31 Days Unplugged – Day 25 – Working for God’s Glory

24 Mar

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If you know anything about me at all, you know that I am a stay-at-home-mom.  Since that is my life and it is what I know, that is the viewpoint with which I have approached this month of unplugging.  My sister pointed out to me that maybe I needed to keep people who work outside the home in mind, and then my Sunday school lesson last week directly addressed this problem, so I felt this post was meant to be!

According to Forbes, 64% of people spend time on non-work related websites while they are being paid to work.  That is almost unbelievable, isn’t it?

There are so many Bible verses that tell us that this is wrong:

Colossians 3:23 instructs is to “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

2 Thessalonians 3: 6-9 really lays it out for believers, saying “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you.  We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you.  We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.”

It is not right to waste our time at work, guys, for a couple of reasons. First, it is a bad example to unbelievers.  God has placed us in whatever position we are in at the moment for a specific reason, and we need to always be aware of that. We need to always work for God’s glory.

Secondly, when we are at work, we are being paid to work.  Even if you aren’t being held accountable to the person who is paying you, you will be held accountable by God.

Challenge #19 – When you are on the clock at work, do not look at any websites that are not work-related.  Don’t do any online shopping, return a Facebook message, or quickly check your Twitter feed.  

While I won’t be personally completing this challenge (since I obviously don’t work outside of the home) I know that this will be really difficult, especially if you are in the habit of spending a lot of time online at your job.  I know that you will find it beneficial in the end, though.

Let me know how it goes!

 

Warming My Heart Today…

24 Mar

While the kids are upstairs playing, I snapped a few quick pics of some things that are just making me happy today!

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Maddie LOVES my perfumes, and after I let her have a squirt of mine this weekend she decided to share hers with me.  Is that not the sweetest thing ever?  Now she stores hers next to mine in my bathroom.  I’m so glad to have a little girl.

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Jason was out of town most of last week.  I walked into my bathroom yesterday and found that he had brought home all of his hotel toiletries and lined them up next to my sink.  I thought it was so sweet that he was trying to give me a little luxury!  Boy do I need it after a week alone with the kids…

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Woody, who was given to Charlie by his cousin Noah, has been through so much!  He survived Noah and Charlie, but now Maddie has gotten ahold of him.  She loves him so much, and, as you can see, has practiced some of her make-up techniques on him.  There is nothing like a toy that has been so loved-on that they are about to fall apart.

 

Here’s to finding joy in the little things around you!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 24

23 Mar

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My friend Lindsay from Domesticated Working Woman is guest posting for me today!  She is an awesome new mommy who lives close by and has a wonderful perspective on unplugging.

Living in the south I never thought I would experience an ice storm.  Boy, was I wrong.  And, with that ice storm came fallen trees, downed telephone poles, and a loss of power for four whole days.

Having an infant, I immediately started stressing…

How will I pump?

How will I warm a bottle?

How will I keep him warm?

Then I started to think about what Mary did.  She certainly didn’t have a pump or bottle warmer or furnace to care for baby Jesus.

Admittedly, I spend a lot of time on social media now that I am home all day with my little boy.  I take pictures and upload them to Facebook and Instagram.  I read through Facebook and Twitter when up in the middle of the night feeding him.  Ironically, these things were not my concern when the power went out.  Going without them did not kill me or even hurt me a little bit…

It did put some things into perspective though.

The time that I’m spending editing and posting pictures, is time I could be soaking in with my little man.

Rather than focusing on capturing the right angle, I should be focusing on the way he kicks and stretches when I lay him on the changing table, the sound of his laugh, the way his eyes light up when I tickle his tummy.  Those are the things I don’t want to forget.

I spend so much time looking at him through my camera lens and I need to spend more time just looking at him and soaking it in.

I’m grateful for technology.  It allows me to share images and videos with family that are far away.  I can capture moments so that years from now we can relive them.  But, it can be distracting.

Since being forced to unplug, I have made an effort to leave my phone and iPad outside the nursery door.  When I’m up in the middle of the night (which is rare now) I look and listen and embrace my little boy rather than read up on the latest news or celebrity story.  Rather than video taping every tummy time session, I get on my tummy and just get down to his level and observe.  I’m thankful for the things that making taking care of him more convenient for me.

There are so many little moments that we miss when we have our eyes on our plug-ins.

I don’t want to miss them.  I want all of them stored in the original harddrive God gave me; my memory.  Years from now when I’m old and my eyes have failed me, I will have those memories.

Psalms 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

 


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31 Days Unplugged – Day 23 – Being Held Accountable

22 Mar

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Challenge #18 – Memorize and meditate on Hebrews 4:13.

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31 Days Unplugged – Day 22 – A Little Encouragement for YOU!

21 Mar

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We are in the home stretch, guys!  I just want to offer a little encouragement to you today.

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As I have had more time in my days (and have had to go without Instagram, which I LOVE), I have been using my camera more and more.  I snapped this picture of a little trinket that I keep on my nightstand.  It is really inspiring to me and hope that it is to you, too!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 21 – To My Blogging Friends

20 Mar

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At this point in the 31 Days Unplugged Challenge, we have cut down our use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and I am including Pinterest) to 25 minutes or less a day.  We have deleted time-wasting games from our phones and computers.  We have cut our time watching television in half, and we are paying attention to how our family uses technology and hopefully cutting them back, also. We are spending more time in prayer and studying God’s word, we are enjoying meals with our family, and we are helping other people.  We are doing CRAZY things like reading books, memorizing scripture, and giving our family unstructured time each day.

Today, I would like to address an area that may not apply to everyone. This post is for my blogger friends.

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As a blogger, I know how it can become an obsession.  It can take up a lot of our time to get that perfect header and the perfect picture with the perfect caption. This month and last month for me, especially, I personally have spent a lot of time on my blog.  It takes a lot of work to post every day, after all. Kind of goes against my whole unplugged idea, doesn’t it?

One thing I love about blogging is the creative aspect of it.  I love taking pictures and writing, so this is the perfect outlet for me.  I also really enjoy reading other blogs and the whole community of bloggers that is formed. I have made some good friends through my blog.

However, I realize the need to rein in the amount of time I spend on my blog, and that I need to be careful to not let it take up the time I am saving during the day.

Challenge #17-If you have a blog, document throughout several days how much time you spend on your blog and cut back on the time you are dedicating to it.  Do you check your stats a million times a day?  Do you perhaps post too often?  Maybe you can schedule posts in advance to save yourself some time during the day?

I truly believe that blogs are a good thing that can be used for forming community, for helping people, and for spreading the love of Jesus, but they (not unlike any form of social media) can also be time wasters.

31 Days Unplugged – Day 20 – Our Nighttime Routines

19 Mar

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Haven’t we drastically changed our daily routines and habits so far this month?  Spending my days unplugged has really made a difference in my life and my home.

One thing that I haven’t changed so far, or asked you to change, is my nighttime routine.  In the beginning, I was spending a lot of time online at nighttime, quickly scrolling through Facebook and snapping pictures with Instagram.  I was like a crazy person in front of the computer!  I could probably be compared to a person opening a bag of chips and stuffing their face after a day of fasting.

I realized after a couple of nights of this how wasteful this was of me.  I was neglecting my husband and my children, and also losing valuable time with God.  I also saw that there was really nothing on Facebook or Instagram that I wanted to see. So, after I thought about this a bit, my nighttime bingeing routine quickly changed.

I could never totally give up Facebook.  When I do check Facebook for a few minutes at nighttime, I usually do have a message that needs to be returned.  I manage a page for this blog as well as my husband’s business page, and those things have to be tended to.  I can see the need for Facebook and think it would be unrealistic to give it up completely.  However, it isn’t something that should rule my life or my time.

I will remind you of the first Bible verse that we memorized, which I have repeated over and over to myself throughout the month:

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Challenge #16 – When you check your social media sources at nighttime, allow yourself only 15 minutes.  Set a timer if you need to, and spend the rest of your night doing something more meaningful.  

For some, this might mean spending time reading, doing some housework, watching a movie with your spouse, going for a nice walk, or playing a game with your kids.  The possibilities are endless!  Good luck!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 19 – Random Acts of Kindness

18 Mar

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As I have found a bit more time in my schedule, it has been on my heart to do more for other people.  Jesus commanded us before He ascended to Heaven to love one another, and it is a very serious command.  If we all just loved one another the way that Christ loves us, the world would be a much better place, wouldn’t it?

One way that today’s Christians can demonstrate Christ’s love for us is through small acts of giving.  Showing kindness towards a person (whether you know them or not, whether they are a believer or not, whether you feel they deserve it or not) is not only good for the person on the receiving end, but the giver as well. Plus, Jesus told us that we should love everyone, so we should.

 

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Challenge #15 – This week, and every week, perform one random act of kindness.

Don’t know what to do as a random act of kindness?  Here are some ideas:

1. Bake some cookies and take them to your neighbors.

2. Pay for a cup of coffee for someone in McDonalds.

3. When you check out at the grocery story, buy a $5 gift card.  Hand it to someone in the parking lot.

4.  Offer to babysit for a young mother.

5.  Get up early and make a cup of coffee for your husband or wife.  Take it to them in bed.

6.  Make dinner for someone in your community who is sick.

7.  Hold a door open for someone.

8.  Tell someone they look nice today.

9.  Send a letter or card to someone.

10.  Visit a nursing home.

 

You see, random acts of kindness can take some time, or no time.  They can cost as much money as you want to spend, or no money at all.  The great thing, though, is that so many people benefit from them.

If you need some more ideas, check out this page.  She has some really great suggestions!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 18 – Unplugging Your Family

17 Mar

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As I have spent less and less time plugged in this month, I have become much more aware of other people and how they are spending their time.  I am no longer satisfied sitting next to Jason with both of us glued to our cell phones.  That just doesn’t count as quality time, you know?

Something else I don’t like seeing is this:

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Not that they aren’t the cutest things ever, but there are so many other things I would rather see them doing!

I have never been a fan of phones at the table, or the person riding next to me in the car scrolling through their newsfeed, but now I am aware of those things more than ever.  Honestly, I find it very rude.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 tells us, “So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.”

God gives us many pleasures in this life: our friends and family, our jobs, our churches, nature.  The list goes on and on!  Is your family taking advantage of these gifts from God, or are you allowing technology to rob you of those joys?

In this verse, King Solomon tells us that mealtimes in particular are meant to be a time of joy.  We need to take full advantage of those opportunities to sit around a table with our families, talk, laugh, and enjoy food and drink. Whether it’s a homemade meal or McDonald’s, in this busy, fast-paced world, God means for us to slow down and enjoy our meals together.

Challenge #14 – Today, I want you to pay attention to how your family uses technology.  Stop letting anyone use technology while a meal is taking place.  Use that time instead to talk, laugh, and find joy in each other!

 

31 Days Unplugged – Day 17 – Four Books to Change Your Mind, Marriage, Time and Faith

16 Mar

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We are well into our 31 Days Unplugged Challenge, and if you are anything like me you are finding that, as you spend less time in front of your computer or with your phone in your hand, you have time to do other things.  

Amy Bennett is guest-posting for Mommy in Bonlee today, offering us a wonderful alternative to spending our time online: reading an actual book!  Amy is a working mom of 2 daughters from South Carolina.  You can read more from her on her blog, Amy J. Bennett.

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I believe books to be life-changing.

I’ve always been an avid reader, but for years I only read novels.  I’d watch my parents read non-fiction books and it never looked appealing.  Perhaps because I was in school for so long and then had young children, the last thing I wanted to do in my free time was learn.

Somewhere in my 20’s I started picking up Christian non-fiction and I got absolutely hooked.  Even though I try to read a novel every once in awhile, there’s nothing I love more than gaining new knowledge and new perspective to help me grow.

I put together a list of four of my favorite books that have significantly impacted my life in different areas.  Reading a book a week, in just a month you could change your mind, marriage, time and faith.

Change Your Mind

I don’t know about you, but I struggle a lot with insecurities and self-doubt.  Renee Swope’s book A Confident Heart was such an encouragement.  She helped me stop the negative talk and build confidence in who God made me. So much of our struggle is in our minds and this book definitely helped strengthen my mind and heart muscles.

Change Your Marriage

I’ve read quite a few marriage books.  Some older favorites are the 5 Love Languages and Love & Respect.  A more recent, but less known book, that absolutely helped in my marriage is Beyond Ordinary.  After surviving an affair, Justin and Trisha Davis have solid advice on how to resist keeping your marriage ordinary.

Change Your Time

You may know Crystal Paine as Money Saving Mom, the blogger behind the uber popular home finance site MoneySavingMom.com.  Her latest book is Say Goodbye to Survival Mode where she’s gathered up all her best advice for the “super busy, the stressed out, and the overtired.”  She talks about everything from laundry to finances.  Crystal always challenges me on how to be intentional with my time. I’m really not sure where I’d be without her!

Change Your Faith

Christian fiction is my favorite type of non-fiction and there have been so many books that have shaped my faith.  One book that I like to recommend because it’s an older book is A Shepherd Looks at the Good Shepherd.  As an actual shepherd, Phillip Keller gives us insight to Jesus that very few of us, if any, in America can provide.  I walked away with a new appreciation for God’s love for us and a compassionate heart towards those without a shepherd.

I hope you’ve found some new books that might encourage you and would love to hear what books you might recommend!