Welcome, 2014. I'm afraid you began without much fanfare from the Rodgers home. I'm pretty sure we were all asleep when you arrived. I was sleeping between the 8 p.m. feeding and the 2 a.m. one, grateful to be in my bed instead of out celebrating. Luckily all the little people were asleep too. Sorry. I'm sure you understand. :) Maybe I will greet another year as it arrives, but in this season, sleep is sweeter.
I thought I would stay up and write a blog about our Year Without a TV, because I really wanted to share about our experience and all that we learned, but I couldn't seem to make the words flow without sounding pious and pharisaical, so I just put it away and went to sleep. Every time I start to share about something I'm learning, the enemy reminds me of all that I still have yet to learn and tells me I need to hit the books for many more hours before I have anything worthwhile to say. And he is right, I do have so much more to learn. All I can say for now is that I have seen only positive outcomes from our TV-free year, and it has only made me want to become more and more unplugged. The hardest times have been when I wanted to get something done that I thought required getting the kids out from under my feet, like clean up a room or cook a meal. When we had a TV, I would just turn something on and go do what I needed to do, then get frustrated if they didn't stay entranced like little robots to the screen for the entire duration. This year has grown me and stretched me. I've either figured out a way to involve the kids, or been wonderfully surprised at their ingenuity and creativity in coming up with a craft, game, pretend play, or other activity to get involved in. I think we read more books than we would, we go outside more than we would, and we spend more time together than we would if we had a TV. We are faced with an opportunity now to get a free TV from family, and we are praying about it a lot. Because no, we don't think it's "wrong" to have a TV- I am aware that a lot of educational good can come from it- but this year has just been so refreshing. I hate to see it come to an end. I hate to go back to having that big-screen distraction and time-waster hanging on the wall in the center of our home. What could we do with the hours we spend in front of a screen? Learn a new sport or a language? Make a new friend (a real one, with skin on, a face to face friend- not an online one). Oh, what could we do with those hours instead?
Sometimes we do use our computers to watch DVDs. A month or so ago, right after the time change, when it started getting dark at 4:30 p.m. and it rained for days on end, we were out running errands as a family and I begged Brian just to go into Wal-Mart and get a movie. Something. Anything we could watch together as a family. The kids and I sat in the car, me nursing Bethany and the kids guessing what wonderful program we would be watching with popcorn that night. What did he return with? Grizzly Adams, and the first three seasons of Duck Dynasty. :) Grizzly Adams ended up scaring the kids, so we only watched that once. But we have grown quite fond of Duck Dynasty, I must say despite all the recent upheaval. I like that show. There, I said it. I like beards. Manly, wild at heart men. The outdoors. Principle. Common sense. All-American. So much to like about that show.
We've also gotten some DVDs at the library, and my very favorite one recently has been Yoga for Kids. I like yoga. I really like the fact that there is a new trend called Holy Yoga, where the stretching is set to praise and worship music. I think most anything can be redeemed, including yoga. The kids and I are enjoying learning some new moves, becoming more flexible, and laughing at ourselves in the process. I am enjoying the peaceful, calming breathing techniques and strengthening moves that don't cost me a trip to the gym. It's a win-win.
But besides that, we remain TV-free. And I'm enjoying it. I'm not sure I want to change it just yet.
This week I have grown. I went out to feed the goats one morning and found the billy goat, Midnight, laying in the mud, crying wildly, unable to get himself up. He looked nearly dead. I called Brian, called my veterinarian dad, called my goat expert friend Caroline, and called the midwife since it was her goat. Hey, it takes a village. Brian and Caroline and I, along with Brian's cousins who were staying with us, managed to get Midnight up out of the mud and under blankets and a heat lamp in the milk barn. I actually took his temperature rectally without getting kicked in the teeth. Caroline showed me once again how to give injections. We tended to Midnight with antibiotics and dewormer and all kinds of vitamins for the next 24 hours. By the next afternoon he was up and walking around and back to his old self. And I learned that I was able. It felt really good.
One morning this week I was laying in bed, frustrated at the fact that I was still nursing an insatiable Bethany when I really wanted to be up before sunrise starting my day. I decided to make the most of the time and pray. I asked God, "What in my life do I need to let go of this year?" and He immediately said, "Frustration. Let go of your frustration. That isn't from Me. Walk in the Spirit. Learn from Me, for I am gentle. I don't cause frustration and anger and chaos, but peace and calming and order." So when I did get up, I went right to Galatians 5:22 and looked at the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. I have a Greek concordance so I looked up each word in the Greek to understand the deeper meanings of the words. I learned a lot about the Spirit that He brings. One thing I had been thinking over recently is the celebration of Christmas. We have several friends who don't really celebrate Christmas at all or put up a tree because of the historical pagan rituals they are based upon. I have been asking God whether or not He even wants us to celebrate something that truly does have so many roots in paganism and idol worship. Amazingly, when I looked up the word for "joy" (Greek "charein"), the first mention of joy in the NT surrounds Jesus' birth. The angels brought good tidings of great JOY about Messiah's birth. The wise men rejoiced with great JOY when they saw the star in the east. Simeon and Anna rejoiced in the temple when they saw the Messiah. Another place where joy is mentioned is around the resurrection story. The disciples who saw the empty tomb ran as fast as they could, JOYFULLY announcing to the others that Yeshua was alive!! Obviously there is to be great JOY over these two events. Just because we don't know the exact date that Jesus was born, should we not rejoice with great joy at least once a year that He came?? Just because some fake goddess named Eashtar apparently led people to dip eggs in blood as a sacrifice in a distant land some thousands of years ago, should I not REJOICE with great JOY that the Savior arose from the grave?? I believe it is settled in my heart that celebrations of Jesus's birth are anything but pagan. They are essential. And it has felt good to know that in my heart this week. Another way that I have grown.
So, 2014, even though I didn't greet you at midnight with noisemakers and fireworks, or even open eyes, :) I am glad you are here and I cannot wait to see what all you teach me.