I think the generations of today have gotten caught up in stuff. "Stuff?" you ask. Yes, stuff.

You know exactly what I speak of: the bread machine you have never used, the shoes you bought because they were a "good deal," the thousands upon thousands of _____________(fill in the blank) that ooze out from under your bed. You know, stuff.

I can understand why. The greatest generation of our time lived through the depression and a war that called for rationing, recycling, and making do. The Baby Boomers were raised by these people, but were also faced with great success...capitalism + hoarding = pack rats. We were then raised by the Baby Boomers and have never really been faced with a real trial, we've never been in a time of want (excepting, of course the fact that we were inundated with loads of advertments tauting the next big thing resulting in us "really wanting" it)...capitalism + hoarding + materialism = us and the current culture of American Society.

In an effort to go against the grain, the hub unit and I are trying to simplify everything in our life. What does that look like? We're going to sell the things we don't use (barring sentimental attachment), things we don't need, and things we feel get in the way of just living a life of simplicity. Of course, this means, I'm getting rid of some clothing that I no longer wear, the jewelry I don't really need or like, trinkets that were given to us that just take up space and collect dust. I know, BIG life changes.

Well, wait for it...we've decided to sell one of our cars, husband's motorcycle and gear, husband's kayak and gear, etc. Those of you who know us know that these are things we like...we even love. However, we've decided we just can't justify owning them, because we don't make use of them enough. They get in the way, they crowd the home, clutter the mind, and distract the heart at times.

I'm inspired by a story that I heard once about John Wesley (thanks, Bob). He knew exactly how much he needed to live off of and even as his income increased, he maintained his same standard of living, giving everything else away. What an excellent idea...more is just that, more. Why do we need more if what we have is enough?


Sans Sleep

My internal clock is whacked out. Seriously. One small change in my diet, my sleeping patterns, etc. and my body decides that it won't obey the natural order of things. I'm sleeping during the days and awake during the night. Argh.

Sure, it allows me to get lots of silly things done: alphabetizing the dvds and writing blog entries; but I'm not able to do what I need to do in the AM. Blah.



What is the most romantic gesture your spouse has every ventured to make on your behalf?

I could name several. See, my husband is a "hopeless romantic" - He wants to be romantic, but it's pretty much hopeless (his words, not mine).

Before we were married "romance" consisted of flowers, dinner, gifts, and dancing. Believe it or not, one Valentine's day, I awoke from a nap with brownie ala mode and the most handsome man in the world awaiting me. He might be "hopeless," but he knows what I like.

The night he planned on proposing, he took me to a nearby city and we walked around a park, went ice-skating, ate a fabulous dinner, and then went back to my apartment to watch my favorite Christmas movie. I fell asleep. He stole the key to my apartment, locked me in, and woke me up at 4AM with a ring. (Note: he likes to wake me up).

Well, this morning I awoke to the sound of a lawn mower. That's right, my hubby was mowing our ridiculously sized yard. And there you have it, ladies - Romance.

Now that we're married and living on a budget, I'm not often risen from my bed to find chocolate or diamonds. Dinner and dancing don't usually find their way into our schedules. Romance right now is found in a look, a conversation, a touch. It shows its face in the dishes, the chores, and yes, even the lawn. It might not seem all that romantic to other folks - but romance is in the eye of the beholder. And I hate to brag, but this morning, my husband was the romance king.


Good Times

Have you ever gone on a road trip unprepared? Unknowingly, I did exactly that earlier in the week. I started driving towards my destination with directions - good directions. I had also been to this destination before - so I didn't really have the whole fear of the unknown. I was ready. I felt good.

About 30 minutes into my trip, I realized I had taken a wrong turn...out of habit. You know the story: you're heading to the grocery store on Saturday and you just happen to take the off ramp that leads to your office. That's where I found myself...thirty minutes into my wrong turn. I was meeting someone, so I called to inform them I might start running behind. As I began telling them the situation, I realized my phone was dying. I had failed to charge my phone. Awesome. An entire day on the road, out of town, with no phone.

So I get back on course,turn my phone off to conserve its power, and try not to speed (I heart cruise control). Then, I realize I'm low on gas...no gas stations for a ways...holy bananas, batman!

To calm your anxieties over my fate (I know your wrought with worry) - everything turned out just fine. I got there, had a wonderful time, and got home without any further disaster; but God once again talked to me through a road trip (this being the summer of road trips).

How many times in our lives do we hear a direction, receive a word or vision, and just run with it - no preparation of forethought whatsoever. "God wants me there - I gotta go!" No offense, but God had planned Jesus' coming, ministry, and resurrection since the beginning of time. He is the Son of the Living God. If anyone has ever had the right to use the "I've been called, I need to go now" excuse - it's Jesus. But folks, Jesus still spent 40 days in the wilderness in preparation for what was to come...and no offense, but are you really above doing what Jesus had to do? I think not.

God has given us all a calling. He's given us all a destination. However, as people (especially American people), we get so focused on the end results that we try to get right to the happy ending where everyone lives happily ever after - ignoring the preparation, ignoring the journey, and biding our time until one day we happen to be where God wants us. So, yes, you might have taken that leap of faith and immediately jumped into the mission field or the ministry - but can you do all God intended if you show up unprepared? No food for the hungry, no hope for the hopeless, no love for the broken...nothing?

I hate to break it to anyone (especially myself), but God is the God of process. He calls us to great things and He requires much of us - that includes a little foresight and well, responsibility. So, when you get your directions...pay attention and break out of autopilot, charge your phone, and fill your tank - while it could be a smooth ride, it will most likely be bumpy - and preparation will get you there in the manner God intended.



Over the last few days, I have spent an extraordinary percentage of my waking moments in traffic. Now, I'm not here to embark upon a lengthy tirade against the vehicular powers that be; I am, however, not a huge fan of gathering with 12,000 of my "closest buddies" and their cars a la bumper-to-bumper togetherness.

In fact, I usually get very agitated any time I am in a car and behind the wheel (any time I'm in a car and not behind the wheel, I'm sleeping...or about to be sleeping...or thinking of sleeping). The past few days have been a different story all together and it got me thinking about how I use my time.

Now, I'm not going to get preachy on you. Lord knows, that I have come milliseconds away from losing my religion several times whilst in a moving vehicle. Most of the time I completely fail at maintaining a Christ-like attitude and tumble quickly and most willingly headlong into a slur of curse words and finger gestures.

But today it hit me...why am I in a hurry? Why is everybody around me in a hurry? Not everyone can possibly have a dying relative or an impending birth on which to blame their impatience and anxiety. I'm not saying this as an attempt to make a theologically flimsy, overarching "broad generality," but to more appropriately state that God used the traffic to stop me dead in my tracks, get my attention, and make me think.

What's really important: my time and the fact that I want to get home quickly or God's time, his kingdom, and the fact that he used the D.O.T. today to get my attention?

That being said, what has God used to get your attention lately? He is using something whether you realize it or not. It might not be something you enjoy or even something you would consider - like traffic. But, rest assured - God's not afraid of pissing you off and he's definitely not above using traffic to speak a timely word.


Growing Up?

I think I could possibly be growing up. Really. Schocked? Me too. I mean, I'm not surprised - I don't think. I knew this day would come; I just didn't know I'd be so happy it did.

I suppose one's reaction to growing up hangs upon their definition of "grown up." I should clarify that my definition by no means is in any way associated with getting older, having a mortgage, having a "real" job, not trying to accomplish more daring stupid human tricks with your husband on your days off - you know, the basics.

For me, it was a realization that came suddenly. Sure the process took ages...and will continue until I'm dead and gone, but this was one of those sweet moments that gives you just a glimpse of heaven.

I knew me, I liked me and I accepted myself fully in the presence of others. Amazing.


Livin' in the 395

I have my summers off. That's one of the awesome things about being a teacher. You pour yourself out for 10 months out of the year (closer to 9) and then you get a nice break (several breaks throughout the year, in fact). My job is a pretty sweet gig.

However, I am of the unfortunate disposition of goal-neediness. I gotta have them. If I don't, I do nothing. A.K.A, I sit on the chair all day researching homemade shampoos online while my dogs look at me. Tangent: Surprisingly, there are some great shampoo recipes out there - I haven't tried them, but they look good and possibly edible, I mean effective.

Back to the point. New goals are a necessity. The hub unit has finals this week and I must stay out of his way. I figure, what better way to be neither seen nor heard than to undertake some home improvement projects.

Here are the home re-vamps scheduled for this week...possibly to commence today if my homemade house cleaners venture turns bust:

1. Paint guest room. ("Rafia Rain" something or another...it's one of those nice neutral guest roomy colors).

2. Get bonus room together. The bonus room is my "office" if you will. However, it is more commonly know as the room in which all of my hobbies collectively vomited. Must be tackled.

3. Paint bonus room in an effort to encourage me to keep it neat. Probably not going to work.

4. Paint hallway. I paint a lot, mainly because I can't do any other home improvements save yard work. M had banned all use of power tools. I can't even say the words "Home Depot" for fear of exile.

5. I should clean. I realize we have a "shallow sink," but our cupboards are nearly empty of all suitable eating instruments and one can only play the "What can I eat without getting anything dirty" game so long.

I better get going. The longer I sit here and blog the more I realize I have to do...and I've got a homemade drano to make.