Tonight was a hard night for the kids. I found myself looking out the window a few times to check to see if there was a full moon. There was a moment where I thought that solace would never come. Thing Two was having a moment of sadness (which is a nice way of saying she was having a total melt down for almost an hour). Thing One had his toe stubbed by the bathroom door, because he was intruding on his sister's privacy. The proceeding scream told me he was really hurt. The next three hours were filled with crying and agony from a boy that had to learn the hard way that somethings take time to heal. (Wow! That's a sermon illustration for another time!) Three hours later, there is finally silence. Well, aside from a snoring dog taking up entirely too much space on the couch.
The Silence is nice. I should be going to bed at this late hour, but I am basking in its glow. I think I have been craving silence. I typically like a little back ground noise. Maybe a fan or a little music to soften the space...but lately I have felt like I am in some sort of wind tunnel. Too many distractions are taking up my time and my thoughts. In the silence, I finally can steady my feet. I finally can find what I think I have been missing. I finally can focus on the One Thing I should be focusing on! Him!
"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10 New American Standard
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10 New International Version
I am enjoying being still. I am embracing the silence and it feels good.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
About two years ago, I set out on a journey to simplify my life. This included aspects of my ministry and my family/home life. It is still a work of progress for sure. Different seasons breed different kinds of chaos, but for the most part we are on our way to a simplistic lifestyle that is fine tuned to our family. One of the great pieces of advice I've been given was to cut out screen time. At first, I was leary of that even being possible. I have always been a techy kind of girl..., although in small amounts, we let our children delve into the world of video gaming, there are tv shows that I regularly tune into, and we love movies. There was a small voice however, tugging at the back of my mind. "Carey, how much time do you actually spend on the screen? Not to mention the monthly cost of even the most basic service." My self-analysis was startling. I was spending more time on TV and screen time than I was with my kids and my husband!!!
And most of that time was spent changing the channel because there was nothing to watch!!! The price of basic service even in a bundle was $40-50 a month. $600 a year that could be spent on something more worthy.
I knew something had to change.
After we received the call that our appointment was changing in June, we made a decision to live at the apartment attached to the building while we were cleaning the house and getting it ready for the next officers. During that time, we didn't have cable, only a small antenna we had found in the back of the closet. There were an abundance of channels available and it got me to thinking, if we can live two weeks without cable, we could go a few months...and if we could go a few months without cable, I don't think we need cable at all.
So this June, my husband and I made the decision to not get cable service hooked up to the house. Seven months later, and we are still cable free.
Why We Don't Regret the Decision
Less Commercials: With Netflix, there are no advertisements. Now when my children watch kids shows, we have the added benefit of them not asking us for the new and latest thing! With that also comes shortened episode time, and less time on the screen!
With PBS kids programming, I also know that the advertisements are appropriate for children and don't have to run to change the channel if a less than family friendly commercial comes on.
Digital HD Picture: The picture quality on the channels we get through the antenna are Digitally projected in HD! The picture has been better than it was when we were connected to cable! I am sure that will differ depending on how close you are to the broadcasting channel, but it was definitely a great surprise.
Spend Less Money: Paying for cable was hurting the pocketbook as well. A basic service here in Ashland, even bundled, was going to be $55 a month. We just knew that wasn't a necessary expense. We opted to get an internet service that would allow us to stream netflix and content from the networks instead. We are saving $600 + a year and all we did was buy an antenna from Wal-mart.
More Health Conscious: We are no longer just sitting on the couch. We are up playing outside, riding bikes, or hanging out with friends. We are exploring our town and the benefits of living here are endless. We have cave systems, museums, and a national forest at our fingertips!
More time on what matters: Now that we only have 15 channels available, we don't spend much time channel surfing. If there is something we want to watch, we either watch it then or wait until it is available online. We typically don't watch much TV anyway, especially while the kids are awake, so we wait and watch after they go to bed. We now have more time to spend doing something productive or fun with the kids.
Don't Be Afraid to Take the Leap:
The customer service representative at your local cable company will be quick to tell you that your other bundled services like phone and internet will cost more if you cancel cable. Don't listen to the hype. I would argue that even if that were true, the benefits of not having cable outway any savings you may have bundling. Cable companies can charge more for commercial spots based on the number of subscribers they have. They will do anything to keep you!
Yes, there are times we miss it. Especially, ESPN and HGTV, but most major sports events happen on network tv, and our local PBS station has many programs that mirror what HGTV and Food Network provide. We did also agree to pay personally for a Netflix subscription which gives us access to movies and past seasons of many TV shows, especially Children's programming. Hulu + is another subscription service that allows you to view recently aired tv shows and some movies. Many cable channels like HGTV also run episdodes on Hulu+. Even that is worth $8 a month and while there are commercials they are considerably shorter than regular TV.
While we haven't completely turned off the TV, our time spent watching has been cut down drastically. We may watch 5- 6 hours of TV a week instead of a day. That is more time spending it with people we love and on things that are most important to us.
We aren't perfect. There are days where we watch more TV than I intend...but all in all we are working to improve our quality of life and have drastically reduced our dependence on TV. We have cut the cord and have no intentions of going back!