Day 17: Pause #write31days2018

If you have read my post about the Luddite Experiment, you know that I have pressed pause this month on my social media use. After half a month of being away from Facebook and Instagram, I must say that it truly has been good. Before this break, I was feeling frenetic, always afraid I was missing out on something. I sensed a pressure to be and to know and to have things that were not mine. I just had to take a step away and see what would happen.

I feel like this time away is refining me. It is helping me quiet my spirit in other ways, not just my internet consumption. I am finding creativity in the space. I am finding calm and room for thinking more deeply. I am finding my own true self again, without that pressure to conform to some arbitrary cultural fad.

Pausing is creating space to see, to hear, to be. It is taking time to breathe, to rest. It is leaving room for the question, “What is God’s best for me?” Pressing pause gives me fresh perspective and energy to step back into my real life in a more meaningful way.

What can you do today to press pause and give yourself some breathing room?

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 11: Door #write31days2018

Since moving to a more affluent area last year, I have been somewhat reluctant to open my door and invite people over. We currently live in a rather small, shabby old rental house with lots of quirks and annoying little problems that we can’t change since we don’t own the place. I haven’t decorated much since we know this is a temporary situation. It isn’t the color scheme I would choose if I owned the house, and the kitchen is far from ideal. I feel, quite honestly, a little embarrassed to have people over because I know that most of our friends have much, much nicer homes.

But I have to get over that embarrassment if I want true community. I have to be willing to open the door and be vulnerable because when I do, I show love for others in a very tangible way. The fact of the matter is that other people rarely seem to care about what the house looks like. They just want to feel welcomed, heard, and seen while they are here. I have to remember that. I can help the people I invite in feel comfortable, despite the color on the walls or the weird layout of the kitchen. By being open and loving, I create an atmosphere that says, “Come in and be yourself. I have opened the doors because I care about you.” And that is what really matters.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Joining the Luddite Experiment

There has been this nagging thing on my mind for a couple months now. This thought that keeps coming back and won’t leave me alone. At first I ignored it. I’ve tried this before, I said to myself. It didn’t work, I said. I pushed away the thought and told myself that I didn’t need to do anything drastic. But still, the conviction and the sense that this was more than just a passing idea kept pressing on my heart.

Then, while answering a question in a Facebook group, I was confronted head on with this idea again in the form of this blog post by Kari Denker. Kari is someone I respect. She is a mom with older children and a knack for teaching the Bible in an approachable way. And yet, here she was on her blog, confessing to this same problem that I had been ignoring in my own life. I knew I couldn’t ignore my own issue any longer.

The problem…

So, what is this big issue that I’ve been pushing aside for so long, you ask? Social media. Yup. It’s become a problem for me. Again. If you’ve been around my blog since the beginning, you may remember I wrote a little about struggling with overuse of the internet way back in August 2017. At the time, we were moving, and we had very limited internet access. Not anymore. We’ve got unlimited data, baby. I can watch all the Instagram stories I want, no problem!

But wait, actually, that IS a problem!

You see, I have noticed over the last couple of month that my use of the internet, particularly from the convenience of my smartphone, has become a bit of a compulsion. I find myself pulling up Facebook and checking my notifications there while listening to my son’s narrations during school time. I realized that I even take my phone to the bathroom so that I can scroll Instagram while ignoring the kids screaming at each other over Legos in the other room.

Just typing those words makes my skin crawl with conviction. I don’t know if it makes me sound like a bit of an addict to you, but it sure doesn’t sit well with me. So I’m quitting social media…

The solution…

I know that might sound drastic to a lot of people. It feels kind of drastic to me at times. At the moment, I am only committing to staying off Instagram, Facebook and similar sites (Pinterest included) for the month of October. I foresee, however, needing more time than that. Kari says she is going to stay off for the coming year, and I would love to say I could do that, too. I have left Facebook before for long periods. As I said above, I didn’t feel like it worked. But I had a very poor support system in those times, and I also was in an already unhealthy emotional space. I’m healthier now, and I have some real life friends and connections in the local area that I think can become a good support system for me.

Besides all that, I believe that this is a step of obedience that God has been asking of me for some time. I don’t want to keep disobeying Him any longer. I want to follow His lead and see where it will take me. I know blessing is in store.

I will be writing more on this subject soon. Because I can’t get it off my mind, and I have a lot more to say about my why’s and wherefore’s. I also have a lot of hopes for this time, as well as some fears. So, I hope you will keep coming back to this space and praying for me as I join this “Luddite Experiment.” And perhaps you, too, will consider joining?

Learn more…

The following links are some of the things that have given inspiration and been the impetus of the timing of this decision of mine. I hope you will check them out if you want to learn more!

Kari Denker’s original post on “The Luddite Experiment”

Joy Clarkson’s podcast episode “Do Something that Won’t Compute”

Circe’s FORMA podcast episode on Alan Noble’s book Disruptive Witness

Setting Intentions and Atmosphere in Our Home

I sat at the dining room table Sunday afternoon, notebook open in front of me and pen in hand, waiting for some ideas to come. After weeks of growing discontentment with our current routine and the attitudes in our home, especially surrounding chores and school, I was ready for a change. 

But what kind of change? I knew I had to set the tone with more positivity and a fresh atmosphere, so I set down a few ideas for adding positive reinforcement and a little more loveliness into our day. 

One of the problems we have been struggling with is in the area of completing our morning routine without dawdling and complaining. I created a little extra incentive chart for my son to do his morning jobs in a timely manner without my constant nagging. I also decided to back up the time I expect us to “start school” each day to stop us feeling so rushed. When I talked to my son about these changes, he was very excited and ready to try to get his tasks started in the morning.

Since my own attitude is really the only one I can change, I also wrote down some very different priorities for the week in my planner. Instead of usual top 3 tasks for housekeeping and work, I wrote things like “Smile, laugh, and have some fun every day,” “Create something with your hands,” and “Love God and your family well.” I also reminded myself of the importance of getting my personal Bible study and prayer time in before the kids wake each day, so I set my alarm a little earlier for Monday morning.

Finally, I resolved to infuse some fun and beauty into our homeschool routine so that we all have something special to look forward to each day. Over the past few weeks we added “Poetry Tea Time” back into our schedule once a week, and it had become a highlight for me and the kids. In my notebook, I wrote down plans for daily “tea time” at the beginning of the school day: light candles, set out the tea things and snacks, and gather at the table with smiles and anticipation of the good time we are about to have learning together. 

Finished with my brainstorming session, I pushed back the notebook and set down my pen with a satisfied sigh. I knew that none of these changes were big on their own. And I knew that none of them was a magic formula for success. But I also knew that because I was setting my intention to make positive changes and have a joyful attitude myself, things would be better. Because I was going to set the tone and prepare an atmosphere of beauty and goodness, our day would be different. I was hopeful.

And, you know what? Today was the best day we have had in a very, very long time. I hope it is not the last… I don’t think it will be!

Introducing Wellness Wednesday! A New Blog Link-up

Hello! And welcome to our first official week of the Wellness Wednesday blog link-up! I am so excited to be hosting this link party, and I hope you will be encouraged and empowered as we share our wellness journeys here together. 

Why am I starting the “Wellness Wednesday” link-up?

Well, for a host of reasons. One, I am on something of a journey to physical, emotional and spiritual health and healing. Also, I have found some things lately that have been really helpful and inspiring, and I wanted to have a space to share them with others. Finally, I have been mulling over a host of ideas about getting healthy and whole, but I have had a hard time sitting down to write about them. I needed some accountability and motivation. So this link-up was born!

What is “Wellness Wednesday” all about?

I plan to explore a variety of topics related to holistic health and wellness. When we think of wellness, our minds typically jump to physical health and fitness. That is a huge part of our wellbeing, obviously! I think most of us today are aware, however, that our emotional, mental and spiritual health also play huge roles in overall wellness. We are integrated beings. Our bodies, minds, souls and spirits intersect and interact in ways that we don’t even understand. So what we eat affects our moods. What we think affects our energy levels. What we believe affects our response to our environment. 

All that being said, I will be writing on anything in my life that is related to wellness, from food and exercise to emotional issues and spiritual practices. I welcome you to link to your own posts on these topics as well. You don’t have to write and post them on you blog on Wednesdays, but the link-ups will go live on Wednesdays. 

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!
  4. Bonus points if you post about the link-up on your social media. I will feature a post from one or two Wellness Wednesday participants on my Facebook page during the week after the link-up, so please head on over there to follow me and see if your post is featured!

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