Tag Archives: read

Hoopla is not a sport.

This is the year of READ. I’ve known since January that books would be a major part of this year’s landscape. But quickly after finishing 3 physical books in February, I entered a different stage of development with my baby and found that I no longer had the luxury of holding her and a book at the same time. For whatever reason, it seemed that my reading days were over.

That is until I started using Hoopla.

I don’t exercise. I know I should and I regularly mourn my lack of athleticism – if only I had been trained in a sport while a child, then I think I would more naturally fall back into an active lifestyle.

But sports aren’t the subject of today’s post! (Thank goodness.)

It’s HOOPLA. To me, that sounds like hula-hoop which conjures up images of physical activity. But that’s not even close to Hoopla.

**Disclosure: this is NOT an affiliate post, it isn’t sponsored in any way. I’m just truly enthusiastic about this tool.**

Hoopla is an app that I use to access resources and borrow them using my library account!

How cool is that? I signed up, entered my library card, and now I can borrow audio books (8 per month) and listen wherever and whenever it works for me – all from my phone! All for FREE.

I have found hours per day that I can dedicate to listening to books.

  • Getting ready in the morning
  • Feeding my baby
  • Washing dishes
  • Preparing dinner
  • Folding laundry
  • And during many other chores too

In one month, I was able to finish 4 audio books primarily because I replaced podcast listening with book listening. This has been so personally empowering for me. I’ve learned so much, grown in my thought life, and felt productive and reflective more than if I had just tuned out or scrolled Facebook during the times when I had “down time.” Instead, I would choose from a few of my current books to cater to my mental state – feeling tired? I would listen to fiction (Pride & Prejudice). If I was feeling chore-hungry, I would listen to The Happiness Project or The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Feeling discouraged in my motherhood stage? I listened to Desperate or The Life Giving Home.

To see more of what I have read and what I am reading – check out the post that started it all this year here.

And below are the screenshots of what some of these titles look like on my phone – it really is super simple to use.

Will you Hoopla? Let me know!

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Screenshot_2017-05-26-07-54-03[1] Screenshot_2017-06-01-09-07-32[1] Screenshot_2017-06-28-08-34-48[1] Screenshot_2017-07-03-21-16-31[1]

Facebook App and My Brain

I’ve been severely ill. The kind of sick that has hijacked my entire life, week, etc. I’ve found myself napping, resting, and otherwise counting the days in number of hours until my next dose of medicine.

My thought life has been my real life. My prayer life has been exposed. And I have a love hate tension for these trials because of the nature of conviction that comes from having to identify areas of compromise or failure. 

Being so sick and laid up causes me to reevaluate. What are my priorities? Am I planning for these or flying by the seat of my pants? What are my goals? Am I creating actionable steps to accomplish them? Or Am I allowing the day to get ahead of the plan? 

One area of conflict in my life lately has been my use of Facebook. At first, I blamed my makeup business. I figured that I was having an adverse reaction to direct sales, and that maybe being a “salesperson” was creating the feeling of my soul being sucked out of my body. (This is not a good – feeling soul-robbed.)

See, I’ve been using Facebook to spread the word about my Younique business. I love the makeup and skin care products. So, I have done what many others are doing, and I posted the information to Facebook for all my friends, family, and acquaintances to see.

But it wasn’t Younique that was actually causing my soul to evaporate – it was a very simple little thing.

The red circle with a number indicating notifications. Below is what I posted to my Facebook group about the problem.

FACEBOOK APP and My Brain:

Being so ill has allowed me a lot of time to just rest and think. I have a hard time with the forced stillness, but it always proves helpful to me in reflection. Because of this reflection, I’ve stumbled upon a problem that must be rectified.

I can’t stand the distracting nature of notifications. When using any app, the first thing I do is go to my phone’s system settings and disable the notifications (or I “hide” them). But with the FB app, the red circle still pops up with the number of notifications which could be anything from someone else commenting on a picture of a friend (which most of the time I just ignore these, I mean why do I need to know?) to someone actual engaging with me personally.

When I started regularly using Facebook as a means of spreading the word about Younique’s sales, I immediately had a lot of “reasons” to check Facebook – answering questions, posting promotions, filming live videos (fun!).

Slowly, but with gaining momentum, I started using Facebook more and more. My connections with people were really growing too. I loved the engagement, the opportunities to pray, the laughs from clever memes, etc.

What I didn’t love was the SWISS CHEESE my brain was turning into. Gradually, my ability to focus on a specific task was lessening. I was constantly aware of where my phone was and I wanted to “just see if there are any new notifications. I won’t spend lots of time on the News Feed, just notifications.”

But my prayer life was starting to suffer. Instead of staying focused, my own soulful thoughts intimately shared with my Savior were now peppered with distractions from what I had shared or wanted to share…

I realized that I was falling for “Facebook Addiction” – hook, line, and sinker.

I don’t think what has happened to me is unusual. A lot of people in direct sales get over excited about their products and want to connect to drive their business, and when a person isn’t disciplined and grounded often they burnout and blame the business model or products for their negative life circumstance. That isn’t the case for me.

I’m not burnt out on Younique. I honestly only spend a few hours per WEEK working on “business-y stuff.” The products are EXCELLENT and I will continue to stand by that.

I will continue to use this group and Facebook for that matter! BUT I will be disciplined about it —>

1. Only on my computer or Chrome on my phone – but not on the app.
2. Only during 3 time slots: 6:30 – 7am, 1 – 1:30pm, 8:30-9pm
**More boundaries to be created as my behavior is assessed after these two are trialed.

Facebook was robbing me of being educated. The time spent checking and rechecking the app was splitting my attention span in half, quarters, and even smaller. I was finding that I couldn’t complete a mental thought even while in silence.

This is unacceptable. I prize mental fitness, yet my mind was becoming flabby and lazy.

Photo credit.

So! Back to my year of READ with renewed vigor, resolve, and boundaries. It isn’t that I was wasting hours on Facebook, but with Facebook on the brain I was not able to use my time well when I had the time to do something purposeful.

Back to the books folks!

 

Read and Grow.

Photo credit.

It’s happening again. And I’m so utterly excited and thankful. Life has presented me with a challenge, and God has birthed in my heart a craving to grow.

The desire and motivation are a gift. I didn’t design it nor can I contain it.

This happened once before, a little over 7 years ago. I wrote about my desire to change, to fix a character flaw. It was truly the beginning of my blogging journey as well. I had no idea that writing my way through that year would serve to fundamentally define me as a writer.

Isn’t that just the way God works? Those mysterious ways that come upon us, altering us in areas beyond imagination.

Last year, I tried to manufacture my growth by setting up a reading challenge full of deep and delightful titles. But even while creating the list, I could feel my own distance – reluctance that I ignored because I wanted to teach myself a lesson in discipline. I was tricked by my own success with growing productively into believing that I could force growth in any area. I didn’t honor my limits, I wasn’t being gracious with my weakness, I over estimated my strengths.

I was sick of being held back. I thought pushing through, trying harder, and thinking big would free me from my own struggle with my brain.  

Dealing with my ADD brain can be tricky. Sometimes I do need to “sit myself down” and “obey the list.” I’m learning that I can only make progress through this type of firmness in the area of productivity not the area of contemplation. I need to budget my energy to fuel these two parts of my mind (there’s a post brewing on this topic…). I’m realizing again that God gave me this brain with all of it’s limits and talents for His purposes to be used in His timing. 

So, I’m excited for this year and the growth I can see up ahead, but I’m not ashamed of last year’s “failure” because I recognized an important, personal limitation and learned to respect it. More on this later.

For now, I can see that the challenge in my life is CHANGE. There is change all around me. My kids are all coming out of a coasting season. Their interests, competencies, and complexities are on the rise. Taking just this area of change into view, I see that I will have to change in order to rise to the occasion of being the kind of mother I want to be for my loves.

Questions: How can I rise to the occasion on my own? What strength or talent do I possess that will allow for personal growth? Can I contain or conjure up a motive that will sustain growth over a long period of time?

Answers: I can’t. Nothing. No.

What gives? Why am I excited if I can’t do this on my own? Exactly because the desire, strength, motive aren’t coming from my decision, I can trust that I won’t have to worry about controlling or maintaining them.

It’s like the “Field of Dreams.” I feel like the Lord is showing me how much great change is ahead of me, and all I have to do is pick up the book and read. He will grow me from the inside.

And He already has. Since the beginning of 2017, I’ve been reading. I’ll do my best to share the most of what I gain from the titles this year. And I’ll keep the list here as a reference.

Books read in 2017 (I’ll link the ones I review):

  • BFG by Roald Dahl*
  • Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally by Chris Davis
  • Boundaries with Kids by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
  • Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
  • Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
  • Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook by Pearl & Serene
  • Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  • Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae
  • Managers of Their Homes by Steven and Teri Maxwell
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Unveiled Wife by Jennifer Smith
  • Currently reading: The Life Giving Home by Sarah & Sally Clarkson, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, Gameplan by Sarah Harnisch 

Are you interested in following me in this process of change through reading? I’m ready to really GROW. Let me know in the comments what books you’re reading and what you recommend! Who doesn’t want to GROW their TBR list even more? ;)

Here’s my Amazon list for easy reference. If you make a purchase, Amazon thanks me at no cost to you.

* Audio book

Photo credit.

On “Becoming Your Child’s Favorite Teacher” (Reflections on the GHC)

We made it to the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati with 7 minutes to spare.

(Because we took a little detour.)

On Becoming Your Childs Fav Teacher Detour to IKEA

And our first session wasn’t very good. It ended 25 minutes early.

But I was thankful that it ended early because I was able to map out the vendor hall – circling, starring, and coding.

While I was circling companies and resources that I wanted to make time for, my husband asked me about what curriculum I picked up to do with the kids over the summer 2 years ago. (And this is why I believe it is so valuable for us to attend the GHC together. I was looking forward – charging ahead to accumulate new resources, research theories, and gauge functionality for our family – while he was looking backward to see what could still be of use.)

What my husband was remembering was Five in a Row’s Christian Character and Bible Study Supplement*.

I still have it on my shelf. I remember loving the content and starting to read the books to my kids – hoping for an instantaneous burst of joy from my daughter – but she was adamantly uninterested. At the time, I was still “young” in my homeschool experience. I didn’t have the faith needed to persevere. I lacked the confidence that knows deep down what is best for her (and all of us) and presses on.

I wanted to turn them into the best little learners. I thought I had to find the perfect box for them to unfold and be inspired to embrace learning on their own. When I was faced with a child who wasn’t sold on my methods or wasn’t interested immediately in a resource, I thought I had to keep looking.

For all my planning and striving to provide for my children, I was looking again for a company or a theory to suit their needs. I didn’t realize it, but deep down I was believing a lie that someone else knew best for my child. I believed the lie that I could not teach my children without an expert’s help.

The truth is that all they need is for me to be interested in them and to provide them with support. They need me to show them what a life-long-learner looks like.

So I glanced back at our schedule, having been let out early from the first session we were provided with enough time to better plan and choose our sessions, and I saw “Become Your Child’s Favorite Teacher” by Steve Lambert of Five in a Row.

Enter “Ah-ha” moment.

I knew I needed to go to this session. At the moment, I am not my children’s favorite teacher. Sure, they love me and love being home with me, but I’m not doing creative or fun things with them. I know I need to model learning to them and I include them in my personal growth process, but life gets in the way and toddlers make messes. Things become urgent that aren’t important.

When distractions are loud, relationships get quiet.

Steve Lambert from Five in a Row shared:

“You want to be your child’s favorite teacher? Read to them. Curiosity is the God-given secret weapon that each child is created with. They want to learn. Who cares if your child is reading by age 5, I want to know if your child still reads at age 35. Teach your child to love learning and they will succeed.”

To be a “favorite teacher” model these 3 good things:

Make learning interesting, relevant, and accessible.

He said “don’t train your children to just accept the tyranny of the next. ‘Mama, why are we learning about this today?’ ‘I don’t know son, it’s just what’s next in the text.’”

The tyranny of the next is essential for a classroom setting, but it will bore homeschool children to tears.

To be my child’s favorite teacher, I embrace learning as an adventure. For me, this embracing adventure will require great faith on my part. I am not natural at spontaneity. To be flexible scares me. Sure, I love to learn on my own and I read more now than I did when I was in school. It was in college that the first spark of loving to learn brought life back to my education.

On Becoming Your Childs Fav Teacher Make Room for the Spark

It was in that moment of coming back to life that I realized how tragic my academic training was until that point. I missed out on truly loving and understanding all the greatest subjects. I memorized just enough to get an “A” and then forgot it the next week to memorize something new.

So how am I going to be my children’s favorite teacher? Well, I still have a lot to learn. But here’s my list:

  • Read more
  • Focus on character
  • Wait for signs of curiosity (wanting to know more)
  • Feed that curiosity
  • Be flexible with our schedule in order to make room for curiosity

I don’t want to put off their curiosity any more. I want to be ready to learn right now.

I’m still writing the series on Educational Theories Defined – look for the next post soon. And I’ll also write the list of sessions I attended and resources we did buy for anyone curious and for my accountability.
*Affiliate links are indicated by an asterisk in this post. Thanks!