Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Marriage Kids Tell All

As part of a group from our church I am part of leading a discussion on marriage. Trying to get ideas I decided to interview the kids. It was interesting, and sometimes funny, to hear their take on Dad and Mom. The baby did not participate, but everyone else got in on giving their thoughts. 

L~ Age 5 
Dad and Mom tell us to be aware of our decisions. They are aware of their decisions. Sometimes they kiss on the lips, thats a marriage thing, their decision people!

D ~ Age 9 
When things get hard you guys take a deep breath and turn to Faith. Dad and Mom put God first and it is bigger than any hard things. Hard things happen and I think Mom wants to talk, and Dad wants to do things. Lots of times they make a plan together, I think that is part of marriage.

M ~Age 11
If we get in trouble Dad and Mom always talk first, then they are on the same side. It can be frustrating, but it is better. Whatever one decides is the right consequence the other one supports them. They never argue about how to handle things.

N ~ Age 12
Church comes first, Sundays always are a restart day. They taught us when we were little it is the day to check in with God and let worries go. In their marriage, they let Sunday be a fresh start. I want to do that too. They do not have the same sense of humor, but some of us kids are like mom, and some of us kids are like Dad, so maybe all of us help them have a good marriage. 

M~ Age 13
Dad compliments mom, a lot. Like a lot. He never goes a day with out saying she is pretty or a meal was awesome. Sometimes it seems silly even like he will make us all stop and notice her, but I can tell it makes her feel good. Mom will remind us when Dad is not around how much he does for the family, like a sales pitch for Dad. But its important, I think, to support each other in front of the kids.

J-L Age 14 
Dad and Mom give each other really specific compliments, checking in with text, calling each other stuff like that. They communicate well. Mom also makes really good food, does that count? 

A ~ Age 14 
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 
She just wanted to use a quote but I love the simplicity of the one she chose.

J ~Age 16 
On a basic level you guys have annoyingly big hearts, you always take things on but I think it makes you guys closer. You laugh about stuff that might make other people cry. One thing you guys do is take a lot of walks. Talk things out and walk so you don't talk about all the worry things in front of us kids. Sometimes Mom prays outloud. We do a lot as a family, but it seems to work. Me personally, I'll leave my kids at home and go on a cruise, but not you guys!

A Rare Date night! Not a cruise, we have only been aways for a
day or two in 15 years of marriage, but the times we slip out we DO enjoy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Short Break from Social Media, Reality and Distraction.

Social media is an amazing tool, but it's really the face-to-face interaction that makes a long-term impact ~ Felicia Day

To be real from the get go, I lasted 9 days.

That is not very long to deem experiment worthy.

I found in those 9 days I missed having the virtual connection, but I did much better with my real life connections.

The first two days I filled the void with similar things, I used Pinterest online. I read blogs about foster care and adoption, and I browsed online. Day three I skipped my online time in the morning and had coffee at the table with the kids as they filtered down. News flash time, it was a less stressful and a better morning.

Needing to get all the kids out the door, checking for clashing outfits (a real thing) asking about studying for tests and if homework was submitted, negotiating snack choices and last minute checks for fields trips can be exhausting. Hiding in social media while the kids swirl around me is not healthy, but it makes mornings seem less intense.

I would guess Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more, are used by others, like me, to escape or coast. I found taking time to use social media was not all terrible, but overall it took away from my ability to be PRESENT with loved ones and friends.

Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky ~Brene Brown

That said, Facebook specifically can be a quilt of things, not just online gossip. I book marked BBC news, my local area page, garage sale sites, School pages and cooking ideas. I check in on a foster care and child welfare site I really enjoy. I find social media can be a fast way to get news and local information. The trick is to use social media and not let it drain and deplete me.

Seeing parties, dinners or events can be painful. I realized much more often the reality is even if I were invited, something with one of the 9 children would likely come up. Unless things happen after bedtime and physically close by for a limited time, I am out, by choice and necessity.

Seeing celebrations makes me happy, and yet there is a disconnect. I feel no substance behind the image. Seeing a first birthday party photo, we do not see the funny moment the cake fell into the pasta salad or smell the amazing baklava someone made, we do not participate in any senses other than sight.

The experiment made me want to be better about seeing people, and accepting the reality of only being able to authentically grow so many friendships and connections. I feel badly for not seeing or liking people's moments. How many photos did I simply miss because they did not hit my news feed? How can I be more present in reality for those friends or family members?

It also created great conversations with the kids, about how social media can effect us, how shutting off our phones for family time is a necessity. We talked about the ease of both complimenting and insulting someone online, and how nerve racking a real conversation can be.

Back to using social media, appreciating the ability to get information and news both global and personal. I feel a new mindfulness about the effect of online connection and want to find more and more ways to be present in community in real space and time.

I have warm coffee in my hands, the smell of waffles mixed with oatmeal in the kitchen, noise machine purring on the stairs as the baby takes his morning nap. The sunlight is bright on a post election day morning, nation and world scrambling to find a type of unity and healing. Counters to clean, mountains of laundry to fold. I have a walk scheduled for later on, a playdate after school, church dinner tonight. I am worried about a list of things, it is real worry not to be pushed to the side.
This moment is very quiet, no pop of noise or color, no commentary or reaction. It is where I am present, feeling the day without filter or distraction.

Senses ~ 3 years ago running into the freezing lake after a late fall Sauna in Ely
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my strength and my Redeemer ~ Psalms 19:14