Five of my guilty pleasures… in no particular order:
A venti coffee. I lurve me some coffee but I almost always stick to a medium or small. Every once in a while I will treat myself and splurge on a large.
Lucky Charms. About once a year I get a craving for those mini marshmallows. I’ll cave and buy a family size box of the cereal and then not share it with a single member of my family. Sorry guys, I love you, but hands off.
A nap. At 8 o’clock in the morning. On a weekday. I am a very light sleeper and it’s difficult to nap when the house is full of non-quiet people. It is a glorious thing when I can drop the kids off at school and come home and climb back into bed for another hour or two.
Books. Although I don’t feel guilty about this particular pleasure. It is especially delicious when I get a book as a gift. My secret santa at work gave me a book this year. And she recommended another title; 800+ pages – and part of a series – BONUS!
Sherlock Holmes. Again, I don’t feel guilty. Well, maybe a little. I only recently discovered S.H. on Netflix and very quickly finished all of the episodes. The new series started this month in the UK and is supposed to be released to the US later this month. And who knows how long before it hits Netflix. I may or may not have found a way to watch it on BBC.
Ten things you should know about me:
1. I am an introvert. Being around people drains my batteries.
2. I keep only a few very close friends. (see #1)
3. I love to read. LOVE. I am always looking for new books to read. Just don’t recommend any schmoopy romance novels or far-out sci-fi.
4. I am a C. I am a C-H. I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N. That right there should tell you that I am a Christian who grew up in a church and that I probably still work in children’s ministry. And I can probably sing that song faster than you.
5. Coffee. Yes, please.
6. If I could live anywhere in the world it would be on the beach. Which beach? I don’t care. Sand, waves, sun… I’m sold.
7. I’m a daydreamer.
8. I might be addicted to stupid Facebook games like Candy Crush. But in my defense they help with #7 and #1.
9. I’m wondering why I picked 10 things. I should have just stopped at 8.
10. My husband just called me musical. I am now questioning if even knows me at all?!!!
11. Bonus! I love elephant jokes. If you don’t, then we probably won’t get along.
Remember when birthdays were exciting? Maybe you were finally turning a double digit. Or one of the milestones; 16, 18, or 21. At some point most people start dreading their birthdays. They don’t want to be 30, 40, or 50. And then it becomes exciting again… you made it to 89, 99, or maybe 109!
If I could pick one age to be I think it would be my early 40’s. I’m not there yet but I’m looking forward to it. Sure it’s fun being a kid but there’s so much that you can’t do yet. Teen years weren’t all that they were cracked up to be – too many hormones and drama. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing in my 20’s. I didn’t go away for college and I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. I’m in my late 30’s now. This decade has been difficult. There’s been some good – some very, very good. But most of it has been overshadowed in heavy stuff.
I’m hoping that my 40’s bring balance and contentment. I’m sure I’ll have my share of heartache and struggle but I pray it’s more balanced. That’s what I’m looking for most of all… more balance in my life. I know several popular bloggers that choose a word for their year… perhaps I should pick “balance” and spend the rest of my 30’s practicing so that my 40’s will, indeed, be more balanced.
Ah, beauty. It’s so mysterious and so personal. What I see as beauty may not be what you see. And then of course, a beautiful person may not be pretty at all but have a beautiful soul that shines though their exterior.
I find beauty to be comfortable and confident. Personally I feel comfortable when my clothes fit properly and the style reflects my personality. I feel confident when my skin is flawless and my hair behaves. That sounds so shallow but it’s the truth. I am less confident when I have a blemish or when I’m wearing jeans that are a bit too tight or a top that feels frumpy.
The beauty that I see in others though is different. I see beauty in different shapes, sizes, colors, genders. I see beauty as someone being themselves. Being strong. Being brave. Being ordinary. When the light filters through their hair just so. When something catches them unaware and they crack up laughing. When they are quiet.
It is so hard to see the beauty in myself and so much easier to see it in others. Perhaps that’s the way it should be or we would all be like the Greek god Narcissus. I think we should tell people when we see their beauty.
Last year I started telling my kids to have a super duper alley-ooper day when I dropped them off at school. I guess I said it enough because there came a point that I would say, “Have a super duper…” and they would respond, “alley-ooper day!” I knew the tradition had become cemented when I forgot to say it one day and the kids just stayed in the car waiting for me to say it, “Mo-om… c’mon, say it….”
Now I have to do it twice every morning. Once when I drop off my high school Chickie at the bus stop and again when I drop off the Boy and the Beans. This morning it took Beans a little longer to get out of the car and get her backpack out of the trunk. She walked around the car to the driver’s side window and pressed her sign language “I Love You” fingers up to the glass and waited for me to do the same so she could line up our fingers. I love that she’s 10-years old but still loves to do little things like that.
I want to soak in these little things that put a smile on my face. Who knows how much longer she will want to press her fingers to the glass to show me that she loves me? There will come a day that she will roll her eyes and decide that’s too baby-ish. But for now I’ll look past the fingerprint smudged glass to the smile on her face and soak it all in!
Do you remember the Richard Pryor movie from the 80’s called Brewster’s Millions? Basically he’s set to inherit 300 million dollars but there’s a catch – first he must spend 30 million dollars in 30 days without telling anyone what he’s doing. That really gets you thinking doesn’t it? How would you spend that much money…. It’s easy to dream of vacations, shopping sprees, new house, new cars. But how would you spend it if you wanted to make the best impact on society by donating it all to only one charity or cause?
I had a tough time answering that. I think the first option I would explore would be to identify the 30 poorest counties in our nation. Then put together a team to analyze how one million dollars would make the biggest impact in those communities. Would it be best to spend it on education? Maybe finding ways to add local jobs? Or improve living conditions? Or provide medical attention. Do the food banks need fresh and healthy food? What about foster care funding? Is there a way to tie these things together? If the money was invested to create a type of neighborhood co-op… creating jobs to garden and provide food, building community homes for foster families, community education classes for all ages.
I would want to include my faith. Not in a “let me thump you on the head with my Bible” type of door-to-door witnessing but the quiet kind of faith that is spread through loving on your neighbor. I think if neighborhood co-ops were started by quiet Christians who truly love people, if they they walked along side of their neighbors, played with their kids, taught community cooking classes, organized a clothing swap, gave a ride to a job interview…. If they did these things without judgement, without holding their neighbors hostage with “let me tell you about Jesus” at their door, if they did these things because they loved them – not because they want to add one more number to their team… If they continued to love on their neighbors even after they said NO to the church invite… I think that would make an impact.
Did ‘Santa’ bring you what you were hoping for this year? Maybe the new year finds you still giddy about that special gift or maybe it finds you disappointed that your hints fell on deaf ears. Like most, I have received countless gifts from birthdays, Christmases, and special occasions. Many have been forgotten over the years but there are always those special few that will be remembered.
I remember the Christmas when I was ten years old. I had opened my last gift and was facing the age old dilemma of which new toy to play with first when my parents indicated that there was one last gift for me. I don’t recall which parent wheeled it in – I only had eyes for my new bicycle! Up until that year I had ridden a cobalt blue bike with a fancy glittered, silver banana seat. Oh that was one rockin’ bike but I was ten now and wanted a grown up bike… a 10-speed. Unfortunately for me, my mom was afraid I would use the hand brakes to flip myself over the handlebars so instead of the 10-speed I coveted … I got the sensible 3-speed with the pedal brakes. Although it wasn’t the bicycle I dreamed of it didn’t stop me from riding it as often as possible.
My grandmother was a notorious gift-giver especially in her later years. I remember the year that she gave my mother onions for her birthday. As a child I thought that was the worst gift ever but as an adult I now realized how delicious sweet walla-walla onions are! As my Grandma got older she lost quite a bit of her eyesight and a lot of her common sense. Which is why, at my bridal shower, I was nervous to open her gift in front of my guests. I waited for a distraction to quickly and quietly open her gift. I almost got away with it until someone asked me what was in the gold box… The box itself was recycled – it was a chocolate sampler box. Inside was an array of used cocktail napkins, coasters, and paper doilies. In her defense, I’m sure with her failing eyesight she had no idea how apparent it was that the items were used. She lived during the Depression and was also a widowed mother. Recycling items wasn’t just vogue – it was daily life. How apropos is the saying “It’s the thought behind the gift that matters”.
One of my most favorite thoughtful gifts came from a dear friend. For three years she and I would spend every Thursday together sipping coffee and chatting for hours on end. We would frequent different coffee shops – from well known chains to local haunts to church cafes. Sometimes we would stay in and brew our own. But one thing would remain constant… the connection we shared. When I moved away I feared we would lose that connection. Silly me. Her gift connects me to her every morning – and sometimes several times throughout my day. My thoughtful friend visited all of our coffee shops and bought me a mug from each one. She also had a mug custom made with pictures of us and a note “Happy Thursday!”
I hope that this Christmas season brought you the gifts that matter the most… love and time with those that matter most.