TED carries the catch-phrase ‘ideas worth spreading’ and provides a platform for some of the very best thinkers around the globe to communicate something that they believe will challenge and inspire others. Twice a year TED hosts two conferences in which TED talks pass on a wealth of knowledge and ideas in no more than 18 minutes.
Some of the talks are inspiring, beautiful, and creative. Others are informative, full of knowledge or communicate an innovative idea or invention.
I wanted to share some of my most favourites with you. I hope you find something here that will inspire and move you.
The last month has flown by again, and we’re feeling like our family is in a relatively good rhythm going into the winter. We have enough commitments outside our family life for now, and the kids are settled into some good routines. Here’s hoping we can cruise a bit for a while, after a couple of months of some really stretching circumstances. Love the outcome of faith having grown, but do not love the process as much.
In the Kitchen
Take a break from your gluten-free living and enjoy these simple Cornish pasties from Jamie Oliver. I can’t imagine how a Cornish pastie would taste with gluten-free pastry, but if you have a recipe feel free to prove me wrong.
Trim Healthy Mama – it’s taken me a while to get hold of my own copy, but I’ve decided to give this a read and see what all the fuss is about. So many people I know are using this eating plan. I’ll let you know in the coming months what I think. So far, I like the emphasis on increasing healthy fats in your diet.
Here’s an informative article on agave nectar that I encourage you to read.
Last month I linked up a post at Wellness Mama on how to re-mineralise your teeth. Here’s another well written post on oil pulling.
On the Homeschool Front
I’m going to be adding ‘Life of Fred’ Math to our homeschool curriculum soon. I’ve only ever heard great things about these books, but we’re going to supplement our existing Math-U-See rather than replace it. This series of books bring Math alive to children through stories.
We have switched things around a bit for a month (in case you missed it, read ‘Mix it up May’). So far, all is going well and our learning times feel like they’ve freshened up a bit. I recommend doing this if you’re children start to drag their feet behind them!
We’ve picked up our ‘All About Spelling’ again after an extended break. This really is a great spelling program and I find my daughter instantly picks up the rules. Here’s an article from All about Spelling on learning spelling logically: Spelling Can Be Easy When It’s Logical
We were blessed to listen to Loren Cunningham twice yesterday, who is currently on tour with his wife Darlene in New Zealand. He has a fresh challenge for us seeing a bible in every home, in every nation. Listen in here.
All Sons and Daughters have released a new self-titled album. Listen to the whole thing here at Relevant.
Quote of the Month
‘To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today’. – Unknown
I’ve got some posts tucked away and ready to go for this month on our ‘Back to Eden’ garden, Maestro Classics, Story of the World for Christian families, some of our favourite magazine reads, plus a few other things.
Pinterest is a great place for storing away ideas for just about anything: from learning at home, and crafts and activities, to recipes, natural remedies, DIY projects and more.
I like to have some general boards for things such as Homeschooling, Natural Living and Food, and some more specific Boards for things like ‘Story of the World’, Art How-to’s, gluten-free food, and New Zealand.
Here are some of my own favourite Boards, where I stash away helpful resources for future reference, or just pin beautiful, inspiring or interesting things. I love to look at the creativity that springs up from people, just as much as I do just tucking away resources for future reference.
“Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by screens. Have we entered a techno utopia or a virtual prison?”
(Producer and Co-Director Phillip Telfer)
Captivated DVD is one of the most important films you will watch this year. Media Talk 101 brings together a diverse range of experts and contributors from all walks of life in this documentary, providing insight and testimony to equip us in making sound decisions for our families. You will hear an outstanding series of interviews and evidence to support the potential impact of modern media on physical, moral, spiritual, mental and emotional health.
An Introduction to
We all know that we are inundated daily by screens and media that demands us to give it our immediate attention. Perhaps many of us have never stopped and honestly considered how much of our focus these things have really become, and more concerning, how much impact these things are having on our children.
Consider thesestatistics (from MediaTalk101 and Captivated):
The average person watches almost 5 hours of TV a day (53 hours per week).
By the time the average child is 18 they will have witnessed 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders on TV.
The average mobile teen sends and receives 3,339 text messages per month.
90% of children between 8-16 years old have viewed pornography online (most while innocently doing homework).
About the Film
Captivated begins with taking the viewer on a brief journey on the introduction of the telegraph, and the impact this had at the time. You might find yourself surprised at some parallels to today, although the scale and digital sophistication has obviously changed considerably.
With a series of interviews with experts, authors, teachers and real life testimonies from regular people, it covers (amongst other things):
Brain development and functioning of infants and young people, the science behind attention systems, and the growing epidemic of distraction;
The change in what we understand community to be, and how we now do relationship;
The physical impact on nutrition and fitness, on sleep, and on mental and spiritual health;
The reinforcement of media appetite through excessive use, and its potential impact;
The history and consequences of the movie ratings system;
The saturation of social media and technology into our modern society, with the backing of research cited, expert testimony, and statistics.
Why It Matters
The film asks and discusses some essential questions: whose voice is influencing your family? What are you allowing in your home via a screen that you wouldn’t normally invite in with a real life person? Scientific research backs up the parental instinct that the content of what our children are consuming is harmful, and that graphic violence makes children more desensitized to violence. But even putting violent video games aside, consider even the seemingly harmless – what and whose values does it express?
Here’s a point that was expressed by Dr Jeff Myers: every movie, video game, TV show and so forth, starts with an idea someone has had. The media is not neutral. I was freshly reminded that there are agenda’s at work, and according to research, these agenda’s are not Christian.
KP Yohannan suggests that anything that gets us away from focusing on God deserves to be examined. What we see and hear affects what we do. If we’re filling ourselves with what is good and pure, then it affects our actions and we become a blessing to others.
There is no doubt – media changes worldviews. That is why examining this area of media consumption deserves to be courageously and honestly examined by every follower of Christ.
This film promotes media discernment, and not necessarily its complete removal. It does not tell you exactly what to do, or how much is enough, but encourages you to seek discernment and find what God has for you instead.
Technological tools are beneficial. But there are costs – culturally, intellectually, educationally, spiritually, mentally and physically. I was left considering these technological advances as having their place as tools, but shouldn’t replace relationship, community, purpose, and identity. When they become a lifestyle and the primary source of our ‘diet’, we have possibly stepped over into an area where we are no longer free.
I love the emphasis that one family, who did a month-long media fast, say worked for them. They said they didn’t ‘take away’, but they ‘replaced’. I believe this is essential, and we can allay our fears that we will somehow deprive our children if we take away or reduce the amount of time they spend with these ‘tools’.
The film eventually takes you in the direction of Christ as the one who sets us free from captivity and leads us into fullness of life.
This film is a tremendous resource for families and I wholeheartedly recommend it. As parents, we simply must become better equipped and discerning in this area, so as to live intentionally on this earth, with purpose in our step, and hope for our future.
Unless we become intentional in this area, and possibly admit our own shortcomings and change ourselves, we could miss out on what is really available to walk in instead. Let’s not have regrets.
The film is intended for adults but has been approved for all ages. Note that it does touch on some topics that you may not have discussed with your children yet.
Beginning this month, I’m going to do a round up at the end of each month of things that have grabbed my attention over the course of the month – things to make in the kitchen, things I’m reading or watching, something I’ve read or discovered in health and natural living, and perhaps something we’ve been doing in homeschooling that’s been a great experience or fun part of the journey.
I simply want to pass on things that have caught my interest and been of benefit to my journey, in the hope that you might also find something useful or inspiring too.
So here goes…
In the Kitchen
I’ve spent the month making these regularly, which are keeping us cool at the height of summer, and are also healthy: Sugar-free chocolate fudge.
I’ve been enjoying Dr Caroline Leaf’s material for the last couple of years on the brain and faith connection, and strongly recommend you listen in. She has a series online at the moment on TBN. Here is the first episode.
Rend Collective: 10,000 reasons – Love this! Intimate, honest, inclusive worship in a community of kindred people. Love the Irish folksy sound, and love the heart of these people to honour one another and honour their King.
iHerb.com – a great place to get over 35,000 supplements, health and beauty products at great prices. Best of all, they ship to NZ for just $4, and only $8 for 2-day delivery (on average). I’ve already put through 2 orders – love cheap international postage!
See the Light ShineArt DVD series – just got bumped up my homeschool wishlist. We can’t wait to get started next month!
PureSante –spend months or years trying to get to the bottom of your health issues (like I have!), or consult with someone like the amazing Rachael who can help lead you into greater health. For folks in the Bay of Plenty, give this fantastic gal a call – she is amazing!
On the Homeschool Front
Our scripture to memorise and soak in this month (or longer): Psalm 91.
“When the key element of your identity comes from a negative, then your experiences will always be negative. When you see yourself as a sinner, then you will be preoccupied with sin. When you know that you are a saint, then you will be occupied with righteousness because a saint is one of the holy ones. You were a sinner that has been saved by grace to become a saint. You are a child of light beloved of God walking in newness of life. That makes you a completely different person!”
As I write this on Christmas Eve, Shawn is finishing the last minute painting on the children’s Christmas gift, my eldest is playing the piano, the little ones are occupied with books and paper, dinner almost ready to serve, and I am feeling so incredibly overwhelmed by the Lord’s provision in our lives. We are truly blessed.
Thank you for joining me here and for sharing in a part of our story. I hope you’ve been blessed by something here this year. I appreciate you, and pray that Christmas 2013 will be a special and memorable time for you.
You will have noticed a few things have changed on my blog as of late: the look and feel has changed a little, and I’ve also moved from a free site to a self-hosted one that will give me more freedom and enable my site to grow better (a huge thank you to my brother-in-law who rescued me during the migration!). It might all look the same on the outside, but there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes of a website – I’m sure I’m completely over my head on the technical side of things sometimes!
In recent months I’ve started using affiliate links in some places, as I’d like to start earning some income to cover the cost of my website, and if anything extra comes in over and above, it will be a support to our family. Thank you to those who have already used these – it’s a blessing to us. My main motivation for writing here will remain simply to encourage and pass on the things in my journey that I hope will benefit others.
I’ll be taking a blogging break over the Christmas period, although I have a few posts ready to publish so I hope you’ll check in and have a read. I look forward to being with you in this space again next year – I have some super things planned!
Blessings from our family to yours,
LUKE 1 – Mary’s Song
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
Some very nice people have nominated me for Best Homemaking Blog. Thank you.
The prizes are really amazing and include resources from Apologia, Sally Clarkson, Rosetta Stone and All About Learning Press. Winning something would be such a blessing to our book-mad family!
If you’ve been blessed by something you’ve read here, please consider voting for ‘Homemaking With Heart ‘and sharing in your social media circles so others can too. Voting runs from today until Monday 18th November.
Aside from the obvious time that social media takes from your life, and how that may potentially affect your family, there is other fruit that I have been challenged to inspect in my life.
Can I ask you some of these things I have also been asking myself?
How do the words and interactions in these outlets produce life and wholeness? Do they propel you further into knowing Christ more intimately and making Him known?
Do you find you are engaging in idle talk, gossip, and wasteful words, even if it is subtle?
Does constantly tracking your blog followers, subscriptions and Facebook ‘likes’ distract you away from putting your attentions and affections towards more important things? Are you seeking self-promotion to increase your sense of worth that should only be found in Christ alone?
Do you spend more time in front of the screen than in activities that will draw you closer to Christ, such as reading your bible and praying?
Have you filled your Pinterest boards with wants and fantasy that causes a dissatisfaction with what the Lord has given you (ie. how you want to ideally look, ‘dream home’ wish lists, etc).
Has engaging in the social media world breed a dissatisfaction and lack of contentment in your heart?
What do you spend the majority of the day meditating on?
Have you managed relationships on Facebook status updates, and/or put your all your innermost thoughts online, instead of only sharing these with the Lord or within the sacredness of your marriage relationship?
Most of all: where do the affections of your heart lie?
By all means, acknowledge if you are trying to fill an unmet need to belong, feel significant, stay connected, keep out of boredom, or something else. Run into the Lord to meet that need and let him direct you to the people he has placed in your life to add strength and encouragement to you, and for you to do likewise for them also.
I’m not going to say here what I believe the amount of time, or purpose for visiting these places online should be for you. I can only offer the suggestion that you look to the Lord to fill your heart with a sense of purpose and significance found in Him alone, and encourage you to ask him to reveal any way in you that does not lead you closer to him (Psalm 139:23-24).
For myself, the thought of reducing my internet time to almost nothing sets me in a tail spin: What if I lose all my readers? What if I miss out on important updates amongst my circle of friends? What if removing myself from being in front of my good friends affects my closeness with them? Will I be lonely/unconnected/isolated? Fears. Lots of them. Perhaps putting a mirror in front of myself is exactly what I need.
The Father is waiting there to meet with me. And I’m so ready to sit with him in the quiet and distraction-free place and hear what he has to say. I suspect the fruit from being with him will be eternal, liberating, and life-giving. I’m desperate to be engaged in things of eternal consequence and live a life extraordinary – and to raise children with this hope and desire also.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. – Philippians 4:8
We are spoilt for choice when it comes to encouraging blogs, Facebook Groups, and inspiring Pinterest Boards. I confess I’ve spent many hours amongst these media outlets, finding ways to better improve how I homeschool and run my home, find creative recipes, and how to improve my marriage or parenting strategies. I’m glad for the resources that have helped me become more intentional and informed.
But I have to say, I feel much of it has come at a cost, and unless I curb my time on these outlets to almost nil, I will miss the precious moments of discipleship and memory-making with my children while they are young.
My home is still being run in an orderly fashion, tasks are mostly getting done, but the real stuff that memories are made of and the quiet moments of solitude and special chats with my children seem to have almost disappeared. I see how much I have jumped on the internet to escape for a moment or two (or a longer moment) to fill the desire for what I have considered ‘me time’ but in doing so, have jumbled up my expectations and cultivated an ungodly sense of entitlement for what I feel I should have as a mother and wife.
I hope in getting real like this, I encourage someone else out there to take a hard look at this area of their life. I feel I have no choice but to do this for myself, lest I miss the abundant life that the Father has graciously given me.
I know that many of you will say how these outlets have added value to your lives, and how you’ve received help and connection that has changed your life, and so forth. So let me say that I don’t believe blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are in themselves bad. I can only attest to what it has done to my own heart, despite having set boundaries and attempted to cull the purpose for which I use these outlets for. I feel I have also allowed the familiarity of these forms of social media, that have become the cultural norm, to cause spiritual ‘amnesia’ whereby the things that truly matter have been largely forgotten. You know the saying, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. Just because we have an accepted cultural practice, it does not mean it is a healthy one. Living in the midst of it can cause much to go unnoticed.
I believe the lure of social media, and the muddied purpose for which it should be used by a follower of Christ, has largely contributed to a sense of spiritual barenness I have felt, and dulled my senses to where I feel I need some extended time with the Lord at present to clear the static and distraction from my soul. I have a deep unmovable faith, and the desire to know Him and make Him known never leaves my heart. But the vibrancy, clear vision, and quiet peace that I’ve known is lost at this moment in time.
Perhaps your experience is different, but I can only be honest with myself as I seek to become closer to the Lover of my soul.
Can I speak candidly with you, and in the quest to live the abundant life the Lord has given to us, together we can ask ourselves some pointed questions?
I’ve been challenged lately to find ways to make better use of my time, and establish some different habits around the flow of our family life. Since the birth of our third child a year and a half ago, we’ve obviously had to adapt to another little person being around. But now that we have our new ‘normal’ for the time being, it’s time to get intentional again.
So my husband and I are attempting to find a better rhythm whereby every member of our family feels valued and important, and their ‘love tank’ filled to a healthy place. From a place of strength, we can minister more effectively to others. It means re-ordering some priorities.
Our marriage needs some focused attention, as we have cruised a bit for a while and not given one another the attention and time we deserve. We’ve taken for granted the fact that we deeply love each other and that there will always be reserves to draw from in those times where other things are happening in the life of our family. So it’s time to top up our reserves again!
Our children each have different needs at their ages and stages of development. We are listening to what they are saying, be it clearly stating or indirectly via behaviour, so we can better nurture and raise them and so they feel fully satisfied in our love expressed to them.
This Mum here needs some regular time out to re-energise, which is something I do best by myself or with a friend. I didn’t need this for a long time but 8 years since my first was born, I’m finally seeing that after an prolonged and intense period in the life of our family, it’s time for us to carve this out for me. My faithful husband is really committed to this.
So what are the non-negotiables?
There are some things that we know for certain (in no particular order):
Our children are being raised inside our home. For us, that means homeschooling and it also means that none of our children go to an alternative place of care, be it daycare, Kindergarten or public school. It may look different for someone else, but this we have come to be certain about as we have prayed and discussed this together.
We know we are called to love others intentionally and sow into close relationships in our lives, particularly those within our community of faith.
It’s my husband’s role to provide the primary means of financial support and it is my role to be a wife and mother. We’ve toyed with the idea of me working part-time on the computer from home in the past. But we felt for us that this wasn’t the right fit for our family.
What can be trimmed and adjusted?
I’m certain that many of you will relate to this one: I’ve found a degree of connection via Facebook and blogging which I’ve been grateful for. It sure helps to feel less isolated when you’re housebound with little ones doesn’t it? But it’s time to trim back on these outlets and dedicate my time elsewhere into more productive places.
I’ve been blessed with incredible relationships that are authentic and don’t require me to keep abreast on Facebook with things happening in their lives. They’ll actually tell me. Granted, there are only a few of them, but I’m sure it’s OK to have a few close friends and not dozens where the connection is so shallow.
So for now, despite filling that deeper need for connection and community (in a very average way might I say), I’m trimming social media time to a minimum. It’s not even so much the time spent as much as it’s the headspace it takes, and the feeling of busyness that it stirs in my head. It doesn’t add enough value to my life to warrant continuing with it at the expense of other areas. And I’d much rather devote my time and energy to the ‘real’, not the ‘virtual’.
As for my blog, my goal for now is to blog once a week during the weekend, and I may be able to do more than this sometimes. Not writing the recommended 2-3 times a week may mean that I lose some readers. But I pray that my words will reach those who really need it.
Do you have some areas of activity in your life that need some pruning? Do you need to re-evaluate your commitments outside the home, such as those at church, within you homeschool network, and extra-curricular activities?
What role is social media playing in your life – do you need some more balance in this area?
Next post, I’ll delve a little into how my husband and I are approaching relationships at present.