Nice Banana

I will make this post nice and short as springing forward has just about killed me.

So I am guilty. I took a hiatus.  I didn’t feel like writing about grocery store shopping, baseball schedules, basketball schedules, illness, breaking dawn, remodeling relived, storms, lack of rain, lots of rain, chosing schools for the kids, a bazarro hearing in federal court, conference calls with 2 people on hold, and three more calling in or the delicious carrot cake my mother just made.  Instead of sitting on the sidelines I was in the game and I played the whole quarter without any rest.  To say I am tired is an understatement. But it is ok. It is more than ok. I am blessed to have a body that allows me to keep up with my life- as I know that in the future eventually my body will become tired and worn out and I won’t have the stamina or the ability to go as fast and hard as I do now.  And really honestly, not that I want this to be a depressing post, it will happen to all of us eventually.  My husband’s best friend has a great way of living. He says God gave us this body- it is our job to use it to do God’s work and wear it out.  There is so much greatness in that view.

BUT BEFORE I TALK ABOUT THAT……

In the middle of one of my hectic days while on my hiatus, I was sprinting for the basketball court when what to my wondering eyes  should appear?……but a bright yellow banana without any fear. Right in the middle of the road, completely unsquished, I was quite sure this was an omen- but I just couldn’t figure out what.

Okay, okay enough randomness….but maybe that is exactly what it was- a distraction to distract me from myself.  Sort of like a board over the head- telling me to slow it down. Enjoy the bright sunshine, the laughter of my children, the sound of teenage boys battling it out on a basketball court, the smell of popcorn, the excitement of parents, the excitement of school spirit, the joy of having the day off to spend with my family, the gratefulness for a good job, a great family, a body that works relatively well and of course-

the humor in finding a perfectly unsquished banana in the middle of a busy road.

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Between Now and Now

King Cake and the Re-Birth of the Next Part of the New Year

I know. I know.  I need to explain.  This is the annual king cake that our office receives from a very generous client.  We all gather in the kitchen and eagerly slice away at the king cake to see who is going to get the infamous plastic baby.   For those of you who have no idea what a king cake is- it is a cake that is often used for pre-lenten celebrations that has a little baby inserted somewhere in the cake. And you better pray that you don’t inadvertently bite the plastic baby’s arm off as you take a bite into your pre-lenten celebratory morsel. (*ha, ha snort*)

I did not get the baby. I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t get the baby. I was absolutely without question amused at the way the baby came out of the cake.  As someone in my office proclaimed “it’s not breach!”, as it was served on a plate, this little innocent plastic baby was in perfect position to enter into the world of lawyering at our firm and be introduced to all the other plastic Mardi Gras babies lined up against the wall in our firm’s kitchen.  (and yes one of the babies is sans one arm)

This week Lent starts. Mardi Gras is on Tuesday- more famously known as “Fat Tuesday” where Christians all around the world are supposed to gorge themselves with rich and fatty foods, drink various amounts of alcohol or chocolate milk (whichever you prefer, me personally- I’ll take diet dr. pepper) and give insane reasons to show various parts of their nude bodies for strands of plastic, shiny necklaces.

This is all in preparation of the lenten season representing a time of fasting and self-contemplation.

Lent can symbolize a transition into newness. A re-birth of self. Making changes for the good-Similar to a New Year’s resolution, however for me it has a lot more accountability factor.  Lent is a spiritual resolution. It can be a real source of determination for all of us when we think of what it is and why it is.

Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. It symbolizes the beginning of the time where Jesus went out into the desert to begin the 40 days of fasting and prayer. Fasting is hard. It is real hard. If you haven’t tried it you should. If you have tried it and failed then you are in the same club as me. But I am going to keep trying even if it only means no meat on Fridays.  Lent is a time of sacrifice and self-reflection.  I do not know what I am going to give up for lent or do for lent. I am thinking about it.  I know I want to do something that means something. Something that I can be accountable for and actually achieve. Even if it is small-

Look at it as the beginning to a new spiritual year.  It is a changing process-where we can “listen” to the maps of our own individual journeys. Think about what you want to change in your life. What one thing can you do that will bring you closer to God and bring you more peace?

So many resolutions are built on between then and now.

My challenge is this- if you choose to contemplate the upcoming season of Lent- what can you do that will enrich your life and bring you closer to God- what is that one simple thing?  It may be taking a walk in the morning, turning your radio off on your morning commute and sitting in silence or prayer- maybe it is picking up a few extra groceries for the homeless every time you go to the store or practicing the discipline of training your mind to say only good things. Whatever it may be- try to remove the practice of thinking “what I can I do between now and then to be closer to God?” to “what can I do between now and now that will bring me closer to God?”

In Search of the Light

I have a saying that I use pretty frequently. I have adopted it from the Pre-K teacher.  She got it from the book of Matthew. Matthew 5:16 to be exact which says “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  To simplify, I go with the Pre-K version and just go with “let your light shine”.  It is such an awesome and powerful statement.

Suffice it to say, I am not perfect (duh) and I struggle to keep this simple and beautiful thought at the forefront of my day. I try to do it everyday and  some days I completely fail.  But I keep trying.  The other night when I was really upset a very good friend texted me 3 simple words. I. love. you.  How awesome is that?  She texted me in the middle of my melt down.  I texted her back and she called me.  I asked her why she texted me, and her response was “that she was just thinking about me”.  Seriously? In the middle of my melt down? Two hours later, my sister-in-law texted I. Love. You.   How did these two people who love me so much know? without any precursor or information? Ladies and gentlemen- that is some really powerful stuff.  I needed them and I didn’t know I needed them. But they knew I needed them. Awesomeness right there and in action.

So what exactly is the light that we are supposed to let shine?  That is the three million dollar question.  I think that it is a responsibility that we have to seek, to be better than what we are. right now, at this moment.  We all have a special part of God in us- a part that knows things and recognizes things without explanation.  The part that radiates goodness and recognizes goodness and wants to project goodness.   We all have this light. We have to let it shine as much as possible because we never know who may need it.

Sometimes we know exactly where we are going and we know exactly how we are going to get there.  Other times we can get completely lost, forgetting who we are, what we are supposed to do and where we are supposed to be going.    You see, when we let our “light” shine, you never know who is searching, who is lost, looking for a light. Our light can be used for others, like a lighthouse is used in the middle of a dark storm. guiding those ships that are lost and warning to not run aground.

Think about how many times in your own life someone has done something for you that made all the difference.  A phone call, a listening ear, a small present, an unexpected visit, a card, a shoulder to cry on, a wise word, a harsh word, a swift kick in the back side-  I know for myself, throughout my life, I have been lost countless times. Operating on complete faith, like walking around in a dark room with my hands out, anticipating when I am going to stumble because I can’t see in front of my face due to the blackness surrounding me. I have had darkness, where I didn’t know what I believed and what I didn’t believe,a time where I have just gone through the motions of the emotions. And then like a miracle someone helps me or something happens because someone cared enough about me to make it happen.  The light in those times is brighter than a thousand suns- it is brighter than ten thousand suns because that light carries with it HOPE.  Hope that someone cares, that things will be better, that things will be ok-  because that is what we all want- is for things to be ok.

The wise men, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar (I had to look their names up) knew what they were looking for.  They consulted books, maps, scripture and their own knowledge in search of what they were looking for, which was Christ.  In the end it was the great bright light that lead them to what they were looking for. The light guided them to where they needed to be, the light offered them hope for their future and provided reassurance that they too would be ok.

As you go through your day, try to be selfless, giving of yourself, asking yourself what you can do for someone. Take a risk and be giving of yourself, send that card to the person you keep thinking of, call your friend and tell them how much you miss them, tell the people you care about how important they are to you, tell people you appreciate them, acknowledge others when their kindness has touched you, be kind when it is most difficult, break your old bad habit and force yourself to do that one thing different just one time and most importantly be aware and willing all the time to be of service when you are called.

Because you see my friends, you never know when it will be our turn to be in search of the light.