Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is it too late?  Can I squeak 'em in?

It's mid-February and I'm only now getting my act together to write some New Years' Resolutions.  

Well, it's not a crime right? Here goes:

1. Open wide my eyes.  
"There's too many problems," "nothing I could do would make a difference anyways," "where do you even begin?" My internal rant of excuses for not opening my eyes to the plight of widows and orphans has been rambling on for long enough.  Oh, 'helping widows and orphans' might sound lofty, and it is, but I've been moved, affected, and shaken up by some things I'm learning around human trafficking, the plight of orphans, abortion, and the cause of impoverished women around the world.  

So what is one to do to become more aware?  What does one do to make a difference?  Well, for me, it's going to start with being intentional.  Once a week, getting informed.  Once a week, making one choice differently, in what I buy, read, or do.  In the novels I choose, in the documentaries I watch, in the birthday presents I buy, in the blog posts I write, in the sermons I listen to, in the passages of the Bible I study, in the conversations I lead, and in the prayers I pray, I want to do one thing, each week, that might help the poorest and most marginalized in the world today.  

Vague?  A little.  Possible?  I think so.  Or at least, this is where I'll start. One thing too is that we're starting to explore adoption and how we can support those adopting or seriously ask if this is in God's future for us.  This is what I was reading about this morning "how can you help."  Excellent read. 

This verse is the verse I really believe God is laying on my heart for this year: 

James 1:19-27 "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."

2. Less technology. 
I took a step back last year and spent less time watching shows online and less time watching movies.  Well, I want to continue in that direction.  Less time on my phone while the kids are awake (not so hard when your phone is currently sitting in a bag of rice on the fridge), less time on facebook, more time in face-to-face relationship building.  

I think, for now, this means only checking e-mail or facebook once a day and unplugging from everything earlier in the evening.  And, of course, texting in the free still moments I have when kids' eyes and hearts are not wide open, waiting for me to listen, focus, and pay attention (aka, they are napping).

The distractions are abundant but I want to teach my kids it's okay to have silence, to just be present with each other, and that they are more important than phone calls and texts.

I was definitely inspired by this sermon about spiritual formation in a digital age (thanks Justine). A few blogs like this and this book: Love Does by Bob Goff (thanks Janet).

Gonna unplug a bit more and be here, now, present in this moment.  Thinkin' about making this a weekly thing like 'tech-free tuesday' and especially continuing to incorporate no tech on sabbath.  Excited to see what this creates room for in my life and soul.

Still exploring, learning, researching about health and nutrition for our family.  Can we afford to go vegan?  Can we afford not to?  Lots to learn but I want to have a better idea of why we choose to eat what we eat by the end of the year.  To have reasons, and be intentional about what we are doing.  Nothing like having bad health by accident.  Part of this is that I want to get better value for my money.  I hate this kind of research but it's more than overdue.  Where should I shop?  For what?  How do I maintain a low budget and yet have healthier choices?  

To make this goal more 'measurable' we've decided to focus some energy and time this month on making 3 small informed changes in reducing our sugar intake, and 3 small changes we could make to cut costs and make more food at home.  Some ideas we were thinking?

No more juice.
Making granola bars at home with natural sweeteners.
Cutting out store bought cereals and finding alternative snacking/breakfast foods.

We're looking for the biggest difference in our health with the smallest changes.  That's why we thought cereal and granola bars might be some 'big bang for buck' options.

4. Write more.  
Wasn't this on my list last year?  Wasn't this just as vague of a goal last year?  Okay, S-M-A-R-T goals, here I come.  I want to write on my blog (gulp) at least two times a week.  I want to write during my quiet times while the kids are asleep.  I want to practice writing poetry again, writing songs, and maybe take another shot at writing more devotional-style writings, kids' books, or something.  Oh, and I want to (yuck) learn better grammar.  Maybe take a writing class?  Attend a writer's conference?  

One thing is for sure: I want to write more often, I want to write better, and I want to take more steps of faith with my writing.  I hope this also means that I will write more thoughtful, authentic blog posts.  I don't want to be a fru-fru writer.  I want to write about the meat (in light of number 3, maybe 'beans?') of life more than the stuff that really doesn't matter.  

The list will go on... but this is enough to think about for now!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


There's nothing quite as delightful as discovering new things or watching your kids discover them:
A favourite trail in the morning light and fog
watching Silas get excited about hiking in the forest
watching Toby explore a sensory box for the first time [for over an hour!]
pillow pile gymnastics
baking soda + coloured vinegar and flour "just to see what happens"
a new recipe that everyone liked [3 bean meatless meatloaf]
and painting in the tub 

How a busy, working mom finds delight in the everyday.  Change.  Exploration. Discovery.  Joy. It's the small things that keep me sane.



[Oops, this discovery was not appreciated.  Doesn't like paint on his legs apparently]

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Why I Hate Cell Phones

I have a love/hate relationship with my cellphone.

Anyone else feel the tension?  Some days I'm not sure the 'conveniences' outweigh the frustrations.  Part of me is a little surprised at my torn affections because shouldn't I be on board with technological advances?  And shouldn't I, well, be used to it by now?

Here's my frustration:

I hate them because...
1. I am endlessly looking for my cell phone.  
It goes from pocket, to purse, to diaper bag, to counter, to car, and I can never ever keep track of it.  Some people just say "put it in your pocket' but us women don't have that luxury.  My pockets aren't big enough to carry such large contraptions.  Poor Jason is always asked to call it so I can find it.  Arg!

2. They are always somewhere else when they are ringing. 
 I am forever sprinting to the far corners of my home to get to the phone in time.  I miss home phones that were in every room.

3. They are always on the 'ring' function when you should have put them to vibrate, and they are always on vibrate function when you wish they had their ringer on.  

[Case in point, when point 1 is involved: you can't find the phone because the ringer's off]

4. They are the cause of many mini-heart-attacks.  
Because they're so expensive, and so darn small I always end up losing it, sitting on it, dropping it, etc. "Where's my phone?! I think I left it somewhere!"  or  Smash! "I dropped it!"  "I spilled something on it!"  [heart palpitation]

5.  I don't memorize information, I store it. 
If the phone gets lost- I'm hooped!  My calendar, my contacts, phone numbers, everything is in there.  I don't even have phone numbers memorized cause most of the time I don't need them.  I had a patient awhile back who was in hospital and his cell phone battery was dead but his charger was at home and he was freaking out.  Why?  Cause he couldn't even call anyone to ask them to bring the charger in because he didn't know anyone's number! Scary.

6. How do you teach a kid to dial 9-11?
It's not as simple anymore.  Now-a-days your kid has to be able to find the phone, turn it on, 'swipe' across or enter a pin, find the 'call' function, and then dial 9-11 and then 'send' before emergency help is on the wall.  No more picking up the phone and dialing.  [This concerns me at night when I'm trying to sleep].  On this topic, in general my greatest fear is being somewhere and needing my phone but not being able to find it or its battery being dead.  [Shudder].

7. Everyone's always on them or distracted by them.
I feel like the temptation to always be plugged in keeps me from the here and now and the person right in front of me.

8. They are a magnet for small, dirty fingers.

9. People are always texting while I'm driving and the temptation to look and answer is always a challenge.  (Maybe I should just turn the phone off while driving?!)

10.  Maps and GPS on a phone is just not as convenient as the paper kind if you ask me.  
Zooming in and out on a 4" screen?  Annoying. Sometimes you just need a map in big form.

But, you know, they are kinda fun....and I love them because...

1. Need to kill time?  
Waiting at a dr's office?  Great!  Get caught up on e-mail! Love that you can check your e-mail anywhere.  No more writing out addresses on sticky notes, just look up the e-mail.  

2. Texting. 
I looooooove this form of communication.  Forget awkward phone calls about menial things.  Thinking of someone?  Want to just say hi?  Want to send a useless but hilarious emoticon?  Done.

3. Taking pictures.  
I love that I can take pictures or videos of the kids everywhere without carting around the Nikon.  So convenient and unintrusive.

4. Which brings me to....instagram.
Love, love, love.

5. It makes me feel safer.  
Somehow I feel like when I have the phone while driving or with the kids, just knowing that I can call someone at any point makes me feel a bit more secure.

6. Last ditch effort to entertain.
When I'm in a crunch and I have nothing at my fingertips to entertain my little men, my phone comes to the rescue.  Games? Flashcards? Photos? Videos? Click!

7. Mini flashlight.

8. Calendar function.  Drool.
I used to be a hard core paper planner junkie.  Jason had to pry my calendar out of my tight fist and I was very slow in converting.  But now?  I love that I can see my schedule on my phone and update it on the fly.

9. Google!
Want to know how far Timbuktu is from Montreal?  Why the sky is blue?  Why you can't find your phone?  Google it!  Anytime, anywhere.

Hmmm.  Guess the verdict is in!  I hate them more than I love them.  Maybe it's time to think about some changes to my lifestyle, habits, or technological gadgets.

What about you?  Love or hate cell phones?
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