Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Blessing of Family

I have a wonderful family and I wonder sometimes if I don't take them for granted. I have a large family and we don't all see eye to eye on everything, but somehow the love shines through. The last few weeks have been full of family pictures, discussions about the genealogy, and visits from family who live far away. This has caused me to pause and realize how blessed I am with the family I have. We have a lot of differences. We have introverts and extroverts. We have people who love to play games and those who don't. We have animal lovers and those who are not so in love with their pets. We have many sports fans but don't agree on who our team is. We have Kansas City Chiefs fans, St. Louis Cardinals fans, Sporting Kansas City fans, Kansas Jayhawks fans, Missouri Tigers fans, Iowa State Cyclones fans, Florida State Seminoles fans, Oregon State Beavers fans, Ohio State Buckeyes fans and on and on. There can be some pretty heated discussions on game days. Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. J
We also disagree on bigger topics such as politics and religion. I sometimes avoid those topics because I don't want anything to come between me and a family member. I guess that's the peacemaker in me. When there is conflict within my family, it hurts. Family is a blessing and I don't want anything to drive a wedge between us. My family has been supporting me since childhood. During the tough times of my childhood, there was always one or more family members available to support me, encourage me and teach me. It's been like a tag team all my life. God always placed someone in my family near me to encourage me and keep me on the straight and narrow. I'm so thankful for each one of you! 

Now it's my turn. God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." I pray that I can be a blessing to my kids, their wives, my grandkids and my extended family. This is one of the things that gives my life purpose.

You may not have a big family like mine. But family comes in lots of different forms. You can have a church family, a family of friends or an adoptive family.  One definition from the Webster dictionary for family is: “a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation: Fellowship”. I would add that a common trait in families is love. (Or rather a common trait that should be in all families is love). Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8  Lord knows none of us are perfect. Let's do our best to love one another and appreciate the families we have!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Internet: Blessing or Curse?

In this fast paced, technology laden world we live in, a week without Internet access can be a shock to one’s system. 

Our wireless router modem stopped working a week ago and gave us a sudden flashback to the 1990s!  It seemed like everything we tried to do required a working router modem. I couldn't use my online Bible for my Bible study. I couldn't listen to Pandora on my Internet ready TV while doing my exercises. I couldn't Skype with my mom who lives across the country. I couldn't print any document using my wireless printer. Even the data connection on my phone was limited due to the fact that we live in the country and use a 3G microcell booster (connected to the modem)  for phone connection. No Internet access also meant that I couldn't pick up a quick recipe or get an update on my family through Facebook or use Netflix. I felt completely out of touch.
So what did I do? How did I survive? I did a lot of reading. I read my Bible and a new John Grisham book. I spent some time on the gazebo and reflected on my dependence on all this technology. Was it such a good thing? Or did I just need to be more balanced with my use of it? Being somewhat of an introvert, I like the feeling of connectedness while enjoying the solitude of my home in the country. I also like how through the Internet we can stay connected with family members who live miles away. I like the convenience of an Internet Bible program. Its different Bible versions and dictionaries are available with a simple click of the mouse. I like accessing new recipes from the Internet. I love how Skype offers a special connectedness that the telephone could never achieve. I love being able to research topics of interest or trivia with a mouse click. I love learning from other people's blogs. I love accessing maps that take me around the world. I love the entertainment that the Internet offers such as watching old Lucy shows on YouTube. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that the Internet is a blessing in many ways. But because of the vast amount of information available through the Internet, the use of it also requires that we set boundaries. As I stated in a previous blog post, it’s important that we set positive things in front of our eyes. This is especially true when using the Internet. If we are not careful, unguarded surfing can lead us to some pretty unsavory sites. Then there's the time factor. I can spend hours on the Internet or using Internet ready devices without realizing how much time has passed. It's all about balance. And isn't that true about life itself?
So even though my week without Internet was painful in many ways, it afforded me time to reflect on my use of it. I think I came away with some useful boundaries that I intend to put in place. Happy balanced surfing everyone!