Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Hello friends! No new post for today. But check out my Black Friday experience here.

Blessings to you!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Giving Thanks

It is my year to do Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law, Debbie, and I switch off every year, and it is my turn.

(Note to self: Be thankful for doing Thanksgiving at my house.)

The thing is, I was really hoping to have a new kitchen by Thanksgiving. I have one of those old, Brady-Bunch style double ovens. Which would be great, if both of the ovens worked. But the door on the bottom one doesn’t actually close, so you can’t really cook anything in there. So now, the bottom oven is used for storage.

I have to be careful about what I store in there, though, since the door doesn’t close. If I store anything heavy and breakable, well . . . you figure it out. But, at least I have an oven, right? I mean, think of all the pioneer women who had to cook over an open fire. (Note to self: Be thankful for oven. And for being born in the twentieth century, instead of the nineteenth.)

Not only that, but my house still has its original 1977 yellow gold countertop and sink. (Note to self: Be thankful that the retro look is in right now.) But new kitchen or no new kitchen, the fact remains. Next Thursday, I’m going to have a house full of people.

So, as I prepare myself and my refrigerator for more food than we will ever possibly consume, I have decided to make a list of things I am thankful for. And lucky for you, I’m going to share it.

I am thankful for:

1. My husband. He offered to buy a pre-cooked turkey this year, so I wouldn’t have to bother with it.

2. Pre-cooked turkeys.

3. Instant mashed potatoes. Is it cheating if I stand over a bowl with a potato masher and pretend to work the lumps out of them?

4. Candles. If I light candles, they make the house smell like I’ve been baking, and my guests will never know I bought the apple pie at Wal-Mart. Also, I can dim the lights, and my guests will be impressed with the mood lighting. They’ll never know I’m trying to hide the stains in my carpet.

5. Paper plates. If I put a pretty tablecloth and centerpiece on my table, maybe no one will notice the Chinette. Then, I won’t have to do dishes.

Alright, already. I can hear you saying, “Doesn’t this woman do anything? She doesn’t want to cook a turkey or bake or do dishes. What does she do all day long?” The truth is, I will cook for Thanksgiving. I will bake pies and make desserts and casseroles and cute little veggie trays. But I have to leave a little time so that I can sit here and type these words to you.

Thus, the pre-cooked turkey and the Chinette.

But in all seriousness, I have more to be thankful for than I could ever hope to fit into this space. I am thankful beyond measure for my wonderful family, who loves me. I am thankful that, at present, we all are healthy and happy and strong. I am thankful for my children, who fill my heart with joy, bubbling over.

I am thankful for my husband, who makes me feel loved and special. I am thankful for my parents, who, even though I am forty years old, still think I am young. I am thankful for my wonderful, curmudgeonly older brother who still treats me like I am a child. Some things never change.

I am thankful for a roof over my head, a car to drive, food on the table, and money to pay the bills. I am thankful that I live in a land of possibility and promise, a land where, with a little integrity and a lot of hard work, any of us can reach our full potential.

I am thankful for the men and women who will be spending the holidays in a far-away land, separated from those they love the most, so that I can enjoy the holidays in peace. I am thankful for their families, who sacrifice so that the rest of us don’t have to.

Most of all, I am thankful for a God who loves me, even when I’m not lovable. I’m thankful that He wants to be my friend, and spend time with me. His is a love that will never end. It just keeps going and going.

Yep, I have much to be thankful for. My cup overflows.

1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Living Like Goldie

This has been a difficult week for our family. It has been a time of great weeping and wailing and mourning. This week, dear readers, we lost our beloved pet fish, Goldie.

Goldie has been with our family ever since . . . last month. He was a good fish, full of personality. He swam with such grace and vigor, and his long, flowing fins turned his movements into an art form. He was an inspiration to us all. He will be sorely missed, and his absence in our lives will leave a hole that will not easily be filled. (Actually, it can be filled for $2.50 at the local pet shop, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Services were held in our bathroom. My pastor/husband, the Right Reverend Dr. Mark F. Brumbaugh, o-fish-iated. Loving words were spoken, followed by a hymn: “I’ll swim away, oh, glory, I’ll swim away (down the toilet).” And then, we said goodbye to Goldie, and watched him swirl away to that beautiful home in the sea. (Well, sewer. But let’s just overlook that little detail for the sake of posterity, shall we?)

Goldie had a short life, but it was a good one. He had a nice, big fish bowl to swim in. He had his meals brought to him, and he had lots of little fishy things in his bowl to play with and swim around. And he brought joy to us, his family. He didn’t waste his life longing for the ocean, longing for some dream that would never develop. Nope. He happily swam around his bowl, waving his fins for us, coming up to greet us when we brought him food. He seemed to enjoy his life. I guess you could say he lived well. He had learned the secret of being content.

Our lives are pretty short, when you think about it. Whether we live 20 years or 80, our existence is really no more than a blink, in the grand scheme of things. Isn’t it a shame that we waste so much of it, wishing for things we can never have? Instead of enjoying the houses we live in, we want bigger houses. Instead of appreciating our jobs, we long for better jobs. Before we are married, we want to find that special person. After we are married, we want children. We wish for financial freedom, retirement . . . and before we know it, we have wished our lives away, wanting what isn’t ours. We would be so much better off, don’t you think, if we could learn from Goldie, and be happy with what life has handed us. Right here, right now.

From now on, I intend to look at my life through Goldie’s eyes. I will try to remember that life is short, and not a moment should be wasted. I will do my best to appreciate what I have, instead of squandering my time longing for what I don’t have. And someday, when I go on to glory, I want people to say, “She lived well.”

Philippians 4:12 “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . .”

Friday, November 7, 2008

Our New President

Congratulations, United States! You have a new president. And while he may or may not be the person you voted for, he does represent some positive change in our country. He is a good man with a lovely family, and his election, in many ways, represents the ideals here in the United States – ideals which have long been awaiting reality.

Barack Obama is a living, breathing example of the term, “The Melting Pot”. A white mother. A father of mixed race, including African and Arabic. Obama’s very existence is a picture of who we are in this country. His election to the highest office in our land will certainly add a more balanced view to the portraits hanging in the hallowed halls of the White House.

As a white American, I admit that I will never understand what it is like, not to be white. I admit that things have probably been easier for me, that doors have perhaps been opened more freely for me, simply because of the color of my skin. I have many dear friends of many different races, and I believe I have judged people by their character, and not their color.

But I understand that not everyone does that. And because of the folks who have judged others based on color alone, many of our citizens have suffered. Some have been denied jobs. Some have been wrongly accused.

I hope, that by putting a man of mixed race in the White House, a man who is married to a black woman, a man who has two beautiful biracial daughters . . . I hope that will bring healing to our land. I hope Barack Obama’s position will bring unity, rather than division. God knows, we need some unity.

I pledge to you today, dear readers, that I will pray for Barack Obama. I will not slander him as a person, but rather, I will choose to give him the benefit of the doubt. I will choose to believe that he will do his very best to lead our nation, and that his decisions, though they may not be my preferences, will be made from a pure heart.

I will pray that the Almighty God will shower His wisdom and guidance on this man. I will pray that God will surround him with wise, righteous advisors, people who love our country and who will help him to serve this country to the very best of his ability.

Mr. Obama, you ran your election on a platform of hope and positive change. Hope for all Americans, for a brighter tomorrow. Change which will tear down the walls that have so divided our country. I will pray God Himself will help you deliver on those promises. May God bless you, and may God bless America.

Romans 13:1 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”