Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Feburary: Engage People, Not Screens

"Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 
1 John 3:18

If being quiet didn't kill me in January, limiting screens was going to give it a go in February.  Who's idea was this anyway??

As I thought through this month, it quickly occurred to me that my use of screens is directly related to my addiction to noise.  This is most obvious when I find myself scrolling through my phone as I listen to the person sitting across from me.  I lie to myself (and everyone else) saying I can do it all, but they know better.  They feel my disconnect.  

Not only have my children spoken the words.....

"She's always on her phone"

but I have begun to feel the disconnect myself. 
I cannot ask of them what I am not will to do myself.

It doesn't matter how boring the playground drama or how little I understand of the Star War theories.  My lack of Minecraft knowledge doesn't excuse my distraction.  Little things become the big things.  If I can't stay present for these simple (though tedious) conversations, they won't trust me to handle the big ones.

They need to know that I am present.  They need to see that they matter.  The world may not revolve around them, but they shouldn't have to chase me around mine.  

So I started putting my phone down.  At the bus stop.  In the kitchen.  When they spoke.
 I just listened.  Looking into their sweet faces, I found a place of connection that I had forgotten.  There eyes said they felt it too.  My actions spoke love.  More than my words ever can.

Suddenly, I noticed the quiet from January creeping back,  A muted phone still makes noise, so it seems.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

January : Embrace Quiet

"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him." 
Psalm 62:5

January challenged me to Embrace Quiet.  I'll give you a moment to stifle your laughter.  

Quiet and I don't get along.  My life is not quiet.  My brain is not quiet.  My mouth is certainly not quiet! In college, I avoided the library at all costs.  I studied in the lounge with all the chaos possible.  My grades may or may not have reflected such choices.  

Needless to say, this month tested me. Coming out of Christmas, we enter one of my busiest months at work and two birthdays in our house. I realized quickly that even when my surroundings are finally still, I am anything quiet.  My body can rest, but mind and spirit are always spinning.  Planning, solving, rehashing, digesting.... I don't stop.  Ever.  There are times when the radio is off for most of the day and I drive around completely oblivious.  I can't hear the silence over the noise.

I wish I could say I mastered stillness.  Most days it was just a fleeting attempt.  Deep breaths while I drove,  a quick reciting of this months verse, a choice to limit unnecessary errands or avoid unfruitful conversation.  Even still, I'm going to graciously call it a win.  I still struggle to sit in the silence, but I can say that I found my perspective changed when I gave myself the chance to be still.  When I use the quiet to let God speak, he cuts away the noise that distracts and speaks truth over my lies.  I will most likely forever prefer the noise, but I am learning the value in the quiet.  Beyond that, I was mindful.... and that's something!

Friday, January 13, 2017


I don't do resolutions.  I refuse to diet.  In life, I prefer small changes over radical transformations.   I'm not a dreamer. Lofty goals and challenges feel overwhelming to me.  Maybe I'm a pessimist.  Maybe I'm boring.  It's possible I have no drive.

The truth is I avoid the possibility of disappointment at all costs.

So when I stumbled across Ann Voskamp's New Year, New You Solutions, it caught my attention.  This is manageable.  I can do this.  There is no room for disappointment, just growth.

A few years ago, we were attending a party and my daughter noticed a bag of lime tortilla chips.  Her face lit up and she reminded me how we used to eat those chips while watching Say Yes to the Dress after naptime.  I hadn't thought of those quiet afternoons until then, but the memory came quickly.

With big sister at school and her baby brother sleeping, my sweet redhead would finish her rest time and come sneaking out to join me on the couch.  If I'm being honest, I wasn't always excited to see her.  I often mourned the peace of an hour that went by far too fast.  I selfishly resented those tiny hands taking the last of my favorite snack.  I longed for more of me and less of them.

In all of my life, I have never wanted anything more than to be a mother.  In all of my days, no job has required so much of me.  In any given moment, I have never failed so often.  I have given my sinful, selfish, flawed self this these little people and God covered all of that ugly.  In the midst of my humanness, He gave her a memory of love. And I'm so glad he did!

I am sharing this challenge here to hold myself accountable (and to get my father off my back about not writing).  This year won't be perfect, but, like those afternoons on the couch, I pray our memory will be love.  He can do remarkable things in the midst of our ugly.  All that's required is a willing soul.