Tag Archive | Blogs by Christian women

Tumbleweeds

christmas

Christmas 1978 (Me, Mom and my brother Greg)

As Christmas approaches, I’m so excited to participate in the  Christmas Blog Tour hosted by Blogs by Christian Women (BCW). If you’d like to follow along, the next stop on our tour is at Niki Roberts blog on 12/7.

Blessings, Rebecca

Tumbleweeds

Family traditions were important to my Mother. She was one of nine children who grew up in a family steeped in rituals. She hoped to create her own family traditions which she did despite my parents divorce when I was six-years-old.

At times, she held two jobs or sold catalog products to make ends meet. We had a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and clothes on our backs. For that  I am forever grateful.

mom

My Mom, Georgia

The first year was especially tough. I remember going to the grocery store to purchase groceries with food stamps. I pondered in my heart why we didn’t use cash like other families.

Next to Easter, my Mom’s favorite holiday was Christmas. She loved the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus and wrapping presents.

nativity.jpg

We lived in an apartment complex. One day, while walking past my neighbor’s door, their tree lights shimmered and the scent of fresh pine filled the air. I ran home, “When can we get a tree, Mom?”

“Next weekend,” she said.

I was so excited that I could barely contain myself.

That Saturday, we jumped in our Plymouth Belvedere and drove to nearby railroad tracks. We hopped out and started walking, “Where are we going?”

“We’re hunting for a Christmas tree sweetheart.” She grabbed a scraggly bush, “Here’s one. Help me find two more Becky.”

tumbleweed

I asked her, “What’s that in your hand?”

“It’s a tumbleweed,” she replied.

Suddenly, a gust of wind blew several more past me and I ran as fast as I could to catch them.

When we arrived home, she stacked one on top of the other and spray painted them gold. Sparkly!

“There, all done,” she said.

Afterwards, we popped some corn and carefully placed each kernel on a string. Before long, we had our first handmade decoration.

That night, as I laid in bed , I heard her sobbing. I crept into her room, “What’s the matter Mama?”

“Nothing Honey. I’m just a little sad; that’s all. You see, I want to get you and your brother some Christmas gifts this year, but I don’t have a lot of money.”

“It’s okay Mom. We don’t need anything. Please don’t cry.”

Two weeks later, Christmas arrived. To my surprise, there were beautifully wrapped boxes under our tree. “Eeee! Did Santa bring us all these presents,” I squealed.

santa

“Yes, he did,” she beamed.

I gingerly opened the first one, savoring each tare of the pretty paper,  “I’ve always wanted this record!” Next, came a Shirley Temple color book and sharp new crayons. Then, a pair of rainbow colored socks. Finally, a tin of delicious Almond Roca candy.

I later discovered she worked overtime to purchase our gifts. That Christmas, my Mom taught me a valuable lesson of sacraficial love.

A few years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in a similar situation unable to buy a Christmas tree for our two young children.

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Randy, Rebecca, Austin and Alicia Christmas 2010

Two weeks before Christmas a friend from church, asked, “Did you get your Christmas tree yet?”

Sheepishly, I said, “Not yet. We can’t afford one.”

The following day, Lynda showed up at our home with a brand new six foot artificial tree. “Now, you’ll always have a tree for your kids.”

My voice cracked, “I don’t know what to say. Thank you so much.”

Christmas arrived and our children ran to see our tree just like I did when I was a child. They looked at their presents and were astonished,  “Wow! Did Santa give us all these gifts?”

“Yes, he did,” I said beaming.

Christmas is a very special holiday season. I’d love to hear about your favorite family traditions. Feel free to comment below.

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Guest Blog by Stephen Bennett

kid

First, I’m thrilled to announce I will participate in the Blogs by Christian Women (BCW) First Christmas Blog Tour. My Christmas blog will be featured on Dec 8.  If you’d like to follow our tour, the first stop is with Ally V. on Dec 1.

Second, I’m excited to introduce my guest blogger, Stephen Bennett,  who works as a Data  Scientist and Researcher at Stop Procrastinating, the productivity website. He studied psychology and empirical science, and believes  the vast  information available provides robust and evidence-based findings is of  real use to  fellow web users worldwide. Stephen shares with us his research findings on internet usage for children, and suggests how to best manage it as parents. Please welcome Stephen!

Blessings, Rebecca

Steve

Is the internet a good or a bad influence on children? Used correctly it can help them study and it provides creative and interactive learning resources. However, as many adults know, access to the internet 24/7 can have negative consequences. Distraction frome work and family life, as well as a disturbed night’s sleep if digital devices are used before going to bed.

If the internet can do that to adults, just imagine what the distraction they provide for children. A new study from of 3000 parents by Stop Procrastinating discovered a parent’s fears about the internet. A majority of parents surveyed found that their children were using social media and browsing the web when they should be sleeping and as a consequence it lowered their chances of doing well in school.

Being distracted from sleeping had a major impact the following day at school. The survey found that children were more irritable, less able to concentrate and more tired in the classroom. Parents said that teachers noticed a gradual drop in performance in the classroom as well. Independent research has also found that the grades of children who use the internet too much are lower than those who don’t. It found children with poorest grades at school spent most time on social media websites. Children also learn best by interacting with people not with screens, according to American Academy of Pediatricians.

The survey also found that children are undermining their school work by using social media while doing their homework. Research found that this multi-tasking impairs memory development and reduces concentration.

Luckily, the study also asked parents to reveal the techniques and strategies they use to reduce the negative impacts of social media and the internet on their children. This was especially important as many parents in the study felt disempowered by the prevalence of the internet, believing they had little chance to control their children’s use of it.

The best and most popular strategies were those that combined building up a trusting relationship with their children, so that they were able to have open conversations about the internet without stress and confrontation, and boundary-setting by parents. For instance, stopping children using digital devices an hour before they go to bed. Some parents also tried to make cutting down on internet use an enjoyable and fun challenge that their children could share and compete with their friends by creating a digital detox challenge week.

The survey also found that parents are more successful at cutting their children’s internet use if they work with other parents and the school. If all a group of friends are all treated in the same way they will feel less pressure to break the rules and get online when they shouldn’t.

The survey has been designed into an accessible infographic which details all the findings and help for parents who want to control and reduce their children’s internet use. You can view the infographic below: