Sabbath

I believe that Sunday is not just another day of the week. For me, Sunday is the Sabbath. It used to be called the Holy Sabbath of the Lord, then just the Sabbath, and now more often than not, Sunday or the weekend. The progression of titles shows the trend society has gone through from reverence to ignorance of holy things.

God gave observance of the Sabbath as a commandment. Of course, He will not compel us to keep the commandment, but we are blessed when we do so. I think of it like traffic rules. Sure, you could run that red light, but you (and others) will be much safer if you do not travel through intersections when the light is red. Commandments are much the same; they are in place to keep everyone as safe as possible.

A period of rest is both for our bodies and our souls. Work is an important part of God’s plan for us, but He also knows that we have to rest as well. The Israelites were given manna from heaven to feed them in the desert as they wandered. But on the Sabbath, no manna was given and they were to collect extra the previous day to get them through the Sabbath Day. The other days of the week, they were not able to collect more than was necessary for one day. The Lord wants us to depend on him– physically and spiritually, and to look to him in all things, especially on the Sabbath Day.

And that’s what I think the Sabbath is truly for: Remembering Christ. Six days of the week we work and strive, taking care of our physical and spiritual needs. But on the Seventh Day we remember. We remember all the He did for us, that He died for us.

I also think that the Lord wants us to slow down and see the beauty in life. How are we to do that if we don’t stop every once in a while and just be? The Sabbath is a way to do just that- to stop and smell the roses. Or to stop and check the time. Is it 5:16 where you are?

#hisday

Book Review: Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

For a long time now I’ve wanted to keep a record of the books I read. Sites that are set up just for that purpose are another site to keep track of usernames and passwords. Which I so don’t need. Why not keep track of it here?

As a homeschool mom, I do a bit of reading. Probably not as much as I should, but I do try to model reading just for a love of reading. I recently joined a book group to encourage myself to read more and outside of my comfort zone. I was hesitant on joining such a group because I didn’t want to be held to a deadline. I’m totally an Obliger by Gretchin Rubin’s standards, which means I have a hard time not performing to outer expectations….like a book club date. But so far it’s been good for me, and Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan is the latest book on our list.

The book is a compilation of short essays, almost like each one is a separate set from his comedy shows. The entire book is about parenting and life as a father of five. I started reading the book laughing out loud. But after a while, I stopped laughing. There were too many of the same kind of jokes.

As a stay at home mom of three, I definitely related to much of what he was saying. But as a suburban mom, there was an element that I couldn’t related to, although I did enjoy learning about life in New York City. I also appreciated the lavish praise he gave to his wife; it seemed to make this mom feel a little more appreciated by extension.

Overall, the book was good. If Mr. Gaffigan’s style of humor is something you are interested in, then consider reading it. Better yet, listen to it on audio book. I think the comedic timing would be way better than your own interpretation while reading. Or at least my interpretation. If you are single or married without kids, eh, skip it.

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If you like science fiction fantasy children’s books, try out the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. It is a four book series, the first being titled On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. If you can get through Book 1, the series is excellent. It does have Christian themes if that is something you feel strongly about one way or the other.

What does it mean to be an influencer?

What does it mean to be an expert? By some people’s standards, it means you have at least 10,000 hours under your belt of whatever your expertise is. Ten thousand hours. That’s roughly 5 years of full time work. Hm, by that standard, I am a parenting expert… And I do not even begin to feel like an expert.

With the rise of blogs, it seems like everyone is an expert. I think it’s great that anybody can try to make their way in the jungle called the internet, but it seems to be a problem when readers believe everything without an eye of skepticism. I mean, if any “professional” told you they have been in their field only five years, would you think them an expert? Most people think someone is an expert after 20+ years, or at least some significantly longer time period than five years.

Perhaps “influencer” is a better word to use. Any piece of information, whether true or false, can influence you. With so many voices out here on the web, it can be hard to figure out what is truth and what is false. And it is difficult to not be influenced one way or another once you have read/watched/listened. 

I don’t want to be one of those voices. I am no expert! I can barely influence my own children in a positive way, at least for longer than five minutes. I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t ever want to claim to be some sort of expert, or even an influencer. Unless of course, I influence you for good and not bad. 

Favorites of mine: podcasts

Early last year we remodeled our kitchen and I found myself doing somewhat boring tasks and needing something to watch or listen to while Getting Stuff Done. I had listened to a couple of podcasts, but this is when my listening really skyrocketed. Since that time, I have really come to love podcasts. I often feel like I need to be productive, so listening while I am accomplishing something else feels so indulgent.

My first podcast was The Simple Show (formerly the Art of Simple Podcast) by Tsh Oxenreider. I had been a fan of her blogging for years and hearing her voice made it all come alive. She speaks about the many facets of simple living. It is casual but thought provoking. Through her show I discovered the Sexy Marriage Radio podcast by Corey Allen and Shannon Ethridge. I binge-listened for months, learning so much along the way. I am all caught up now, and listen once a week to their most recent releases. They really do a great job making the topic of sex no longer taboo or dirty.

Right about this time I literally stumbled upon the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft. I didn’t realize until after listening to the first episode, that it was the first episode! This has become my favorite podcast. I look forward to listening each week on Wednesdays, which also happens to be the one day of the week my kids go to their homeschool group all day and I run around grocery shopping and running errands and checking things off my list. Ms. Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project and other books relating to cultivating happiness. The podcast is in the same vein.

The Inspired to Action podcast by Kat Lee and the Sorta Awesome podcast by Megan Tietz both came across my radar through The Simple Show also. Sorta Awesome is a hodgepodge of different topics talked about by girlfriends, so it seems like you are hanging with your gal-pals. It’s fun, but also somewhat fluffy. Kat Lee is a Christian mom who focuses on inspiring moms. I have found this one both amazing and tedious, depending on the episode.

I just started listening to the Personality Hacker podcast by Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge, recommended by the Sorta Awesome cast. Witt and Dodge are a married couple who talk all about different facets of personality. Being a psychology lover, I thoroughly enjoy it even if some of it is a bit deep/complex for me. I don’t like the foul language when it crops up, but it’s not enough to not listen.

And lastly, the Read Aloud Revival Podcast. It is fabulous. But there are a lot of words and it is usually not casual listening. The episodes are longer, which I don’t mind at all, but I do think it takes a little focus to listen. It’s definitely a dishes or laundry folding podcast, not a dinner-making podcast. Sarah Mackenzie talks about all things books and reading and “building a family culture around reading.” I have gotten many a good book recommendation for myself and my kids through this one.

The next one I am going to try is along the same lines as the Read Aloud Revival podcast, the Arts of Language podcast with Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). This definitely falls under the homeschool improvement umbrella. I can’t wait to try it, but I haven’t yet clicked the play button on this one.

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So now you know some of my favorite podcasts. I would love to hear what yours are! I am especially looking for good LDS podcasts that can help cultivate my spiritual side. (I’ve found many podcasts that bad-mouth the LDS Church, or are somehow scornful toward it, but nonetheless come up when you search “LDS” or “Mormon.”)

Parenting through the roller coaster

A few summers ago our family spent six weeks in Florida due to my husband’s job. We decided to buy season tickets to Universal Studios and we went once a week while we were there. During one of the visits, my oldest convinced me to go on one of the roller coasters with her. I do not like roller coasters, and this one was no different. 

It was very intense. I clenched my teeth and hung on for dear life. As soon as I thought it was coming to an end (phew!) it would pick up speed again! Finally it was over and I had a pounding headache.

Parenting a tweenager is like that ride. I gotta just hold on for dear life and anticipate the ups, downs, and the headaches. Hopefully when the ride is over I’ll be grateful and appreciate the perspective it gave me. 

it’s 5:16

My mom died suddenly when I was twenty years old. She was in a car accident. She did not die at the scene, but never woke up from the accident. Machines kept her alive for a week before the family decided to turn them off. Her death and subsequent events have really shaped who I am today. I miss her.

But.

I know that I will see her again. I believe in a Lord who makes that possible.

Often, usually when I am cooking dinner, I will look at the clock right at 5:16. Her birthday was May 16th. It has become a sign from her, a way I remember her every day. It has been over fifteen years, so I can now happily yell out, “It’s 5:16!” And my family knows that means I am remembering her. And that she is near us. Over time it has become a sort of symbol of the Lord’s blessings in my life.

Because losing someone you love, especially if it was someone you were close to, is never easy. But because of my faith, it doesn’t hurt anymore. That is a huge blessing.

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That same God who gives me faith in another life where I will walk with with my mom again, has put it in my heart to write to you. I am not a writer or a blogger. I have fought this spiritual urge for a while now. But it keeps getting stronger, and I know from experience that I can’t ignore it without trying.

I don’t really know what to expect of this space; I am hoping it will evolve naturally. If my story and thoughts can encourage or inspire someone else, then I have to give it a try. Heck, even if it’s just me who learns from this, then that’s something. Maybe that’s the point. It sure would be more fun if you follow along and let me know if it’s helpful at all.

 

I see 516 in other places besides my oven clock. License plate numbers, scripture references, library call numbers, page numbers… really anywhere I might be. If I am paying attention, I notice it. And noticing is part of the trick.

What is your 516?