Monday, February 27, 2012

That little Black Box

Have you ever heard of a plane crash and then afterwards they are searching for the black box. Well I researched the black is a voice recorder of exactly what has happened up until the plane crashed. In the event all were to perish- they would piece together what they could from the "black box" and see what happened. Not necessarily just a voice recording but listening closely for sounds in the background- engine noise etc. VERY important to the plane. Vitally important to the surviving members of their family I am sure and knowing the CAUSE of the accident and making sure to prevent it from happening again!

I can remember from the September 11th plane crashes all those frantic calls and last goodbyes so many were making. Never to see their loved ones again and knowing that they wanted to go down on good terms and good memories. Those little black boxes hold the answers to so many questions. Much like a little black box most Americans carry around daily.

Yes, I admit I even own one......a little black box that I carry around because it tells me everything I need to know. The time, my appointments, messages from friends & family. In fact, I dropped my blackberry in the toilet last year right as the opening night of Vacation Bible School was starting and I went DIVING into the flushing commode after that little black box because I would be LOST without it!! And although I scrubbed and washed my hands for 10 minutes and did all the "right" things to try to save it from dying. It did work but was never the same. But until I could get a "reliable" one it was an inconvenience for my life!!

They have come a long way baby.....these are some of the first "cellular" phones that you were probably informed "Only call in case of an emergency because it costs $5.00 a minute!"

I can remember my parents getting me one on my 17th birthday. And it resembled one of these. In fact I was in a car wreck when I was 18 and I told the man helping me- "call my mom on my mobile phone and tell her I was in a wreck!" She made it there as quick as the ambulance. That was back when they were fact most things were simple back then.... The days when the only thing you had to argue over was who was going to sit next to the TV and change the channel. Because at the time THAT was the little black box everybody had to have!!! Now a days we have so many gadgets and things to "help" us have knowledge and understanding at the palm of our hands that it has turned our world upside down!!

My Children will never know what life is like without a cell phone or computer. I grew up in the 80's and I can remember the school having one computer and we all took turns sharing it from week to week. Now people have Internet and computer knowledge on their phones.

Amazing how far technology has come in just my short life. I often wish I was born in the 50's or 60's but that generation had it's struggles too. Each generation will have struggles and things that they must "deal" with or overcome. But since we are in the "Change" generation the ME generation I am afraid we are just on the beginning of what could be the END!!

How could you survive without your phone? computer? ipad, ipod, iwhatever? video games? these things are virtually important for you to they supply oxygen? Often times we complain because "I have too much to do I have too many things to keep up with and juggle and it is overwhelming because I am keeping up with these kids who have to keep up with their friends and since I am friends with their parents I have to keep up with them.....and for PETE'S SAKE.....When do those Jones' ever RUN OUT OF MONEY?!?!?!" this how it this the life line we want our kids to be a part of?? If your "black box" were to print out all the time you spent on it or the computer and then compared it with the time you spend face to face with your children or spouse. What would it report back?

I will admit I have burned a few dinners since I have had my little black box......I am so into an email or a text that I didn't even realize my beans were stuck to the bottom of the pan.

And what is more important than our children- OUR MARRIAGE!!! We don't even know the person who sits across the table from us- that is IF you sit at the table to eat. Well, we know how good or not good at typing he or she is.....because we communicate through text messages or emails to let them know where and when the kids need picking up.

How sad it is to go out to dinner and see a couple who sits and looks at their phone the whole time. "Hi- how are you?" and the statistics for divorce.....look HERE not surprising when you realize we don't have relationships anymore!

Don't get me wrong here I am not pointing fingers at just one person- I am preaching to the choir when I say. I am totally convicted by my family when my kids say "mama...mama....mama...mama...." and then walk off because I tell them "Hang on let me finish this email or text message." How disappointing!! What would my little black box say about my parenting, "Well she did answer- but what the child was trying to tell her is THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!!!" I can remember growing up my mom had a home business- so she was on the phone a lot. Probably more that what she is proud of but no doubt we turned out ok! And there are times when you need to talk to some one. I can remember when my little boys were 2 and 3 months old and I was about the pull my hair out. Honestly, I cannot remember WHY...but I remember walking outside and shutting the door and crying to my husband on the phone I said "I am so tired and they just keep talking and spilling stuff and I wipe it up and the spill something else and then the poop- they keep pooping and I have to wipe it up too!!" He was probably hundreds of miles away and he just simply said "Let me pray with you- and he prayed a simple yet meaningful prayer! I can remember standing on the front porch weeping and seeing my kids inside the house through the window watching me probably thinking "that person on the phone has made her cry!!" For moments like this I am GLAD for a phone call!!!

But how many times do we spend more time with our electronics and not our own family- Yes we sit on the couch snuggled up and watch cartoons......while we are checking facebook on our phone or have the laptop in our lap doing work....GUILTY!

And we have such little independent children who can sit and play as we work sometimes. And all things in moderation are good. But when your kids are acting up or they are starved for attention they usually will let you know it- FAST too!! If you show your black box more attention then the children will think that you VALUE that small thing more than their small heart!!Our boys got their first video game a few years back and it was for toddlers and very educational- we learned that WOW they can be addicting for such a young age. We had to remove it from the home, and they get to play once a month while getting a haircut. I moved it to my beauty shop and so it makes them sit still while I cut their hair. Smart I know, but at the same time they still amaze me how quickly they caught on to the games and how time consuming yet time wasting it can be!!

My 6 year old came home the other day saying "Mama for Christmas I want a ipod!" I said "Really....what is that?" He said "I don't know but.....blah blah blah has one!" WOW- that Jones kid is in his class and at such a young age he doesn't even know what it is BUT he HAS TO HAVE ONE!!!! I wanted to scream "LORD HELP US ALL!!!" But instead I said "We will see..." knowing it is February and I have a few months until December.

With each generation we produce we are introducing things earlier and as parents we must be the example setting guides for them to follow.....

So when we can't communicate with our children as we drive down the road because they are listening to their ipods with headphones or watching TV while we listen to what we want or Hey I just like to ride in silence!! We are teaching them what?? Sit here and watch or do this and leave me alone!! I honestly didn't see it this way- just felt like it was a good babysitter. But the actual message is.....we can't communicate even in small closed in areas.

We bought a car recently with a dvd player installed.....daily struggle and reminder to boys "No we only watch TV on long trips." My 3 year old says "It is a looooooong way to the store!"

Instead lately I have rolled down the windows and talked about the cows and all the wild flowers- kids don't have to be annoying if you just communicate with them!! I will tell you I hear a lot more when I just listen to my kids rather than talk and ask them questions. They will spill the beans!!

And a wise friend once told me "If you don't talk to your kids now and tell them how you feel and your thoughts on all kinds of situations- then they won't talk to you when they have things come up in their lives. They will go to who they feel comfortable talking to their peers." And most of the time that is NOT a good situation because they will give them the advice they have learned from TV shows or Internet. Do you know what Teens are doing these days on those "black boxes"? Check this link out HERE for some statistics.

SO is time to reflect on your black much time do you spend on your little electronic devices that cost a fraction of what your children's lives cost you. As parents it is our J-O-B to stand up for the next generation, don't loose what you have under your roof. Don't give them things to occupy their time while filling up their minds with trash it is also filling their hearts with trash!!

Take hold of the future and allow your life to be controlled by God and NOT the things of this world. A good place to start if you haven't read you Bible lately.....Ephesians 5.....go ahead give it a try.

I have been convicted to give up facebook for lent- 40 days until Easter- a time to reflect of forgiveness & the sinful things that come in between me and my walk with God. I have already struggled with it. Knowing it is a good communication for me & my friends- I have gotten on to return a message and caught myself looking at some drama unfolding as it does daily on social networks.

But, I know it is not to late- NEVER too late for God. He is always there to pick me up dust me off and set me back on the path He has planned for my life. After all He is in Control!!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

16 years....flash of love!!

This story started 16 years ago today....

On a date that we both had looked forward to for a looong time- because one of us was shy and the other took a few months for this to happen!! This Oklahoma girl who apparently by the pictures spent WAY too much time in a tanning bed, and this tall basketball player from Arkansas started something......they never knew would follow them 16 years now down the road!!After a good game and a WIN of course- we met outside the locker room and went across the street to an Italian restaurant. It seemed like we hit it off just like we had known each other our whole lives. Even though we lived 6 hours apart and a couple of states.....we had a lot in common. It was a good night. GREAT and PERFECT first date!! I knew from the beginning this was the man God had intended for me- He did too, just didn't tell me until after we wed.

The part of the story that we will never forget it- the End. When he drove me home that night, I was still living with my parents being just a few months into my 18th year of life. I really didn't like that awkward front door goodbye.....not a kiss on the first date person. So to take the pressure of him and myself, I offered to get out walk myself to the door and then I would flash the porch light at him to let him know I made it safely!

After sharing with him- that I had a great time and looked forward to getting to know him more. I jumped out of his 86' model Red Chevy truck and ran as fast I could in 20 degree weather to the front door- unlocked it and ran inside......flashed the porch lights to let him know. He then flashed his head lights and I watched as the Chevy break lights drove out of sight. I was in!!!Years went by and we would flash the lights at each other- Three and a half years went by and we found ourselves in the yard of that house with the flashing porch lights and said vows to each other. Til death do us part.....For better or worse....we promised each other and we have seen good & bad- rich & poor days but through it all it has been great!!!

When we were first married we lived off a highway- I would wait to hear the Freighliner ease through our little small town and standing at the door I would watch as he passed and flash the porch lights to him and he would flash back. Then I would stand at the door say a little prayer for his safety and watch as the lights faded into the darkness. Being a Truck drivers wife is not a glamorous life, but was a good life built of trust, honesty and true love being loyal til the end!

Years went by and through many light bulbs later we moved to another house- and as I stood and waved each time he left for work I would flash the lights. I was either holding a new puppy, rubbing a growing belly full of a bundle of joy inside or holding a new baby boy taking his little hand and waving bye to his daddy. Then a few years later that little boy could reach the light switch himself, and I hold his baby brother as we blow kisses- flash lights and show daddy how much we love him as he drove off to work. Now that little brother & big brother fight over who is going to flash the lights at daddy and I remind them to take turns....and we way and blow kisses as we watch daddy leave for work.
I guess somewhere along the way we named the "flash of lights" I love you......meaning every time we flickered those lights we knew the other one was ok and we loved them. I still get butterflies when I see that 18 wheeler drive up or better yet- I can hear him miles away....something about a truck drivers wife's ears!!

I am thankful for my hard working husband- he spends many nights away from home. He knows when he does come home where he is welcome to be himself and knows love awaits him behind those flashing lights!!

He has driven well over 2 million miles since we have been married 13 short years- and guaranteed every mile was covered in a prayer either by me- him- or our family!! When God is the center of your marriage, he will be the one to hold you together in the storms of life!!

As I flash the lights each day, wave and watch his taillights fade into the darkness.....My heart is joyful that God has brought us here today from a little flash of a porch light by two kids who just fell in love!!

So if you happen to be in Arkansas some day- and you drive down a highway and see a Red Shiney Kenworth driving off and porch lights will know there is a lot love in this house!!