Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Screen Psychosis

 I often catch myself sneaking to my computer and getting caught by my kids. You may wonder why I would sneak it...well it has always been a source of guilt where I either have my attentions available to my children and house or  tunnel in on my computer screen.

As much as I remind my children of limited screen time, and complain about their attraction to gadgets and gizmos, I set the poorest example for them.

I see teenagers and adults, texting, browsing the web, or talking on the phone in what used to be physical social settings: restaurants, coffee houses, bars, malls,  kids' sporting events, car rides (yes, this is one of the most social spaces of all if you think about it...you're right next to the person)...I watch t.v. shows where kids are weeping because their phones are taken away, or interviews with celebs where their family members are texting in the background! 

I wonder what weird psychosis we are instilling in our young children, who are constantly whining for an engrossed-in-the-screen parent to pay attention to them?

I only feel capable of saying this because I am the said parent a lot of the time.

So friends, am I the only one?

Am I over sensitive at the impact our anti-physical social (vs. cyber social), self involved, technology dependent society is having on our young minds?

Should it bug me that my 4 year old would be perfectly content going from the wii, to the t.v., to the computer, to the leapster all day long until bed time? Or how about my 8 year old, who diligently saves his money to purchase an ipod touch when he already has an ipod, dsi, and other gadgets run by batteries?

What do ya think?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, Sweet Monday

Our cozy little fireplace...(I took the picture with my laptop! can you see its reflection?)

Ahhh, Monday. Surprisingly, I have looked forward to this day...only because we indulged IMMENSELY in a lazy, lazy, lazy Thanksgiving holiday. Twice I woke up at 11 ish, and stayed in my p.j's for at least two of the 5 days! Did I just admit that??
So, today I am pleased to say, I am showered, dressed, and have already left the house twice before noon. It feels so good to join the land of the living!
Something else that has brightened my spirits, is the fact that my husband and I have efficiently tackled a simplified, condensed Christmas shopping list and are almost completely done! I love getting this part of the holidays over with so I can sit back and enjoy the merriment of Christmas.
Last year, I was not a happy camper. The attitude about winter hooked its icy claws in me, and I allowed it to affect me all winter long. But this year...I am enjoying the warmth inside of our home, no matter how cold and miserable it is outside. I have three excited little boys talking about Jesus' birthday and singing Christmas carols, and a little one growing and STRETCHING out inside me (ugh, my skin hurts). I also have a husband who is providing much security so we can sit in the comfort of this home, with a neat little Christmas present supply, and a bright future.
While some maybe bah-humbugging this Monday, I am sitting back and enjoying it!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

All but two of the dishes have been prepared. My house smells wonderful! I am so hungry all I want to do is eat! But we're having guests tomorrow so I suppose I have to be patient (the boys and I sampled the pumpkin pie already...but hey, I'll just make another one. :) ) Hope you are getting ready to think of all the wonderful things you are grateful for...I am!
Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Last night, God broke me. I know that it's about to happen when I feel suffocated by my handle on situations and I just want to hide. That is my state of mind before God shakes me by the shoulders and says, "Angie, you have forgotten me. And I'm gonna make you remember!"
I had forgotten Him in a way. I was nice and comfortable knowing He was there, knowing I was His, and doing things my way with His way deep in the crevices of my mind. Yep, I was running on Holy Spirit fumes, and watching the abiding meter get dangerously below empty. This is a constant cycle and I don't know why I let myself do it.
But last night, I finally poured my tears to Him and fell asleep asking for Him to guide me again... submitting myself into His hands once more.
Why do we let life get so busy, so complicated, and let our attentions completely turn away from the only One who can guide us through it with peace and grace? It's funny, logically speaking, the first thing to do is turn to Him at the beginning of it, not run full force into the craziness, let it knock us down over and over, and then crawl to the sidelines begging for help...finally.
A lesson I would expect to be effective as a one time thing, but I find myself learning it over and over.
Thank you, Lord, for second chances, and thirds, and fourths, and....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Input for my Output

So, I have a story in my head...I am excited because it's my favorite genre, Historical Fiction. But, the biggest challenge is to get a reader to continue reading after the first couple of paragraphs...Would you want to continue reading?

Spain 1557

      In the dark chamber I wait for word of my husband's death. Praying that it is quick and nothing short of honorable, I clutch his old leather bound Bible upon my lap. With all that has passed, this treasure gave him hope. He knelt at morning and night, with these pages filling his heart and mind. And from those places, it overflowed to me, across our languages, beyond my customs. Its teachings surround me now, my only comfort in the days to come. More comfort than the other treasure upon my chest.
      I lift my empty hand to the medallion and trace the carvings of my blood kin. Intricate, powerful, honored in a different place. But the hope that spilled forth from the blessed word of God, is not found in this medallion. No, this medallion is a cursed heirloom, one I long to thrust from its chain and toss into the wild sea towards the sun's resting place. But it is all that remains, my only reminder of the yesterday that was once all I knew. The time where my blood flowed among royalty, along the river which was the great snake. I cannot part with this piece hanging from my neck, because it is the only piece of me left.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

He Told Us We're Making A Difference

I recently posted about how we were going to teach our kids about selflessness this season. Well, this weekend was our Family Kick Off. And often, during times like these, when I am pouring myself out for others in obedience, I expect nothing in return...no pat on the back from God, no warm fuzzies, because I know that there are a million and one other things I could do to make a difference and once those are done, there would still be more. It's just an expectation for my walk, not a self-satisfying do-gooder motive.
Anyway, shopping with three boys and a dad in a crowded, CROWDED store, is N-O  F-U-N! I was a bit disappointed in the lack of "fun" in our shopping trip to bless others. At one point, I heard myself reprimanding my son, "We are not getting anything for you, so stop asking! This isn't about stuff!" Hmm, Mama's patience was left somewhere in Hawaii.
We shopped and shopped, then assembled our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes this morning...which, actually was pleasant because the boys knew they had bought the gifts for someone else, and there were no toy-lined store shelves coaxing them in our living room. My husband loaded the boys up in the car, and drove to one of the only churches participating in the big OCC drop off week.
They returned shortly though, because the church was locked, even though we were told they would be having a packing party at that time.
Now here is the amazing, God's with us, we're doin' somethin' right part of my story...later that night, I sat down at my laptop to email the coordinator at that church and make sure we were able to still drop the boxes off tomorrow...when the doorbell rings.
After a few seconds, my husband buzzes through the room towards the garage and says, "You won't believe this, but some girls from THAT church are at our door collecting for a food drive. They said they would take our boxes to the church for us!"
WHAT??? First of all, that church is about ten minutes away, it's not like it was in our neighborhood... and second of all, I had told myself, "Oh well, if we can't find a way to ship them, that's okay..." but God didn't let us give up that easily...well, he didn't make us work very hard either, he just brought "Santa" to our doorstep!
Tis a magical season indeed!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Telling Heart Ache

It's cloudy, cold, rainy, and windy today. I'm not really sad about it, since I had to stay home with a sick child anyway. This change in weather puts me in a cozy mood...I long for a family night where we snuggle on the couch, eat homemade pizza, watch a movie, all with a fire in the fireplace. Actually, it has been my plan all day, and we will probably stick to it...the only think that bums me out, is my 8 year old's quick "hi and goodbye" when I came to his school. He and a friend planned a sleepover. Usually, this is fine, and I love saying yes to him, because he absolutely loves to be social.
 But I already miss him! 
The end of the week feels like a time for our family to come together and reconnect...I don't know why, because we've nixed all our evening activities, so we've had plenty of time time together. Maybe it's those apron strings hanging on by a thread?
Whatever it is, I am sure I'll get over it soon.

 Sometimes I think my heart aches like this for the small things, so I'll treasure the time in preparation for the big things.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Shadowy Tongue

Have you ever said something, then look back on it, to realize how absolutely terrible it sounded, resist the urge to call up everyone who heard it and take it back? Ah, the tongue is such a stumbling block in my life!

It's often said to "be careful what you ask for, because God might give it to you." Too many times I have fallen into this narrow-minded boxed up image of God, and cower in fear for something absolutely stupid that I have said...or even thought! If God was that conniving, that unmerciful, then I certainly would be a miserable mess.
So today, I am going to give a shout out to my Grace-filled God...to the all-knowing Father, whose foolishness is wiser than the wisest man, and whose plans could never be completely imagined by the most creative human being. How arrogant of me to think that anything I do outwardly could hide what's truly in my heart to the Lover of my Soul.

I am thankful that I follow a God who does not judge me based on my works, but on my heart alone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To Feed or To Greed

It's easy to question God, or even turn away from him, when you see the suffering in countries like India, Africa, Guatemala. This past Sunday, our pastor pointed out that we produce enough food to feed every living person a 3000 calorie diet! He made a wise suggestion that it's not God's will, but man's own doing. With dictators, leaders, greedy men and greedy countries throughout history, starving children are a normal atrocity in each of our minds, a "think of those people who don't have has much as we do" lesson for our children, something we feel hopeless to help and want to throw money at them when we can. Man's free will is a door to eternal love for the God, but it's also a door of a narrow tunnel, spiraling downward into a pit of selfish deeds that affect millions.
I couldn't help but talk with my kids about it today, when Thanksgiving came up. They hear it all the time (we participate in the mentioned-above lesson at least once a day), but can they really grasp it?
My husband is particularly sensitive to this, and fears that we are raising materialistic, selfish beings, entitled and arrogant.
Our church is amazing at counteracting our greed-driven culture, and always has opportunities to "get your hands dirty" and use some elbow grease to help. One way we are going to participate, is by providing all the essentials of a Thanksgiving dinner for a needy family, using a convenient grocery bag and grocery list the church has handed out.
Something else we as a family are finally going to do is put our kids to work...at the regional food bank! Next Thursday, I pray their little eyes will be open and their hearts will beat wildly in their chests for the thousands of people they will help feed this holiday.
Christmas presents are also going to be downsized at our house this year. We always feel like we have to spend so much, but there's so much more to it than that. And I hope we build a foundation of outward focus for the boys, not of internal satisfaction. One way is that we have always packed shoeboxes full of gifts and necessities for children in other countries through Samaritan's Purse.
Can you make a difference this year in your own children? Check out Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child, or find a local food bank to help stock, box, serve!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Mother's Tether

I came to Panera by myself, with every intent to study the word of God without the distractions of my busy house. The study I am in right now, has not found it's way into my heart as I hoped. I have definitely received nuggets out of it and have even blogged about it before, but either pregnancy ADD or my heart's condition has brought me up to a wall every time I try to push forward in the study. So, I logged into the free wifi, and went to one of my sure-thing websites, Proverbs 31. And yes, God was there waiting.
The first devotional I read was about friendship. It spoke of how "as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another." You know I have been contemplating my friendships these days. And I can only think of a few friendships in my whole life where this verse applies. One being my husband. How often I forget that he is my unconditional best friend. He sharpens me in such a way, that I sometimes struggle with the humility it brings. I pray that I sharpen him too!

But the second devotional...this gave me a word picture which I will never forget, and for that I am forever thankful. The message was about children who go astray as adults, and although I am not "there" right now, the author's words struck such an impression in my mind that I know I have gained much as a parent tonight:

"So go right now and tether your child to God with a lifeline of prayer."

Friends, how awesome it is that we have the power of the Holy Spirit to connect our children to God even when they refuse Him and have their backs turned? My children are at a young age right now, and I feel so privileged to be able to tether them to the God of the universe with prayer, before they even get the chance to stray. The author of the devo says that Jesus did this with Simon Peter and told him that "God has asked to sift him like wheat" but when he was ready to repent, to go and reveal God to his brothers. Jesus focused on Simon's eventual witness to bring glory to God after the trials. He didn't say he would take the trials away from Simon Peter, but that the trials would bring him through to God's plan! God allowed Simon Peter to stretch his tethered rope far from Him, knowing that he would eventually release the tension and come back to the loving hand of God.
Oh that I allow my children to take their own steps knowing that I have tethered them to God in prayer, and that I will give God the room to grow them through the trials!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

President Mom

Sometimes I feel like a politician. Whether it be debating with my 8 year old about why he's in trouble, explaining myself or my ministry to those who in some sort of tizzy or other, or figuring out new "policies" to implement on the homestead that will bring more harmony to all.
Ugh, after a day of campaigning myself and my ideas, I am worn out! I always said I wanted to be a lobbyist, but now, sitting on a beach, writing a book and sipping on a pinacolada, sounds so much more enticing when I retire as President Mom!

Oh....GO VOTE! You have an hour!