Burnt Apple Pies- Life is not Perfect, enjoy the sweetness

My favorite holiday has always been Thanksgiving. If that is because it falls near to my birthday or because we spent the time with family and food I am not sure, maybe it is my favorite for both these reasons. My memories are flooded with delicious pies and dry turkey, playing a good game of spoons or cards with my cousins, and as I grew older visiting with family and friends on this beautiful fall holiday. My favorite contribution to this holiday event filled with people, food, and fun was baking pies, and when we hosted, setting an extra fancy table.

A couple of years ago my in-laws were visiting for Thanksgiving, we also invited another young family and their set of parents to join us, resulting in enough people to cook up a real feast! We had not hosted a Thanksgiving meal since college and I was looking forward to making this occasion – beautiful, delicious, and memorable. When lining up the menu I chose one of my recent favorite pie dishes, Hand-Spiced Apple Pies. While this recipe took extra work, making each hand pie individually, it was worth the effort. When these little pies emerge from the oven the result is a sweet, flaky, melt in your mouth pie – that you do not have to share.

As Thanksgiving day approached I planned, prepared, cleaned, decorated, and made lists. As I began the mixing the crumbly pie crust for my hand pies I looked forward to feasting. I mixed, cut in butter, folded, rolled the crust, measured, spiced, and cooked apples, and shaped beautiful little hand pies. I then sat down to enjoy some time with our visiting family. Laughing and enjoying their presence, I all of a sudden hopped up and yelled “the pies”. I ran to the oven, a little late. The pies were crispy brown, not quite black. My work wasted and hope of an amazing dessert deflated.

The 4 of us stood there surveying the damage and decided the best thing to do is cut up a pie and give it a test try – always the best practice – eat all that sugary evidence of failure. The pies were edible, not perfect, but still enjoyable. I plated the pies and served them after the Thanksgiving feast with many apologies.

Even with the burnt apple pies we still had a fabulous time, full of fun feasting and enjoyable company. Filled with laughter and memories. The pies did not ruin the season or the day, they were just one fun part that has turned into a beautiful memory of 4 adults devouring burnt apple pies hot out of the oven.

So, enjoy life, friends, relationships, and Apple Pies, even when it is not perfect.

 

Embracing Loneliness

Today I was lonely.

As school drew to a close this last spring I looked forward to summer, to the unscheduled days of fun and connection with my children. I looked forward to the days of rest and rejuvenation. I did not think about that feeling of loneliness that creeps in like a shadow when life is still.

Fighting Loneliness

When loneliness starts to invade my soul, my first instinct is to fight it. I actively stay busy, scheduling play dates, making longer to-do lists, and finding new ways to spend my time.  In all my busyness, I neglect the rest and real connection I desperately need. Instead of giving into the loneliness, embracing it and using it to my advantage, I fight it, scared that it would overtake me and lead to depression and sadness. Fighting loneliness does not protect me, instead, it steals the opportunity to be present today.

Embracing Loneliness

As I read my Beth Moore Bible study, she pointed out that Isaiah’s hero, King Uzziah, had been taken from him through death. Beth had an interesting thought, what if God removes heroes from our life so that we looked to him instead of the hero? This thought really hit me. I often feel lonely or homesick so far from family, and more than once I have had to leave a truly dear and close friend. What if in my time of loneliness and absence from these people I turned to God? What if I embraced my season in life? What if I embraced the loneliness, the extra time I have, and the people who are with me?

What if I used the lonely times to throw a ball with my children, even if it’s not exciting, or read a chapter in a book, or try out a new recipe, or teach my children a skill? What if I embraced where I was and cherished it, finding rest and connection, instead of trying to fill the void and fight the lonely feeling with busyness? Maybe then I could truly find the rest that God intends, I could build stronger connections with my children, family, and those people God has placed in my life today. Instead of trying to be busy, I want to be present.

Seeking Happiness – My Struggle with Consumerism

It seems like a common goal in the lives of Americans is to be happy. Our culture has led us to believe that this happiness comes from stuff. Buying stuff, having stuff, enjoying stuff. The joy of new things and stuff is indeed one of my struggles. I look forward to new clothes, more craft supplies, more books, educational supplies for the kids, cleaning tools, dog toys, and this may sound crazy, but I love having new food to make new creations in the kitchen. These all may sound like normal healthy spending habits, but when seeking this “stuff” becomes an obsession or distracts me form my real purpose in life, then I need to focus on redirecting my energy.

My Struggle

Every day, everywhere I look I am greeted with consumerism- and it sucks me in. I see it on Facebook, I look for it on Amazon, I walk past it in the store. When I meet with my friends they talk about books, kitchen gadgets, food (that is crazy expensive–for no good reason), I see their cute clothes and cannot help but want to buy something new. Before I know it I am home wasting hours of my life looking at dresses online, or I am setting up deal alerts for new shoes so I can be comfy and cute while I hike.

I cannot hide from consumerism. Our culture is so immersed in consumerism, our economy runs and thrives on consumerism. We work day after day earning a pay check just to spend it again and again. If I want to focus on my true purpose in life, the purpose Christ has given me, if I want to have contentment and be okay with less, then I have to have help. Help from Christ, who alone can give strength, love, contentment, peace, and joy.

Real Happiness

God did not intend for me to seek “happiness”, let alone to seek “stuff”. He intended me for relationship, relationship with Him and with others. The world has so often distracted me from my purpose here. Instead of focusing on loving others, on sharing the peace and contentment Christ has to offer, instead of spending time loving and growing in Christ, I rush around busy to “get ahead”. I spend my time working hard to have a perfect house, yard, and life, working to save money so I can spend it again. Real happiness and joy does not come from stuff, or “being ahead”, instead it comes form those laughs shared with friends, that time spent in prayer, those moments of joy watching my children laugh, learn, and grow. Instead of looking for the best deal on dresses or books, I want to spend my time loving and teaching my children, sharing stories and helping my friends and neighbors, loving and enjoying time with my husband, learning who Christ is and being Christ to others. I want to be content, in all things and  in all places.

Day Dreams and the Bible

Every relationship in life has ups and downs, good seasons and bad. There have been many seasons in my life I have found the bible boring, and I am sure I will go through more. Often my mind drifts to the things I have yet to accomplish, or I just start day dreaming.

I desire to have a deep growing passion for the word, but sometimes there are seasons and that passion takes work. James 4:8 says “draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” So in my seasons of disinterest God continues to remind me to seek him and draw near.

Having a Plan of Attack

Recently our Pastor at our church shared something that struck me. Every time he reads the bible he asks 3 questions:

  1. What does this passage say about God?
  2. What does this passage say about me?
  3. Does this passage show me anything I need to change or do?

I have since kept a journal and I write out these 3 questions with accompanying notes for each passage I read. Having a plan or purpose in my reading helps me stay on track mentally. Here are some other tactics that have helped me during the down seasons (and the great seasons):

  • Start Bible time by praying that the spirit speak to me and open my heart and mind to what the Lord has to say
  • Find a quiet place and time
  • Make my time and place the same everyday
  • Read through a book of the Bible, take notes, find themes
  • Pray through the passage, speaking the words of scripture in prayer
  • Remember the passage should connect to the overall theme of the Bible: to show God’s Holiness, Grace, & Love

Above all I remind myself that I am in a spiritual War. I can choose to give the devil a foot hold or turn to my commander and chief for some daily wisdom and growth.

Finding a Mentor

I remember standing in my church foyer talking to a woman, I had a 2 year old and an infant at the time. She mentioned training your child to come to you when you call them. I was shocked, “YOU CAN TRAIN YOUR CHILD TO COME TO YOU”? That day I asked this amazing woman to be my mentor. That was the beginning of a long relationship that has changed my parenting for the better.

Up until the time my daughter turned 2 parenting seemed easy… then one challenge after another rolled my way. In addition to my formal mentor, over the past 4 years, I have 3-4 other women who have come alongside me to support me in my many roles. These women have not only provided me with resources and ideas, but they have given me emotional and spiritual support and encouragement. Often after meeting with my mentor or one of these women I would feel inspired and rejuvenated and ready to attack this parenting role and do my best. It has been an amazing blessing from God to have these women in my life, encouraging me every step along the way in my parenting, spiritual leadership, family and household management, marriage, and personal growth.

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“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2: 3-5

________________

How To Find A Mentor

Every Mentor and every Mentee are different, creating all different relationships. I see a mentor as a cross between a cheerleader, coach, and spiritual guide. They are someone you can turn to with questions, when you need encouragement or prayer, or to just have a good laugh and share life. I chose my mentor because her relationship with her children was strong and good and her family and home management skills were amazing-this was what I wanted. Is there an area of your life you want to improve? Find someone who has those skills, ask them to mentor you in that area. If there is a woman in your church that you feel has an amazing family, she may be a good mentor for you. Your mentor doesn’t have to be “old” or even older than you, think of it like life is a journey, and they are just a little farther down the road you want to be on.

Setting Up The Relationship

Some relationships develop naturally due to commonly interacting, others are more formal. If you have asked someone to formally mentor you, here are some tips:

  • Pick some set dates or times to meet- otherwise you may both get busy and just let it slide, be intentional!
  • Set a date or time period to check in and see if both parties want to continue the mentoring commitment- your personalities may not work out, or time availability may change, give both parties an option out without the awkwardness
  • Discuss your vision for the relationship- what do you as the mentee want to get out of this relationship? How does the mentor envision her part? Do these mesh together? Now is also the time to talk about boundaries and confidentiality
  • Lean on your mentor- be vulnerable, your mentor is hear to support you
  • Show appreciation- Your mentor is giving her time and heart to teach, train, encourage, and support you
  • Be flexible- as both you and your mentor’s schedule, vision, and growth changes, be flexible to trying something new and making changes to your commitment

What Do You Do With Your Mentor?

The activities you do with your mentor are as varied as the mentor and mentee relationship. With my mentors we have exercised together, lived life together, read books together etc. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Read a book on a topic you are interested in learning about (something she is skilled in), discuss the book together
  • Do a study together
  • Cook or bake together
  • Write a list of questions and get her insight
  • Go for a walk together and talk
  • Have her give you a formal lesson in an area you want to learn about
  • Pray together
  • Share a meal together

Memorizing Scripture

I love to pray and learn scripture and say it to myself throughout the day. Doing this makes it hard if I don’t know scripture by heart. While I feel that living out God’s grace and love is far more important than how many verses a person has memorized, I believe there is value in memorizing scripture.

-I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.- Psalm 119-11.png

A couple years ago a bought a laminator, I have used this laminator at times consistently and at other times it has collected dust. All in all, I am glad I bought it. One thing I have LOVED it for is laminating verses for the shower/bath. If you have followed my blog for long, you know I am all about efficiency and multitasking. In the shower is a great time to improve your efficiency in life. Yes, your body is busy washing itself, and your mind could be thinking about your day or de-stressing or prepping for something. However, if you are like me, your mind is just saying, wow, this water is warm and feels great and I just want to go to sleep. While that is all fine and good, I LOVE having scripture to memorize while I wash, that way I can be productive in mind and body.

When we were going through a study on James I laminated James chapter 1 and hung it in my shower. I learned 2 things from this. First, it is so amazing to use this secluded time to read God’s word, to turn it over and over again and again in my mind and imprint it in my heart. It is amazing to listen to God speak to my, about my life, about events, about my, about HIM through the passages. The second thing I learned, my memory is terrible. I am pretty sure I would struggle to tell you what James 1 is about after memorizing it for so long–ironically, it is about struggles.

I also placed Psalm 23 in my children’s shower/bath. I have them repeat the verse  word for word after me so that they too can memorize scripture during this time, their scripture has pictures that correlate to the words to help them remember. This has also taught me 2 things. First that it is wonderful hearing them learn scripture, to talk about the meaning of the scripture, to watch them learn and memorize it by heart. The second thing I learned, is that they have amazing memories–maybe I could benefit from some pictures on my scripture.

Whether you have a laminator or not I want to encourage you to find a time and place to memorize scripture for yourself (or at least to try). We talked before about memorizing scripture with your children, and I also learn these verses with them. However, I love working on learning scriptures that relate to what I am going through, or maybe are just different.

 

Creating a Life Plan

What is your plan for your life? To be successful? Raise Children who follow God? What does success even mean and what about the other areas of your life, your career, your marriage, your church, your hobbies etc.? Do you have goals for those? Do you have a plan or map to get you to your goals? If you have not ever thought about what you want your life to look like when you arrive at your time to meet Christ in heaven, maybe it is time to start… unless you do not care about where you are going to end up at the end of this life, in that case you could probably just keep chugging on through life.

Purpose of a Life Plan

Everyone is travelling down a path in life, a path that will take us to a destination. If you do not plan what path you are going to take then you will not know what destination you will end at. A life plan is your map to get you from where you are today to where you want to go, it helps you decide what turns to take on your path of life. A life plan also helps you find margin in your life and will help you make decisions about commitments and time management; you will know what is important and where you want to spend your time.

My Life Plan Journey

I have always had goals, dreams, and plans for my life. I feel like I am constantly trying to seek out what they are though. These goals, dreams, and plans often sit on the fringes of my thoughts, sometimes I can grasp them and sometimes I have to sit and think about what they are, and they seem like they may have changed from last time. In January I listed to the book Living Forward.

This book has been amazing for giving me that focus and direction I need to always be able to grasp my goals, dreams, and plans. I know what they are and I know they are realistic. While I do not always have control over the path my life is currently on, my life plan helps me direct which way I will turn next and where to spend my time. The book Living Forward describes the purpose and importance of a life plan, and then goes through each step and detail of creating your own personal life plan.

I have my life plan printed out and keep it in a binder along with other plans and tools I use to manage my family and life. While my life plan has not made every decision picture perfect and easy, it has helped me see what is important to me and how to make decisions and manage my life based on my goals.

How to Start Your Life Plan

I started my life plan by listening to the book Living Forward. I would recommend doing the same thing, or finding a similar book. If you need more hands on help, life coaches are easier to find in today’s society than they used to be, this may be the route for you. The purpose of a Life Coach is to help you be purposeful in life and get from where you are now to where you want to be.

The first step to creating a life plan, like any plan, is to start with the end in mind. What destination do you want this path of life to take you to? What will your life look like when it is your time to go home to Christ? Then break it down to areas of your life (career, marriage, children, hobbies etc). Focus on each area of your life, how do you want that part of your life to look in the end, then evaluate where you are today and make goals to get from where you are today to the destination you want to get to.

If you want to take control of your life, have focus and direction while living every day in purpose, I suggest getting started on your life plan. The sooner you start, the sooner you get on the path to your intended destination.

Making Room for Hospitality

Hospitality–that lost art of welcoming someone into your home, planned or unplanned. Making them feel warm and cozy and invited in. Taking time out of your life to show someone Christ’s love and develop relationship with them. Instead we fill our lives to the point of exhaustion and have no room for anyone, in our home or our life. Instead, we stress about having the perfect house and keeping it a perfect way, so when someone “drops by” we barely crack the door open–or maybe even pretend we are not there. We spread ourselves so thin that the last thing we want to do is make another commitment, inviting them to our home and our messy life.

Isn’t this what Christ created us for? For relationships, to love others, to help them feel welcomed and cared for, to invite them in, into our house and into our lives. Not to shut people out and just carry on in the hustle and bustle of life, surviving one more day.

 

Making Room for Relationships

Last year I read a book called Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has Time by Brigid Schulte. One of the interesting thoughts I got out of the book is the competition to be constantly “busy”. As I continue to look around at conversations and commitments, especially among moms, there is this continual competition to see “who is busier”. It seems like there is this mentality, that if you can be the busiest and survive, then you are a super mom, or that constantly being busy means you are successful. There is such a push today to do and be everything that moms are forgetting about balance and rest. Instead they are exhausting themselves trying to be the best and then putting other moms down for not being so “busy”.

I believe this is Satan using “success” and competition as driving forces towards business, and in all this business we lose the point of life–relationships. God created us to be in relationship, relationship with him and relationship with his people. He did not create us to be constantly busy.

Sharing our Messy Life

Have you ever gone to someone’s house for a play date or dinner and thought–“wow, do not touch anything, you might mess it up”? So let me ask, did you feel, welcomed in that home? Did you feel like you could relax and just connect with those people? Sometimes a little messy lets others know, “hey, I am not perfect either”. If we wait until our house is spotless, we look great, and we have a big beautiful house, we will never invite anyone over (well maybe once in awhile when life lines up perfectly), and if we never invite anyone over we miss out on deepening our relationship with that person, on possibly encouraging them, loving them, and allowing them to love and encourage us in return.

Nobody’s life, physically or emotionally, is always clean and tidy with a fresh bouquet of flowers on the entry table and home baked, zero calorie, amazing cookies in the kitchen -with no dishes to clean up- and 3 little children, spotlessly clean sitting on the couch reading a book. I’m sorry, that really doesn’t even sound like much fun. This is more how my life looks like regularly, someone who enters my entry way will see beautiful stairs – covered by piles of clothes, toys, books, and artwork that are on their way “up”, toys and shoes by the front door, blankets, random cups, books that were left out laying in the living room, a pile of dishes and no cookies in the kitchen, a cleared but sticky table to sit at and chat, and 3 children running around our “circle” screaming with excitement. That is my real life, so why get a headache trying to change it? This picture of my life shows, we read books, I have children, we are not perfect, we too are in this sinful fallen world. If we are not real, how can we expect others to be real with us, and if no one is real, how can we grow in relationship?

How to Foster Hospitality in Your Home

Hospitality begins with someone coming into your home. You either have to invite them there or they randomly show up. For almost a year, one of our short term goals in our family was to have another family over every week for a meal. Part of the reason why we did this is we were feeling lonely and unsettled, being fairly new to the area. Inviting people into our home allowed us the intimacy to develop relationships with other families. We also worked at inviting new families from church into our home for a meal after Sunday service, helping them to feel welcomed into our church home. If you never invite anyone over, you will never have the opportunity to practice hospitality.

Knowing that we will randomly invite people over after church or an outing or that people will randomly stop by, I try to keep the house presentable enough that I would not be thoroughly embarrassed when they come over. That being said, some people see a “cleaner” house than others, because I was having a more put together day, or I was not doing the laundry.

Serving a meal can be another stressful event to having others over, not only do you have to have a clean house, but you have to cook a healthy, delicious meal, clean up all the dishes (or hide them to pretend like you didn’t use any) before they arrive and then clean up everything after they leave. You might as well forget it–order a pizza, put the kids to bed early, and watch a movie. Really? Is that really what you want? What if we had someone over and made a meal for them, and had dirty dishes out? Would they look in disgust and never come back? or worse, would they look at your not-perfect house and think “she isn’t perfect, she isn’t amazing”. Is this our real fear, that people will not think we are amazing, that they will realize we cannot do it all? A lack of hospitality can be more than fear, it can be a spiritual issue as well. If this is really too stressful for you right now, what about coming up with some other ideas than serving a meal? Have dessert, just have people over to play, have a snack. There is not a written law stating, if you have someone over you must serve them a meal.

What Prevents You From Hospitality

Have you ever thought about what prevents you from hospitality?

For me, one is my lack of desire to “try”. It is easier if I just hang out with my kids in “my life” and accomplish everything I want to without going to the effort to put someone above myself (again, a spiritual issue). When I invite someone over, to make them feel welcome I must think about their needs, what they want to talk about, and then clean up afterward. My sinful nature would rather just forget about that whole ordeal. But when I put the effort in and try and I allow God to work through me, that is when I experience the life he planned for me. Another struggle of mine is serving a meal, instead of worrying about putting others first, I begin to worry about my pride. Will my meal be amazing, will it be healthy, can I make sure it is on time and the dishes are clean, what will they think? When I sit back, take a breath and relax, I realize that no one would freak out if I just served a frozen pizza or something simple… or if I left some dirty dishes on the counter. I remind myself, I am inviting people over to build relationship, not to awe over my amazing talents (or lack thereof).

What is it for you? Are you to busy to invite people over? Do you have too many commitments? Do you feel like your house is too small or too plain? Do you struggle to keep the clothes, toys, books, dishes cleaned up and want to keep that from others? Are you introverted and just seek alone time? Do you hide the messy of you and your life?

What if we allowed God to change what prevents us from inviting people over, welcoming them in, and developing relationship with them? What if we allowed God to humble us and share our messy life with others? Maybe we could change the world.

Room to Rest

Do you feel overwhelmed, tired, out of control, barely surviving? The society we live in is fast paced, there are so many opportunities and things to do, you can easily fill up your schedule. As moms, wives, and family managers, it is easy to compare ourselves and accomplishments with each other–especially with social media. These comparisons can lead us to a feeling of inadequacy, that we are not doing “enough” and unreal expectations for ourselves and our families. Even if everything we do in life is “good” that doesn’t mean we should be doing everything. So my question for you is Do you have room in your life to rest? Have you created margin in your life?

Evaluating Your Commitments

If you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, out of control of your life, or like you can barely make it through the day I would suggest evaluating why you are feeling this way. Is it a feeling of too many commitments? What commitments do you have in your life? Evaluate your commitments–Make 4 categories: 1.Required 2.Important 3.Growth 4.Other, put each commitment you have in these categories. Mine looks something like this (sampling of my commitments):

  1. Required:
    • School drop off
    • Making Dinner
    • House work
    • Dr Appointments
  2. Important (to me):
    • Time with Christ
    • Church
    • The Feathers From My Nest Blog
    • MOPS Ministry
    • Tea Time with daughter
  3. Growth (spiritual and personal):
    • Freedom Group Bible Study
    • Life Group
  4. Other:
    • Book Club
    • Daughter’s Ballet
    • Play Dates with friends (once a week)
    • MOPS Mom’s Night Out
    • Volunteering in daughter’s school (weekly)

This gives you a picture of all your commitments in life (big and small) and a simple “why” you do them. Some commitments are required (i.e. making dinner and getting your kids to school), some are important to you, some you experience spiritual or personal growth through, some you have committed to for other reasons (i.e. you want your daughter to learn a skill, you want to connect with people). Now look at your commitments, how important are these commitments, are you really growing, what are your reasons for your commitment and is it something you could say “no” to?

Just because something is “good” does not mean we should continue to commit to it. God demonstrated over and over again in the bible how important rest is:

  • Genesis 2:2-3
  • Exodus 20:8-10
  • Matthew 6:30-31
  • Psalm 127:1-2
  • Psalm 23

As my oldest child started kindergarten I began the year with excitement, but quickly grew overwhelmed by my commitments. I had one in Kindergarten, one in P-K, and one child home with me. I was coordinating a MOPS ministry, part of my church life group, volunteering in my daughter’s classroom, taking her to weekly ballet lessons, helping out with church youth group on Sunday mornings, and then I decided it would be good for me to join another weekly bible study, all while still maintaining my role as the family manager. It began to be difficult to keep up with the commitments that were important to me because of all the commitments I had. I decided that I need to let at least one thing go. After evaluating what was important to me I decided to quit going to my weekly bible study. I could not believe the difference letting go of this one commitment made in my life. It was only a few hours a week, but I all of a sudden felt a burden lifted from my life. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the study, I loved the study and was learning so much “knowledge”, I would recommend this study to anyone looking to grow in the bible. It just was too much for me at this time, I needed room to rest.

Are Your Expectations Realistic?

Another part of rest and margin in your life is realizing you cannot “keep up with the Jones'”. As mothers and women it is so easy to compare ourselves to each other and raise our expectations of ourselves and our family to an unrealistic level. Yes, it is good to have goals and a plan and to accomplish things as the family manager, but are your expectations realistic? What is realistic for one family and person will not be the same thing for another. If you are feeling these overwhelmed feelings maybe you are setting your expectations too high. What expectations do you have? How can you change them to be more manageable?

Finding Room to Rest

Rest looks different for every person. For some people and in some seasons rest literally means rest, taking a nap, or just sitting. Rest is a break from stress and an opportunity to recharge. For you this may be one of the commitments you participate in (i.e. book club). Think about what recharges you, when do you feel rest? Is it reading a book, is it listening to music, working on a hobby, or taking a nap? If you cannot find time in your schedule for this rest, consider re-evaluating your commitments or expectations.

As Christ followers it is important that we also find time to have rest in Christ. We get our life, hope, love, and joy from Christ. From my experience, those are all crucial to my survival as a mom of young children! Christ says to take his yoke upon ourselves, his burden is light:

“28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”” Matthew 11: 28-30

By spending time with Christ, in his word, listening to him, calling out to him, and meditating on the words of life he has given to us every day we can find rest in Him. I do this by posting bible verses (laminated) in my shower, having a prayer list by my rowing machine (praying while I work out), listening to Christ while I run, listening to music with words of life during the day, and spending time praying and reading God’s word.

What can you do to find more rest in your life? What can you do to rest more in Christ?

 

Surviving Without Television

Occasionally it comes up in conversation that we do not have television, I usually get the response, neither do we, we watch netflix. We do not have that either. We do not watch television. The next response I get is, “wow, what do you do in the evenings?”. My husband also tends to correct me, we do have some forms of television. This post is about what we do and do not have in regards to television, how we use it, and why.

Do not Have:

Cable

Netflix

Hulu

Do Have:

Antenna

Amazon Prime (for movies)

Google Play Account (for Movies)

Why We Dropped Cable

When my first child was born, I remember watching a 30 minute show while I nursed her. Then it turned into another show, and another, until before I knew it hours had passed by in oblivion. This issue, along with our desire to cut back in unnecessary spending resulted in us dropping cable when we moved to our new location. We wanted to spend time as a family making memories and after the kids went to bed we wanted to spend time together as friends, growing and working on our marriage.

why-waste-life-on-a-couch-when-you-can-spend-it-making-memories

Getting the Antenna:

For a few years after our move, we went with absolutely no television watching. We did not have anything, but a TV and DVD player. On weekends, when we wanted to watch a movie, we would stop by redbox and rent a movie for the night. This was the extent that our TV was used for.

My husband kept up on his sports updates via the internet. After a few years of his sports withdrawal, he purchased an antenna so that we could at least pull in local stations for an occasional sports game (about once a month). This is why we now have the antenna.

Streaming Movies:

We tend to do most our non-grocery shopping on Amazon. This is partly due to our desire to limit unnecessary spending, but also partly due to our laziness. Due to our devotion to Amazon, we decided to try a free year of Prime. We of course decided to keep it after the year was up. Having Amazon Prime allows us to watch our movies for free since we select slow shipping and get a $1 credit each time. We also stream movies directly through play.google.com (which we also get for free through an app we use).

Having Amazon and Google, now allows us to stream movies directly for the children and ourselves. This being said, we have rented a total of 27 (14 through amazon prime and 13 through play.google) movies in the year 2016, about 1/3 of those being documentaries and one of those being a season of Elementary, which had 24 episodes (run time 40-45 minutes). So all in total we watched 3.24 movie run time/month in 2016. I am however missing the BBC Earth DVDs we own in this calculation, so lets be really liberal and assume we watched 4 movies a month, or 1 a week in 2016.

The 4 movies a month is what daddy and mommy watch after the kids go to bed, we consider this date night. I am not actually sure how much our kids watch, Amazon doesn’t record when I direct play Daniel Tiger. I am guessing 1 episode of Daniel Tiger a month on average, MAYBE 2–yes, that is it. Watching a “movie” (aka a show) is reserved for “sick days” and special family movies nights. Sometimes we will try to watch a longer movie with the kids (longer than 30 minutes) but rarely (once a year?). Sometimes if my husband is gone we will watch 2 episodes of Daniel tiger together with a special popcorn treat.

What Do We do Instead?

We do not watch television because there are other things we prefer to do with our time… and it costs money (but that is the minor side). We would rather our kids be using their imagination to play or spending time as a family. My children have grown up this way (so far, they are still very young) and they are used to it. They know how to entertain themselves (usually).

When I need to work on something like dinner or write a letter or want to read a magazine or my bible I let them know what I am doing and tell them they need to play or, depending on the activity I am doing, they can join me. If I am cooking, they can help or I may have them do their responsibilities. Our children are also excited to play together, since they have all had a 2 hour break from each other during quiet time. If I am reading my bible or a magazine or book, they usually opt to read their own bible, magazine, or book with me. Now don’t get me wrong, this does not always work perfectly, more than once I have had children fighting or pleading for me to hold them or some other emergency necessitating that I drop everything and focus all my energy on them. They are young, they are learning, this is a time of learning and growing for ALL of us.

My husband and I see our evenings as time together, time to grow and learn, time to sleep.We feel that this rarely happens when we watch television, or even a movie. We both love exercising and often get up early or workout after the kids go to bed. We also enjoy reading and often read books together out loud. There have been times we do a bible study together (this comes and goes). We also enjoy strategy games and will often play one in the evenings, or my husband tries to talk me into playing a game of billiards. There have also been times we just visit. There are other times that one of us has a commitment in the evening and I catch up on my responsibilities or he just rests and catches up on emails.

I remember, not too long ago, my husband mentioning it had been a while since we watched a movie. We both agreed how wonderful it was. Often we watch a movie because we are tired, but do not want to go to bed and I find that afterward I feel drained and exhausted, I very rarely end the movie feeling refreshed.

This change in our family over the last 4 years has been amazing. We have built endless memories reading, exploring, camping, playing games, running around, and more. We have saved money towards retirement and feel more positive about life and have been able to focus on what our God’s purpose is for us.