Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are you willing to give something up?

Many of you know that I am an Administrative Associate at a local church. Today is Ash Wednesday which (if you attend church) has me wondering ... will you wear the cross (from ashes) on your forehead today for others outside of church to see? Will you give something up to honor the 40 days of Lent? Many people will give up eating meat on Fridays. Some will choose to give up Facebook. Some will give up sweets or pop. It doesn't really matter 'what' you give up as long as you remember 'why' you are making a symbolic sacrifice.

Here's an even better idea that my pastor suggested. Rather than give something up for 40 days, why not do something every day for the next 40 days that you wouldn't normally do. You could pray every morning for someone else. You could vow to hold the door open for a stranger OR let someone go in front of you in line at the store OR let another driver out of the parking lot to go in front of you. Sometimes making the intentional effort to do something good every day is much harder than giving something up.

What are you willing TO DO or NOT DO for the next 40 days?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's Lucky My Children Survived

Last night my husband went with me to a baby department store (Buy Buy Baby) so I could pick out a gift for an upcoming baby shower. Granted, our children are 16 & 25 now, but WOW did I feel out of place! It felt like I'd stepped into a different time zone. My husband & I first walked toward the book section - because it was practically the only thing I recognized on the registry list AND because I love kids' books. Then I was amazed (followed by appalled) that 5" x 5" cardboard children's books ranged from $7-$12 a piece. Yikes ... when did the prices go up that high? My problem was that I couldn't narrow down my selection. Then I decided that 2-3 books just didn't seem like much, so we started looking at rubber coated baby spoons, teethers, and clothing hangers.

While I realize that the prices of just about everything have gone up over the years ... my mortgage, my health insurance, food, gasoline, tuition, etc. ... I looked around and noticed how much 'stuff' there was that could be bought. I mean, do people REALLY pay $13 for a small plastic pitcher to use when giving your child a bath? We used a recycled plastic margarine container. Do people REALLY pay $8.99 for a pair of practice plastic chop sticks so they can expose their toddlers to culture early on? When my son was in his toddler stage we were more concerned with hiding his vegetables in his applesauce - that didn't require any fancy silverware. Do people REALLY spend $20-$30 for rubber animal bath toys? We used the multi-colored Fisher Price plastic stackable rings. They worked great in both the playroom AND the bathtub.

It's funny ... when my kids were small our parents laughed at the high tech car seats we used and said it was a wonder we ever survived because they used to lay us down on the floor in the back seat of the car ... of course cars doubled as tanks back then. There's always that point when you find yourself saying things to your children that your parents used to say to you and you swore you'd be different and never repeat. I guess change is inevitable, although all change is not necessarily better. My husband often says that some things are always 'new and improved' because it keeps people working. Whether that's true or not I'm not sure. But with time comes change. That concept I'm afraid is unavoidable.

What was the most high tech thing we saw last night besides the ultimate baby monitors with flatscreen tvs? It had to be the motorized baby bouncer seat for $199.99. Our kids used the plain jane version that was powered off of their own squirming and giggles. Not this model though ... it has multiple speeds and moves and rotates the seat for you. I just wonder how the child (and the parents) would handle it if there was a power outage.

What's my motto for when we someday have grandkids? Less is more. Safety is one thing that can't be replaced, but watching your kids smile as they play on the kitchen floor with the wooden spoon, empty oatmeal container, and your pots and pans is priceless!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What kind of message do you send?

Today I'm going to take a stand and share something that bothers me. Today's society seems to encourage just about every kind of techy device you can think of ... Blackberrys, I-Phones, regular cell phones, lap tops, cell phones with Internet access ... you name it and we've probably seen it. The thing that I think people forget is that there is a time and place for everything. Don't get me wrong, a lot of these gadgets are great and some of us would be lost without them. My pet peeve is when people (of ALL ages) lose sight of the time and place part. One would think that some of these devices are joined at their hip, because they are really reluctant to put them down. In a day and age when many people take their work with them outside of a traditional office space, it's not uncommon or even wrong to see someone standing in a lobby or sitting in their car retrieving their emails or voicemails. I mean, people do need to work and the 9-5 scenario working in a bank or a cubicle isn't the norm for everyone.

Family and people (even strangers) are important, but that's not the message you send them when you talk, text, and play Angry Birds or Family Feud on your cell phone in front of them when they're trying to talk to you. The message you're telling them is 'You're important, but you're not 'put your cell phone down' important.' I've sat through many family gatherings where I've tried to talk to nieces and nephews that I don't see often only to have them never make eye contact and play on their phones in front of me. I mean, come on ... seriously? I've seen teachers and youth directors try to have discussions with students only to have kids send texts to the person sitting 2 feet away from them.

I'll admit I've pulled up photos on my phone to show my sister and niece while sitting in my mom's apt. only to have my mom say 'Can't you girls put those things away?' My resolution is to start being more aware of my own actions from now on. I can see how much  it bothers me so I can only imagine how I must look to someone else.

Time is the most expensive resource we have. We can't continue to steal it from others. We need to spend it wisely.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's Super Bowl Time

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Who cares about football? Well ... A LOT of people do. Some enjoy the football rivalries, some enjoy planning the food fests, some don't care for football BUT live for the commercials (at something like $1million for a 20 second spot, they should be awesome, right?), and some watch for the half time show.

Whatever your reasoning is today ... the camaraderie of friends with painted faces in your living room, the idea that for one evening your diet can be put on hold ... just enjoy the day. Football is right up there with baseball, apple pie, the American flag, well you get the idea.

Sit back, relax, wear your 'stretchy' pants, yell at the TV until you lose your voice, hope that there aren't any wardrobe malfunctions during half time, but most importantly ... just be part of the experience. The chores and the TO DO list will still be there tomorrow. Cut yourself some slack and GO GIANTS!!! (Sorry, if I have to pick I have to root for Eli Manning and the NY Giants.)