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I feel like I might need to look into the 12 step program considering the amount of times I check my phone every day.
One of the millions of times I looked at my phone the past month I was reminded that Jennifer Fulwiler created a “word of the year” generator website. I, being curious, went to the website and had it pick my “word of the year”.
The word it picked was “unplug”.
Now, I don’t have to have a word for the year. Also, I could have a word for the year that is totally different. I could go back to that website and have it pick another for me. Or, imagine this, I could think of a word to focus on all year by myself – without the help of an computer.
But, when this word came up I re-called the many times I noticed that I look at my phone more than I’d like to admit.
I know it distracts me and takes time away that I don’t have to spare.
I decided to mull over this word, at least for a couple of weeks.
I thought about what ways I could unplug without giving up trying to make it in the social media/blogging world. After all, Jen’s One Beautiful Dream (great book is you haven’t read it) allowed me to realize that it is okay to do something I love that brings me joy and energy.
So I’ve been thinking of ways to actively “unplug”. I’ve come up with 3 ideas
Fast from your phone.
I told myself I could not write this idea if I didn’t do it myself. So, I will tell you, I have not looked at my phone in 24 hours! I’m calling this “phone fasting” and I’m offering it up for the holy souls in purgatory. But, I’m also doing it because I think I need to.
I don’t want my kids remembering me looking at a little rectangle more than their faces.
This is something I hope to do more often this year. Maybe not entire days, but a few hours at a time and maybe setting a time at night to put it down and stop scrolling. Who’s with me?
Yes, I do know there is an app for that!!!!!!
But I also know there is a new-er collection of books out that I am extremely fond of, and I just love the idea of not looking at a screen if I don’t need to. The books I’m referring to are the
In full disclosure, I was given the softcover books to review. The following views are all my own.
I used it once with my small prayer group and the other moms were very interested in getting their own copies.
I used it again with my husband and son during a family Rosary and although it was made to help children focus more during prayer, I was very insistent on holding it myself so that I could see the illustrations different artists created about the mystery on which we were reciting.
I also found another use for this collection when a reader reached out to me asking if I knew of any good illustrated Bibles.
He explained that his special needs daughter really enjoyed looking at the pictures, but got visibly upset if the images had blood or someone hurt in them.
I suggested getting The Joyful Mysteries Volume, and the Glorious and the Luminous Volume for his child. In fact, I sent him one of those because I was so moved by his story. And why not? The Rosary is a Bible on a rope, right? Actually, the quote is string not rope, but you get what I’m saying . . . I hope.
On top of these books decreasing my drifting thoughts during the Rosary, I also appreciated the Apostles Creed and the prayer after the Rosary being in front of me, as well as the short, clear mediations given before the beginning of each Mystery.
You can get a great glimpse of this resource in this video: A hand-bound edition of the Illuminated Rosary
3. Start (or join) a faith based book club.
I strongly recommend the Stay Connected Journals created by Allison Gingras.
The Stay Connected series of journals helps Catholic women build a closer relationship with Jesus. Each Stay Connected journal explores a different path to spiritual growth in short, easy-to-complete chapters—perfect for busy, on-the-go individuals or small faith-sharing groups!
When Allison, one of my colleagues over at CatholicsOnline.net launched her books, I bought 3 of the first volume, then asked the publisher if I could have a copy of the second volume to review. I ended up convincing about 8 other women to choose the Exploring the Catholics Classics by Tiffany Walsh as our Advent prayer guide, and we are continuing to meet on Sunday nights to finish the book together.
We are truly “Staying Connected” to the Lord and one another. I love it!
One of the reasons why I love this book is because it gives room to write about what is on my heart before each chapter.
It gives me wisdom in a way that I can understand “big important ideas” and then it provides a Scripture journal/study section.
Since I am one who “drifts” or “daydreams” a lot during prayers, this hands on activity really helps me feel like I am retaining the lessons in Scripture and writings from the Saints.
I was really feeling anxious the other night and my phone needed to be charged. So, I put the phone away and took out my Stay Connected Journal. I wrote what was on my heart and within 2 pages I read something that I wrote on the opposite page! I soaked in the wisdom of St. Therese’ and appreciated the author’s commentary about certain passages of her autobiography. Then I asked my husband to hand me the Bible when he walked by it and I read and took notes from each passage.
My mind was taken away from what was causing me worry and my spirits were lifted. I love that is just the beginning.
Next Sunday night I’ll bring that book to a friend’s house where we will answer the group discussions together -while drinking wine and snacking.
I’ll have a place to share what I got out of that chapter and learn from others while I listen to what they gleaned from it.
As a mother with younger children I especially look forward to these nights. The wisdom and advice I get from these women help me be a better wife, homemaker and mother.