Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Influences...

Sitting here at my computer and reading through the blogs of so many interesting people, many of whom are already friends, and some who have become friends through the blogging world, I am thinking of the things that influence my life...that truly leave a mark and make me really think about the way I live my life, and I wanted to share a few of them.

The time that I spend reading through blogs is an influence...many are lighthearted and I love reading about the lives of others, their varied experiences, their families, their jobs. And many are truly thought-provoking...I know there are literally "tons" of sites out there for every considerable issue, but I count Trey Morgan's blog, and Toby Tucker's "Positive You" blog and the one I've just started reading (but which was recommended by my dear friend a long time ago) called "Bring the Rain", as very influential reads. I find that in reading through these posts, I always take away a thought, a quote, a "piece" of something to "chew on" for hours and days to come...(not always a good thing, as I'm usually up late blogging, and then can't go to sleep because my mind is so busy!).

Most recently, as I said earlier, I started reading through Bring the Rain. What a powerful blog! The author, who is the wife of a Christian singer and who has identical twin daughters and then another younger daughter, started to blog when she found out in the 5th month of her fourth pregnancy that her unborn daughter had several defects and would most likely die at childbirth if not before. This incredible woman endured the rest of her pregnancy, knowing that she would lose this child, but seeking God's will and praising Him all the while. Her posts are so emotional and so full of hope and just unbelievable faith. I haven't even finished all of her archived posts because it is hard to read at times, but she just brings so many scriptural and amazing lessons to her outlook on her family and her situation...

...one of her "takes" on insomnia (which plagues me often - especially as school approaches and my mind whirs with anticipation) was that God was requesting her quiet time with Him to be from 3-6 a.m., and so she began using this time for exactly that purpose! And immediately I thought, "Wow, what have I been doing when I'm up in the late night or early morning hours? Maybe God is requesting the same of me and using many of the blogs I read to make me think about His word or His actions...so that's how I'm choosing to think of my insomnia now, and I'm sure using some of this time for that exact purpose.

...another of her posts was on disciplining her small children and how she wished she didn't have to constantly be telling them to say "thank you" and "please" and "I'm sorry" and so many other things that they knew but she wished they would remember to say on their own. Then she related that to God...how He has "bound His hands, so that we (His children) will hopefully make the right choices on our own, but with His continued guidance" ...what a concept, and I have to say that at the moment I read that, I had the clearest image of what the concept of God and free will meant, a concept I have often struggled with. Bring the Rain is definitely an influence for me and I will continue to read it often.

Other influences in my life, and in the lives of so many others, are the books/magazines we choose to read and the music we choose to listen to. Many of the novels or magazine articles I read (another one of my insomniac time-passers) are indeed fluff, but again, sometimes they are things that "stick" with you. One such novel is A Thousand Splendid Suns about the intertwined life of two women in Afghanistan. I won't review the book here, but it is definitely a book that will make you consider how blessed we are to have been born in the USA and to have been born into the faith we follow. I also read Texas Monthly, Texas Highways, Discover, Nature Conservancy, and am always pleasantly surprised at the truly influential stories I find there. Texas Monthly's July issue was packed full of stories that I found really interesting (The Killing Fields, The Texas School for the Blind) and the same can be said for the last several issues of the others (The State of the Gulf, Big Bend, It's Not the Size of the Bass".

Being the science geek that I am, I love reading about nature and about the ways that man has and/or can influence nature. I believe that the world around us is one of God's greatest gifts to us and the way we view it is a true testimony to your relationship with God. I'm also one of those people who believe that science isn't a subject that contradicts God, but one that truly supports belief in a supreme being who created our world...so those kind of magazines influence my view of the world.

And music! I agree with the line of thought that says you become what you surround yourself with (or something like that) and I know that the things you see, hear and do make you who you are. Music is such a tool for cementing things in your brain, and when you're listening to or singing positive, God inspired, spirit soothing music, it has an effect on who you are. It doesn't have to be praise music...Journey, U2, Bruce Springsteen have definitely all been influences in my life, but the take home message is clear.

So if you've made it to the end of this blog, what I really wanted to get you thinking about is like what the blog Positive You asked so much more succinctly, "What are you doing to influence the future of others? And how are you being influenced?"

I know I'm not the writer in the family...I blog just to get things I'm pondering out on "paper" and to preserve the memories of my family...but thanks to those of you out there who are dedicated to making your blogs thought-provoking and influential for others...you are truly appreciated for making us go, "Hmmmmmm....."

4 comments:

Toby Tucker said...

I am glad that you are reading my blog. I like yours as well. It is funny how we feel like we know people better just from reading their blog.

a cowgirl at heart said...

I loved this post, Jody! I agree, we are inundated with influences from our surroundings on a daily, almost hourly basis. I am made fun of very often for blogging, but I can't tell you how many people have influenced me through this outlet. I am thankful for this part of my life and although it can be a little time consuming sometimes, the benefits far outweigh those little nuisances.

Amy said...

This was a great post! I, too, read bring the rain and am constantly reminded of hope, trust, and faith as I read her. She is an amazing person!!

Thanks!!

Amanda KP said...

You are so right about how influenced you can be by these blogs! I drug my feet when it came to doing this, but I am so glad I have joined the blogging world!! I told Erik the other day that I really need about 2 hours a day to read all the blogs that I would like to!! He thought I was crazy, but I bet their are others who feel the same!!