Sharing Vacation Photos

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

We recently returned from a fun and exciting, and photo-filled, Spring Break trip.
But I didn't post a single picture or share a word about it until we got home. I have two reasons for this.

(1) Safety and privacy.
(2) Being present.

Let me be the first to say that I enjoy living vicariously through your vacation photos. I genuinely "like" them and I'm not against all the sharing, per se. It's the timing that I've started to think more about. Here's why.

(1) Safety and privacy: Chances are, none of my social media friends are going to break into our house while we are away. But why go through the exercise of locking our doors, putting the lights on timers, asking the neighbors to keep an eye out and grab the mail . . . if I'm just going to put up a giant virtual sign that says: WE ARE LONG GONE. Doesn't seem wise.

(2) Being present: I have a hard time turning off my internal social media feed. During the first 48 hours of our vacation, I would take a picture and immediately think of the perfect snappy caption for it . . . which is so weird. Why can't I just take a picture to enjoy and remember the moment? Why do I have to be thinking of what "my audience" (which is so narcissistic I'm grossed out by myself to say it) will find funny or enjoy? It is a habit I have to break, most especially while we are on vacation. These are OUR memories, not the world's. I need to be engaged with my family, not checking Facebook or Instagram to see how many responses I got to that adorable photo with the hilarious caption. Oh, let me just check real quick to see how many likes I got. What? Okay, hang on. Mommy will watch in a minute.

You know it's true.

If I'm thinking about those things - especially on vacation! - my priorities are skewed. I'm turing our vacation into a performance for others. Or at least, it's a slippery slope in that direction.

So, for now anyway, we've made a hard and fast rule against posting any vacation photos while we are away. Best to unplug as much as possible while we are gone, enjoy the cocoon of family time, then edit and share later.
::
What do you think? Am I being too strict? Share in real time or wait?



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Sometimes Easter is Overwhelming

Monday, April 21, 2014


I'm not talking about the fake grass floating about your house, the buzzed children, or their candy wrapper litter.

I'm talking about the cross.

Sometimes, the hugeness of what Jesus did, the unfathomable weight of it all, is too much for my brain and my emotions to bear. Christmas seems lighter. A sweet baby, the promises of a new beginning. It is easier for me to grasp. But Easter. Easter can be hard. Easter it involves a grown man, all my sins, and a terrible death.

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died, to take away my sin.

I scarce can take it in. I'd rather look the other way, think about something else.

But now that I've felt overwhelmed for a few days, I'm coming to see that it can be a good thing. To go there, and think on the hard stuff, the dark stuff, the enormity of it all.

Because that's not where the story ends. God's gift isn't guilt. It's life! It's grace.

Jesus's death and resurrection is huge. It's real. It changes everything.

Thank you, God, for changing everything. 
Because now, I can close my eyes, take a deep breath, and rest in it. 

May you do the same, on this busy, back-to-it, Monday.



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Off we go

Monday, April 14, 2014


The boys are out of school this week, so we will be off having fun. See you back here next week, after the best part of Christ's story - Easter Sunday. He lives! 

Meanwhile, I hope you have time to get out there this week and enjoy God's beautiful gift of our world!



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Friday Benediction: Flat Tire Grace

Friday, April 11, 2014


Each one should use whatever gifts he has to serve others,
faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10

After that kid left my son in tears because he snatched his glove during practice and ran. 

After I confronted him and he stuck to me like glue.

After a day of miscommunications, cancellations, and rush. 

After I'd prepared for company, and they are coming in 45 minutes and I'm across town and still haven't showered . . . 

A flat.

And a kind dad.

And that kid. Refusing, lying, clinging, eager and confounding. God's grace in it's various forms, indeed.

Keep your eye out for grace. And, Happy Weekend, Friends.

Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday



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Kids in the car - bingo!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

(Everyone needs a model with dirty hands.)
My husband picked these up at a local toy store a few months ago. You can find them here

Just in time for a Spring Break road trip, no? The boys love them, and so do all our carpool friends. We are the old-school vehicle. No DVD players, only dirty carpet and Traffic Safety Bingo. I've been shocked at how popular this is with all the kids.


"I see a stop sign!" 

"A train!!"

"A cow!"

"Wait. A cow? You don't see a cow. We are on the way to school . . . "

A great way to work on honesty, too. Bonus: they are looking out the window and not at a screen. Enjoy!



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Making the Most of Your Screen Time

Monday, April 7, 2014


I struggle with this. 

On Saturday morning the boys were watching cartoons and Jim was at the farm. We'd already raked four bags of leaves, I'd gone for a jog and done the dishes. Perfect time to sit down and write, right? I could get ahead on posts, or jot some ideas down. Except I felt zero creativity. 

Instead of forcing the issue, I opened my computer and decided to embrace the Saturday-morning-get-'er-done mood I was in. Perfect time to delete a bunch of emails, create folders for those ones that were still sitting in my In Box and answer the ones that need to be answered. It took a lot of self-discipline NOT to do some online shopping, scroll through Facebook or peruse Pinterest. I'm not always so diligent.

We all know that screen time can be a giant black hole. You turn it on with the most noble of intentions - I'm going to look up that recipe! or I'm going to check my bank balance! or I'm finally going to respond to Aunt Sally's email! Thirty minutes later, you look up, astonished at the time, and wonder - Wait. What did I sit down to do? 

I have found that paying attention to my mood helps me avoid the black hole. Sometime I want to zone out and waste time. When I'm in that brain-dead space, it's not the time to try and balance our checking account. It IS the time to endlessly scroll. Peruse, away. When I'm feeling creative, I shouldn't open ANY social media. That's the time to go straight to a blank page and write. When I'm feeling sharp and focused, that's when I should tackle the heady jobs - only opening the tabs related to the tasks at hand.

Notice I said, should. This is something I'm working on. Simply being honest about my mood, paying attention to the time of day, when I'm likely to be "sharp" and when I'm not, has helped me tremendously. 
::
Do moods effect your online productivity? How do you make the most of your screen time?



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Friday Benediction: Boundless

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sometimes I come home and find my coffee cup in the microwave. Those last few sips cold, nuked and forgotten, sorely missed around two o'clock.

The leaves cover the walk that I just swept and yellow pollen dust clings to everything. 

Dinner is not anything fancy. But I entertain with instructions on how to make guacamole. Our first grader holds an imaginary television camera and feeds me lines. Our preschooler provides the laugh track. Our cooking show is a success. 

I can then think about God's greatest commandments, to love Him and each other. Simple as that. 

And this makes sense:


Happy Weekend, Friends.



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