Garbage (And a Giveaway!)

I’ve mentioned my childhood a few times here, but I suspect I haven’t let on just how high a degree of unusual-ness I grew up in.

It was up there.

There were seven of us, so we required a large vehicle. Back when other folks were beginning to drive super-cool Suburbans, we cruised in an enormous, bright red passenger van.


The Big Red Van (in its glory days.)

There was no blending in in our small town. There go the Smiths!

We took two-week-long beach vacations each summer (which was a wonderful thing), but because my folks were pinching pennies in just about every other area, the van didn’t have rear air-conditioning.

And it got toasty in there.

So those never-ending, 18-hour drives down to Florida were, umm, pleasant.

My dad took care of it though.

He bought one of those small, personal-sized oscillating fans that normally clip on a desk or something and instead rigged it to the van wall in the back seat. We could even turn it in on low, medium or high.

So, instead of just burning up while you suffered through backseat riding, you also got to burn up with your choice of low, medium or high hot air blowing directly in your face.

While your sweaty legs stuck to vinyl seats.

With six other people and all their travel junk wedged around you.

It was great.

(But seriously, our family vacations were fantastic. My parents were brilliant at vacationing on a budget. They should teach a class.)

Anyway, we were odd.

We picked up hitchhikers back when folks were really starting to act like you shouldn’t do that kind of thing. We went out to eat maybe twice a year. We had goats, and we had TV Night.

TV Night was incredible. 

(You may not be aware of this, but when you don’t allow your kids to watch TV on Monday through Wednesday, and then assign Thursday night the title of TV Night and you sometimes happen to serve homemade pizza in the same evening, TV Night becomes the greatest experience of a child’s life.)

It wasn’t really that important what we watched, but whatever it was basically just had to pass each of three minor tests.

1.)  It was a TV show that came on on TV Night.

2.)  It was a TV show that came on one of our four channels.

3.)  It was a TV show during which no one cussed, caressed or drank alcohol. (Bonus points were given if the characters on the show attended church or if the word “Angel” was anywhere in the title.)

I’m sort of teasing.

But, really, we were odd, and, yes, a little on the square side.

And now, here I am, a mom of three finding myself in the exact same position, feeling exactly the same way.

A typical conversation with this sweet face:


“No, Edy, you can’t watch that. I don’t like they way the kids on that show talk to each other. 

No, not that one either. They act too old.

And NO! Never, ever Sid the Science Kid!” (Sid the Science Kid is like your most annoying nightmare times 3,000. I’m not kidding.)

So we watch closely what our kids watch.

I know you do too. 

Our kiddos are important, and what those precious eyes see is important.  Garbage in, garbage out, right?

So, my question is, if we don’t want our children watching garbage, why are we watching it?

I’m asking myself this too.

Josh has to work late one night a week, and after wrangling the kids all day, all I want to do once I get them into bed is drool in front of the television until he gets home.

On this particular night every week, there are two shows that I fight with myself over whether or not I should watch.

Because I really want to.

They’re funny. They’re mindless. They seem harmless.  They represent all kinds of worldviews that I don’t agree with, but, heck, everyone else is watching them.

Yet, darn it, once again, there’s this pesky verse…

“I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” (Ps 101:3a)

What really causes me trouble is that this verse was spoken by David, a guy who loved the Lord like crazy.

And if David could make this vow—to not willingly view wicked things—and yet still fall into grievous sin because of something he accidentally saw, what hope do I have to resist the temptations of this world when I’m setting that junk before my eyes on purpose?!?   

The answer: Very little.

(And that’s not good.)

In Philippians, we are encouraged to fix our minds on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. (See Phil 4:8) 

Can you think of the last thing you saw you on television that fell under those qualifications? 

Me neither. 

If you are a follower of Christ, then you are in the fight of your life against a dangerous enemy.

And if we are not aware of that, then we are probably losing. 

Watch out. And watch what you watch. 

Because, in this case, being a little odd and little square probably ‘aint such a bad thing. 

~ honor of being squares, how ’bout a book giveaway?!?

Just in time for celebrating the Resurrection, my newest book, God Bless Our Easter is (ironically!) square-shaped, but seriously (and way more importantly) teaches little ones about the love of God and the blessings of Easter. 

Leave a comment below about any ol’ thing (or just say “hi”), and you’ll be entered into the drawing. Winner to be announced next week!

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  1. Natalie said:

    I remember a trip to Florida in the Big Red van!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Nat, I nearly posted a pic from a trip you and Lindsay went on with us to Colorado because I really wanted to make fun of my dad’s sunglasses in the picture. And then I decided that maybe I had made enough fun of my dad for one day. 🙂


  2. Susie said:

    A good reminder! This is something I struggle with as well. What is the best use of my time?

    Love you bunches!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      I know, Susie, I’ll probably always think about that calendar from TAG. The one where we blocked off our day and saw how much time we wasted. Yikes.


  3. Laura said:

    Thanks for the reminder, Hannah. I must say, I had no idea that your dad and the “Big Red Van” had such a long history together. 😛


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Oh yes, we all go waaaay back. 🙂


  4. Angela Story said:

    Being a parent is so refining. What a challenge we have in front of us. Its so hard not to veg in front of that big ol box. Thank you for sharing life with us and although you call yourself “square” I think many a person would love to have a childhood that fit in that “box”(family vacations every year!!)


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      You right, Ang. I’m very thankful for my childhood, although, at the time, I thought some of it was awful…like not getting to watch Home Improvement because it came on on Tuesday nights (not TV Night). And I just knew that everyone cool was watching it. That was back when Jonathon Taylor Thomas was hot stuff. 🙂


  5. Alan said:

    Could’ve been worse than cruising around in the big red van…when I take the girls to school there’s a child that gets dropped off in the porta-potty truck his dad drives. Can you imagine his pain in a few years? LOL. Good stuff as always.


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Haha! You’re right, Alan. It’s always good to keep things in perspective. 🙂


  6. Andrea Garrison said:

    Hannah, I think of the “Big Red Van” often, on our way to Washington our prayer was Oh, Lord please let big red make it from Iowa to Washington. our prayer was that it would get us through school, guess what its still going. our “Big Red Truck” is a lot like the red van “the smiths had”. Thank you for the reminder Hannah! This is good stuff, you are such a good writer 🙂


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Thanks, Andrea. I suspect my parents were praying their heads off too on some of those trips. (And, likely, the rest of us snots were just complaining in the back!) I’m sure half the time my folks just wanted to drop us off on the side of the road and carry on. 😉


  7. Katie said:

    Hannah, love your books and love the thoughts you share in your blog!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Thank you, Katie, and thanks for reading.


  8. LeAnn said:

    Love to read your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom. God bless you!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Thank you, LeAnn!


  9. Sandi Wyatt said:

    Hannah I love your stories! Sandi


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Thank you, Sandi!


  10. Jennifer Davis said:

    I rememeber the red van! That thing help us move in like 2 trips! AMAZING. I already find myself turning off the TV because of things I don’t want her to hear and she’s only 11 months. Thank you for the reminder to keep it up!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      You’re right, Jennifer. It’s never to early to start paying attention because she already is! Thanks for reading!


  11. Cindy Staggs said:

    First time I’ve read your blog…… LOVWD IT :):):)


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Thank you, Cindy. 🙂


  12. Sarah M said:

    Definitely find myself asking the same questions. And Always wondering what that little mind is taking in.


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      I know, Sarah. Definitely makes us think, doesn’t it?


  13. Mischelyn said:

    Thank you again for sharing your heart. I’ve been extremely convicted of this lately. It also blows my small town 4 channel mind the things that are now ok for tv. There are some shows that if it weren’t for the vulgarity, there wouldn’t be any content at all.

    Ps…I got to hear big red van stories and even a hitchhiker one while in India. I also got to hear a funny story about camping on the way to Florida and your dad’s “run-in” with the park ranger. Ha.


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Yep, he’s got some good ones, doesn’t he? I’m glad we can all laugh about them now because, at the time, not all of them seemed so funny. 🙂


  14. kim said:

    Love your blog! My dad had a big blue and white box truck my brothers called the clown truck. He drove it a LOT when he had the opportunity to drive them to school. Lol!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Haha! I knew I wasn’t the only one who had parents like this! Thank God for them. It never hurts a kid to get a little dose of humility. 🙂 Thanks for reading, Kim!


      1. Anonymous said:

        Um no! PG had (has?) LOTS of them! Lol!! 😉
        My 12yo has joined scouts and I told him he could either quietly give me a hug and kiss before leaving on a camp out and I would go away or he could make a big deal trying to avoid me and I would embarrass him as I got my hug and kiss. He tried me ONCE. I got a big sloppy kiss and he ended up on the ground. 🙂


  15. Corie Meyer said:

    Hi ! I would love to read your book to my boys.


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Hi Corie! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  16. Tammy Barnes said:

    Hannah, I love your blog!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Thank you so much, Tammy!


  17. Jo Ellen said:

    So how do you know whether or not you’re winning the fight of your life? And why should ANYONE care, or DO THEY?

    I rarely watch TV due to working overnight, so evaluating this in myself is probably moot. But an option may be to get a sledge hammer and take the thing out and never replace it EVER !!!!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Hi Jo Ellen!

      I think you’re right, in general, TVs are probably better off just tossed!

      And you’ve asked a good question. I think the only way to know that we are winning the battle is by fixing our eyes on Jesus and letting Him be in control of our lives and our decisions. (He is, after all, the only one who can beat the enemy we’re fighting, anyway.) Letting Christ be in charge means that we are intentionally seeking ways to honor and glorify Him in the day-to-day. In this instance, my point was that that might look like choosing not to watch something because it mocks who He is or makes light of God’s decrees. It might be a small choice to make, but it would reflect our love for Him.

      And, of course, we should care. If Jesus said the greatest commandments were to love God and then to love others, then we have a mandate to fight for God’s glory in our lives and the lives of the people we love. We are all in this battle together. 🙂


  18. Rhonda said:

    So I’m sure there’s some fine print that says that family is not eligible to win :), but I just wanted to say that I always thought your parents were the coolest of the family (because they were younger than mine), and I always admired their family values and the ways they could save their pennies.

    Much love!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Ha! Family are absolutely welcome to enter. I make my own rules here. 😉 Everyone will just have to trust that I am not a cheater. 🙂

      And thanks for reading!


  19. Belinda Longwith said:

    Hannah, I remember watching your mom and dad go from sports car, to station wagon to big red van. What fun! But then my mom and I used to babysit Noah when he was quite small. Who’d a thought!
    Belinda Longwith


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      It’s nice to know people that go that far back with my family. One of the great many benefits of small-town life. 🙂 Thanks for reading!


  20. sherrie Hayes said:

    LOVE your blog!!!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Thank you, Sherrie!


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