Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two (count 'em) Lightening Bolts

Sometimes I don't like spiritual inspiration. Because it means I have to do something about the thing I was praying/thinking/wondering about and in all reality, I'd rather not do anything (which makes no sense because why was I praying/thinking/wondering if I wasn't looking for an answer, hmmm?). Or I'd rather just allow things to take their natural course. (Yes, that could mean desensitized children who mock, ridicule, and trample upon all that is sacred and holy, but if that's the natural course...?)

Just call me lazy. Or tired. Probably both.

So, last night at the Relief Society General Broadcast, I felt a bolt of lightening. No, it wasn't about visiting teaching (although there was some minor bolts about that one), or about the new non-Enrichment (Dude! I just finally stopped calling it Homemaking! Figures.), or about "Minding My Gaps" (although that had to be my favorite talk of the night. I adore that Sister Thompson! And considering Brandon is in London right now, and I know what the "Mind the gap, please. Mind the gap" voices sound like, it was quite a treat) --my lightening bolt had to do with something else.
Okay, wait. It was actually two lightening bolts. Both with ferocity. Is ferocity a word one can use in conjunction with spiritual matters? Good. I thought so, too.

Anyway, the two things:
1. Turn off the TV
and
2. You're making good decisions.

The first was a doozy. Television and movies are a big part of our family because we here take our connection to pop culture quite seriously. Perhaps not in the advertisement part (I hate commercials!), but most definitely in the "we record more shows than we can watch" part. The kids don't watch junk, but they do watch a lot of the non-junk. And #4, the absolute number one Star Wars fan, watches way more than any 2-year-old should. He watches because I work on the computer. Or do laundry. Or wash dishes. And when he says "Watch Stah Wahs Downstous?" I most readily agree. Because it gives me time to do things while his older siblings are at school. So, Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker teach my son important values like how to swing a light saber and how to shoot guns and fly ships.
Yes, I have guilt. But not too much guilt. I mean, good wins, right?
Still, I know it's out of control. I've known my whole life (adult life?) that too much TV is bad for kids (and adults, yo). But I never realized how bad it had gotten until on Saturday, before the broadcast, the TV was on ALL DAY. All day! And was that good? Did we get things done? Did we go on a picnic or a walk or to the park or make cookies for the neighbors? What about reading or drawing or looking for rolie-polie bugs? Did we hike to a waterfall? Did we clean the playroom? How about writing letters to missionaries or grandparents?
No time for that! We had to watch TV.

Blah.

So, that first lightening bolt was good, even though I didn't want to hear it. I told the kids today that Star Wars was prohibited for at least a week (maybe longer? Maybe?), and TV shows would be limited to evenings and to 30 minutes. Ouch, eh? I guess I could've/should've gone for the whole enchilada and cancelled television for the whole week, but I'm starting out slow. Maybe. It actually might end up being easier to stop it all at once (like a band-aid! Right off!) and then work in some things next week, but...I didn't think about that. Huh.

Anyway, the second lightening bolt came in the form of peace. Validation, if you will. I've been having a tough time as of late --what, you didn't know?!?! --and I've had to put some things in my life on hold. I've been trying to figure out where, what, how I exist, and it's meant a lot of prayer. But, the answers have come (not all of them), and acting on them took a lot of courage. A lot. Feeling peace was fabulous. I need me some peace.

What about you? Learn anything from the RS Meeting? Or if you couldn't go, have you learned anything from anything this weekend?

P.S. Thank you, Rachel, for going with me! It was so good to see you...

12 comments:

Amanda D said...

Okay, somehow I totally missed the whole TV thing. What I took away the most was when Sister Beck quoted Elder Uchtdorf and said to cut out the unessentials that suck away our time - tv, perhaps? Facebook? Too much time surfing the 'net instead of looking for bugs and baking cookies like you said?

I came home and hid a lot of my 'friends' on facebook with the hopes that with less to see, I wont need to check in 10x a day. I also cut the list of blogs on my reader. Again. It's hard to do that but with all the time I spend at the computer, I could be doing better things - exercise, reading a good book, studying scriptures, playing with my kids, cleaning, etc.

Great post. I'm glad you got the validation that you are making good choices. Most of us are too hard on ourselves, and by doing the best we can, we're doing good. :)

FoxyJ said...

First of all I learned where my stake center really is (check my blog quickly--it's a funny story), LOL.

More than anything I really felt the urge to be better about visiting teaching, that it's a God-inspired program. Getting adjusted to a new ward is hard and I haven't been good at getting out of my shell to go do my visits. Plus I just got called as a VT supervisor, so I really need a good testimony of it right now :)

I also am pondering the message about using our time well and trying to figure out how to apply it in my life. I'm actually less busy than I have been for the past few years, and I know I have some down time coming up with the baby, but I also have a tendency to fill my extra time with fluff like Law and Order reruns.

My kids were getting out of control with the TV so we simply banned it on all weekdays. I've noticed after a few weeks that they've learned to amuse themselves without it--they spent this afternoon doing a lot of other things and didn't even ask to watch it, even though we're kind of lax on Sundays. Anyways, that's what has worked for us. We also try and have a family 'movie night' once a week so we can all watch something together and have a treat. That gives them some positive entertainment time as well. We recently did the same thing with sugary cereals--only on weekends. I've found for our family it works to have a bit of compromise and 'give' so we're not always saying 'no'. That's what works for us--everyone needs to figure out what the best thing for their family is, and I've learned that it's constantly changing.

Oh, and my husband got cheap and cancelled the cable. We got a converter box and antenna, and it helps that we only get a few channels clearly and a few others only occasionally. It's a lot harder for me to veg out when we have so few options, LOL. He can check out movies from the library for free so we still watch lots of videos.

Julie said...

I was so glad I went last night. I had a few bolts. First was that even though sisters I VT are faithful and solid, I need to pray for them and seek ways to serve them.

Another thing I felt was to look at the gaps in my life and figure out which ones need some minding. (Obviously).

Thirdly, I had some specific inspiration regarding people in my neighborhood and how I need to serve them.

I really loved the broadcast and am always amazed at how much I need those meetings, without realizing it.

Never A True Aggie said...

We had such a busy day with our birthday party and it comes on at 8 PM here that I missed it. So, I will watch/read this next week.

As for TV, I do think there is way too much at our house. I heard a good TV monitoring tip. They do this for kids who need to lose weight, but I thought it would be good for all kids. The guys rule is that for every minute they watch tv, they have to also be active. So, 1 hour of TV means 1 hour of playing outside or a game inside or something. Seems good to me.

bythelbs said...

Going from having the tv on all day to just 30 min. in the evenings is not what I'd call starting out slow, so no need to beat yourself up over not committing enough.

This RS broadcast was the first one I have attended in I don't even know how long. I don't know what the take home message for me was exactly, but I recognized that it was probably a good thing that I went.

Cheryl said...

Amanda-
You didn't miss anything; the TV thing was just a personal inspiration thing. You know, how you can be in the Temple and even though you are hearing one thing, something completely different comes into your mind? Or when you're in church and the speaker says "so, pay your tithing" and you suddenly feel like you need to call your grandma?
So, no worries. :)

flip flop mama said...

I watched the broadcast from the comfort of my couch and that was awesome. I'm grateful for the Internet. Seriously though I thought everything about visiting teaching was great. Like Julie said I realized I need to pray for the sisters I visit so I can really be inspired for them. It was a grret broadcast.

Cardalls said...

How many times have I heard about the non-essentials crowding out the essentials??? It really did hit me this time though. For me it isn't TV it's the blogging, facebook, computer thang.

And the VT thing hit me hard. I have just been given a very ummm...challenging sister to visit. It helped to hear all that...what I needed to hear! especially since she called me 3 times yesterday for 3 different time intensive conversations.

Stephanie said...

My first lightening bolt came at the very beginning of the meeting when my mind started wandering, and I realized that it has been such a long time since I've been able to just pay attention to a spiritual message in ANY meeting that I've forgotten how. Since my girls are less than 18 months apart, I haven't even been able to pay complete attention in RS since before #1 was born. Once I got my mind completely on the meeting, it was wonderful! I didn't have to hand out any fruit snacks, play with any finger puppets, or take a reluctant toddler into the hall to "discuss" appropriate behavior. I just loved being able to soak up the spirit and really listen to all the messages.

m&m said...

Yay for spiritual validation. Keep up the good work.

(I loved the points about individual ministering. I am now praying daily for my sisters, trying to focus more of my mental/spiritual energy on them.)

Grandma Rozla said...

We tried the no TV thing one year when the kids were in high school. I said no TV during the week - none at all after they got home from school. I'm telling ya it was the best year we had as far as how peaceful things were in our home. We didn't miss it - Well, Lynn did a little, he would turn it on at 10:00 for the news. I think I let a couple of FB games come on but other than that it was off and it was heavenly! Homework got done faster, bedtime was earlier! Good luck

Rachel Holtkamp said...

My lightening bolt came in the form of realizing I need to keep in better contact with old roommates. ;-) Even when I don't have a blog that they can read, I can still keep them up to date with my ever so uneventful life.
And I had a FANTASTIC time as well, Cheryl. I didn't want to leave.