STARTing With a Clean Slate

Happy New Year!  I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. Maybe I feel like I’m just setting myself up for failure.  But with a clean slate at the New Year, it’s an ideal time for me to consider some healthier goals.  Maybe more cardio. (The ‘maybe’ gives me leeway.) Maybe healthier eating. (Maybe not.) But one of my goals in 2019 is definitely to seek healthier tech habits for myself and our family. Technology and smart devices bring us many wonderful benefits, yet all of these screens bring specific challenges to our family too.

This past year, I was introduced to and have had the honor of getting involved with an organization called START – Stand Together and Rethink Technology. What I love about START is that its mission completely acknowledges that technology is not a bad thing! Yet, there are also unintended consequences that we are beginning to feel within our very own homes and communities.

START has come alongside our family to help us realize and integrate a healthier lifestyle around tech use and screens in our home.  We definitely don’t have it all figured out; we continue to just try to do our best day-to-day with our family’s technology norms and expectations.

Since each family has its own needs, values, and priorities, I certainly won’t try to tell you how tech can best be integrated in your home.  But, I am excited to share with you about START. Check it out at www.westartnow.org. Even for those of you who don’t live in Kansas City, the new blog can be a great resource. It launched this January and will have a different theme each month.  And the START Facebook page will share tips and articles in line with the month’s theme.

You can read a post I wrote about how START has impacted our family on the blog here: START Three-Part Parent Program.

And you can read about this month’s theme here: Device Bedtimes.

With the ever-changing landscape of technology, I’m thankful to have an organization like START to help guide our family. I may not be a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I will be resolute in my effort to put people before screens this year. Join me?

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Happy ReNew Year

Happy New Year

I’m not really a big fan of New Year’s resolutions – perhaps because I have a fear of failure. I can’t stand the thought of letting myself (or anyone else) down. I almost feel like I have a better chance of success if I don’t put extra pressure on myself. So, instead of making resolutions, I tend to look at the New Year as a clean slate…an opportunity to renew myself. January feels like a natural time for renewal. The beginning of the year is quieter, and for this reason, January is becoming one of my favorite times of the year. (And not just because the temps are in the 70’s in San Diego this week. ☺)

This January, I am focusing on a couple of areas. The first being to finally find my regular exercise routine here in California…and not drinking beer in the month of January. Small steps, folks. You may notice I have not cut out wine or Makers Mark, and I certainly can’t make any commitments into February. Both of these New Years efforts might be a result of my five-year-old telling me I look like I have a baby in my tummy. (kind of like Jennifer Garner’s baby bump.)

My second area of focus is with my family. I am with them almost all of the time. But my goal isn’t particularly lofty… really my goal is to just to show up. Not just physically, but also emotionally and playfully. I want to play more with my kids. To be less distracted by mundane daily chores and social media and communication. I don’t think I’m alone in this boat.

I saw this amazing Spanish Ikea commercial last week (on social media, of course). It really impacted me. Given the choice between getting anything they could imagine from Santa or spending time with their parents, the children in the interview chose the quality time. The video is touching – take a look. It made me think about opportunities to renew my self in 2015.

Last week, at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Senior Pastor Mike McClenahan shared some valuable thoughts on renewal that poked at my heart. I think that there are great take-aways here whether or not you are a Christian. The pastor encouraged us to think like Jesus, to act like Jesus, and to be like Jesus. Okay, that’s a lot of pressure for a girl who never wore a WWJD bracelet.

Regardless of your faith, it’s hard to deny that Jesus was a pretty stand-up guy. We’re talking about a man who encouraged people to love above all. Not to judge. To treat others as you would want to be treated. To honor our parents. To forgive. To serve. To take care of the poor. To welcome children and to be like them. He was man who spent time with untouchable people, prostitutes, and the greediest of tax collectors. Jesus was cool.

Romans 12 encourages us to “not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” So, I think renewal is a good place to start, no matter what month it is, no matter how many times I have to renew myself. Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, “I love your Christ. I just don’t love your Christians.”? Without daily renewal, I have no hope. WWJD is a heck of a lot of pressure. But, if I can just focus on the basics of being like Jesus – loving and serving others – then just showing up (and playing) is enough for me this year. In what areas of your life would you like to see renewal in 2015?

This past Sunday, Pastor Mike McClenahan reminded me that not only was Jesus born on Christmas as our God on this earth. But he grew into a man who taught us what love really looks like…what it really means to show up. I love the idea of a fresh start on January 1, but renewal is just as available to us on the other 364 days of the year. And this year, I’m going to remind myself that renewal is an option every day. Sounds much better than focusing on failure to me.  Talk about taking off the pressure.  Daily renewal is going to help me show up. To love. To forgive. To serve. And to simply play with my children and maybe even be more like them.

Pretty sure I’ll need renewal in August as much as January. Happy ReNew Year!

“Too much to make sense of it all
I know that Your love breaks my fall…
… Oh, to be like You…
..Forever The Hope in my heart.”
Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United.