Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is Lent That Stuff You Find in Your BellyButton?

The seal of Martin Luther. Also used as the lo...Image via WikipediaNo.

That's Lint.

I'm talking about Lent.

It is a tradition in my church that to help learn discipline, we "give up" something for Lent each year. There is something comforting in sharing each others' misery as we bemoan whatever we're missing.

My father gives up sweets every single year. In the past, I've given up sweets; I've traded my time for bible study; I've given up going out to eat, and various other things.

This year my family has decided to give up television as a family. I expected a lot of resistance and much weeping and gnashing of teeth. However, they have been particularly good about it. (Especially since Sundays are not included in Lent, so we can watch television those days as a family.)

Prior to their Spring Break, we took a trip to Wal-Mart and bought out all their board games and craft supplies. We came home and compiled a list of alllll the things they could do that did not require television.

As a result, my kids are talking to each other more than fighting with each other (which I assure you is no small feat). They have enjoyed numerous board games and craft projects, and rarely even mention television at all.

Obviously, I am very proud of their faithfulness and discipline. I wish I had half of what they have.

I have given up more than just television. I decided I needed to get healthier so that I could be a better steward of my time, money and body. So to help jump start this process, I also gave up soda, FaceBook and fried foods. And I have chosen not to take the "day off" on Sundays, but rather plow on ahead (being the black & white kind of girl I am).

I have managed to not break down into tears in public as my kids order their McDonald's french fries and coke. And I have pulled myself away physically from the computer to keep from checking FaceBook. And every time, I think to myself, "Whose stupid idea was this, anyway?"... "Oh yeah, mine..."

When Easter comes, I will go back to my beloved FaceBook. However, I am choosing to permanently delete soda and fried foods from my diet (with the rare occasion of a treat).

My kids will get to watch television again. I hope that we can keep the drooling-zombie-inducing practice to a minimum. Perhaps a schedule that outlines the few times during the week we will watch it. Or maybe just watching it one day a week.

Either way, this experience is proving to be much more of a blessing than a chore. And we are all more appreciative of the things we once took for granted on a daily basis.

I guess that's the real reason for Lent.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Slumber Party is an Oxymoron

Texting on a keyboard phoneImage via WikipediaSo, what began as a "lazy, relaxing evening," quickly turned into a sociology experiment run amok. I planned on me and my kids having a do-it-yourself dinner, then playing board games for the evening.
Ha! And I say "Ha!" again!
Dear son invited three (3) other 14 year old boys over. Dear older daughter invited one friend over. And dear younger daughter invited one friend over. I should also mention that we are watching my brother's dog, too. So there was a total of: four boys, four girls, two dogs, a cat and me.
I'll give you three guesses as to what dinner was like. The boys plowed through the pizzas like it was their job. I've never actually seen two slices of pizza eaten in three bites- until tonight.
The girls giggled and carried on, while primly sitting at the table and eating their miniature pizza slices with a pinky in the air. However, they found the candy bars- and hid them from the boys, even feigning ignorance when questioned by said boys.
Then there were cell phones. Wow. I was in invisible parental heaven. While I sat quietly in my room, I eves-dropped on the boys calling girls from their class and asking them, "So, if you HAD to like one of us, which of us would it be?" And I listened to the girls giggling madly as they texted back and forth with a particularly "cute" boy from their class.
If I ever asked them point-blank about these things, I would likely get no more response than a hair toss and a shoulder shrug. But in their ego-centric world, where they can't believe that anything happens unless they witness it, I was a fly on the wall, soaking in every word.
I was pleasantly surprised at how appreciative and polite all of the kids were. Typically, kids have a bad reputation of being snarky, disrespectful and generally feeling like the world should cater to their every whim. However, these kids thanked me for the pizza, in between snarfing it down in large gulps. They made sure the dogs didn't eat extra food lying around. And, they were respectful of my (very generous) curfew times.
Yes, it was very loud. Yes, I felt considerably old and quite out-numbered. But, over all it was a very nice experience. And my kids had a blast.
And the best part? I'll bet we can all go to bed early tomorrow night. :)
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