Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One time, I Almost Hit a Car

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again:  Rejoice!"

And by "one time" I mean today. Yes, today, I almost hit a car.  Well, truck, to be exact.  Are you wondering why the "rejoice" verse is above this? Well, let me tell the story.

So, I was out and about today running errands.  I feel like I can be honest with you, blog, and admit it was the first time I had taken a shower in two days and I was enjoying looking like a real human while I was out in the world.  After running by Hubs office, I parked and headed in to the video store to return a disc of Mad Men that I had rented over the weekend.  (Side note, the end of season 2 is such a cliff hanger!!  I may have to take a disc with me for Thanksgiving.  Not sure I can wait.)  I parked in a garage downtown, popped in to return the disc, and skipped back out again.

As I was entering my car, there was a mysterious-looking man in the garage.  He looked homeless and was holding some fliers or papers or something.  He tried to flag me down.  Now, I know we are supposed to be giving and friendly as followers of Christ, but as a woman in this day and age, I get a little nervous when a man approaches my car.  I want to be helpful but I also get somewhat scared that the guy asking me to roll down my window wants more than a high five.  So, in my nervousness, I sped out of the garage and straight into the street--only to jolt to a stop when I realized there was a car driving by me at that exact moment.  Luckily we both stopped at the same time and the would-be crash never occurred.  Pretending this unsuspecting man could hear me, I threw my hands up in apology and mimed "I'm SO sorry!!"

Here's the kicker:  the man smiled, waved, and drove off.

I don't know about you, but this took me completely off guard.  Had it been me, I would have been so mad at the myself.  Mad that someone interrupted my day, almost ran into me, and even mad that the perpetrator looked so apologetic.  But this man didn't seem mad:  he seemed joyful.  Downright happy.  The smile wasn't a smile of pity like, "Oh you idiot. Oh well, I'll let you slide." This was a sincerely happy smile.

I have no idea what this man's day was like.  I have no idea if he is a Christian.  I pray he is.  I hope his day had been lovely up until that point and that he was just flying so high with God that my little sudden stop didn't bother him.  But I also know it's very possible that man could have been having an awful day, could be in the middle of a family crisis, or could have something terrible going on in his life.  Either way, he chose to smile.

He has no idea what that little act of grace meant to me, but it made my day.  He was rejoicing in the middle of something that could have been pretty terrible.  And now I am rejoicing, too.

I promise not to be this heavy on the blog all the time, but I had to share this small act worthy of rejoicing over on my blog.

Here's to kindness!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Kind of Day You Do Nothing and Everything

Some days, I move mountains.  I run from here to there and accomplish so many things on my to-do list and you can physically walk in my home and see the tasks I completed.  Other days, I take up tasks that no one but me will ever see or enjoy.  Today was one of those days.  I finished many a project, none of which can truly be seen or appreciated by anyone who visits my home.  Because of this, you, dear blog, get to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Without further ado...
I cleaned above my washer and dryer, wrapping that adorable box you see and arranging all my laundry stuff.  Thrilling, I tell you.  Thrilling.
Yes, I arranged my cleaning supplies under the sink.  I am telling you, the kind of stuff no one sees but I geek out over.

This is my linen closet.  Perfectly put together.  Perfectly pleasant.

I had some enjoyable Izze, Me, and Jesus time.  Did you know Izze comes in a can?  Because I had no clue.
This picture does not fit in the post for two reasons:  number one, I made this project over the weekend and, number two, it actually is hanging on a wall people see.  Still, my inspiration from Real Simple has given our home this sweet picture frame doubling as a dry-erase board.  Pretty!

Well, that's it from me.  Here's to organization!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Miracles

1 Cor 16:4 "Do everything in love."

1 Cor 13: 13 "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Each of us has those holiday traditions that are incredibly important to us personally.  In general, everything about Christmas makes me happy.  I love my special nativity my parents got us when we got married, complete with specially-made box for safekeeping.  I'm a big fan of our tree, matching and full of bold colors.  And I truly enjoy my special Christmas hand towels.  But nothing says Christmas to me like outdoor lights.  Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed the day that my dad would take his life into his own hands, climb up on some (usually icy) ladder and hang off our roof attempting to arrange the perfect light combo.  When I got old enough to not request multi colored lights layered with green and orange (my favorite colors) I actually got to give input on how I thought the lights should be.  

One year in particular, life was busy at our home and my parents had decided that maybe we would just do indoor lights.  I was about 13 or so this particular year.  My mom mentioned at the breakfast bar one morning that we weren't going to do lights this year, and I think my face immediately turned to something resembling a child whose Christmas was taken by the Grinch. The next day, my dad was up on the ladder with dozens of light strands all around him.  When I asked, he said he couldn't bear to see me all sad and if lights meant that much to me, they meant that much to him, too. Never have we had a Christmas without outdoor lights.  Even though  I don't live in their home any more, they still have lights up every year and it's been referenced that this is partially because of my love for them.

Flash forward to this Christmas.  This is the first Christmas in our new home and I was so excited to put up Christmas decorations that I couldn't even wait until after Thanksgiving.  A week before turkey, my house had 4 trees, 6 hand towels, 4 stockings (for my brother and Rigo, of course), 2 wreaths, and one nativity.  I was so excited to put up lights!!  The "star" on the tree of Christmas--our outdoor lights.  I prepped them and laid them out. Unfortunately, Hubs and I got a little busy with work. About the time life slowed down and we had a free weekend, we got 2 1/2 inches of snow and everything in our little yard was covered in ice.  I resigned to the fact that we would just have to waits for lights til next year.  I said this to my mom, who was supportive and assured me that they would look beautiful next year and sometimes life just gets in the way of the things we want.

As I was putting the finishing touches on my final paper yesterday morning at 9 a.m., there was a knock at my door.  I wasn't expecting anyone and I was a little taken aback by the knock.  I opened the door to see my darling dad standing there.  He smiled and said "I'm here to put up your Christmas lights.  Your mom said you weren't going to put any up this year, so I bought some especially for you."  Anyone who knows me can tell you I am a little sentimental and I cry at, say, a good All-State commercial.  Of course I melted like a baby.  I was overwhelmed by my dad's kindness and expressed love.  My brother showed up a few minutes later, and as I finished the paper, they finished my lights.  Now, the back story is that my dad had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. in order to get there in time.  My mom says this wasn't an issue, because he couldn't sleep he was so excited.  Friends, that is true love.  He was gone in a flash--didn't even stay for lunch.  But as I pulled out of my driveway on the way to a Christmas party, my face lit up at they sight of our lights.  I am sure that's all he wanted.

I feel honored to have a dad who loves the Lord and loves me too.  And the awesome thing is, both of my parents are such servants that they show these kindnesses to people in their small town on a daily basis.  I know when the Lord said the greatest was love, He was speaking of the big things, like his son sacrificing his life.  I also think he was talking about the small things, like taking a few hours off to string Christmas lights on your daughter's house, simply to see her smile.  Or cry.

It's a bad photo but enjoy the sentiment.

Here's to Christmas miracles and awesome families. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Free! (for now)

 Grad school is a funny animal.  You have to want to be there to even apply.  And yet, somehow, something you've worked so hard for sort of becomes your mortal enemy.  For me anyway.  I wake up and think about it.  I can't relax.  It fills my life.  And I begin to wonder:  was this really a good idea at all.  Then I remind myself how badly I wanted this thing that is controlling my life.  And I recall all the friends I have made, the lessons I've learned, the ways I've grown.  With one semester left, I can unflinchingly say it's worth it.  Every second of it.  Well, maybe almost every second.  Regardless, I am glad, despite all the difficulty, I am in grad school.

I wonder sometimes if grad school compares to children.  Not that I expect my children to be my mortal enemies.  Although, after speaking with some of my friends, I am sure there are days.  What I mean is, there are some similar statements.  You work hard.  You focus on making that part of your life (becoming a parent) a reality, you pray for it, you dwell on it, you tell all your friends how badly you want it to shape your life.  Then, miraculously, you become a parent.  Suddenly, it is all-consuming.  You think about your babe before you make any plans.  You lose sleep because of her.  Your free time completely diminishes because of him.  And I wonder if you begin to wonder:  is it worth it?  Did I really want this after all?  I think all parents have to have those moments.  But, like grad school, I hope the answer is unflinchingly yes.

I have babies and children on the brain lately.  Not because of personal circumstance, but because of all of my friends who have recently made that giant life change.  And I am so happy for them.  In turn, Hubs and I are contemplating our own family timeline.  We love children.  All children, really.  Even the screaming ones we watch on Sunday mornings.  This love creates contemplation:  do we want these small humans?  Do we want them now?  Can we actually do this thing called parenting?  And we dream.  Of days when adorably tiny-tom clad toddlers run around our house, memorizing scripture and singing adorable tunes of joy.  Yes, we are living in a dream world.  I sort of think you have to if you really want to have kids.  The reality of lost sleep and screaming tantrums and dirty clothes/diapers/houses don't woo anyone to parenthood.  Much like paper deadlines and unhelpful group project partners don't woo anyone to grad school.  You take the good with the bad. And those tiny little faces sure are good.

It's fun to watch my friends as parents and dream of the days we too will shoulder that responsibility.  Until then, grad school is tough enough.  And I'll keep my disillusioned dreams of cherub-faced children.

Here's to a break from the madness.