A Merry Heart
A Woman's World
A Word in Season
Down Memory Lane
Heaven Bound
Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
The Joy of Family
The Parents'
Survival Guide

The Rhythm of Life
'Tis the Season

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By Tina Hoffman

Deep down, I knew that some day it would come to this. We'd been spending so much time together lately. Sometimes I would even leave my office early, anxiously hurrying home to enjoy those few, precious moments of bliss.

Late into the night, after everyone else had gone to bed, I'd sneak into the kitchen and find myself alone, just trying to connect. I needed more. Just one more purchase for my ninety-nine cent instant happiness habit.

But then came the confrontation. Perhaps "intervention" is a better word.

It all came to a screeching halt the day my 16-year-old daughter came home from school and tapped me on the shoulder. I was doing dishes and singing REO Speedwagon at the top of my lungs.


So if you're tired of the same old story … ooooooh, turn some pages…


I will be here when you are ready … to roll with the changes…


Annoyingly interrupted from my perfect harmonizing, I removed the ear buds to hear her plea.

"We need to talk."

"Okay, what's the matter? Did you and Heidi have another fight? Problems with Joey? Or is it Zach this week? I forget."

She rolled her eyes.

"What was that Pizza boys' name? He was nice. What was wrong with him again?"

"Mom! This isn't about me."

"Not liking the tone much here, Chelsea."

"Well, I'm not sure how to say this, but it's about you. I think … I think that the Ipod is becoming a stronghold in your life!"

My eyes widened and I laughed, until I stared at her "practicing to be a mom someday" serious face.

"What do you mean it's becoming a stronghold?"

"I just think that you're listening to way too much music all the time. We don't talk like we used to. Every time we see you lately, you have those wires dangling down the front of your shirt and, well, you can't even hear the phone ringing when I call. I could be dead in a ditch but you wouldn't know it because you've got your Ipod turned up so loud. You could damage your eardrums you know."

Silently, I contemplated my usage since I bought the thing last week. I recalled my cell phone conversation with Ken, otherwise known as Chicago Boy. He is my favorite man/brilliant editor/date from a distance and all around gadget-geek guy.

"Hey, guess where I am? Give up? I'm at Wal-Mart in the audio aisle. I just left my accountant and, well, needless to say my immediate response to a huge tax bill that's due on April 15th is to buy myself an Ipod."

"How much is it?"

"The Ipod?"

"No. The tax bill."

I gave him the figure.

"Yep. Definitely get the Ipod."

As he began to give me advice on which one, I spotted the sound salesman and abruptly ended the conversation. "Hey, I gotta go. I've got the guy here and he's fixin' to unlock the case. I'll call you later."

That was five days ago.

Though I do feel bad about the delayed call back, ultimately I blame him for my new found addiction. My digital dealer so to speak. He's the one who casually introduced me to the Ipod while we were lounging poolside in Laguna Beach.

I introduced him to Jennifer Knapps' Kansas album.

Being somewhat familiar with the twelve step process, I am totally aware that you're not really ready for help until you stop blaming others for your bad choices. And honestly, I am just not ready for step one, which is admitting to yourself that you have a problem.

Which brings me to Sheryl.

She is my best friend in this small Texas town and has recently developed a knack for winning door prizes at her company sales conventions. Last month she won …. an Ipod.

So, she invited me over one night after the kids had gone to bed. We enjoyed a glass of Fall Creek Merlot and got quite giddy reminiscing about days gone by and downloading some of our most memorable song moments.

What a blast! Perhaps I should have seen the warning signs then.

Okay, now I can accept "Play that Funky Music White Boy" may not be on most Christian girls' top 20 favorite songs of all time, but for these two Catholic converts turned non-denominational lovers of the Lord, we still enjoy getting our groove on every now and then!

Bringing myself back into the moment, I realized that my daughter was still standing there staring at me.

"Listen responsibly," she said.


"It says right there on the Ipod instructions … listen responsibly."

Oh my gosh! Have I …. could I be … listening irresponsibly? In the bathroom? Walking the dogs? Working out? Cleaning the house? While driving the car?

Okay, well, maybe that last one.


I considered for a second the meaning of a stronghold … or an idol. Excessive admiration or love of someone or something?

Yes. It was true. I had to admit it.

Step one.

I love my Ipod.

Now, I'm not really the kind of person who likes to be called on stuff much. I mean … I'm all for accountability. But this…

And from the girl who just got $370.00 worth of traffic fines during a 20 minute lunch break and was, oh so very recently, caught trying to pass me a fake parent slumber party number?


Cast the first stone, girlie!

Next came my justifications.

"Well, it's good for me to practice singing because of praise team. And I have a whole playlist that's just worship music."

"Mom! Please. Who are you kidding? You're singing "My Sharona" in the shower!"

I heard the catchy little beat in my head and instantly jumped a time travel machine and headed back to junior high. A humongous smile came across my face.

She let out a heavy sigh, "Aaaagh!"

Exasperated with my unwillingness to openly repent, she left me with a simple, "Okay, I'll be praying for you."

"Honey, I appreciate your honesty and I will try to listen …. less."

For some odd reason, as I pulled the ground beef from the fridge, I had a mental image of a cow. Perhaps it was a golden cow? Or calf.

I glanced around the room in that sneaky "is anybody looking" kind of way, placed the ear buds back into my ears and proceeded to make dinner in peace.

After all, Joyce Meyer does Podcasts now, and surely that would be okay with God!
Tina Hoffman has a strong desire to reach the lost through writing and music. She is a sold out, born again believer, on fire for the Lord with an urgency to share all He has done in her life, for the glory of Him and the salvation of all people who still dwell in the miry pit. If you would like to write to Tina, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.