Sunday, June 19, 2016

Oh the Places You Can Rule!

Now that the school year is over there are a couple of school assignments that I loved that I want to save.  This one is Jenna's end of year World Studies assignment to do a brochure about being a dictator based on the things she learned throughout the school year.  I think it's pretty remarkable!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Don't forget to look down, too.

Last week I spent some time talking with a friend.  I knew that she'd just had a long layover in a tropical location after a business trip.  When I asked if she had other travel plans, she said that she and her husband were taking a trip to South America in a couple of weeks, and then a Carribean trip later in the summer.  I love my friend and am totally happy for her happiness, but I must admit that the little green monster reared it's ugly head a little.  (After all, I've never even been out of the United States, other than a little hop across the border at Niagara Falls.)

Later in the week I saw on Facebook that someone I know is spending the summer (the whole summer) in Europe with her family. (Her whole family.) There was the green eyed monster again, a little more insistent this time.  (After all, I've never even been out of the United States, other than a little hop across the border at Niagara Falls.)

I chewed on this occasionally over the next few days, disgruntled at the disparity of my life compared to theirs.

Then I had the little thought.  The reminder of the niggle of guilt I felt when we spent two weeks (not one, but TWO!!) in Hawaii this winter!  Sure, we haven't been for a couple of years, but we have been lucky enough to have a week long beach vacation almost every year.   And then Hawaii!

As I started thinking about all of the ways that I have been blessed more than many people, my list grew.  Lovely children.  Loving husband.  Family support.  Personal time.  Lovely home.  Beautiful yard and ability to buy many flowers.  Regular beach vacation.  Occasional Hawaiian vacation. And on, and on, and on.  And on.

There are two truths at play here.  It is true that I don't have as much money or the same opportunities as some people that I know.  But it is even more true that compared to other people that I know, and compared to most of the people in the world, I have more.  I was comparing "up," but not remembering to compare "down."

So today I'm saying thank you to all of those who haven't yet had the chance to go to Hawaii but who were excited for me when I went.  Thank you for rejoicing with me, for adding to the joy of my trip.  Let me know when you're ready to go and I'll help you plan your trip.  And I'm also saying that I'm going to do a better job at remembering just how blessed I am so that I'm able to celebrate other people's opportunities, even when (especially when?) they're opportunities that I may never have.

[disclaimer: I have used the terms "up" and "down" only to mean having more money and the opportunities money can provide.  These terms are not meant in any other way.]

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Through a glass, darkly

My phone is a hand-me-down, it came from my nephew Jake who's on a mission now.  I've added a few apps to the phone in the year I've had it, but never done anything physically to the phone.  Which means that for a year it's had the case it came in, and the screen protector that came on it.

Lately it's been looking pretty scratched.  Let's be real.  For a long time it's been looking pretty scratched, and lately it's been looking terrible.  I *knew* that, but it was the kind of thing I never noticed in a moment where I could do anything about it and that never stayed in my memory for very long.

Finally there was the perfect conjunction; the stars aligned and I ordered a new screen protector.  I begged Jared (one of my tech guys) to put it on for me and I walked away.  Some time later he told me it was done and I came and got it.

All I can say is


I mean


It was so CLEAR!  It was so BRIGHT!  It was amazing and for the rest of the night and most of the next day I just stared at it in amazement every time I looked at it.

I can see clearly, now, I thought.  And I had no idea how un-clearly I *had* been seeing.

Then I started thinking...


For so many years in my life I was confused by part of a verse in the New Testament,

"For now we see through a glass, darkly..."

What on earth did it mean to see through a glass darkly?  It was really annoying to me, especially as the rest of the verse made a lot of sense to me and I really liked it.  The first time I heard an explanation for this idea was such a relief to me--that it might have to do with seeing something, (or through something), but not very well.

As I looked at my phone with it's spiffy and shiny new screen protector I understood on a new level.  Now that I was seeing my phone so well, I could see that for so long I hadn't been seeing it well at all.  I could see that then I saw through a screen protector, scratched up.  Which might be a lot like seeing through a glass darkly.

The most interesting thing to me, though, was the realization that while I knew I probably needed a new screen protector,  I had no idea how bad the situation really was *until* I had the new screen protector.

Which made my brain that loves analogies wonder--where in my life am I seeing through a glass darkly without knowing it?  Where do I think I have a little problem when there's actually a much bigger problem?  Where will be the biggest surprise when I no longer see through a glass darkly??