Countercultural Calm

Without any warning to anyone, I decided that I needed a break from a 'screen'. God started to show me that I was spending way to much time being entertained by either a TV or a computer. I had to have a break from Technology.

I love technology. I think it is a great way to stay in touch with people and a great way to learn. The problem is that we can be consumed by it. Blogging, email, social networking sites, news, games and the list can go on and on. There is so much to do on the Internet and a of of it can be beneficial.

I was doing pretty good with monitoring my online time until my friends signed me up for facebook. I would spend a lot of time just reading other peoples profiles. It was nice to see people from high school. I can even say that in my case it can be a great witnessing tool because I was very wild in high school. (I was not saved until the age of 20.) I would bet that most people who knew me in high school would not expect to see the content of my profile. There is a real change in the person I was and the person that I am in Christ.

However, I cannot sacrifice my personal relationships for online relationships. I decided to take a break from television and the Internet. I picked up a few books that I have always wanted to read. It has been a very refreshing 10 days.

In the book Finding your Purpose as a Mom there is a chapter on creating a countercultural calm in your home. Our culture is so busy. A lot of women find themselves rushing from one activity to another. Why do we do this to ourselves? It doesn't have to be so hurried. Life hasn't always been so fast paced.

Donna Otto makes a few simple suggestions in her book:

First, try backing up a little, taking steps to simplify your schedule and your life. This may mean you need to drop some activities and get rid of some items. At the very least, think about what you're trading off to keep up with today's culture. Is all the stuff in your life really worth the time you must invest in it?
Another way to counter the dominant cultural hurry-up trend is to reduce your dependence on technology. Perhaps a better way to put it is to be sure technology works for you-not you for it. Because there is something almost hypnotic or even addictive about "toys" such as televisions and computers, you may need to make rules for yourself.
Right now, I am asking God to show me how I should use technology. What rules do I need to make in my life to make sure my priorities are straight? How can I create a countercultural calm in my home? How can I use technology to glorify Him?

I wish I could

I really wish I could write better.

I wish I was a little more eloquent and grammatical. I wish I could take better pictures. I wish I thought of certain activities. I wish I could be diligent enough to read to my daughter every day. I wish my house was clean all the time.

I wish...

In the world of blogging, I think we can get so caught up in comparing ourselves to other women. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, "I wish I could write better. They are so creative!" We can get so caught up in looking like other Mommies that inspire us that we forget that God made us unique.

Michaela is my daughter because God choose me as her Mom. He knew I would have exactly what she needed.

Maybe I don't have everything right now. Actually, I can say that I know I have not learned everything possible! He is constantly shaping and molding me through the set of circumstances that I call life. I will use this qualities to be more like Christ and to be a better Mom.

For now, I am going to focus my mind on one thing: Remembering that God made me unique and He loves me for who I am. The only person that I truly need to compare myself to is Jesus. He is the only one I need to be more like.

I wish I could remember this everyday.

Happy 4th of July!!

We had a really good time on 4th of July! We started the day at Grandma Voelker's for a cookout.

Michaela and Aunt RaRa (Rachel)
Daddy fixed her hair that day!
Then we went to Brittany's moms to watch fireworks.
Mommy and Michaela Daddy and MichaelaAs you can see, we didn't spend a ton of money on Fireworks. We got the legal ones. Nevertheless, Michaela loved watching them!
She has a look of concentration.
She is in awe of the fireworks here.The plastic container she is holding is her 'firework'. When I pulled the string confetti came out and she loved that. She held on to the plastic for the rest of the night.
The night wouldn't be complete without something going into her mouth.

Wet and Dry

Yesterday, we decided to play with a few objects in a cup. We started off with water(wet), cotton balls(soft and dry), and sunflower seeds (hard and dry). I really didn't want to use sunflower seeds but it was all I could find around the house. I soon realized what a mistake it was to use sunflower seeds.

The sunflower seeds either went to the dog or in her mouth. We took them away rather quickly.

However, once I took away the sunflower seeds, I had unknowingly created the "wet/dry experiment".

At first, she would put her hand in the container and feel the water.

She would also reach into the other container and touch the soft cotton balls.

After a few minutes of exploring, she started to put the dry cotton balls into the water.

In the end we learned a few lessons:

  1. Mom should always put a towel down before playing water activities
  2. Michaela learned the difference between wet and dry. You can see in the picture below she is holding 1 wet cotton ball and 1 dry cotton ball. She immediately got to experience what happens to an object once it is put into water.
  3. Mom also learned that Michaela can get very wet during water play!!
  4. I need to let her explore. She will suprise me! Babies are very smart.
  5. Learning is fun. Be spontaneous.
  6. And finally, don't try to give her something that can't be put in her mouth.

Faith Like Gideon

Do you ever just sit back and wonder what God is up to? Do you ever just look around at the circumstances in your life and wonder how it will all work out? Last month, I posted a story about leaving work to stay home with Michaela full time. We were absolutely positive that was the direction that God was taking us. Having said that, we are STILL sure we made the right decision.

A few weeks before we made the decision, we visited another church with some friends. The pastor talked about the story of Gideon. If you aren't familiar with the story, I can paraphrase it for you. God told Gideon he would save Israel, but Gideon did not feel like he was confident enough to defeat the army. God assured him that he would defeat the
Midianites but he also told him that he had too many men. God let 22,000 of his men go back home. He was left with 10,000 but God told him that it was still too many men. God wouldn't receive the glory. Gideon was left with 300 men to defeat the Midianites. Thankfully, God is all powerful. Gideon and his mean saved Israel from the Midianites and God received all the glory because Gideon's army couldn't have won the battle without him.

When we made the decision for me to leave my job, God was making the first cut. We weren't going to have all the money we needed but we knew that God would provide a way. Later that same week God made the second cut: Chris lost his job. My first instinct was to run back to work and ask for my job back. How are we going to survive? How are we going to pay our bills? But I knew with all my heart, that we had made the right decision. It is God's will for my family to have me at home to train Michaela in the ways of the Lord. It is God's will for me to be at home to make a safe haven for my husband to come home to everyday. I couldn't bring myself to turn my back on God's will.

So, here we are. The funny thing is though, God has reminded me of the story of Gideon so many times. Chris and I were cleaning house the other day and I turned on the radio. Do you know what was on? Someone I had never heard of before, but he was talking about the story of Gideon. Our pastor has mentioned Gideon in the last couple weeks. I really think that God is trying to tell us something!

I don't know how this is going to work out but I do know who can and will work it out. I want to have faith like Gideon to do what God says and let him get the glory for the result. It doesn't seem rational but God can do anything. Who am I to get in his way?

Mom's Birthday

Every year on my Mom's birthday, my family and I go to the cemetery to have a birthday party for her. This tradition started the very first year and we have had a party every year. We get together, bake a cake, and talk about our childhood. It's a good time of remembering Mom.
We actually did this on her birthday, but I was late on getting this posted.
Here are some pictures from this year's party:

This was Michaela's first year to join the celebration.
The cake looks the same every year. We always get funfetti cake with funfetti icing. Usually, the cake doesn't turn out this great because we forget to let it cool. I think we are finally learning!

This is the first time Michaela has been to her Grandma's grave.

This is the first time she had cake!

One of the reasons I picked this site was because the plot was located in the Garden of Angels. I loved the thought of her being in that garden. Mom loved to spend time outside in her garden.

Michaela loved looking at this picture.

Happy Birthday, Mom!
We love you and we miss you!