Thinking about Screentime

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Safe Use Technology Contract

This document is designed for a sixth grader with a wireless enabled devise like a chrome book.  Additional guidelines are needed for portable devices like phones or ipods etc.  Feel free to use or make one for your own children.

It’s summer and the kids are home a lot more than the rest of the year.

Boys at our house are 8 and 12.  The 12 year old also has a wireless enabled devise (The W.E.D.) used for texting and following sports.

Here’s our screen matrix… Each child may choose 2 a day on a nice day (there is an option to add a shared 3rd on rainy day if siblings agree i.e. a movie.)

  • The Home Computer 25 min.
  • You Tube 30 min.
  • X-Box 40 min.
  • Movie 90 min. (up to 2 hours-ish)
  • T.V. 60 min. (anything with episodes)

The challenge is overcoming boredom with something other than a screen.  With frequently rainy days and super hot days kids struggle to get creative and the number of screens on the menu is ever increasing.

Chores for Screentime

We’ve added chores (mom’s choice) to trade for 15 minute screen deposits. Which got our sinks and toilets clean today.  Pretty sure that was my 8 year old’s first experience with a toilet brush.

The Sibling Equation

The obstacle is that it is very difficult to get kids to engage a screen solo and not “piggyback” a sibling’s time.

Must get out of the house.

Keep the remotes out of circulation…

Enjoying this new read… Screenwise-3D-809x1024


I like WordPress

wordpress-logo A little “web-clutter” to celebrate WordPress!

I like seeing the curiosities of others loop across a banner and blogging my own internal dialogue in an outward manner.

I like the magnificent tools 1000’s of developers make -so many plugins overcome my occasional “web-aches.”

I like the way this lovely CMS gets things done.  “Free” or “pay” WordPress is for everyone.




Remove Your Labels

So this may be weird or a bit “OCD,” but please remove your labels.  Buying that back to school trash can- peel that sticker off.  You don’t need the UPC code or branding cluttering up your cute office, kid’s room or kitchen.

When it’s time to organize pick up the containers you need and then please- I beg of you-pull the sticky label off before you put the first item in the bin.  Otherwise six months in your warm attic later and you’ll have a faded wrinkled ugly eye-sore.

You wouldn’t buy that new dress and then wear it out with tags still attached. Why display this utilitarian market place leftover label in your home or office?

I confess- I remove other’s labels.  When I’m in a workplace or home of a friend with one of these eye-sores affixed to a bin or box, and no one is looking- the label casually disappears.  No one is the wiser (a teeny tiny contribution to make the world a more lovely place.)

Want to convert and remove your labels?

No sweat – a few brief moments and a can of WD-40 will go a long way to removing those aging crummy looking labels -revealing a like new container, trash can or food organizer.

Remember: early removal is always easiest.

When the label is new-have no fear- grab the corner and pull confidently!

It won’t solve world hunger or human rights abuses, but a little less market place clutter makes me happy.

75th Anniversary at St. Christopher

A beautiful setting for a Vintage Lawn Party to commemorate the 1938 gift of land to the Diocese of SC

View the Event Gallery

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St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center Celebrated 75 years on Seabrooks Beach.

It was great fun and inspiring to organize a 5K, Gala Celebration, Auction and Weekend Long Reunion summer of 2013.

The events and descriptions are highlighted on the 75th Anniversary site built for the event.

The Weekend opens with an off road Barrier Island 5K, Reunion Regatta on Sunday, and Gala Celebration Monday.

An enjoyable weekend for young and old.

He gets our attention – almost Holy Week 2013

On Tuesday evening I stayed up too late and watched a short documentary about people living in a retirement community in Florida. Heart breaking picture of generations separated and a the painful result of partnering with fear.

Wednesday I learned about what it means to be a Christian Guru when a friend shared a post from a blogger in my neighborhood experimenting with (Jon Acuff style satire.)
Thursday morning a Missionary friend in India posted a video Ted talk she and her daughter watched and I learned a new word- “Genderside” from a film maker matching the description from the “Guru” article the day before.
(his message supplanted his wardrobe)
“In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls(1) are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.
Within an hour or so the trend toward “radical” way to be Christian got unpacked as I read a 7 page article discussing the trend in Christian writing to exhort a “really Christian” way of life that partners “radical action with faith.”
After all this I’ve got some praying to do and can only think of Israel about to enter the promised land – “to live in the homes they didn’t build, drink from the wells they did not dig and eat from the vineyards they did not plant” and God’s exhortation to “remember” His kindness and talk about it regularly with children and grand children.  (Deut 6 & Joshua 4)
There is evil and poverty all around the world (maybe not so evident in the car lines and coffee shops where I spend so much time.)  Never the less I’m faced with the elderly separated from systems of care and generational kindess and children killed by their mothers and governments good intentions.  While I don’t think Christians are doomed to “loose their salvation” because of too few acts of radical love – I also can’t ignore the very real expectation that the community of faith provoke change and more life in the nations and people that need to be reached.

A small thing this 39 year old mom can do is help plan a reception with some ladies that will follow our Diocese’s welcome and hearing from 4 African Bishops on April 9th.

Sounds silly but it’s in these seemingly unimportant tasks done by every Christian everyday that the difference making occurs.  Look around -where is your “difference making” opportunity today?  hint: It’s more likely among the people in your household – I was watching the “Its a girl” trailer and my 7 year old son asked to see what I was watching-in moments his understanding and compassion grew.  We prayed for the mother who killed eight daughters and that was “radical.”

Kimi’s Education in India : Micro-Making a Different at it’s Best!

Janet Roberts Echols

Got this facebook message a couple of days ago on Feb 5, 2013 from my friend and missionary in India.

Janet asked for prayer about this-saying,  “And let me know if you have any good ideas.”

This is my “good idea” so share this need with others and a bunch of small gifts will add up quickly-micro making a difference at its best!  Read Kimi’s Story…

Hi Ginger,

Hope all is well. We are STILL in INDIA but on the way home in a few months and wondered if you can help us with a situation… well lets call it an opportunity to be a blessing to someone’s daughter.
This year we took in a lovely Mizo (tribal) girl, Kimi, who has been a close friend of our daughter Grace. Kimi’s parents are Presbyterian missionaries in Nepal and were sent to the middle of nowhere to plant a church. There were no schools there and so Kimi had very few options; we had an extra bed and one more chair at our table so we ask her to come live with us. She has been a blessing, esp to Grace. Now that we are leaving India, we are trying to help her get into Grace Academy, a boarding school that was started by Presbyterian missionaries from the US. Here is the link :_A/
Grace Academy has offered her a place for April 2013 and a partial scholarship because her parents are missionaries to Nepal. Her parents are very faithful and very hard working but very poor. Kimi has great potential and we believe that going to Grace Academy will give her the opportunity to unlock that potential. She is an excellent student but like so many girls in India there is little support or resources available for her. I told her parents I would try to raise the money for her.
Would you happen to know any churches, church friends or family that would be at all willing or able to help? If Kimi could get help for the first year, untill Charles and I get jobs, that you be a tremendous blessing. Boarding school here is a drop in the bucket compared to the US but on a missionary salary it is still out of reach for Kimi’s parents.

Kimi2013-2014 Budget

$600 Admission Fee (one time not yearly expense)
$350 Uniforms (start up not a yearly fee)
$408 class fees (yearly)
$1200 room and board (yearly)

Please pray about this. And let me know if you have any good ideas.
Janet Roberts Echols
Union Biblical Seminary

Grace Academy has a foundation in the US where funds can be sent: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

When you send money please make sure you mark it for VANLALLAWMKIMI (Kimi’s full name)

Mail to : MTW, 1600 North Brown Road, Lawrenceville GA 30043

designated for:   “acct. #92698 – Ind: Grace Educational Society – Students”

If / when you send it just to make sure it goes to Kimi could you please let me know ( and copy the emal out to Grace’s Principal at with a copy to David
Thanks again for your help !!!

Want to communicate with Janet directly:

Here’s how to reach Janet if you’d like to contribute (any gift is great!)  The Amazing and Beautiful Rev. Janet Roberts Echols  email or message her with Facebook .

This is my “good idea” so share this need with others and a bunch of small gifts will add up quickly-micro making a difference at its best!

Consider a Progressive Pageant

The Idea of Peggy McKinney that I absolutely love and can’t wait to develop…

When: During the season of Advent

Why: Expanding the Christmas Pageant experience to both outsiders to the faith community and sharing this story with the children and adults of believing generations too.  The Progressive Pageant combines intentional Christian Hospitality and creative story telling that is customized by the people gathered. In this way, each group’s approach will reflect the group’s unique abilities and makes inviting others into the experience easier.  Like the “Progressive Dinner,” this home based, organic activity is enjoyable and interesting for every generation.

Who: (small scale) Among a few Community Groups, A few households, or (large scale) As a whole Church, Among several churches…

Location: Anywhere the participants agree to gather – typically the homes of participants will work well. You can also gather in different areas of church facility or property, (with some advanced planning) at more than one church, or use outdoor settings like parks if the weather in your area is conducive.

The Concept:  Divide the Narrative of the Christmas Account between 4 groups- each week of Advent a portion of the account is shared in whatever creative approach fits those presenting.  (As a group, work to your strengths and leverage the giftedness of all)

Like a progressive dinner, the guests take turns serving as host/presenter or guest/receiver moving from location to location or topic to topic each week during the season of Advent.

Drama, costumes, songs, games, or other creative story methods are used to express the events surrounding Jesus’ Birth.

Dividing the Text:

Use all four Gospels (sharing the bit that is most unique to that writer’s account)

Week 1  John:  The Light of the World

Week 2  Mark : The Prophets Prepare the Way

Week 3  Luke :  The Holy Family Shepherds & Angels

Week 4  Matthew :  Herod & the Magi


Use one Gospel and focus with this unique perspective of the account of events.  (Matthew or Luke work well)

(Bigger Kids)

Week 1 :  Matthew 1  (Jesus Ancesstory)

Week 2 : Matthew 2 (Joseph’s Decision)

Week 3 : Matthew 3  (Herod & the Magi)

Week 4 : Matthew 4 (Escaping to Egypt)

(Younger Kids)

Week 1 :  Luke 1  (Mary & Elizabeth)

Week 2 : Luke 1 (Mary & Gabriel)

Week 3 : Luke 2  (The Shepherds & Angels)

Week 4 : Luke 2  (The Birth of Jesus)