Technology is addictive. If you’re like me, you are guilty of checking your social media accounts multiple times a day. It’s a hard habit to break. You feel the strong need to check your personal feed while you are drinking your morning coffee, waiting in line, working out at the gym, eating lunch with your friends, or lying in bed. Your phone has become an extension of you. You use it to capture moments you want to remember, as an alarm clock, and to check the weather. Our phones have a sick power over us. We become mesmerized by having this source of connection at just the swipe of a finger. But what if we were compelled to put our phones down?
Take a look around you in a restaurant and count the number of people on their personal devices. The number will quickly astound you. The idea of being able to connect to the Internet has become so popular that many businesses offer free wi-fi and ports that charge your gadgets right there next to you. What happened to sitting down to a meal and holding casual conversation with the person seated across from you?
What if we decided to be a part of the experience and take it all in, instead of trying to capture the perfect shot to share on our wall? To enjoy that much needed vacation instead of taking pictures of our feet strategically placed in the sand? To savor our food intensely instead of posting a picture of our expensive meal? To be more engaged in conversation instead of only giving half of our attention?
Just like our phones, sometimes we need to let our battery recharge. We need to unplug and let our minds rest from the amount of information we take in on a daily basis. We need to be reminded that outside of our screens there are moments waiting to be lived. It’s time to invest in what’s real! Let’s stop allowing our phones to dictate our relationships, drain our energy, and control our lives. Make a conscious effort to be fully present wherever you are! You will quickly feel a sense of freedom you have long forgotten.
The giving season is upon us! During the next few weeks, we will be sucked in to the whirlwind of the holidays. For many, Thanksgiving is completely skipped over and Christmas has taken its place. I urge you this season to slow down and remember why it is that we gather and celebrate in the first place. Take an opportunity this season to be a blessing to others and feel the joy that comes from giving from your heart.
Here are twenty ways that you can be a blessing to others this season:
- Bake a pumpkin pie & deliver to someone letting them know how you are thankful for them!
- Go caroling to the shut-ins!
- Invite someone who doesn’t have family to join yours for Thanksgiving dinner!
- Write a list of reasons you are thankful for your spouse!
- Hold the door open for someone whose arms are full of packages.
- Pay for the persons coffee behind you! They will be thankful for that yummy pumpkin spice latte.
- Remember those that are away from their families serving our country! Send a care package, write a letter, say a prayer, ect..
- Buy someone a cold drink! Leave some change in the vending machine.
- Make cards for those in the nursing homes. You don’t know how much this will brighten their day!
- Leave chalk messages on the sidewalk that says “I’m grateful for you!” Or “Gobble til you wobble!”
- Lend a helping hand at your local soup kitchen.
- Donate extra blankets to your furry friends at the shelter!
- Leave a poinsettia on your neighbors porch!
- Round up three toys your children no longer play with and give to a child in need.
- Ring a bell! Be a local bell ringer for The Salvation Army. You get to greet people with a smile and make a difference at the same time!
- Partner with your church to put together shoe boxes filled with blessings for those in need.
- Read the Christmas story to those who will spend the holidays in the hospital.
- Help someone take their groceries to their car!
- Leave a generous tip on your receipt for your waitress with a note that says “Happy Holidays!”
- Leave a note on a random car that says, “Have a blessed day!”
Now that you have a few good ideas to get started– go be a blessing to someone today!
**November is Preemie Awareness Month! In honor of premature babies and their mothers, here is a letter I would like to share for NICU moms that are currently facing the battle.**
Dear NICU Mom,
Welcome to the club you never planned on having membership too! That’s right..no one ever expects to become a part of this exclusive society. Each baby has a different story to tell on how they gained V.I.P access to the undivided attention they receive behind the locked doors of this club.
You may have been like me and had a extremely healthy pregnancy. You took special care of yourself and the life growing inside you. You did everything just like your doctor recommended. You even carried your baby to full term. But then something suddenly goes wrong and your little one is whisked away before you get a chance to welcome them into the world.
Ever since you found out you were expecting, you pictured holding your baby and looking into their eyes. You imagined how you would feel when that precious life was placed in your arms. But then without warning, those first moments you anticipated for so long are stolen. The thought never crossed your mind that you wouldn’t be bringing your baby home as soon as you would like. Instead of being close to your newborn and feeling their tiny fingers interlock yours, you spend the first days, weeks, or months of their existence peering at them inside a clear box. You spend hours watching their heart rate on the moniter. Countless calls to the nurses, hundreds of hand washes, numerous tears, and incalculable prayers are the only thing you’ve come to know. So many questions yet the one that weighs on you the most is, “Why?” What could I have done differently? Is there something that I did to cause this? The guilt you can carry can be overwhelming. But you are not alone!
You have a whole network of mothers who are behind you and have been in your shoes. They know the uncertainty you are facing and how what was supposed to be one of the most beautiful experiences of your life has been stained with tears and worry. You have been forced to find strength that you never knew you were capable of possessing. Some of us have been there before and some of us are still there. We share a bond that many won’t understand because it is a journey they have not personally taken. The days are long and it may seem as if this trial will never end. But you and your baby will conquer this. It may not be today, tommorow, or even next week. But from a mother who has been right where you are, hold on! When things look dark, look up! God hears our prayers and He still performs miracles today. And they often come in the form of tiny babies who are born early yet right on time!
A Fellow NICU Mother