Friday, December 26, 2008

The bagel hole

This analogy keeps coming back to me, and the lesson is one that I need to re-learn, re-apply frequently, maybe one day I will actually 'get' this and move on?

I life a truly blessed life. I have a beautiful family and we are all healthy. Our extended family is loving, caring, generous and above all fun to be around. We have many great and dear friends all across the country. I am fully aware of the many 'major' blessings that I can count mine.

Yet, in this wonderful period of my life, when I am pretty fancy and footloose, I get lost in the 'hole.' If I really think about it, I have it 'made' right now. No home to clean, no household chores to do, no meal planning, no daily to do list of too many things that must get done today, no stresses of making 'the right' Christmas food, no expectations on 'the perfect' decorations, rather I have time to sit on the floor and play with the boys, read a magazine or a great book for more than 5 minutes at a stretch, Bob and I have had a dinner out date, and we have had a wonderful and joyous Christmas surrounded by family, fabulous food and the ability to see and experience Christmas through the eyes of little ones. I could easily go on for pages about the plentys of my blessings.

Yet, the 'hole' crowds this out, and what I 'see' is only what I do not have, the things that are not going 'my way,' the misspelling of a word rather than the blessing of the message, the slight of a clerk rather than the great gift found for a loved one. It is like sticking my head through the hole of a bagel, looking at the big empty space and complaining there is nothing to eat. Being so busy looking around through the hole that I completely miss all the yummy dough cooked into a delicious, warm, cinnamon raisin bagel. The 'not here' takes over, crowds out the 'much here' and the hole gets bigger, the more I really have. Truly I am lacking nothing, I am not in need for even one thing. Why does the hole take over? It colors my world, I am grouchy, crabby, selfish, and not fun to be around - because I am hungry and all I can see is the hole.

I am going back to basics, back to counting my blessings daily to keep me so busy that the hole cannot take over. Because when I stop and enumerate the many things that are so wonderful in my life, the hole disappear, and the scent of cinnamon tickles my nose, the warmth of the dough warms me up, and my hunger is satisfied by the extra large bagel that is all around me.

This is more self disclosure than I am used to, but being open, honest, and real is the only way to smooth out the rough edges. Our current vagabond lifestyle is shining a bright light at many of my rough spots, there is a lot of work to be done. This season in my life is no 'accident' but rather a precious gift from God, so that I can do the work set before me. The busyness of 'normal life is gone, stripped away, I have no excuses. This is a time for self reflection, re-focus, renewal bathed in prayer and Scripture to help me in the sanctification process and to grow closer to God. This journey has just began!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What have I missed?????

What have I missed?

Finding a great parking spot in a hard to park area and the meter has money left on it.
Watching large beautiful snow flakes falling gently outside the window
Seeing the glimmer in my son's eye as he masters tying his shoes – and not getting impatient that it takes twice as long as if I had done it.
Having a family that was craving hamburgers for lunch and being right in front of a drive through that had 'half off everything day' – more food than we could eat for $12.
Getting great seats to a last minute show and being offered a military discount far better than any other discount available
Missing friends and just then the phone ringing, someone calling to chat
Trying on clothes, losing my anniversary earrings, realizing it 30 minutes later and being able to find it!
Taking a walk and finding a great park to play in and having the time to play.

Daily God blesses me in the here and now, small blessings to remind me of His love and promise to always be with me. I am overwhelmed by his mercy. I am quite confident that these blessings did not just begin to show up, but rather that I have been too busy with life to even notice and appreciate all that God does for me. I even read the 'Having a Mary heart in a Martha World,' without effect on my busyness. Yet again, I thought I could do it, I could fix it, I could find it.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph 2:8-9.
I am not boasting, I am confessing that I was too busy to notice and so very grateful that God cared enough for me to correct me and bring me back. When most of the daily chores of life were peeled away, I finally had a chance to notice and appreciate. I know now that God never leaves me, but rather I leave Him behind in my hurry to get this one thing done. He stripped most of my hurries and to dos away so that I was able to stop and notice Him. I am just curious about what I have missed all this time?


I am at times worrying about the many traditions that our boys are missing giving our current lifestyle – or so I think. We are not home to set up a tree, decorate the house, bake and cook, wrap gifts, make presents and celebrate the holidays with friends at parties. I know that value of traditions and desire fervently to indulge them and imbue them with the best and happiest of childhood memories and those are of course made at Christmas, right? What will they grow up with, no traditions, nothing that they look back on as special and that 'what we always did' feeling. So I worried and fretted….

When we got to our room in Park City, we immediately checked out the view. Gorgeous mountains in the distance and a small convenience and shopping center right across the street. Both Bob and I had independently noticed signs for a local church so we decided that we needed to visit this little church for Sunday service. Up to this point, we have been practicing home church in our various locations.

The boys were reluctantly excited about going to church, and then looked across the street to the shopping center and shouted – Yes, we can go to Einsteins after church, just like we used to. Here was a every day, run of the mill routine we used to have while living in Washington DC, going to church and stopping for bagels on our way home. To the boys that was tradition, to the boys that is what one does on Sundays, and our time in Ridgecrest had not diminished that tradition despite the lack of a proper bagel store in the vicinity. Here was a tradition that to them was important and meaningful, and I was worrying about what????

Lukas and Noah have a way of getting my perspective back on track!

Warning, time spent in the desert appears longer!

Warning, time spent in the desert appears longer than it is…. Just like the familiar warning on side view mirrors: object in the mirror appears closer than they are.

Appearance, perception – not reality. In truth, we only spent a scant 30 months in the desert, but it sure seemed longer, much longer. As I reflect on why that is, I realize it is not because
it was so far away from everything
it was so hot all the time
it was so windy all the time
or any other objection to the desert
Our time in Ridgecrest seemed so much longer because of
the slower life style
the non existing traffic jams
the amazingly short commute to work
the great people who live there
the ability to hold last minute get-togethers and impromptu dinner parties
the spontaneous play dates that did not require weeks of pre-planning
the generosity and kindness of everyone
the knowledge that anyone on the street would lend me a cup of sugar
the freedom that Lukas and Noah had in playing almost unsupervised outside
the fabulous people
the great friendships we formed and made
the spectacular starry nights
the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets
the wildlife right there in our front or back yard
the majestic mountains
the wonderful people – did I say that already????

Ridgecrest will forever hold a special place in our hearts – we left with many wonderful and incredible memories in our bags, and our only regret is that we had to leave so many great friends behind.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Such extremes

Most people who know me, know that I am a list maker. I have list for gifts, lists for things to do, list errands, list for food, lists for my lists... just kidding about the last one. My life revolves around the lists, and the last few months have been the time of lists with capital L in order for us to prepare for our nine month adventure. Slowly as we neared the day to leave Ridgecrest, the lists got shorter and fewer, and now here in Snowbird, UT my list consists of: NOTHING!!! I am almost having list withdrawal, although I am enjoying this time of very few demands on my time and for the very few things I need to remember each day. Although I like lists, there is nothing for me to write on my list right now!
Another extreme surrounds food and our meals. I am reading Vegetable, Animals, Miracles which talks about a families experiment to live off food that is either produced by themselves or produced locally for one year. So out the window goes anything 'ready made' or almost ready made. The author talks about making bread, canning, making cheese, slaughtering chickens and creating delicious stews that simmer all day on the stove. My reality right now is such a contrast to that - we have discovered a whole new world of almost ready made meals in the store, things that can easily be whipped up in hotel kitchenettes, and does not require multiple staples to round out, finish off the meal. I never knew there were so many choices in the store. Meals come together in minutes and my most coveted tool is the can opener and the microwave...

I was a list making, bread baking, from scratch making dinner gal and have gone to the land of no lists, and ready made food. What an adventure!