Thoughts


What a lent I had this year! It was a great, yet difficult learning experience. I finally realized just how much my constant computer use was effecting both my family and myself. Even now I am being careful of the time I spend on it. If I am engaged in a discipline (as my hubby puts it) then I can work on it during the day. All e-mail and “surfing” is now relegated to the hour after the kids go to bed. If i’m on during the day, I’m going to focus on just the one thing I got on to do. That should help me be more productive as well.

I have gotten a lot more things accomplished these past few weeks. I got about half of my kitchen cupboards painted. I can’t wait to get them done, but with my back problems, I have to take it really slowly. I’ll get it done eventually. I’ve also had a lot more fun with my kids. We have done more crafty things and more cuddling. I have worked to help Princess feel more loved in general. She needs lots of love, just like me. She wasn’t getting much from me before.

The kids were used by God to show me my obsession. They kept telling Chris and I how unhealthy we were always being while on our computers. My mom’s computer recently broke and now she has Chris’ computer on loan. So that should also help me use mine less. Chris has a good reason to use the computer with his classes. He is almost done with his masters! He’s graduating on May 15th. Strangely, his last class isn’t done until the end of May, though.

We had a great Easter yesterday and now it is spring break for the kids. I’m super excited for tomorrow because Chris has to go on his last retreat for his masters. Quarterly retreats are one of the requirements. He’s taking me along for a romantic retreat! We so rarely get any time alone! My mom is babysitting the kids which should be nice for everyone. We are going to go to a bed and breakfast we went to our first Christmas together. We’ve tried to make the plans, but with the holiday, they aren’t quite set in stone yet. We have several backup plans, though. So, we leave tomorrow one way or another. I CANNOT wait!!!

Well, I feel kind of rambly, but I wanted to get something down while I felt like writing. Now I need to make sure this gets posted to Twitter and then Facebook. Then I’m off for the day!

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Elaine has been fasting from the internet, so I am posting this for her. It is exciting to see what God is doing in her durring her fast. Stay tuned for renewed blogging zeal when she returns. Here is an excerpt from a sermon she gave telling about her decision:

I did not fully realize what was going on, but God guided me to the realization that for the past 3 years I have slowly grown more addicted to the internet. Last fall, I heard about a place for people to go to recover from addiction to the internet and computer. I chuckled at the thought. I knew there could be addiction to anything, but at that time, I didn’t really take it seriously.

It started out as a coping mechanism for depressed feelings. While I was on the internet, I could forget everything I was feeling about myself. It has recently been total isolation of myself from my life and family.

My in-laws expressed concern in September and I didn’t believe that it was so bad. I fought against the idea that I was allowing it to control me. At Christmas, we talked about it again. Chris knew the truth, but was patiently waiting for the Holy Spirit to bring me to place where I could accept it. He stood up for me with his parents because I had been trying to control my internet use while I was there.

Since then, God has been showing me how much I was letting it control me. Finally, about 2 weeks ago, God convinced me to fast the computer for a day. One day without any computer at all. I felt like I had lost my lifeblood. It was a ridiculous feeling. I knew it wasn’t right to feel that way about a silly computer. Computers are good tools, but bad constant companions.

I was missing so much by retreating into my computer. That day of fasting was enlightening. I was so much more aware of my surrounding and my family. I laughed, really laughed like I hadn’t in a very long time. I enjoyed my children. I saw them. I saw that they needed me. They needed a mom not a person attached to a computer called mom who didn’t do much mothering at all.

That night I made the decision to wait until 8 pm the next day to get on the computer and internet. I decided to do that from that point on. I would not use it while the kids were around. That went well for a few days, but still I was trying to control myself and not letting God control me. That first night that I went back to using the internet at night, the kids were not going to sleep when they should have been and I got very angry with them. It was an irrational anger. That made me realize that I was like a drug addict who needed her fix. My drug of choice is the internet I suppose, which is no better. Exodus 20:3 says, “”You shall have no other gods before me.” I was upset that the kids had dared to interrupt my time with my computer. I disgusted myself with that realization!

I have asked forgiveness, but I must give my computer and it use to God. I must let God control me instead. That is a daily battle.

Right now I am again fasting (and I only tell you this because it is so appropriate to the sermon). I feel I need to see what life can be life without an addiction. After that, I will lay down some ground rules for the computer and try to use it mostly for work. I have a battle ahead of me, but I am no longer hiding from God, but with Him. He is now my hiding place. The computer was not doing a good job of helping me cope because it is not meant to do that. God is.

God can free each of us from the sins that control us. None of us are exempt from the temptation to sin. We are sinful beings who can only be clean through God’s forgiveness. Take the time before communion to examine yourself through God’s eyes, he’ll help you see what needs to be forgiven and changed. He’ll even help you change it. If you would like prayer, please let us pray for you, either while communion is being served or later whenever you are ready. I covet your prayers as I wage war on my addiction.

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

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Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

Gift from Grandma & Grandpa

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Mrs. Packard

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Easter

Easter

Easter

Easter

Easter

Easter

Easter

Easter

Easter

Easter

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Today is Blog Action Day and the theme is Poverty. I read a great post by Travis already. You should check it out.

I recently had a conversation with a friend/relative. She said that Hubby and I inspired her with our kingdom living. She said that she sees that we live for eternity and not for today. She and her hubby want to be that way, but it is hard. I was honored that she sees us that way. We struggle everyday to live with what we have and not constantly desire more. We give away at least 20% of our income, but we try to give even more when we can. However, we don’t always succeed. I told her that, too. Right now we are in a bad spot because we wasted some extra money we had. If we hadn’t wasted it, we could have gotten ourselves out of that bad spot. It’s so easy to go on a spending spree when you’ve gone so long scrimping and then have some extra cash. But God forgives our mistakes. I asked Him to forgive me for my wastefulness and even causing Chris to be wasteful, too. I know He has forgiven me, but He also gently reminded me that while we wasted our opportunity to easily get out of a mess, He is still there for us. We have to pay the consequences of our wastefulness, but He will provide. He will make it possible to get out even though it may be harder than it could have been. Does that make sense?

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about poverty. Maybe we all have. Finances are bad for everyone right now. I think even the rich feel it in their pocketbooks. A few years ago I went to the Philippines. Lately I’ve been wishing that we lived more like they do. They have small houses that are cement if they are fortunate enough. Most have thatch roofs. They do their laundry by hand and walk to most places. They also have many people living in one house together. Our country has become one of so many independent people that when we face a crisis like this financial one, we don’t know what to do. We have become so independent that we have no one to turn to when we do need help.

So many of us live so far from our families that we don’t have the crucial family support we need. I, for one, live in a rural area and I have few ways to save gas money. I work 25 miles away from my house. Even to go to the grocery store is far. If I want to go to Target or Wal-Mart, I have to drive 45 minutes. As a nation, we are far too lazy. I say that it’s far to the grocery store, but really, I could walk there if I had to. And I should. I should save some money and get exercise.

I read an article recently titled,”I Live With Another Man’s Wife“. It is about four couples who live together. It was in issue 35 of Relevant Magazine. If you click the link, there is a summary of the article in the left column about half way down. I wish they had the entire article online, it was very good. These four couples save money by eating together and taking turns cooking. Their bills are less because they are split between the four families. They even have kids. They each have their private space, but otherwise all is shared, including work. I’ve been thinking that that is pretty smart. It is way more economically responsible. It’s also more financially and environmentally responsible. What would it take to get there, I wonder?

With the all the financial pressure that we are all feeling lately, with higher gas, food and other bills, we really need to take steps toward a better solution. Sure it is hard to live with other people and sure it is hard not to spend money you don’t really have. But in the end, we are way better off doing these fairly simple things to save ourselves from more serious problems.

Take a look at this very funny video from Saturday Night Live, Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford. I received a link to it via Twitter today, but I can’t figure out who from. Thank you to whoever you were!

Finally, here is another great post for Blog Action Day, by iChilly, talking about the action responsibility we have. So, take these thoughts and act on them! Let’s start the necessary change we need to live more responsibly. This will benefit ourselves and others because there will be more of everything to go around. Like iChilly wrote,  let’s not be selfish “Because selfishness is poverty of the soul.” I would rather be poor in “stuff” than poor in “soul”.

ping.fm looks pretty awesome. I’m trying it out now!

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