Monday, April 1, 2013

Why I Left Facebook

So, for anyone who is curious, or for my own processing, here is why I left facebook.

1. To create mental space.

2. Facebook happens for me during the few moments of my day that I have some quiet space. It's not what I want to fill that space up with.

3. I think if I had to seriously weigh it out, facebook creates more negative things in me than positive. Here are some examples:

--A comparison and judgement focus (monitoring how many likes and comments I get, noticing all the other moms and the beautiful crafts they are making that I am not and feeling bad about it, reacting to people posting about weight loss or food choices in reference to how it makes me feel about myself, etc.) I mean let's face it. For the most part we put our best foot forward on facebook. And when you see 300 people's "bests" twice a day every day, you start to feel overwhelmed. Like you aren't enough. Or the opposite, thriving on the "likes" everyone gives you. Maybe even feeling "better than." I believe social media has taken the tendency of human nature to compare and evaluate ourselves against one another to a toxic nature. (Of course I am sure some people are above this, but I also believe that it effects us--and maybe especially moms?--more than we may like to admit). I don't want to set myself up to be exposed to such a wide range of perfection to compare myself to. It just isn't reality.

--Emotional responsiveness to issues I am passionate about. It is impossible to get on facebook and not see a post about politics, parenting, or nutrition to name a few volatile topics. I never chose to engage in responding to these posts, but I do get my feathers all ruffled about a lot of them. This is wasted emotional energy. If I had never read the posts, I never would have spent the emotional and mental energy to argue with them in my head or feel irritated by them.

4. I believe facebook is often more polarizing than connective. When we post strong opinions what is our aim? If it is to change the opinion of someone who believes differently, that never happens. What does happen is that we get 51 likes from people who already thought and felt exactly the same as us. What does happen is the person who sits next to you in church on Sunday (or goes to your kid's school, or is your neighbor, or high school friend) but feels differently than you is now suddenly monitoring what they talk about around you to ensure they stay on a "safe" topic. In my opinion this simply is not worth the nice pat on the back of affirmation that comes from the 51 "likes."

5. The way Christian's talk about politics (refer to #4).

6. My "all or nothing" type personality doesn't reign facebook in well. If I was the type of person who would only check it once a week to look at just the friends I am really close to and see their pics, etc. I might keep it. But I check it twice a day and EVERY TIME I feel like I have to scroll alllll the way through the status feeds until I start recognizing them so I know I am "caught up." So it becomes a time waster.

7. Last, and this not something I have totally thought through, but I have some privacy concerns for my kids. I am not sure how they will feel in 10 years about how their lives were broadcast. Since I can't predict that or ask them how they will feel about it in the future when they are old enough to have a strong opinion, I've decided against it for now. **this is not in any way a judgment about this. I know we post pics and comments of our kids because they are amazing and loved. And if I blog about mine, it is essentially the same thing, so clearly I haven't thought it through, but I do think it is worth thinking about.**

I will miss things about facebook for sure. I think it is a great tool, can raise social awareness, and of course I love seeing pics of my friends and family. Maybe I will start posting pictures on my blog more and keeping it updated, I really don't know how it will all shake out. Overall I am hoping to gain some time, some peace of mind, and reduce expectations for myself so I can just live in the present with my kids. Anyone want to join me? :-)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Should I Start Blogging Again?

Well, I used to have this blog, for like a second, and then it just faded into the very distant background of my life. One thing I know about myself: I am *not* going to be one of those perfect mom bloggers who post beautiful pictures of their children with their milestones, updates, b-day party and holiday posts, etc. etc. (enter my fantabulous sister here, she *is* one of those moms :-)). As much as I would love to give that well-documented childhood to my children, I long ago surrendered that it is just not me. I suppose a few months before graduation I will salvage their histories by slapping together some sort of memory book for them to take wherever they go (just because I got one and it is indeed one of my most treasured possessions. Like, if there was a fire in your house what three things would you take kind of treasured.)

But, back to the point. I am trying something new in 2012. I am almost hesitant to say what it is because it is actually so huge for me that I am afraid if I say it out loud I will jinx it. Or be so embarrassed when I fail. I am only two days in, so in no way have I formed a habit. OK, big deep breath, eeeeeek . . . waking up before my kids. That is my whole entire New Year's Resolution (yes it deserves caps). I know it is totally cliche and normal-ish to have a waking up earlier resolution---but this is a soul stirring commitment for me that has come out of a lot of pondering and pushing in my spirit. The impetus for wanting to do this is so that I can see my husband's face before he goes to work. A cup of tea, a shared reading, a kiss good-bye. Simple connect with the person I have been given to cherish above all other relationships. He is my greatest gift, I ought to act like it. The by-product of following through with this concept of greeting my husband in the morning before he leaves is that I have a lot to gain in other areas. Quiet, still time for my soul before the kids get up (priceless!!!) Our family getting on a sleep rhythm that is more similar (this is something I am really hoping will be a byproduct. My kids came biologically wired the way I am, night owls and late sleepers. I am hoping that by modeling earlier to bed earlier to rise behavior they will accomplish the same through osmosis. We'll see how that goes). Space to work on our adoption paperwork and personal journaling time (enter blog here). Watching the world go from black to gray to light---time just watch and listen to the earth breathing around me. A jump start on my daily to do lists. Being alert and not bleary eyed when my kids are ready for their morning snuggles. So, you see, just this one resolution is enough. If I can really make it a habit, I think it is going to transform me and my family on many different levels over time. I am super pumped. And super terrified. I don't know why it is so hard for me to imagine giving up sleep, early morning sleep that is (I give up night time sleep to my owlish behaviors, nursing babes, rubbing out leg cramps, etc. all the time without a thought) . . . so while terrified I also feel committed and hopeful.

I am thinking that this may create space for my blog to make an entrance back in my life. We'll see. For me, I think it will be more of a space to share some of my musings and reflections. Of course my kids will make their way into here, because that is what our children do. They seep into every pore of our being becoming a central part of who we are and so we end up talking about them in virtually every conversation (very annoying for non parents I know) . . . so I am sure that will happen here to. And I am not feeling any drive to make a commitment about blogging, just reopening it up as a possibility and we will see what happens. So, here it is to 2012, the year of revolutionizing my mornings :-).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We are in Africa

Of course there is so much to say about being in Africa. I thought I would start with some of Corban's statements:

When he saw a Muslim woman who was dressed in a full bui bui sitting out of the top of a Safari vehicle, "Mom, is that superman?" I said, "you think you saw superman?" And he said, "Yes, with the cape and the mask."

"Mom, when you are in Babu and Shosho's (grandpa and grandma's) swimming pool you have privacy when you pee!"

"I see a gecko! It's on the wall! It's moving! I saw one catch a bug!" (or some variation of gecko excitement every day several times. Gecko's and lizards are his favorite thing about being in Africa.
In the same vein, "And then there was one lizard that was an aggressive lizard!"

To Mukonyo, our long time family friend, "Mukonyo, why are you black?"

There is much more, but I can't think of them for now. Here's a list of some things we have done:

1. Visited our old school, Rosslyn Academy. We stayed in some of the house staffing and were hosted by our very good friend and former teacher Kathy Beck. It was wonderful walking the grounds, seeing the things that weren't there when I was (a gymn, swimming pool, new library), and catching up with Kathy. I was particularly struck by how beautiful it is on campus. I remember it being beautiful---but the brightness of the flowers, greenness of the lush and plentiful vegetation, crispness of the air, and backdrop of songbirds was freshly amazing to me.

2. In Nairobi, we also went out for some delicious Indian food. On the way there my dad's side mirror got stolen while we were slowed down in a roundabout. A guy just ran up, yanked it off, and ran away with it. The next day he had to replace the mirror with safety clips added so they can't get pulled off.

3. The girls and grandkids flew to Malindi while the guys traveled in the car. We enjoyed the flight and saw Mt. Kilimanjaro out the window. Then we arrived in Malindi, stepping off the plane into the thick, salt air of the Kenyan coast. We drove along beach-lined streets and then through the town of Malindi to arrive at my parent's beautiful apartment complex. We have been living in luxury here with our own three bedroom apartment we are sharing with the Browns complete with our own bathroom, king sized bed, and gorgeous swimming pool.

4. Much of our time has been spent visiting as a family, walks down to the beach, swimming in the pool, and generally having lazy family vacation time. We have also been working alongside mom and dad with the daily grind of making life work in a third world country----EVERTHING takes longer in Africa. Because this is a coastal climate, nothing keeps long. So we have been busy getting groceries almost every day (whatever produce we need for supper that night or fruits for the next breakfast . . . .not to mention there are ten of us here so we have been averaging three cartons of milk and three loaves of bread a day!!! So we have endless trips to the store). Then all vegetables have to be washed and sterilized before they can be used. I haven't even started on the laundry. There is not enough electricity to support drying all your clothes so they have to line dry. But if you leave them out over night there are microscopic worms that will lay eggs in your clothes. So then you have to dry them for ten minutes in a dryer so the eggs get killed. It is a good reminder that it really is a sacrifice for people to chose to live in this kind of climate and culture in order to do mission work (at least for the women who are doing all the
planning, shopping, and cooking :-))! So just daily life takes up much of our time and often the rest is filled up with beach activities with the kids.

5. We have visited mom and dad's office, met their staff, and met all the teenage moms they work with. One morning we got to visit all the different schools the girls have chosen (tailoring school (21 teenage moms), bread baking/small business school (34 teenage moms), hairdressing school (6 teenage moms), and high school (2 teenage moms). All of these girls chose their own track of what they wanted to do to try and develop and income generating skill. It was wonderful to have all the girls show us with pride what they are learning and making (the tailoring girls especially would each bring us the piece they were working on and be so proud when we exclaimed how beautiful things were!)

6. Bryan got to participate in a famine relief project where he helped distribute food to a poorer district surrounding Kalifi, Kenya a nearby coastal town. He spent the day loading the truck, weighing the food, handing it out to the people, and checking ledgers to make sure it was done fairly. What struck him most that day was when one of teh bags had holes in it he saw the people go back and scour the ground for every last bean that had fallen out. A visual picture of absolutely everything counting. When is the last time we had to scour through dirt to pick up a kernel of food? This is so far from our experience . . . .

7. We have done an overnight safari to Tsavo where we saw a great amount of game---zebra, lion, girraffe, cheetah, elephant, crocodile, antelopes of all kinds, and much more. It was beautiful and exciting for the kids. I should do a separate post on this because we had an amazing crocodile experience and some good pictures to share.

8. We have enjoyed a traditional Kenyan church service complete with dancing and singing, "choirs," and women praying. Go God!

9. Of course we have eaten lots of Kenyan food. We have hit a local Kenyan restaurant that has great chapatis, githiri, sukumawiki, matoke, and other various dishes a couple of times. We have found delicious samosa and mandazi places and drunk Fanta Blackcurrant, Fanta Orange, Bitter Lemon, Stoney Tangawizi, and just plain Coke (which is SO MUCH BETTER than American coke).

So many tastes of childhood and smells of home. It is strange to be here because it has been so long my Swahili is terrible and I feel like such an outsider. At the same time so much rings familiar and feels just like home.

That is some of the high lights. Tomorrow Jami and Zach get here and then we will begin filling our time up with more official "survey" business. We have been evaluating cost of living, housing options, work needs, and such already, but will be more actively involved in the survey process once Jami arrives. So we'll see how things turn out. Meanwhile we have really enjoyed being with our family, being on the Kenyan coast getting lots of swim and sand time, and our lovely apartment.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Like Father Like Son

This picture speaks for itself . . . . yet another of the joys of cosleeping. This is how I found Bryan and Corban the other night when I came to bed.

Welcome Zach!

As many of you know, we have added a new member to our family! Zach Williams, who is 18 and Bryan's student assistant, is living with us while he finishes out his senior year at Northstar High School and gets ready for college. He has been a real pleasure to have in our home and we love him so much already. Here are some reasons to love Zach:

He has brought such a sweet demeanor into our home. He has a ready smile, easy laugh, and warm heart towards all humanity.

He is a great student (extra brownie points toward Bryan, who also has him in class).

He is perhaps the most responsible teenager I know. I don't even have to wake him up in the morning, which all of you who know me, that is a good thing!

He has embraced all of our craziness so easily---coming along for "family nights" and putting up with our silly antics like it is nothing. He even took off work so he could watch us dance and play music in the Heartland's talent show. He knows where the fun is going to be at (ha ha).

Every text he sends me starts with ha ha. Every one. (See above, I learned that from him.)

And, well look at that smile . . . . he is a handsome guy for sure!!

So, these pictures are from prom night. We have enjoyed participating in "teenager parenting events." We sent them off to prom with plenty of pictures taken, I enjoy trying to keep up with three male appetites in the house now, and I have a great companion for my night owl tendencies. Zach and I have had many a late night conversation. I always feel like a bad "mom" whenever he doesn't get to bed until 2 am!!!! But really, I think that matches his circadian rhythm . . . . if only he didn't have to get up for school. Well, we let him sleep in on the weekends ;-).

All in all it is a joy to have him around and we look forward to sharing this part of his journey with him! Look forward to some graduation pictures in the near future!

Some More Corban Antics

So, here are some of my son's hilarious recent comments.

After finding a penny on the floor today:
(in an excited tone), "Oooh Mom, I am going to save this for my college! I need to go put it in my elephant (his piggy bank)." My question--who has been telling him about saving up for college already? My guess--his papa.

When we told him to sit as still as he could, testing how long a toddler can hold still:
"Wait, I have to get sit-u-ated." After shuffling around a bit. "Ok, I am situated now!" Then he proceeded to manage holding a still position for maybe three seconds before he started wiggling around.

After telling a looooooong story about zoo animals:
"And, that's the point!"

And that's all in one day. I have a great life as a mom, and perhaps the most entertaining person known to keep me company all day!