Monday, January 11, 2010

three words. the computer. and my story

Proverbs 4:7 says "Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding."

inspiration. information. insight (i.e. wisdom).

How are these three words related? More specifically, what do they have to do with the computer? =)

Well, as you may have noticed, I haven't been as bloggy lately. In fact, I think I've had one or two posts per month for the past several months. For awhile, I was working to be more consistent so that people would keep it's pretty "bad" to neglect my blog so thoroughly! Who wants to visit if I only pop-in once a month?

However, it hasn't been just my blog that I've been spending less time on. It's been the computer in general. Could I chalk it up to this season of life? New baby, crazy life for awhile, moving, settling in...sure, that's a lot. But plenty of folks manage to keep up with blogs through crazier times, no?

So there must be something else. Yes, there is. My relationship with my computer has changed. A lot.

It began gradually. Before Graeme's birth, the computer opened up a whole new world to me. I discovered a whole sister-hood of women who did parenting differently than the mainstream. Wow, was it fascinating! I spent hours perusing websites, jotting notes, printing articles...trying to figure out cloth-diapering, whether to vaccinate, how long to breastfeed, when to introduce solids. And after Graeme was born, that didn't change. Not only was the whole Momma thing new - so much of what I was trying to do was "weird" and I knew no one "in real life" who did it: cloth diapering, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, delaying solids, green cleaning, mama cloth, holistic medicine, naturally treating common childhood illnesses, not vaccinating. And I spent a lot of time with the computer.

Too much. I'd let Graeme watch "one more" video, or wait just an extra minute to go get him when he woke up from his nap so that I could finish a particular train of research or a post on a forum. Granted, I gleaned a heap of information from this period of time. Indeed, I was greatly helped by many a forum post or chat with another Mama who gave me helpful information...sometimes even critical information, as Graeme went through a series of ear infections. But we all know how easy it is for one-thing-to-lead-to-another in the world of the Web. You can start by looking up one thing and an hour goes by, seemingly without a blink. Boy, did I become informed, though!

While Mark was gone for OCS, the computer was my friend. I formed some fairly close relationships with other women with common interests on a forum, and blog-hopped late into the evening many times. I had a little knitting business that kept me busy online, and I started running co-ops (going in with other folks to buy things at reduced prices). My time on the computer increased. I often strived to balance it better - trying not to spend gobs of time on it while Graeme was awake. But much of my time and energy away from the computer involved things that needed to be taken care of online.

I knew it was taking up too much, so I cut back on some things. I spent less time on the forums. We were moving and in a new place, and I was pregnant, so a lot of my time online was spent in practical matters (finding new doctors, researching pregnancy-related tests and birth stuff)...

until I got bit by the blog bug.

Oh, can you be inspired by blogs! Friend blogs. Food blogs. Craft blogs. Kid blogs. Mom blogs. Marriage blogs. Green blogs. Simple blogs. Sewing blogs. Reading blogs. Picture blogs. Fashion blogs. Um, yeah.

I have to put a disclaimer out there that I got to know some pretty amazing women, read some incredible stories, discovered a great wealth of material to use in my kitchen and in my home, and learned a lot from reading blogs. Nothing at all wrong with them. Thanks to all of you who invest so much in your blog!

So I feel a little bad to say this, but I learned that I really had to cut back on the inspiration. It could gobble up time just as bad as anything I'd done before.

Not to mention the aspirations that filled my head about my own little blog. Should I rename it? How can I generate more traffic? Could I actually make money through my blog? And I invested mental energy on and off the computer: creating posts as I took my menu plans were fodder for a great blog post. How could I encourage my readers? How could I get more people to read me?

Fortunately, this phase was short-lived for me. I don't stick to things very well, and I quickly realized this was a downhill slope for me. Too much. Again.

God was working on my heart. After Cole's birth, the pressures of TBS started taking their tole on our family. Newborn baby-life can be tiring, but add to that my husband's schedule (3am mornings anyone?) and the fact that we were with one car after January '09. In D.C. (traffic makes everything more stressful). Trying to train a toddler to sleep in his own bed. Trying to minister to a husband you only see an hour every few days (it seemed). Realizing that when you join the military, whether you're the one that signed up or not, you're giving away parts of your life. It was a tough time, for sure.

For my sanity, and the sanity of my household, I had to give more of my time and attention to them. I started cutting back on anything that wasn't directly related to tangibly being with my children, caring for my home, thinking about how I can serve my husband and my family. Me and the kids kind of clung to each other. It just became less important, this relationship between me and the computer. The knitting business went bye-bye. I stopped doing co-ops. I still blogged. But I began to realize, I didn't need any more inspiration. I needed to live it.

I needed wisdom. Insight.

After all, it's not about the first two words that Solomon tells us to GET, though it cost *all* that you have.

It's about the last one. Seek after wisdom; search for her as for a hidden treasure, Proverbs 2 says. All the information and inspiration in the world cannot serve-up wisdom for you. It is something you must seek after. It is something you must give-up for.

Finally, me and the computer started figuring out where each of us needed to be. I needed to be away from it more. It needed to be a tool, not a master. A resource, not a relationship. Don't get me wrong - I'm grateful for its information. I still utilize search engines and forums occasionally to find out something I need to know. I learn about new things. I glean much inspiration from well-written blogs. I like to check in on my friends, see their pictures, keep up with their lives.

But I do all this with a greater degree of insight. I don't really care whether I keep up with my blog or not. That's just how it needs to be for me right now. I am not very active on forums or in blog carnivals and such. Hey, we don't even have cable and I often don't know about disasters or votes or important things like that until I hear it on the radio or see posts about it on facebook =)

I love not feeling obligated to check in on the computer. I love not needing to check my e-mail, even being okay with skipping a day...there's nothing that important going on.

Please don't take from this post that you ought to feel guilty if you keep up with your blog faithfully (thank you for doing that!). Don't take away that you should spend less time on your computer (unless, um, you should). Don't think that I find the internet, blogs, or forums evil (they are not).

Just take from it that technology and me are finally at a comfortable spot. I am the happiest I've been in years about it. Maybe in the future I'll be able to be more faithful posting on my blog. I'd love to get to that spot. Maybe not, though.

Meanwhile, thanks for reading! I hope this post is helpful. For some reason, it's been on my heart to share. Speaking of balance and's high time for me to head to bed. =)

1 comment:

barefoot in gitchigumee said...

oh so true and what amazing insight you shared! me too! is all i can say,how humbling you put it in perspective!