Monday, January 21, 2008

The Grinch On Christmas

I just came across this quote from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." I like it, so I'll blog it here.

"Maybe Christmas he thought doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more."

I recently asked my husband what he enjoyed about Christmas this year. He said, "No presents." I have to agree with him. Due to our strict spending limits for Christmas 2007, we did not buy gifts. I made a calendar for my mom and gave my dad a 1 year subscription to "Cookies By Mail" for six shipments of home-baked cookies randomly throughout the year. I made that up, and I'll bake and ship cookies to him. Glen and I gave no new gifts to each other. For other family, we made fudge and gave them that with some other little items. I enjoyed making the fudge -- something sweet to enjoy.

I did not miss the following things connected to gift giving: going to the malls/congested retail areas, fighting for parking spots, rushing to wrap everything, waiting in line, trying to guess what would be meaningful to someone on for the limited amount of money to spend, and the stress on time and money. I did hear others complain and I thought I wonder why they play the game when it is more of a hassle than blessing.

I now prefer to give money to a reputable charity for a goat for a family in poverty somewhere in the world. In fact, we were honored by others who donated on our behalf to support those fighting poverty in the world. That is very meaningful!

We did give our youngest nephew his annual $20 disguised in a coloring book. That is traditional fun. He graduates from high school in June 2009, so this will continue one more Christmas. Once the boys are out of high school, the gifting stops.

I recently saw a WalMart commercial with a little boy in a car going to WalMart to "spend" the gift card he got. It was a cozy, comforting tone to the commercial. However, it bothered me. A sense of peace, comfort, and love are not really found in material goods and consumer spending. This add was misleading. I found peace, comfort, and love in sharing time with loved ones (friends and family) and enjoying good food throughout the holidays. Simple and satisfying. Lesson learned.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Spinning the Gray

I am not referring to our current weather - the hat-trick of rain...three storms coming through in the next few days. Today, I decided to spin the gray, my gray -- my way. It is election season and all that, so spinning is in the air. And so are my gray hairs. I'm turning gray, more so each day. I'm 52 and a half, so it is age appropriate behavior. So far, I am uninterested in coloring my hair. Getting in the habit of flossing daily was enough trouble. If I had to manage my roots (and I'm not taking about getting in touch with my inner-child or doing a genealogy), I can't imagine how adding one more thing to the "to do" list would add to my happiness. Not to mention the cost. Maybe it is only $5 a bottle once a month for 10 years or so. That's about $600 I'd rather do other things with like three annual passports to Disneyland or donate to charity.

So, I'm going gray with pride. Standing tall. And taking two steps along the way:
1. I'm going to create a new version of a familiar cliche to say, "Gray is the new blonde." That's positive. Maybe I'll start gray jokes. Or start a publicity campaign about grays having more fun.

2. I'm going to spin it so that I no longer have gray hair...but silver hair. That can now be politically correct. Silver is so much more lovely. Ban the label gray hair!

I love this proverb: “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” [Proverbs 16:31]

And I just read this on another blog “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” C.S. Lewis said this. Brilliant.

My culture says aging is not good. I love being counter cultural.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

So You Believe In God?


Sometimes I pose this question to myself, as if I were in a conversation with a friend who had no perspective of the Almighty. Perhaps an athiest, an agnocstic, or an undecided -- as if they wanted to know who I would be voting for in eternity. These conversations are few and far between for some reason.

Today, driving along, musing about my answer to the topic question, I came up with my latest response. It is a good one, I think. Because it is a big idea. I like to avoid using Scripture (did you just gasp in horror or did someone burp?) in my answers to this question. I also like to avoid cliche or box lunch type answers all contained and packaged. So, this answer is one I'm chewing on right now.

Why do I believe in God? Forgiveness. How could that be imitated? How could that be innate? Natural? That is whole-hearted, life-giving evidence of God to me. When hearts soften and then are empowered to forgive another, freedom for the forgiver is often transforming. Sometimes, relationships are healed in time. People grow in capacity and are sometimes able to sincerely forgive someone's criminal behavior toward them. There is no rest nor satisfaction in revenge or unforgiveness.

Forgiveness is a mystical, intangible powerful dynamic. Yet there is tangible evidence of it in action that cannot be denied. That mirrors the presence of God for me in undeniable terms.

For those of us who believe, Christ is the ultimate example of the power of forgiveness. He offered forgiveness of sin to reconcile us to the loving, just God. It ties together for me, yet I may or may not bring our salvation in Christ into a conversation about why I believe in God. And sin -- another topic for discussion, but not today.

Forgiving -- the force that shows me God. And forgetting? Well, that's different.