Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blogging perk

One of my readers sent me a bunch samples of her skin care line after reading this post about Tamoxifen and my skin.  I was so surprised to receive an email from a reader offering help for my sad, sad skin.  Maryclaire Mayes is the founder of Alabu skin care.  Maryclaire has no idea I'm sharing her skin care line with my readers and hasn't given me anything more than an envelope full of samples of her product.

My favorite product was her Almond Body Lotion.  The lotion was absorbed into my skin so quickly and the scent of almonds was lovely.  I love the fact that the product is truly natural and nothing artificial is used.  Another product Maryclaire shared with me was a bar of her Goat Milk Soap.  It doesn't dry out my skin as much as the commercial soap I was using prior to using the samples of her product.  My skin is much less dry and the crepe paper-like texture has much improved.  The Shea Body Butter is another luscious product.  I used it on my feet every night of my vacation.  It kept my feet looking "sandal ready" throughout the trip.  Lastly, and most surprisingly, I loved the Replenish Facial Moisturizer.  I was surprised I liked it so much because when I opened the packet I discovered the product was an oil.  I didn't think I would like it.  I thought it would make my face look oily.  I was so wrong.  My skin drank in the product and there was no oiliness on my face.  When I was thinking about how this worked, it made perfect sense to me.  Other moisturizers add water to their product and Alabu does not.  When you think about it, why do I want to pay for water?

This post is my thank you note to Maryclaire Mayers for reading my blog and for sending me the samples of her wonderful product.  Click here and check out the Alabu skin care line.  I think this girl is on to something good.  :)

317.  Wonderful readers
318.  Felling better in my skin
319.  Supporting small businesses
320.  Sharing things I love

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's a jungle out there

I don't know if this is normal or not, but I'm scared all the time.  I'm not as compulsively fearful as the character Monk on that tv show.  I mean, I'm not quite as afraid of germs as he is, but there is no way I'm drinking bathroom water.  I don't need to have an assistant with me to walk outside my home.  But I have to admit, I totally understand that character.  No one would know it by looking at me.  I put on a pretty good act of confidence to make sure no one knows.  I wonder, sometimes, if other people are scared as much as I am.  We all try so hard to look like we know what we are doing.  We don't want anyone to see our fear.  That would be a sign of weakness.

I don't let the fact of being perpetually scared keep me from doing most things.  (no way will I be jumping out of an airplane)  I'm just, more often than not, scared before I do them.  I'm typically not scared to drive to work, but today a car pulled out right in front of me and I had to slam on the breaks.  Fortunately I was looking out for something just like this to happen, because I'm always afraid I'll get in a car accident while I'm driving.  Last night there was a storm and I was afraid.  I was afraid another tree would fall on my house.  I wasn't so afraid that I didn't sleep.  But I was nervous, so I took a benadryl to insure I would fall asleep.  I'm often afraid at work.  I know how to do my job and I'm pretty confident, but I am still afraid I'll do something wrong or forget to do something I need to do.  I'm afraid to meet new people and go to new places.  Even though I do these things, there is a little ball of fear in my belly when I do them.  I'm afraid for my son's future and what he'll do when he is on his own.  Will he be ok?  I'm afraid something will happen to my husband.  I'm afraid he'll leave me or, worse, die.  I'm afraid to be without him. 

When I'm doing something I am confident I do well, I'm still afraid of other things that are out of my control.  I can be performing well at work and be afraid I will suddenly do something horribly wrong.  How is it that I can be confident and afraid at the same time?  Does this happen to anyone else?  I remember one time I was in the car with my mom.  She tells me that sometimes she feels an impulse to yank the steering wheel of the car and drive in the lane of oncoming traffic.  Are you kidding me?  I asked her not to do that, or better yet, let me drive.  But the scariest part of this exchange was the thought in my head that, I too, have had this same thought.  What is up with that? 

I read about being authentic and not wearing masks and showing the world the real you.  I'm wondering if anyone can truly do this.  I don't know how revealing the little ball of fear, whether rational or irrational, I often have in my belly would help any situation.  What good would it do for others to be made aware of my fears or my (very rare) crazy thoughts.  After all, most of the time, I'm able to push through my fear.  Am I wearing a mask when I push through my fear and join a small group bible study when I only know one of the people in the group and the rest are all new faces?  Am I being inauthentic when I contribute in a meeting and I'm afraid I'll miss something that is said and not have it recorded in the minute?.  Am I showing a false face when I drive to a place I've never been before and use the map on my phone to get me there and have to watch for traffic I'm not used to watching?

This world is a scary place.  Lots of bad things can happen.  There are many things we can't control.  So every morning I tell God I'm afraid.  I'm afraid and I'm going to need his help today.  I trust he will not let me down.  Even when my fears come true, I know God is there.  And when it all turns out alright, I know he was there, as well.  Every morning, when the alarm goes off, I tell God I'm afraid and I need his help.  

It's a jungle out there
Disorder and confusion everywhere
No one seems to care... well I do.

312.  Waking up and seeing the storm has passed
313.  A peaceful day
314.  Avoiding an accident
315.  Being a child of the creator of the universe
316.  Pushing through fear

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's better to forgive

Last night my small group bible study focused on "The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant" from Matthew 18:21-35."

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 

At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  

The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 

But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.  He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 

His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 

But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 

When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’  In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” 

I'm going to cut straight to the chase regarding the bottom line of this parable.  Forgive others as you have been forgiven.  The unmerciful servant was forgive an extraordinary amount of money.  He would never have been able to repay his master.  The forgiveness the master gave this servant was remarkable and extremely generous.  Then the unmerciful servant came upon a servant that owed him a small amount of money and demanded repayment and withheld forgiveness.  This lack of forgiveness in the unmerciful servant is appalling to the other servants, as it should be.  The gall of this unmerciful servant is appalling and nobody feels bad for him when he is thrown in jail and tortured.

Forgiveness, we decided, is a process.  There is nothing in this story that indicates forgiveness has to happen immediately.  There are times when the injury is so great that time is needed before forgiveness can be considered.  Forgiveness is not a passive endeavor.  In fact, forgiveness is a very active process and shows great love and compassion to others

We also came to the conclusion that forgiveness is heals the forgiver even more than the forgiven.  Forgiving relieves us from pain and bitterness.  It's been said that not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.  Not gonna happen.

Forgiveness does not remove accountability.  You can have both, forgiveness and accountability.  Also, forgiving someone does not mean you are saying their actions were acceptable.  Actions have consequences and forgiveness does not remove those consequences.

There is more to forgiveness than just saying, "I forgive you."  Forgiveness is a heart thing.  Forgiveness is the removal of the desire for vengeance.  We came to the conclusion that forgiveness can uplift people.  It not only uplifts the forgiver and the forgiven, but it can bring light and joy into the world and uplift witnesses of the act of forgiveness.  In the parable we see how the actions of the unmerciful servant were appalling to the servants witnessing the forgiveness.  Inversely, we see the impact of the forgiveness shown by the Amish community in Nickel, PA after the murder of the schoolgirls in 2006.  There were newspaper articles and segments on forgiveness on network magazine shows and books written.  This act of forgiveness was nationwide news.

So why is it so hard to forgive?  We all know of ongoing feuds and distance between family members caused by unforgiveness.  Sometimes, when asked, the parties involved in these situations may not even remember what caused the rift, but they are not going to be the one doing the forgiving.  Forgiveness is only hard when we take it out of the perspective of forgiving as we have been forgiven by God.  When we are alone and without the support of the community of believers, it is much more difficult to forgive.  (I'm not saying the only people that can forgive are believers because forgiveness is for all people)  A community of faith in Jesus Christ and belief in God can keep our perspective right and remind us of how much we have been forgiven.  (Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.)

306.  Studying God's word with broken, but forgiven people
307.  God's forgiveness
308.  Learning from my group and having examples of those much more mature in their faith than I am
309.  Hearing the truth and having the Holy Spirit living in me, confirm that it is truth
310.  Having the rift between my brother and father prayed for, daily, by Godly men and women
311.  Seeing the hearts of both these men begin to soften

I am linking with Shanda at On Your Heart Tuesdays

Monday, May 28, 2012

Everything looks easy

Everything looks easy when you watch someone who knows what they are doing, doing it.  Baseball looks easy when you watch the pros play.  But it's not easy to hit a ball or throw a strike.  It takes talent and practice and sacrifice of other things to do more practice.  Taking pictures looks easy when you go to a gallery and see pictures hanging on the wall.  But it's not easy to capture the most beautiful image.  It takes talent and patience and an eye for beauty.  A beautiful image comes from taking hundreds and hundreds of pictures and learning from your mistakes.  Baking a cake looks easy.  But it's not easy to bake.  It takes patience and practice and measuring and technique.  Everything looks easy until you give it a try.  Then you discover the work it takes to do a thing well.  Then you discover the talent people have who can perform or produce or bake or build.  Everything looks easy when you watch.  It's the doing that is hard.  It is the follow through that is hard.  It is the practice something takes to do well.  It is the discipline it takes to do well.  It is the education it takes to do well.  It is the investment of time, energy, and talent.  It is the sacrifice of leisure for study.  It is the sacrifice of sleep for practice.  It is the effort put forward that allows an activity to look effortless.

Living in a free nation seems easy.  Going to sleep at night without fear of bombs seems easy.  Walking to the store or getting on the bus to go to work without the dread of a bullet seems easy.  Anticipating an election and the possibility of a change of leadership without fear of a military presence to allow this to happen, seems easy.  But it's not.  We can thank the men and women of the Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Army for the ease we feel in our nation.  Happy Memorial Day everyone.  I hope you had an opportunity to thank a service member and pray for the families of those members serving you today.

301.  The talented men and women serving our nation abroad
302.  The talented men and women serving our nation at home
303.  A day to honor those men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice
304.  Freedom
305.  The police, fire, and emergency responders serving in our communities every day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I've got nothing but gratitude today

284.  My boss letting us leave early today
285.  A 3-day weekend
286.  All service members who have and are serving our country
287.  My dear friend's son who lost his life due to PTSD and the war we continue to wage this day
288.  All the experiences I had while I traveled and walked by my husband's side as he served his 20 years in the United States Navy
289.  Living near a naval air station and seeing planes flying everyday
290.  Looking forward to seeing my brother and hearing him sing with his group on Sunday
291.  Having brunch at (fingers crossed) a cool french restaurant in DC with my husband and brother
292.  A wedding of a couple in my small group bible study (they are not young, but they believe in marriage)
293.  Sleeping in on Saturday (it's tough working a whole week after taking two weeks off)
294.  Fresh asparagus (yum yum)
295.  The last of the strawberries for the season
296.  A repaired air conditioner just in time for a very hot weekend
297.  My son taking another college class after acing his class last semester
298.  Being able to wish my dad a happy 84th birthday
299.  Knowing I need new shoes and having the time to buy some
300.  For the smile on my face and the feeling that is behind it matching it perfectly 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Five more ways to facebook like a grownup

I told you I'd post five more tips later this week.  Here it is, later this week and here are five more tips on facebooking like a grownup.

Number 6.  Hide from friends in Facebook Chat
There's bound to be a few people you'd rather not chat with on Facebook.  Appearing to be offline to certain friends is simple.  Just click on that person's name in the chat window, as if you were about to start a chat, click the gear icon for options and select go off-line.  Viola, you are invisible.

What Number 6 should really sayStay offline for Facebook Chat – all the time!
Never, and I mean NEVER allow yourself to be seen on Facebook Chat.  There is a huge difference between the voyeurism you desired when accepting friends and actually interacting with them on Facebook Chat.  Those old high schoolmates you haven't seen in 20 or 30 years... yeah, you're going to vividly remember why you haven't kept in touch.

Number 7.  Pre-approve all tags
First of all, you know what tagging is, right?  Tagging is when you are linked to friends pictures and other things.  You can set your Facebook account to require pre-approval before any tagged content appears on your timeline.  Select "Privacy Settings" from the drop-down menu on the top-right of your Facebook page. Next to "Timeline and Tagging," click on "Edit Settings."  Look down for "Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline" and "Review tags friends add to your own posts on Facebook" and set these both to "on."

What Number 7 should say (because most of you don't even know what tagging is).  Don't 'like' your own status update
This doesn't happen often, but it happens more often than it should.  This happens when the poster is extremely pleased with the status or comment they have posted.  When you 'like' yourself, it's a bit like..., well..., showing everybody how MUCH you like yourself.  This isn't something anyone wants to see.

Number 8.  Hide annoying content from your newsfeed
You can control what appears on your news feed.  From the homepage, click on the pencil icon that appears when you hover over "News Feed," and select "Edit settings."  You can hide posts coming into your news feed from certain people, certain apps and certain pages.
This is what Number 8 should really say.  Don't link Facebook to your Twitter account
First of all, it will make all your "friends" hate you.  If they wanted to see the blow by blow of your day through your Twitter musings, they'd follow your tweets.  Secondly, they won't follow your tweets.  Your real friends are adults and they have no idea how to use Twitter or set up an account.

Number 9.  Create a secret group
You can create a secret Facebook group that only you, and the friends you choose, can view. It's a way to share content with a select few.  To start your secret group, click "More" next to the "Groups" area on your homepage.  Select "Create Group" on the next page that loads.  Once you've named your group, choose an icon from the drop-down menu, add friends and then check the "secret" option.

I was just kidding with ^, here is the real Number 9.  Get it into your head that your child is not special
Please don't post daily pics of the darling.  We know what a baby looks like.  Please don't post every drawing or chicken scratch they have produce in school or unschool or art class.  We don't need to hear about how miraculously intelligent you believe your spawn to be.  These comments are just making the rest of us hate you.  There will be much rejoicing when we see their names printed in the police ledger of the local paper.

Number 10.  Upload images in high quality
Facebook's default photo upload functionality is not high resolution.  If you want to ensure your images are the best quality possible, always check the "High Quality" box as you upload.  It will take a little longer, but the better images should be worth the wait.

Seriously?  Again with the pictures?  The real Number 10.  Don't friend your Facebook friends' kids
I'm not giving you this tip because it will inhibit your behavior on Facebook.  I'm not giving you this tip because you will have to edit your status updates and mind your manners with the comments.  I'm giving you this tip because all eaters under 25 are, most likely, idiots.  You are a grown-up (remember?).  You are NOT friends with your friends' kids.  No way, no how.

Good luck playing on the Facebook and having your day sucked away.  Enjoy everyone of your friends' vaca pictures and all their political rantings (after all, it is an election year).  I hope some of these tips will afford you an even more enjoyable Facebook experience.  (btw, remember to click on those ads.  my son just bought 100 shares of FB)

280.  Taking a nap after work
281.  Hearing about an answered prayer
282.  A little lime in my green juice
283.  Getting caught up with my work

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

God's precious truth

Truth is precious.  I think of truth like a diamond.  Truth, like a diamond, is beautiful in itself.  A diamond is the hardest natural substance known to man.  It cannot be crushed.  Other stones can be crushed into sand and powder, but a diamond remains undamaged.  Truth can be assaulted with falsehoods and false doctrines and remain standing without contrived explanations.

Nothing can be added to a diamond to improve its quality.  A diamond is what it is, as is truth.  Nothing can be added to truth to improve it.  In fact, exaggeration of truth alters it from truth to a lie.  Nothing can be added to a diamond to improve it.  We can alter the diamond by cutting away bits of it to produce facets.  The diamond is not altered by this chipping away.  It remains a diamond.  But now we have a facet to catch the light and make the diamond shine.  We think we have improved the diamond.  We've made the diamond a shiny thing.  Now the diamond can be liked by more people and is more desirable to the eye.  We do this with truth, as well.  We chip away bits of the truth to make it more appealing to more people.  Yes, it is still truth, but now we have changed it to become a faceted truth.  When a diamond is cut and facets are formed, we don't see the diamond as well as we see the light reflecting off the facet.  Just as a diamond, in it's natural state, is not as appealing to the eye as a cut diamond, truth in it's purest form, God's truth, can be hard to take and very hard to understand.

Finding diamonds, just like finding truth, is a difficult task.  Diamonds are hidden deep in the earth.  You need to know where to dig to find the diamond.  Truths are something we seek.  We need to learn where to look for it.  We need to dig deep to find truth.  If truths, like diamonds were lying around, everyone would find them.  Searching for truth, like searching for diamonds can be a frustrating task and not every seeker is rewarded.  Some may seek their entire lives and come up empty.  They may think they are seeking in the right place, but they've wasted their time and efforts by looking where there is nothing to be found.

Not everyone can obtain a diamond.  They are available to all, but they are costly.  Not every person who wishes to have a diamond will get one.  Some will find imitations and be content and stop seeking the real thing.  Truth is available to all, but it is costly.  We have to give up our ideas of what we wish would be.  We have to give up our worldly desires.  We have to become humble and remember we are dust.  Our reward is the acceptance of truth.  We cannot be content with a falsehood and say it is truth.  We cannot be convinced that if we name it truth, this makes it so.  A diamond, in it's uncut state, may not look like what you think a diamond ought to look like.  Even though it doesn't look like what you think a diamond should look like, it is still a diamond.  It is still a valuable diamond.  Truth may not always look the way you think it should look, but authentic truth is incredibly valuable to have.  Authentic truth, like authentic diamonds, are verifiable.  We don't have to decide for ourselves, truth, like diamonds, will pass the test. 

Jesus, as he was preparing his disciples for his departure from this world prays to God in John 17:13-19, “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.  I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified."

Seek truth.  Look into God's word.  Ask God to reveal his truth to you.  Don't allow the evil one to cloud your vision and allow you to be satisfied with lies.  Seek truth and when you find truth, treasure it and hold it dear, as you would a diamond.

275.  Settling back into the old routine
276.  Preparing for summer
277.  Anticipation of a holiday weekend
278.  A backyard cleared of downed trees
279.  Giant shade trees (but not by my house)

I'm linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You must choose a side of the road

Last night our small group bible study worked on the parable of "The Good Samaritan" from Luke 10:25-37.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

 “What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

This story challenges us to decide "which side of the road" we will choose.  I'll start with a few definitions to, possibly, clarify this story.  First the priest in this story is considered a direct descendant of Aaron, Moses brother, who as made a priest by God, as well as all his direct descendants.  Secondly, the Levite was a member of the tribe of Levi and were the readers of the Torah and caretakers of the Synagogue.  They were not allowed to own land and were cared for through tithes of the Israelites.  Lastly, the Samaritan is a member of race closely related to the Jews, but hated by the Jews because they inbred with pagans and worshiped pagan gods as well as the Hebrew G-d.  The verses do not say who the man attacked by robbers was, but I'm going to assume he was a Jew.

The crux of this story has to with the choice each traveler made as they came upon the injured man on the road.  The fact that the traveler choosing the injured man's side of the road in this story is a man from a group that has a deep cultural distrust of the group the injured man is a member of is the critical point of this story.

I had a very difficult time with this lesson.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I offended two members of the group, but I'm not completely sure.  I feel I am a generous person, but I'm not a very "hands on" person.  I'm an introvert and shy.  I told you in the "100 things about me" that I startle easily.  We talked about the homeless and indigent begging on the streets and asking for a handout.  I'm not good with this.  I'm afraid of them.  We talked about charities that have been accused and proven to have mishandled funds.  We talked about the outpouring of benevolence and charity after 9/11 and Katrina and then..., nothing.

Am I a "good Samaritan" if I am a constant giver to the specific charities I support?  I support Care Net pregnancy care centers.  I give to the church I attend, intermittently.  I gave to Samaritan's purse at Christmas.  Our small group adopted a family last Christmas.  Because I've never seen or spoken to the recipients of my giving, am I less than a "good Samaritan?"  And now that I've shared my giving, have I gone against the verse in Matthew 6:3 "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."  All these rules and boundaries about the righteous way to give.  Does it mean giving money is less noble than working in a soup kitchen?  Does is mean that buying Christmas gifts is less righteous than working in a prison ministry?  Does it mean that giving to a pregnancy center is less benevolent than passing out tracts on street corners and telling people that Jesus saves?  I say giving is giving.  I say, God loves a cheerful giver.  The verse from 2 Corinthians 9:7, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver," wasn't even in the lesson last night.

We talked about taking money out of the equation of being a good Samaritan.  We talked about being the encourager.  We talked about sharing the gospel.  We talked about being an influence for positivity at work.  These are the very things I struggle with.  Is this why there are both, the money and the hands on aspect in the good Samaritan story?

I've been told my bluntness, even about good things is "jaw dropping."  I've been told I'm not warm or fuzzy.  And, last night, I felt the cold shoulder of believers with more feeling in their MBTI.  This is where my struggles so often seem to be.  Can an introverted, thinker/judger be a good Samaritan? 

I think Jesus shared both, the pouring of oil and wine on the wounds and the giving of denarii to the innkeeper in this story.  Both are ways to be the good Samaritan to the needy.  I know which side of the road I would choose.

270.  Being encouraged to exercise my body
271.  A dentist that is truly painless
272.  Being able to talk to my mom on the phone, every day
273.  Godly people praying for reconciliation for my dad and my brother
274.  Seeing the joy in the face of a co-worker that is about to retire

Linking to Shanda at On Your Heart Tuesdays

Monday, May 21, 2012

Five ways to Facebook better

Did you see how I made Facebook into a verb.  Isn't it funny the things we can do with language now?  No, I know it's not.  First of all, I was wrong.  (my husband is going to love seeing this in print)  Facebook did not soar to $74.50 on the NASDAQ.  In fact, it was kept, artificially, at the initial pricing of $38 to keep from looking like a flop.  Today is a new day and FB is trading down $4.50.  Hey, maybe this is the buying opportunity you were hoping for.  I'll let you know when I take the plunge.

Secondly, what I really want to talk about is how to do Facebook better.  Maybe I should have titled this post, "How to Facebook like a grownup."  Whatever.  Here are five ways to do fb better.  I have 10, but we'll start with five and see how it goes.

Number 1.  If you want to look at photos on fb, view them full screen.
Click on the image to make it big, then click the x in the top right-hand corner to close it.  Easy peasy.

Alternate Number 1.  Don't post so many pictures.
Seriously.  Be a little more choosy with the pics.  We don't need to see every second of your vacation or your night out with the girls.  (but if you get very drunk, by all means, keep 'em coming)

Number 2.  Hide what you are reading (or playing around with) on fb.
If you like the new social reading apps, but don't want to broadcast to the world what you read on your coffee break, adjust the settings accordingly.

A better Number 2.  Stop sending game requests.
If you don't want everyone to know how you are wasting your day at work or home, when you're supposed to be taking care of the kiddies, STOP, for the love of Mike, sending the Words w/ Friends, and Treasure of Whatever, and Chocolate Hearts.  Just stop it.

Number 3.  Create lists based on your interests.
You can organize your friends and groups on the left hand side of your fb page into lists of specific interests.  This way you can check a list instead of perusing your entire newsfeed.

WAY better than Number 3.  Stop adding people to your Facebook that are not your real friends.
You don't have 1,856 friends.  Seriously, you don't.  A friend is someone who will loan you five bucks from time to time.  If you have this many friends, in real life, no wonder you are on fb all day and not working.  I'm guessing you are bumming money from them and depositing the loot in that off-shore account.  What, in the heck, is with all the friends.

Number 4.  Populate your new fb map with pics.
This will make your map much more interesting.  When you add your cover photo just click on the option "add photos to map."

Alternate and better Number 4.  Stop with the vague and needy status updates.
Grow up. You're not a 14 year old girl.  If you're going to update your status with cryptic or "woe is me" messages to try to garner a BUNCH of comments and responses, don't.  When you post, "does anyone really care? I think not." most people would rather unfriend you, than respond.  Grow up, already.

Number 5.  Reposition the photos on your timeline.
If you want your timeline to look as lovely as possible, you can fine tune how your images appear.  If an image is off-center or you can't see the main focus of the photo, reposition it to look better.  Click the "Edit or Remove" pencil icon on the top-right and select "Reposition Photo." Click and drag it until it's in a better position.

OMGoodness, there has to be a better Number 5.  (if you've got this kind of time on your hands and you're pissing it away repositioning photos on fb, I don't know if there is any hope for you AT ALL)  However, here is a better option.  Learn to spell.
You are an adult, for Pete's sake.  Don't to this, "Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! LOVE YOU TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Everything is unfolding SOOOOOOO magically ANYthing and EVERYthing IS possible :))))))))) weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee."  And, if you mean "you are" it's spelled "you're."  Take some time out of your day to practice spelling and writing like a grown-up.

If you find anything of use in this post, please let me know.  I'll post five more tips later this week.  :)

263.  After missing two weeks of my small group bible study, they called to see if I was ok
264.  I still have a job after a two week vaca
265.  Ton's of work to make the day FLY by
266.  Back to blogging
267.  I still fit in my pants after two weeks of doing nothing, but resting and eating
268.  Being missed by my son
269.  Missing my son

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The drive home

Thunk, thunk, thunk of tires on pavement as the car weaves through the thick traffic of I95. We tease a few more miles per hour out of the engine and try to shave some time off the trek home. The highway curls around to the left and draws us forward with open road.

We relax and talk of vacation memories, beach and surf. We highlight our reminiscence with seashells and sunburns. Our driving chit-chat washes away the tedium of travel as we comb through each treasured anecdote.

Two weeks without plans shaped and styled to fill each day. Two weeks of days lengthened from lack of watches and schedules. Two weeks with cares rinsed away and the "must do's" blown off the calendar. We tease each other with dreams of next year.

258.  Safely home from vacation
259.  Sleeping in my own bed
260.  Pleasant driving conversation
261.  Singing along with the radio in the car
262.  Coming home to a clean house

I used verbs a hairstylist might use and am linking to d'Verse for the first time.  Btw, I'm using my phone to write today (no, I'm not the one driving). 

Friday, May 18, 2012

The power of Facebook

Happy Facebook Friday everyone.  Who's buying into the IPO today?  I know I'm not, but I'll bet a TON of people will.  Facebook will open at $38 per share today.  Hundreds of Facebook employees will become millionaires today.  Hundreds of Facebook employees are gathered in Hacker Square in Menlo Park, CA for the opening of the Facebook IPO.  The opening bell rings and the joy is palpable.  This is creativity and ingenuity and the manifestation of the American spirit in the greatest sense of the words.  The rest of the world watches in awe as they see the young Zuckerberg ring the bell that opens the days trading and he becomes a multi-billionaire.  Are you proud or jealous?

Most of us bloggery types love Facebook (I know some of you don't, but most of us do) and understand the power of Facebook.  Facebook gives us the false sense of popularity most of us crave.  We can have hundreds and hundreds of friends.  We can have hundreds and hundreds of fans on our fan pages.  We can post YouTube videos of ourselves saying odd things about pimples on our nose or complaining that our children are being brats.  We can post pictures from our family vacations that, in the past, we couldn't have paid people to come over and view.  Yet, in the privacy of our bedroom or office we will spend HOURS perusing our 2nd grade boyfriend's family pictures from Disney World.

Facebook users can allow themselves to feel like the sages they wish they were by commenting on fb statuses of people they are often too timid to speak to face-to-face.  Most often the contrary comments are posted on the walls of individuals they will have no chance of seeing in person at any time soon.  There is a feeling of hightened confidence that whatever they post as a comment is wise and needs to be communicated to, not only the person on whose wall they are posting, but all the friends of this person.  I will name this new-found bravado as "facebook muscles."  Seriously, if all Facebook users spent as much time exercising as they do on Facebook the obesity epidemic in this country would be eradicated.

Another power the Facebook affords an individual is the false sense of control they believe they have in their lives.  They may not be able to pay their mortgage.  They may not be able to excel in their jobs.  They may not be able to educate their children.  Their lives may, literally be crumbling around them, but they will have those precious "friends" that "like" everything they post on Facebook.  This sense of false appreciation is internalized and becomes TRUTH to them.  They don't understand that it takes no more thought than it does to burp to click the Like icon.  On the other hand, if one of their "friends" points out the flaws in the ideas pontificated on the Facebook page or makes a suggestion other than "like" let the UNfriending begin.  This is an AMAZING arrogance of power that Facebook provides.  Most women will lie to their hairdresser about a haircut from another salon, rather than tell her they aren't happy with their last haircut.  I think this is a power Facebook allows women to have, moreso than men (men are so much better at severing mutually unbeneficial relationships).  We now have the power to let people know we don't like them without having to utter a word.  We now have the power to break a relationship without having to act like a grownup.  We can UNfriend.  If the "friend" was not an individual we had a real relationship with, the person will, most likely, never even notice.  However, if this "friend" is a real friend or thought they were a real friend, the UNfriending will be taken as the passive aggressive "slap in the face" it was meant to be.

The ultimate sense of power Facebook can give its user is a sense of controlling their lives lies by blocking individuals from their Facebook world.  Blocking, in Facebook, allows an individual to live their lives as if the blocked individual does not exist.  A worse delusion the blocking of an individual on Facebook can provide is the false sense of invisibility this provides.  Most intelligent people know they are not invisible.  Most intelligent people know there is no such thing as invisibility.  However, some people (people who think they only really exist if they are on the internet) believe if you can't see me on Facebook you can't see me at all.  Blocking a person on Facebook is, by far, the most childish of all the Facebook controls.

Welcome, Facebook, to the NASDAQ.  Welcome, social media, to the world of corporations and big business.  You don't build anything.  You don't sell anything.  Your genre didn't even exist 10 years ago.  Today, we cannot imagine living without you.  You've changed the world.  You've changed the way we relate to each other.  What did we ever do without you.  (oh yeah... we talked to each other)  Good luck and I can't wait to see what you do in the market today.  I'm guessing you'll close at $74.50.  :)

252.  New York style bagel shop across the street
253.  A double shot latte
254.  A cloudless sky on my last day of beach vacation
255.  Enough vacation to make me long for home
256.  Did I say sunscreen before?  I'm still thankful
257.  Vacation friends

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

There are blessings in the rain

It can rain when you are on vacation.  Just because you dream of sunny days on the beach doesn't mean it won't rain one day.

Matthew 5:45b even says "God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."  When Jesus speaks to those listening to his sermon on the mount, he is speaking of rain as a blessing.  God can bless whomever he chooses to bless, the righteous or the unrighteous.  If you've read my posts here and here, you'll remember I've mentioned that God isn't fair, he's good.  Rain is considered a blessing.  We shower soon to be brides and mothers with gifts.  Blessing rain down on individuals.  And it can rain pennies from heaven.  
In the verses surrounding this verse Jesus reminds us we have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’  But Jesus tells us, if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Jesus goes even further and reminds us we have been told to love our neighbors and hate our enemies, but he wants us to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute you.  I hear Jesus saying, "it's all about love."

It rained on my vacation today.  Today's rain reminded me of these verses.  Today's rain reminded me about love.  Yesterday was a very sunny day.  I spent the entire day on the beach and playing in the pool and reading my book in the sun.  I've been playing in the sun for 10 days.  I am adept at using the suntan lotion by now.  You'd think by now, I'd know how to avoid a sunburn.  You'd be wrong.  Evidently I missed a couple spots on my left shoulder yesterday.  This carelessness in suntan lotion application has resulted in a bit of pain.  (yeah, I can hear you all loud and clear.  boo hoo hoo)  Today I would have been forced to avoid the sun.  Instead, God sent the rain.

Storm clouds rolling toward our part of the beach
There was thunder and lightening and the temperature dropped 15 degrees in ten minutes.  I thought of this storm as a gift to me.  Sweet relief for my sunburned left shoulder.  I wouldn't end up being the Debbie Downer drawing attention to myself and my pain.  I wouldn't have to remind myself of the careless (read cavalier) way I applied the suntan lotion.  I could sit, transfixed, on the balcony of my hotel room and watch the storm roll in.  So I did.  I reveled in the booming thunder and flashing lightening.  I ran inside when the rain shooed me off the balcony.  And then, this...

This rainbow dominated the horizon.  If the storm at just the right time wasn't enough to remind me of the goodness of God, this was.
The symbol of God's promise to Noah
Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays
246.  Aloe vera gel
247.  Rainbows
248.  God's word imprinted in my memory
249.  Rain
250.  Balconies facing the ocean
251.  A day of rest (from the sun)  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A mother's prayer for her child, by Tina Fey

Thank you, Tina Fey, for putting into words the thing we moms secretly pray for our daughters.

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Tina Fey, Bossy Pants 

Continuing 1000 gratitudes
240.  My son (without whom I wouldn't be a mom)
241.  Ok, my husband, too (I needed him to make me a mom, too)
242.  Spf 50 waterproof suntan lotion
243.  Teaching my son to make pasta and sauce over the cell phone 
244.  Walking on the beach
245.  My mom (without her, I wouldn't be me) 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This is what I get when I say YES

and when I learn to manage my points more effectively.

I went to Daytona Beach on vacation last year.  I had a great time.  However, you may remember the view from my room had a lot to be desired.  Last year I was treating myself very cheaply.  Because I was being incredibly frugal and feeling I didn't deserve to spend an extra penny on myself, the view from our hotel room was a hallway.  Check it out.

This year we are staying in a much nicer room and we have a lovely view.  This year my husband made the reservations.  My husband is great to himself.  He exercises regularly.  He eats healthy food (most of the time).  He knows the difference in money well spent and money poorly spent.  He also manages the points we have purchased in the time-share we own and understands how to get the most out of the fewest points spent.  And, he is generous.  This year we have a two-bedroom deluxe room with a wonderful view.  Because we have this great room we were able to invite my husband's college roommate and his family to join us for a few days of this trip.  I love being able to share our good fortune with friends.  It makes this whole thing feel worthwhile to me.  I had a reader leave a comment reminding me that comparing what I have to what I think others have is discontent waiting to happen.  She reminded me the source of all love is God.  When I accept the love God has for me, I can begin to love myself no matter what state of unlovableness I find myself.  I'm worth accepting the blessings God has given me even if I don't exercise regularly.  Even if I eat unhealthy food sometimes.  Even if I feel I'm not good enough.

This week I'm enjoying the blessing of having a nice room for my vacation.  I'm trying to eat healthy food, too, but I'm truly enjoying my view and the kitchen in the room.  I realize this is a blessing from God.  I'm happy I can honor this blessing by sharing it with friends and their children.  I'm not a believer in prosperity theology, but I am a believer that God does bless you and grateful acceptance is honoring to God.  I don't know why this concept is so hard for me to grasp most of the time.  Maybe it comes from growing up and being reminded that I constantly fell short.  (mom and dad, I know you were doing the best parenting you could do, but I really think a little praise would have helped now and then)  Anyway, this year I'm not kicking myself in the butt everyday and feeling so stupid.  This year I'm grateful.

My view this year
The living room and kitchen (I make green juice in that kitchen)
234.  Comments reminding me of the greatness of God's love
235.  Spending time with friends
236.  Sharing good fortune
237.  Fresh veggies for fresh green juice
238.  Making new friends
239.  Honoring God by accepting blessings with gratitude

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A day at the beach

It's my birthday and, so far, all I've done is spent the day at the beach.  I can't think of a better way to spend a birthday.  If I can put out of my mind that this birthday welcomes me to the senior discount at IHOP.  If I can put out of my mind that my body in a bathing suit on the beach frightens small children.  If I can put out of my mind that walking up and down the beach ain't as easy as it used to be.  And you know what?  I can put all that out of my mind and enjoy my day.  (thanks vodka)

I'm lovin' my birthday.  I left home on Friday and got down to Daytona Beach on Saturday afternoon.  Today was my first FULL day on the beach and it was a perfect day.  I've got a few pink spots where I went a bit too light on the spf to prove it.  What is it about the sand, surf, salty breeze and the smell of coconut suntan lotion to relax a body down to jello.

It was great to people watch on the beach.  Evidently everybody (and by everybody I mean every shape, age, gender and species) believes they look better with a tattoo (and by a tattoo I mean a BUNCH of tattoos).  It was fun to look at the young people on the beach and watch them walk their young, taut bodies up and down the beach.  It reminded me of Catherine Morland in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.  I imagine Catherine walking arm and arm with her friend, Isabella Thorpe around the ballroom a half-dozen times or more in the upper rooms in Bath as I watch the teenage girls parade up and down the beach in their bikinis.  Of course Catherine wouldn't have dared exposed an ankle, but those dresses in the Romantic era certainly enhanced a lady's northern-most charms.  Instead the 17 year-old girls parade up and down the beach in the most daring bikinis and as with Catherine and Isabella, the desired attention is attracted.  What?  Doesn't EVERYONE think about Jane Austen when they're at the beach?

Tonight my husband is treating me to dinner out on the town.  After watching a beach-full of lithe, athletic bodies all day long, I think I should give up eating altogether, but, of course, I won't.  I'll eat shrimp and fish and any seafood option I can find.  Seriously, who doesn't want to eat seafood when they are at the beach?  Maybe it would be a good idea to take a brisk walk before dinner to work up an appetite?  Maybe.

The best thing I can say about this birthday is that I'm on vacation (for TWO weeks) and the worst thing I can say about this birthday is that I don't have internet connection in my room.  (I have to go down to the bar to connect.  there are so many ways this is going to be dangerous.  if the blog sounds a little loopy, well, now you know why.)

I'm looking forward relaxing in a major way on this vacation.  I'm also hoping to teach my son how to cook pasta from 820 miles away.  And, maybe I'll give the beach a walk up and down more than a few times while I'm here.  I brought a camera with me.  I hope I use it.  :)

226.  The beach
227.  The sound of the surf on the beach
228.  The great way sand feels as you squish your toes into it
229.  Meeting nice people on the beach
230.  Sunshine and an umbrella on the beach
231.  Jumping into waves and not getting knocked over
232.  Falling asleep in a beach chair
233.  Wifi at the hotel bar

Photo source

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lamb stew

I going to start this post with this HUGE disclaimer.  I am not a food blogger.  Oh, I wish I were.  Food bloggers get to cook all day and take beautiful pictures.  I understand it's super hard to photograph food.  I have absolutely no talent for photography, so this would not work well for me.  On the other hand, I'm a pretty good cook.  The other day I made lamb stew for the family.  It's definitely one of our favorites.  Every year we purchase a local lamb and this makes up about half of the meat our family will consume for the year.  So, the day I make the lamb stew is a pretty special day because there is only so much stew meat available.  I'm blogging this recipe (sadly with no pictures) for my faithful reader Elizabeth at Just Following Jesus.  Elizabeth is an amazing photographer.  Her blog is beautiful as well as inspiring.  She is overflowing with gratitude for all the blessings in her life.  She makes everything she touches beautiful.  And her love of our lord is evident in every word she writes.  Elizabeth, I hope you enjoy this recipe.

1 lb to 2 lbs lamb stew meat.  I ask the processor to give me all my odds and ends into stew meat instead of having it ground.  I'm not sure where it comes from, but I certainly wouldn't waste a leg cutting it up for stew meat.  I have two shoulder roasts left in the freezer and the processor has NEVER given me a shoulder roast before.  I think he usually cut them up for shoulder chops.  I may cut the shoulder chops into stew meat and make this again.  I almost forgot, trim the stew meat as best you can.  I don't think lamb fat is very tasty at all.  The less the better, in my humble opinion.

Brown the lamb in a couple or three Tbs of olive oil.  Salt and pepper the lamb before browning.  Add 6 or 7 large spring onions (chopped up. please use as much of the green as you can, but chop the green part a bit smaller) and 3 or 4 ribs of celery (chopped) after the lamb is beginning to brown.  Btw, I try to chop the celery and spring onion about the same size as the veggies I'm going to roast.  I'm guessing about an inch.

The vegetables are crucial.  Actually, roasting the vegetables is much more crucial than which veggies you actually use.  Although, the delicate flavor of the lamb goes best with more delicately flavored veggies.  I like to use carrots (about 5 or 6), turnips (about 10, depending on the size) and fennel bulb (one or two, depending on the size and whether or not you like fennel a lot or just a little).  I chop the carrots into coins.  Depending on the size of the turnips, I chop them to match the size of the carrots.  I do as well as I can to match the size of the fennel bulb chop.  Toss with a couple or three Tbs of olive oil, a little salt and pepper, then spread on a baking sheet.  Roast at 400 until the veggies are caramelized or pretty brownish (about half an hour).

Back to the lamb.  Add the following to the pot.
1 box of low sodium chicken stock (or 3 cups of home made chicken stock)
1/3 bottle of white wine (I like the fruitiness of a Pinot Grigio)
1 1/2 cups of orange juice (I like to use real oranges, so if you use less don't worry, the flavor is better)
A palm (1 Tbs) full of coriander and a palm of fennel seeds and a palm of orange zest (when you use real oranges this works out great)
If you have any fresh herbs in your refrigerator, mince them and add to this pot.

Let this pot simmer for an hour and a half, uncovered.

When the lamb is tender and the pot has cooked down a bit, add the veg and heat through.

Because I don't flour the lamb before browning the broth is a bit thinner than beef stew.  Therefore, I like to serve this stew over a scoop of mashed sweet potatoes.  I just peel and chop and boil the sweet potatoes and mash them.  No butter.

This stew has a lighter and sweeter flavor than beef stew.  I think it works perfectly with the veggies that are available in my area at this time of the year.  One special thing I'm proud to share is that everything (except the carrots and oranges and olive oil) come from within 20 miles of my home.  I love eating local.  I hope you enjoy this stew as much as our family enjoys it.

214.  I'm going on vacation tomorrow
215.  I'm going to be with my husband and away from all responsibilities for two weeks
216.  I have enough vacation time earned to do this
217.  I don't think my boss will fire me even though I'll be gone this long
218.  I know even if he does fire me, I'll be ok
219.  Seeing acquaintances I haven't seen for a whole year
220.  Seeing friends I haven't seen for a whole year
221.  Relaxing in the sun
222.  Reading for pleasure
223.  Going to restaurants
224.  The ocean
225.  Time to myself 

I'm linking with Becky at Feed my Family Friday (this is most likely a rare occurrence)  

I didn't take this picture, and I'm sure the lamb I get is a bit bigger than this one

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My life is as easy as your life

I've been accused of having an easy life.  I've been accused of being lucky.  I might take this to mean that I'm doing it (life) right.  It's both amusing and amazing to me that anyone can think another person's life is easy or lucky.  Life is life.  There was no perfect time to be alive.  (although, I think being in college in the '70's was pretty darn good)  Nobody gets a free pass in life.  Life is hard.  Just because I don't see the point in complaining about my lot in life, just because I don't tell everybody I meet all my troubles, just because I blog about being happy and not being miserable in my life does not mean my life is easy or I am lucky.  The beauty of being alive and living this life is that we can learn something every day.  There are a few things I've learned to be true while living this life.  

Life is better with money.  Working is a great way to get money.  With money you can get health insurance, you can live in a safer neighborhood, you can send your children to better schools...  Our family had to do a couple of things to make it appear we had an easy life.  We had to work hard and deny ourselves.  We don't have the latest toys and gadgets.  We don't have the most fashionable clothes.  We don't drive the latest model car.  Our child didn't get everything he wanted when he was young.  We rarely eat food at restaurants or order take-out and we never pay for delivery.  We take care of the things we have.  We don't believe in borrowing money from family or friends.

Life is better when you don't compare yourself to others.  One of the ten commandments is not to covet anything your neighbor has.  This is a tough one, but we choose to be satisfied with our station in life.  We don't copy people.  We don't try to live our life they way we THINK other people are living their lives.  The truth is, you really don't know what goes on behind closed doors.  Actually, we've found that being ourselves is the most satisfying way to live life.  Sure, we try new things, and sometimes we like them and sometimes we don't.

Life is better when you know it isn't all about you.  I am not the center of the universe.  I don't get to have what I want when I want it.  I don't even get to have what I want, ever, at times.  My life isn't about me.  I wasn't put on this earth to satisfy myself.  I was put on this earth to serve God and, in turn, serve others.  I found life to get better, almost immediately, when I came to an understanding of this truth.  I didn't have to have my own way anymore.  I call this time of my life, becoming an adult.  It was childish of me to think that I deserved a certain lifestyle or treatment.  In fact, I don't deserve anything.  This is probably my biggest beef with those that think I have it so easy or that I'm so lucky.  I cannot abide those that believe they are entitled to something..., or anything, for that matter.

I guess I should be flattered that people think our family makes life appear so easy or that we are lucky.  I guess we are like ducks.  We look all calm and serene on top of the water while we furiously paddle our legs underneath the water.

Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult.
Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly,
about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their
difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be
easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their
difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should
not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or
else upon their families, their tribe, their class, their nation,
their race or even their species, and not upon others.
M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

My 1000 gratitudes
208.  Discovering a better way to make quiche (put the cheese on top)
209.  A conscience that is still tender
210.  Waking up to thunder and lightning
211.  Texting  (I like texting a lot)
212.  The bible on the internet and on my phone (available at any time)
213.  Truth  

 Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays