Thursday, March 10, 2011

Contentment Part 1

So, the whole minimalism thing got me thinking a lot about contentment. What does it really mean? What does it entail? Am I content?

The Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:11-13 that: 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. defines "content" as: "satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else."

I realized that I/we (the Kolbes) don't actually NEED anything other than what we have. Instead of focusing on what we have, I had been focusing on what we DON'T have, and what I'd LIKE to have.

At the same time I was thinking through all of this, I also realized that I've been lax in memorizing Scripture, so I wrote part of that Philippians passage on the bottom the menu/calendar sheet on the fridge. So every time I checked the sheet, or even went to open the fridge, I'd see it and read it.

A few nights after THAT, I was walking somewhere, and saw a minivan go by- the same make and model that we were blessed to be able to use during our time in the states (Matt and Fred, y'all ROCK!!!). So my first thought was "ooohhhhh I would love to be driving that right now. How much easier would my life be?" Then I was like, wait! I'm memorizing Scripture on being CONTENT. So maybe what I should do is whenever discontented thoughts pop up, I should quote those verses back to myself. Heh heh. Take THAT discontent. It worked. God is awesome. =)

Stay tuned for more on this....


Well, that went well.

We made it a full 5 days without TV! Almost 6, actually. It got turned on for a short bit Saturday and Sunday evenings. Max asked MAYBE once a day for TV, but didn't ask again after I told her we weren't watching TV that day. I am quite proud of this accomplishment.

Monday and Tuesday were again no TV days, but then Tuesday night Max's left eardrum ruptured, so she did watch some TV yesterday. In between napping and visiting the doctor. And then last night (Wednesday) Elisha spent most of the night screaming, and on into the morning. He is running a fever and super cranky and clingy. So yeah, we're watching TV today.

On another note, on Saturday we discovered an Auntie Anne's pretzels in a city a few stops on the train north of us. The pretzel stand could have a been there a while, but I think I would have remembered seeing it. It brought great happiness and joy to the people. (The Kolbe people, anyway.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

No Tigger or Winnie Wuh Pooh?!?

Today was the 2nd day in a row that the kidlets have gone without TV. It started out as me being tired of Max watching TV, and Elisha at times, too, (although to be fair, she doesn't watch TONS) but now... well, I was thinking last night about WHY I let them watch TV.

I can honestly remember the very first time I turned the TV on specifically for Max. It was a few months after she was born and I really really needed to get a load of laundry hung up. In retrospect (like, 3 seconds ago) I don't know why I didn't take her in her bouncy seat outside to watch me hang up laundry... I just didn't think of it, I guess. Or maybe the mosquitoes were bad that morning. Either way, I turned something on for her, went out to the carport (in full view of the living room, the screen door was closed, the wooden one open), and hung laundry.

I can remember it so well because I always SWORE I would NOT be one of THOSE parents who let their kids watch TV, and esp. wouldn't use it as a baby-sitter. Yet another example of why people without kids really shouldn't be making "I'll NEVER" statements.

Okay, so, why do I let my kids watch TV? Why do I turn it on just for them? Well, I think that, for me, it's out of selfishness and/or desperation. Sometimes one, sometimes the other, occasionally both. However, I realized last night, after a full day without it on, that it was actually MORE freeing to have it off. Huh? That doesn't seem to make any sense, does it?

Here's why: when I would turn it on, there was first Max making a request, and then changing her mind at LEAST twice before something actually started. Then came Elisha standing in front of it so she couldn't see. And he would turn the TV off. Or the xBox. Or the DVD player. Or one of them would get ahold of the TV remote or xBox controller and mess around with it enough to make it impossible for them to watch whatever it was that they had been watching. And let's not forget Max deciding a few minutes into whatever it is that she changed her mind AGAIN, taking the DVD out, bringing it to me, and asking for a different one.

All of the above would require something from me- turning it back on, stopping Elisha, cleaning the disc so it would work again, stopping Elisha, hitting play once the disc got to the main menu, stopping Elisha... you get the idea. And, more often than not, one or both of them would end up back wherever I was.

I HAD been doing it to buy some time- wash dishes, get dressed, put on make-up, prep dinner... but with the interruptions and them coming back out to see what I was doing or "help" me, it actually wasn't helping at all. In fact, thinking over the last two days, it has helped MORE to have it off. The kids have been fighting less, we've been playing more together, they're using their imaginations more, playing with their toys more, and I've STILL been able to get everything done that I'd like to do. Sweet!!

I'm not saying they'll never watch TV again. Or that the no-TV thing will end on a certain date. But for now, they're doing just fine without it, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it! (Can you believe that "ain't" didn't get that red squiggly line under to indicate that it was a misspelled word??? I'm APPALLED!)

The exception has been youtube music videos. Esp. since BOTH kids are totally hooked on this one:

Max and E's favorite song... at the moment...

How can you say no to THAT?!?!