Saturday, August 24, 2013

To time machine, or not to time machine, that is the question....

Do you ever sort of wish you could be Amish? Or maybe go back in time 100 years?

Okay, maybe not, because I totally love electricity, but there is something lately that is so appealing about simple. Easy. Predictable. Slower-paced.

Do you feel me?

Life is fast these days. Hard. A little crazy. Exhausting.

And I think a lot of it is because of too many choices.

Think about it. Nothing is simple anymore. If we lived in the olden days, we'd make our own food or pluck it out of the garden or trade it with a neighbor down the street. We'd churn butter, milk cows, pick apples. Then bake, clean up, and do it again for the next meal. Now, I'm to the point where I go to the grocery store and stare at the 45,590 different brands of strawberry jelly and just want to scream "REALLY?"

(Well, I actually did one day, and got a few looks. Then it started a whole conversation exactly like this blog post with a fellow shopper. LOL! Hey, crazy tends to like company. And for the record I bought Smuckers)

How much easier was life then, though, seriously?

Kids played outside, got natural tans, and learned the value of a dollar at a young age. People stayed in shape a lot easier because they worked hard, usually outdoors, and ate wholesome foods. Families stayed together because they worked together, went to church together, prayed together, built their home together, laughed together, needed each other for entertainment and assistance and support, and probably a little because the opportunity to cheat on your spouse wasn't nearly as rampant. Who had time??

There's a LOT of blessings to today's day and age, of course. Medical advancement. Longer life spans. Fun treats. Education opportunities. And technology is a blessing and a curse, based on how we use it. Trust me, I'm not discounting the benefits of society and culture today. We've clearly come a LONG way and I personally adore my hair straightener, air conditioning, and high-speed internet connection  ;)

But I think we could learn a lot from that time period and way of life.

Learn to slow down. Breathe. Appreciate. Work hard, yet not rush. Be productive, yet not obsessive.
Value each other.

What do you think? Can you see yourself living in that time, or even in a modern world Amish environment? Or are you happy with today's pace and loving your curling iron? :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Be Her Friend

Do you know a struggling young woman or a teen mom? Be her friend.

Take her to coffee. Listen as she shares her heart. Encourage her. Point her to where true love is found … in Jesus.

Tell her to pray for her future husband … it’ll help her to think of what she longs for in a new way. My co-written book Praying for Your Future Husband is for young women who’ve done everything right, and those who haven’t. It offers hope despite wrong choices. You can pre- order it before the May release.

If you know a teen mom … help her on her journey. She needs help, hope, encouragement, advice, and a helping hand. Buy her a copy of Life, Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Teen Mom. It’ll speak to her heart from someone who’s be there.

Finally, share your story. We’ve all messed up. God has helped us in numerous ways. Speak to her and tell of His goodness. Remind her that someone loves her more than she can imagine, and then give her a hug and tell her you love her, too.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Unplugging, Part 2

In my last post, I was getting ready for a week at a friends cabin, without Internet of cell phone service. While I planned to enjoy it and make the most of the opportunity to unplug, I must admit that I expected to go through withdrawals. I simply didn't know how to live without e-mail, connecting with friends on Facebook, and talking on the phone. But you know what? I didn't miss it. Not one bit!

Yes, I missed my family and my friends, but I missed the face-to-face time more than the online chatting. I loved the lack of pressure to answer messages right away. I noticed that the day seemed to last longer, and in a good way. My friends and I had wonderful talks about God and how He was working in our lives. We took walks, watched old movies, and laughed; I journaled, finished one book and started another, learned a new card game, and actually sat on the deck for a while doing nothing but stare up at the treetops. The longer I went without tapping my fingers against keys and starring at a screen, the more I started to wonder how I might work some unplugged time into my regular routine.

Now I'm home again, and the computer calls to me, reminding me how much I need to catch up on. Once again, I'm asking myself how I can work the benefits of last week into life at home. Perhaps, I will keep my computer powered off on Sundays, or turn it off at dinner time each night. Whatever I choose, I'm thankful for last week and the gifts I found in going technology free.

When has a time of living differently inspired you to make changes? What good things have come of it?

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Confessions of a Gen X Mom | My Love/Hate Relationship with the Media

When I was a teen (wasn’t that, like, yesterday?) I thought I knew everything—especially what I would and wouldn’t do with my kids. I thought the movies Footloose, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club were cool. Yet when I picked Footloose up at Blockbuster, just for fun, I was shocked by the sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. (OK, I confess I still like the music, but honestly were my standards that non-existent?)

Now that I have kids, of course, I’m even more conservative than my “stuffy” parents ever were. I was allowed to watch Pet Cemetery for goodness sake. Now I nearly have a coronary when a Victoria’s Secret commercial comes on with my kids in the room.

I realize the effects the media can have on young minds because I know how much my mind was influenced growing up the in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I remember every episode of The Cosby Show (and reruns of The Brady Bunch), and often times I related more to that family than my own.

I remember the first video I saw on MTV. And musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Tiffany, and Billy Idol were my, uh, idols.

It’s not that I’m totally against television, music, and the media. I’m addicted to Lost and Alias (still watching them on DVD). And I have to admit I look forward to skimming through People Magazine as I stand in the check-out line at the grocery store. It’s just that I’m not willing to replace a “television family” with my own family connections.

Is it possible to teach my kids values—especially a love for God and family—without moving to a deserted island. Or worse, disconnecting cable forever?

Determine your family’s values before the media determines them for you. According to The Motherhood Study (2005), a comprehensive survey of two thousand women, “Many mothers feel that the values they are trying to instill in their children are the exact opposite of the values of pup culture and the media.”

Understand how kids form their own internal idea of “the type of person I want to be.” “[By the age of 10] kids move from simply accepting and absorbing the attitudes and behaviors of their families to becoming more selective,” say Dr. Rick and Kathy Hicks, authors of Boomers, Xers, and Other Strangers. “They hold on to what seems appropriate, but they are also checking out new ideas, attitudes, and values as they are exposed to them through school, media, community groups, and other influences. They are choosing the values and behavior patterns that appeal to them, and they are creating an internal idea of the kinds of person they want to be.”

Realize that kids want the real deal, which is people connecting in authentic relationships.

Today’s kids are skeptical, yet what they do believe we want to apply to everyday life. They’re realistic, not idealistic. Their faith- and family-life has to be truly lived out, or they don’t buy into it.
We can be the parent. God placed us in a specific generation as children in order for us to become a generation of parents designed to fulfill His chosen purposes. For in the crazy way God works, it’s us who God has been chosen to parent the next generation of powerful men and women of God!

God knows what He’s doing after all—giving us these kids during this time in history. We also must remember He has not left us to do this job alone.

Monday, August 05, 2013

A Week to Unplug

This week, I am getting ready to send my son off to camp for the first time. He is going with a good friend of his and can't wait! While our boys swim, boat, and possibly brave the ropes course, my friend Anne and I get to join our friend Rebecca at her family cabin. Isn't it darling?

While at the cabin, I will brave my own little adventure: a week without Internet access or cell service. When Anne told me that we wouldn't have either, I must say I was thrilled. As much as I love connecting with my friends on Facebook, browsing the web, e-mail, and phones, lately I have felt the pressure to chained to them from morning 'til night. The opportunity to unplug feels like a gift from God. I decided to go for it full-on and leave my laptop at home. Any writing I do will be with pen and paper. (Remember those?) I plan to read, spend time with God, enjoy the speakers that we get to hear from in the evenings, take walks, and just enjoy being with my friends. I can't wait to see what God does during this break from technology!

Would you like to share in my challenge? How about unplugging from devices for a day or even half a day? Or perhaps you have done this lately already? I would love to hear how God uses it to refresh you.