Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Broken Dishwasher Strengthens Marriage

Our dishwasher is broken. It has been broken for several weeks. We now hand wash the dishes. Sometimes that is a time demand that is tough to keep up during our busy days. We are unable to replace the dishwasher at this time due to other priorities and the need to research a new one, with the hope of getting a reliable one.

For much of our marriage the rule is whoever cooks does the clean-up. That has been practical because of our cooking styles. Glen cleans up as he goes. I love to spread my cooking mess around the kitchen like a junk yard of culinary fun. So, naturally, Glen prefers that I clean up after my cooking adventures.

Last night, Glen and I did the dishes together. He washed and I dried and put away. This old fashioned activity got us up off the evening couch, postponed our TV vegetative states, and took us away from our laptops. The laptops have been known to consume the evenings, since we both work and play on our computers, side by side, as the night slips away.

I have to confess that time spent side by side doing the dishes provided a time to unwind together, accomplish a goal with immediate reward, and a venue for light-hearted, random conversation. It was fun. I really enjoyed it.

I hope we do more dish washing together. It was just such a simple way to enjoy time together, like a leisurely ride in the car. Plus, the cook gets out of the kitchen faster when two tackle the dishes.

So, in this day and age of so many "conveniences," do we lose that easy going time together that inconveniences provide? That are a path to slowing down and sharing life in conversation? In addition, we stopped eating out as often several years ago. I discovered how we each enjoy the creative process of taking time to collect and combine various food ingredients into a rewarding (usually) evening meal, less expensive and usually healthier in portions and nutrition! Back to the simpler way of living step-by-step. We also clean our home on our own now, due to budget cuts. That is relaxing and rewarding, too. At least for us. And it involves a bit of physical activity, which is always good. Big, yet subtle, benefits. Finding time is still the challenge, but the benefits are nice. Am I crazy?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"A & A" E-mails (Alarm & Alert)...Groan!

I have recently thought more about these “A&A” e-mails...”Alarm & Alert” that I get from time to time, usually forwarded. I realize that I can give little to no attention to them. I don’t have the time, energy, or priority space to dig deeper to find out truth and separate bias and then truly influence an outcome. I must devote my days to things that I can impact and want to give heart energy and head space to — things that God has called me to devote my life to in serving Him.

There is so much information available to us through e-mail that we each need to determine how to manage it. And this is my plan. I must each figure out how to avoid the distractions of electronic information, in an effort to focus on what is before me that truly needs my attention. At my 80th birthday party, when I look back on my life, will I think figuring out a right response to these types of e-mails made a difference? Of course, not! If I gave the time to studying God’s word instead, wouldn’t that be time better spent? Or sharing a cup of coffee to catch up with a neighbor? Or bowing in prayer for the leaders of my church and nation? Here is a good filter from Stephen Covey:

Circle of Concern - Circle of Influence
From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Determine what you can do instead of worry over what you have no control over.
Circle of Concerns - all those worries
Circle of Influence - from those worries, select things you can actually do something about. Be pro-active and get going! This will decrease the list of worries.

"Covey distinguishes between the have's ('If only I had...') and the be's ('I can be...'). Focusing on what you don't like is disempowering. Focusing on what you can do is proactive and empowering. 'Be part of the solution,' Covey suggests, 'not part of the problem.'"
[Comments from Mary R. Bast, PhD]

And the rest...learn to let it go and trust God. So, I will be deleting "A & A" e-mails and moving on.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Liberal or Conservative Quiz

I just took a quiz online to see if I'm liberal or conservative on political issues. It was interesting. I tested "liberal." I am not surprised. I'm beginning to relax about the label. The label can cause negative reactions from people I call friends and loved ones. Hopefully, they've taken the time to hear my perspective and to understand it, even though we may not agree. To begin with, I determine my opinions by using my world view based in following Christ and what I know of him through Scripture and other wise followers. This is probably very similar to how conservatives form their opinions, interestingly enough. After starting there, I then reflect on my experience with real people in real situations and I study different social, economic, and political issues. I am conservative with Scripture. Liberal is not a bad thing to be.

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999
lib·er·al (adj)
  1. tolerant of different views and standards of behavior in others
  2. favoring gradual reform, especially political reforms that extend democracy, distribute wealth more evenly, and protect the personal freedom of the individual
  3. generous with money, time, or some other asset
  4. not limited to the literal meaning in translation or interpretation
  5. concerned with general cultural matters and broadening of the mind rather than professional or technical study
  6. relating to a political ideology of liberalism

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Elusive Contentment & Words of Whoa!

If complaints were laden with calories, would you be overweight? If comments that build up a brother or sister -- any person created in God's image burned calories, would you be lean? I'm all for discernment, wisdom, and good judgement, and even critical thinking and solid reasoning. I acknowledge we are all on a journey. Yet I need to work on my responses to events and choices others make. I want to be a more thoughtful and understanding person. So often I may jump to conclusions, criticizing a complete stranger or someone well known without knowing the full story and without stopping to realize this person is of value to God the father and I don't know how God is working in that moment. As Andy Marin, author of Love is an Orientation, wisely shared, "God is at work in a person's life. We do not know when that starts or where it will end." I need to remember this and stay open to God's work hidden or visible to me, and learn to love with my words and deeds. This reflection was prompted by listening to people respond to the ingauguration ceremony and the prayers and the poem and the fashion for the ball. Here we go!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Impressions

  • Peaceful transfer of power - this is a big deal in and of itself in today's world
  • The sea of people crested in waves of American flags in joyful patient assembly
  • Rick Warren's prayer: "You are loving to everyone you have made...hinge point of history...our first African American president...grateful to live in a land...give to our new president the wisdom to lead us with humility...bless and protect...united not by race, religion, or blood but by our commitment to freedom and justice for share, to serve, and to seek the common good of work for a more just, healthy,...peaceful planet....
  • "Simple Gifts" played eloquently
  • A speech to be read in review as soon as it is published on the web
  • Silence of my friends who fear his leadership and doubt his authenticity
  • Praise song reading
  • A benediction..."God of our weary years...silent tears...who brought us along thus far...we give thanks and pray for you blessing upon your servant, his family, and his adminsitration....mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and end us from exploiting the poor...." [worth reading once it is on the web]
  • And hooray! It's a new day in America.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Song for a New Day


The words and ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr. inspire me and continue to challenge my heart. I honor his legacy and courage today.

The inauguration of the 44th President has been significant for me. Maybe it's because it feels to me like he is a common man, not from a wealthy political family, that connects for me. Maybe it's because he moved to Chicago, as did I, after college and still love Chicago to this day. Maybe it is because I'm a fan of Michelle and think the girls are sweet. I won't go into more detail here and now on why I am so engaged in the new day with new leadership and responding to the call to participate in the "we" of "Yes, we can." It has been stirring and tomorrow, Inauguration Ceremony and other festivities, will be a highlight. I pray for the health and safety of the family, along with God's wisdom and grace in days to come.

So, no more fat and critical. I'll work to be fit and hopeful so I can keep up with the work ahead for all of us, living in a way that honors God and helps me learn to love my neighbor making life for others more meaningful through values that unite these states.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birth Order

I once spoke to an author of a book on birth order and how that impacts our development as people. At that time, I thought I was first born. I realized recently that I am in fact second born. My older sister did not survive and I don't know her yet, but hope to meet her one day in Heaven. So, does that make me second born with first born expectations? I've always felt I didn't have exactly the qualities of first borns. Maybe this is part of it. How much weight do we put in all that anyway? It is interesting, but I won't lose sleep over it.
Something that is more interesting to me is my younger brother. Second born or third? Who knows how those things go? What I do know is that he and I are friends now and that is a recent development over the past couple years. I'm really enjoying having a sibling friend. I guess I was kind of an only child for about 10 years while my brother had split from the family. He is such a blessing to the family now and has been so kind to our aging parents in Ohio. I am grateful. Ric is pictured below.

Now, think about this. My husband is first born, and if I have the first born role, experts say two first borns should never marry. Well, I'm so glad we did. It is fun. [Top photo is Glen, my husband, and I]

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Welcome 2009!

I am glad to greet the new year. I have some things to look forward to doing. I'm grateful to God for his guidance and for each new day he gives. Although I had (have) a cold over my winter break (Christmas vacation), I enjoyed time with loved ones -- family and friends. I enjoyed our home, even though decorations were minimal this year. Most of all, I enjoyed sharing life with my very cool husband, who is making popcorn as I write. I just felt so grateful for all the good in the times at hand.