Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

On Demand TV vs. Strawberries with Salsa

What does it take to jolt a tired pregnant mama out of her month-long blogging hiatus? Just a letter from my local cable company that arrived with the morning mail:

We are all busy with work, kids and other activities that often make us miss our favorite TV programs. You don't have to put your TV second anymore ... You get ... true On Demand TV, which allows you to watch what you want, when you want, as often as you want ... for just $30 a month.

This afternoon we arrived home from a doctor's appointment to a garage door that wouldn't open. A thunderstorm had knocked out the power in our neighborhood, leaving us all to contend with no air conditioners, no microwaves, and no TV's until 8:30 pm. Did anyone else catch the irony?

Jeremy's car was stuck inside the garage, so he drove our car-seat loaded mini-van to his meeting tonight. The kiddos and I had the fun of scrounging up a dinner that required no cooking. We flattened slices of bread into "tortillas," spread leftover refried beans on them, and garnished with salsa. The new creation pleased everybody, and Ali and Jair had fun dipping their strawberries in salsa, too.

While we ate, we talked about the day's special event - hearing our baby's heartbeat. The doctor found it almost immediately. I turned to catch Ali and Jair's reactions and found both of them smiling and wide-eyed with wonder. Ali told me later that hearing our baby was just what she "always dreamed it would be." Jair, who usually hopes for a baby brother, said it sounded like a baby girl's heart.

After dinner I took a minute to jot down a few recent quotes I wanted to remember ...

At breakfast one morning we read a description of the wicked in Proverbs 2. Ali added solemnly, "Yes, and they never go swimming." Whether a failure to swim is proof of or punishment for wickedness I have yet to determine. I should ask her at our next bedtime chat, when she likes to talk theology.

A few nights ago we were discussing how big and powerful God is. Ali said he "tips over the clouds like dump trucks" to pour out rain. Bibilically speaking, the analogy is
accurate, but I imagine she came up with it watching Jair play with his favorite toys.

Inspired by the champion race car Lightning McQueen, Jair has taken to calling his father a "a champion daddy." He loves to remind us, "Daddy's in charge, and when I'm a daddy I will be in charge." One day Ali chimed in, "Yes, and when I get married my husband will be in charge. He'll be so cute. Hee hee."

Jair is passing on his love of cars to his little brother. J.D. says "Vroommmmm" and "Ka-chow!" and swipes Jair's favorite cars the very second Jair leaves them unattended. If J.D happens to steal a toy that is not a car, Jair is shocked and cries, "J.D., it's not a car! It doesn't vroom!"

Today we used a car as a sort of "donkey's carrot" to entice our toddler to take a few steps in a row. He is making progress in the walking department but still prefers to zip around the room on all fours ...

I ended my pen-and-paper list (Computers don't work without electricity either.) and looked over it. What would my list of memories be like, I pondered, if my priorities were right? What if I could scrounge up $30 a month to give TV its rightful place in my life?

The electricity is back on now, but rather than turning to my TV as I should have, I flipped on the computer. Blog after blog exposed my unbalanced life. Not only am I depriving myself, but I'm also failing to give my children a normal childhood, according to Al Mohler's report on a study by a British think tank:

NCC chief executive Ed Mayo said: "Today's children are now 'screen kids'. In some streets, every bedroom has a television for children and many have a computer.

A visit to the Desiring God Blog confirmed my priorities are abnormal:

[In] our culture ... We make time to watch television and surf the Internet for the latest triviality, but we can't seem to make the time to sit down and read for an hour.

Then an article on Infuze reminded me, though it never specifically mentioned TV, just how much we miss because we fail to expose ourselves faithfully to advertising (except those letters from the cable company):

We live in a consumerist culture. It is the sea in which we swim like fish with credit cards. Consumer culture shapes our experiences, our thoughts, and our expectations. It molds our identities. Its siren song beckons us forever toward the rocky shores of convenience and an unbelievably low sale price.

Finally, at the end of the article, came a ray of hope:

We must turn away from a culture enamored of the meretricious, enchanted by passing fancies and fashions and instead turn ourselves toward what is eternally true, that treasure no thief can steal, nor rust nor moth destroy. Only when we are willing to do this will we begin to break the hold of consumerism on our hearts. Only then will we be able to lead, rather than follow, the surrounding culture. Only then can we truly bless our neighbors. Only then can we offer a true alternative to the flashing lights of the consumer tyranny. Only then will we know, in the end, the pleasures money cannot buy.

Maybe I don't have to spend that extra $30 a month after all.