The Day My Cell Phone Died

Well friends, tis true…my cell phone did die; however before any of you rush out and buy me a new one, I should point out that this happened in December and I have since replaced the ol’ girl.  Thus the story begins…

If you’re anything like me you suffer from a terrible case of the “dropsies” when it comes to the safe handling of your device.  On any given day my phone will fall several times (well, not my new one with the blinged out 24K gold case…yeah I’m cool like that…tbh…totally scored it on sale…but still…its genuine folks…stepping up in the world apparently) ANYWAYS….where was I?  Oh, right…dropsies.  So, unfortunately, (or perhaps it was fortunately? I’ll let you decide later) on this particular occasion in which my phone fell…it was only wearing it’s birthday suit…and when it hit the ground…it hit it hard…it’s poor little face was smashed to smithereens.

Was it coincidence that the day it fell was Christmas Eve – Eve (on a Friday of course) and that any shipping would have – not only the regular wait of the weekend – but an additional two days to make up for the fact that Boxing Day was on the Monday and Christmas (which occurred on the weekend) would be observed by businesses on the Tuesday?  I think not.  Was it also co-incidence that when my warranty replacement arrived on the Thursday I would discover that it also had issues and would need to be sent back immediately if I wanted a refund so that I could end my contract and begin a new one?  I think not – again.  So if we factor in New Years….that left me without a phone for the entire duration of Christmas Eve – Eve (I’m making it a thing now if it isn’t already), right through to New Year’s Day….and more than halfway into the first week of January….so in total: 12.5 days without a phone…unheard of in today’s day and age…but quite ridiculous to make a big deal of only 10 short years ago (might be aging myself now…I care not…30’s are the new 20’s as far as I’m concerned…spread the word.)

Anyways, so here’s the power punch…what I learned from my time in the dark ages so to speak: after almost two weeks without access to a phone and very little access to Facebook (computer’s just aren’t as portable) I realized this:

I didn’t miss much.

I know you’re probably looking at me like I have two heads right about now…but it’s 100% true…and this is coming from a girl who carried her phone in her back pocket and checked it regularly…E-mail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest…you name it…I checked it (except Snapchat…I just don’t get it….and likely by the time I did..that ship would have sailed).  Now I will admit that the first few days I experienced withdrawal symptoms, but thank the Lord, I had the busyness of Christmas to keep me preoccupied.  However, as the days passed I began to discover that I had a new-found freedom from my constant addiction…I could come and go as I pleased without the pressure of immediately responding to texts, e-mails, or Facebook comments, likes, tags, and messages…after all I had a wonderful excuse with no phone…I could go to bed on time, without the distraction of a phone by my bedside table, and begin my day without checking what I may have missed during those precious few hours of sleep…I began to look up and discover little things that I would’ve been missing had my phone been present.

I discovered that while I had been so busy trying to “keep up” with my social media life…I had been missing out on real life…with the real people who were closest and most important to me…not in huge obvious ways…but in the little things; the cues and clues that we take for granted in daily life.

Sound too good to be true?  T’wasn’t.  But here’s the thing: I knew that my day’s were numbered with this new-found love affair and that when the shiny new device arrived, the lure back into that crazy world would be waiting to pounce on me like a Cheetah would her prey (picture that…it would be exactly like that).  So what did I do about it?  Well, I made some very key decisions there and then; simple and small, but key to keeping this change.  For starters, I decided to purge my personal Instagram account (as that was what could devour most of my time)…I asked myself why I was following so many people whom I only knew of from a distance…musicians, actors, artists…and if the only reason was because I was curious about their personalities and lives…than I deemed that as inadequate and unnecessary time baggage for my screen life…and gave them the axe.  I also changed the amount of notifications I received from various groups and pages on Facebook, and when my new phone did arrive, I chose to keep apps with several notifications (you know – that little number bubble that pops up in the corner to say how many actions have happened since you last checked) off of my home screens so that the temptation was at bay.  I limited my amount of downloaded games, and lastly decided to keep my phone on the counter rather than in my pockets when at home.  In addition to changes involving the amount of time on my phone, I also decided that instead of always reaching for my phone to entertain me…this year I wanted to begin a new habit of reaching for a book…not a Kobo (which I don’t actually own), or any other electronic device…but a real book with real pages.  I also decided to return to an art form that had been pushed to the back burner…keeping a journal…not to write in every day so it becomes just another chore…but a place where I can find inspiration leap off of my pen and onto the pages at will…and I decided to dig out my beloved coloring book and use that as another way to find creative inspiration. 

It’s been about three weeks now since I’ve re-entered the world of cell phones and I’m happy to say that the boundaries I have set in place are definitely helping…although the temptation is still there to keep scrolling until I’ve caught up on everything that happened since I last checked my phone…I’m way more mindful of how easy it is to get sucked back into that place where it becomes an addiction…and when I begin feeling that pull I know it’s time to just put the phone down.  And hey!  I’ve even had more enlightenment since returning to phone land….brace yourself because this may hit home…but Pinterest…that page we all know and love to get “inspiration” from…well…I realized that unless I’m purposefully looking for something on there, it actually does the opposite of inspire me…it entertains, and gift wraps the ideas and inspiration so that instead of looking at the real world for relevant, genuine inspiration, I’m only regurgitating the inspiration of another.  Now that’s not to say that I’ve eliminated it completely from my life…but it’s definitely no longer my main source of inspiration.

Less screen time = heightened awareness, leading to meaningful connection & genuine inspiration. Click To Tweet

Maybe you’re not quite ready to turn back the dial on your screen time…but I’d like to challenge you to put at least one limitation in place…for a week…and see what you discover about yourself, and those around you in that time.  You may discover that you like it.  While technology is a wonderful thing, it’s important to remember that as it continues to advance and we continue to keep up…the real world moves at an even faster pace and if we don’t look up soon…we’ll miss it….and I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather miss the screen world than the real world.

 

 

 

PS: I’d love to hear some feedback about your similar experiences!  And if you take me up on my offer, please check back in and share with me how it went!

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When the Real World Hits Home

Please excuse me friends, but I’m having a moment here.  You see tonight I encountered the reality of the harsh world that we live in within the four walls of my home.  Tonight consisted of a very heartbreaking conversation that had to take place with one of my young children about an image that had popped up on the iPad at school during a very innocent search for a related assignment.

Up until this point my children hadn’t really needed any “talks” but tonight, at an age far too ripe for any child, issues had to be discussed that I hoped could have been avoided until they were …. well …forever…or at least 10!  Naive? Maybe – but you carry someone for 9 months, then endure unbearable pain to deliver that person, bring them home knowing that their complete survival is dependent on you, and teach them everything from smiling to walking to riding a bike, not to mention all of the bedtime rituals of hugs, kisses, stories, prayers, more hugs, more kisses, midnight wake-ups and endless nights of rocking chairs, lullaby’s, prayer’s, and tears from both parties…and then tell me that I don’t have a right to feel that way!  But I digress.

It wasn’t the big life talk…we haven’t even made it there yet….but this…tonight…it make’s me angry.  I know, I know…you’re sick of all of the anger going on in the world with world leaders, and policies, and the list goes on and on and on….and yeah…I agree that we need more love in this hate-filled world…but right now I’m angry.  I’m angry that in this sex-driven world in which we live a young child can go on an iPad for a school project and find indecency…I’m angry that what was once private has now become something for public consumption…I’m angry that I can’t go into a grocery store in the checkout line without having to flip magazine covers or avert my eyes…I’m angry that I can’t go on Netflix without having to scroll past disgusting images to get to the shows I want to watch…I’m angry that my children come home asking what “sexy” means because they’ve heard it in school by other children who likely are just as clueless but know enough from the images that are plastered everywhere that it’s now something to be equated with power.  But most of all, I’m angry that the innocence of our children, of my children, is being stolen at every corner and it’s all happening right under our noses.

So what do we do about it?  How do we shield them?  How do we protect these one’s that we have raised with, quite literally, our blood, sweat and tears, from the lust-driven world around them that wait’s to entice them at every turn?  Honestly, right now I’m afraid that neither one of us will like that answer…but if we allow that answer to drive us to fear, we’ll either shame or isolate them and neither of those options are realistic or beneficial.

I don’t pretend for one minute to have all of the answers…as I’m sure you know…parenting manuals are never one-size-fits-all, but what I can tell you is this; open communication and valuing the relationship over the issue will create a safe atmosphere for your child, and in a world of unsafe things bombarding them, they need to know that you are safe.  I definitely have my flaws, but right now despite the heartbreak, I can say that I am so sooo thankful that my child felt safe enough to willingly tell me what they saw without any prompting or foreknowledge on my part so that the door could be opened to have a healthy discussion without shame, anger, or fear.

In a world of unsafe things bombarding your children they need to know that you are safe. Click To Tweet

Maybe for you your children have already crossed this hurdle, and forgive me, as I have no experience raising teenagers or adults, but I’d like to challenge you with the same thing…regardless of what struggle your child is facing…keep the lines open by creating a safe atmosphere where they can come to you and know that you will always value the relationship you have over the issues they are facing.  It may not have immediate results, especially if you have a different history with your child as of now, but keep with it…eventually trust will be restored…and when that happens…your opinions will be invaluable to them.

As far as practical resources, for approaching the subject of internet safety and what to do when our children see inappropriate images, I would highly recommend the book “Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids” by Kristen A. Jenson M.A. and Gail A. Poyner Ph.D.  It covers this topic from a very scientific point of view looking at how the brain is divided into the thinking and feeling side and how those side’s both work, as well as providing a simple, graphic-free definition of what pornography is, why it’s dangerous (covering addiction and why addiction is harmful), and most importantly, how to reject it.  Straight up guys, I’m (sadly) not receiving any reimbursements for endorsing this book and I wasn’t coerced by anyone into writing anything – I’m just a mama trying to help other mama’s in any way that I can. 😉 And if you don’t need this resource yet, I’d still consider getting it in advance…I bought it around June and it was gathering dust until tonight when I was so thankful to be able to pull it out for our conversation.  (And don’t worry..it’s written from the point of view of a child having a conversation with his mom so it leave’s out much of the gooey cheesiness that other books in this genre tend to ooze of).

So anyways, I guess the light at the end of the tunnel in all of this is that sometimes life sucks…(ha ha…that wasn’t it…wait …for….it…) but you know, after the tears subsided and my mom anger melted away (as I got partway through my blog post…and yes there will be follow-up…not pointing of the finger and blame since I trust and am very grateful for our teacher’s and school…but definitely a working together to continually improve in this ongoing battle) I realized something that brought much comfort to my heart….and that is this: my child trusts me.  It’s a scary world out there guys, but when we’ve invested into the little people in our lives and demonstrated that we’re not going to freak out when they spill the milk everywhere but instead teach them to wipe up their mess with hugs and reassurance to carry on (and sometimes that means leading by example when we spill the milk!)…they’ll trust us with the bigger spills that happen…because they know that above all…we love them…and that relationship is more important than the bumps, spills, and messes that come their way…it’s a safe place in a not-so-safe world.  And after all, isn’t that what we really want for them?  Not to be so sheltered that any ripple in life rocks them…but to empower them to make those good decisions with room to grow, knowing that when mistakes are made – we’re always in their corner to toss them the towel with one hand and help them up with the other.

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Editor’s Note: This post was written at an earlier time and I’m pleased to report that my child continues to quickly point out signs of immodesty on magazines or TV ads as they appear.  I couldn’t be more proud!

 

Thank you to Astrid Mueller at astridmueller.com for the pretty Free Watercolor brush stroke shown above! Be sure to check out her lovely site.

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When Light Breaks Through

So I was going to make this blog post rather short and sweet as a simple “Merry Christmas from my Family to Yours” – type post, but as I was reflecting upon a few verses that we tend to hear around Christmas time it began to stir up something within me that I just had to get out…so here it is…after all…what would a simple “Merry Christmas” post be from me without leaving you with some form of encouragement…so consider this my gift to you. 😉

So I was thinking about this verse here:

“…there the people who sat in darkness have seen a great Light; they sat in the land of death, and the Light broke through upon them.” ~ Matthew 4:15-16

and this one:

“I have come as a Light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer wander in the darkness.” ~ John 12:46

These verses were referring to the birth and arrival of Jesus on the scene as a wee babe.  And here’s what I was thinking about…the Light of Christmas…which is Christ…but…I was thinking about the relevancy of that in our lives.  How many times do we find ourselves wandering around in darkness, stumbling and searching for answers, for light, for hope, yet we neglect to turn to the One Person who is Light and who came to end our aimless wandering?  The answer, would be far too often.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the darkness that is prevalent in our society…just take one look at the media…at the heartbreaking atrocities taking place right now in Syria…it would seem that the darkness is winning.

Perhaps in your personal life, or the lives of those you love you can see nothing but darkness…what about in your own heart…when you look within yourself….sometimes…speaking for myself at least…it can feel as though there’s nothing good within my heart…selfishness, arrogance, pride, judgement, jealousy…the darkness can creep in so slowly until it feels as though it’s swallowing me whole.  And when that happens when we get to that point…what do we do?  What do I do?  Well…we hide….we hide our situations, our problems, our issues…we turn a blind eye to the darkness we see on a large scale…because really…we’re ashamed…and looking at that kind of darkness isn’t something that brings us warm fuzzy feelings…we don’t like to admit the truth…maybe because it’s inconvenient, maybe because it hurts…but I think mostly because we’re afraid…we’re afraid of what might happen if we bring it into the light…we’re afraid of rejection, of being a disappointment, of not measuring up, of the responsibility that will be expected of us.

There is good news though, and here it is:

“His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it.”~ John 1:5

You see, no matter how deep the darkness, the bottom line is that darkness never extinguishes light…no, rather it is the light that extinguishes the dark.  So what does this mean to us?  Here it is friends: If the very purpose of the Light of Christ coming to the earth was to end our wandering in the dark…that tells me that He’s not afraid of the dark.  He’s not afraid of the darkness around us or the darkness within us…He’s not afraid of the dark, ugly spots on our souls…He’s not afraid of the mess that we can find ourselves in, of the mess that our family might be in…of the mess that our world is in.  In fact…His purpose has never changed…He still comes to us today to end our wandering, to light our path, and to bring us hope for newness.

The Light of Christ came for darkness, which means He's not afraid of the dark. Click To Tweet

So be encouraged today, that though it may look and feel as though the darkness is winning…the truth is that it never will have the final word…it will never extinguish the light…and although it may seem like the night is long…in this world, in your family, in your life, in your heart…the truth…is that the night will end and a new day will dawn….and the Light will break through upon us once again. My challenge to you this Christmas, and for this New Year…is to step into it…though your darkness may tremble at the Light, the Light of Christ never trembles at your darkness…rather it runs full force…searching out the darkness…to envelope it in love, in light, in hope, and in life.

May the Light of Christ be yours this season and always.  Merry Christmas & All the Best for the New Year, from my Family to Yours.

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When Christmas Doesn’t Feel like Christmas

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Well Friends, it’s finally here…the most wonderful time of the year…I’ve been waiting and ready for it in my heart since the last week of October…patiently restraining myself as the anticipation built, and exercising moderate self-control as the deals began rolling in.  And now it’s here…it’s finally here…(well December…and as far as I’m concerned…that means Christmas with a booked-solid calendar and endless eating affairs)…the stocking’s are hung, the gifts are in hiding (for the most part), I fear my husband is already border-line sick of my Christmas playlist, and the tree adorned with lights and balls, shining in all her glory.  So why, I’m asking myself, am I left with this empty feeling of “blah” in the pit of my soul?

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Lest We Forget – The Way of Love

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Well friends, I had something entirely different planned and written for today, but in light of recent events and the ridiculous amount of hatred floating around, I felt it was necessary to stop and reflect on Remembrance Day – lest we forget.

As I was reflecting on Remembrance Day this week, the scripture in John 15:13 came to mind, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  As I think about the character traits of the men and women who have served this Great Nation both in the past and still today, love is usually not at the forefront of my mind.  Courage, sacrifice, honor, respect, dignity – all of these readily fill my thoughts, but love…not so much.

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What Can’t Be Found on Google

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Guys, this question may seem ridiculous, but I’m going to ask it anyways.  Have you ever been in a situation where there was literally nothing you could do to fix it?  (If you answer no to that then please feel free to contact me and solve all of my problems)  Well, that’s where I found myself over the last few weeks/month.

Remember back at Thanksgiving when I mentioned about our little health dilemma?  If you’re out of the loop, long story short, one of my beautiful, happy, healthy kids happened to pick up a not-so-beautiful, not-so-happy little “friend” from the cesspool of germs that we like to call “school”.  Honestly guys, before having children I thought the worst possible things for kids to bring home were head lice (and, thank you Jesus we haven’t had to deal with that one…yet…or hopefully ever), and puking…and while I’d rather go through labor again than have to clean up from either of those messes…believe it or not, there are others out there that are just as bad.

So, all of that to say, that it was one of those types of things that required thorough cleaning on an every-other-day basis of floors, bedding, towels, and clothing for two weeks, along with the proper medication for all of course.  I should mention before I send all of the parents out there into panic-mode that this wasn’t anything serious to our health by any means…rather one that was a huge nuisance and treatable.  Anyways, after following the proper two-week course of action, and a second dosage of follow-up treatment to take care of anything that was missed the first time, (followed by 2 more weeks of strict cleaning – just to be safe), I found myself last week feeling very paranoid, and anxiety ridden, wondering if this was finally behind us (after nearly a month), or if I should still be concerned and go for a third treatment for everyone (even though all symptoms were pointing to “no”…even after a call to Telehealth)

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