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Saturday, February 25, 2012

TVs in Public Places

I've begun noticing that there are TVs popping up in public places all over the place.  There are TVs in restaurants, beauty salons, waiting rooms, the wellness center.  It makes it difficult when you've made a personal decision to limit TV in your home to find it everywhere you go.  And, the TVs in these locations are usually already turned to some channel which is not generally the channel we would choose for our family.

Going out to a family dinner sometimes becomes a stressful situation.  Instead of spending quality time as a family, talking about the day, and having fun, we spend the meal trying to keep our children eating instead of zoning out watching whatever is on TV.  It doesn't even matter if it is in English or the sound is muted--they are mesmerized by any type of moving picture.  It doesn't matter if we sit them with their backs to the TV, they keep trying to turn around.  Quality family dinners without the TV now have to take place at home.

The kiddos love to go with me to the Wellness Center when I work out because they have their own TV in the play room.  The good thing about that is it can be turned to something appropriate and I don't have to worry about them while I'm working out.  As for the TV in the work out room, I can put in my MP3 player and ignore whatever is on.  I just hope nothing inappropriate shows up on the screen that you can see through the window to the playroom.

As much as I worry about what the TVs introduce into the minds of my children, sometimes I think I should worry about what is introduced into my own mind.  During the afternoon, when the kiddos are in school, the
TVs in public locations are often turned to afternoon talk shows. I often wonder where they find the people for these shows.  Do they actually volunteer to air their dirty laundry all over national TV OR do shows have staff who's job it is to find people with horrible lives.  Is any of it actually true?  If so, why is it not reported to the appropriate authorities?  What is wrong with America that we tune in to these shows and show enough interest to keep them on the air?  Why do we seem drawn to negativity?  Well, it is after having this on in a public place and not being able to get it out of my mind once I got home, that I am convinced limiting TV in our home is the right decision, not only for the kiddos, but also for the adults.

I'd like to thank those people who take into consideration when children are in the room and change to something they think is appropriate for kids.  I'm even more thankful when they ask us as parents what is OK to have on.

Monitoring the entertainment that my children are exposed to is hard enough without monitoring public TVs.  Any great ideas out there about what to do when the TV is turned to something we consider inappropriate?
It really does "take a village to raise a child."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Being a Follower

OK  . . . following God is really harder than it looks.  Especially when current society completely contradicts what you think God is telling you to do.  Isn't it smart to make sure your "ducks are in a row" and you have everything figured out before you make a move?  Isn't that the safe way to live life?  Well, I think I'm figuring out that sometimes God calls us to take a step of faith.  He calls us to make the first move before He reveals the whole plan.  Am I the only one who finds this incredibly scary?

Why is it that after having seen God work miracles in my life and the lives of those around me, I still fear that He will take care of me?  I say in my head I know He will, why is it that sometimes I still have fear and worry?  I want to follow whenever, wherever, and whatever.  However, this is easier said than done.  What if the people around me are contradicting what God is saying?  How do I shut out the naysayers and really listen to and follow God?  His is the only voice I need to hear.  How do I shut out the others?  I guess one way is to "take up my cross DAILY" and make sure I am spending time in His word and talking to Him.  Another way is to stay active with other believers whom I trust are also "taking up their cross" and really listening to God.  We are not meant to walk the journey alone.  Matthew 18: 20 says, "For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them." (NIV)

Maybe the worry and fear comes from the difference between my needs and wants.  I know God will meet all my needs.  But, is everything I want really something I need?  I don't think so.  I don't think having some of my wants is wrong.  I just shouldn't ever let them come before God in my life.  Again, easier said than done.

God is so good.  I began this post before I did my devotions for today out of my Heaven Calling devotional book from Zondervan that is written to be daily letters to you from God..  Well, it really dealt with my questions, so I'm going to share the devotion with you all.
     "Do not be afraid.  This is not a command given lightly, as if you will surely fail at the task.  Rather, it is a command to focus on what is true.  I gave Moses and my people this command to encourage them to trade fear for faith.   They could choose to not panic because I would be with them as they entered Canaan.
     When I call you to a new job or relationship or place you in a situation where your next step is uncertain, be strong and courageous and wait for my lead.  I am with you, my child.  I will not fail you, neither will I leave you on your own.
     Together, we can conquer whatever lies ahead."

"Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."  Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

The prayer for the day was, "Lord, help me choose faith instead of fear."
God is so good and gives you exactly what you need if you ask.

  How do you make sure you're really following God?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Each New Stage of Parenting

Why does no one really try to prepare you for all the stages of parenting when your child is first born?  OK--Maybe they do, but new parents are not ready to listen past the infant stage.  I mean who really wants to talk about parenting a teenager when you are "cooing" over your newborn.  I know when we prepared to become parents, we went to classes on childbirth, Lamaze, and infant care.  We read books like "What to Expect When You're Expecting","What to Expect in the First Year", and "What to Expect During the Toddler Years."  I don't know if you can ever fully be prepared, but we were educated about this first stage of parenting and ready to learn more as needed.

Well, just when you think you may have this parenting thing figured out a bit, the kids grow up and move into the next stage.  And, to complicate matters even more, if you have more than one child, their needs will be different in each stage.  There is never a time you get to let your guard down and stop learning new exciting things about parenting.    Parenting is difficult for all parents out there. I think there are moments my disabilites add to the difficulty.  I have had to work not to laugh or cry (my standard response to emotional situations) when there is discipline that needs to happen.  We have really had to work on their not using their cuteness to distract me from the issue at hand.

Not to mention, a recent conversation had to take place about how overprotective I am.  By the time we finished our conversation, I was totally wiped out and needed to go straight to bed. I don’t think I’m over protective--just protective. It is my job to try and keep them safe and “train up a child in the way they should go.”

The unfortunate business for our oldest  is that I’ve never been the parent of a tween before and we’re both feeling our way through unfamiliar territory. This is going to be an interesting next 10 years or so. And, then I get to manage being the parent of an adult.  Just when I think I've got the swing of it, my second child moves into a new stage and handles it completely differently.   AAAUUUGGGHHH!! Lord, help me through this.

Any great advice out there for handling the different challenges of parenting through each new stage?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Not a Fan by Kyle Idelman

Not a Fan was recommended by a member of my Moms in Prayer group.  I decided at that point I should read it and made it a part of my home library.  But, I had not gotten around to reading it.  Well, it then popped up as the topic of conversation with others--some had read it and others wondered if they should.  That was enough to convince me it was time to crack open the book and read it for myself.

It is absolutely amazing.  I had begun to get frustrated with the difference I was seeing between the message of the Bible and what is preached in our churches.  No where can I find that following Christ will lead to an easy life.  In fact, in Luke 9:23, Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."  This is contrary to much of what I'm hearing lately about the need to focus on yourself and make yourself happy.  This does not seem to me to be what a "follower" of Christ would focus on.  In fact, in the Message, Luke 9:23 & 24  reads, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.  You're not in the driver's seat--I am.  Don't run from suffering; embrace it.  Follow me and I'll show you how.  Self-help is no help at all.  Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self."

This is, of course, easier read than done.  It calls for "taking up your cross daily".  That means every day.  That means making a conscious choice to follow Christ's plan for your life every day.  That meas staying in communication with Him through prayer and Bible reading.   It means being a follower of Christ and His plan for your life, not just an adoring fan.

The book is definitely an eye-opener and made me assess my life and see what changes were necessary to make sure I was a true follower.  It also cracked me up in places--it is definitely an easy read.  Make sure you take time to read his footnotes.  They are worth your time and will make you smile.

My name is Angel and I am not a fan.

Let me know what you think as you read this.  Send comments.  This is a great book to start a discussion going.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pinewood Derby

This was our first year of Pinewood Derby excitement in our house.  Our son came home with his car kit and immediately wanted to start making it (even though Daddy was at work).  He was appeased by looking online at designs and had one all picked out by the time Eric came home from work.  It then became a three-generation project, with our son doing most of the work, with grown-up assistance when needed. 

Race day came and our son was a bundle of nerves. When the car was weighed, weight had to be added, so coins were slipped under his hat. Our son thought that was hilarious, but it managed to bring the car up to weight. Then, the races began. The excitement was palpable and it was so much fun to watch the boys root on their cars. I hope everyone had a great time. Some pinewood derby's give prizes to non race winners. Some give prizes for creativity and even the slow poke car. Ours only gives prizes to the top four racers. I may be biased, but I think our son would have won a creative award. His car was definitely the cutest platypus there (not to mention fastest.) :)

What a great project to inspire creativity and hard work in the boys as well as father/son/grandfather bonding. :p

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Movie Review: Joyful Noise

I just got back from seeing Joyful Noise and feel I must write a review about it.  It is an amazing movie and I encourage all (adults) to see it.  There is some language that would make it inappropriate for children, but it is rated PG-13 after all.

The first indication that it is a great movie is that I watched it after my normal bedtime and had no trouble staying awake.  There was enough comedy that kept me laughing and balanced the drama well.  I can't even begin to remember or discuss all the various levels of storyline within the movie.  It was obviously about music and there was a lot of it.  There was a storyline about family dynamics and how that all plays out.  There was a character with a disability and I loved how music was used to help him.  My favorite line was about if you don't fit in the box, don't try to squeeze you into the box, make a bigger box.  (I can't remember it exactly because that was longer than 30 seconds ago)  The different characteristics of all the choir members let to a very interesting movie with lots of fun subplots. 

There was a subplot about church politics.  We got to see them at their worst, but of course it all works out in the end.  (better, or at least faster, than reality at times).  There was a church member threatening to remove financial support from the church if things didn't go her way.  There was also the pastor making decisions alone about the choir without any input from the choir.  There was a choir director who didn't like change.  It handled the push/pull of those pushing for change versus those not wanting any change quite well.  It's really all about listening to God and going the direction He wants for you.

Oh, and there was of course the "star crossed lovers" subplot, which always keeps things interesting.  I tried to stay to the end of the credits, but the theater turned off the movie before the end.  That's small town movie theaters for you.  I guess I'll just have to watch it again when it comes out on DVD to find out if there are any suprises at the end of the credits.

This movie kept me awake and at the edge of my seat the entire time.  I never once even felt myself starting to fall asleep.  I find it interesting that this is the movie available for me to watch the same weekend I have been having music revelations.  For the first time in 7 1/2 years, I left a movie wanting to own the soundtrack.  I also left with thoughts about the music/worship at my church.  I hope we can all work together to do whatever it is God wants us to do and not let ourselves get in the way. 

Go watch this movie and let me know what you think.  I'm curious if it effects others the same way it effected me? By the way, I think I heard a dying cat at one point.  See if you can figure out where.