I thought I'd try something a little new here and do a once-a-month post about different things that I think are "worth the time". It could be books, movies, audiobooks, podcasts, articles, blogs, board games...it might be anything. I'm just going to keep you all on your toes!
I've been really into watching the History Channel lately, and they've had some great new programming over the last couple years. My latest favorite is The Selection.
This show takes a group of civilians and puts them through something that is like the training for the special forces - Seals, Rangers, Green Berets. They seemed pretty "easy" on everyone in the first episode and Derek was ready to write the show off as not being realistic (my grandpa was in the army, and we've heard his basic training stories, which were worse than what they did on the first episode). But I was still interested, so we watched, and it definitely got more intense! Those instructors are tough! I'm still not convinced that it is exactly like special forces training, because I imagine that would be even more demanding, but it's so interesting to watch and get a taste of what those people in our military overcome in order to be prepared to protect us. It's fascinating, and it makes me respect our armed forces even more.
It's just starting to get good now - if you get the History Channel, you can catch up on all the episodes here or on the app!
I made this pumpkin streusel coffee cake for our MOPS meeting the other day. I recently read on Gina's blog that you shouldn't make something for the first time when it's for someone else, guests, etc. That makes a lot of sense to me, so I made it and decided I would scratch it and make something else if it was no good. But it was good. The perfect amount of moistness, and the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor without being too overwhelming. I used caramel flavoring instead of vanilla extract. It was a winner!
The Sonicare Section On Amazon
This one is more a "worth the money" than a "worth the time" pick - but hey, time is money, huh? And your teeth are worth something. I stumbled across this AMAZING sale on Amazon of Sonicare toothbrushes, and as a dental hygienist, I feel compelled to share it. You can take the girl out of the dental hygiene world, but you can't take the dental hygienist out of the girl.
Seriously though, these are my personal favorite toothbrushes. When I brush with my Sonicare, I can feel the difference in my gums. And I'm not just saying that as some hygienist ploy to get you to buy the good toothbrush! I can really feel it, personally.
I bought Derek and myself new Sonicare toothbrushes, because the basic model is only $20! That is a great deal! I've been really missing my old Sonicare since it broke, and I'm sharing the good toothbrush love.
(Check out these coupons though if you want a fancier model, because you can get an even better discount until 1/28.)
Alright, I'll be back again next month with more worth-the-time favorites! I'm off to watch the inauguration!
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Confession: I have absolutely no sports ability; but despite this fact, I love sports movies.
GREATER comes out on August 26th in select theaters (check to see if it will be available in a theater near you) - just in time for football season! I highly recommend this movie and hope you all get a chance to see it! Come back and tell me what you think when you do - this is definitely going on my list of favorite sports movies.
Writing this post strangely feels like writing a confession, but here it goes - I watch the Bachelor.
These big bears are cannibalistic, and they will kill off any cubs they come across. They may charge the hunters at any moment, which makes the show pretty exciting and scary.
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So I have a confession. I've been watching the Bachelorette.
That's a confession because after watching the Bachelor and learning that they have overnight dates I was sure I would never watch the show again. And I still think that's pretty horrible. I suppose it's reflective of where our culture is, but to include it as part of a TV show? I still don't like it.
But back to topic. I think with Derek being here and then gone so much, I just needed something to look forward to during the week, and so I got sucked in again. I'm still evaluating if this is okay or not.
So I watched this last season. And I watched the finale last week. There was one thing that stood out to me.
In the "After The Final Rose" show, Chris was talking about when he felt confident that Desiree's feelings for him were the real deal, and he mentioned that moment when she told him he was the greatest man she'd ever known.
I watched his face when he said it. He absolutely lit up. And then I wondered - when was the last time I told Derek he is the greatest man I've ever known?
I think every girl tells that to the man she marries in one way or another while they are dating or engaged. That is a time when you are in love and carefree, when everything is fresh and new and exciting, when you want to say everything you are feeling because you are so in love.
Then after the wedding things settle down. This isn't a bad thing. You figure out who you are together as a couple, you get into a rhythm, and your love grows less heart-pounding and flighty, and more steady and deep.
But in the midst of this deepening, I think it's easy to forget that your man still wants that affirmation. He still needs to know that you think he's the greatest man in the world. He fell in love with you when you looked at him with adoration and told him how wonderful he was at everything, told him how brilliant his ideas were, told him how great he was.
I think seeing Chris's face light up on the show reminded me of that time of early love in my relationship with Derek. It made me think. I know even more about Derek now than I did then, the good and the bad. And I still think that he's the greatest man I've ever known.
I want to make his face light up like that again.
It was a good reminder to say the things that I sometimes assume Derek already knows. Because he still needs to hear it.
Maybe these shows aren't completely worthless after all.
Thomas Nelson is also providing a copy for one of my readers! Enter below!
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The other day Wyatt was taking a nap, and I decided to turn on the TV to see what was on. And for those of you who have been reading for a while, yes, we got cable back! It was really good to take a break from it for a year, and we probably will take another break in the future - but there is so much going on this year, like the Olympics and the election, and we decided to get cable again for now.
Anyway, I came across this show about women who hide their pregnancies, so I decided to see what it was all about. But one of the stories stood out.
One of the girls on the show decided to hide her pregnancy because a few months before she had a son that was stillborn. And when she shared this heartbreaking news on Facebook, hoping for some support, she got a grand total of 6 responses. Out of 300 Facebook friends.
I found that to be so sad, and I honestly didn't blame her a bit for not wanting to share the happy news of her pregnancy after getting no support from her "friends" on Facebook or in real life. I'm not sure I would want to share anything for a while after something like that either.
And it got me thinking - is this what the world is coming to? A place where people can't muster up the energy (or even just the courtesy) to reach outside of Facebook in the face of a tragedy? Worse than that, that these people couldn't even reach out properly within the confines of Facebook? I find that so disturbing.
One thing that I dislike about Facebook is the fact that it does promote apathy when it comes to friendships. It's one of the reasons I took a Facebook break not long ago, and why I limit what I share on it now. I don't like the thought of someone just checking my Facebook page to see what I've been doing when they could call or e-mail me directly. If they want to feel like they are interacting with me, the only effort they have to put out is one click on the "Like" button.
I think it creates a false sense of friendship, one where someone can get all the benefits of knowing what is going on with their "friend" without having to put out any actual effort to find out. Where they can feel like they are being a "friend" to someone without doing anything but clicking a couple times and hitting a few keys.
Obviously there are exceptions to this, like in the blogging world (all of our interaction is online by necessity!), or in the case of people who combine Facebook interaction with real life interaction, which I think is good.
But it is not fine to see something so tragic happen to your friend and comment on Facebook but never follow up with them in real life to see how they are doing. It is not fine to see an announcement of something so tragic and be so lazy in your friendship that you can't even take the time to type out an "I'm so sorry."
That is not okay. That is not a friendship. And it frustrates me that someone could have the nerve to call themselves a friend to someone when they can't even be there, in the flesh, when they are needed most.
At the end of the show this girl reconnects with her friends, tells them the truth, and it appears that these friendships are on the road to healing after that. And I'm sure they probably did reach some level of trust again. But I don't think those people can ever reach the level in their friendship with this girl that they could have reached if they had just been there for her in the face of tragedy. They've forever missed that chance. And that is sad.
I guess I say all this to remind you (and me) to take the time to be an outside-of-Facebook friend to someone this week. Because the people who can reach outside of social media to touch someone else are the ones that are the true gems in the midst of all the people that social networks call our "friends".
I don't want to just be a digital version of someone's "friend". I want to be a supportive-on-social-media-and-in-real-life, all-in, gem of a friend to someone.
I want to be a friend worth having.
These thoughts have been niggling in the back of my mind all week, and I decided I just had to get it out.
Last weekend Derek went to spend the night at his buddy’s place. It’s been a while since he’s been able to hang out with this friend, and I was glad he had a chance to go. My parents and siblings were unavailable to get together on Friday night and Saturday, and since I knew I’d be spending most of the weekend by myself, I decided to swing by the library on my way home from work and pick up a movie or TV series to watch when Wyatt was napping.
I ended up renting the first season of Glee. I know, I’m a couple years behind on that craze, but after being a little curious about it for a while I decided to watch it and see what all the fuss was about.
As I watched, I had very mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I can see why it was so popular. The premise of the show is interesting, and the characters are likeable. The episodes are written in a way that leaves you wondering what’s going to happen next.
On the other hand, I didn’t feel good about what I was watching. A lot of situations in the show are inappropriate. As an episode ended and I went to get my boy up from his nap, the contrast between Wyatt’s sweet innocence and what I was just watching was very stark. I felt like I needed to reset my mind in order to take care of him, because a lot of the behaviors of the characters are behaviors that are wrong and that I pray that my son never falls into.
I was sucked into five episodes before I realized that the show wasn’t going to get any better, and I packed it up to take back to the library.
Now, I’m left wondering how so many Christians think that shows like this are okay – and how I thought it was okay to watch five episodes before I turned it off.
Because it’s not okay.
Media choices are important. They shape the way we think, they shape our interactions with others, they can shape what our kids think is right and wrong. When a plot is entrenched in sinful behavior at every turn, and there is no “moral of the story” in sight? That’s not okay.
And if we think that God doesn’t care about our choices in movies, music, and books, we are lying to ourselves. He does.
I was embarrassed to admit to Derek that I had watched so much of something that is not “true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable”. Or “excellent or praiseworthy” either (Philippians 4:8).
I’m not telling you what you should or shouldn’t watch, because that’s between you and the Lord. And I’m not trying to just pick on Glee, because there are a lot of shows and movies that would make or have made me feel the same way. This isn't the first poor media choice I've made, and I'm sure it won't be my last. I'm not directing this post at any one person.
What I am suggesting is that maybe Christians in general (myself included) should overlook a little less when it comes to media choices, and call sin what it is, rather than willingly letting it into our homes and hearts and minds.
All I know is that if Jesus came back right this minute, I wouldn’t want Him to find me watching Glee.
I remember you mentioning a while back that you had gotten rid of your TV? (or at least cable?) I was wondering if that's something you are still doing, and if so, how has it changed your daily life? Do you miss it at all or do you feel the better for it? Share more about how that counter culture decision has impacted your family.
This is a great question, and I definitely owe you guys an update!
We still don’t have satellite TV. We have been without satellite TV for about five months now.
I have to be honest and say that I still watch more TV than I probably should. When I feel tired or just want to “veg out”, I end up putting a movie on. I feel like I still need to work on this, because I think my time would be better spent reading than watching a movie.
That said, I watch way less TV than I used to now that we no longer have satellite TV. I used to turn on the TV in the morning to watch something while I ate breakfast, and it would just end up staying on all day in the background while I did other things. When I did this, Wyatt ended up watching the TV more than I wanted him to, and I feel like I was less productive than I could have been. It also ended up being a huge time-waster for me, because sometimes I would get wrapped up in a show and spend more time than I meant to being completely lazy.
Now, if I do watch TV during the day it’s just a movie in the afternoon (not every day), or a movie or TV show episode on DVD with Derek at night (we still have a Netflix DVD-in-the-mail plan, but not instant streaming).
I feel like not having the satellite TV service available has given me the opportunity to let my creative juices flow. I like that I’m doing more DIY projects or writing more, instead of watching TV, or even just having the distraction of having the TV on. Derek and I definitely spend more time playing games together than we used to, because even though we could watch a movie, we don’t have new movies or shows to watch on-demand. I love that we spend more time playing games together – we have a lot of fun.
I still feel like I need to be more intentional about not watching movies in the evenings though. We watch less TV in the evenings than we used to, but there is still room for improvement. Derek would probably watch less TV than we do right now, but sometimes I just feel like I want a break and we end up watching a movie. The room for improvement is mostly with me, because TV is my time to just sit down, rest, and not have to think for a while, but I could find healthier ways of accomplishing those things.
If we wanted to go all the way with this, we would get rid of Netflix and that would force us to cut down even more, but I don’t think we’re quite ready to do that yet. We may consider it in the future.
I do think that not getting satellite TV has made both Derek and me more sensitive to inappropriate references or situations on TV. Commercials these days are getting ridiculous. There is still some of that in some movies, but we have a lot more control over the movies we watch than the commercials that come on.
If we decide to stick with this long-term (we’re still trying to make that decision), this would be a major benefit, because I love that Wyatt wouldn’t grow up seeing that stuff on TV. If we do get satellite again in the future, I think I’m going to implement a strict no-tv-while-the-kids-are-awake rule when they are little, and just let them watch pre-approved (by me) movies. But then, what’s the point of that? Derek and I mostly like watching movies anyway, and Netflix takes care of that, so we don’t really need satellite TV service.
I can’t say we never miss having satellite TV, because sometimes we do miss watching certain things, like football games, or the news. I’ll probably end up spending election day at my parent’s house next year so I can watch the coverage. My one show that I miss watching is “19 Kids And Counting” – I like keeping up with what the Duggars are doing. But aside from those things, I don’t think we’d go back to it, at least not right now. We have our moments, but in the end we are kind of enjoying this time of not having satellite TV.
Please let me know if you have any other questions for me about this!
"I was just reading some of your posts and was really struck by your Gilligan's Island post (funny, I know.) You mentioned how incredible and intentional it was that a person had the ability to rescue the marooned but chose not to. It reminded me how intentionally we choose not to share with others about our faith when we have the answer to be "rescued." I think alot of times people say that it is not intentional, they just forget, but I would disagree. When you have such wonderful news you'd think all would be shouting it from the rooftops - doing their best to get the marooned off of the island."
She brings up such a good point, and it's something that I need to get better at - we should be excited to tell others about Jesus and not shy away from a conversation about our faith, just like those people in Gilligan's Island should have told the authorities about the castaways so they could be rescued!
Thanks for those thoughts, Brittney! Who would have thought such an important moral could be hidden in old episodes of Gilligan's Island?
Gilligan and Maryanne were always my two favorites. My sister and I (ever the matchmakers), thought they should get together. We couldn't really make up our minds if Ginger should go with the Professor or the Skipper though.
My favorite episode is probably the one where they find "super seeds", and the vegetables they grow give them amazing abilities - Gilligan becomes super strong because his favorite vegetable is spinach, Mrs. Howell becomes hyper because she likes sugar beets, and I think it was Maryanne who got great eyesight because she likes carrots!
Of course, in many of the episodes, their attempts to get rescued are ruined by Gilligan. Poor Gilligan. It's not like he means to mess up. He's just trying to help.
This all came back to me, because I've been borrowing movies from my mom lately, and I borrowed an old season of Gilligan's Island.
Watching it as an adult, it struck me how many times someone finds them on the island, promises to help them get off, then gets off the island themselves but never sends anyone back for the castaways!
You know it must be intentional, because how do you forget that you met seven people marooned on a little island? They usually intentionally decide not to mention it, because it would somehow be detrimental to their interests if the passengers of the Minnow were rescued.
How can these people live with themselves, I ask you?
Though, if you had to be marooned on an island, Gilligan's would be the one. They have fresh water, plenty of food, a variety of animals, a volcano that provides hot water, natural gas, plenty of good fishing.
Not to mention you'd be marooned with the Professor, who can pretty much make anything out of the resources available on the island. You wouldn't be without a radio, because they rescued that from the ship. And fun stuff is washing up on the shore all the time.
Sounds like a great place for a vacation, really.
Did any of you watch Gilligan's Island, or am I the only one? What is your favorite old show?
P.S. Click on the pictures for the sources of the images. And if you are a Gilligan's Island fan, you should click on the second picture for an article on "What Gilligan's Island Taught Me About Life". I enjoyed it.