My Digital Detox

I didn’t need another gluten free diet or UltraClear detox.  I needed a digital detox.  A virtual cleanse from the Web World.  And, it was an amazing journey.

I was checking Facebook status updates every 10 minutes. Checking Instagram photo feeds. Taking pictures of my own, editing, then posting them. Reading blogs. Creating blog posts. Reading NPR news. Looking at Birchbox videos. Youtube videos. Facebook videos. Twitter feeds.

Ahh! You get the point.

I needed a new kind of ‘reality check.’   I swear, you can legitimately lose yourself in the Web World. I know, because I did.  I became someone who cared more about looking at a screen than having a conversation.  I became more sedentary.  And more irritable.

At night it was mostly the television. First, I would put McKinley to bed, and then turn on the TV. Real Housewife trash. And I was addicted. Disturbingly to the point where someone would ask me a question and it would annoy me if it wasn’t commercial time. Seriously? How sad is that?  Yeah, definitely a low point.

I started feeling lost.  And NOT connected.  Facebook and Instagram and all these other social media devices portray this illusion of a collective ‘connectedness,’ but the more you indulge– the more alone you become.  I was desperate for conversation and human interaction. I wanted to feel alive again.  So, I began my digital detox.

 

  • First, I deleted most of my apps from my iPhone.  This way, I wouldn’t have immediate access to social media at any point at any time.
  • Second, I initiated new interactions with my husband.  We started playing card games at night and reading together.
  • Third, I now leave my phone upstairs in my bedroom for most of the day and night.  The only time I have my phone with me is if I am ‘out and about.’  Periodically I will check my phone for missed calls and respond to text messages.
  • Forth, I decided to watch specific television shows–and limit my television time to those shows.  Right now, it’s Survivor and Parenthood.
  • Fifth, I tried to only used the computer to check Facebook once a day and respond to emails.
  • Sixth, I completely stopped blogging.
  • Seventh,  I allowed myself to still look at and post to Instagram.  However, I did not attach my photos to other social medias.

It was a well worth it experience.

  • I was able to connect closer to my husband
  • Spend more quality time with McKinley
  • Be more present in the world
  • Realize the importance of doing a digital detox
  • Appreciate the small things again
  • Become more active
  • Understand the slippery slope to social media
  • Best of all…I was able to get back to my roots…back to being me.

I think this is an awesome exercise.  Try out some of these methods for 1 week-monitoring your social media and screen time.  What can you learn from doing this? And do you think you’ll notice any differences?

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Monday Milestone

McKinley plays guitar:

Everyday for the past two weeks McKinley has been going over to the guitar and strumming it. And in those moments, I’d think to myself, I have to start playing again— dad would want me to—I’ll feel him with me. But I haven’t picked up the guitar.

When I drive, I sing. Ohh, and I get really into it.  For the last couple of weeks while singing I’ve thought, I should learn this song on the guitar– it would be beautiful. But I haven’t yet. And why not!?

It seems clear now, but my mother actually pointed it out to me in an earlier conversation.
I said, “I’ve been praying for a sign from dad.”
“Today McKinley strumming on that guitar, and being silly– that was dad,” she said. Then it hit me.  All my thoughts from the last two weeks flooded my mind.

I havn’t been listening!

My dad once told me, “God speaks all the time, but very few know how to listen.” My dad believed that at certain times, in certain moments, God spoke through people—That someone could say something to you, and it could be God speaking, and if you weren’t listening, you would miss it.

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Marriage/Partnership Exercise

Questions.

Asking your partner questions is critical for a long lasting loving marriage.  It’s important to communicate and to continue working on communication, because the truth is we can always become better communicators.

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The exercise is about listening. When my husband and I did this exercise it took us roughly 3-4hours. (Granted we were on a long train ride).  Briefly replying just to get through the exercise is not the point.

Here are some of the Questions we found most profound

  • What makes you happiest/most fulfilled as a woman/man?
  • What makes you happiest/most fulfilled as a wife/husband?
  • What makes you happiest/most fulfilled as a mother/father?
  • What makes you saddest as a woman/man?
  • What makes you saddest as a wife/husband?
  • What makes you saddest as a mother/father?
  • What do you fear the most?
  • What do you look forward to ?
  • How much sleep do you need?
  • What do you consider to be your skills?
  • What do you believe to be your spiritual gifts?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What things need repairing?
  • What chores/responsibilities do you like/need my help with?
  • What intimate things do you enjoy the most?  enjoy the least?
  • What action of mine provides you the greatest sexual pleasure?
  • What other things stimulate you sexually?
  • What times do you need my assurance of my love the most?
  • What can I do that will make it easier to discuss and work on areas or problems that are uncomfortable for you?
  • What concerns do you have that I do not seem interested in?
  • What desires do you have that we haven’t discussed?
  • What do you enjoy doing with me the most?
  • What things can I do that show my appreciation of you?
  • What varying desires (spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, social, worth, recreational, security..) would you like me to provide?
  • In what ways would you like me to sacrifice for you?
  • What things do you see by my actions that I place first in my life?
  • What concerns/interests of yours would you like me to support?
  • How much time would be good for us to spend together each day ?
  • What can I do that provides the greatest comfort and encouragement for you when you are hurt, fearful, anxious, or worried?
  • What ways demonstrate to you that you are a very important person who is as important or more important than I am?

To see the full list of questions visit Zack Terry’s Blog

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Milestone: 1 YEAR

Happy Birthday McKinley!

McKinley is truly an amazing daughter. I know I know…every parent thinks their child is amazing and wonderful and the best. But duh, if a parent didn’t feel like that about their children then I would be confused…possibly even concerned.

McKinley has grown into this free spirited little girl. My little hippie. Her heart is bigger than her body and her hugs sweeter than sugar. She is silly, funny, happy, and bright. Brilliant actually.

Watching McKinley’s growth has been soul changing. Life altering. Inspiring. Faith building. Empowering. The vocab list goes on, but every writer knows that telling you is one thing and showing you is another. I want to show you.

When I think of McKinley’s life, I think back to when my husband and I found out we were pregnant. McKinley was planned, after an unplanned pregnancy, and unfortunate miscarriage. To me, that’s when this adventure began. No matter what, if you are adopting, doing surrogacy, in vitro, etc… It’s a process. And in any given process you will find love and commitment.

I took the road less traveled by and it has made all the difference.

McKinley’s birth was a struggle, but a precious gift. 19 hours of labor, with some unforeseeable aftermath complications, and high levels of stress. Though, it was all worth it, because I met the most beautiful girl. That’s what life is all about. The struggles and sacrifices. And then, the gifts. Gifts of love, growth, and enlightenment. I’ll never forget seeing her wide awake eyes. It was, I swear, the most breath taking moment.

Here is a look back at some of those struggles and gifts:

Me Pregnant

Me Pregnant

McKinley's Born!

McKinley’s Born!

McKinley had Jaundice.

McKinley had Jaundice first week.

First Month : Smile

First Month : Smile

Second Month: McKinley holds head up

Second Month: McKinley holds head up

Three months: I graduate with Masters degree in Social Work (and first time failing board exam)

3rd month: I graduate with Masters degree in Social Work (& first time failing board exam)

That same month (3rd): we moved in with my parents.

Same month (3rd): we moved in with my parents.

4th month: McKinley pushes up, and my husband leaves his job.

4th month: McKinley pushes up! My husband leaves his job.

5th month: McKinley eats cereal & I create McKinleyMilestones Blog

5th month: McKinley eats cereal & I create McKinleyMilestones Blog

6th month: Dad starts law school & McKinley Sits up

6th month: My husband starts law school & McKinley Sits up

7th month: Mom fails exam again, but McKinley pulls herself to standing!

7th month: I fail exam again, but McKinley pulls herself to standing!

8th month: McKinley starts to teeth!!! & Mom quits her job (something she was committed to emotionally, intellectually, and physically since the inception of the business, because she helped develop it.- and still hurts to think about today)

8th month: McKinley starts to teeth!!! & I quit my job.

9th Month: McKinley meets Santa & Mom passes the board exam!

9th Month: McKinley meets Santa & I finally pass the board exam!

10th month: My father & Grandpa (Pawpaw) almost dies, then is diagnosed with Stage3B lung cancer.

10th month: My father & Grandpa (Pawpaw) almost dies, and then is diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer.

11th month: McKinley is practically walking! Dad does extremely well in law  school, is asked to be a TA and research assistant.

11th month: McKinley is practically walking! My husband does extremely well in law school, is asked to be a TA, and research assistant.

12th month: Dad gets internship/job at law firm. Mom gets published. McKinley walks.

12th month: Dad gets internship/job at law firm. Mom gets published. McKinley walks.

Through all of these hardships and accomplishments, my husband has been my rock, and McKinley my light. I love you both an insane amount.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

~The chance for growth is infinite!~ Georgia

First Publication!


My whole life I have wanted to be published.

Finally the moment has come and I couldn’t be more excited. In fact, I’m extremely giddy.  I remember having a paper I wrote on female infibulation in the 10th grade being published, but it was a publication our school created… so I dunno- do you count that?

McKinley Milestones is spotlighted as one of Central Ohio’s best parenting blogs in the March issue of Columbus Parents Magazine! YAY! Click to read the featured post: Traditions

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To be honest, I questioned my ability and ‘worthiness’ of being a writer, especially after being turned down from other contests and submissions.  And yes, every writer should know that they WILL be turned down… that’s inevitable; however, it doesn’t change how it makes you feel.

But, I never stopped writing.  So no matter how cliché this sounds it’s 100% true:

Dreams are always worth chasing,

Always worth the time, and

It’s never to late.

~The chance for growth is infinite!~ Georgia