Today’s post is a Guest Post from a Life Around the Coffee Cup reader, Katie. I’m so excited that she wrote a post about slowing down and savoring more in the Summer. I’ve definitely had a savoring summer, as I savor my big kids before we welcome a new little one. I really appreciate her thoughts here.
The other day, I wrote a letter to a family member. As I sat there, writing down how my family was doing, I noticed that my mind was so much more at peace than if I were texting my aunt and waiting for her response. I finished the letter, and mailed it, and again I noticed that sense of urgency for a response was not there. My mind was more at peace with this form of communication. This sparked a desire in me to do without FB for the summer. So I kindly posted a farewell to FB friends for the next three months. I simply stated that I wanted to take a more quiet yet connected approach to life this summer, by loosening the grip of the tech world and enjoying the slow pace life in spirit and in mind that I knew growing up. And in turn letting my kids get a glimpse of this as well…
So I’m a month into this less tech summer and it IS more relaxing in spirit and in mind for me. But on the same hand, my Spirit is more awaken to where I enjoy my kids longer, because I’m not distracted with trying to get our moment posted. Tonight I turned up the music on our back patio and danced with my five year old son and then I jumped in my kids pool where my 8 year old and 2 year old sons were and danced with them. Smiles were everywhere, we were all having a great time together. And it had been a rainy day, but there I was dancing with my children and the music filling our back yard. Joyful memories. This would have been one of the moments I would have wanted to post. And I’m so glad the moment wasn’t distracted that way, having to get just the right picture.
Now, when I want to capture a moment, I use my camera instead of my smart phone, and take a picture or video and put the camera away. Eventually, I’ll go to town and print off some photos and enjoy making a scrapbook journal of our summer. Scrapbooking is something I used to do, and found enjoyment in it. So just another way my spirit has awaken to other interests as well.
It’s little things, like not having my phone out, around my kids or husband that is a big thing that helps with our home atmosphere. I’d like my kids to grow up seeing this as a common courtesy within the home. And to learn to not be so wrapped up in the internet world. When I think back on my parents growing up, I’m so grateful that I don’t have memories of their eyes always focused on their cell phone. Currently, our only source of the internet is by way of one cell phone that my husband and I share. So he also has been exercising his mind to be less distracted with it. I’m so thankful. And he likes that he’s not been as wrapped up in it as well.
In this day in age, I’ve come to feel like I’m missing out if I don’t look up something on the internet. So I’m reprogramming my mind by realizing that there is so much to take in with this slow pace more tech free life. I make more eye contact with my kids. I get to sit back and watch them play without interruptions. Which, sometimes, allows me more prayer time. In addition, when they look up at me, they see me smiling back in their bright eyes.
Reading blogs of other christian homemaking moms have brought a lot of encouragement to me as a homemaker and a mom. I still like to look up some of those blogs when I need more motivation. But I’m selective in where I go and how long I spend time there. Once I’ve been inspired or motivated, I am then impressed to put my phone down and act on this spurring. Which can help get me out of a slump.
There are other times, like recently when I was intrigued by another mom that I read about in the Magnolia Journal, and then looked she and her family up on Instagram. Her story was really inspiring, so I enjoyed getting to see more inside her world as a mom and wife. One morning my 2 year old son came into bed with me and Jonathan. And I had the urge to pick up my phone and browse, but instead, as an exercise for my brain I did not pick up my phone for a word or picture of inspiration from a fellow mom. Instead, I chose to focus on my surroundings; what and who God has blessed me with and finding wonder in my own world that God has given me. I took in the moment to rest with my little one as well as my husband who was off work that day. After staring at my son and cuddling with him for a little while as he drifted back to sleep, I reached for my Bible and read about how God provided for Abraham on his many travels. Later that morning, after filling some hungry little bellies with breakfast, I took my Bible outside and sat under the beautiful scuppernong vine in our back yard. My 2 year old son, Caleb, sitting right beside me playing with my flip fan. I didn’t get to do much reading then because within minutes a summer shower came down all around us and came through the vines covering above us as well. I wrapped Caleb in a towel and sat him in my lap. I held him close while we took in the beauty of God’s creation all around us; the greenery above our heads intertwined with the vine branches, the grass, trees, rain and fresh air. While resting there, though getting some what wet, I got to experience a refreshing morning, something I just don’t get with my senses on screen time. Which reminds me of Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life. You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Since being offline more, I have enjoyed picking up my old journals and reading how God has come through in so many ways at various times of my life. Not too long ago, I read journal entries from 2007, the year before Jonathan and I had our first baby. Inspired by reading about our joys and our struggles back then and how God intervened. I walked away feeling like “God’s got this” whatever it is that I’m facing, “God has got this, he knows the end from the beginning, he is the way maker and I really don’t need to worry”. Reading these old journals are a strengthening fiber in my walk with the Lord and dependence on Him. It’s also a reminder that it has been time well spent for me to journal and to continue on with this interest.
I’m thankful that being off line more this summer has rekindled a desire to play the piano again, which my children and husband appreciate. Also, I’m grateful for the conversations I’ve had with, Jacob, my five year old son and watching him create with his hands through his drawings or legos. And competing in book races with Josiah, my 8 year old son. Trying to implement less screen time for him, as well as encourage more reading time with still images. It’s a fun challenge for both of us and encourages me to read more to my younger boys.
It feels good to be more present with my family now. As well as be appreciative for the internet world and inspired by the body of Christ whom I seek there on occasion. But at the same time, I’m learning to not have to search another persons world to escape my hard days, but to be aware of the beauty in the ups and downs of my own life and to seek God through it all.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand I will not be shaken.” –Psalm 16:8
Katie enjoys being outdoors in the beauty of God’s creation. She also enjoys capturing special moments through her home journals and home videos. She really loves spending time with her husband and being a homemaker and mom to her three sons is so rewarding. Shopping at the farmers market or local produce stands is a hometown blessing to her as well as living in the country and near to a Florida spring, which she and her family enjoy swimming at on beautiful summer days.