Archive | Musings RSS feed for this section

31 Days Unplugged – Day 5 – What to do with all that time?

4 Mar

images

Welcome back!  We are on day 5 of the 31 Days Unplugged challenge.  At this point, we have unplugged from all forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) during the day.  We are still using these things after the sun goes down, but we are dedicating our days to God and enjoying the abundant life he has promised to us.

If you’re like me, you are finding yourself with some extra time on your hands.  By cutting down on time in front of the computer or staring mindlessly at my cell phone, I have lots of time to do other things, even some things I have been putting off by saying I just didn’t have time to get to it.

Throughout the month, I (and some great guest-bloggers) am going to be giving you some inspiration for things to do to fill up the time that you will inevitably find throughout your day.

Challenge #4-Do something you have been putting off for awhile.  This could be cleaning or organizing, calling someone, writing thank you notes, ironing clothes, whatever it is you have been procrastinating.  You know, the thing you think about every day, but never seem to get done?

I have been wanting to organize my jewelry box for weeks, ever since I got a wonderful new (to me) jewelry box that was my grandma’s.  I have been keeping my jewelry stuffed in a drawer in our bedroom, and it was so messy that I could hardly open the drawer, and a lot of my jewelry was turning into a tangled mess.  I didn’t even want to wear any of my jewelry because it was such a hassle to get to it!

This is my messy drawer full of jewelry...

This is my messy drawer full of jewelry…

...and my beautiful, organized jewelry box!

…and my beautiful, organized jewelry box!

I feel so great having this done, and all I had to do was take 15 minutes I would have otherwise wasted scrolling through Facebook.

Ephesians 5: 15-16 says “So be careful how you live.  Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.”

So let’s spend our new found-time wisely!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 4 – A Reflection

3 Mar

images

I have most of my posts for the month already written and scheduled so that I won’t be stressing about writing something every day, but I decided to change things around a bit and actually write tonight.  Today was difficult for me and I felt like I should share it with you. My goal, after all, is to help someone who may be struggling, and to do that I feel the need to talk about my own struggles.

For those who have been participating since the beginning, this was our 3rd day unplugged.  I have only been on social media at nighttime, and not for very long then.  Saturday and Sunday were pieces of cake, but we were really busy and were surrounded by people.

Today, however, was a different story.  Everyone went to work, leaving the kids and myself at home.  I am a stay-at-home-mom, so of course I don’t have a problem with that, but we were kind of stranded at the house today.  We were all tired from a busy weekend and the weather has been horrible, so we couldn’t even have anyone over.

Our day began really early, and I had a feeling it was going to be a tough one…and it was.  I had the urge SO many times to check on Facebook or Instagram really quickly, but I didn’t.  I was bored, tired of talking to the kids, and just…grumpy.  Normally when I am feeling like this, I would zone out online for a little while, but I couldn’t do that today.  When the sun finally set and I could log onto Facebook, I realized something-I had missed nothing.  Facebook really is a waste of time for me.

Instead of spending precious time on the Internet today, I got so much done around the house that I had been putting off.  The kids and I went through their toy boxes and cleaned out Maddie’s closet.  I ironed clothes for Jason, and the kids and I even watched a movie in the middle of the day.  It feels so good to have those things done, and I honestly wouldn’t have done them if I had been online.

Our nighttime routine has run much more smoothly tonight, and I don’t fell stressed out at all right now.

I see the point of unplugging, and I hope you do, too.  We need to pay attention to how we are spending our time. I am sharing this not to brag about what I accomplished today, but to tell you that it was hard for me today. Now I see that it was worth it, and I know that tomorrow will be easier.

No additional challenge today-just continue on with what we have started.

31 Days Unplugged Day 3

2 Mar

images

I have a new challenge for you today. It is a tough one, but totally worth it.  I think you will find that it will add so much meaning to your entire day!

At this point, we have cut out social media during our day and replaced it with prayer time.  Now, we are going to take it to another level. If you’re like me, you are rushing to check Facebook and Instagram before the sun rises in the morning!

Challenge #3-Do not use any form of social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) in the morning.  Instead, establish a routine of spending your mornings with God by completing a daily devotion of some sort.

When I cut social media out of my morning routine, I found that my days began much more peacefully, and the entire household ran more smoothly.  I am no longer trying to scroll through my news feeds while brushing my teeth, fixing coffee and juice, getting morning cartoons going, etc.

I now treasure my mornings, and actually look forward to getting up early to spend some quiet time with God then watch the news with my husband.

I have some great suggestions for you if you are looking for a good resource for devotions.  My favorite is She Reads Truth.  This is a wonderful community of women offering daily devotions and conversation.  They dig deep into the word, which I appreciate.

Another wonderful resource is You Version.  You can choose from hundreds of different devotions to complete, so you can find one that is just right for you.

I have recently discovered Biblia, a great online Bible.  I love it because it accesses a good online commentary.

If you would rather have a book to hold in your hand (or if it’s too tempting to have your cell phone or computer out), you can head to any bookstore or even Wal-Mart and pick something up.  Your local library probably has something, as well.  The amount of Christian resources available is almost overwhelming!

1 John 5:21 warns, “…keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”  What better way to follow this instruction than to begin our days in fellowship with God, instead of with something that has no meaning whatsoever?

See you tomorrow!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 2 – Let’s Live Abundantly

1 Mar

images

Well, we did it!  We went through one entire day, from sun-up to sun-down, without using social media.  I hope that you found it to be as uplifting as I did.  It is not easy, but spending that extra time with God made it worth it.  

I would love to hear about your experiences yesterday-please leave a comment below letting me know how yesterday went for you!

For today’s challenge, in addition to continuing without social media from sun-up to sundown, I would like for us all to memorize a piece of scripture that means so much to me when I feel tempted to give in and waste my precious, God-given time.

1abackbluelacey3col

Abundant is defined as “present in great quantity, more than adequate, over-sufficient, well supplied, abounding, or richly supplied.”  I don’t know about you, but that is the kind of life I want!  I don’t want to be satisfied with an adequate or sufficient life, I want an abundant life!

…and God wants that for us, too.

All we have to do, guys, is stop giving in to the thief that is coming to destroy that abundant life.

Challenge #2    I challenge you to memorize John 10:10 today.  Write it down on post-its and put them around the house in places that catch your eye.  Be sure to put one of those post-its on your computer.  When you are tempted to quickly check Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, say this verse to yourself and imagine what God wants for you.  

Have a great, abundant day!

31 Days Unplugged-Day 1

28 Feb

images

Thank you for joining me today for the first day of my 31 Days Unplugged challenge!  Remember to grab the button to the side and add it to your blog if you are joining us for the challenge!

How much time do you waste on the Internet? I am not talking about checking e-mail for work or working on an online class or finding a recipe or anything like that.  I mean how much time do you waste on things that have no real benefit to your life? Time that could be better spent elsewhere?

Do you pick up your phone every time you walk past it to check the Facebook feed?  Do you spend more time trying to get the perfect picture of your kids for Instagram than you actually spend playing with your kids? Do you play Candy Crush at the dinner table?

Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”

Life is short, guys.  We need to spend it on things that matter.  God has a purpose for each of us, and we don’t need to get distracted from that purpose. Let’s reclaim that time that we are wasting and use it to fulfill our calling.

Challenge #1-From sun up to sun down, for the entire month of March, do not use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (or any other form of social media that you are feeling convicted about).  Instead, during the times when you would normally use these forms of social media, I ask you to pray.  When you think about picking up your cell phone or opening up the laptop, spend that time with God. These prayers may lost only a few seconds.  Ask God for strength and knowledge and peace, and for direction in how you spend this time that you are reclaiming. Pray for the other people that are joining you in this challenge, as well.

Good luck, everyone!

31 Days Unplugged-Let’s Do It!

26 Feb

images

I spend a lot of time on the internet.  I am addicted to Facebook, probably Instagram, too, and I love to read blogs.  I do have a Twitter account, but thankfully I can’t quite figure out how to use it, so I don’t spend too much time on that at this point.

Don’t judge me.  I am a stay-at-home mom, and I get bored sometimes.  I enjoy the adult interaction that the internet affords me.  Anyway, don’t act like you aren’t on Facebook all day, too.  I see you on there.

All jokes aside, though, I do recognize that this is a problem.  My children are growing up so fast, and I don’t want to waste a minute.   I don’t want to be crabby when they interrupt me when I am reading my “friend’s” latest rant or the funny meme someone just shared.  I want to be present in my life, not my “friend’s” made-up online life (let’s be honest, what we put out there is not who we really are).

Have you noticed all of the things circulating on Facebook and other forms of social media that are basically telling people to get off of the Internet and spend time with REAL people?

This one is fairly popular:

And here’s another:

There are tons of videos out there, urging us to cut down our time on the phone and computer.  There are inspirational blogs and quotes and pictures of kids being ignored by parents on cell phones.  Isn’t it ironic that the message to unplug is so prominent on social media?

The real question is this: when are we going to listen? How much of our life are we going to waste before we act? I say no more.

Ephesians 5: 16-17 says, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”

Are we making the most of the time that God is giving us?  Are we neglecting the things that God has given us to do, so we can spend our precious minutes scrolling mindlessly through the newsfeed?

I truly believe that we are being distracted from the work that God intends us to do for Him, and it is time to do something about it.  

“For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”   James 1:23-25

Let’s listen and obey.

Throughout the month of March, for 31 days, I am going to challenge you to unplug, to spend your time in your real life with your real people.  Every day I will have a new post on the topic of unplugging.  Sometimes it will be a new challenge for you, sometimes I will offer suggestions for things to do to fill up the time you will inevitably find, and on some days I will have guest bloggers sharing their stories of inspiration.

When I mentioned to a few friends and family members wheat I was planning, they pointed out the hypocrisy of my 31 Days Unplugged challenge.  I am trying to encourage people to read my blog so they can be encouraged to spend less time on the internet?  For that reason, I will keep most of my posts short and simple, and I will release them at 9:00 every night.  That way, you can spend only a few minutes reading my blog, and you can read it when it best fits into your schedule.

So let’s do it.

Join me on March 1st for the first day of 31 Days Unplugged, and your first challenge!

**Some housekeeping notes:  If you are joining me on this challenge, please grab my 31 Days Unplugged button and share it on your blog if you have one.  

I would love to hear from everyone about your experiences throughout the month!  Feel free to comment on Mommy in Bonlee’s Facebook page, or in the comments section of the blog.  I would love to hear from you and someone may be encouraged from your story.  Please remember that I will be participating in the challenge, also, so I may be slow getting back to you!

On March 31st I will be holding a link-up to share everyone’s stories of being unplugged, so please link-up your blog on that day!

Letting Go of Mommy Guilt

15 Feb

DSC_0001

I love taking pictures of my kids on Instagram.  When we go somewhere or make something that I think is really cool, I snap a picture of them smiling and happy, edit it, and post it, sometimes forwarding it on to Facebook.  I think it’s a good way for family and friends who don’t live close by to keep up with the kids, and I also really enjoy the creative aspect of taking a great picture.

I don’t take pictures with the intention of getting compliments, but people sometimes comment with things like “Your kids are so lucky” or  “You’re such a good mom.”  You would think this would make me feel good, but when people make comments like this, I have a pretty standard stream of negative thoughts that run through my mind: Why would they say that? or Boy, have I got them fooled! or No, I’m not.  I just don’t photograph and publish the bad moments. 

While some of these things are correct (I don’t usually photograph and publish the meltdowns and fights and messes), God spoke to me the other day regarding the other negative thoughts that I have concerning myself and motherhood.  A friend from church commented under a picture that I had put of the kids on Facebook, “You are such a good mom.” I immediately started with the negative self-talk.  She just doesn’t know.  I’m really not. Why would she say that?  God spoke to me immediately.  Laresa, why wouldn’t she say that?  You are a good mother.  Why don’t you believe it? 

This was a powerful moment for me.  What if what everyone says about me is true?  What if I AM a good mother?  What if my kids ARE going to be ok?! Why should I not believe that?  I realized that it is time to stop carrying around this mother’s guilt that has been plaguing me, and rest in the knowledge that I am good enough. A weight was lifted from my shoulders immediately.

Mother’s guilt is the worst type of guilt. It begins the day you bring your baby home from the hospital.  We feel guilt over how we feed them, where the baby sleeps, and what type of diaper we are using.  Then the baby gets a little older, and the guilt changes a little.  Working moms feel guilt over working and stay-at-home moms feel guilt over staying at home.  We feel guilty about the choices we are making about our children’s education, where we shop for their clothes, what food they are eating, how many cartoons they are watching every day, and how many stories we are reading to them at nighttime.  We even feel guilty about the number of children we have! I am sure that as my kids get older, different things will spring up for me to feel guilty about.

I know that I am not alone in this.  I hear my friends lamenting over their guilty consciences and the decisions they are making for their families.  Even women who I know to be very confident and self-assured feel mother’s guilt. I once overheard a woman warning a mother-to-be about mother’s guilt at her baby shower! All of the women standing around the unsuspecting woman were nodding their heads in understanding.

There is nothing wrong with the feeling of guilt in itself: it can be an important warning when there is a problem.  In Romans 2:14-15, Paul tells us, Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”  God gave human beings the feeling of guilt to alert us when we are on the wrong path, so it is an important thing to pay attention to.

The mother’s guilt that I am referring to, however, is not God-given.  It is a self-imposed feeling of not being enough, a form of self-condemnation that comes from the devil himself.  According to Revelation 12:10, Satan is our accuser.  1 Peter 5:8 explains that he is our enemy and that he prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” The devil is using our feelings of mother’s guilt to hold us back and to keep us from being the women that God intends us to be!

Mother’s guilt can have a negative impact on our entire family.  We can over-compensate with our children by spoiling them or not disciplining them when we should.  We can depend on our husbands to make us feel better about ourselves, something that is not their duty, and then get angry when they can’t. This isn’t what God wants for us, for our children, or for our husbands.  In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” He sacrificed himself for us and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell his believers so that we could live a life of peace, not full of worry.

How do we let go of our mother’s guilt?  Let’s look to Philippians 4:6-9 for a solution:

6Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

8And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

First of all, we need to take this issue to God in prayer.  He is waiting to hear from us and wants to help.  He will give us peace to guard us as we go about the difficult task of being mamas.

Then, we need to change our thought process.  When our minds start going in the direction of self-condemnation and negative self-talk, we need to stop ourselves.  Think about good things we have done today (I know there are tons), and tell ourselves we are good enough…because we are…because Jesus made us good enough. We need to remember that Jesus freed us from the burden of having to be good enough when He died on the cross for us.

If you have experienced some sort of trauma in your life that has caused you to suffer from serious self-condemnation, I urge you to find someone to talk to.  It could be a trusted friend, your pastor, or a counselor.  Sometimes we have to allow God to work through other people.

My prayer for you all, fellow mamas, is that you find yourself free of mommy-guilt, that you break free of the stronghold that the devil has on you, and that you allow God to fill your heart and mind and home with peace that only He can give.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

24 Jan

The word juxtaposition is defined as “the act or instance of placing side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.”  As soon as I saw today’s photo challenge I knew I had to participate, because my home is full of INSANE juxtaposition.

Having a boy and girl so close in age means that they do play a lot together, and their toys, so boyish and so girlish, meld together in sometimes strange ways.  Just this afternoon, for instance, the three of us were playing with Maddie’s Barbies, when suddenly Charlie ninja-kicked my princess Barbie in the face with Skipper, and suddenly we are playing ninja-Barbie.

Here are some other examples of this going on around my house:

A mixture of Hello Kitty and DC Superhero Legos.

A mixture of Hello Kitty and DC Superhero Legos.

 

A beautiful furry headband, torn apart by a rambunctious little boy.

A beautiful furry headband, torn apart by a rambunctious little boy.

 

Another result of a rambunctious little boy: a demolished tea set.

Another result of a rambunctious little boy: a demolished tea set.

 

Maddie loves to take Charlie's superhero figures and make them "friends" with her Barbies.

Maddie loves to take Charlie’s superhero figures and make them “friends” with her Barbies.

A princess storybook hidden on a bookshelf in a certain someone's room.

A princess storybook hidden on a bookshelf in a certain someone’s room.

 

A football player resting in Maddie's dollhouse.

A football player resting in Maddie’s dollhouse.

 

Our day is full of juxtaposition: ups and downs, laughter and tears, hugs and hitting.  With a 3-year old girl and a 4-year old boy with totally different personalities, you never know what you’re going to get, but it is interesting, to say the least.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/photo-challenge-juxtaposition/

 

 

 

 

Finding the Perfect in the Imperfect-A Mommy Blogger’s Deceit

14 Jan

I am getting ready to reveal the biggest secret of lifestyle bloggers everywhere…..we are not perfect! It’s all an illusion. A lot of mommy bloggers and lifestyle bloggers in general tend to perpetuate the myth of perfection, which is not good for us normal, hardworking mamas who are just struggling to make it through the day, and may have a minute to catch up on our favorite blog before we collapse into bed at night.

It has been on my heart lately to show my imperfections so that God can use me.  He does not, after all, use the perfect.

I hope you all realize that when you read a blog, you aren’t getting the whole picture of someone’s life.  You are getting what they want you to see and believe about them.  To illustrate my point, I snapped some pictures of my house when the kids and I got home from Bible study today.  I didn’t change anything about my house or the rooms I was photographing, just changed my point-of-view or zoomed in or out.

I am enjoying a nice hot pot of green tea today!

I am enjoying a nice hot pot of green tea today!

 

Can someone come over and finish unpacking my groceries, unload the dishwasher, take out the recycling and compost, and put the kids' things away?

Can someone come over and finish unpacking my groceries, unload the dishwasher, take out the recycling and compost, and put the kids’ things away?

 

I love this lampshade in my living room!  So colorful.

I love this lampshade in my living room! So colorful.

 

This gorgeous lamp sits on the table that Charlie now exclusively uses for Lego building.  Goldie is going to have to be relocated sometime soon.  And be careful to not walk around that table in bare feet-Legos are dangerous!

This gorgeous lamp sits on the table that Charlie now exclusively uses for Lego building. Goldie is going to have to be relocated sometime soon. And be careful to not walk around that table in bare feet-Legos are dangerous!

 

The Madster getting in her mid-afternoon cartoon.

The Madster getting in her mid-afternoon cartoon.

 

Why didn't someone come make my bed while we were gone this morning?  And at what age will the kids start hanging up their own coats?

Why didn’t someone come make my bed while we were gone this morning? And at what age will the kids start hanging up their own coats?

 

Maddie's cute little headband that she wore to church Sunday.

Maddie’s cute little headband that she wore to church Sunday.

 

Hey!  I folded that laundry before I piled it on the stairs!

Hey! I folded that laundry before I piled it on the stairs!

 

My dad got Maddie this beautiful little piano for Christmas.  I love it.

My dad got Maddie this beautiful little piano for Christmas. I love it.

 

Maddie's bed stays piled with her toys that she insists on sleeping with!

Maddie’s bed stays piled with her toys that she insists on sleeping with!

 

I am not a professional photographer, so just imagine what I would be able to do if I was! We catch perfect images, then write catchy tag lines with lots of exclamation points, then start Pinning, Tweeting, and Instagramming.

No one is perfect, so please don’t read these blogs and think that you are less or need to do any more than you are already doing.  Give yourself a break, and just focus on the good!

That is the real secret of bloggers-we find the beauty in the mess, then enjoy sharing that beauty with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Praises: Renewal

13 Jan

After the ups-and-downs of the Holiday season, I want to praise God today for blessing me with this season of renewal. Roman 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” While the holidays are a wonderful time, they are also busy and distracting, and I get a bit off-track!

I am thankful today for….

Early mornings spent with the Madster...

Early mornings spent with the Madster…

 

and time to spend with God before the day begins.  It means so much to me.

…and time to spend with God before the day begins. It means so much to me.

Have a great day!

Be sure to check out my friend Amy at Walk Humble With God for more Monday Praises!