My Lenten sacrifice is never far from my mind. I’ve been keeping up with cleaning. I gave my dog a bath and trimmed his nails. He doesn’t like baths but he always seems happier afterward. Being clean must feel better.
He hates having his nails trimmed but he handles it better if I do it than if I take him to the vet. I discovered if I tie him to a tree and stand over him as if riding a horse, he handles it way better than if I sit beside him. It’s also important that even though he hates this, he will still trust me to trim his nails.
The blog is also a part of my Lenten sacrifice. Most of the posts take a lot longer than twelve minutes to write. But telling myself twelve minutes is the least I have to do is enough to get started. It is cathartic for me to reflct on the day and to try to capture something meaningful to blog about. It’s like setting a precious gem in a ring to display to the world.
Tonight I read bedtime stories to my four-year old niece from her children’s bible. In the midst of craziness with the rest of the family conversing around us, she paid attention and asked me questions about the characters in the pictures and about what I read. My niece knew bible stories. She reminded me of myself when I was younger. My mom read (and still does) the bible every night and I read my own children’s bible while she read hers.
Children’s bibles are great because they put the stories in perspective since there is a clear cut beginning and ending for a theme. Most of the people in the bible are far from perfect, just like us, but we see how God speaks to them either directly or through others. We also learn that God speaks to us in the bible and by revealing things to us through our own desires.
My cousin managed three young children almost effortlessly. I am single and I come and go as I please, I stay out late with my friends during the weekends. It’s hard to imagine giving that up. But one of the things I’ve looked forward to doing if I have kids is reading to them. I hope there are still bookstores around then because I want to browse the aisles of the children’s area and decide which books out of the huge stack we are actually going to buy. I want to rock with them in a chair and read to them until they fall asleep. And one day I want them to read stories to me.
I will have to keep it short tonight because I need to wake up in three hours to catch a plane. I’m going to share with you my secret to packing. It’s not earth shattering, but I’m always entertained by people’s reactions when I tell them that I use the same list every time.
It’s been probably eight years. I have it in a cute little notebook that I keep on my dresser. I tried inputting the items in my phone but I didn’t like that. I did rewrite the list a few years ago to include digital gadgets that I didn’t have a long time ago and remove the things they replaced.
It’s helpful because your going to use the same basic things all the time, so why start over trying to remember everything? Some trips may need an addendum Post-It for special items, but it has been a very good system.
I asked my cousin how her Lenten Reflections are going and she said she felt closer to God. I wondered if my sacrifice was good enough because my choices don’t obviously relate to God as in praying or reading something spiritual. I did realize a few days ago that I think God is helping me stick to my goals. And maybe since I am in the middle I can’t see the whole plan how blogging and being more organized will bring me closer to God.
What does it feel like to be close to God? I wonder if anyone has the same answer. I would guess there are different categories. A bunch of people experience X, a bunch of people experience Y or Z. Probably the same individual can experience X,Y, and Z at different points in their life.
We can feel close or far away from people we know. Quality time brings people closer. Quality is relative to the people involved. If it is something you both enjoy, it can be positive. If only one person enjoys it, it’s not doing very much for the relationship. There is something to be said in making a sacrifice for someone you care about, but if it ends up being excessive and bringing you down then that’s not healthy.
You can spend a lot of time with someone and hardly connect. You can spend a lot of time with someone and not be able to express or show it, but you can feel a connection in a glance, in a touch, in a hug. You can spend a lot of time with someone and it could never feel like enough time. There can be people you don’t get to see often for various reasons, but when you’re with them again, you can pick up like no time has passed.
Sometimes people say things they don’t mean. They may know better in their heads, but because of their desires, the words get mixed up between their brains and their mouths. Sometimes people just can’t do better because they are in a dark place and can’t get out. And sometimes they just don’t know how they come across to others.
When we’re far away from someone we wish we were close to it’s hard to decide what to do. Do we wait it out? Do we say something? Do we move on?
What does God do when we are far away from him? How does he get our attention?
With the exception of two cousins, I haven’t told anyone I know that I started a new blog. I don’t think my cousins have even been on it yet. I had a previous blog about dancing. I felt uncomfortable telling people I know about that one as well, because it’s a little scary having all your thoughts revealed to the world. However, I had a goal to be someone known in the dance world so I was motivated by my ambitions.
This blog is meant to be about whatever I think about during the day that moves me. So that makes it harder. Revealing ourselves to each other is hard even when we have good people around us that we know care. Sometimes we have people we know deep down do care but because of things going on in their own lives they can’t be there for us in the way we want. Or maybe due to personality differences we don’t communicate on the same level or want the same things.
A few years ago I was on vacation with my friend and her family. We started writing poetry and reading it to each other at night. Someone gave my friend some criticism that made her not want to share her poetry anymore.
My point is sometimes our family and friends have different values, or might not be in the same place emotionally. We have to learn what we can reveal and to whom. It can be frustrating when we get burned, but I think we have to recalibrate and find a way of trusting ourselves. And I feel like even when things don’t go the way we want, we need to reflect on the situation because there is a chance that we are unknowingly doing the same thing to someone else we know.
I stopped watching tv a few years ago because all the shows I loved were cancelled abruptly. I missed the time when you at least knew the end was coming and the show made an attempt to wind story lines down and provide at least some happy endings.
Then there was the phase of ridiculous, time wasting reality shows. I have better things to do than watch someone eat roaches or whatever. But now there are shows that help people take their passions and talents and make something of them. I can get on board with that: Cake Boss, the Voice… you know the others.
My friend got me into Shark Tank. It’s a show that gives guests who have a unique business idea a chance to meet with investors, the Sharks, with a business proposition. The entrepreneurs present their idea or product and the Sharks ask questions and each Shark decides if they want to invest. Sometimes the Sharks give a stipulation such as less money and a higher percentage ownership in the company. The entrepreneurs can accept, deny, or make a counter offer.
The entrepreneurs have only a few minutes to evaluate the Sharks’ offers and decide if it’s worth the risk taking the offer. In many cases they already have a successful business and are trying to expand, so they really have to trust their gut.
The Sharks also give the entrepreneurs advice, usually they disagree among themselves about what is best for the entrepreneurs. So you realize no one has the exact prescription for success. And except for a few entrepreneurs that get upset and cry on TV, they’re not any worse off. Plus, they get exposure being on the show.
What I like most is seeing the entrepreneurs’ creativity and hearing the Sharks advice. I’m not very familiar with business and investing so I learn something. Sometimes the show follows up on guests from a previous season and you find out the successes of those who didn’t have/take the sharks offer and how they found great success in other ways.
I have varied interests and since I was little I was always trying to come up with inventions or a way of taking a hobby and finding a way to make money with it. Hopefully one day I will have a creative business idea.
Have you ever thought about what you would talk about if you had your own radio show? Two of my coworkers have a new, weekly, hour long show at the university. Tonight DJ Ran and DJ PM talked about movies, technology, and current entertainment events like upcoming concerts and shows and played a song in between each segment. I saw them making notes at lunch time and to have heard their completed show fulfilled is pretty cool.
When I was younger I had friend whom I did something similar with…we used to record our own variety shows on cassettes. I was listening with another friend tonight and she thought we could do a show. We can ramble on and on about anything and we are easily amused with ourselves. I keep thinking if I had grown up in this time of instant recording and YouTube what kind of havoc my childhood friend and I could wreak.