Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey


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Family Meal Table Conversation

A facebook friend recently asked what she can do to make family suppers last longer.   It really doesn’t take that long to eat a meal, particularly if your children are small eaters who don’t ask for seconds.  We often have an idea of what a family meal should look like…lingering around the table enjoying each other…But sometimes this isn’t reality without some help.

Sometimes it helps to have some conversation prompts to get the words flowing.  Once the family starts talking, sometimes they don’t want to stop, but it’s getting them started that’s the hard part.

One question we ask at the end of each meal is “What was the best thing that happened to you today?”  It began as a way to add some uplifting conversation to the meal, and it became a tradition without us even trying!  Now if we forget, the kids remind us.

During the meal I have also begun asking, “Does anyone have anything interesting they saw or heard today?”  Or, “Silas, what is the most interesting thing you heard today?”  This has really added to the conversation and slowness of our meals!  We have talked about everything from politics to military heroes to sharing our faith to wise and unwise choices.  While our “best thing” can be limited to a few words, talking about what we find interesting often leads to great conversations.  This is a new question, but I’ll probably keep asking it at each meal until interesting conversation becomes a habit.

One day, I imagine that we will have only young adults around our table.  I want to make sure that we lay the foundation now for great discussion.  If we cultivate the gift of sharing now, I trust that it will continue easily when our children are grown.  We learn to communicate, and we also learn to listen and appreciate the ideas of others around the table.

What about you?  How do you make family meals unrushed and meaningful?


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5 Ways to Save Time on the Computer

The computer can be a colossal time-eater.   Here are a few ways I have found to streamline the time I spend online (besides the obvious one, staying off altogether).

1.  Use a feed reader.

I subscribe to all the blogs I read regularly on Google Reader.  It’s a one stop shop, and now scanning through all this information takes just minutes.  I’m able to subscribe to things I feel are truly helpful to me (blogs about Christian mothering, homeschooling, and health, for example) and skip the distractions that come by just surfing around.

2. Do things in batches.

How many times have I gone to the computer to look something up and ended up being there for 30 minutes?  Looking something up turns to “just checking my facebook for a second,” which turns to answering correspondence or following links.  I try to make a list of things I need to do or look up online and do them all at once, instead of wandering to the computer many times a day.  If I do need to look something up quickly, sometimes I will stand.  When I sit down in that comfy chair I’m tempted to stay longer!

3. Use a handheld device.

Maybe this goes without saying since most of us have smartphones these days, but using your phone or other handheld can be a big time saver.  I think excessive multitasking can be detrimental, but it is nice and efficient to be able to check Google Reader, for example, when I’m doing something mindless.

4. Don’t get embroiled in pointless discussions and activities.

When I first became acquainted with the internet, I thought I had to respond to every question if I knew the answer, jump into every conversation if I had an opinion, and defend my position at all costs.  Now I know that 99% of the time, the conversation will go on just fine without me and other people smarter than myself will comment.  This leaves me free to join discussions that are truly meaningful and important.  Some people really enjoy games.  I find them a waste of time.  I am sure there are things I do online that other people would consider a waste of time.  The point is not to skip everything fun or recreational, but rather to choose wisely and do what is helpful for you.

5. Read meaningfully.

As I mentioned in #1, I try to mostly read things that will actually help me become better at what I do, or what I’m passionate about.  Sometimes I succeed more than others.  But my time is limited and the internet is almost unlimited.  So I have to choose wisely where I will put my reading time.