So, I woke up today with a whole different sense of my real estate conundrum. Over the last few days I haven't felt entirely comfortable in my own skin because I haven't liked obsessing about a piece of property and feeling so manipulated by my neighbor. It felt like my priorities were out of whack and I didn't like the me that was showing up. I have a writing project I'm working on, which I LOVE, but I wasn't putting my heart into it because I was so distracted.
So, here's what happened this morning. I went to my computer and was looking out the window thinking about where to put my energies today. Now, I'm not someone to wear my spirituality on my sleeve, and besides I'm pretty much a neophyte when it comes to my spiritual side, but out of the blue I thought I'd check the website of the church we used to go to in the city. I love the minister and to this day I remember many of his sermons. I have never been to the website before but for some reason I clicked on the button for the Sunday sermon and out of my computer came Tom Tewell's voice and his sermon titled, "Less in More."
I laughed out loud ... I mean, how perfect is that?
He talked about how we as a culture are so oriented to bigger is better, and how we can miss out on ways we can make a small marks on the world that have wide and lasting impact. I especially liked his story of how when his kids were young and all their friends were going on warm weather vacations in the middle of winter and he and his wife couldn't afford to travel. So, while everyone else was out of town, he and his wife set up a miniature golf course throughout their house, starting on the top floor and ending up downstairs with chip shots over the dining room table. To this day, they all remember how much fun they had that holiday.
Along those lines, when our first daughter was born, Andy and I were in the teensiest, tiniest apartment in the city. We have such happy memories of the space and time there together.
I know this sounds hokey, but I'm relieved to be reminded that my happiness doesn't come from a piece of real estate. Yes, I'd love to buy the house, but if it doesn't work out, all will still be right with the world. I still have too many blessings to even begin counting them. And too many things I want to work on to put all my energies into a bidding war over which I will have little control.
Besides, real estate is a funny business. If not this house, who knows down the road what might come our way.
If you'd like to hear the sermon, it's at FAPC.org.
In honor of the Official Been There De-Lurking Day(so we're a little late, we were busy), how about a game that could be interesting (insightful, educational even?) for all who parent or even those who were parented (which is just about everyone, so you have no excuse not to say something)?
Tell us a moment in which you knew you were doing something right as a mom or dad (there's got to be at least one time you gave yourself a pat on the back). If you don't want to do that, then tell us about a moment in which you said to yourself, and at some point you did - since you all seem to be thoughtful, articulate, interested and interesting people - "my folks didn't do such a bad job after all."
Check out this post at Always Victoria about her dad and the impression he made on her though out her life. Very sweet and cool.
Go ahead, de-lurk, get a glass of wine, and come on, leave a comment!
An article in the New York Times Science section argues today that love is the strongest force there is. The writer points to an experience he had observing a mother squirrel fighting, over the course of three days, to get her way into a vent in which her babies were trapped.
Yep. I've been there mother squirrel. I am sure you agree, Internet, that when it comes to those you love, especially your kids, you know you will stop at nothing to get to them when you think they are in trouble.
It's like that feeling I had at the store the other day when I couldn't find my son for about half a minute (although it felt like an hour). I was frantically calling his name and running up and down the aisle when, there he was, right where I left him. "Whaaat?" he said. It took everything in me not to fall to my knees and hold him forever, but, instead, we walked on and got M &Ms and all was well.
In one way or another, I imagine most of you have had similar, "is it possible that we are creating holiday memories?" moments the last few days. Watching my kids trim the tree and decorate the house yesterday was one of those moments for me. I have such vivid memories of Christmas as a kid and I just hope, as simple as it was, the best parts of yesterday will stick with them forever. (Or, if my deepest fears come true, they will just remember that their mother was stressed out.)
In an attempt to learn from those far wiser and more experienced, Emily and I have been gathering holiday tradition ideas over the last couple months from families who, like most of us, try to use this season as an opportunity to convey to their children some "big picture" values.
One father, who wanted his children to know the importance of "giving back," put an envelope on the Christmas tree every year that contained a description of what the family was going to do for those less fortunate in the year to come. One year, for example, he bought new uniforms for an inner city high school wrestling team that could not afford uniforms. The family said the envelope was always their favorite "gift" to open. After the father died, the tradition continued and the "envelopes" on the tree, year after year, contained donations the children made to various organizations in their father's honor.
One mother, who wanted to make sure she shared with her children certain life "experiences" before they were grown, told us about special "lists" she put in each of her children's stockings. The lists included things like "ride a horse," or "see a Broadway show," or "hike 10 miles in a day - just you and mom." The kids each selected three experiences, which they did with their parents over the course of the year. The mom said every Christmas morning, the kids would go right past their presents and straight to their stockings to open their "lists."
We are curious, do you have any "big picture" traditions to share? We'll post them!