Posted on March 13th, 2012 1 comment
I’m been selected to participate in the Mashable.com Two Week Social Media Disconnect Challenge! This means that for two weeks straight I will be disconnected from social media – no Facebook, no YouTube, no Twitter, no Pinterest, and no blogging. This starts at midnight tonight!
I’ve figured out how much time I spend online doing social media stuff, and my plan is to spend that time in a different, constructive way each day. For example, I may spend time doing projects I’ve pinned on Pinterest but haven’t tried yet. Or I may spend time writing letters or calling people on the phone. I’m interested in seeing whether the things I accomplish through social media are more difficult, more meaningful, or more rewarding outside the realm of social media.
I plan to come running back with open arms and some new takes on social media…. and I’ll share my experiences here. But you’ll have to wait a couple weeks. If for any reason you *really* need to reach me, I can still be contacted through email… or phone or postal service :).
If you’ve come here from Mashable.com to find out more about me, welcome! Here are a couple of my past posts that will give you an idea of what I write:
See you all on March 29!
Posted on March 13th, 2012 No comments
A few months ago, I had the very unfortunate experience of brushing my teeth with diaper cream. In my defense, the backs of tubes are almost identical. It wasn’t until I was already scrubbing my teeth with the brush that I realized something was wrong. It took a lot of gagging and rinsing and gargling – and a lasting greasy feeling on my teeth – to learn that lesson. It looked like toothpaste, but inside, it wasn’t.
I’ve been thinking today about integrity. I’m wondering how to teach my son and daughter to find people of integrity – not people that give the appearance of greatness, but people that possess internal greatness.
My first boyfriend was very good at presenting himself well. He said the things I wanted to hear. He knew I liked poetry, so he wrote me poems. He knew I didn’t like smoking, so he didn’t smoke. He portrayed himself as honest and trustworthy and intelligent. He was very good at appearances – especially to someone who was relatively naïve.
The problem was that his insides didn’t match his outsides. Sometimes his clothes and breath smelled like cigarette smoke. The poetry he’d written for me was actually plagiarized from Edwin Markham, the former poet laureate of Oregon. The girl that he hated who spread crazy rumors about the two of them – he didn’t hate her, and the rumors weren’t so crazy. When it came to internal greatness, he was about as pleasant as a mouthful of Desitin.
Truthfully, I harbor no ill will toward him. We were very young and immature, and I assume we both have grown considerably since that time. I learned a painful lesson in that relationship, but an important one. The people I dated after him may not have been the best matches for me, but all of them are people of integrity, and my husband is a man of inner greatness.
I know my children will have their own unpleasant opportunities for growth, from toothbrush mishaps to brokenhearted tears. I realize I can’t shelter them. But I want to prepare them as much as possible. I want them to be wise but not overly skeptical, innocent but not naïve. I want them to not just seek people of integrity, but to be people of integrity.
(And also, I want them to double-check the fronts of their toothpaste tubes.)
Posted on March 7th, 2012 1 comment
We went to the zoo today. My family loves the sea lion exhibit! In addition to lots of above-ground opportunities to see them swim, there is a great underwater viewing area complete with floor-to-ceiling windows where we can get an up-close view of the animals.
Last time we visited, my one-year-old son fell asleep in our double stroller, so we used the lift to get down to the viewing area. He slept soundly through our sea-lion spotting and when it was time to go back upstairs, the lift stopped working. I waited for someone to come by who could assist me, but on rainy days in late fall, the zoo is empty. Finally, I sent my daughter up the stairs and followed her with my now-awake son in one arm, my giant stroller thunk-thunk-thunking against the stairs as I lugged it behind us.
(And yes, it seems like these things do happen more to me than the average person.)
Today, because my son was awake (and also because I’m no dummy), we left the stroller at the top of the stairs and walked down. The kids ran to the window and stared out, palms pressed against the glass, their bodies silhouetted against the blue tank. I sat on a bench a few feet from the window, and we waited. My daughter wandered over to look at a sign, and my son turned around to watch her with his back to the glass.
Suddenly, one of the sea lions swam into view at the top of the window. When we pointed and shouted, my son looked up and the color drained from his face. He ran to me and stood in between my legs, hands on my knees. I put my arm around him and rested my chin on the top of his head, his heart thumping wildly beneath my palm. We watched the sea lion circle at the far end of the windows and glide past us again, its mottled, thick body cutting gracefully through the water. When it was out of view, we were silent for a moment. Then my son brought the fingertips of his two hands together in his favorite baby sign and said, “Mo’.”
We stood like that for at least five more minutes – an eternity in the world of a one-year-old – watching the sea lions repeat their lazy loop, cutting in and out of our windowed view. I led him to the glass, and he stood entranced as they passed by, inches from his face.
Sometimes, I feel discouraged and powerless as a parent. It is easy to feel like I’m getting nowhere, whether it’s the endless potty training or the millionth time that I’ve had to ask “Who had it first?” But then moments like this happen. My kisses cure booboos when my kids tumble. My lap is a haven when things get scary. And my hand gets to feel the pulse of a boy who is just beginning to discover how vast and beautiful and amazing this world is.
And like him, all I can say is, “More.”
Posted on March 3rd, 2012 No comments
My one-year-old spent most of his short life as a passive observer, carefully watching his older, bolder sister. Suddenly, he is a spitfire himself. He self-advocates by shouting, pushing, or ripping a toy out of her hands when he feels he’s been wronged. His sister is not one to back down easily, so I often find myself wrenching a toy from first one iron fist and then another. My kids’ soft, dimpled toddler hands are deceptively strong.
In my religious tradition, children have the opportunity to go through confirmation when they reach a certain age – usually, around seventh or eighth grade. My childhood church was very traditional in its approach, so for an hour and a half each week, we were instructed in a narrow conference room with tweed wallpaper, walls lined with thick-framed portraits of previous pastors.
To prove we were ready to be confirmed, we were questioned in front of the congregation in between church services. On Questioning Sunday, I stood for my first question. The pastor asked, “How does faith save?” I didn’t remember the question anywhere on our study sheets. I stammered out an answer about being saved through faith by grace given from Jesus. The pastor paused, cocked an eyebrow, and asked again, “How does faith save?” I stared at him blankly. He said, “The correct answer is ‘like a hand.’ You may sit down.”
That answer has bugged me for years. Like a hand? What does that even mean? I recently got my answer as I came across a quote from theologian Jean Taffin. In the early 1600s, he wrote,
“…even if you have only a tiny spark of true faith, you are still a child of God. No matter how small, faith grips and appropriates Jesus Christ – not halfway but fully, like a young child taking an entire apple in his little hand and holding it tightly, even though not with the strength of man.”
I love looking at faith that way: a seed, a spark, an embryo. Tiny, shaky, enough. We grasp with what we have, no matter how small, and faith saves… just like a hand.