"One ought, everyday at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and speak a few reasonable words." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday: Banish Lucky

A quick perusal of my last several posts will certainly let you in on how my life has been going the last month or so. I deliberately refrained from posting very much so as not to bother anyone with all my whining. Suffice it to say that with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, December 2011 was probably the worst month I've had in years. YEARS! 

I blame the Lucky Fortune (Fortune Cookie Friday: Lucky)

From now on, if you ever see a fortune that says 'Lucky is coming your way'....RUN! Trust me, you don't want 'Lucky' to find you unless you like shedding your entire savings account on things like: expensive car repairs, getting violently ill (numerous times) and having to pay doctors and dentists, losing your paycheck, finding random useful things broken for no reason, cancelling highly anticipated trips, waking up to a flood in your house caused by a broken water heater, bouncing checks (oh yeah...and make it as embarrassing as possible), children misbehaving, etc., etc.

Oops! I said I wouldn't whine.

Well, since Lucky turned out to be such a destructive jerk (I knew stale marshmallows had to be a bad sign), I have to say I was a little leery to open another fortune cookie. But I'm so glad I did! I certainly hope this one banishes Lucky...or I'm completely ruined! Goodness knows I don't have much left to lose...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Listen for Christmas

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
--Bobby
(a 7 year old answering the question, 'What is love?')

This quote has been my favorite Christmas quote for many years now. My love for it originated several years ago when our finances were in dire straights. My husband had been unemployed for many months and we were trying to support our family of 6 off of a meager unemployment check. We received food from our church that December so that we could spare $100 to spend on gifts for our 4 children for Christmas. It was very difficult to meet all the expectations of the family traditions we observe (pajamas on Christmas Eve, stockings, gifts, etc.) with $25 per child, but with the help of the dollar store, we pulled something off. It wasn’t much, but it was the best we could do.

I was a basket case all month long as I collected small gifts for them. They had never experienced such a meager Christmas! I was afraid they would feel less loved and cry for the things they wanted but would not be receiving.

But to my great surprise, it was the BEST Christmas we ever had! I will never forget how I reflected on this quote and stopped to listen as my children opened and adored their tiny gifts on Christmas morning. How could I ever have been afraid my children would feel LESS love? The love in the room was so thick, it was almost tangible! It brought tears to my eyes; a fact which was shamelessly recorded for posterity by the video camera on a tripod in the corner. It was the only gift I received that year, but it was by far my most favorite of any I ever received.

Every year since, as soon as the Thanksgiving dishes are done, I start thinking of this beautiful quote and the love I felt in the room on that humble Christmas morning.  

THAT is what Christmas is all about; not the quality or quantity of the gifts given or received. Christmas is a celebration of the Love that was born in a humble stable that blessed and changed the whole world forever after.

Celebrate Christmas by stopping to listen for it in your room this year…

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bring It!

"Danger? Hah! I walk on the wild side. I laugh in the face of danger. Ha! Ha! Ha!"
--Simba, The Lion King

I have been having a hard time lately. It just seems as if life is dealing out blows at a feverish pace; I'm not even recovered from one impact before another blow rocks my world. But something strange is happening to me in the midst of all this trouble. I think I'm either getting stronger or my brains have gone addled like Rocky Balboa, because the blows are starting to take on a decidedly comical air. Does this ever happen to you? It's like all I can do is laugh. There's a smidge of surrender in it and yet...a big dollop of defiance is waiting in the wings. It's an odd sensation; this feeling. It reminds me of a scene in one of my favorite movies of all time: The Count of Monte Cristo. At his birthday party, the Count gives young Albert Mondego a birthday toast that resonates with me because of it's likeness to my current feelings. The toast starts at precisely 1 minute in the following clip (or the text is below, if you don't feel like watching):



"Young Albert has made far too much of the assistance I gave him in Rome. When I arrived in the catacombs, I watched as the criminals - who tied Albert to a wall - threatened to cut off his finger and send it to his father as evidence of his abduction. The boy's reply to all this was, 'Do your worst!'

"Life is a storm my young friend, you will bask in the sunlight one moment; be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome, 'Do your worst for I will do mine!' Then the Fates will know you as we know you...as Albert Mondego, the man." 
--Edmond Dantes, as the Count of Monte Cristo

Now, I'm not trying to "man up" or anything. Heaven knows I'm as surprised by my reaction as much as anyone. But I do feel like this shattered-on-the-rocks stage I'm in right now has pushed me around as long as I'm going to let it! These continuous blows have awoken the sleeping giant inside of me and I find myself shouting, 'Bring it, storm!' Or like Albert in Rome, "Do your worst for I will do mine!" I may continue to get knocked around, but I'm gonna give this storm a run for it's money, dangit!

Is that weird, or what?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - Count the Cost

"Law, in his terrible, cool voice, said,...'If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead.' Those are hard words to take. Will it really make no difference whether it was women or patriotism, cocaine or art, whiskey or a seat in the Cabinet, money or science? Well, surely no difference that matters. We shall have missed the end for which we are formed and rejected the only thing that satisfies. Does it matter to a man dying in a desert by which choice of route he missed the only well? 

"It is a remarkable fact that on this subject Heaven and Hell speak with one voice. The tempter tells me, 'Take care. Think how much this good resolve, the acceptance of this Grace, is going to cost.' But Our Lord equally tells us to count the cost. Even in human affairs great importance is attached to the agreement of those whose testimony hardly ever agrees. Here, more. Between them it would seem to be pretty clear that paddling [near the shore] is of little consequence. What matters, what Heaven desires and Hell fears, is precisely that further step, out of our depth, out of our own control." 

--C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday: Lucky

Maybe it's just me and my 80's upbringing, but when I read this...

















I thought of this...
















Hmm...maybe this would be exciting if I actually liked Lucky Charms, but I don't. Not even a little bit. I never really cared much for stale marshmallows. So, now I'm thinking the cookie was less fortune and more warning. Maybe it isn't so much, "They're always after me lucky charms!" but more like, "Lucky is always after me." Yikes! That's disturbing.

Oh, well. Happy Friday! Maybe some regular old luck will find you...or maybe some Lucky will find you. Either way, have a "magically delicious" day! ;)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday: Kris Creeper

Since 'it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas' lately, I figured I'd dedicate this week's Wiseguy Wednesday to a favorite family Christmas memory.

My oldest son has always been a bit of a worry wart. Since he first started talking, I've fielded numerous ridiculous concerns for him. As a two year old he would routinely ask, "Do we have enough gas?" as I was driving up a freeway ramp. We've never once run out of gas in his life, so I can't imagine where he got the idea to be worried about such a thing. But worry he does...about everything. So it was just sort of taken in stride when at Christmas time in his fourth year, he started worrying about the state of the blinds at bedtime. When I would tuck him in at night, he wouldn't let me leave the room unless I had checked and re-checked the blinds. Are they closed? Are all the shades in line? Are the curtains covering the gap between the blinds and the window frame? Can you check just one more time?

After a week or so of this, I finally asked him what the heck he was so afraid of. It had never worked for him before, but I thought maybe this time I could alleviate his fears and stop with the obsessive blind checking, already. I will never forget his answer. With blankets pulled up over his head, he replied with great trepidation,
"He sees you when you're sleeping!"
Poor Santa had been reduced to a creepy peeping-tom at my son's window each night! "You better watch out," indeed!

--The Savvy Sage

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Run-In with the Law...and God

"Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
--Matthew 7:21  

I’ve had a lot of really great experiences in my life, many of which have been spiritual in nature. I don’t think I’ve ever shared one of my more spiritual experiences on this blog yet, but I figure it’s high time. If you don’t appreciate this kind of thing, I give you fair warning: it’s about to get a little spiritual in here. :)

My youngest son is a competitive gymnast and sometimes has meets out of state. One of these meets was in a town about 2 hours from our home. The meet started at 10am, but there was an important hour long warm up beforehand; so we planned to be there at 9am.

We woke up on time, but through a series of unfortunate circumstances, we did not get on the road until 7:45am, which only gave us an hour and 15 minutes to make the 2 hour drive. But I didn’t despair. I was confident I could make up at least a half an hour by speeding a little. By my calculations, we’d only be about 15 minutes late for warm-up; annoying but acceptable. But we could NOT be any later than that!

Well, my calculations didn’t account for weekend traffic. Even though I had my cruise control set 10mph over the speed limit, I was still 30 miles away from our destination at 9:30am when the coach started texting me. Forget the warm-up, we might not even make the 10am start time! And if we weren’t there when the meet started, he wouldn’t be able to compete.

Feeling the pressure from the coach and not wanting the drive to be in vain, I set my cruise control up another 5mph and hoped for the best. Then when I was still about 10-15 miles from our destination at 9:45am, I set the cruise control up to 100mph for good measure.

Well, I’m not accustomed to driving that fast, so after a few miles, I started to feel extremely unsafe (ya think?). So, I did what I usually do when I feel that way: I said a prayer and asked for safety.

No sooner had I thought the request in my head – I don’t even think I finished my request – when an answer came clearly, almost audibly, and in a matter-of-fact tone:

“I can’t keep you safe if you don’t obey the law.”

Then I started rationalizing. But I’m late! The meet starts in 15 minutes and I’m only like 5 miles from my exit! Surely such a short distance at this speed can’t make that much difference. No, I’m fine. I’m fine.

I heard a VERY quiet, “Okay…”

And then I was immediately pulled over. Seriously, from the time I felt unsafe to the time I got pulled over was probably less than 3 minutes. Had I pressed on my break when I heard the I-can’t-keep-you-safe comment, I definitely would have avoided a speeding ticket….5 MILES from my exit at 9:45am. I mean, I could practically SEE the exit!

The police officer was very nice to both my son and I. She said she clocked me at 92 miles an hour in an 80mph zone (I was luckily climbing a hill when she clocked me, or I would have been going much faster…a fact which I obviously didn’t mention). But she only gave me a ticket for 5 miles over ($90). She was also thankfully very fast. She wished my son luck at his meet and we were driving away at 9:50am.

We showed up at the gym – which was thankfully right off the freeway – at 9:55am, and my son was able to hustle through a warm up before the meet started.

It all worked out in the end and I wish I hadn’t had to pay a $90 ticket. But on one level, I’m kind of glad it all happened because it has been a great lesson for me; one that I have often reflected back on in tempting moments. 

The Lesson: If you want blessings, first utilize the first level of protection: 

OBEY THE LAW!

Whether it's the law of the land, or a law of God (commandments, etc.)...the same principle applies.

Related Posts:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Flowers from who?

I was thrilled to see a beautiful bouquet of flowers awaiting me at the teachers lounge. But I was mystified by the card, which read, "With love from A.C. Credmire."

That evening I wondered to my husband about the mysterious A.C. Credmire.

"Oh! That's me," he said, laughing. "When I called it in, I'd asked the florist to sign it, 'With love from a secret admirer!'"

--Geri Willes

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shine

"She's the sort of woman who lives for others - you can tell the others by their hunted expression." 
--C.S. Lewis,The Screwtape Letters

Do you know someone who has a hero complex? You know, someone who always seems to be hovering around in people's business so they can be the first to swoop in to the rescue of all the poor, unfortunate souls around them? Well, I do. And generally, I try to be grateful for any help I receive from them. But sometimes, I can't help but notice that some people's service seems more about getting what they need out of life than giving what others need.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that hero-complex helping isn't valuable. It's still helping, regardless of the motivation behind it. And I'm also not saying that all conspicuous service is the hero-complex brand of helping. I've just given a lot of thought to how truly humble service could be achieved, and the following picture quote illustrates one of the answers I found in my journey to overcome my own hero-complex. If you want to help people, no need to bust out your super spandex unitard and cape. Live uprightly, care deeply, and just stand there shining! If people need you more directly, they'll come on their own terms. Afterall, it's not about the helper, it's about helping

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday: Gravity & Adversity

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” 
―Khalil Gibran

If you're ever having a bad day, just think of the following quote and try to remember that while gravity and adversity are sometimes inconvenient, they are both necessary and desirable for life. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

"Every act of Love is a work of peace, no matter how small. If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." 
--Mother Theresa
 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Irrational Fish Fear

"I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot." 
–Kevin James, Sweat the Small Stuff

This quote reminded me of an amusing BFF experience, so I thought I'd share. {L} and I have been best friends since we were both part of a marching cymbal line in Marching Band at 14 years of age. Yes, I said the cymbals. No, neither of us made a career out of playing them. We just had too many flutes in our band, so we both converted to drum line for marching season. We had WAY more fun making super awesome high-fives than we ever would have hanging out with the flute section. But I digress... 

I have always had an irrational fear of fish. In my *mind* they are harmless, but if one touches me, my body goes absolutely berserk, thus polluting my mind into an uncontrollable panic - kind of like the quote suggests. I have no idea why this happens, but it is unpleasant and humiliating to turn into a screaming, flailing, banshee-woman in front of strangers. So generally I try to avoid swimming in bodies of water that contain fish.   

Don't ask me why my husband and I ever bought a jet ski, but we did. We were young newlyweds - about 20 years old - with no children to spend our dual income on and we thought it would be fun to go to the lake on the weekends. I was fully aware that my fish-fear may cause a problem, but I thought the jet ski would be fun enough to overcome it. Besides, I wasn't planning on falling off the thing.  

Well, one day I had a day off in common with my brother and {L} (hubs had to work), so we planned a day out at the lake together. My brother backed the jet ski into the water at the dock and waded waist-deep into the carp-infested water to disconnect the jet ski from the trailer. Without touching the water, {L} and I hopped on and drove the jet ski over to the dock and waited while my brother parked the truck. By the time he came back, {L} was standing on the dock and I had removed the seat on the jet ski so that I could store the car keys underneath. 

But when my brother went to hand me the keys, he let go of them before I was ready and...plop! They dropped down into the disgusting water. We blamed each other for a minute (as siblings usually do) before the horrifying realization hit me that if we ever wanted to leave the lake, someone had to dive about 10 feet down in that cesspool to get the keys…and my brother was wearing contacts.

I refused to do it and so did {L}, who apparently had equal fish fears.  My brother tried to do it anyway, but after several dives, found the task impossible without being able to open his eyes under water.

So, between my irrational fear and my brother’s contacts, we were at an impasse. And by this time, we had attracted a LOT of attention from other boaters at the dock. I was absolutely refusing to dive down there, and my brother was starting to get extremely irritated at me. Other boaters tried to offer me incentives, “Lady, I’ll give you $20 if you’ll dive down there!” Yeah…I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone whose irrational fears can be overcome by a measly $20! I wondered if they were willing to pay me $20, why weren’t they willing to help me out and dive down there themselves? Oh yeah. Because they wanted to WATCH me freak out! I was entertainment! At that realization, I dug in my heals. I WILL NOT DIVE IN THAT WATER! I would rather LIVE at the lake forever than sell myself for the entertainment of half drunk fools!

So, after about 10 minutes of this, {L} shouts out, “Oh, everyone just SHUT UP! I’ll do it! I don’t see why I should have to,” she glares at me, “but someone has to do it! I’m not getting stranded over some DISGUSTING fish!”

It took her about 5 minutes to mentally prepare herself with a series of squeals and shudders, but jump in she did, while the gawkers looked on. 

About 10 seconds later, my hero launched herself out of the water like a dolphin. She plopped herself belly first on the dock, chucked the keys down in my direction and screamed at the top of her voice, “FRIENDSHIP ISN’T WORTH THIS MUCH!” Then to the great amusement of the gathered crowd, she started jumping around making all the sounds and gestures you would imagine a completely disgusted person making.

I was entirely cowed and utterly ashamed of myself, but we ended up having a fabulous time that day.  I did get my comeuppance, however. That was also the day that I was thrown from the jet ski in the middle of the lake. A stupid underwater weed scraped my leg and I had a panic attack that manifested as a vision of a giant carp, mouth agape, chasing me back to the jet ski. I don’t think I ever swam like that before or since.   

But the experience wasn't entirely without merit. I now know I would be utterly useless in an emergency…but fabulous comic relief. Yay. And I learned that I have the most breathtakingly phenomenal best friend on the planet! Love ya, {L}! Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough stand between you and one of your monsters shouting, "FRIENDSHIP ISN'T WORTH THIS MUCH" like a contradictory battle cry.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday - Happy Days


I really like this fortune. However, I have one little issue with it. Happiness, in my estimation, is not separate from struggle. Happiness is as achievable in the midst of struggle as it is outside of struggle. You know...the whole 'dancing in the rain' thing? I know, I know...way to ruin a good fortune. But I always have to make that distinction clear in my mind so I remember I don't have to get depressed when things get difficult. *I* control my attitude at all times. I mean, ex-squeeze me...I am no victim! My personal happiness is NOT subject to circumstances. Circumstances are subject to ME! As long as I think that my mood is a slave to my circumstances, I give up my power to choose the way I feel. So, yes...happy days ARE ahead of me! But they are ahead of me because I will choose them, not because of the absence of struggle, thank you very much!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Choose Light!

“To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose. Give off light, or darkness, Padawan. Be a candle, or the night.”
--YODA, Dark Rendezvous

I decided that it might be nice to periodically share my Pinterest quotes. If they relate to any of my past posts, I will include a link, like I have done below. And by the way, if you haven't discovered Pinterest yet...Oh. My. Goodness! You are SO missing out! You will LOVE it! Just click on the red "Follow me on Pinterest" button up in the upper right-hand corner. I'd love to see your pins! Here's one of mine:


Click to View Related Past Post:
Two Wolves

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Grammar Police

Wiseguy Wednesday: Earplugs

During flight school, an instructor noticed that a young pilot wasn't wearing her earplugs correctly. 
"If you don't fix your earplugs, you'll turn into a deaf old man like me," he warned over the roar of helicopter engines.
She shot back, "If I turn into a deaf old man, I've got bigger problems than hearing loss."
--Deborah Gatrell

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Magical Bank

Imagine that you had won the following prize in a contest:  Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400.00 in a private account for your use.

However, this prize has rules, just as any game has certain rules.

The Rules:
  1. Everything that you don’t spend during each day will be taken away from you.
  2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.  You may only spend it.
  3. Each morning, the bank opens your account with another $86,400.00 for that day.
  4. The bank can end the game without warning. It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.
What would you do?

You’d probably buy everything you wanted; not only for yourself, but for all people you love. Then you’d probably move on to people you don't know, because you couldn't possibly spend it all on yourself. And if you’re anything like me, you’d try to spend every cent every day because it’d be a waste not to use it all, right?

Well, actually…this game is REALITY! Each of us is already in possession of such a magical bank. We just can't seem to see it.

The magical bank is TIME! 

Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.
What we haven't lived up that day is forever lost; yesterday is forever gone.
 
Each morning the account is refilled, but the Bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING and you will not receive another. 

What will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds? They are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars, so don’t hold back; start spending now!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - A Great Secret

"Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his 'gratitude', you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self...we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less."
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fortune Friday - The Mother Load!

Today you get Two-For-One fortunes because my husband and I went to our favorite Thai place again and got quite possibly the best fortunes in the whole wide world! And the fact that we got them ON THE SAME DAY, out of two different, individually wrapped cookies is pretty amazing! Seriously...who could ask for more out of a fortune cookie?


I sure hope these come true because my minivan has 160,000 miles on it and is about to retire to the junk yard in the sky. You don't even want to know what we had to go through to get that thing to pass smog last month! And our finances would HAVE to take a turn to significant improvement in order to afford a replacement. So, cross your fingers and toes for me, people! I can't have these fortuitous cookie guts getting the idea that they can just spit out idle promises! I need ACTIVE luck! Look at me...I'm so desperate, I'm personifying cookies! ;)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Got Glue?


This little ceramic plaque fell off my wall one day and was dashed to pieces on my ceramic tile floor. I was upset at first, but now that it's all glued back together I think it means more to me broken than it ever meant to me whole. 

I think the imperfections of the broken plaque add character and dimension and make the message more meaningful. Before it was just a nice reminder that I shouldn't let my imperfections stop me from doing things. But now whenever I look at it I am reminded that while I am broken, imperfect, and inadequate, with God's help I can be useful and valuable still the same--maybe even more so than if I were in perfect condition.

God's Grace is glue and wholeness only comes through Him. In fact, it is the "Him" inside each of us holding us together that qualifies us. If it were possible to be perfect without God, there would be no place for Him in our hearts. Then where would we be? A nice thought without real meaning? Knowledge without wisdom?

In that sense, I'm glad to be broken! It's the cracks and chinks that make people interesting, anyway. They give us dimension and depth as long as we have the Glue. Without the Glue though, we're just a bunch of broken, jumbled, meaningless pieces.

Related  Posts:  
Being Wrong

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Air Force Family

My father, an Air Force Academy graduate, still retains a strict military code of ethics as well as a quick wit. One day I mentioned that I was thinking about getting my bellybutton pierced.

"No way!" my father fired back. "This is an Air Force family -- no Navel Destroyers are allowed!"
--Sarah Blomquist

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More

Sonnet II
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, -- so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
 I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!
--Edna St. Vincent Millay 
Renascence and Other Poems, 1917
  

It’s kind of odd that this is one of my most favorite poems, since I have never experienced such a loss. I mean, I have experienced the deaths of extended family members, but nothing like the next-level kind of loss that is expressed in the poem. I can’t even imagine the depths of the pain of losing someone I’ve actually lived with or formed those inner-circle bonds with; like a best friend, a parent, a spouse, or - Heaven forbid - a child. I have felt an inkling of the bottomless grief second hand through close friends and family who have lost inner-circle loved ones, but that is nowhere near the same as actually experiencing that kind of loss, I’m sure.

I think I just love the poem because it articulates the multifaceted anguish so vividly that I can almost feel it. Not that I want to feel it; I’m just moved that a collection of words can open my heart to emotions deeper than I could fathom before I read them, and give me more compassion toward those who are trying to navigate the perilous depths of sorrow.

It makes me feel more connected to humanity. I feel more connected to God. I feel more replete with love to give to those who ache. Even if I can only faintly grasp the shallows of that pain, I am more willing to wade as deep as I can to mourn with anyone suffers there.

I feel more.

I feel…more.

And that’s why I love this poem.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Do You Believe in Barbers?

"In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadow to blind those who don't."
--Blaise Pascal 

A  man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation.

They talked about many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."

"Why do you say that?" asked the customer. 

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist," the Barber replied. "Tell me...if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain! I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."  

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the  shop. 

Just outside the barbershop, the customer ran into a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. The man looked dirty and unkempt. The customer immediately turned back and entered the barber shop again and said to the barber: 

"You  know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

"No!" the  customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty, long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."
 
"Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's just what happens when people do not come to  me."
 
"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help. THAT is why there's so much pain and suffering in the  world."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - A New Perspective

"Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever, and this must be either true or false. Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live for ever. Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are gradually getting worse -- so gradually that the increase in seventy years will not be very noticeable. But it might be absolute hell in a million years: in fact, if Christianity is true, Hell is the precisely correct technical term for what it would be. And immortality makes this other difference, which, by the by, has a connection with the difference between totalitarianism and democracy. If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilisation, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilisation, compared with his, is only a moment."
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Faith


This hangs on my wall at home to remind me not to stand at the bottom of every staircase wringing my hands. 
Just step up! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Heavenly Marriage

A young couple had a fatal car accident on the way to their wedding. When they met St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, they asked if it was possible for them to marry in heaven. He said he would make some inquiries and get back to them.

A year later, St. Peter found the couple and told them they could get married. "Could we get a divorce if it doesn't work out?" they wanted to know.

"Good grief!" St. Peter exclaimed. "It took me a whole year to find a preacher up here, and now you want me to find a lawyer?"

--Dee McDonald

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Humility: All Streams Flow to the Ocean


This is my number one, most favorite quote of all time. And I think that's saying something, since I have over 200 pages of favorite quotes in 12pt font.  I love it because it articulates a little known - or at least - little utilized truth.

Of all the virtues, I think humility has been the most difficult for me to cultivate in my life. First of all, it's a difficult concept to wrap your head around. In the dictionary, Humble is defined as "The quality or condition of being modest in opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc." But I have a bit of a problem with that definition. I think the words "importance" and "rank" add to a general misconception of humility as "less than or lowly in comparison to others," which has a competitive connotation. But humility is anything BUT competitive. Competition is a function of the ego, and ego is the antithesis of humility.  

I have found it most useful to think of humility as an abiding inner peace. Regardless of what others may think, you are content. Even if you are stressed, vexed, afflicted, or provoked your heart remains harmonious no matter what the circumstance. You don't compare yourself to others or judge them in any way and most often forget yourself in the service of those around you simply because your "self" doesn't even occur to you in the presence of so many others.

Who ISN'T attracted to that in someone...like a stream to the ocean? 

Most of the finest leaders in history have been masters of humility. But of course they never knew it because not-knowing, not-judging, not-measuring are the hallmarks of a humble character.  If you know you're humble, you're not.

I often wonder if such a virtue can even be cultivated. It sort of seems like something you either have or you don't, like long eyelashes or green eyes. But I suppose it's never a lost cause to try and cultivate humility anyway. Even if you never become an ocean, it's not going to hurt to forget your "self" even intermittently.  There's still gravity in the effort, no matter the ultimate result. Besides, perfection is not required. Aren't we all dependent upon Grace (the ultimate Ocean) anyway? We're always flowing to something deeper than ourselves...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gratitude

I found this little concept extremely thought provoking. It completely changed the quality of my prayers and made me think of all the little things I take for granted every day. Apply it and see if it doesn't make your life feel a little lighter.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - Diabolical Pride

"The real black, diabolical Pride, comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you. Of course it is very right, and often our duty, not to care what people think of us, if we do so for the right reason; namely, because we care so incomparably more what God thinks. But the Proud man has a different reason for not caring. He says 'Why should I care for the applause of that rabble as if their opinion were worth anything? And even if their opinions were of value, am I the sort of man to blush with pleasure at a compliment like some chit of a girl at her first dance? No, I am an integrated, adult personality. All I have done has been done to satisfy my own ideals--or, in a word, because I'm That Kind of Chap. If the mob like it, let them. They're nothing to me.' In this way real thorough-going pride may act as a check on vanity; for, as I said a moment ago, the devil loves 'curing' a small fault by giving you a great one. We must try not to be vain, but we must never call in our Pride to cure our vanity."
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Related Link:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Your Call

I love this funny little story because it begs the question: Is Ego profitable or futile? Then illustrates the obvious answer. It's your call, indeed. Enjoy!
 
Through the pitch-black night, the captain sees a light dead ahead on a collision course with his ship. He sends a signal: "Change your course 10 degrees east."

The light signals back: "Change yours, 10 degrees west."

Angry, the captain sends: "I'm a Navy captain! Change your course, sir!"

"I'm a seaman, second class," comes the reply. "Change your course, sir."

Now the captain is furious. "I'm a battleship! I'm not changing my course!"

There's one last reply, "I'm a lighthouse. Your call."
--Dan Bell

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday - Fill in the Blank


I don't know if this is a typo or just bad grammar, but the 'Your' makes me want to add something. How about we play a little game of fill in the blank? 

Your                 will be successful in love.

I'm leaning toward body parts like 'nostril' or 'eye'. But I can feel a funnier option that is eluding me. Please offer your answers in the comments.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Wal-mart Wiseguy

Dear Mrs. Denner,

Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behaviour and may be forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Denner are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.
July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in House-wares to go off at 5-minute intervals
July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.
July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in House-wares. Get on it right away."
August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.
September 14: Moved a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.
September 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department.
September 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
October 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.
November 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.
December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the "Mission Impossible" theme.
December 6: In the auto department, he practiced his "Madonna look" by using different sizes of funnels.
December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled "PICK ME! PICK ME!"
December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fatal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!"
December 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, and then yelled very loudly, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!"

Once again we cannot tolerate this behaviour in our store.

Regards,
Wal-Mart

Sunday, September 25, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - Pride is Competition

"If you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, 'How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off? The point is that each person's pride is in competition with every one else's pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive -- is competitive by its very nature -- while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest."
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday - Boy Humor

You'll have to forgive me...I'm in an odd mood. Maybe it's because I was a tom-boy as a child surrounded by nothing but boys and other tom-boys, then grew up and gave birth to a bunch of boys, but I found the following extremely hilarious. It's obviously photoshopped, but I don't care. It made me laugh and I wanted to share. Enjoy the fruits of my weird, boyish mood! :)