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Month: April 2015 (page 1 of 2)

My Ten Resolutions for Healthy Online Behavior

Every day I see online behavior that makes me cringe.  People leaving caustic comments on blog posts or articles.  Others writing cryptic statuses that are clearly aimed at someone specific.  Famous authors or speakers taking a picture of a perfect stranger and then sharing it with their thousands of followers without ever gaining that person’s permission.  Yikes!!

In order to hold myself accountable to using the internet well, I’ve created these resolutions for healthy online behavior.

My 10 Resolutions for Healthy Online Behavior

 

1.  I WILL use my real name or my initials instead of hiding behind a username to post a critique.

2.  I WILL ask friends before I post picture of their children online.

3.  I WILL take time to respond instead of falling prey to the instantaneous nature of the internet.

4.  I WILL be the first to give up.  If I find myself engaged in a hot debate that I can tell isn’t headed to a good place, I will bow out respectfully instead of fighting until the end.

5.  I WILL leave more positive comments every day than critical ones.

6.  I WILL remember that no matter how much I disagree, there is an actual, real, live person behind that screen and I mustn’t type what I wouldn’t say aloud.

7.  I WILL give myself the freedom to limit the statuses that show up in my newsfeed.  If I am continually upset by things that someone posts, I will not expose myself to that every day.

8.  I WILL ask myself if what I’m posting needs to go on social media, especially if I’m posting in anger, or if I should either journal or call a friend to vent.

9.  I will NOT make vague statuses or tweets, especially when they are clearly directly at someone.

10.  I will NOT take pictures of strangers to post online even if I had nice things to say about them.

Those are my 10 resolutions!  What are yours?

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What To Do In OMAHA

As our time at Offutt AFB is winding down, I’m thinking about my favorite things to do in Omaha and hoping to squeeze in visits to each place before we move!  After living here for three years, my attitude towards this city has certainly changed (and so has Caleb’s).

Today I’m sharing recommendations of what to do when you’re in Omaha.  These are things that we’ve enjoying doing or places

I’m only recommending things that we’ve actually done and enjoyed, but if you have additional things, I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

 

What To Do in Omaha

 

When You First Move Here:

Start with the zoo!   It is currently ranked as the best zoo in the world!  If you’re a military family, go ahead and get a membership.  Military members pay $65 for an annual family pass and it is worth every penny.  We love to go in the summer, but go fairly often in the winter as well since there are many indoor exhibits (our favorites are the Jungle and the aquarium).

If the weather is nice, eat at the Omaha Steaks patio (outside the Jungle).  And make sure you take a carousel or train ride (or both!).

When You Have Out-of-Town Guests:

We’ve taken guests to do almost everything on this list, but there’s one place that we take all our guests to: The Old Market.

There’s a shop for everyone here.  My sister and brother-in-law found some great stuff in the record shop.  Another sister loved the vintage clothing store.  We always stop in the toy store to let Hadden play for a few minutes, but his favorite place to go is the candy store that has a mechanical horse.  We save up our nickels if we know we’re headed up there!

There are lots of great places to eat in the Old Market, so we always take guests to one of those restaurants.  We really like Plank and have eaten there several times with our toddler and with guests (get the artichoke appetizer and the blackened catfish entree!).  But also recommend Blue (try the Hotel Cali roll) and Roja (it’s a margarita bar, so I’m a bit partial!).  If your party only includes adults, you should definitely eat at La Buvette, especially if the weather is nice and you can sit outside.

Plan to stop at Ted and Wally’s for a scoop of ice cream.  Their flavors change often, but my favorite was a blueberry custard so if you see it on the menu, get it and thank me later.

Tip: if you’re bringing a baby with you, plan on wearing them in a sling or a carrier.  The stores are not stroller-friendly!

When You Want to Learn About the City:

We love the Durham Museum.  It’s just outside of the Old Market so you can do those at the same time.  It’s located in the old Union Station terminal, which means it is a fabulous art deco building.  And a yearly membership for a military family is only $35.  We both have learned a lot about the area from visiting this museum and Hadden loves it too because there are many train exhibits.

Boys Town is another interesting place to visit.  We’ve taken guests on several occasions and they all liked it as well.  The village is set up so you can do a driving tour through it, but there are opportunities to get out and walk through the museum, chapels, and Father Flanagan’s house.

Tip:  If you’re headed up to Boys Town anyway, have a meal at Pig & Finch!  We had a great brunch there!

parade ground at Offutt AFB

parade grounds at Offutt AFB

When You’re Pinching Pennies:

Here are a few ideas that are completely free for those days when the money is tight, but you still want to get out and do something!

Walk the Pedestrian Bridge that spans the Missouri River, connecting Nebraska and Iowa.  We often take visitors here the first night they arrive so they get to stretch their legs after a long drive (or flight) and then head to Ted and Wally’s (mentioned above) for ice cream.

If the weather isn’t cooperating with plans to be outside, you could visit the Joselyn Art Musuem and easily spend a full day there.

Finally, if you have access to base, the Heartland of America band puts on a series of concerts on the parade ground in the summer.  We actually took Hadden to one of these when he was just 8 days old and have gone every summer since.  Everyone brings lawn chairs or blankets and sits on the parade grounds.  It’s a relaxed, fun environment and we always enjoy the concerts.

When You’re Looking For Something New To Do:

Head to Dundee!  Mark’s Bistro or Pitch Pizzeria are both good picks in the area for dinner.  At Pitch, make sure you try the Basil Pesto Chicken Pie and get a carafe of sangria.  If you have a bit of time before your table is ready, stroll the street and explore the shops.

Looking for a casual place to eat?  Check out Amsterdam Falafel and Kabob.  One thing we haven’t tried in Dundee is eCreamery, a famous ice cream shop, but we’ve heard great things.

When the Weather is Nice And You Can’t Bear to Stay Inside:

If it’s one of the days where the sky is perfectly blue and you want to soak it up, head to Lauritzen Gardens and spend an afternoon amidst beauty.  If you have little ones, walk up the hill to Kenefick Park and see two huge steam engines.  (Kenefick Park is actually free and you don’t have to pay admission to the gardens to see it, so we’ve gone before just to see the trains)

You could also check out the farmers market at Aksarben Village or in the Old Market.

When You Have Something to Celebrate

Make reservations for an elegant dinner for two at V. Mertz.  Caleb and I ate here in January to celebrate his birthday and to have one last date before he deployed.  It was the best meal I ever had and I am incredibly disappointed that we won’t have a chance to go again before we move! Plan to drop a good chunk of change here, but know that it will be worth every cent.  It’s located in the passageway of the Old Market.

While we’ve been in Omaha, we’ve also been to the Orpheum Theatre a couple times to see traveling Broadway shows.

When You Don’t Want to Drive Into the City

Driving into the city from base is ridiculously easy, but still, there are days when you want to stay close to home.  You can’t be stationed at Offutt AFB without eating at Stella’s at least once so take a day to do that.

Also you can visit Fontenelle Forest, located right in Bellevue.  We’ve only been once so I can’t say much about this, but I’ve heard the the trails are beautiful so I’m hoping to make it out there again before we move.

Okay!  Those are MY favorite things to do in Omaha.  What are yours??

P.S.  If you’re moving to Offutt AFB, you might also be interested in my posts about base housing found here and here!
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Guest Post: Grieving the Highchair

I'm so pleased to be sharing a guest post from my writer friend, Sheli Massie. Sheli is one of my beloved Redbud sisters.  This beautiful piece was originally posted on Eggs & Rice (Sheli's blog), but I asked if I could share it here as well.  In one short post, she touches on several important issues including adoption and postpartum depression.  And I love the way she weaves the story to end on God. 

Okay, enough from me!  I'll leave you with Sheli now.  Once you're done reading, will you take a minute to leave Sheli a comment here, check out her blog, or share this post?  Thanks!

Grieving the High Chair (1)

**Image courtesy of Sheli Massie

 

I bought the high chair at a rummage sale. It was wooden with chipped white paint flaking the sides. I had known from the moment I saw it that I wanted it to be mine. It reminded me of high chairs I would see in vintage black and white photos. It had no safety precautions yet I am sure it had stories it could tell. Stories of the many families and children it had served.

At the time that I purchased it for $10 I was not even pregnant. We had just started the process of filling out the paperwork for our adoption. And as we all know that high chair did not get used for a very long time. What we expected to take months took years. Years of waiting. Years of praying. Years of hoping. Years of anxiety, anger, frustration, signatures, home studies, finger prints, and did I mention paper work?

Yet after three years we were sitting across from our sweet little boy.

That high chair became the place where my little one ate his first meal as a family of seven.

It became the place where he clearly showed us that broccoli was never going to be one of his foods.

It became the place where he fell asleep when days were just too long for him and he couldn’t make it through dinner.

It became the place where he discovered pasta for the first time and decided the walls needed it too.

It became the place where his personality began to emerge and he entertained us all.

What I didn’t expect is that it would become a symbol of grief for me.

After little one clearly could not fit in the high chair any longer I scrubbed it all down and left it in the corner of the room for months. I would walk by it and think about what was next for our family. I would dream of my belly expanding and getting to wear cute maternity jeans. I would rationalize that I was keeping it for my grandchildren some day. Knowing full well that any mother would not let their infant sit in a chair with zero safety features.

And breathing in that I knew why I was really keeping it.

I was keeping it because I wasn’t ready to face my truth.

My truth that I would never carry another child in my belly again.

Seven years before I lay on a hospital bed and sobbed as I signed on the dotted line. I wanted someone to save me. To save me from the choice. I needed someone else to make the choice for me.

I knew that the level of depression that I had suffered after each of the four children I birthed had only gotten worse. I knew that I needed to make a permanent decision that I later would come to grieve. I knew at the time that I was scared of who I was after each child. And although I firmly believe in medication and will forever be on a small dose of a prescription. I could not function as a human and knew that depression would swallow me if I chose to continue to grow our family through childbirth.

I remember the day I sold that white high chair in the corner. It went to a woman who loved to refurbish furniture. To make things new.

My truth is that I grieve every moment when a friend or loved one is struggling with infertility or a miscarriage. The truth is that I feel like I was so selfish to take that choice away from my family.

But I know this.

I know God uses everything. He opened my eves to adoption, to safe families, to foster care and to taking in those around me. He shows me daily how I am that high chair. Chipped, tired, and covered with messes. But in His grace and mercy He is making me new. He is filling me with joy and wonderment. He is letting me heal and rest in in Him.

Where ever you are sweet one. Worn. Tired. Lonely. Grieving. Searching. Empty. Anxious. Fearful.

He is there.

He is binding Himself to you.

Making you new.

 

“Let us then approach God’s Throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

 

 

aboutSheli is a writer on good days when a child isn’t puking or screaming or the dog hasn’t run away for the zillionth time or when the house doesn’t look like a Hoarders episode or she didn’t forget to pick up one of the five children from school. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband who has pushed her to be a better version of herself for sixteen years. She adore my best friends and she gets anxiety attacks around anyone pretty or skinny, so she stays in her yoga pants and writes about her redemptive story as a proud member of Redbud Writers Guild.   You can find Sheli at http://shelimassie.com/

 

 

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