Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Better with Bacon

I went out to lunch with a few co-workers today. We hit an express buffet at a local Mexican restaurant. EXCELLENT food.

Anyway, the four of us were all having a really bad day, and co-worker #1 pipes up with, "Hey, you've gotta try these funny looking weird pork chop things. I mean, they look like pork chops, but they taste like bacon."

Co-worker #2 says, "If it tastes like bacon, I'm all for it. Everything's better with bacon." She then proceeded to tell us about a restaurant she had been to where all of the meats were wrapped with a slice of bacon, and, "It was plain meat, but that bacon just added something to it. Really, everything is better with bacon. Think about it. Even if someone put a pile of crap in front of you, if you wrapped it in bacon, it wouldn't be so bad."

I'm not sure I believe that. Crap is crap, and I said so.

She responded with, "I'm telling you, bacon can solve just about any problem. Seriously."

I answered, "So, if I wrap my whole body in bacon, I can leave this restaurant and find a bag with a million bucks in it and immediately become thirty pounds lighter?"

She chewed thoughtfully for a moment and said, "Well, maybe not, but at least you would taste good if someone bit you."

Yup. We all work in mental health. Here's to bacon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Question of the Day

From my dear friend:


Question:
"Martha, what do you do when you're giving all that you've got, doing everything you know to do, but it just isn't good enough for someone else?"


Gut reaction answer:
"Honey, nothing you do will ever be good enough for whoever that person is, so you may as well kick 'em to the curb and move on."


More thoughtful answer:
Honestly, it probably depends on how you define "giving all that you've got, doing everything you know to do" and your opinion versus the other person's opinion on what's "good enough."

For example, let's say that your husband loves his mother's meatloaf. Your meatloaf-making skills maybe aren't great, but you keep trying for his sake. Believe me when I say, you're fighting a losing battle. Your meatloaf will never compare to his mother's. And even if your meatloaf is better, he probably won't tell you that. It's not that he doesn't like it. It's that it's not his mother's meatloaf. That one, you just need to get over.

Now, if you're constantly going out of your way to be there for someone in every way imaginable, but that person just keeps demanding more, you're in the same boat as the above example. Nothing will ever be "good enough." Why? Because that person has a warped idea of what it means to share in a relationship, and the more you give, the more that person will want. Get away while you can. You will get sucked dry.

And now--kind of playing devil's advocate, I suppose--there's always the possibility that your idea of "good enough" just isn't...well...good enough. Putting it like that, it seems terrible. Maybe it would sound better like this: It could be that it's a matter of aspiring to do more and do better. There is nothing wrong with mediocrity and being comfortable in life. But sometimes, one person in a relationship just aspires to more than that. And that's okay. And it's also okay NOT to aspire to more. You have to decide what you're comfortable with and how much you value and need the relationship with that other person. How do you do that? That, my dear, is between you and that other person. Maybe it'll work out. Maybe it won't.

But I can tell you this much: No matter what you decide, you will regret it at some point. Even if you make the absolute best-best-bestest decision at the time, somewhere down the road, you'll feel a little pang of regret. That's the torture of decision-making. No matter what you decide, there's a consequence. Sometimes, that consequence doesn't become clear until much later. Just be prepared for the feelings that go along with it.

Take care, honey.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Valuable Words

Baz Luhrmann--Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Two things that stick out for me:

1. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts; don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

2. Don't read beauty magazines. They will make you feel ugly.

It was true then, and it's still true now.

Dream Away

Question: What has 2 LONG purple legs, 6 short pink legs, 4 pincers, teal feathers and fuschia plumes flowing out of its back, an electric blue millipede attached to the top of its head and is about the size of my hand?

Answer: The creepy bug in my dream last night.

I squished it under a giant shoe and it splattered varying shades of bug guts all over.

I wonder what this means…

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Monday to Friday Blues

I've decided that I need to quit my day job, if for no other reason than to avoid the morning commute. I can't stand to be stuck in traffic with the creepy guy in the next lane picking his nose.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sassy Button

So, you know how Staples has the commercial and there's always an "Easy" Button? I think I triggered my daughter's "Sassy" Button today. The conversation went like this...

"How about now that we're done with dinner, we read a book?"

"Ummm. How about I watch Cars?"

"No honey. It's going to be bedtime soon. No television. How about a book?"

"How about a snack?"

"We just ate, sweetheart. How about we get you ready for your bath? Then we can read a book."

"How about you go night night?"

"I'll go night night later. Let's go upstairs."

"How about hugs and kisses mommy? I love you."

I was a big jelly heap of emotion after that one. Man, do I love her.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Let Them Be Little -- Little House on the Prairie

I loved watching Little House! I actually remember a lot of the episodes that these clips were taken from.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hands of My Father

Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there!

I had a wonderful opportunity today to spend time with both my husband and my father and I keep thinking how neat it is to know these two men in their roles as dads. As I thought about it more and watched my dad holding my sister's brand new baby boy, I spent some time reflecting on what it means to be created in the image of our Father.

I believe that to a degree, we are created in the image of God. As I thought about it more though, I started thinking about how very much I am like my father. Stubborn to the core, hard working, not afraid of getting my hands dirty...all traits from my father. And so I think that perhaps there is a huge element of truth in that we are all created in the likeness of God.

I'm thinking God is pretty stubborn--He sticks to His guns no matter what people do and is determined to forgive and move on, no matter what. God must be hard working--can you imagine how many prayers He hears and answers in any given hour? Any given day? And I think that God is not afraid of getting His hands dirty. He blesses and keeps all who believe in Him. And even the people who don't. In disaster and conflict, in war and devastation--God is there. He does a lot of hard of work. Thank goodness for that.

God, today I want to say thanks for making me in the likeness of my father and ultimately, in the likeness of You.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Jump For Joy...

...it's a boy!

Congratulations to my dear sister on the birth of her sweet baby boy! And congratulations to the proud daddy and big sister and brother!

Heavenly Father,

It's a beautiful day when You grace someone with the joy of a new child. Thank You for this amazing, beautiful day.

Amen.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who Has the Power?

WE have the power!

There is a very valuable lesson that was recently reinforced for me.

The person who has the power to influence others has the most power of all.

It was true of the Nazis in World War II and it’s an understatement to say that Hitler had a lot of influence on others. Our current political system has a lot of influence on the masses: Anyone heard of the immigration debate? American soldiers in Iraq? Stem cell research? Abortion? Hot topics, every single one.

In general, I believe that people are influenced by the things they hear and witness. Want proof? I was standing in line at the grocery store when I heard the young boy in line behind me mutter under his breath about the woman checking out in front of me. He was complaining about “the dirty welfare chick” who was using her Link card to purchase cereal, milk, vegetables and a bottle of juice. The kid couldn’t have been more than six! I glanced at the boy’s mother, knowing that if I was standing six feet away and heard him, certainly she heard him. As I looked at her, she smiled and gave her son a playful tap on the head. It appears that someone has quite a bit of influence on that little boy.

It’s not just children who are easily influenced. I know a woman who works for a very large corporation and I couldn’t help but cringe when she told me about how, during a meeting with upper management, a fellow manager verbally bashed one of his supervisees, calling the individual “lazy, ignorant, stupid and rude.” Everyone felt bad for the supervisor for having to put up with such a terrible employee. She went on to tell me that she knew this employee, and as far as she could tell, the employee was called “lazy” because even though this individual met all requirements, there wasn’t the same level of performance that was seen in the other staff members. “Ignorant” and “stupid” was apparently because the employee didn’t hold a degree equal to the degrees of the other employees. “Rude” was because the employee disagreed with how an account was being handled and suggested a better and more cost efficient way to manage it. She told me how the gossip became worse and more derogatory, until all of the supervisors in their department viewed the employee that way, and no matter how hard that employee worked or ultimately excelled, there was no way to break away from those labels. Talk about power of influence.

The good news is that there must be people in this world who actually care about and believe in the basic goodness of others. Today, I saw a little boy, maybe about four or five, struggling to hold open a department store door for his mom and dad. Someone obviously has some positive influence over that little boy.

God has that kind of influence on me. I hope that’s the kind of influence I have on those around me.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Walking the Walk

I keep telling myself that life isn’t supposed to be this difficult. Well, maybe difficult isn’t exactly the right word, because I know people who are far worse off than I am. I think what I mean is that when you do everything “right”, when you do everything you’re “supposed” to do, and in the order you’re supposed to do it, it seems like things should just naturally fall into place.

The past two years have taught me so much. I know now that there is no “right” way to do things. Yes, I can choose to walk on a path that I think God would approve of, but if there are some slips along the way, I don’t necessarily think that it’s because I’ve done anything wrong.

Sometimes, bad things happen.

Healthy people suddenly develop medical conditions that interfere with quality of life. Robust, cheerful babies develop health problems that lead to a lifetime of complications. Stable marriages crumble. Dream jobs turn into living, waking nightmares that must be endured for forty hours per week. Thankfully, medical conditions and health problems can often be managed, even if not cured…marriages can be put back together…dream jobs can change.

I think that long before I came to be on this Earth, God knew what my destiny would be. I also believe that even though I have free will and choose what direction I will take, God still knows what the outcome will be.

There are people I know who blame God when bad things happen, but when good things happen, they attribute it to something they’ve done themselves. I’m the opposite. I don’t think that God necessarily causes bad things to happen. I find it hard to believe that God would, say, willfully strike a child with a fatal form of cancer. I think He knows what lies in store for that child and that family, and He weeps when the family weeps, all the while holding the grieving parents in His hands and hoping that they will turn to Him in their time of need. But I also believe that He rejoices in knowing that He will care for and love that innocent child until the time comes for the child to be reunited with the parents.

Now don’t get me wrong. Yes, there are times when I question God, especially when things have taken a bad turn. But I don’t sit around wallowing in my own self-pity, asking, “How could God do this to me?” Instead, I think, “God, how am I going to get through this?” I may not always hear His answer, but the answer must be there…because I obviously got through it and I’m still here. And He’s still here.

Dear God,

Today, I choose to remember that it’s not a sign of weakness to let You be strong for me. Help me be comfortable in the knowledge that You will be there to lift me up and help me walk on my path, even when I feel like I can’t take another step. I pray that in my moments of weakness, I realize how strong You made me.

Amen.