Category Archives: technology

Starting the week well.

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Yesterday my girls and I had our first “No Screen/No Headphone” Sunday. I’m happy to report we all survived 🙂 Admittedly, we had to check ourselves a few times just because we are so used to migrating to the computer chair (me) or migrating to ipod/ipad and headphones (my girls).

So…instead of starting my day on the computer…I started it on my porch reviewing the sermon I was going to give yesterday. (Which went well for a first go round I think 🙂

Instead of coming home and watching any tv after church we all took a long, restful nap. Nothing like a Sunday afternoon nap to make you feel like all is right with the world.

Instead of getting up and going to our separate areas and not being able to hear each other we all found a book we wanted to read and sat around in the same room together reading. It was like the good old days I’m telling yah :).

We even eventually played a card game together and then headed to the park. Imagine that…we spent some time outdoors together! We had some loaves of bread to get rid of so we thought we would feed the fish. The only problem is that the pond we chose only had tiny fish and not many at that…so we left them a meal that will probably last them a week! But we had great fun in the process. We took time to just sit on the bench by the pond and watch the people fishing and playing at the park until it got dark.

Then we ended the day with a trip to DQ. It was necessary since our local DQ has been remodeled this summer and we had yet to check it out. It was way past time.

We then came home and read some more…I admit it, my girls were hoping I would cave by that point in the day and let them listen to their music on headphones…but I held steady and we made it through the day. Whew!

This is what I noticed.

Without screens.

We rested well…

We read books that were good food for our minds (Lydia picked up the Five love language book yesterday and is currently trying to figure out what each of our love languages is. I read through 3 books on making soap and am thinking I’m going to give it a go…soon. And Lauren read her book from the library just for fun.)

We spent time together.

We played together.

We had plenty of conversation…talked until after 11pm!

We focused on each other instead of diverting to Facebook. And…we didn’t seek outside validation for our day.

For a day experiment it was worth it. In fact, I think next Sunday we might give it another go. I’m sure my girls will be thrilled.

And now getting ready to head out for yoga. Love my Monday mornings on sabbatical.

Actually…I love every day in my life right now. Good news…I picked up a new piano student yesterday. That’s always encouraging.

 

Screen time

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My family is on the edge of major internet cutbacks. We’ve enjoyed the luxury of iphones, so much so that it’s not uncommon for us to be together but all ‘on’ our phones. The girls use them to listen to their music and they enjoy the game apps. We all use it for facebook. I’ve grown so used to snapping pictures and downloading them immediately for friends and family to see. Real live action recorded and documented.

I’m crazy enough that I’m strongly considering changing all of our phones…downgrading to normal call and text only phones.

I sure would miss the camera feature. I don’t even use my camera these days since I always take pictures on my phone. I might have to actually dust it off and pull it back out.

My kids are homeschooled so the public embarrassment of switching back to old phones wouldn’t be too bad.

I’m finding that I need to be more and more careful about the stuff that creeps into our home. Things we watch, music we listen to, it’s almost like some of this stuff just wants to suck the very life out of us.

I have plants that do the same type of thing in my flower beds…they just keep going crazy and suffocating out anything else as they grow and multiply. They may even look pretty for awhile but then I realize I have to yank and pull a bunch out just so there is space to breathe for everything else.

What seems to be sucking the life out of your home these days?

For some it’s video games, constant video games. For some it’s tv shows that are so far from family friendly it’s not even funny. For some it’s music that while it has a great beat it’s pure trash going into your mind. For some it’s visual images on a screen. For some it’s constant contact on Facebook. For some it’s the constant desire to play some mind numbing game on your phone that wastes your time in huge ways.

I’m all for relaxing and breathing and not making every moment productive. I’m all for rest and play and making sure there are times when you have “down time”. But I fear that for some of us…we’ve forgotten exactly how that works. What happened to picking up a good book, or going for a walk? What happened to pulling out a board game or taking a nap? What happened to eating a good meal, learning a new skill, doing some athletic together? What happened to life before the screen?

Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the 70’s…I actually remember times when we didn’t have a TV. Somehow…we survived.

I thought it would be good enough to cut cable. And so I did. We only have an antenna. I thought it would be good that we only have one main computer…still a desk top one, not even portable…but then I added iphones that go with us everywhere.

Admittedly, I love the screen because on the screen I can write. Blogging is huge for me. I love facebook because I stay in touch with friends and family far and wide. And at this point it seems fairly manageable after cutting over 300 friends last year. I love the screen because I enjoy reading what other bloggers write. And as far as the news I would rather read it any day than watch it on TV.

But as I watch what’s opened to my kids through the screen…I’m not overally thrilled.

Mindless games

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A whole culture that is headed in the wrong direction.

I’m coming to the place where I think we lack focus when we have the kind of screen time we all are used to having.

I’m not ready to completely unhook my internet or toss my computer. But I think I’m coming real close to dropping the portability of cell phones that are really used very little for a phone and more for just another computer.

It’s so easy to think that we need the next thing, the next piece of technology. Sometimes maybe. I will probably keep one device to access on the go…I have an ipad I carry with me when we travel. But otherwise, I think it might just be time for a change.

Will my kids be happy about it? No. But they’ll adjust. Maybe in time they might even see it as a good thing.

Could it be that in the future people who are not monopolized by screens might actually be the ones who succeed and live richly? I dare to think so.

My attempt at frugal living.

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I used to read about the life I’m living now and think it was so foreign. The way I’m going it might not be long till I have chickens in my backyard 🙂

I never used to have time. So I didn’t feel compelled to make ‘homemade’ stuff. I didn’t fit in with ladies who made homemade laundry detergent and all of the other money saving things. I had no comprehension of that life. It wasn’t bad…I just couldn’t relate.

Now…I have time. But am trying to be careful with resources. My view point has changed. Dramatically. Maybe forever.

Now I sit and think how I might cut costs or do things differently to save. Not because I’m obsessed with amassing wealth. I could care less about that. But only because I know the more independent I can become the more freedom I will have in my life.

I listed a bunch of stuff in my last post in my efforts to cut costs. I had a friend who recently was talking with me and said…”Wow…I should write down some of your ideas for frugal living.” That notion was hilarious to me because I am so not the frugal, make something out of nothing person. I still don’t do yard sale or get into going to goodwill and I think those are pretty much required. I’d rather just do without I guess than hassle with that.

But…

I did go to the store and purchase drying racks. Now that my basement is completely empty (for the most part 🙂 I decided that maybe if I put up drying racks instead of using my dryer…it might save some money and would surely be easier on my clothes. This is not an ingenious idea. I’ve seen people do it for years and years. Well in fact, I used to help my grandma when she would hang clothes on the clothesline. But for me it’s new. I was the type of laundry person who when it said “hand wash” on the tag I just figured it would surely be ok to throw it in  with the rest of the clothes.

I even went through the dryer sheets I had, in case I did need to use the dryer and cut them in half. (My mom has been doing this for years.) I know it sounds ridiculous since it will probably only save pennies…but in my mind these days…any money saved is a good thing. Even my kids see money saved as a direct connection to freedom earned. I’ve probably become a little obsessive about it. (It’s not possible to be a little obsessive…but it makes me feel better to word it that way. )

I will probably be adjusting our “air” and “Heat” temperatures in our house too. Assuming that might make a difference.

And I’m still strongly considering the whole data plan thing. Right now I pay for it on three phones and my ipad. If I had never started it would probably not even be an issue…but once you cross the line and get the convenience it’s hard to cut it out. It’s on the horizon. I keep softly bringing it to my kid’s attention so when I cut it, hopefully it won’t be as big of a blow as they are anticipating.

Today I’m going to the store to buy homemade laundry soap supplies. I never dreamed that I would go there…but I am. Or at least I’m going to compare the cost and see if it is a savings or not.

I think I might even go around my house and just check on all of the stuff I have plugged in and see if it should be or not. I have no idea how that works…but assume that when you leave chargers and other various things plugged in even when nothing is charging it might still have a cost to it. And…I’m going to start learning to shut my computer off. I know it’s incredibly small… I love the convenience of having it on all the time instead of having to wait for it to turn on and load. But again…I would guess that it might save money to actually turn stuff off. Beyond the money…it might even just improve the quality of our lives, who knows 🙂

I’ll probably start doing my own car washes. And no new flowers added each year. I have enough perennial stuff to be good enough at this point.

I even told my girls yesterday that it used to be people actually wore their clothes more than once before putting them in the laundry if they didn’t have a stain or smell. They are not thrilled about this, especially since they wear 2-3 shirts as it is with the whole craze of layering everything…but we’ll work on it.

I realize, I’m probably talking pennies…but it seems like some small changes might add up over time. And, I might actually find myself living a more environmentally sound life at the same time. Win-win.

If you’ve got tips I haven’t thought of, feel free to pass them along. I am a newby when it comes to this kind of thing.

I never dreamed this would be my life…but I’m glad it is.