Lessons in Unlikely Places

Yesterday, I stepped down the hall at work to use the little girls’ room which is shared by all the businesses on my floor (the office where I work is housed in a huge building). As I made my way past the stalls in search of the “right” one (don’t ask!), I couldn’t help noticing that, as usual, many of the toilets were not flushed. I felt the familiar indignation rise like bile in my throat. Too dramatic? ok…I was irritated. I thought of places where indoor plumbing is a luxury and using the loo is a pre-meditated event. You may have to get a bucket of water from the well in the courtyard in consideration of the next visitor to the “stall.” Instead, we are so blessed that all we have to do is lean forward enough to reach the shiny metal handle and push it down one time! Yet, even that is too much for some.

As I entertained myself with my indignation, a conversation ensued in my head:

“[sputter] what does it take to just flush after yourself out of courtesy to the next user? Some people are so inconsiderate!”

You do it!”

“Do what now?”

“You flush and be a blessing to the next woman who comes in here so she doesn’t have to look for a clean toilet because they’re all clean.”

“Not my problem! I flushed my toilet, let them flush theirs.”

“Serving others isn’t just doing something that people can see and acknowledge you for. Sometimes you get to serve anonymously and God, the only One who sees it, will acknowledge it.”

Ouch. Guess who went a-flushing?

Clawing my way back…

I feel like my writing muscles have atrophied over the past few months! I took stock recently and realized that I need to make a few changes with regard to how I spend my down time. How easy it is to come home from work, hastily throw together a meal for the fam, and vegetate in front of the TV until it’s time for bed! That’s been me pretty much the past few months. Time for a change.

Thanks, Marnies3kids, for the notes inquiring about my welfare and letting me know you missed my posts. I’ve missed them too.

I’M BACK, BABY! I think…

Rules for living

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

I love that about God – He has given us simple rules for living. No more wondering what or how. Just do it!

Would it still be a Merry Christmas?

What if there were no presents under the tree this year – or no tree even, to stack presents under? What if your loved one can’t make it home for Christmas because they are incarcerated or fighting a war many, many miles away? What if there’s no turkey or mistletoe to help to make the season bright? What if Santa Claus didn’t come to your town?

 This year, more than others, I have been listening more intently to the words of Christmas carols. What, for you, would make this a merry Christmas? For me, it’s having my family together. My son has been away in college and has not been home since July, but will be here this Christmas. The other day, my youngest child told me that she didn’t care if there were no presents under the tree this year, as long as we could have a family dinner together on Christmas day. That brought tears to my eyes, especially coming from a 12 year old!

 My husband and I have been burdened lately by people facing personal tragedies, especially at this “most wonderful time of the year.” From celebrities in the midst of pain, divorce and tragedy, to everyday people who have lost hope and are struggling under the formidable weight of adverse circumstances.

This Christmas, please spare a thought for those around you for whom Christmas is not a happy time. You may not have the means to give financially to someone in need, but some of the best gifts have little or no monetary value anyway: a prayer, a hug, a phone call, a couple of hours volunteering at a local charity, church, hospital or retirement home. The possibilities are endless – all it takes is a phone call or quick search on the internet. For all you know, you might be someone’s ‘Merry Christmas’ this year!

 So whatever dire circumstances you may be facing right now, take your focus off what you don’t have and put it on what you do have, however small it may seem to you – family, friends, health, time… If  nothing else, enjoy this fleeting season when people are in a good mood because of “Christmas cheer,” whatever the heck that is! Before you know it, it will be gone beginning January 2nd, when the credit card bills start to arrive 😦

 Whatever you do and wherever you are, don’t just wish, make it a MERRY CHRISTMAS, for yourself and at least one other person.

Remembering to breathe…

breatheHow is it that we can fill our lives up to the last minute of the day with stuff to do, even without the obligation of a 9 to 5 job? Or is it just me? These last few days…weeks…months – oh, I don’t know; they keep blurring together! – I seem to be going on fast-forward constantly. So much that I have to remind myself to breathe.

Then I got to thinking…what exactly am I breathing in when I do breathe? Our lungs need air, but not just any air: clean air! Imagine working out on a spinning (indoor cycling) bike in a room filled with smog. You may be able to stand it for a little bit, but it won’t be long before you have to stumble out of there in search of clean air. That smog won’t sustain you for the task at hand. In the same way, when my life cranks up to warp speed, I have to stop often and take a breath in God’s presence so that the smog of life doesn’t choke me. It’s so easy to do the fast-food, drive-thru version of my time with God, but I must remember that garbage in, garbage out. Any compromise on the quality of my food, spiritual or otherwise, is a compromise on the quality of my strength.

Excuse me while I take a breath…

Anne of Green Gables

Anne-of-Green-GablesI just recently discovered the Anne of Green Gables video series, thanks to a group of girlfriends of mine who had the ingenious idea to have an Anne video tea party. OMG – we had all kinds of fun! I will admit that initially I went more out of a desire to hang out with some “kindred spirits” than anything else, but after seeing the movie, I was well and truly hooked.

Anne is a precocious, outrageously outspoken orphan girl with flaming red hair which she thinks is the bane of her existence, and an imagination to match. All of the trouble she seems to land herself in only serves to make her more and more endearing.

After my Anne encounter, I immediately thought of my girls. I have a 15 year old (Bimi) and a 12 year old (Temi) in whom I’d really like to instill an appreciation for the old classics. I mean, I guess High School Musical and CGI movies have their place in pop culture and all, but what about the timeless oldies like Sound of Music (one of my personal favorites)?

I knew Bimi and Anne were kindred spirits with their technicolor flights of fancy and love of the written word, but I wasn’t so sure about my laid-back, Disney-doting Temi. Anyway, armed with the first Anne DVD which I borrowed from a friend and appropriate snacks, we had a girls’ movie night. What a night! We laughed at Anne’s melodramatic antics, cried when Matthew died and loved every one of the 195 minutes (it ended at 1 am). What’s more, the girls want to watch it again and haven’t stopped talking about it and dropping Anne quotes since! They even walk past the DVD and break into giggles over one scene or the other that they remember from it. Warms my belly, it does!

Next weekend, the same group of ladies are getting together for another tea party viewing of Anne – The Sequel, raspberry cordial included (you have to watch the movie to get that inside joke). I’ll be taking my young ladies with me and we can’t wait…wanna come?

Uh-huh, it’s my birthday…

 

My birthday cakeToday marks the day I was born, many, many, many, many years ago – or so it seems! When I look back on my life, I feel like I’ve lived many lifetimes. And I’ve loved each one of them. Maybe not necessarily while they were happening (for some of them), but certainly after the fact.

It was a quiet day, spent at home with the family (not counting the couple of hours at the gym), with good food and good company. Plenty of time to ponder my many blessings, take all my birthday phone calls and respond to each of the umpteen Facebook birthday greetings I got (yes, I’m weird like that). I feel so blessed! Sure if I had it to do over, I’d script a few things a little differently. For example, I’d have washboard abs and better hand-eye coordination. I’d have my son home for the weekend from college. When my Dad called from Nigeria, I’d get to also hear my Mom’s voice, instead of sending her hugs and messages through God. I’d have answers to some of the questions I’m asking God during this season of my life…you know, stuff like that.

For now, though, there are many things in the script of my life that I am most grateful for. Things like good health. A family I love, that loves me back. Friends who care. A car that’s old, but paid for. A nice roof over my head. Food in my fridge and pantry; a fridge and pantry! Nice clothes and shiny, pretty things to wear with them. Oh, and the shoes…yeah, I’m a shoe girl and I like my shoes. For these, and so much more, I am truly thankful.

On top of all of that, it’s Friday – booyah! 🙂

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