Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey


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Social Media, Behave! Day 3: Counting the Cost and Budgeting Computer Time

The other day I read a blog where the author admitted that at one time she spent 20 hours a week on her blog.  I was dumbfounded.  Not in a critical way.  She can spend her time however she chooses, and for her this must have been a good use of time.  But I realized just how much blogging can take over your life if you let it.  And how much time it can take to write a “successful” blog.

I don’t have 20 hours a week. I don’t have 10.  I have a few minutes a day, and some days, no minutes.

I love to write.  I have ever since I started journaling at age 10.  I could write all day.  But I don’t have all day.  And I’m sure I don’t have enough profound things to say to justify that, either!

So it comes to a matter of not “over-spending” the time I spend at the computer.

I need to write what God tells me to write, and to blog with as much excellence as possible, while staying within healthy parameters.

Laura challenges us today, we are engaging in social media, but at what cost?  How much time can we really afford?  What is our computer time costing us?  And she gives us tools to budget that time.  Go check out what she has to say.

 

 


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Social Media, Behave! and Make an Easy Advent Calendar

On day 1 of her “Social Media, Behave!” series, Laura talks about pitfalls of social media (trying to achieve fame or other wrong motives), and what each of us might expect from social media.   On day 2, she explores our “online presence,” our avatar, or how we portray ourselves online.  Additionally, she encourages us to write a one-sentence purpose statement.  Here’s what I came up with for me:

I exist online to share the love and grace of Christ with others; to learn from other, especially older, women; and to share what I learn in order to encourage others in their journeys of faith, womanhood, and mothering.

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Bonus!  Here is something little that I learned online–not from an older woman, and not something profound!  The kids wanted to do some kind of advent calendar or Christmas countdown but I struggled to find ideas that didn’t take too much time.  Either they were too arty and hard to make, or they involved activities that we may or may not have time to do during the month of December.  (Watching a Christmas movie, for example, is great, but how do I know if it will be convenient to do that on December 9?  Seriously!)

Finally I ran across a super fast idea–fast to make, and easy to do.  I don’t remember where I saw it, but I modified it to fit my needs.

I cut 25 rectangular pieces of paper.  Folded them in half like a card.  The kids stamped a snowflake on the front of each one and I numbered them from 1 to 25.

We are all about fostering communication and conversation at our house, so instead of an activity,  I wrote a question inside each one.  “What is your favorite Christmas memory?”  “What do you think it would have been like to be a shepherd on the first Christmas?”  “What is something we could do for someone else this Christmas?”  “Do you know of any Christmas traditions from other countries?”  “Ask mom/dad to tell you a Christmas story from when they were little.”

And then I hung them up with clothespins like the picture above.

How easy is that?  You even have time to do it before December 1!


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Social Media, Behave!

image: pinterest

what it has to do with the post?  nothing.  it’s just pretty.

Laura Booz is guest posting at A Warm Cup of Coffee all week about the topic “Social Media, Behave!”  Have you ever struggled with the place of social media in your life?  Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay and it’s one of the primary ways people communicate in our culture.  Social media can be a powerful tool, but it can also consume your life if used unwisely.  I LOVED what Laura said:

“God is calling us to use our online presence for His glory. He’s got big ideas for your every tweet, status, pin, and blog post… ideas that will bring real and meaningful light to this limitless online space.  Take a look around and you’ll see His ideas at work. He’s shaping our hearts to want what He wants. We are feeling compelled to write well, tell useful stories, speak out for the oppressed, promote ethical companies, steward our God-given abilities, and make the most of our time online and offline. This is a huge undertaking, and it’s not easy territory. We’re smart enough to know that by dipping our toe into the vortex of social media, we risk being pulled into its dizzying demands. But, don’t worry, He won’t leave us to fend for ourselves. He’s the one planting the desires in our hearts, He’ll equip us with the know-how. This week, I want to share a handful of ways in which I’ve come to enjoy making social media behave, so that I can hear God’s voice and happily obey Him.”

My main social media use comes from Facebook, which has been an amazing tool for keeping up with far away family and friends, as well as connecting with those who live near me, enhancing our real-life interaction.  I have also come to love Pinterest, and of course, blogging.  I so look forward to reading Laura’s thoughts this week.  Hop over and join her!


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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.


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31 Days to a Kitchen You Love Day 3, Plus Chicken Spinach Salad Recipe With Honey Lime Dressing

{image source: google}

Before I get to my 31 Days post, here’s another kitchen tidbit.  I made the yummiest salad for lunch and it was so good I thought I’d pass on the recipe!

Chicken Spinach Salad w/ Honey Lime Dressing

Spinach

Cubed cooked chicken

Chopped avocado

Pumpkin seeds (or whatever nuts/seeds you like)

Throw it all in a bowl and top with this dressing:

Juice of 1 lime

1 T. olive oil

1 t. honey

Whisk together and toss salad with dressing, salt and pepper if desired.  So delicious, and great for these autumn days that are still warm!   (Although today actually feels like fall and I’m so thrilled!)

Later this week I hope to plant a winter garden–lettuce, turnip greens, spinach, and onions.  Salad greens are so easy to grow.  Isn’t the idea above a cute one?  I never would have thought of planting a container garden in an old wagon!

On to more about the kitchen window:

So I’m enjoying my lovely white valance.  Today my goal is to clean up the rest of the window.  The shades are dusty and the sill seems to catch clutter.  I also need to wash the window.  A secret:  I never wash windows.  **Blushing with shame**  I am just so excited if I can get the floor mopped.  But I don’t want smudges and smears blocking all that natural light, do I?

I’m using vinegar and water, just as I do for my mirrors.  The vinegar smell is a little offensive (although it fades quickly) so I made orange peel  vinegar according to Rhonda’s instructions.  Would you believe I can’t find the post now?  Do click over and visit her lovely simple living blog!

The gist of it is that you put orange peels in a glass jar, cover with white vinegar, put the lid on and let it sit for a few weeks.  Much better!

So tell me, am I the only window-washing slacker?

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For the rest of these 31 Days posts, go here.


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31 Days to a Kitchen You Love

We’ve all heard, I suppose, that the kitchen is the heart of the home. And traditionally it was. These days it’s more likely to be the place where we pour a bowl of cereal or zap a premade meal in the microwave.

But for those of us with a few kids who want to feed our families healthfully or have special dietary needs, the kitchen becomes a place where we spend a LOT of time. So why shouldn’t it be the heart of the home, the best place in the house, the place where people are drawn to hang out and where we love to cook? We’re going to spend many hours there each day anyway; why not make it a place of blessing, abundance, and beauty? The place where conversations happen and memories are made?

I’m joining The Nester and her friends for 31 days of posting. Each participant chooses her own topic. Mine is 31 Days to a Kitchen You Love. This comes at a perfect time for me, since I had already planned to revamp my kitchen while spending almost nothing. A remodel would be nice, but until then I want to make the best of the kitchen I have, even if it’s not perfect. Truly, I have a great kitchen in size and shape. Before baby was born I did quite a bit of organizing, but in the ensuing chaos of learning to live with 5 small children, it’s quickly fallen into disarray. Over the next month I’m looking forward to doing some small thing each day to make it work better, and to make it a prettier and more fun place to be. And each day (fingers crossed), I’ll write a bit about it.

After all, the journey I haltingly chronicle on my sporadic little blog is what I learn about being a better mom, and that includes even the “have to,” mundane parts of life like tidying the pantry. But it’s much more than that. I want to become a better and more organized cook, I want to learn more how to nourish my family well, and how to nurture and disciple them in the small, daily bits of life, even while we’re cooking supper or washing dishes. The kitchen can be a place of disorder and drudgery, or it can be a sanctuary of worship as we practice God’s presence in the everyday and ordinary. I love the way Ann Voskamp says it…Because all of life flames with God…

Will you join me?

Day 2: Window Treatments

Day 3: Cleaning up the Window, plus Chicken Spinach Salad w/Honey Lime Dressing Recipe

Day 4: Countertops, Inspiration via Nigella Lawson, and a thought about kids in the kitchen

Days 5 and 6: Hey friends, I haven’t forgotten about 31 days. The past couple have been insane, but there is so much going on in my mind and heart that I want to share asap! I had to download the wordpress ap just so I could write this update since I can’t even get to the computer…hopefully tomorrow! Ironic that just when the thoughts begin to flow, I am hindered! Bear with me please!

Day 7~Just trying to breathe today, I shared a couple lovely kitchen links!

Day 8: Love Jesus.  Love People. 

Day 9: Oops!

Day 10: Make Nontoxic Cleaners

I’m afraid I’m failing miserably at my attempt at 31 days, so I’m going to delete my button from the link-up.  I’m glad I did it but my posts have been sub par.  What I’ve learned through this is that I don’t have time to blog daily no matter how much I want to, and I’d rather have quality poss less often than obligatory posts every day.  Thanks for reading!


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A Sheepish Apology

Hey sweet friends, I haven’t forgotten about the 3rd installment of the food allergy post or about the Grace Based Parenting review.  I have an embarrassing confession–I somehow misplaced the allergy document (long story) and I can’t find my Grace Based Parenting Book either.  My hat is off to those of you who are so much more organized that I am.  I will just be honest and admit that I’m bobbing on turbulent seas of disorganization and I think I have gone under a few times!  Navigating life with 5 littles has been challenging for me.  I adore them and wouldn’t change it for the world, well, except for being more organized.  I realize that I will get there, but I must ask for grace from you all and learn to extend it to myself too.

You can still read Virginia’s chapter by chapter review, which is excellent.  When my book turns up, I hope to catch up but maybe this is the season for me to listen to an older and wiser mom instead.

I’m taking a different direction this month, joining The Nester’s “31 Days” linky.  The idea is to post on a topic daily for 31 days.  My hope is that this will help me get back into the discipline of blogging while discussing something that is near the heart of every mom with little bellies to fill–making our kitchen a place we love!  Also, I hope that repeated practice will help me learn to blog faster, opening the way for more frequent posting in the future.  I even customized one of The Nester’s buttons.  It took me an hour and resulted in a few loud exclamations of frustration.  I know my husband could have made it for me in 3 minutes, but I am determined to learn these little skills!  Even if I don’t do it “right,” I want to be able to say (in the words of my 3 year old) “I did it myself!”