in it, then you’re not being candid in the real world. Forget your profile pictures. However, there’s a pattern to most of these photos. Not only do we seem to be seeking candidness, we also seem to be seeking life-making moments. And I’ve noticed one other thing too: we want candid, exciting, life-making moments all the time. And we never want to forget them.

Because of this filtering ability that we’ve been given by social media, unrealistic expectations are set for what an ordinary life looks like. When you see somebody who’s every post is a photo of friends on a kayak, and then climbing a mountain, and then going to a club, and then suddenly they’re in Europe hitting up historic pubs, and then they’re in the middle of nowhere camping with their best friend and parents, you start to desire that too. You want to show everybody all of the cool things you’re doing.

And that desire comes with a fear: it’s the fear that you aren’t doing enough, aren’t living enough, that clearly your life is dull and boring and lacks everything that makes a life worthwhile. And then you start to think that maybe your life has lots of those moments, but you’re missing them. You can’t miss any of it, and neither can anybody else. And worse, what if you forget it?

And so we post photo after photo after photo, and status after status after status, hoping to forever enshrine these moments in our memories, and to prove that we are doing something meaningful and memorable and exciting with our lives. We want to prove that we have deep friendships, that our children are having a great time at the beach, that our family is the coolest, that our vacation is the best. And that we will, in fact, remember it forever, because it was just that great.

We are deathly afraid of forgetting anything that happens to us.

But is it worth remembering the moment if we were so absorbed in posting the picture with the perfect hashtag and just the right filter, that we forgot to be present in that moment to begin with?

I see far too many parents stopping their kids from running on the beach in order to take yet another photo of the three of them together. I see far too many friends taking selfies together in the coffee shop and then spending more time posting the photo to all six of their social media accounts than they spend actually speaking to one another. I see far too many students so convinced that they’re bored that they spend their entire class with their hand under their desk, scrolling through Facebook, because they don’t have the patience to sit through a lecture, and because they’re so convinced that boredom is next to death for anyone under the age of sixty-two.

And the reason that I write this is not to condemn my generation, but to implore them to just think about it; and first and foremost, because I find myself living inside of that 4-inch tall screen far too often. I find myself viewing the beauty of the world right in front of me through that screen too much. And as much as I love taking pictures of the sunset, of my family, of my husband and I, of my home, a screen just never quite captures what my eyes do. It can never fully encapsulate the amazing world that I’m living in right now.

And I would rather live every moment of my life to its fullest and forget all of them, than to never be present for any of them at all. Because that’s not living.



Three days ago, there was a decision made by the Supreme Court of the United States of America that caused varying degrees mostly of joy, but also of distress. I’ve seen social media “trends” before, but never have I ever seen every single person, on and off of a computer, talking about exactly the same thing all at the same time, all over the world. Friends in the United States, Australia, Canada, and all over Europe were talking about a decision to make homosexual marriages legal across all 50 states.

I have friends from almost everywhere on the spectrum (no pun intended), from openly and unashamedly gay, to the most conservative person you’ve ever met. Watching the reactions, I found many people, specifically from the conservative side of things, demanding that we “take sides” or “take a stand.” These comments came in all forms, from comments about standing more firmly in one’s own beliefs, to demanding that others do the same. I saw only one comment that said anything about “continuing to shine a light.” What I saw was others demanding that I, a 20-something evangelical Christian, take a side. As if a war had just been declared on everything sacred and holy, on everything that I know to be true, without even considering that this war has existed since before the Garden of Eden. One judicial decision did not “declare” it any more than the opposite decision could have ended it.

When I am told to take a side, I do not hear “Stand firm in your beliefs.” I hear myself being told to alienate people that I love and hold close to my heart.

I do not want to take a side, if that is what it means. I do not want to stand on one shore, shouting across an ocean of hurt and hate. I do not want to load up the magazine of my vocabulary and open fire. I want to walk across war zones, cross no-man’s land, not with loaded weapons but with open arms stretched out, because He first stretched out His arms for me so that his bloody arms could embrace my wickedness and make it pure.

I want to love people where they are, for who and what they are. If I am to have any fault, I would rather have it be that I loved too much, too deeply, too hard, rather than not enough or not at all. Love is not a god, but my God is Love. When you start saying “love is love” you remove the Creator of love from the equation. But you do the same when you choose hiding and firing harsh words, over stepping out of the boat onto the raging waters, stretching out your hand, and meeting the people there with the same Life Raft that you climbed onto when you were drowning. When you choose harsh words and distance over the pain of sacrificing your pride, you also remove true Love from the equation.

If love is indeed existent outside of man’s definition of it, if it was truly created by God and not by men, if love is patient, kind, gentle, not envious or boisterous, or angry, then you are not sacrificing your definition of love, nor is it being dirtied and sullied when you choose to meet people where they are and love them. Not for who they could be, not for what they should be, but for who they are right this second. You lose nothing. Nothing is compromised except our own pride and the need to be correct.

And if the Truth is unchangeable and unfailing, then you lose nothing by choosing to love. You lose nothing by walking into the lions’ den with full courage and faith. Love does indeed win. Love won thousands of years ago on the cross, and it is still winning today, right now. So step out from behind your walls.

“Girl” is not an insult.

Dear Stranger,

I heard you make a remark about my ability to drive the other day. It was derogatory, and it centered on my gender. I am a woman. You saw me backing out of a tight spot in a parking lot, and because I had to attempt it twice, you made your remark. I don’t even remember your words now. But I have some words for you.

Anything you can do, I can do too.

When you, a man, make a mistake, nobody tells you, “Don’t be such a man,” or, “You drive/play/talk/do that like a man.” Instead, the phrases are more along these lines: Don’t be such a girl. You play/drive/act like a girl. You’re a bunch of girls. Stop crying like a little girl.

But by way of encouragement, we say things like Man up. Or Be a man!

Why is girl an insult? Why is girl the first thing that comes to mind when you want to tell someone that they’re doing something poorly? Why does one simple mistake on my part get turned into an attack on who I am as a person, who and what I am at my core?

However, sir, I don’t blame you personally. I blame the culture that we live in for perpetuating that girl is an okay insult. It’s a form of bullying that’s gaining attention, but not quickly enough for me. It’s not something that even women usually think about. I hear girls make the same kinds of comments to each other.

But you know what? I realized, after hearing you say what you said, that people have been placing limitations on me for my entire life solely based on gender. I’ve heard, “Girls can’t do that,” one too many times. And I’ll tell you what. I am not okay with it. I am not okay with being told that I can’t do things because I’m a woman. I am not okay with making simple mistakes and being told that it’s because I’m a woman, where if it were a man making the same mistake, his buddies would probably just laugh it off.

Do you know what happens when girls grow up hearing things like Girls can’t do that. Stop being such a girl. Man up already. Stop crying like a girl. They start to put those limitations on themselves without knowing that they’re doing it. Their internal dialogue starts to sound something like this: “I can’t because I’m a girl. I won’t because I’m a girl.” Confidence that was present in childhood diminishes. They begin to think that being emotional is a negative thing. They begin to see their responses to situations, their natural tendencies, and their body parts as negative things.

We wonder why there’s a difference between the number of women versus the number of men in certain professions? Or why women struggle so much with self-image? Or why men disrespect women so often? Or why there are so many women who can’t even respect themselves?

Well, how about this. How about we stop talking about not having a penis like it’s a handicap. How about instead of telling people to man up we encourage them by telling them things that bring out their personal strengths and help to develop them. How about instead of telling girls what they should or shouldn’t be doing, we encourage their interests and hobbies, whatever those may be. How about we ask them what they want to be when they grow up, and whether they say that they want to be an engineer, or an artist, we tell them that that’s awesome. Whether they love Spider Man, or Wonder Woman, that’s awesome.

I want to encourage a generation of women who don’t have to be told that they can do it, because they already know that they can. In fact, I want there to be a generation of women who doesn’t even have to question their abilities because of their gender. I want to encourage a generation of men and women to realize that being a man or a woman is a wonderful, wonderful thing. And I want my generation to be the one who raises those people.

We need women who know their self-worth and who will help younger girls to realize theirs. We need to start encouraging both men and women to realize that men and women were created equally. We are different. That’s true. But neither is better or worse than the other. A person can be better or worse than another person, but one gender, any more than one race, is not better or worse than the other. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made by a fearfully wonderful Creator, and I’m sure that his intention was for us to build on each other, not tear each other down.


A Woman

What my tattoo means.

Quite a few people have asked me the significance of my tattoo. I think it’s because it’s only a picture with no text to connect it to an idea. It is a drawing, sketched by Tolkien, when he was attempting to design the cover of The Hobbit for publication. The dragon is Smaug. For those of you who don’t know, Smaug is the terrifying monster whom Bilbo Baggins faces to steal the Arkenstone from the Lonely Mountain at the request of Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain. The dwarves, cast out long ago by Smaug due to their accumulation of wealth which attracted the dragon in the first place, are trying to regain their home under the Lonely Mountain. Throughout the whole story, Bilbo is smaller and less courageous than the thirteen dwarves he’s travelling with. Gandalf, the one who chose Bilbo to be the “burglar,” knows this. He knows that Bilbo is not an adventurer. Yet he sends him on this long, dangerous journey anyway.

He, Bilbo, is in his 50’s and, like any sensible hobbit, has never in his life had any sort of adventure. He is used to comfort and warmth and good food (Hobbits love good food, and eat six times per day: breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper). The journey is a shock to Bilbo, and there are many points when he thinks he may not make it back to his warm, comfortable hobbit-hole in Hobbiton. In fact, he never asked to go on this journey and was not told that it was happening until thirteen dwarves barge into his home and begin consuming all of his food. As Bilbo travels the long and perilous road to the Lonely Mountain, playing the part of the burglar who possesses the skills to steal the Arkenstone from Smaug, Thorin doubts him all the way.

But Bilbo, by continuing on the journey, displays more courage, cunning, and bravery than anyone thought he had in him, including himself. When he finally arrives at Smaug’s lair, deep within the Mountain, he sees this immense beast and is terrified. This is it. This is the final obstacle. This is what they’ve travelled months and months in order to defeat. And he is so vast that it seems impossible to Bilbo. But Bilbo manages to steal the Arkenstone, and Smaug, once he is roused to rage and decides to attack the small town that resides on the lake at the foot of the Mountain, is defeated by a dragon-hide-piercing bolt shot by Bard down in Laketown.

And all of this, to me, is held within my tattoo. This story exists on my back in the form of a serpentine, winged dragon with claws bared. It is a reminder that no dragon, no matter how fierce and large and terrifying, can live forever. It means that, like Bilbo, there is more to all of us, even the ones who are constantly overlooked, than meets the eye. It means that no matter how small you are, and how little courage you think you have, and how unlikely you are to be the hero, all it takes is doing it anyway. Take the step, or the leap, of faith. It’s a reminder that courage is not being fearless, but going forward despite your fears. The dragon will die, because good always triumphs over evil in the end. Tolkien himself, within his story, says, “So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.” The storm passes, the waters will calm, the wind will stop, the thunder will roll away, and there will be a bright blue sky waiting behind them. You just have to keep going. The tattoo is also a symbol of one of the greatest story-tellers and story-creators of our time. And I’ve wanted to be like him since I first read his books, in middle school. That’s what it means. But when people ask, I just tell them it is a sketch that I liked, drawn by an author that I love, because it is. But it’s also a lot more. I just don’t know if I could convey that in one conversation.

In it, but not of it.

“In it, not of it,” is not a phrase found in the Bible. At least not verbatim. It is something that reflects a truth about Christians, that we are called to be within the world, but not of the world. We are supposed to be present on this earth, but we are not supposed to look like everyone else who’s not following Jesus. But is that really the extent of what this phrase means? And what should we take this over-simplified phrase to mean?

Does it mean, Sigh, I guess we’re stuck here for now, but our mission is to just not look like those guys over there? This, it seems, is the way that many Christians take this phrase, as a lament that we are here at all, rather than taking into consideration the missional aspect of our lives, the fact that being here means something and has purpose.

Many Christians want to be so unlike the world that they totally remove themselves from it. They wear drastically different clothing, don’t listen to certain types of music, don’t get tattoos, and I’ve even heard of some who refuse to wear makeup, and fewer who view piercings the same way as tattoos. Their kids are homeschooled, not because it is the best option for their family, but to keep their kids away from “those” kids that go to public school. Mothers stay within Christian moms’ groups, never venturing into the realm of the unsaved, and fathers never go out with coworkers, not because they struggle with drinking, but just because their friends do and there may be alcohol and cuss words. Children eventually go off to college and they stay within the sheltered confines of Christian circles, never daring to risk exposure to anything else, as if “The World” is some kind of disease that can steal away your salvation slowly but surely.

Now mom’s groups, not drinking, no tattoos, homeschooling, choosing to wear a certain type of clothing, and Christian friends: none of those things are bad. None of those things do any harm on their own, and in fact we are told to have fellowship with other Christians (I mean, what is the Church?). But…

Is this what it means, to be in the world and not of it?

I would say absolutely not.

By withdrawing in this way, and hoping that others will come to Christ by looking in on you from a distance through your little Christian window, or come to know him just because you shared your 60-second testimony that probably doesn’t even feel relevant to the person who just heard it, you are not really fulfilling a big part of the great commission. Yes, part of making disciples is training and being trained by people who already know Jesus. But Jesus was a friend of sinners, and aren’t we following his lead? Jesus told us to go out and make disciples, not stay within our little bubbles of Christian schools, Christian potlucks, and all-Christian friends and hope that those other people will come our way eventually, or worse, just surrender them to “that way of life” with no influence from us at all. There’s nothing wrong with doing any of those activities in and of themselves (Christian schools, potlucks, and friends), but to exclude people who so desperately need Jesus from your circles is not being in the world. And we are, in fact, called to be part of the world.

 How are you supposed to engage a culture that you have no part in? How are you supposed to show Jesus to broken people when you don’t know any people that haven’t already experienced his presence?

In John, when Jesus is praying for his disciples, he says, “I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15, NIV). Jesus explicitly says that he does not want us taken out of the world, but only that we would be protected from Satan while we’re here. Otherwise, you’d just be raptured as soon as your got saved, and then what? He then says, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it” (John 17:16, NIV).  So we are not of the world, which is where the second part of “in it, not of it” comes from, and is, unfortunately, the only part of that phrase that many will take to heart. But, I also am not seeing the part where it’s us that makes us “not of the world.” From what I’ve just read, it looks like its Jesus who does that. We are not of the world because we’re of the body of Christ, not because we don’t drink and went to a private Christian school.

“In the world, not of it,” is not a lament, it’s a state of being. You are here, you are present on this earth, and though you are part of a greater Kingdom, you are here for a reason, and that reason is clearly outlined in Matthew 28:19, when we’re told to go and make disciples of all nations. To do otherwise is foolish, and not why we’re here. We have to stop hiding, and we need to stop bashing those who are courageous enough not to hide for being “too much like the world.” That’s not being like the world, it’s fulfilling our ultimate (co)mission.

Those scars won’t heal you (another open letter).

Dear stranger,

I saw you through the window at work today. You were in the back seat of a car, staring in the opposite direction from where I stood. You were with a woman who was perhaps your mother or grandmother and a girl who looked like she was your age. You wore all black and held a Nintendo, but it remained shut in your lap. Your friend just kept her head resting in her hand, which rested against the window of the car. I don’t know where you came from, or who you are. But when I looked a second time, I saw something that nearly brought me to tears.

I saw your scars.

It made me pause, just for a second, and stare. I’m sorry for staring, but I couldn’t ignore my heart shattering at this sight. You wore those scars like a sleeve, all the way from your wrist to your shoulder. Some were white and old, others were pink and new. But all were deep, thick, and perfectly straight. The kind you can only get from a straight razor drawn across your skin. I know these scars. I have seen them many times. You stared out the window, not knowing that I ever took notice of you at all. Maybe you’ll never know. But I nearly cried, seeing your beautiful arms covered in those scars. I couldn’t see your face. But I guessed you were in high school.

I knew those scars from my own years spent in high school, where I had friends whose cuts I cleaned in the school bathroom because the school wouldn’t help them and I didn’t know what else to do. I took away friend’s razors, thumb tacks, and staples, and I kept them. But they always found something else with an edge on it. One friend told me that her mother had even handed her a razor one night and told her to go die. I don’t know if this is entirely true or not, but it broke my heart, just as my heart broke then and is breaking now for you.

The woman in the driver’s seat did not look healthy. She was thin, almost emaciated, with tangled hair, and she spoke in nonsensical syllables except when placing her order and saying “Thank you.” I pray that with her, you are at least not being harmed even if you are not entirely safe.

I do not know if, like some of my friends in high school, you have been abused, sexually, emotionally or physically. I don’t know if you have any kind of support from family or even close friends. I don’t know if you have someone to take away your razors and beg you to stop, who refuses to abandon you even when you don’t. I don’t know if your parents know, and if they know I don’t know if they’re the type to care. I don’t even know if you have parents. I don’t know why you’re hurting, but it is plain to see that you are.

I wish there was something I could say, or do, to make you see and make you stop, but I know that that only comes with time. I know that you have to see your worth, see your beauty, see that you are loved. I know that it takes a massive intervention. For me, it took a cosmic one. For me, it took the book of Romans, read while crying profusely because of what lay inside that book. For me, my scars went so deep that it took a man sent by God, who willingly gave his life on a cross as a perfect replacement for me, with my name on his lips and in his heart the whole time that he was being bloodied and bruised and beaten and killed. And that’s what it took for you too. He absorbed all the impact of every one of your scars on that day…

And then he erased them three days later when he rose again. He came back clean, even though he’d just borne the sin of you and me, that we know for a fact goes deep, so deep, because we can judge based on the scars. Some of us carry the scars on our arms and they are plainly visible to the naked eye. And some of us carry them only on our hearts.

These self-inflicted injuries go deeper than any razor can cut, and they go further back than we can remember. They have been caused by generation upon generation of sinners, hurting each other and hurting themselves, until we become so lost in all of the hurt that we don’t know what to do but more of the same. I know it doesn’t seem like it right at this darkest moment, but there is hope. And there is love. And you are beautiful and you were made in the image of the same God-Man who died for you all of those thousands of years ago. Your body can heal because his was maimed. The scars will not heal you, but he can heal your scars. It’s why he died, and it’s why he rose, and I can tell you this with conviction because he already did it for me.


A Stranger

Alena Rivas is a college student from Tucson, Arizona. She has been married since August, 2013. She and her husband don’t have kids yet, but they hope to once she graduates! Alena writes about life, love, loss, and God. She works to incorporate her own experiences in such a way as to inspire others and encourage people to think about things in new ways. If you like her writing and want to keep up with it better or just want to have access to her awesome witticisms that may not always end up in blog posts, you can find her on Facebook (, Twitter (@mrsalenaeous), and Google+ (Alena Rivas).

Love does not always roar.

I was at work yesterday, and as I stood at the drive through window, a van pulled up. It was an old man and an old woman. At first glance, the old woman just looked very still, but on second glance I realized that she was paralyzed. I saw her wheel chair all strapped into the car, and she was frozen in one position, which made me believe that she was quadriplegic. As I talked to them briefly, told them to have a wonderful day, and gave them their order, I noticed that the man seemed oddly cheerful. I knew he must spend lots of time taking care of his wife, and I knew that it must be difficult for him. Another family had pulled through earlier, and they were all able to eat in the car. This man did not have that ability if he was driving his paralyzed wife around. I thought about all of the times that I had handed my husband unwrapped food from the passenger seat so that he could eat and drive. I thought about the many conversations that we’ve had, and that many of our best, deepest conversations happened on car rides. I thought about how we love singing along to songs together on the radio. And I also thought about how I take all of that for granted, and that this man doesn’t have any of those things but he still drives his wife around and smiles and (at lease seemed) cheerful despite the hardship that life had given him.

There is a quote by (I think) Mary Anne Radmacher. She said, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” This is something that holds true for me as far as my own experience goes. As I thought about the old man that I saw at work, this quote came to mind and I realized that it would be just as true if you replaced “courage” with “love.”

There is an obsession that I see in our culture for love to be loud and proud. Love is seen as this thing that you proclaim to the world over and over, always and forever. Or for as long as the feeling lasts, I guess. It’s something to be shouted from the rooftops and shouted at everyone you meet. It’s something you take pictures of, tell people about, and can’t stop thinking about and therefore cannot stop talking about, either. I think that this is largely symptomatic of our social networking culture, where “pics or it didn’t happen” has been taken too deeply to heart.

The truth is, love doesn’t always roar. Of course love does roar. But it doesn’t always. In fact, most often, it is the quiet putting of an arm around the one you love, a listening ear, a smile, putting away your electronics and having conversations that last for hours of which there is no digital record. It is not just something that is broadcast to the world, but something that you broadcast, most importantly, to one another. Even if the rest of the world never knows that you’re in love, the only way to make the love last is for your lover to know that you are in love. I have seen relationships fall completely apart even though, if you judged them based on Facebook updates, seemed perfect. It’s almost like people try to love each other for the sake of public opinion and approval, rather than loving each other because they really do.

But what you will never see in any of the status updates, the tweets, the pictures, is the quiet love that is napping together on the couch after a long day; the removing of glasses when they fall asleep reading; the songs sung together on long car rides; the snuggles on a day off; the laughter shared on date night; the time that dinner was completely burned and wrecked, and he ate it anyway because she was on the verge of tears; the t-shirt that has been soaked through with the tears of someone who couldn’t lift their face from the other’s chest because of the weight of their sadness. Nor do you see the hands held, the footsies played, the steadfastness of true love, the determination to remain together, the way that she looks at him while he’s sleeping because he just looks so peaceful, or the moments spent having deep conversations about where we’re going in life, about hopes and dreams and disappointments and family and deep hurts. You do not see the friend who wakes up to a ringing phone in the middle of the night and stays on the line for hours because there was a crisis. You do not see the many “How are you feeling today” texts, sent just because. You don’t see the prayers prayed, the tears cried, or the long, late-night conversations, and hugs. You do not see the difficulty that was had when it was time to, again, say goodbye to a friend.

What you will never see in any of the status updates or Instagram pictures is an old man and an old woman, one of which is paralyzed, and the other still smiling despite everything. You do not see the way that he bathes her, clothes her, kisses her hand, and smiles, beaming, at her (and to me). You do not see the way he wakes up every morning for another day of caring for her every basic human need. You do not see the way he’s never abandoned her just because it’s difficult.

Because some things just should not be broadcast to everyone but should simply be known, deeply and intimately.

Love does not always roar, because it does not need to if it’s true.

Alena Rivas is a college student from Tucson, Arizona. She has been married since August, 2013. She and her husband don’t have kids yet, but they hope to once she graduates! Alena writes about life, love, loss, and God. She works to incorporate her own experiences in such a way as to inspire others and encourage people to think about things in new ways. If you like her writing and want to keep up with it better or just want to have access to her awesome witticisms that may not always end up in blog posts, you can find her on Facebook (, Twitter (@mrsalenaeous), and Google+ (Alena Rivas).