Is Your Gmail Haunted?

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Do you use Gmail? I do. I've had my @gmail.com address for years now.

It's free'ish and I've grown accustomed to Google's big brother tendencies.

I've received thousands of messages and sent at least 42 messages myself in those years.

It works for me. 99% of the time it's flawless. The 1% or less of the time it gives trouble is still a P.I.T.A.

The past few weeks I noticed I was not receiving some messages I expected. Someone said they were sending me messages regarding a team I'm part of - but I couldn't find them using search.

I poked around and found the missing messages were in my trash. I pretty generous with my delete button. In spite of not intending to delete these messages I was probably guilty of deleting these - or worse, I'd added them to a 'delete' filter at some point. I didn't think I'd done that but computers are G.I.G.O. so something mucked it up (likely me).

I dug in a bit further to my 100's of filters and rules that I set up over the years and could not find the rule removing these messages from my inbox and dumping them in the trash. I didn't have any forwarding in place or accounts with control over my incoming messages that I was aware of. It was a mystery.

I figured I'd fix it by declaring filter bankruptcy and decided to delete the hundreds of filters I had in place. A couple years ago I completed an email bankruptcy and deleted many years and hundreds of thousands of archived messages that I hadn't looked at in a forever. Deleting my past emails was freeing and had almost zero impact on me, so doing the same with filters wasn't much of a risk. I felt fine as I clicked delete on all the filters, hoping it'd fix the issues with missing emails.

It didn't fix it.

I continued looking around the internet for solutions. I'm pretty sure it took me at least three google searches to find a promising post that may have contained a solution. The string that sussed it out:
"stop gmail moving message to trash"
The first non-featured snippet seemed to point me in the right direction. It mentioned checking my Google account security for any third-party apps that I may have given access to over the years. I checked my account and found just a few authorized apps - MacOS, a mobile app to access Blogger, and Unrollme.com - an email service I'd removed a long while ago, I thought.

Long story short there was this post from 3/13/19 in which the poster was looking for a solution to a very similar problem to mine. The best answer to their problem based on other's votes seemed very close to fitting my needs. In fact I was able to replicate the solution and remained hopeful my messages would stop auto-deleting. I simply needed to delete my Unrollme.com account - easy enough - then log out of my Gmail account to remove the setting-ghosts that'd been stuck.


And not-done.


Try again.



Re-read the solutions. Keep digging. Down at the bottom of the comments on the solution post someone named "Ren19" commented they had to delete their Gmail account from their phone in order to fix the issue. Ren19 had posted their comment just 23 hours ago (on 10/4/19) to the original post from March 2019.

So I tried removing Gmail and account access from my iPhone.

Logged out of Gmail on my MacBook again.

Logged in again.

Moved one of the missing emails from Trash to Inbox.

Hit refresh.

And the email stayed in the Inbox!


What I learned about Gmail today is there are ghosts. Setting-ghosts who hold on to what happened in the past and permeate what happens going forward, impressing those choices on the future with no regard for changes requested. These ghosts aren't easy to find and move from device to device without leaving breadcrumbs to follow their ways.

If you're dealing with digital ghosts, don't give up. Look a bit deeper. Solutions can be found if we're willing to search. Keep digging.

And if you decide to stop using Unrollme.com - delete your account and remove Gmail from your mobile devices and refresh it all - and you probably won't lose messages you're expecting. Maybe.

Because ghosts.



This week’s favorites

Memories and memes from the last week


Experimenting with Radio Silence: Five Observations From a Week of Listening

Flickr Attribution (Creative Commons)

Are you always on, available, and ready to share? Do you find yourself lured to whatever notification happens upon your mobile device, or the pop-up window in the corner of your screen? Do you have a bit of anxiety when you find you’re disconnected from your digital world? Have you found yourself wondering about disconnecting for a bit?

If you’re anything like me, you know that digital living can get out of balance. You know that there’s good online, and you know that there can be too much of a good thing! What could you learn from taking some extended time to listen? I call this Radio Silence. Intentionally stopping from sharing to your own digital channels to better observe and interact both online and off.

This past week I’ve intentionally stopped sharing content in digital spaces (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) in an effort to observe and listen without the noise of notifications. In the short span of a few days I recognized how I’ve become accustomed to notifications and checking social sites constantly throughout my days. I’m no longer checking due to the notifications. I relentlessly check out of habit. I don’t like this development.

What have I learned in this simple experiment?
  1. Gratefulness: I am thankful for the many digital connections in my life. There are many connections in my life that I really only have in digital spaces. Many of my Facebook friends, most really, I have only briefly connected with in-real-life, IRL as the cool kids type
  2. Mindfulness: I found I would read something shared by a friend online my mind quickly switched from observation to promotion. I would read something that sparked a bit of an idea and quickly desire to share or repost the content to others. When I intentionally chose not to share, I found I focused more on the impact and meaning of the message for myself.
  3. Prioritization: I have not been sharing anything with the digital world and the impact has not been noticeable, to me or my connections. There have not been messages from my digital relations asking where I’ve been or what happened to my photos of breakfast and pithy inspirational quotes. The world continues to spin out it’s orbit. People are doing there thing. I found a bit of time better used too. My journal is finding more use. My thoughts are my own.
  4. Awareness: There are so many really cool things that are happening all around us. Some of those happenings are online – but more is happening just outside our skin. As young Mr. Bueller reminded us: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Today as I write these words I’m aware of the changing seasons happening just outside our patio doors. Rains have been falling throughout the day, and this past week too. Leaves are changing into their fall colors and beginning to flutter to the ground blanketing the area in golden hues. 
  5. Generosity: Specifically, generous with time. Time is the one commodity we all measure the same. Each moment, minute, hour, day, week, month, year. Our lifetimes are filled with moments in time. None of us know how much time we will be given, but we all chose how we will focus during our time. In this mini experiment I’ve found my focus begin to change from simply consuming my time toward a desire to use my time more effectively. Especially focused on the use of my wasted time, those throw away moments when I often check-in with my social channels and notifications. I want to become more generous with my time. I want to give more of my time and attention to creative pursuits, toward activities that can be of value to others in meaningful ways.

What do you think about completing your own experience with Radio Silence? Would you benefit to focus on listening for a while? What changes could you make, or have you made, to be intentionally observant or carefully curating what you promote?
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For My Friends

Friendship is not supposed to be transactional. If my like for you is based on your like of me, then our relationship is more symbiotic than friendly. Symbiotic relationships are great for business but make for lousy friendships. Eventually a symbiotic friendship becomes one-sided, or parasitic. The health of the host is jeopardized eventually and detachment is necessary for restoration of health to occur. In transactional friendship or relationship there's harmony only so long as there's balance of give-and-take, give to get is the rule and constant score is kept. Friendship that grows and gives life is based on love that chooses to give without condition. Ancient Greece had a name for this love - agape. It's a relational choice I make to show kindness and love no matter what. I'm your friend not because it helps me but because I hope to benefit you. I choose to give without expectation of any sort of return. I choose to live in service to others because I want to live and love like Jesus loved me. My hope is to be your friend so that someday I can be of benefit to you. To live as a source of encouragement, hope, and support, ongoing and without fail. I hope to never hurt or confused agape, unconditional, love with transaction-based relationship. I want to give until I'm utterly spent with Jesus' love!


Faith Frames Our Focus

The other day while listening to Steven Furtick share a message titled, "The Frame Game," I heard him say something that's really stuck with me. 

"Faith doesn't guarantee your results. Faith frames your environment."

Faith is our filter and our crop. Faith is where we focus. Faith is how we choose to see our world!

When we see our lives through faith in Jesus we can know we are ultimately victorious. I don't mean victorious in a "We're going to Disneyland" sort of way. I mean victorious in how we approach life in the ups and the downs. Faith sees opportunities where fear sees obstacles. Faith says I can withstand any storm that comes while fear runs to hide. Faith sees God's plan at work when fear only sees chaos and upheaval. 

Let's choose faith! Let's look to what God says about us in our day-to-day challenges, wins, and losses. Let's trust God's Word rather than the latest bad report. Let's grab onto the good Jesus did for us and refuse to hold on to the bad our enemy planned for us. 

Here's a link to The Frame Game for you too! https://youtu.be/owyXEZUMoms


Build Bridges Over Walls

“Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to GOD than religious performance.

The wicked get buried alive by their loot because they refuse to use it to help others.

Do your best, prepare for the worst— then trust GOD to bring victory.”
Proverbs 21:3, 7, 31 MSG

Why these verses today?

"Justice with our neighbors"

As I considered that phrase, I was reminded of so much current national hostility toward those from other nations. There seems to be a groundswell of people, many media sensationalized, who believe we must close ourselves off from our global neighbors. The rhetoric says that we must protect our own and stop giving place to others in need, all veiled in a dust cover of safety and financial prudence.

We get into trouble when our lives become about protecting our ASSets. Our wealth becomes our prison. We're buried alive in our gilded coffins. Fear based living causes us to obstruct our view and hem ourselves in by building walls, rather than creating visionary bridges built with faith.

We fall into our enemy's traps when we live in fear of others plans, instead of by faith in God's plans for us. It's a much better place to live when we trust God to bring the victory!



"One of the best questions you can ask when something negative happens is this:

What does this experience make possible?

Do you see the shift? Suddenly, your attention moves from the past—which you can't do a thing about—to the future."

[Above from "Living Forward" by Hyatt & Harkavy, page 39]

I read this bit in chapter two last night and it's stuck in my head yet this morning. So often I've asked why something happens, and I find it's easy to get stuck in why-mode. 

I'm learning to ask, "What's next?" I want to grow to ask, "What's possible?"

Possibility is a seed of hope.

Possibility is a flicker of light in a pit of darkness.

Possibility is the first bit of dawn creeping over the horizon after a cold, dark, miserable night. 

When everything's fallen apart and it feels like you'll never be whole again, maybe ask yourself, "What does this (really awful hard circumstance) make possible?" Allow the answer to be a catalyst of hope in the midst of your storm.

Blessings today and always! –M

(I received a pre-release copy of "Living Forward" in exchange for my review of the book. I think you'd like it if you like resources for self-improvement. You'd especially like it if you're apt to goal-setting! And you may find it very useful if you've struggled, like me, with going beyond setting goals and actually implementing steps toward completion. 

I've only read the first couple chapters but so far, so good! Get your own copy pre-ordered now at www.LivingForwardBook.com - order before the end of February for special pre-release bonuses too. Last I checked the book was selling for less than $15, plus over $350 in bonuses! Not bad for such a helpful resource!)


Day One

“First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.

God spoke: “Light!” And light appeared. God saw that light was good and separated light from dark. God named the light Day, he named the dark Night. It was evening, it was morning— Day One.”
Genesis 1:1-5 MSG

When we feel that bottomless emptiness it's so real. It's so alone like we are the last person on earth, unknown, unloved, unwanted, almost unreal except we know the real pain and heartache we're feeling! In that moment, when we are sucked to the depths of hardship, God is there. He is "brooding like a bird" over us - He is incubating us!

I had to look up brooding! (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_incubation) Imagine that God has us in his nest of creation, protecting, keeping, waiting with us for our time to break out of the chaos. It's dark in that place. It's uncomfortable and messy. We feel alone. We have to fight to break free. But the light is coming!

Day one is here!


My friend Steve (www.stevewiens.com) wrote a great book, Beginnings, that released January 1st. Get yourself a copy wherever you like to get your books!

In Beginnings Steve takes us through some of the great, hard, wonderful, powerful moments we all may face as we begin and transition through this life. Beginnings are moments of Creation in our life. We can partner with the original Creator, God, in this process and allow him to mold our beginnings into wonderful details in our personal story. 

Live your life with Jesus. We are in it together!


Let It Go

“Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of- GOD. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!”
Proverbs 31:30-31 MSG

Proverbs 31: I'm not qualified to discuss this chapter of Proverbs. Nothing I could write would bear weight. I simply can't stand in the shoes of today's women and understand the various demands of time, energy, or emotion on their lives.

I read this chapter and think, "sounds like a tough standard to meet!" If I imagine my wife, or most other women, reading this I may have a different opinion. Then I may think, "Lemuel was a sexist pig and this chapter is complete BS! Cooking, cleaning, sewing, selling, working from dawn to dark while the hubby sits on the street corner waxing philosophically with the other lazy bones‽ Thanks...no...Hell To The No!"

So, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to say today, let each other off the hook. Don't look at this chapter as the standard for womanhood. Don't compare yourself to this list, in the same way airbrushed, photoshopped, fantasies shown in magazines aren't the standard for beauty.

Instead, be uniquely you. Instead, men and women, live in the Fear-of-God. Live constantly leaning on God's word for you, and the promises he's given. The person, woman or man, to be admired is the one living completely dependent on God, completely given to his plan and purpose. Allow his plan to work itself out in your life. Be whole and complete in him. Let go of any other standard—they're all impossible!

Be confident in who God created you to be today! Be who you are in Him! Live freely before him. All the rest is performance, and perfect performance is not our objective. Perfect trust in God is—and we miss the mark there all the time too! Don't give up! Live full-hearted! Live free!

Blessings to you, today and always! –M

[Thanks to all who've followed along through Proverbs this past month. I hope 2016 is off to a good start. For many I know it's a rough go already. Hugs and prayers to you in this season. Keep moving forward! Hillsong's "Broken Vessels" 👌]


Sparse Prayer

“And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things before I die; don’t refuse me— Banish lies from my lips and liars from my presence. Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little. If I’m too full, I might get independent, saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’ If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God.””
Proverbs 30:7-9 MSG

Keep me from lying and give me only enough to be satisfied.

It's a sparse request and I find it admirable and worthy of high esteem. So often my prayers are filled with excessive cares, selfish desire, and hope for personal glory. I see in this simple prayer a powerful conviction to live within the bounds of my actual life without longing for more or less than what God provides me.

Keep me from lying - to myself, to others. Keep me honest about who I am in God's eyes - more than a conqueror, worthy, loved, redeemed. Keep me honest in my portrayal of myself before others - flawed, becoming, loving, hopeful. Keep me from the presence of liars so that I don't become like them.

Give me enough to be satisfied, yet faithful. It's so easy to want too much! And to believe that we are capable of handling excess responsibly. So often it's not the case. So often we handle excess destructively. And lack, we run from lack. In lack we worry and fret and forget who God is. We forget all the times he provided, and that he will provide again!

Today as you live your actual life, be honest and satisfied. Follow Jesus into the shadows and allow him to illuminate the darkness. Trust him to keep you safe and whole!

Blessings to you, today and always! –M



“The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.”
Proverbs 29:25 MSG

Trusting in God protects you from that.

Strong words today! The fear of what others might think of us is said to disable us. We're considered unable to fully function when we're afraid of others' opinion. Fear can paralyze.

So what's the alternative? Is it self-confidence? Do we become bold, brazen, and self-interested? Do we operate with no consideration for the impact we have on others?

No, I don't think so. The way we counter fear of others opinion is to be confident in God. We trust God. We choose to believe what he said about us in his word and through Jesus. We lean on the promises we were given in scripture. Trusting in God protects us from fear of man.

Where does fear of man pop up in your life? What areas of life do you feel paralyzed to go through? How could you allow Jesus to enter that space today?

You and Jesus are enough. Hold tight to his promises to you. Lean into his love for you. Pray. Love. Laugh. Be free. Be confident in Jesus' love and life in you.

Blessings to you, today and always! –M



“When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it— But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out.”
Proverbs 28:2 MSG

Our world is full of chaos. I pray for our leaders to have true understanding in the midst of it all. As we go through this next year, hear the speeches, and cast our ballots, I pray we are all led by God rather than fear or self-interests.

As you live today, be prayerful for our leaders, current and future. Lift them up in word and deed. Remember they are on your team. We are in it together. Let's live united in strength, not divided in fear.

Be at peace. Live boldly. Love without conditions. Pray continually.

Blessings to you, today and always! –M


Stay Sharp!

“You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17 MSG

Who are you sharpening? Who is sharpening you?

I'm thankful for the many friends who sharpen me in this life. I need ya! In my case I'm doubly blessed because most of my best friends are also my family. We love and support one another, and occasionally keep each other sharp too.

What does it mean to sharpen one another? Some may say it's correcting and pointing out the flaws of another. Perhaps, but I'd like to offer another view.

When the steel of a blade is dull, it's often due to use. Tiny bits of wear and tear cause the edge of a blade to roll over just slightly and build into a burr. Instead of a keen, straight, sharp blade the metal is rounded and blunt or dull.

It takes care to correctly sharpen a dull edge. The blade is worked against a sharpening stone with concern, slowly returning the rolled burr to its original shape. When steel is used to sharpen steel it's done so to repair and make useful that dull blade.

I think we can be like that too. I think we can sharpen our friends when they're worn and dull. I think we can be sharpened by our friends when we're worn and dull too.

Be an encourager to your friends today! Help them to be sharp! Help them to be whole again! Fill them up with kindness and joy and peace and love. Sharpen them up.

And be sharpened by your friends too! Let them in. Enjoy them! Receive their love and hope and laughs and care. Take pleasure in one another. Love each other well!

Stay sharp!

Blessings to you, today and always! –M


Let It Go

“Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you’ll only look foolish yourself.”
Proverbs 26:4 MSG

What if we applied this verse to life? At home? In our parenting? Politically? Driving down the road? What if we simply stopped responding to the stupidity of fools?

Imagine the peace. Imagine the bliss you might sense if you gave up responding to the fools in your life?

Could it be that simple? Let's give it a shot!

Blessing to you, today and always! –M



“Like a cool drink of water when you’re worn out and weary is a letter from a long-lost friend.”
Proverbs 25:25 MSG

When you're worn out and weary.

Anyone else feel that this morning? That Monday morning momentum moving too slowly to make much difference? That lack of motivation to move at all? No, yeah, me neither!

Today as we consider our to-do lists, our priorities, our stuff; let's also consider who we might encourage. Think about someone you could share a cool drink with. Who comes to mind?

Now drop them a message. Preferably something hand-written, placed in an envelope, and mailed with a stamp! Give the gift of encouragement today. Send a message of love, strength, and support. Be a gift of refreshment!

Blessings to you, today and always! –M


Rescue the Perishing

“Rescue the perishing; don’t hesitate to step in and help. If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,” will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know— Someone not impressed with weak excuses.”
Proverbs 24:11-12 MSG

Rescue the perishing, don't hesitate.

But what if it's dangerous? What if I don't know them? What if I've heard rumors about how awful they are?

Rescue the perishing, don't hesitate.

What if I'm busy? What if I'm broke? What if I don't agree with their lifestyle or beliefs?

Rescue the perishing, don't hesitate.

What if they don't appreciate it? What if they go right back to their demise? What if they hurt me in the process? What if that's none of my business?

Rescue the perishing, don't hesitate.

What if there are no excuses? What if Jesus meant it when he said do for others what you'd want done for you? What if he's watching?

Rescue the perishing, don't hesitate.

It may not be popular. It may not be safe. It may not even be right in some cases. But I'd rather error on the side of love and grace than on the side of fear and apathy any day!

Blessings today and always! –M


Life 101

“Listen with respect to the father who raised you, and when your mother grows old, don’t neglect her. Buy truth—don’t sell it for love or money; buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight. Parents rejoice when their children turn out well; wise children become proud parents. So make your father happy! Make your mother proud!”
Proverbs 23:22-25 MSG

Much of Proverbs is written as a sort of primer passed from parent to child. We are encouraged to read and truly listen, to ingest its principles and become wise. In many ways Proverbs is our Life 101 handbook. Read it. Study it. Remember it. Apply it. Become wise.

When faced with choices as big as whom to marry and as small as what to wear, we can ask ourselves, "What is the wise choice to make?" Given the circumstances, in light of past experience, with a nod toward other's input, what is the wise choice?

If we begin to apply wisdom to the best of our ability, we will begin to move toward a life that turns out well. Make your parents proud! Whomever they are: biological, fictional, mentors, absent, horrible, wonderful, hovering, helping, whatever! Be wise for your sake!

Apply Life 101. Choose wisdom. Be you!

Blessings today & always! –M



“A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.”
Proverbs 22:3 MSG

Don't get clobbered by ducks!

Jesus, give us the wisdom to know what's right and the courage to do what's right, even when it's hard!

I read this prayer from Andy Stanley years ago and hold it in my head and heart. Father, help me to see trouble coming long before it gets here, help me to know what to do, and give me the strength to do it.

Troubles come. Hard times hit. Bad days rise up. Reports are grim. Health is scary. Aging is exhausting. What to do?

We can wring our hands and shake with fear over what's ahead, or we can trust God and lean into the direction of the Holy Spirit as we move forward. There is no guarantee of ease, but we are given peace. They aren't the same thing.

I want to be wise. I want to see trouble coming. I want to live in peace. I want to have the wisdom and courage to take the next right step.

Be prudent today. Take the long view of things. Make choices to be in position where you want to be. In it all, be at peace. Trust God to see you through the valleys. Laugh and praise him in all things. Allow his joy to be your strength.

Blessings today and always! –M



“Sinners are always wanting what they don’t have; the God-loyal are always giving what they do have.”
Proverbs 21:26 MSG

What could I give today? Will I? Will you?

Gifts are cool! I like to give them and receive them. I like the whole experience of gifts...considering the gift, preparing to give it, the exchange from giver to receiver, the reveal, and the long-term memories associated. Gifts can be extremely simple yet wonderfully meaningful!

Of the 5 Love Languages, I tend to top the list with gifts. It seems like the shallowest of the 5 languages (Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, & Physical Touch) the gifts one seems shallow. Oh well, guess that's okay too.

What can I give today? We all have something to give. We just need to see it and give it. It may be a tangible thing, or it may be a dazzling smile to a friend in need. Whatever you have, give it today!

Focus on all you have to give today. See your abundance! Give full hearted and generously!

Blessings today and always! –M


Deep Waters

“Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within.”
Proverbs 20:5 MSG

Deep water. Deep blue. Beautifully dark. Deep water flows in the darkness carrying life to all who draw from it.

As we go into a new day let's draw from the deep waters. Let's drink fully from the place of knowing what is right. Let's make right choices today. Let's choose life and love and laughter. Let's become the real us, the whole us, the us we were created to be.

I feel like I got run over by the Sandman this morning. My body is feeling the wear of cold winter days and long hours at the front of my battle zones. I'm trusting God for life and health and energy and joy. I want to drink from his deep waters today. I want to know what my next right action is and do it. I want to find my rest in his strength. I can endure all things because Jesus strengthens me. 

Blessings to you today. Be strong and courageous. Chin up, shoulders back, and get ready for your battles. Fight to win today. I hope you'll know better today how loved you are. I hope you'll know better today how strong you are. I hope you'll know better today how to step into tomorrow.

Draw from the deep water.

Blessings today and always! –M