Thursday, January 28, 2016

Just Do It.

My husband works for Nike. No, this isn't a Nike plug. But their slogan is incredibly applicable to my life situation for many reasons. 

Years ago, my husband gave me some great advice. I wasn't asking for it at the time and surprisingly, it still stuck well. He was emptying the dishwasher for me and I honestly have no idea what I was doing - maybe standing there in the kitchen doing nothing? Zoning out after a rough day with the boys? Anyway, he goes to put the strainer away and asks "Where does this go again?". 

I will admit, it was not my best moment. I can't say I reacted well. Even writing it out now I feel pretty ridiculous. We had lived in that house for over a year, he was the primary dishwasher-emptier, and the strainer was a hot commodity in our kitchen. Annoyed, I answered "Sheesh, under the corner cupboard. Why do you always forget? You put it down there all the time." He was so cool and collected. He replies "Is there any reason why you can't just say that nicely?" 

I was a little shocked, mostly because I really couldn't think of a good reason! What did I think my harsh tone would accomplish? Did I really think replying with a poor attitude and a demeaning spirit was going to somehow help his brain store that information better? It was a little embarrassing. I'm so grateful my husband is such a laid back person, willing to reconcile at the slightest hint of an apology. I halfway mumbled, "Uh, well, I guess not." and he just went happily along, unloading the rest of the dishwasher. 

This encounter is recalled in my memory at least once a week. It applies to virtually every heated conversation you might have, and in my childrearing and homeschooling this little nugget is a frequented piece of advice. When I feel like raising my voice, if I can recall this little thought and "Just Do It", our day goes so much more smoothly. When I feel exasperated at a child who cannot shower in less than 20 minutes, if I can kindly remind him to finish up quickly, our entire interaction is pleasant instead of me feeling shame in how I spoke, and him feeling the guilt of my scorn. When I walk into a giant disaster in virtually any room in our home, if I can ever so sweetly remind my children how to treat their toys, or my stuff, or encourage them to clean up what they aren't using, everyone has much kinder hearts toward one another.

I just have to do it. Fake it 'til you make it. This is not a bad thing! Why would faking a pleasant tone (which most young children won't even realize is fake) be a bad way to talk to our children? Why would speaking kindly instead of explosively ever be a poor decision?  That poor decision of speaking in anger or frustration is a decision I make too often. But my husband's little piece of advice has been a life-saver for me. I forget to grab hold of it many days, but I can see myself making small steps toward speaking in love more consistently. Don't misunderstand me, I don't always feel like being loving, and I don't expect to ever feel like a loving person all the time. I am human. I will mess up. I will never be perfect all the time or react the right way all the time. None of us will.

This is why I think "Just Do It" applies so well to these types of situations. When we know love is the best option, but we cannot muster the courage to genuinely love in that moment, we can use loving words to prevent the onslaught that might otherwise occur. We can choose a pleasant tone to guide our children, guiding them away from shame or fear, and guarding our hearts from escalating into  turmoil over our sin. Truthfully, we can never muster genuine love in ourselves anyway, it is a gift from God. Ask for this gift from Him, ask to feel loving toward your husband, your children, and the people you encounter every day. But don't sit there and wait to feel loving, starting wars with your words and damaging your littles along the way. You're never too far gone to start practicing kind words. And actually, maybe the further gone you are, the more your loved ones will see the change. 

So please, Just Do It. Speak kind words. Even through clenched teeth. It is still better than the alternative. And while you are at it, give those kind words to those you love via email, Facebook, the phone, in person, even to the random stranger behind the coffee counter. There can never be too many kind words floating around. They are free, they redeem so much more than we can imagine, and they offer you an entryway into a legacy of kindness few leave behind these days. Don't worry about how terrible your habits might be, or how far you'll need to go in order to be labeled "kind" by those you know. It's so much better to start now than waiting until tomorrow. Just like moaning over how long it'll take to get in the shower and get ready, it takes longer to do it the longer you wait to start!

Feel free to steal from my easy list and dive in on that kind-words-habit tonight.

Instead of:

- Hey, don't touch that!
- Come on, finish that math paper right now!
- Goodness gracious, can you get any slower?
- Why did you leave your plate out again?
- What were you thinking? 


- No, no. That's not for touching sweety.
- Keep going on that math paper, you can do it!
- Let's try to move a little faster. Can I help you out?
- Hey bud, looks like you left your plate on the table again. Can you clear it please?
- Hmm, why did you do that? What did you think was going to happen?

I know this seems kind of cheesy, and maybe you think this is being totally fake. But I cannot tell you what a difference it makes in our day when I am intent on speaking love to my family, even on days where I feel it is an impossible task. It is amazing what humbling myself and being obedient in this small thing does for my heart towards all of them. In turn, their love for me becomes even more evident, spurring us all on together towards love and goodness. What can it hurt? Give it a try and tell me what you think! I'll leave you with this wisdom from Solomon…

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up strife." Psalm 15:1

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Being a Thinker.

Whenever I take personality quizzes, I have to laugh when I read some of the descriptions. Not because they are wrong, but because they are ever so right. They usually say something like "You sometimes overanalyze problems" or "You often overthink a scenario that might come to pass". It may seem like I am always changing to some people, but this personality trait has stuck with me since I can remember. If you know me well, you might be laughing about it too. When I try to explain problems I am dealing with to friends, the first response is usually "I think you might be thinking about this too much." Thinking about everything, all the time can sometimes be helpful, and it definitely has its place, but it may be my biggest hindrance in life.

Thinking deeply about critical and significant issues is commonplace to me. It's rare for a day to go by where I have not despaired about the state of our world or the tragedy taking place in the lives of people all over the globe. It's easy to let these thoughts run my day while running me into the ground. It is important to take time to understand the difficult circumstances people are in around the world, and it's important for us to consider the roots of these problems. We should consider how we contribute to any of these issues, how history has shaped the countries struggling around the globe, how our culture encourages materialism and physical success, and how those affect the people we live around and engage with.

Those are hard topics. It takes forever to gain a base of knowledge to feel remotely capable of finding a helpful solution. Trust me, I've wracked my brain over it more times than I can count. It can be exhausting to contemplate all of these difficult things and not have opportunity to affect change in what we think is powerful and effective. But, global crisis and hardships are not the only topics that deserve our deep thinking.

Thinking about our children, their strengths, their weaknesses, their habits, their loves and their needs is extremely important too. More important than the world will tell you. But then again, there are so many different opinions on where we find value in our children and what they mean to us. They vary from being the best thing that ever happened to us, the sunshine in our days, to just another member of the family. They can be seen as a hindrance on our ability to accomplish success, or an opportunity to spread the gospel, and more. I believe there is a balance to be found in all of it. Obviously, my kids' education is important enough for me to make it my full-time, low-paying job. Well, I actually only get paid for tutoring at CC, but that's still something. No matter where we place that line of how valuable our children are, we still have a lot of thinking to do when it comes to raising them.

We need to think long enough and hard enough about our decisions in order to move forward with confidence. If you can't do that, you will struggle with every challenging day (trust me, I do this way too often). Yesterday morning I was thinking way too hard about some writing I did the previous night. Words were not spilling out of me the way I had hoped. There were far fewer than I realized, which hardly ever happens in my mind or conversations. I woke up still feeling annoyed about it, then saw a homeschooling conference opportunity I was pretty sure wouldn't work out for me to attend. So what did I do? I just kept thinking! It was terrible. I was consumed in looking at what I needed to do and seeing it as a hindrance compared to what I wanted to do. I looked at all the dirty laundry and moaned because it would require some hours of light labor. I looked at my dirty shower and was pouty because I would need to spend another 10 minutes or so scrubbing. My brain was taking me to an unlovely place, and while I wasn't ready to admit I didn't want to go there, I really knew I was in some sort of trouble.

Then, the kids were kids. The boys were playing football in the hallway, Jovi was crying about everything, and I was ready for a nap at 9:30am. I showered, scrubbed, got dressed and even put on makeup. The boys were asking about going to a local football field and, by God's grace, I decided to go for it. We only spent 45 minutes there, but it was the most perfect 45 minutes. Oh, Jovi threw three lovely screaming fits, Asher and Cole fought about who was faster, Cole yelled about not playing anymore because Asher was indeed faster, but somehow, it was exactly what we all needed. The space, the endorphins, the cold air - it all worked out to restart my brain. My thoughts went from a high speed chase of over-thinking this time in my life, to considering my children, my job and my future as a glorious task God has granted me.

I really wanted to share this with you because being stuck in my own head seems to be the biggest wall I face in homeschooling on a pretty regular basis. Homeschooling doesn't feel hard because of my kids' attitudes (though it definitely makes it harder), or because of my laundry schedule, or even because of my weariness. Homeschooling is hard because my mind gets caught up on things which have no bearing, no place in my mind and soul. I don't need to waste time moaning about the loss of 10 more minutes, or two more loads of laundry. God has got it more than covered. I would rather save that mental energy for looking into the lives of my children, seeing what they see, and giving them what only I can give.

When my husband and I were first making the decision of whether or not to homeschool, we landed on this: we believe personal investment and the knowledge of Jesus our savior to be the most important factors in our kids' educations and lives. We believe we are able to give this to them better than any affordable school option we've found. If there comes a day where we are no longer able to give them these things, we will reconsider how we school. For now, these two ambitions are my priority, our family's priority. They come before accomplishing my personal writing goals (though I am making headway on them), before reading the latest book on my ever growing list, before feeling like I have got it all under control or staying on top of my social calendar. I am still ambitious, full of goals and dreams, but my selfishness needs to take a back seat, probably permanently, so I can show my family Jesus by giving up my life for theirs. This might sound terribly self-demeaning, but I am confident I will not regret it. My investment in them is also an investment in myself, both here on earth and in eternity. I'm convinced I will never regret teaching them the gospel by first living it out. Living it out perfectly, or even very well, every day is more than impossible, but God enjoys using us for these types of impossible tasks. I'm going to stay ambitious, stay driven, and seek His excellence every day. The more I see it, the more my kids will see it, and eventually, the more the world will see it too. I can think of no greater honor than to behold and partake in the glory and excellence of Christ. I'm grateful I can do it every day, and that I can share it with my children as well.

I challenge you to look at your thoughts today. Don't only observe what they are, but take time to consider where they come from, if they are rooted in truth, and what they are leading you towards. The big issues in our world eventually dwindle down to small things. Each large movement in history has started with just thoughts and intentions, eventually becoming actions of the people involved. It is worthwhile to spend time thinking, and it is necessary for you too. The time you spend placing your mind where it should be, the less time you spend fighting it on difficult days. You will know the place this work has in your life, and your heart will settle on it contentedly. You will not be lacking passion, but your passion will be ignited with confidence. This is what I dream about - confidence in my daily work, leading to excellence, exuberance and a joy that will never diminish. This is what we have in Christ. And this is what we can offer our children. What a gift!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Math and Junk. And my friend Heidi.

I'll be straight with you - this will not be an incredibly deep post. I have been so productive the last two days, my brain will just not keep up anymore.

Math has always been the most dreaded homeschool subject in our house. I'm not intimidated by math at all actually, but for some reason my children moan and groan every time math is announced. We started with using Saxon's curriculum and are on year three now, but I'm not totally in love with it. I love a lot of things about the curriculum, but sometimes it really feels like a time-kill. And I'm never quite on top of it enough, so then some random morning I look at that day's lesson, where I am supposed to have a bag of peanuts, and shoot, there goes Math for the day. 

I really have no hatred towards math, and while I never aspired to achieve any mathematical success, I tackled it fairly easily. I actually took Pre-Algebra in 7th grade, Algebra in 8th grade and was chosen to be on our "Mathletes" team in Jr High. I opted out after a week or so because my sports and choir practices were going to interfere. Since I was definitely not the smartest of the bunch, they survived just fine without me. I also happened to pretty much skip any homework regarding dividing fractions. Don't ask me how I still passed. In high school I jumped right into Geometry as a Freshman and Algebra 2 as a Sophomore, then I wholeheartedly declined anything to do with math for my last two years. Ha! I did have to take one more course in college, but it was the same exact material as my 8th grade class. Even though I was pretty bored the entire time, I decided to tackle dividing fractions and totally nailed it! Please don't ask me to explain it right now though. 

Math is pretty much a neutral subject in my heart and mind. It is necessary, good, can be challenging but also fairly easy to reason through. There are actually endless philosophical debates regarding math, geometry and more, but that is for another day. With our Saxon curriculum, I love how they emphasize mastering different strategies and concepts. I love how often new skills and concepts are presented, reviewed and explored in different ways. I also love how they weave in using the calendar and word problems to work on learning multiplication. They are so sneaky with all of their new introductions. They say "Here, let's count seeds in an apple" then boom, two weeks later your kid knows how to add and read addition problems without a hitch! There are probably 100 examples I could give you of these sorts of things. Also, thanks to Classical Conversations and Asher's memorizing his 7's to song, he was able to pick up on multiplying his 7's so easily. He didn't have to think too hard, or count over and over. I would ask "How many days are there in 4 weeks?" and he would sing to the tune of Frere Jaques "7, 14, 21, 28… 28 days!" That has been my most tangible example of how memorization in the early stages works perfectly into the more advanced stages of being able to understand concepts more in-depth. It was such an encouragement for both of us. 

Despite all this, I still don't feel a rush of joy sitting down to do Math, like I do when we open a good book, or sit to read History (yes, History is the least boring subject - but more on that another day). Yesterday, I was snooping on Facebook while the kids were reading and peeked in on a conversation my friend Heidi was having. She was asked about Math and mentioned the Khan Academy. My husband has been talking about it forever, but I hate trying new things, so I just pushed it aside every time. Heidi said they focus on mastery, using a "spiral" method (all the review I like) and kids can go at their own pace while parents have oversight as to their progress and time spent on different concepts and on their work overall. Khan Academy even breaks down what particular concepts your child misses the most or needs more help with. 

Heidi is intelligent and has children older than mine (and probably smarter than me), so I went straight to to check it out. I signed us up (it's free) and got started. My boys will have to go through quite a bit of practice and "testing" until there will be completely new concepts presented for them, but I think I will let them get warmed up for a few weeks while they slow down on Saxon and see how it goes. I'm a little nervous to change things up. I'm trying to not give in to the fear that they might "miss something" if we switch. Even though I don't have a firm schedule, and don't completely love our daily rhythm, I also have a hard time with new & unexpected routines! But, Heidi said it has alleviated stress in their Math time, and it's less work for her overall. My kids really do need to have some more areas of independence. I can feel myself wanting to watch all their work over their shoulders, but I really need to learn to back off a bit and let them experiment, learn, and grow, without it all coming from me. I'm involved in almost everything they do right now, so this will be a positive baby step for all of us. 

I should also mention, if you ever want to know what you should be reading, you should ask Heidi, or at least check out her blog. I have no idea how she knows so much! But I have happily read several books she has recommended and my kids are enjoying several right now too. I just discovered she is almost, kind of homeschool-famous. I was listening to an interview from Sarah Mackenzie with Andrew Kern about homeschooling from a place of rest (also the title of her book), and I was browsing other podcasts on her site. Lo and behold, Heidi was on there! It felt so awesome to personally know one of those smarty-pants people. I met Heidi at speaker-training for Classical Conversations last spring, then she was at the first Practicum I spoke at (I was intimidated just a smidge). I mean, I only"Facebook" know her for the most part, besides several in-depth days together, but you can't help but admire her. And she has always been so willing to give me advice and recommendations. Plus, her boys know how to cook delicious foods and desserts for her, so she has got to be doing something really, really right. 

So here are the three things you need to check out:

1- Khan Academy - - Math, Science, History, Computer Programming & more. There's a wealth of information waiting to hit your brain. 

2- Sarah Mackenszie's book and website - - She's also the creator of the Read Aloud Revival. Great stuff!

3 - Heidi & her blog - - Also, here is her podcast on

I hope this was a light and breezy post for you to enjoy. And practical! We don't always have time and energy to delve into difficult topics, but that doesn't mean we can't share and still benefit from each other. Let me know how you like any of these three suggestions, may they be a blessing to you and your family!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Next Best Thing.

No, I'm not talking about daydreams, 2nd bests, or future ambitions. I'm talking about what to do next, when everything feels a little bit pointless.

This week has been discouraging. My kids have actually been pretty average - average attitude, average performance, average enthusiasm, average in everything really. But me? My attitude has been the pits! The dark, murky, muddy, suck-everyone-in pits. Not fun for the people in my house. My behavior has been decent, but my heart has been a mess. Some of this is rooted in my inability to make a decision and stand by it. Most of it is rooted in my inability to trust God and stay in His Word.

I feel a lot worse being so distraught in my heart and mind when my week has not even been very demanding. Not a lot on the schedule, a lot of homeschooling, but nothing unreasonable. No crazy appointments, no sickness or missed naps, no friendships falling apart or deaths in the family. I feel frustrated and upset at myself, then I get even more angry at how I can feel so upset when my situation is not incredibly difficult.

If you are homeschooler, I hope you can relate to all the tiny things I allow to lead me to despair:

- multiple math lessons with multiple groans
- correcting the same words during reading time over, and over, and over, and over
- the need to harass children to brush teeth for the 10th time at 11am
- children who wander off to play if you don't monitor them every 5 seconds
- children who refuse to wander off to play and would rather wail during an already excruciating math lesson
- interruptions from anyone and everyone, multiple times a day, multiple times a lesson
- tables full of strewn papers, crayons and misplaced craft supplies
- trying to time laundry, meals & other chores conveniently between lessons and nap-time
- crumbs, mostly in just the dining area and kitchen, but so many of them
- heaps of clean, but unfolded, week-old laundry

There are a lot of other contributing factors, but I don't want this post to be full of whining the entire time. I really do have some encouragement to give, promise.

I had been trying to keep it together all yesterday, and really did have some sweet moments with my kids. I try to not grow bitter when other moms complain about dealing with their kids on a snow-day, I try not to be jealous and accept these "consequences" of my choice, and my husband's choice. I desperately try not to put this homeschooling choice up on a platter to be dissected in my mind again this week. It's all really hard, and I don't have a great explanation for why. I have a few ideas, but nothing tangible, or fixable. Yes, I am selfish and tending to the kids for a better part of the day requires a lot of selflessness. Yes, there are other ambitions I have which offer much more short-term reward, both in money and praise. Yes, there are a lot of things that would be easier in my life if I weren't homeschooling. But none of these reasons settle my heart and mind the way I desire to be settled.

A lot of good things have happened, are happening and will happen as a result of my choice. There are a lot of good things in the future for any loving parent too, even if their sacrifice has nothing to do with homeschooling. This is part of why I try not to grow jealous or bitter towards other parents, because God will bring about good in SO many places. Knowing God has goodness in store here on earth in every circumstance is a lovely reminder, but this still wasn't giving me peace in my soul or a tangible way to redirect my heart.

While the bread was baking before dinner last night, I sat down to finish a book I got for Christmas. It's called The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst, and it has been a very practical tool for me in regards to thinking about my choices. Yesterday's chapter really gave me some encouragement! She talks about how sometimes our good choices do not guarantee good results, and how we cannot allow this to make us question ourselves and our weaknesses. What we often need to do is keep moving forward and make the next best choice. Whatever that choice is. For me, it was asking my son to clear the table in a sweet voice, rather than a voice filled with angst or frustration. I have not been extremely willing to choose a cheerful attitude, but to choose to ask for this task to be done using my nice voice was a simple choice to make. So easy! And effective. And actually, he responded better and I left the interaction without guilt or frustration. Win-win.

Lysa quotes C.S. Lewis toward the very end of her book,

“[E]very time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.”

No matter where you are, take heart and make the next best choice. Even if it's a dumb, easy, seems-silly-to-even-think-about-it choice. When you do this, when you choose to do good even when you feel like being bad, you are winning over your flesh. You are allowing God to win over the sin in your heart because you are listening to what He said in His Word and are obeying His voice despite your flesh urging you the other way. This won't always still the voice of doubt in your mind, or your heart, but it's much better than digging yourself into a hole of poor choices, filled with apologies coming due. This is the simplest, easiest way to get your heart back in line - to honor God and choose good in small ways. They will add up, and you will be pointing yourself toward His goodness, His will for you, with each good choice.

I'll leave you with this over-used, well-loved, super encouraging verse. Think long term, think about what it really means to work for eternity, and don't ever give up... every small choice counts.

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Friday, January 1, 2016

Winds that Always Blow

Funny how things can change so quickly.

In my last post, I was talking about how much I love the New Year, and now, I am already feeling a sense of dread. Maybe it's because I did a bunch of planning yesterday, and my schedule feels a little impossible. Maybe it's because my house is a bit messy, and I feel like I will never get on top of it. Maybe it's because some of my goals are kind of vague, and I hate feeling like I am not really accomplishing anything. Whatever this mopey feeling is stemming from, I had a good reminder of where to go with these feelings when looking out my window this morning.

It's been very sunny in Portland the past few days, and icy cold too. Today, the winds have really picked up. I can hear the wind over my kids watching Rudolph, playing with legos, and laughing together. It's louder than my clicking on the keyboard. And outside my house, there are thousands of dried up leaves moving to & fro, down the street, into the grass, and back around again. There are branches strewn across sidewalks and everything looks a little haphazard. And that's how I feel today.

I've been thinking & re-thinking over lots of decisions, trying to figure out how to accomplish all the things I desire. While I didn't love some parts of going to CrossFit the last year and a half, I miss having a very set, very effective exercise routine. I miss having time to meet up with friends mid-week for coffee without feeling the dread of getting behind on other tasks or schooling. I miss having a plethora of babysitters available, like we did several years ago. I miss carpet in my downstairs, an extra room for an office, and a fireplace. I miss the freedom I had with only 2 kids, compared to now having my extra-needy, extra-adorable 3rd child. My heart feels like winds are always blowing through, raking me raw and leaving me questioning so many of my decisions and priorities. Then I remember this verse from Proverbs 25:28 "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls."

This is exactly how I feel. I've not been controlling what comes into my heart and mind, and now I've been left exposed to all these sweeping winds, raking through my thoughts and tearing apart my decisions. I have no real rock on which I stay steadfast in my mind, and every decision is up for evaluation over & over again. I have not "taken every thought captive" to see if it stems from God, from purity, or from a sincere desire to follow God. I know there are many times in life where we have to pick apart our choices, evaluate where we are and talk about where we want to be headed. But if you let other people weigh in on these choices uninvited, if you let social media make you question each decision every other day (or hour), and if you spend more time thinking about choices and options than you spend listening to God or searching his word, you will be left feeling raw and vulnerable, like a city without walls.

Now, it's good to be vulnerable to your spouse, to your dear friends, and those worthy of your heart. It is unhealthy to be vulnerable to the point of letting a 2x2" photo send you into questioning your entire life. You see where I am headed? We HAVE to put up some walls. Sometimes those walls look like deleting apps on our iPhones. Other times, those walls are just extra fortification efforts, like more time spent in God's word. And still other times, those walls are setting some boundaries on how often we spend time with people who make us doubt our decisions with hurtful words or constant questioning.

My soul is so sensitive these days. I've been doing WAY too much questioning in my own heart. Then, I've been looking to Facebook, almost hoping to find some encouragement and commendation for my choices. I know, so stupid! I will never find it there. Yes, I might find a few good articles, and probably some encouragement from friends, but will never find the deep, soul satisfaction God gives anywhere other than through Him. He is everywhere, and He often surprises me where He shows up, but I need to be far more intentional about seeking Him out. In Him there is freedom from worry about past decisions, current obligations and future problems. He sees where I am, He knows where I will go, and I'd much rather ask Him to shape me than find out what everyone else is doing with their spare time.

All of this seems really juvenile to me. In my mind, I know I will never find satisfaction in looking at other people's lives, just as they will never feel satisfied by looking at mine. But it is a tough habit to break. And for some reason, I have this constant urge to see what everyone is doing. This is where the need for self-control comes in. I have to decide to take action, based on what I know to be true, and not based on what my fleeting interests and desires are telling me.

This is not a call to perfection either. I'm not telling you all the do your 20-minute devotion every morning at 6am, or not to spend time on people with whom you disagree. I am telling you to guard your heart, guard your mind, and take decisive action to protect your soul. It will be worthwhile. I don't think I will ever regret swapping 10 minutes on Facebook for 10 minutes of reading God's word. It may not be easy at first. The invisible pull to open that app and scroll might feel stronger than the power of the Ring, but it will always be worthwhile to choose God over social stalking. You might not feel like it the first time, or the 2nd, or maybe even the 10th. But if you do it for a week or two, you will find yourself filled with more goodness, less comparison and FAR less negativity. Your soul will have God's words in it, which can then go out to the ones you love and are invested in. When I really think about this, I want to stockpile that kind of peace and security for a long time to come! We can all do this, but it has to start with a choice. And it is never too late to choose goodness. Never too late to knock on God's door and ask for help. It is truly never too late for redemption and faith. He wants you to choose Him. He knows you won't regret the sacrifice. And I promise to be offended if you don't like my FB post, because you were reading your bible instead :)