I’ve been in clean-out mode over here. Most people do spring cleaning in the, well, you know…spring. It’s late July and I just got the memo. I started in the kids’ bedrooms and ended up in my closet. In the process, I stirred up some twenty-plus-year-old-dust in a few boxes from my high school days. Is really old dust more toxic than new dust? I dunno. But, I read in the um, South Texas Journal of Dust Bunnies that dusting is bad news. That’s exactly why I don’t touch the stuff! (hee hee!) What I DO know is that I’ve been sneezing ever since the purge. Achooooooo!!!
Anyhoo! Aside from the mid-summer allergy fit, I have certainly enjoyed going through the boxes of memories. There were oodles of pictures, handwritten letters and cards (remember those?!), crunchy roses, newspaper clippings, and report cards.
I haven’t made the time to go through all of the cards yet, but I did most of my reminiscing while looking through a stack of graduation notes that were rubber-banded together. I tell you what – 1993 was a few years back! I am one of the ones who still thinks that the 90’s happened last decade. Boy, time flies! Tucked in that pile were some wonderful pieces of wisdom. Someone had made me a copy of page 154 from the first version of Max Lucado’s book, In the Eye of the Storm.
There were many pearls of insight on that page that I want to share with you:
- Love God more than you fear hell.
- When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
- Succeed at home first.
- Pray twice as much as you fret.
- Listen twice as much as you speak.
- Only harbor a grudge when God does.
- Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
- Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
- ‘Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
- Don’t feel guilty for God’s goodness.
- Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
I enjoyed reading the notes of encouragement, hope, good wishes, forgiveness, friendship, and love. I had fun recalling the Homecomings, Proms, and Sadie Hawkins’ dances, along with the outfits and the hair. And how ‘bout this? Per some faded Sadie Hawkins’ certificates, I am currently married to at least four other guys from my high school! Goodness gracious.
Who would’ve thought that something as ordinary as going through old boxes would make me smile? It’s hard to believe that many of my buddies are getting dangerously close to 40. I remember being bummed that I was the “young one” in the class, especially when it came time to get a driver’s license. This year, I’m relishing in the fact that I have a summer birthday! Woo-hoo! Thirty-nine forever baby! Thirty-nine forever.
Anyway, it always amazes me how some of the most ordinary things in my day make me pause and reflect a bit. For instance, at the Buc-ee’s store in Wharton, I saw two wall signs that brought me joy – “Be You(tiful)” and “When you stumble, make it part of the dance.” It was a simple pit stop while filling up the gas tank and it really made my day. I just chose to “open my eyes,” which I don’t always remember to do. I’m glad I did.
Just today, I was going through some things on my desk and found this gem: “Care more than others think necessary. Trust more than others think wise. Serve more than others think practical.” Good stuff.
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t made much time to read this summer. However, if it counts, I did start a book called “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. In it, she challenges us to intentionally embrace a lifestyle of radical gratitude, while slowing down to catch God in the everyday moments. She made a list of one thousand gifts…each discovered in between the most mundane-hum-drum-monotonous-kinda-days.
I wondered if I could come up with a thousand gifts to be thankful for that are tucked inside my most ordinary of days. I made a mental list and immediately came up with ten:
- The hum of an air conditioner in summer
- My children giggling
- My husband’s hug
- A chat with my mom
- A moon that lights up the sky
- The ability to see and hear
- Mail in the mailbox
- The ability to walk and dance
- The smell of dryer sheets
- Praying in the car with my family
Mrs. Voskamp dares us to live fully right where we are. I like that. I know I challenged you all on my last post to be complain-free for 24 hours. Well, here’s a new challenge for this week. Come up with one hundred (we’ll start small) blessings found in the most routine of your days.
Living with gratitude helps us to wake up and see our blessings. Matthew Kelly challenges us to examine our conscience daily in order to remain sensitive to the things that prevent us from being grateful or becoming the-best-version-of-ourselves. We should rejoice in that sensitivity because it is grace alive and working within us. I pray daily for this grace.
If we look around, we’ll notice that the Lord has bestowed a healthy dose of gifts upon us. I know I am one step closer to 40, but it startled me a bit when I thought I had double-vision on my birthday. After I blinked a few times, I realized that I was indeed seeing double…but, in a good way. One of our cows had twins! That’s right and they’re adorable. Surely that is some sort of sign, right?! Well, I think I’ll simply take it as a double dose of blessings and I look forward to the year ahead as I strive to become more aware of the many gifts tucked inside my everyday. Won’t you join me?
Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!