Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Peace and Quiet

Recently, in the New York Times, there has been an influx of articles or op-eds regarding an increasing focus on how to get some peace and quiet from the iPhones, Blackberries, Droids, iPads, Kindles...and their ilk, that are constantly feeding our hunger for information.
(a link to the aforementioned article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/opinion/sunday/the-joy-of-quiet.html?pagewanted=2&ref=general&src=me)

Well, I suppose feeding is not the correct verb, actually. They act more like a stimulant than a source of satisfaction, don't they? And often, what we get from them is directives from our place of work or from our families, letting us know of one more item to add to the To-Do list, or one more page we need to add to the report.

Count me in with those who are attached - after all, I possess both an iPhone and a Blackberry, and yes, they are with me 24/7. I am, though, fairly good about not perusing them while speaking to others. That particular habit really irks me. I happen to be married to someone who is guilty of doing this, but fortunately, I like him enough to let it slide, with only occasional well-placed barbs shot his way.

Back to the subject of quiet. Quiet is what I search for as soon as I have time alone. General quiet. Trust me, I live in a house with a total of 6 humans, 2 dogs, 1 cat and 2 turtles. Quiet is not something that happens around here with any degree of regularity.  I totally understand the need for it in our lives. And I sincerely believe our children need quiet - and although they will fight me tooth and nail on this, I believe teenagers need it even more than my 10 year olds.

It is possible that 2012 will bring with it a new routine in our household, one that involves a box that will be a temporary residence for all smartphones and other devices, just for an hour or so each evening. During dinner and for a span of time following dinner, to remind all of us that the people physically surrounding us matter just as much as the people who are emailing, texting or calling those boxed-up devices.

After all, those devices are nice enough to keep all of our messages waiting for us to find as soon as they are released from the box. The people around us may forget the important things they need to say to us, so we had better take the time to listen the first time.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day = Start Anew Day

Isn't that a simply gorgeous Christmas tree?

No, that is not our family Christmas tree.
But it was one of the stupendous trees in the lobby of the Willard Hotel in downtown D.C.  We strolled through the hotel after viewing the National Christmas Tree.
One note about the "new" National Christmas Tree -- it really resembles something much closer to a shrub than a tree, and it felt just unkind to post a photo of it. We are holding out hope it will grow into something that resembles a tree in the next few years...or decades.
For those who are unaware, the former National Christmas Tree snapped in half during a ferocious wind storm in spring 2011. The new tree is its replacement. And, unfortunately, it is but a shadow of its former self. ; )

And so, today is January 1, 2012. For some reason, the sound of 2012 sounds optimistic and hopeful. And I am more than willing to give into that, and face the new year with genuine belief in our ability to improve ourselves and the world we live in.

So - a short list of the things I hope for myself and my crew to achieve in 2012:

1. Strengthen ourselves, each of us physically, and as a family.
2. Bolster our financial house and future. Plan, save and spend with more attention and focus.
3. Remember that amidst the craziness that daily life can bring, we are definitely among those to whom this applies:
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.  (Luke 12:48)
**For the record, I did not realize the John F. Kennedy quote "To those whom much is given, much is expected" originated in the Book of Luke until I looked it up.

4. And lastly -- and this one is for me: settle into my own skin, and continue to work on blooming where I am planted. It is good to be me.