"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."
(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! ;)