Monday, January 18, 2016

On Not Pursuing "The American Dream"

You know who was a really wise man?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I'm glad we have a celebration of his life, because I bet he didn't really get celebrated much while he was here.
I sometimes think even if people had publicly celebrated him during his life, he was probably too busy humbly making things happen to allow himself to be celebrated.

I've never seen a quote from him that I didn't like, but today, one hit me extra hard with it's depth of truth:

"The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may."

I might be wrong, but I've always thought maybe his goal wasn't to create a political movement, but more to do what he knew God wanted him to do.  His boldness and gentleness sounds almost superhuman sometimes - he must have had more motivation than just a "cause."

I've been reading the Psalms lately, and there is so much there about our God being a God of justice - He never forgets the needy or afflicted (Ps. 9:18).

Dr. King did so much for America, but I don't know that he did it with America in mind, and he certainly didn't do it because society expected it of him (society in general didn't seem too keen on what he was doing).  He did it because he served a God of justice and he couldn't ignore that calling on his life.

To me, that's the bravest thing he did - he didn't do what people expected of him, but he did do what he knew he was supposed to do.

But what about when you're not called to bold action?
What if you're called to silent service?

Like me, what if you're working quietly and invisibly in the background?  I've been called to the background, and I'm staying there until I'm called to the front lines.

And if I'm never called to the front lines and I stay in the background for my entire life on this Earth, I will have done the best thing I could have possibly done with my one wild and precious life.

I wonder sometimes if we do our children a disservice by raising them to be movers and shakers just because that's what we do in America.

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for leaders and world-changers, but let's be sure we're not doing these things because they're what will help us be happy, achieve pleasure, and avoid pain.
Let's do good because it's right, even when it's hard and counter-cultural.

I'm a nanny, and I love those kids, and I would love to think that I'm helping, in some small way, to raise the next president of the United States (who knows - I might be), but I'm also totally on board with the kids' dad, who says frequently that he doesn't care what his kids do with their future - they could be ditch-diggers or garbage men, as long as they are being the best ditch-diggers or garbage men they can be.

The leaders and the world-changers will emerge, whether we raise them to be such or not, because they will know, just like Dr. King did, that they can't do anything but what they've been called to do.

Micah 6:8 says "He has shown you, oh 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."

Let's raise up a generation to do that, and see how they will change the world.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Today I Received a Thank You Note

For a hug I gave someone 3 years ago.

I'm not kidding!

Okay, so maybe it was for a little more than the hug, but seriously, I was kind of overwhelmed by the fact that she mentioned me hugging her on a hard day as a memory that has stayed with her this long. How wonderful to think that little normal everyday actions we make can so impact other people's lives.

Physical touch is a necessary part of my life - hugs are my thing. Sometimes I wonder if the main reason I give them is because I need them. Regardless of all that, though, giving someone a hug on a hard day is just my natural response to their trouble.

It was really amazing to realize that what seemed small and insignificant (and maybe even routine?) at the time was very impactful on someone else.

What a powerful reminder to keep loving on others in small everyday ways!

Monday, January 11, 2016

There Used to be a "Pretty-ish Kind of Little Wilderness" Behind MyHouse

I spent my childhood in a house on the dead end of the street. No, we're not talking about a neatly groomed cul-de-sac, we're talking about asphalt that gradually turned to grass, which quickly turned to woods.
It was really idyllic - there were woods on the side and behind my house, with little trails cut into them for us to explore, and, as the neighborhood slowly lost all other wooded areas, ours stayed.

Then, when I was 12, we moved to the "real" country. We had 4-wheelers, chickens, and multiple dogs and cats, and we sometimes shared our property with other people's cows. Again, idyllic - lots of exploring outside, turning trees into playhouses with only our imagination and nary a nail or board in sight.

Now, I live in a neighborhood again, and, again, in the back of the neighborhood with a little wood behind my house. One of my favorite things about this is that I get to look out the kitchen window and see green as I'm washing dishes.
But recently, someone has bought the property behind us and built a house, and it looks more and more like they're going to develop further.

Y'all , my heart is kind of breaking about this. I realize they were never my woods to begin with, but they sure brought me joy.
It's kind of like a very mild form of torture or something - every night, I go to sleep thinking, well, surely they're done now, but every morning I wake up and they're back at it again.

But there is no great loss without some small gain, and my consolation is that, if I get up early enough, I can now see the sunrise out of my kitchen window. Along with a house and the few scraggly trees they left behind...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

What would you do?

What do you do when a solicitor or some such person comes unexpectedly to your door?

I always try to be as nice as I possibly can to anybody who shows up at my house, be they friend or... random person (of course I'm careful and safe too) but hey, door-to-door salespeople are humans just as much as I am, and deserve human decency and kindness just as much as anyone else.

Today, though, oh today, I got home from a lunch date and laid down on the couch for a moment, and the longer I laid there, the more I felt I could not be prevailed upon to do anything else for the rest of the day (don't worry - I did eventually get some things accomplished).

I've been having some pretty bad tension in my neck off and on since New Year's, and it returned in full force today, so I got myself a book and settled in - curled up under the warmest afghan in the house, by the fire and the Christmas Tree. I felt perfectly cozy.

Then came the knock at the door.

I propped myself up on my elbow and looked out the window of the front door.  I couldn't really see a person, but I saw a clipboard with some colorful pamphlets on it, and assumed there was probably a person carrying it.

My couch is situated in just such a way that if I'm lying on it, you can't see me from outside the house, so I just stayed right where I was because I did. not. want. to. move.

But y'all, I felt bad about it - it's the silliest thing, but I really felt sorry that I didn't answer the door for that poor person, from whom I certainly wasn't going to buy anything anyway.

This is my house, for goodness' sake, and my front door, and I can choose to open it or not as I so please, but I still feel a deep sense of obligation to open it to everyone who happens to knock.

So, what do you do?
I actually want to know if I'm the only person who feels this way.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I guess I'm just never satisfied with my hair.

***First, let me take a moment to solemnly apologize for the "apart" that appeared in my last post where the should have been "a part" - I was so ashamed when I discovered it.  I changed it immediately and am working on mending my sloppy proofreading ways.***

Now, onward: My poor hair has been in a constant state of change for basically my entire life - I can't learn to just leave it alone!  I've never done any chemical treatments on it at all, but other than that, it's been put through the wringer lately.

You may remember when I stopped washing it - that lasted about 6 months, just like no-poo before it.
(I cringe every time I type that...)

It's not that there was anything terribly wrong with not washing my hair.  My hair actually looked and felt about the same as it did when I washed it and it maybe even had a little more volume than with normal shampoo, but, honestly, I just really missed my hair smelling nice, so here we are.  I'm not going back to drugstore shampoos, though - I'm just buying high-end shampoos in large bottles when I see them on sale, and I'm pretty happy with it.

But, of course, you know I had to branch out into a new hair experiment, because, as we've already established, I can't just leave it alone.

So, now, I'm cutting my own hair.  Yep.  You heard me right.

Kids, don't try this one at home, because it really could have disastrous results, but, personally, I'm loving it so far, and haven't had any disasters.

Well, maybe I should say I've had minimal disasters?

The first time I did it was unexpectedly stressful.  I just got out of the shower one day and decided today was the day, and I went to town on it - chopped off about 8 inches.  That's kinda the way I generally do things - last minute, and all or nothing.

Then I stepped into the living room to model for my sister, who was sitting on the couch with her fiancee - the fiancee whom she was going to marry in two weeks, and here I was the Maid of Honor having just chopped all of her hair off too short to go into an up-do of any kind...

Oh man did I have a moment, but she was totally fine with it - she could not have cared less how I did my hair (except maybe if I had dyed it teal or something).

From that point on, I've just kept it fairly short and Ive thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'm getting antsy to grow it out again.  The thing is, though, for the last 8 years or so, I've had my hair in pretty significant layers, and I've had bangs just about every other year, so the amount of different lengths in my hair has been overwhelming.  I'm finally to a point where most of the layers are pretty long and blended together well, but those bangs, man.  They're taking forever to catch up with the rest of my hair.

I want to grow it out, but with almost all of it the same length.  I think I need to keep some layers in it, but I want them to be minimal and long.  My hair's pretty thin, and every time I've tried to grow it out in the past, it's started to look scraggly past a certain point, and I'm just kind of wondering if that's because I had too many layers in it?  So, we're going to try this, and see how it goes.

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Small Changes

I'm tired of making promises I don't keep - not promises I can't keep, just promises I choose not to keep after a while, for whatever silly reason I choose.

I've never been one to make New Year's Resolutions (and I'm still not), but I do frequently shout forth giant plans and promises for my future, and then utterly fail at following through.

I'm the queen of not following through.

I've actually been feeling pretty discouraged about that lately - I guess that's part of the process of acknowledging that this is a part of who I am that still needs a lot of refining.

In order to cheer myself up a little bit, I decided that, instead of resolutions, I'm going to start doing a little review of various small things I set out to do, and actually accomplished, at the end of each year.
Uh-oh.  Did I just make a resolution by accident?

So, without further ado, 2015 in review:

  1. I committed to a 30-day green smoothie challenge, and completed it (and I'm in the middle of another one right now...)
  2. I committed to a 21-day cleanse, and completed it (and I'm starting another one in February)
  3. I told Baby Sister I would knit her a hat, and I did (even if it did take me 4 months...)
  4. In the last 4 months, I journaled more than twice the amount I did earlier in the year
  5. I made a decision to pick myself up when I fail, and keep going, instead of just brushing my failures completely under a rug off in a corner somewhere, and I've tried to incorporate that principle in my life
  6. I made a decision to use up all the makeup I have before buying more, and I've stuck with it
  7. I dedicated my bedroom as a technology-free zone, and, while I haven't stuck with it 100%, I'm pretty convinced it's a good idea, and I'm still chipping away at my bad habit of browsing social media at all hours of the night - now I'm just reading books at all hours of the night...

That's a pretty good little list - here's to more small accomplishments in 2016

Also, can I just say, some strange girl has taken over my body today:

  • She only snoozed her alarm once
  • She actually went to the gym
  • She came back home and did a small home improvement project (Project New Year - New Bedroom coming soon to a blog near you hopefully)
  • She got to work on time
  • She came home and wrote a blog post

Who is this person?
If this is what happens when you decide not to make resolutions, put me on this boat for the rest of my life.