Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A little thanks

"Holiday, oh, holiday! And the best one of the year...."

With this being only a few short days before Thanksgiving.....I thought I would be as cliche' as possible and compose a list of some of the lovely things I am indeed thankful for.
I pondered how to go about this: should I use the alphabet as my guide? I mean, letters are fun. Should I only do the top ten? Or maybe the top 25...to coincide better with turkey day? An acronym. Yes, that's it.

With that, here is the list with none of the above.

My God. Poke fun if you want. But, I am grateful for Jesus and mercy and not getting what is fair. And I intend to live every day of my life striving to represent that. Loving others and following truth. And guess what? I'm not too worried that it isn't popular.

My Husband. Please see previous post for the extended version. Simply put, I am grateful he is in my life.

My Parents(biological and "adopted"). Shout out to both sides. So grateful that my parents raised me to be aware of life. A great gift. They have done more for me than I could ever give back. So grateful for my in-laws: I have gained another family.

My brothers. Two of my favorite people. They make my life a happier place. I'm grateful for all the memories we have had.

Diabetes Research. I am so blessed to have the aid of technology and information to help control my disease. I have the chance to live a longer life because of it.

My guitar. There are so few moments that I enjoy more than just playing by myself. The ability to enjoy music is such a privilege.

My Kitty. Honestly, some people may not get this. But, she has brought so much laughter into my life. She is my buddy and pal: a part of my family.

God's Word I am not thankful enough to have access to the Bible on a daily basis.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, November 15, 2010

Money, Money, Money

"To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it." -G.K. Chesterton

My mind was turned to the idea of money this past week as I was reading a magazine. The editor was discussing three ideas that surround the green stuff itself.
1.) Money costs time
2.) That experiences are more important than money
3.) Giving money away makes you happier.

Naturally, this sparked some thoughts in my own mind that I thought I would share. I am, by no means, rich. This isn't because my husband and I don't work hard. As I elaborated in a previous post: my husband is one of the hardest workers I know. I have come to the conclusion, quite a long time ago, that I will never be "rich" in the world's eyes. I will never spend thousands and thousands of dollars on surgery to preserve my twenty-something self. I will never own a multi-million dollar home. Most likely I will have to forgo those luxurious expenses that the green stuff can buy.And the list could go on. Amazingly, I'm doing just fine with the previous revelations.

I was thinking that the editor of this magazine made some good points. Money does cost time. It requires that you spend more hours away from home. More hours away from friends and family. More hours at the office or pursuing education or running after the promotion. The more money one wants to make: the more time you better be willing to put in. And with our culture's obsession with having stuff and more stuff and new stuff and better stuff than the neighbors down the road....well, that is a lot of time. Is it worth it? Obviously, we all have to put in some time into our jobs to provide for our families. Basic needs here. But are we seeking excess at the expense of relationships?

When I look back on my life (what I have lived so far) I can easily see that the experiences I've had mean so much more to me than the checks I've cashed. Simple things: watching a movie with my hubby, playing music on a Sunday morning, camping up north ect. Mind you, some experiences cost money, but there are simple pleasures in life that are sometimes lost in the pursuit of having more things.

Lastly, I know that any time I have given money away there is a sense of fulfillment in that. Maybe one reason why I love Christmas so much is because we are challenged to give. To think about someone else. To get past our needs and wants. To sacrifice self. In this economy, there are so many people that are still in need. That are still working hard and not making ends meet. This holiday season is the perfect opportunity to think about using our resources for something good.

While I may never fall under the category of "financially successful": I am blessed. I have more than I could ever want or need. I refuse to live my life in the pursuit of money: how I can make a lot of it quick and fast. The love of money replaces some of the simplest joys in life: faith, experience, giving, and family. It robs us of joy when we feel like we don't "have enough". It sets itself up in our lives as a false security. It pretends to give us value. I wonder, if at the end of the day, we are giving a piece of paper more power than it deserves in our lives?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hug a tree

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines - Henry David Thoreau

My husband and I were driving down a familiar road on our way to church this past Sunday. We've put a lot of miles on this road over the last few years. But,to my dismay,something looked out of place during this particular trip. The road had changed. It looked different. Felt different. Almost barren. It didn't take me too long to realize that the large trees that had once lined this familiar road were now all missing.

As we drove further down the road my eyes drifted to the stumps that remained. There had to have been at least twenty-five to thirty of these beautiful trees that had been cut down to mere stumps: these lovely mature trees. I suppose that the city decided they were getting in the way of power lines. Or roads. Or they were too much maintenance. Or they wanted to put in another gas station. I remember them trimming the tops every spring as they continued to grow.

I have an odd affinity for trees. They fascinate me in a way. Such tall and magnificent pieces of nature that always let us know when the seasons are changing. I love the blooms and green buds that peek out when Spring begins to arrive. Just that small sight of green after a long dreary winter is refreshing.
I love the full bodied trees in the summer. The vibrancy of life all around. I especially love watching trees change into acts of color as fall passes through. They paint a landscape and allow me to drive underneath them: their leaves floating all around. Trees in the winter stand as structural pieces of art. Their arms twisting and turning up to the sky.

I find that trees make the seasons extra special. They can grow and grow and grow....and just keep on existing. Trees will be around when people have come and gone. Trees seem to be a piece of history. I like to imagine what trees would say...if they could speak. What stories would they tell about the area in which they are rooted?
There are very few things as enjoyable to me as spending an afternoon among nature: walking through paths of trees.
That road has lost a piece of it's charm. It no longer has the same "welcoming" feeling to it. It seems more stark and empty. I am reminded that we are called to be good stewards of what we are given. Once nature is stripped away, it's not as easy to "put back". I am challenged to be thankful and aware of what has been created. Even trees.

Monday, November 1, 2010

for my husband...

"What's so wrong with being personal anyways...if anything else we should begin by being personal."

Today was my husband's 25th Birthday. I feel as we get older, Birthdays lose the personal touches that made them so special when we were younger. The fact that we don't get toys anymore is a little disheartening. Blowing out candles is no longer a good time to see how close to fire we can get. Or how many wishes we can make. We grow up. We become cynical. We despise getting older. Time starts to go by faster. We change a little. Today my husband marked 25 years. And for some odd reason I have been unusually thoughtful about this particular Birthday of his.

I have been reminded of how extremely grateful I am just to be a part of his life. To walk side by side with him. My best friend. I apologize now if this is a little too sentimental for you. I normally have a low tolerance for this kinda' stuff as well. So, lets take a deep breath and keep on going. Shall we? There is a deep appreciation that continues to grow for who my husband is and what his life represents.

Undoubtedly, he is the most selfless person I know. For the last four years he has given up his life. Quite simply: for me. He has sacrificed one of the most precious things we have: time. He has worked harder than any one I know, and I know he has done it for me. For us. For our marriage. For our life. Self sacrifice at it's finest. His alarm goes off every morning at 4:30. I view this as the middle of the night. And that is when it begins. He travels thirty minutes to a job that is anything but pleasant and works around people that do anything but care about their employees and he puts in those 50-60 hours.

He has fought every negative emotion that goes along with performing a job that makes you feel anything but self satisfied. He has fought compulsive fatigue and physical exhaustion. He has fought the urge of frustration that working for the next pay check creates. He has fought the emotional bankruptcy that comes when you can't see the end of the tunnel anymore. He has fought.
Four years may seem like such a small span in the last 25. But time is precious no matter how one measures it out.
Publicly and personally: thank you babes for fighting for us and for loving me enough to lay down your time so unselfishly. I love you.
happy birthday.
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