When in Need of a Good Grounding

Today, I have been in need of a day that is gentle to and with my soul. I’ve needed a day where I recognize my own brokenness and yet I call myself to courage in God to interact and engage with the things that still need to be done. (Because life doesn’t stop when our emotions swell!) Not much will be accomplished in a tangible way today; but I am learning that what will be accomplished will give me the strength to meet tomorrow with all the things it holds; good or bad, faithful and true or full of lies and destruction.

I needed to be with myself and my God a bit today. I needed to look at the ugly reality of some things that feel as if they are in my way and a hindrance to any kind of forward momentum. I needed to feel my feelings today, lament to God the stuff that wearies and weighs and burdens me and I needed to acknowledge the stuff that really, really, really sucks. So much of life sucks guys.

As I gear up for the second movement of the day, morning has passed and afternoon is coming on thick (i.e. a flurry of activity is on the horizon), I am stopping to reflect and remind myself of what is true before I start to do some tangible things. I am grounding myself in preparation for what is coming in the minutes and hours and days ahead. And it’s good. It’s not perfect. But it’s true and it’s grounding me in the best of ways.

So if you are a Mom in need of being called to good, here are the things that are calling me to be true and soft and gentle and brave and strong-may they call you to be likewise and have courage for things to change (even if that change is only within your own soul).

“You have made us for yourself and we are restless until we find our rest in you.” St. Augustine


“Bold love is the tenacious, irrepressible energy to do good in order to surprise and conquer evil.” Allender


“I can offer to others only what I have experienced.” (looking at Luke 7:41-43) Allender


“The task of growth is to pursue an unflinching honesty about self, world, and God, no matter what the results compel us to face or give up.” Allender


“if you want the real deal, if you want the life and freedom that Jesus offers, then you are going to have to break free of this religious fog in particular. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). So here’s a bottom-line test to expose the Religious Spirit: If it doesn’t bring freedom and it doesn’t bring life, it’s not Christianity. If it doesn’t restore the image of God and rejoice in the heart, it’s not Christianity. ” John Eldredge from Waking the Dead


“Trust in formulas is really dependence upon ourselves to carry out a procedure correctly. But anyone who really understands the grace of the gospel knows that we cannot take personal credit for any spiritual accomplishments. We are totally God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10; Phil 2:13; 1:6) and everything good in our lives is a gift from Him (James 1:17). We can do absolutely nothing by ourselves for which we can take credit (Eph 2:8-9; Gal 6:14; Rom 4:2; 1 Cor 1:28-31; 2 Cor 11:30). Yet many of us lean toward a formulaic mentality, because our fallen natures are drawn toward self-reliance. We want to feel that by our own efforts (works) we have achieved something that will make us acceptable to God – by nature we are legalistic.” Reb Bradley in Homeschool Blindspots


“Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.” Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts


“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”~ Augustine of Hippo



Parenting and Technology

Technology and Moms. I am certain a group of moms could talk for hours on this topic! It’s a common thread when I am with my other friends who are also parents and it is also a thread I interact with on a DAILY basis in our home.

How much is too much?

How can I keep up?

How do I protect my kids?

Generally, most Moms I know hate that their sons especially love video games as much as they do and they work tirelessly to get their kids to do something-anything else! Go outside! Play a sport! Build something! Ride your bike! Talk to a real person who is in the room with you!

I struggle with what the right balance is for our kids. I learned to type on an electronic typewriter people. In high school, I was still passing real paper notes. I’m not even 40! Technology has grown by leaps and bounds in my generation. In fact, we are the generation that has one foot in each world; a world with an abundance of technology and a world we remember with more limited technology. I hope this makes me famous in my kids eyes one day….

On the one hand, I loathe technology because I cannot stay on top of how fast it moves and changes. I figure out one thing only to find out I have figured out a concept that is already 6 years old. I am grateful for my husband and for every computer nerd I know because I need them. Just this week my 8-year old has locked himself out of his iphone (thinking he’d be sly and change his pass code so his brother can’t get into it…and then he forgot it) and my husband cannot figure out how to fix it!

If you are a parent and you take your child to any sort of “boring” place, the DMV, a doctor’s office, parent/teacher conferences and you hand your child a piece of technology, you already know some people will give you seething looks of disapproval. They’ll scoff about how kids don’t need an ipad in front of their face in every down moment of their life.

The trouble is-I TOTALLY agree. But sometimes, I HAVE to accomplish something that is boring, long and tedious-and all my little people have to come with me. I don’t always bring out the technology for every errand. However I do use it occasionally.  I have educational apps on my devices too!

I don’t want to keep my children away from the fast pace that technology moves. They are already surpassing me with their intuitiveness and I believe it is because of the access they have had to technology. (And don’t even get me started on how this is going to cause greater gaps between educated privileged people and those who have poor education and no access to technology!) I want my kids to have these skills because the technology we utilize now will be archaic by the time my kids are in college. And I will need them to teach me how to use it so they will still talk to me. 🙂

All that to say, here is our family’s technology rules so far. Our rules seek to strike a balance between creativity, experiencing boredom and problem solving as well as good old fun indulgence with what they like. And I say this in hopes that it is helpful!

1.) No video games on school nights. M-Th find something else to do with your time. Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday is free play

2.) No video games or television after dinner. Once we’ve eaten dinner, you must find something else to do with your time, unless it’s family movie night.

3) Children in our home will never, ever, ever, ever, ever have a television in their room so long as they live under this roof. Period.

4) 30 minutes of a hand held device free play is allotted daily to each kiddo provided they have done their chores

5) You must ask permission before you add friends, enter a conversation or purchase something on the xbox

6) Mom and Dad will look at every message you send on your phones/hand held devices or in other venues of technology. Just know we are watching you.

So far, these are the only rules we have needed in our home. It has been enough, but I know that all this will change soon. None of our children are allowed on Snap Chat, Instagram or Facebook or any other social media/image sharing app (they are 4, 8 and 11 though). I am always reading and investigating, asking and researching what other parents have done. If you have instituted some amazing boundary in your home that works, won’t you share it here in the comments section?

I hope that we can all share ideas and learn from our failures and successes. I think we all long for our kids to be happy and have fun while learning as they grow not just about technology, but about life and about themselves. Thanks for reading!