So, I won 25% off of blog consulting with Christian Mommy Blogger in March! Oh yeah. Are you familiar with Christian Mommy Blogger? If not, go check out their site. I am particularly fond of their Tech Tuesday posts. After being notified that I won, I went to their site to check out the services they offer left me wondering if I would benefit more from their Time Management help or the Blog Critique. So, I chose both.
Leigh Ann and Nikki have launched a new consulting venture, which is perfect (in my humble opinion) since this provides them a means to share their know how and and their skills as it relates to blogging well with those of us that know we want to pursue our blogging with more regularity and passion – and in hopes that we would also gain more readership.
One thing I felt when I was on the hangout with these girls? Old. Yup. Plain and simple, I felt old. They are were I was about 10-15 years ago. Both of these wonderful mammas have new life in their bellies. How great is that?! My baby is 5. Sigh.
But, I also felt some other things too. I felt understood. That is hugely important. The ladies understood the fact that life often gets in the way of our best intentions. I felt cared for. The ladies made it known that they aren’t just interested in me and my blog because I was a paying customer. They really wanted to help me to clarify what it is that I wanted to communicate via my blog.
What I didn’t feel was equally important. I didn’t feel judged. They understood the challenges that get in the way. I didn’t feel that they thought of me as a helpless old fuddy duddy. They treated me with kindness and respect. It was a lovely experience.
I need deadlines and I need accountability. Learning that, the girls gave me both. I appreciated both the blog critique (where they uncovered a multitude of things that I could add, delete, or improve) and the time management consultation.
My advice to those of you that blog (regularly or irregularly)? Let these bright young ladies give you a hand in making it that much better!
Have you ever invested in your blog? I mean beyond the basics of paying for hosting and maybe a theme. Have you asked others what they thought of your blog or your ministry in order to gain an outside perspective on things? I would love to hear about your experience with this! Share your thoughts in the comments below.
I am off Facebook. I have committed to not checking in and seeing who is saying what. I have chosen not to post my own thoughts through my wall (although I WILL still publish my blog posts through to Facebook and I will very likely ‘like’ and share other great content from around the web, which can easily be done without “me” being on Facebook – so, if you see “activity” from my Facebook account, I didn’t cheat, I promise!)
Why did I choose to do this? I do have numerous reasons. I have been feeling the tugging on my heart for weeks now – ever since Kelly shared in our eaHELP group that she was considering doing a Facebook fast (and then did one – for FORTY days!) And then I felt even more confident of that decision when I read similar posts like this one that Elizabeth wrote.
As a Christian with ALOT of opinions – I find it very hard not to share what I believe – especially about what is right and what is wrong. Sigh. I just am not sure that God wants me to be sharing my opinions so loudly. I feel the need to correct people that have it so “wrong”. :) How can so many people that profess Christianity be led so astray by popular opinion and political correctness? Sigh. Again. Facebook is used by many to make their voices heard, I’m not alone there. The problem is, though, that it leads to contention. Contention leads to negative feelings of anger and even disgust. I don’t think it is God honoring for me to be causing people to have those feelings. No matter how God honoring my opinion on any given subject matter may be.
Getting “into it” with people has physical ramifications for me as well. I get red in the face and it feels like I am so hot beneath my cheek skin. Sometimes I can even feel that my heart is racing.
The worst part. I am not making a difference. Nobody is changing their opinion of the subject at hand. They are only changing their opinion of me.
That is one big reason for getting off Facebook for now. I have others that are equally compelling.
It is much too strong of a distraction for me. I feel the need to check it much too often. It gets in line in front of things that I truly don’t want it to (so WHY do I let it?!?) – like giving the proper attention to my family members instead of half listening to a request from my 7 year old while typing a witty response to someone on Facebook; like having to ask my husband what he just asked me because I was too busy reading an update on my Newsfeed; like listening to a great, much needed Bible study online, but having to continually go back in and replay it from the beginning because I wasn’t actually listening; like dealing with a ton of guilt because I know that I had my SlimTimer running – indicating that I am working for X client – but not actually sure how much of that last hour I really devoted exclusively to the client. Then potentially putting in more time than is needed in order to ensure that I’ve made sure to give at least what I’ve committed to. (I’d rather overshoot than under, ya know?)
I had put up an indication on my FB profile that I was going to take a fast starting April 1st or sooner but then had a mini-event that pushed me over the edge and caused me to just start it NOW.
I can’t believe I am going to admit this to you.
My little guy has been sick since Sunday. He has a stomach flu. He spent Sunday evening vomiting - all night. Monday, it switched to diarrhea – and it has been that since. Wednesday late afternoon, he was much improved and I thought it was, pretty much, behind us. So, Thursday I am sitting at my desk and completely caught up in spreading my wisdom to all those who are seeking it out (not!). My little guy approaches me and tells me he had an accident. I peeked in through the waistband of his pants and saw no mess and told him to just go sit on the toilet feeling sure it was a false alarm. Plus – I had things that I HAD to say (to people that really don’t want to hear it anyway). He starts to insist that he already went and I interrupt him to say “GO sit on the toilet ” even more sternly this time. Not my proudest moment. He leaves but starts crying and saying “I said I already went.” Exasperated, I leave my important “work” of educating the wayward to follow him to the bathroom. In assisting him to sit on the toilet what do I feel? Very wet pants. Gulp. I couldn’t see anything because it was that liquidy and clear – and all down his legs. He was still crying. He wasn’t crying because his tummy hurt. He wasn’t crying because he had an accident. He was crying because his mom was mean to him.
I put him in the bathtub and called my sister. Then I cried. I felt I failed at what I want to do my best at. Being a mom. After I finished cleaning him up and started that next load of laundry, I went immediately to my already-opened Facebook page and typed “That is it. My Facebook fast starts now. I will see you back here no sooner than April 8th.” I immediately felt better. (I should have fasted from Facebook during the election too!)
Here is what I know for sure. I don’t have to set things “right” on Facebook. And, really, does it really matter that people are wrong on Facebook? Nope. Here is a newsflash. There were people that had it wrong long before Facebook. We just had the pleasure of not knowing. I miss not knowing.
I’ve already decided that when I return to Facebook, (and yes, I will return to Facebook because it does have many redeeming qualities that I really enjoy) I am going to do it differently. I will not un-friend masses of people, I will just make it so I don’t see the updates of those people that get my spark lit in my news feed (want to know how to do that? I can tell you). I will not engage in debates. I can’t and won’t promise that I won’t ever share news stories or articles that have messages that might be considered controversial but I will do it less often and I will rest in the fact that I know I don’t have to defend them just because people retaliate. They are entitled to their own misinformed opinion. ;-)
I won’t allow it to come before those things that are truly important to me. I intend to not check Facebook until I have done at least 1/2 a days work for my clients, then I will check it and engage and then log out again while I continue to finish up my work. I will turn away from the computer and look my children in the eyes when they want to talk…IF I have to be on the computer at all when my children are at home (I am working on scheduling my day so that I am done with computer work prior to them returning home from their school day). I will be mindful that family is always, always more important than whatever is going on in social media realms.
Truth be told, at only two days into it, I already have had to fight the urge to share on Facebook numerous times. I would love to be wishing folks a wonderful Easter weekend. I want to publicly acknowledge the meaning behind Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I want to ask for prayers for the little guy that I thought was better but is obviously not (if he doesn’t get better, I WILL have my sister ask for prayer for him on her Facebook page and Tag me in it so that those that see my page will see that request). There is also a day that we share our Highs and Lows for the week in the eaHELP group page – and I really want to read my friends’ highs and lows.
Yet, I can wholly appreciate that this is an excellent step for me. It will challenge me to do what I say and exhibit self-discipline. It will give me more focus for the more important things in my life. I am confident that this decision was for the best.
Have you ever self-imposed a fast on yourself? Whether social media or some other type of fast? What was your experience with it. I could use the encouragement …. please share in the comments below!
Seriously, is there anyone in your life that is harder on you than you are? When someone pays you a compliment, do you immediately dismiss it? Even if you don’t outwardly reject it, do you think that it is invalid or insincere in your mind?
I am guilty. When someone compliments me on how well behaved my children are, depending on who they are – I will have one of two reactions. If I know them pretty well, I’d say something dismissive like ‘oh, they aren’t like this for me at home’ or if they are someone I’ve just met I would simply say ‘thank you’, yet in my heart and head I’d be having my own little conversation that would sound something like this:
You have no idea how disobedient these little rugrats are. And the teens? Are you kidding me? They couldn’t have a worse attitude. I’m not doing a good job with them. In fact, I might be the worst mother in the world.”
Many of the women that I know are this way as well. We seem to be our own worst critics. Something about us revolts against accepting a compliment from another person. Or at least taking that compliment as sincere.
This self-defeating behavior needs to stop. I would like to encourage you (and myself) to be intentional about both your external and internal reactions to people when they compliment you. I challenge you to nip that negative self-talk in the bud, and truly give credit to yourself for whatever it is that you have just gotten complimented about. Practice saying it, “Thanks so much. I’m so glad you think so.” Because, guess what? If you are being told that you have well behaved kids, it is because your children are displaying good behavior where they are at. The compliment is genuine, and your children (and you!) deserve that praise. The person paying the compliment isn’t aware (and doesn’t need to be) that you had to put Johnny back in bed three times last night. They don’t know that you had to re-run the washing machine this morning because your teenager never did put them in the dryer yesterday like you asked, and now your clothes stink. They see that the children are sitting quietly listening right now. Maybe we don’t do everything just right, but we do do some things right. The next time someone catches you doing something right — just say “thank you”. And feel good about it.
I want to walk you through an illustration. An analogy. Let’s say that you have a wayward daughter. Because I do not want to have the legality of this be an issue, let’s say that she is 18 years old. She still lives home with you and your husband. We’ll call her Jane.
Jane is in a bad relationship. She is dating a guy that is no good for her and you know it. There are reasons why he is no good, but I also don’t want the specific reasons to be an issue in this illustration, so let’s just leave it at he is no good. We’ll call him Joe.
You find out that Jane is sexually active with Joe. It breaks your heart. You know that it is not what God wants for her. What will you do?
If you are a Christian mother, you will talk with Jane. You will point her to the Scripture and try your very best to guide her toward reconciling her life to align with God’s will for it. Right? There will be discussions over why premarital sex is wrong (a sin) and why it is harmful for her, both now and in the future.
You have this conversation because you love her. You know what is right and what is wrong. You may have even made those same mistakes yourself and know that God’s path is so much better an alternative. You want to protect her. You want to encourage Jane to live in accordance with God’s design for her, for her future marriage and spouse.
How do you know what is right and good? You know because you read the Bible. You listen to your Pastor’s sermons. You read Bible study books and watch DVDs. You pray and seek out God’s direction. You listen to music that keeps Him at the focus. You work on knowing Him better.
So, now let’s analyze how this analogy is different than how we are to behave when it comes to the Same Sex Marriage issue. For those of us that are Bible believing Christians, I suggest that it shouldn’t be. Just as it is clear that it is not truly “mean” to point out the error in your daughter’s ways – as uncomfortable and difficult as it might prove to be, it is likewise not “mean” to share that same knowledge of God’s ways outside the walls of your home.
Many professing Bible believing Christians are struggling with how to act during these times. I am one of those people wondering how you can speak the Truth lovingly. It almost seems contradictory. Just how do you point out sin lovingly?! To those that don’t want to hear it, it will never sound like loving.
But if Jane’s mother never points her back to the Right way, Jane will just continue down an ever-darkening path. That is why, as Jane’s mom that loves her, you will do the hard thing and speak the Truth.
I realize that it appears to be an unpopular opinion to state that Same Sex Marriage is wrong, but it is.
Just as I completely understand that Jane will not just want to hear her mother’s message and will struggle against it. Jane is in the throws of her decision. She has convinced herself that Joe loves her and that this was a perfectly acceptable decision to make. Jane thinks that she and Joe are going to get married. She thinks that God isn’t displeased with her over this because they “love” each other.
Believe me, I know. I was like Jane (so ashamed to admit it, but this is hugely important). When my mom discovered that I was sexually active, she cried and tried to counsel me back to a right relationship with the Lord. I resisted. Those that aren’t ready to hear and accept what God has for their life will resist too. It is natural.
It is not, however, a reason to not pursue the right thing. I thank God I had a mother that loved Him and me enough to pursue me. It was the most loving thing she ever did.
Just as Jane is unwilling at this point to give up what she really believes with her whole heart is “love”, so too those in gay relationships are thoroughly convinced that this is really love and that it, therefore, cannot be wrong.
That isn’t what the Bible says. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible also says that premarital sex is a sin. It is not loving to deny the scripture for the sake of individual’s comfort in their sin.
In my case, my mom pursued me and prayed for me. I would love to tell you that I reconciled to her and to God during her pursuit. I didn’t. I was wayward for years. I even grew to dislike and disrespect her. Having recently lost my mom, this is hard for me to write and to admit. But, it is true. And this is important. I had journals (that I’ve since destroyed) that chronicled just how horrible I thought she was. Why did I think that way of my own loving mother??? The answer is simple. I ‘hated’ her because she made me feel badly about myself. She knew that I was choosing to live in sin. I didn’t want to be constantly reminded of my rebellion. I didn’t want her to be praying for me. I didn’t need her prayers! That is how I genuinely felt. For years. Sigh. Oh, to redeem that time. I was so resentful of her and her ‘judging ways’ that I moved out on my 18th birthday so that I could find my ‘freedom’. I chose to live in an unfinished attic of a friend’s home in order to escape it.
Guess what? He wasn’t good for me. My mom was right. In fact, he ended up sleeping with a (supposedly) very good friend not too far down the road of life. It was heartbreaking for me. I was devastated. I thought he genuinely loved me. I thought that we were going to get married someday (and that getting married was going to make the fact that we had sex okay).
Now guess who was right there for me (and had never left)? My mom. Her love was genuine and real. She wasn’t willing to just give me the easy and good side of things. She wanted me to know and to believe in the Truth. I will forever be grateful for her.
You know when I finally reconciled with God? It took longer than it did to reconcile to my mother, I can tell you that. God used that very same sin of premarital sex to put my brakes on and bring me to my knees. I became pregnant through relations with my new boyfriend (and now husband) while I was in my young 20s. I wasn’t ready for that. I still had so much partying to do! I cried. I thought my world was crashing down around me. Ed didn’t though. Ed was thrilled that I was pregnant. He loved the fact that we were going to start a family together. Ed was 9 years my senior and he had his fill of partying already.
The sobering (literally) reality that I was on the path to being a mom was what was needed to get me realigned with my Maker. I had to immediately stop my binge drinking – which had sadly become a very regular part of my life. In fact, I was probably out getting drunk a good 5 out of 7 days each week. But, early on in my life I knew that I loved and cherished babies. Now that I was carrying one in my belly, I was going to do right by it! Then came the discussions of how we were going to become a family. Sadly, we had to have a discussion about whether or not we were going to get married before or after the baby was born. (one of the things that I am sure my mom desired to protect me from – and a sure sign that I was living outside of God’s design and plan) When Ed and I approached my former Youth Pastor to ask him to marry us, he was happy to do so…provided we started coming for counseling and committed to doing things right from this point forward. That meant that I stopped cohabitating with Ed (also not in God’s plan) and back into my mom’s home. It meant that Ed and I ceased having sexual relations until we were married. Almost seemed silly to me at the time, but I am so grateful that he required us to do that. It was at those counseling sessions that I recommitted my life to Christ and that my husband accepted him for the first time!
Back to Jane (or me)….It is with much clearer vision now (funny how things become so clear years later), that I know that my mom did then exactly what I would do with my child(ren) now. She tried desperately to have me see the error of my ways. She cried and prayed for me. She endured much disrespect and mistreatment from me. She never, ever stopped loving me.
It is my opinion that we, as Christians, are not being kind when we do not speak the Truth, or worse, when we try to change the Truth to make it easier to hear.
Just as I was thoroughly convinced that me and “Joe” someday were going to get married and that was going to make things right, so too the gay community thinks that if SSM is passed and their lifestyle choices appear to be ‘normal’ that this will make things right. It won’t. They need the Lord. They need to come back into alignment with God’s design and plan for their lives.
Helping them to feel accepted is not loving. Perhaps it isn’t easy for gay people to be around you because they will feel uncomfortable knowing that you see their sin for what it is. Those that choose to live in that sin do not want to feel the conviction of that sin, and knowing what you believe will undoubtedly make them uncomfortable. I do not think that should be a reason for us to hide what we believe. Or worse, for us to alter what we know is right. I cannot even imagine how sad it made my mom for her to know that I disliked her and didn’t want to be around her. But, you know who was really wrong in that situation?? Me! Where would I be now if she had caved into the desire I am sure that she had all of those years for me to just like her again? What if she stopped praying for me? I shudder to think about it. Thank God I had a mother that loved me enough to love me even when it was hard.
(I will not approve any comments that are disrespectful or mean spirited, so if you can’t be nice in your comments, don’t bother leaving one)
Make Time! Simple – but effective.
If you are like most of the multi-tasking women that I know, there is a never ending abundance of low-priority, but never-ending tasks that you face every day. Am I right? One way to take charge of your time is to commit to blocking off at least one hour a day to tackle those tasks that haunt you. You know, all of those things that you think you will get to today, or tomorrow, or sometime this week….etc. You might have to do a brain dump to generate a list that includes all of these tasks, but trust me, it will be worth it!
Once you have the list created and you have that hour a day marked off on your calendar, the next tip is to be sure to treat that hour just like you would any other meeting or appointment. This is key. If you excuse yourself out of keeping that appointment, this will never work. Commit to it!! When that hour arrives, close your door, turn off your phone and shut down your email. Trust me, no matter how important you are, the world can survive without you for an hour.
Track what you get accomplished – even if you just want to “try” this method out. Scratch out (or check off) the tasks that you succeeded in getting done off of your list and put the date next to it. I think that you will be amazed at how quickly those to do items (that previously never became ‘done’ items) will disappear!
Speaking of time, this is an area that I have, personally, been working toward gaining victory over. Are you familiar with the Christian band, Skillet? They have this song that addresses the issue of stewarding our time. They are a loud, scratchy-voice, kind of metal band. They are so not my usual taste. But, I live with six children, three of whom are teenagers. I am just grateful to God that they choose the CCM over the popular culture music. Don’t get me wrong – they do know many of today’s ‘hits’ – but they also can sing along with me to ever word on most ever song that K-Love plays. Grateful for that. Anyway, you can listen to Skillet by clicking here, but if you just want to extract the meaning behind the lyrics, enjoy this instead:
Don’t forget to enter my give-away! I’d love to send you the 2-DVD bundle from What’s In The Bible!!
Choosing your community. What does that mean? At this point in your life, your ways are becoming distinct from your parents. You may be faced with many choices that nobody can make but you. Choosing your major, choosing your insurance, choosing a job. Among these difficult choices will be the need to choose the type of people that you will surround yourself with. The umbrella term for this is choosing your community.
I’m referring to more than just where you will worship a few days a week – although there is no doubt that some important people in your community will be found at your church. Your community will consist of those that you work with, those that you go to school with, those that you choose to be friends with and, of course, your family.
Many of don’t give this much thought. We are with whomever our life’s circumstances put in our paths. While it is true that there are some people that are part of your life with or without your consent, there is some merit in being selective where you can.
Seek out people you admire that are further along in their spiritual walk than you are. They can mentor you into a closer relationship yourself. Be deliberate about spending time with these types of people. Additionally, you should also be aware of folks that have a good heart, but perhaps are a bit more wayward. Depending on your own spiritual maturity, you may serve as their mentor too.
Whether you are 18, 40, or 70 when you are reading this, I am sure that you will recognize that you morph ever so slightly depending on the company that you keep. Have you ever visited a relative or a friend from another state or country that had an accent? I’m wondering if, while you were in that person’s company, you didn’t find yourself saying a word or two a bit differently – after hearing that person say it numerous times? We cannot help but be affected by those that we surround ourselves with. This doesn’t make us weak, it makes us human.
So, choose your community wisely. You may find that you have more and more in common with them as time passes on. Be sure they are worthy of your audience. Be sure, also, that your presence is worth others seeking out your company too.
This is a post from the Life Essentials series. This series is written with the newly independent young adult in mind. It is my hope that these posts will guide him/her as they begin to learn how to live life well. Most posts, however, are also completely applicable to those that have been ‘on their own’ for years. For a list of the other posts in this series, click HERE
Don’t forget to enter my give-away! I’d love to send you the 2-DVD bundle from What’s In The Bible!!
*UPDATE 3-24-2013 Rafflecopter selected a winner!! Congratulations to Beth C. on winning the DVDs! Beth, I sent you a FB message – check your ‘other’ folder if you don’t see it! *
Here at the Garcia household, we are big fans of the What’s in the Bible series. We have all of the Old Testament DVDs (1-9 – Genesis through Malachi) and we were SO excited when we learned that the 10th DVD, Jesus is the Good News, was on its way. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint. The previous DVDs in the series lay the foundation by going through the Old Testament in a way that only Phil Vischer (VeggieTales creator) could. Honestly, I learn things right alongside my children when I watch these DVDs with my kids. The content is theologically sound, but also super kid friendly. They are fun to watch and you get the bonus of knowing that your kids are learning all about the Bible, about God’s love for us, and about their place in this world that He has created.
Check out a trailer of Jesus is the Good News here:
More videos can be viewed HERE.
And, whether or not you have the DVD, are planning to get the DVD, or are hoping to win the DVD through my giveaway, the website at What’s in the Bible is stock full of wonderful resources, including great coloring pages that go along with the DVD storyline.
One of my lucky readers will win a copy of the 1st DVD, In the Beginning, AND the 10th DVD, Jesus is the Good News. Simply enter through the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!
ALSO, I have these two great coupon for all my readers!! What’s in the Bible also has this wonderful book (available in print or digital format), called My Jesus Journal. This is a family activity book designed to bring the family closer together and record the ways you are seeing God work in your lives. An individual activity for your children – My Jesus Journal – is a series of activities to help your children learn about Jesus and learn to know Him.
• Instructions to make and use your Mustard Tree
• Family Activity List (use to fill in your Mustard Tree)
• Instructions for each child to make their own My Jesus Journal
• Activities for My Jesus Journal, broken down into 3 sections (Who Am I? Who is Jesus? How do we live because of Jesus?)
• Remembering the Cross Family Activity
• Additional Family Activities
• Online Access to videos and additional resources
Order through THIS LINK and use the coupon code MJJ5 to get $5 off the Volume 10, Jesus is the Good News DVD and My Jesus Journal bundle.here.
If you have read my blog at all for any amount of time, I’m sure that you have picked up that my focus (wink) for this year is to FOCUS. I tend to multi-task. You know, do a little of this and then jump on over here and do a little of that. I have read, and you probably have seen this advice too, that it is not a good idea to multi-task when it can be avoided. We mommas know that there are times when multi-tasking is a necessity. I am not talking about that. I’m talking about when you sit down at your computer and intend to write today’s blog post (ahem!) and you simultaneously are cleaning off your desk, thinking about your to-do list and jumping between your dashboard and facebook. I know you know what I’m talking about. This is what I am really desiring to work on this year. NOT being the multi-tasking queen, but rather discipline myself to be focused on one (good) thing at a time. I desire that this change will translate into all areas of my life. For example, when my 5 year old is poking me and I respond with “Yes?”, I know that I need to also stop what I am doing, turn to the little man and look him in the eye to focus on his response. Sigh. How guilty am I for continuing on about my business more often than not when my children are talking to me? So, yes, focus. That is what I am prayerfully working on doing better this year.
Many of you know that I am a virtual assistant. I serve three different clients with a wide variety of needs to help them stay on task with their businesses. I am often, therefore, required to be on phone calls or hangouts to participate in meetings. Having a focus for that meeting – which would translate into writing out an agenda before getting on that phone call or attending that virtual meeting – can make a huge difference. One of my clients is highly organized and is very efficient with his time (and mine). I have actually learned quite a bit from his methods. He will have an agenda ready for our calls and this makes our calls that much more productive. Focusing on communicating well ensures that you cover all the information you need to share, as well as allowing you to have the notes (written or documented on whatever means you choose – a document, a task list, a project management program, etc.) you took to look back over. This goes a long way in helping to determine the next steps that need to be taken or items that need to be followed up on.
How do you ensure excellent communication? This can be with your boss, with team members, or with your family. I would love to hear some of your ideas and suggestions!