Navigating Technology With Our Kids in a Screen-Obsessed World

*Updated with Winners* Congrats to random commenters Tanya and Ami!

My oldest daughter got her first school locker at 5th grade orientation at the new middle school.  She nervously worked her combination and adjusted the books on her white locker shelf and added a mirror on the door. I’ll never forget the day four years ago—not because it was a big deal that she was growing up. Because it was. But I remember it more because of how grown up the other kids around her seemed.

The girl next to her had fake nails, hair highlights was wearing name brand clothes head-to-toe and had was going to take notes on a tablet. And at the locker below her, a girl was texting her boyfriend on her iPhone. It felt more like a scene from high school musical than the 5th grade.

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I silently prayed I could keep my little girl little and we could navigate these adolescent years well. And we have so far.

When she asked for certain brands, we talked about budgets and saving and through the years she enjoyed a few. When she asked for a smart phone, we told her high school and thankfully, she hasn’t asked for fake nails or a boyfriend yet.

We recognized along the journey that some parents said yes sooner than we did and others said it later. And that’s okay. Because there’s not a perfect age or stage and we are all doing the best we can. I think it depends on what’s right for your family.

I’m not saying it was easy. It was just plain hard at times. I think my daughter must have asked for something we weren’t quite ready to give her a hundred times during those middle school years. We would remind her of our goal. The requests lessened in junior high.

That’s why surprising her a few days ago before she started high school with her own smart phone was a joy for all of us. She was shocked. But she was ready and the moment felt like victory for all of us.

Along with her phone we gave her this contract. It requires phone etiquette and usage rules and where and when it’s appropriate. We all signed it.

It’s just a matter of time before your child has the power of technology at their fingertips. Whether it’s a game system, a smart phone or a Kindle or a laptop, technology is more accessible than ever and it’s here to stay. Every parent reading this handles is differently.  It’s not a question of if, it’s a matter of when.

I love technology. It’s a huge part of my life and I certainly don’t want to rob my kids of the good things that it offers. But more than anything, I want them to understand the power it wields, the dangers that are a click away and make sure they are mature enough to handle it.

It’s a big subject that changes as fast as the next upgrade and it’s our job to not only monitor our kids, but to live by example.

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane helped us with this decision. This summer I read (and endorsed) this important book and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s like curriculum for parents in our tech-savvy and screen-obsessed world and it released this week!

In my daughter’s cell phone contract, we asked that she wait on a Facebook account until she was older, but gave permission for an Instagram account. After a couple of days, she said, “Mom, I’m going to wait on that too. I don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet.”

And I knew we’d waited long enough. She was ready.

Today, I’m giving away two copies of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World. Leave a comment if you’d like to win.

The T-Shirt to Prove It {Giveaway}

Updated with winners: Congrats to random commenters: #350 AIMEE, # 151 Naomi, #1 Kate, #83 Emily and #124 Deanna

We live in a size-obsessed culture that boasts just about everything bigger is better.

We can upsize our homes, plump up body parts, supersize our meals, and have it all.

But when we follow God, we serve an upside down Kingdom.

There are no small yeses.

There are no insignificant acts of love towards others.

As a matter of fact, when we combine our little yeses with our God who cannot be contained, miracles happen.

God doesn’t add a condition or size requirement.

He just asks for obedience, small or big.

It may seem unimportant, but you never know what God will do with it.


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Your yes matters.

And now, you can wear the t-shirt to prove it.

Not only will you look amazing in this brand new flowing, gray jersey shirt, your purchase will make a big difference in the endeavor to rescue oppressed girls.

And there’s nothing small about that.

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What are you saying yes to lately?

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win one of FIVE new Mercy House shirts I’m giving away today.

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Will you be at The Declare Conference this weekend? I will be, along with brand new Mercy House shirts!

Your Ticket to the Best Moms’ Night Out Ever {Giveaway}

Congrats, random commenters Robyn Dodson and Emily E! Check your email.

I met some of my favorite people at the movie theater after a long, hectic day.

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I ordered a big bag of popcorn for dinner. On a school night.

We moms know how to party.

I settled in for a very needed Moms’ Night Out. 

 

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And I laughed and laughed and then cried and then laughed some more.

My teen daughter asked what the movie was about after I got home and I said, “Well, it’s about a mom who blogs who really needs a night out. She is tired and her kids are crazy and the night gets a little wild….”

But before I could finish, my quick-witted teen said, “Wait.”

“That sounds just like you! Did she just write a book called Diamond God?”

It took me a minute.

Rhinestone Jesus. Get it?

This movie is the most relatable mom movie I’ve ever seen. It will make you feel normal. Understood. You will laugh.You might just cry. You will be reminded just how important your job is. You will love every minute of it.

You guys.

Give yourself a gift and go see Mom’s Night Out. I can’t wait to take my whole family back to this very positive, inspirational, God-centered fun movie!

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Today, I’m giving away 2 sets of 2 tickets. Tell me how long it’s been since you’ve had a mom’s night out in the comments as your entry.

(I received free tickets for this event, but the glowing review is all mine)

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Don’t forget to enter my Facebook Mother’s Day Contest:

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Tell Her You Love Her {Giveaway}

She wipes down the kitchen counters and wipes up the spilled milk.

She wipes away the stains and the bad days.

She wipes all the tears and all the rears.

She is a mom. And whether she’s your wife or your mom or you’re hers, she needs to know all the wiping is remembered and appreciated.

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And we have a beautiful way to celebrate mothers all over the globe this year for Mother’s Day. It’s just over a month away and we’ve made your shopping easy this year.

Introducing our brand new LIMITED EDITION gorgeous paper bead mother’s necklace in green and pretty pink handcrafted  beads made by our young mothers in Kenya at Mercy House. This is a beautiful, meaningful way to bless your mother, mother-in-law, mother friends as well as young mothers across the ocean:

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The first 50 sold also receive an adorable FREE Mother’s Day Card and all the proceeds go to bless mothers in Kenya!

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Inside card: Hope your Mother’s Day is loads of fun!

Back of card:

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Today, we are giving away two of these very special necklaces. Click over and read more about them and leave a comment on this post to be entered. (We are also selling them on leather cord necklaces instead of paper beads).

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Get yours soon because these won’t last.

But a mother’s love will.

Living in Daily Grace {Giveaway}

Winners: Congrats to random winners-Tracey, Jerralea, and reader Jen. Check your emails, ladies!

You know what I need every day?

(Besides sweet tea)

Grace.

I need daily.grace.

It’s the air I breathe, the only way to make it through tough moments, bad days, fear and wild faith.

Grace is getting what I don’t deserve.

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I absolutely love Dayspring’s new Daily Grace everyday tableware.

It’s simple, yet elegant and inspirational. It’s a great reminder to receive grace. Daily.

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Today, Dayspring is giving 3 of my readers this lovely memo board!

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Take a look around
this lovely new collection and tell me your favorite in a comment as your entry.

The Reflection in the Mirror

I used to hate mirrors.

I avoided them as often as I could. I would get ready in the morning for school—squinting and inwardly criticizing my reflection and then I would avoid looking again until the end of the day.

It wasn’t the mirror I hated, really. It was the reflection.

It was me. Because all I could see was imperfection.

I spent a lot of those teen years wishing I was taller, curvier in some places, thinner in others. I longed for my boring brown hair to be less wavy, for my skin to be clearer, for more beauty.

I wanted to be beautiful. But, really, I wanted others to think I was beautiful.

It wasn’t just outward approval I longed for; I wanted to be liked. Loved.

But it’s a futile journey-this self-loathing and it leads to ugliness that runs deep.  And no cosmetic magic makeover can ever repair the broken reflections. We won’t ever be enough in those mirrors.

People spend millions of dollars in lotions and potions and peels and injections trying. It’s artificial.

“Until you are convinced of God’s incredible love for you, you will continue looking for replacement love everywhere,” Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval – and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes.

I found true love for myself and mostly others when I accepted God’s great love for me.

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I put away the mirrors that compare and contradict and condemn and I traded them for something pure and holy. I may never understand its depths, but in that deep pool of unfathomable love, I saw myself as a reflection of Christ.

It changed everything for me.

The overwhelming, ever-present need for approval lessened. I realized it was okay to be unapproved by others because I was preapproved by God. Nothing else required. Just like I am.

I remember the first time I saw a picture of myself and thought, “She is pretty.”

It was startling because I realized that she was me.

I was being transformed from the inside out.

I still had the same unruly brown curls and average face, but I saw a different reflection.

And it had absolutely nothing to do with what I looked like.

 

I dare you to trade in the mirrors in your life that crave approval. It’s time to exchange them for always-sent preapproval in God’s eyes. Love Idol by my friend Jennifer Dukes Lee will help you find the acceptance we long for. I loved this important book and you will too!

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Today, she is graciously giving away two copies. Please leave a comment to be entered.

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And if you really want to know how God feels about you, click here now.

If Your Marriage is Broken

It was 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday in January and we were still in bed.

Is there a better way to begin a weekend?

My husband flipped to his side and said, “I’m sorry.”

I stretched and yawned myself awake and that’s when I remembered we’d gone to bed the night before irritated at each other.

It was a stupid little fight. Aren’t they always? It wasn’t really about the price of ski pants (don’t ask). It was simply the result of two thick-headed people who both wanted their way and refused to budge.

We’ve been married 19 years. You’d think we would have moved past this stage–the one where we argue over insignificant things, get mad and pout. And we have in many ways. It happens less often and we get less angry and over it more quickly, but every once in awhile, I want my way more than I want to get along.

“I’m sorry, too,” I whispered.

And then we talked about why we got mad in the first place. It’s always a deeper issue. Most arguments about money are really about fear. Most arguments about parenting boil down to control or the lack of it. But on this particular lazy Saturday morning, the conversation led to a long talk about things we were struggling with personally.

When I reluctantly left the cozy down comforter for a quick shower, I felt like I knew my husband a bit more. I could see the stress and burden he carried more clearly. And I wanted to bless him. He understand why I was on edge and we vowed to love each other better.

That pillow talk wouldn’t have happened without first the struggle. When we can push past our little grievances and irritations and lift the veil of life and circumstances, we can grow together towards God, instead of apart.

Our world used to fix broken things, remember that? Our grandmothers darned socks with holes in them. Our grandfathers rebuilt and repaired damaged things. Our moms superglued little $1 store figurines.

Now we throw things away.

We live in a disposable culture that tosses damaged things because it’s easier. It’s quicker, it doesn’t require hard work or humility.

if your marriage is broken, don't throw it away. Fix it

If your marriage is broken, don’t throw it away.

Fix it.

Take your marriage back and fight for it. Talk. Forgive. Change. Confess. Laugh. Counsel. I understand that not every marriage is repairable. But for those who let little issues become bigger than they should, I urge you to fix what’s broken, instead of starting over.

We don’t do a lot for Valentine’s Day at our house. But we proudly show off our love all year long–there are less repairs that way when the storms of life hit.

While these shirts won’t fix a broken marriage, they are an easy way to get started–new Union28 “My Husband/Wife Rocks” T-shirts!

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[Updated with winner, Rachel, random commenter #34]

One couple will receive a his and her shirt and a pair of *ahem* these or these (winner’s choice).  Leave a comment if you’d like to win.

Discount Code:  Use Code U28LOVE5 at checkout for $5 OFF any Union28.net order of $25 or more.  (Does not include Clearance items or Gift Certificate purchases) OFFER VALID THUR February 14, 2014.

Make every day special, even the broken ones.

Origami Owl {Giveaway}

Congrats to comment #107, Jennie (check your email)

I love a good story.

And I’m not just talking about books. I love the story that life tells–the ups and downs, highs and lows.

Have you heard of Origami Owl? It’s jewelry that tells your story.

It’s such a fun idea!

THE MISSION OF THIS COMPANY: IS TO BE A FORCE FOR GOOD; TO LOVE, INSPIRE

+ MOTIVATE PEOPLE OF ALL AGES TO REACH THEIR DREAMS +

EMPOWER THEM TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS.

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Here’s how it works: Visit Origami Owl

Step 1|Choose your charms:

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Step 2| Choose your locket:

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Step 3| Choose your chain:

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My oldest daughter is about to turn the big

14

 

And she loves stories. And jewelry.

I can’t wait to give her this for her birthday!

1. gold numbers 1 &4  2. silver locket  | 3. garnet birthstone | 4. flute | 5. Eiffel tower

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Origami Owl has so many choices to represent all the chapters in your life. And I think it makes a pretty special gift.

Today, my sponsor is giving away this gorgeous set to one lucky winner:

Gold Living Locket with Heart Window Plate

 

Take a look and tell me what you love in the comment section and that will be your entry to win!