The Stay Awake Challenge: Week 5

Week 5 is about unplugging. You can read the entire post here.

I’ve fallen a bit behind on the Stay Awake Challenge. I’m not giving up on it, but the last couple of weeks have thrown off our routine somewhat — first, with spending two nights at my sister’s house taking care of her kids, and then Alex starting school three days a week. This week, we are at home, and then next week, we are taking a few days of family vacation and heading to the beach. And then hopefully, after that, things will normalize once again.

Anyway, back to unplugging. I sure do need to be reminded of the importance of taking a break from technology every now and then. (For me, time spent on the computer surfing the net is where I need to cut back, so that is where I am going to focus this post. I am not addicted to my phone — in fact, I forget to take it with me half the time! And I don’t really watch that much TV, although I enjoy a movie with Rusty every now and then.)

I love how technology keeps us connected in ways that just weren’t possible years ago, especially for people who live overseas. Skype, email, blogs, Facebook — they are all such a blessing! And what a wealth of information is right at my fingertips with the Internet! I can find information on practically any topic, answer my kids’ questions, find educational videos for them to watch, diagnose their illnesses (I’m not the only one who does this, right?), do my banking and pay my bills, search for recipes, look up Scriptures, and the list goes on. Sometimes, I honestly wonder what missionaries did before Google!

However…

It’s so easy for me to waste time on the computer — one click leads to another, which leads to another, and before long, you’ve frittered away an hour of your precious time. I do use my computer time as a time to relax, escape, and mentally decompress, but I also need to take a break from it every now and then, to remember that there is more to life than Facebook and Pinterest, and that no email is so important that it can’t wait a day for a response.

Shawn mentioned that she used to try to not be on her computer during the day when her kids were awake. I really like this idea, so I have been trying for the last few days to reserve my computer time for nap-time and after the kids are in bed. Funnily, I don’t seem to get any less done on the computer. And I’m getting more done around the house. In the last couple of days, I have made significant progress on a lot of little organizational projects. I should take another picture of my bedroom so you can see the progress I’ve made.

And I’m generally just enjoying being with my kids more.

The other idea that I’d like to get back to implementing on a regular basis is the idea of a tech-free day each week. I know some people who make Sunday their tech-free day in an attempt to reclaim something of the Sabbath that we seem to have lost in our modern world. Sunday seems to make the most sense for me — we are at church in the mornings and then the afternoons and evenings are usually devoted to rest and family time. So for the last two weeks, I have made a conscious effort to make Sundays “computer-free.”

Of course, I am cheating a little bit because I am on the computer right now doing my daily writing. But I only turned it on at 11 p.m. I took a long and lovely nap this afternoon, made pancakes for my crew for dinner, watched the end of “Fly Away Home” with my boys, had lots of giggles over a pair of Groucho Marks glasses, and did my Spanish homework, all before finally turning the computer on to write.

My boys and me

My boys and me

I have been thinking for several days about a photo that would best capture what unplugging means to me. Finally, I decided to use a couple of photos that were taken out at Kumanii several weeks ago. Going out there forces me to unplug. No Internet, no cell phone service — heck, sometimes, there isn’t even any electricity! You are really cut off from the world when you are out in the middle of the jungle! And sometimes, it’s being cut off from the world that makes you come alive in a new way. I think this is why we all need to “unplug” every now and then.

Cayapas River from the canoe

Cayapas River from Kumanii Christian Center

Cayapas River from Kumanii Christian Center

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