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An Advent first

For some people, the idea of fasting is that of un castigo, that you only do so out of obligation or guilt. But others have held that fasting helps prepare the mind and body for more focus and stillness.  Coupled with meditation or any other form of contemplative practice, it can serve as a retreat or recharge.  With Lent months away, I have long pondered the possibility of an Advent fast.  As happened last year, the folks at Dynamic Catholic are launching a daily routine of spiritual exercises in honor of Advent.  So, in addition to taking part in that four-week series, I will be fasting from my smartphone/social media habit for Advent.

I have discussed my problematic phone use in the past (http://mujerevolving.blogspot.com/2012/01/smartphones-killed-personal-bond.html)What used to be entertainment is now a compulsion.  Like emotional eating, it kills time but ultimately provides no real positive results.  Both Rambo and M have expressed their frustration with this fourth family member.  If my phone is in hand, chances are I’m not engaged in what is happening around me.  

Now I can leave my phone on my charger at home. I can leave it locked up in the car. I can turn off the data and only use wi-fi. These are temporary fixes.  I enjoy learning more about my friends’ personal experiences and political views. I love reading interesting articles shared by like-minded people. I find communicating with many of my friends via Facebook and Instagram easier. But I need a break.
From Antoine Geiger’s “Sur-Fake” 
The next few weeks at work will bring challenges I have never confronted. I will need to be strong, patient, and thoughtful. More than ever, my family, my passions, and my faith will empower me during this experience. In the quiet of my retreat, I will contemplate all good things.  

The mommy fail that wasn’t

Some of the best memories aren’t recorded on film. My brother and I were recently discussing one of the memorable moments from our days watching Cal basketball. We had gathered on Sproul Plaza to cheer on our NCAA-bound Cal Bears. Each player had his chance in the spotlight. Then one of the weaker players stood up. The crowd began to boo and jeer.  The poor guy kept a grin on his face. Bless his heart. 
These were the days before cell phone cameras and social media. But those images are as fresh as if they happened yesterday.

When M was two, we made our first road trip to LA with her. On our drive home, she entertained us with a giggly rendition of a favorite from our Music Together classes, “John the Rabbit.” These were the days before I had gotten hooked on Facebook and Instagram. There is no video but Rambo and I will always treasure that sweet serenade.

This weekend, M and I went to Fairyland to watch her friends dance.  As sometimes happens, the phone battery died.  Instead of focusing of taking photos or being distracted by the news feed, I simply watched her. I got to see her natural smiles, how she interacts with other children, and how she loves to play outdoors.  Those moments were ours.

I look forward to lots of dead phone batteries this holiday season and in the next year.