Saturday, March 25, 2017


The Blue Hills Collaborative

This has been a great Lent, so far. I feel that I'm making some progress in so many areas. And who would have known that it all started with a Lenten sacrifice to give up Facebook.

Giving up Facebook has given me so much more time.

This is obvious, I know. I think in some ways, though we all say we need more time in our days, we also cringe when we free up some time so that we can get other things done that we tend to procrastinate.

Like the dishes. Oh, those dishes. It's like Purgatory every day.

I remind myself that it wasn't very long ago that we all washed dishes by hand. I know I shouldn't complain. But I do hate the dishes.

Giving up Facebook has made me see the areas that I tend to slack. Yes, the dishes are a big one for me. But more than just housekeeping, I also have been able to see other areas of procrastination, like rosary work.

Rosary work has become such a stressful thing to me. But with the extension of time, I see the areas that I tend to waste it when I do have it. For instance, managing orders and taking the time to do inventory...figuring out which orders need to go out first or what "extras" I need to order for other rosary orders. Doing dishes, managing rosary orders, being aware of how use my time, has helped me to be careful of how I use it.

Which now leads to the phone...

When I complained to Dennis of my never-ending disorganization, he asked why I don't use the calendar on my phone. Too much work! was the first thought that came to my head. But one day, I decided to try to figure it out. Ok, I'll admit it, it's helped a ton. I now get little reminders every time I have an appointment.

School Loans!

This one makes me groan. It is my monthly pest. Doing my monthly payments depends on my rosary sales. And so the pressure is on to keep my rosary business as organized as I can, so I don't fall behind and get customers mad at me (and waste money by shipping everything Priority mail to make up for time.) But interestingly enough, all of this awareness of time has helped me get more focused on financial responsibilities too.

And so this has also led to...

Treating my ADD. I have had it for years, swept it under the rug with the excuse that "everyone has it" and I should be able to handle it if they can. But recently, I was at the library and ran across a book called "Women with ADD".  I paged through it and couldn't help laughing because it was as though it was written for me. I did not end up checking it out, but I did decide to do something about living with it. Just because everyone suffers with ADD doesn't mean I can't get it treated or that I'm weak for wanting to get some help. I admit it's a humbling thing to admit that I want to use medication to help myself. However, it seems to have affected my family more than I was aware, because when I casually mentioned to Dennis that I wanted to look into getting some meds, he enthusiastically said, "That's GREAT!!!" If you know Dennis, you know that he hardly reacts to anything. I have to admit, I wasn't sure whether to be amused or offended by his reaction.

Which then leads to time on the computer...

My new awareness of managing time has made me look at how much "screen time" the kids spend. Learning about "tic triggers" also has educated me that too much screen time can be a big trigger for kids with tics. Combined with daily TV and computer turns, I estimated that we spend an average of--ready for this?--five hours of screen time a day!! Yes, five hours (give or take)!

We are now down to perhaps two hours, if even that. No more TV watching in the morning. No more TV watching in the "in between" times, like meal preparation. Computer turns have been limited to 40 minutes per kid. This was always the case, but it has crept up to an hour or longer per kid, especially in the last month, when we were in the midst of Luke's medical issues.

I won't lie--cutting down on screen time has made my life a little more busy. It means less "alone time" for me and trying to get things done. But we're learning to find things to do and work on independence. And the kids seem to be finding creative ways (aka: messy) of entertaining themselves.

And giving up Facebook, has also given me more time for self-awareness.

It's made me a little more aware of times of loneliness and boredom. Those times when I would like to share on social media a birthday picture, or medical update, or something trivial. Is it something I really need to share? Is it something people are truly going to care about?

It's made me aware that I crave human companionship, human emotions and human empathy more than an emoji or a thumbs-up. It's made me aware that I too, am too dependent on others. Always have been. It's been liberating to be away from all of that.

But more than anything, it's made me more aware of how much I need God. "You weren't meant to go through this life alone" is something that pops into my mind often. How much I need God in my daily trials. How much I need Him in companionship, in loneliness or feeling misunderstood. How much I need Him when I'm trying to do something healthy and good, like cutting down computer time. How much I need His encouragement in place of others.

So much good has happened by getting rid of something "bad" for me. An awareness of time and how I use it and the procrastination that has taken over my life.

This is why I love Lent. It's a spiritual retreat on bettering yourself, simplifying your life, and growing closer to God, who loves you. Forty days of renewal.

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