Monthly Archives: June 2012

Stuff – what would you put in your box?

In light of the Colorado wildfires I was thinking tonight about what I would put in THE BOX if I had enough time to gather up precious, sentimental valuables.

Actually, I know full well what I’d put in there because I had to do it not that long ago when a cyclone was headed straight for our city.

I put in our passports, a few other important documents, some photos, journals, a box of love notes, and our hard-drives which contain several years worth of photos.

Really, when you boil it right down, most things we have are replaceable.

But then I started thinking about some of the things I have stored up in my parents attic – sentimental things from my childhood.

What if they were to evacuate their home suddenly, with only a short window of time to “rescue” a box or a car load of stuff? They would have no idea the things that I hold dear from my childhood. (Or if they did, there’d be no way they could locate them in time.)

What remains of my childhood in “stuff” form would be gone forever. (Not the end of the world, but sad for a sentimental sap like me.)

One of the things I’ve wanted to do during this time home in Oregon was rumage that attic and see what treasures I left behind 12 years ago when I left and never came back. That was on my list far before I left Australia.

But the fires in Colorado have given me extra incentive.

Now as I go through those few old boxes (there aren’t many – maybe 3 or 4) I will know to sort the fun-sentimental stuff from the important-sentimental stuff (as well as the non-sentimental-just-move-on stuff as well).

My heart and my prayers go to those caught in tragedy in Colorado, all the while my mind goes here:

what’s really important?

STOP.

 

Q for you: What would you put in your box?

 

Love,
A

p.s. I’ve been sick. And absent. BOO. 😦 But I’m on the mend now. YAY. 🙂

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

 

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Save the whales and what if’s

I just watched The Big Miracle – a nice, family-friendly movie about three whales trapped in the ice in northern Alaska.

It was based on a true story that took place in the late 80’s.

I don’t remember it on the news (I must have been about 11 years old when it broke), but if the movie was an accurate depiction then it looks like people all across America (and the world) were watching.

Ultimately a massive Russian ship broke through the ice barrier to help free them, combined with a huge local effort of concerned people working hard to see the mother, father, and baby whale brought to safety.

Of the three, only the mother and father survived. But a happy ending it was.

Now, I am all about stewarding creation and all that God’s given us.

There’s no question that animal cruelty is wrong.

I also believe we should do all that we can to make sure we’re not ruining irreplaceable habitat.

But as I watched this (entertaining) movie I couldn’t help but think that it was a huge effort and a lot of resources spent on those whales.

What if we spent that same amount of money and resources to see a young woman receive the cancer treatment that might save her life? What if we poured our resources into seeing that the autistic child receives the therapy he needs? What if we went out of our way to make sure the homeless man had a warm place to stay? What if we moved heaven and earth to make sure every child had a chance to learn to read?

I’m not opposed to movements like Green Peace at all. In fact, I think there’s a valuable place for them and we need them (and other organizations) to help bring light to serious environmental issues. And this story was not “just” about three whales – it represented so much more politically and environmentally – at the time. (And it really is a beautiful story.)

But what if…? What if…?

What if we took that same passion and harnessed it elsewhere?

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you “save the whales?”

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Americans are nice

Living in Australia, one of the things I miss is the level of customer service that’s offered in America.

You just can’t compare the two, and it’s too difficult to explain without experiencing it first hand.

Australians aren’t rude, they’re just different.

Americans have “customer service” ingrained in them. Yes, I know there are exceptions, and you’ll sometimes run into a rude phone rep or server or whatever, but by and large American customer service is amazing.

Today I was in Costo and had to go to the membership desk.

“May I have a coupon book please?” I asked.

“Why yes of course you can!” said the customer service rep. But it wasn’t just her words, it was her tone, her expression, her gesture, her massive smile, and the twinkle in her eye. It was as if she had been waiting all day for someone to ask her that question so she could give them a coupon book.

She was so nice! SO nice.

I half expected her to hand me some cotton candy too.

Yes, it was just a few little words, but it made a huge impression on me. Totally made me grin all the way back to the checkout and then out the door.

Hours later I’m still thinking about it.

Maybe she was a shining example, but to me she was not just a good Costco employee, she was a really nice American.

As much as Americans are known for being loud and large and demanding and confident, they should also be known for being warm and friendly and positive and encouraging.

I love America. And Americans.

It’s good to be home.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you think Americans are nice? Or is it just Oregonian Americans that are so nice?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Extravagance just because

It’s day two in America and we are well and truly in holiday mode.

Aside from some crazy jet lag, everything is as perfect as possible. We are enjoying being unscheduled and moving slowly and having time together with our family.

There was a bag waiting for us when we arrived, put together from our church to welcome us.

It was full of some of our favorite American goodies that we can’t get in Australia – Cheerios, cheddar Chex Mix, Payday candy bars, Sour Patch Kids, A&W root beer, Reeces Pieces, pink lemonade, and kettle corn. There were even a few little gifts for the kids.

None of this is stuff that we need. (Um, who needs junk food?!)

But that was just the point – to bless us “above and beyond” the necessary. And to make us smile.

It’s amazing how little things can make such a big impact.

Being welcomed with a package like that – full of the treats we adore and miss – made us feel so welcomed, cared for, and appreciated.

As much as God wants to provide for our needs, he also loves to do things just to make us smile.

Extravagance, generosity, hospitality, abundance – those are all marks of our God.

Apparently our church family knows that too.

They reflect him so well.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When is the last time you were blessed to receive something you didn’t need, but wanted “just because”?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


How far is too far?

Working with Christian young people, a question I hear regularly is “how far is too far?” when it comes to sex and physical relationships.

I usually tell them that the better question to be asking is “what is best, most loving, and most honoring to the other person?”

We often have our perspective wrong. We wonder what we can get away with, what’s in it for ourselves, and what the consequences we will have to face.

But fundamentally, that’s a wrong perspective and is rooted in selfishness.

As followers of Christ we are called to think of others first, to serve, and to put others above ourselves.

This principle is not just for romantic or sexual relationships, but for all areas of the Christian life.

Instead of trying to figure out where the lines of sin are and what we can get away with, why don’t we start asking ourselves a better question:

What’s best, highest, and most loving toward others?

What’s best, highest, and most loving toward myself?

And ultimately, what’s best, highest, and most loving toward God?

STOP.

 

Q for you: How’s your perspective lately?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Jitters

I have the pre-first-day-of-school jitters.

The kind where you’re so excited that it’s hard to even imagine going to sleep.

Except that I’m not going to school tomorrow… I’m going to America.

Well, technically I’m not going to America. I’m going to Sydney so we can leave for America the next morning.

But whatever.

Tomorrow’s the day we pack our toothbrushes and board the plane.

Tomorrow’s the day we switch into holiday mode.

Tomorrow’s the day we go on a family adventure.

Tomorrow’s the day we head from winter into summer. (Oh please God, give us summer-ish weather in Oregon. Please?)

Between the excitement of the Voice finale and the trip beginning tomorrow, who knows if I will ever fall asleep tonight. But for everyone’s sake, I’d better go and try.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When’s the last time you got those excited jitters I’m talking about?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


What if your kid becomes instantly famous?

I can’t watch talent shows anymore without thinking, “what if that was Levi?” (Or Judah.)

It’s crazy to think that in fifteen or twenty years time, one of them could find themselves on a show like The Voice (our current favorite).

When I was a kid I would have watched wondering, “what if that was me one day?” but now my mind automatically leaps to the next generation.

All parents want to raise their kids to have good character and be able to handle themselves well under pressure. But what about the pressure of fame?

What if I was to raise my kids now as if they might someday be instantly famous? What if I was to pour as much into seeing them develop in integrity, self control, kindness, generosity, and humility that they could perhaps one day handle that kind of pressure – the weight of the spotlight?

The thought of that scares me a little. (Okay, a lot.)

Ultimately, I’ll do the best I can. But I’m so glad it doesn’t solely depend on me.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What character traits do you think are most important for a person who ends up becoming famous?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Pack your bags, baby

I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I’m packing well in advance of my trip.

And by “well in advance”, I mean four days.

I’m normally a have-all-the-lists-made-in-advance-but-pack-the-day-before sort of person.

But this time, I thought I’d experiment and do it on the weekend since we leave on a Tuesday.

So far, so good.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that it’s taking me way longer. Way.

I have too much time to deliberate about what to wear. (And wonder what people are wearing “over there” these days. And what the weather will be like. And if I will have enough pairs of undies.)

Maybe it’s a little less stressful to pack a few days in advance, but I think I like the just-get-it-done pressure of doing it the day before. (It’s just that I’m learning with kids, the less pressure the better. You never know when melt-downs might strike!)

There will still be plenty of “last minute” things to put in – electronics, toiletries, snacks – but I can say that I already have three of the four of us packed. I’ve impressed myself. (And the fourth one can do his own packing.)

The biggest dilema is the shoes. I hate packing shoes.

(How many pairs of shoes do you take when you travel??)

Good thing I still have three more days to change my mind.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you enjoy packing or hate it?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Groaning in the cold, dark

I lay in bed and the world around me is silent except for the sounds of life, resting.

A few feet away I hear tiny baby breaths and sighs. Next to me I hear heavy and rythmic husband breaths and sighs. And through the open internal door to the next room I hear toddler breaths and sighs.

We share rooms and a heater between the four of us.

Everyone sleeps but me.

Moments later baby stirs. I lay still, barely breathing, hoping he will not wake.

He rolls over. Back asleep.

I sigh with relief just as he stirs again, this time waking with an abrupt cry.

It sounds angry.

After eight months I wonder when he will ever sleep through the night. Except for a few nights he regularly wakes up all throughout the night. Sometimes every two hours, leaving me with four or five or sometimes six hours of sleep, usually broken into several chunks.

I groan and move, not wanting to face the cold night air.

No one said parenting would be easy.

I pull him into bed with me and nurse, nurse, nurse. Wondering how long I can continue on interrupted sleep (and insomnia in between).

I remember that mothers all over the world and all throughout time have done as I’m doing.

Strength.

The days are long but the years are short so I don’t want to waste this time being anxious about the dark hours.

And yet I’m so tired. So, so tired.

I remind myself that this time last year I was about to find out that his life might not be what we thought or expected. And now him being here with us, just like he is – healthy, perfect – is a miracle. Surely I can find the grace for one more night.

And perhaps tomorrow night too.

But my goodness, I’m so tired.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you cope with less-than-ideal seasons of sleep?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Stupid smart phone

I love technology.

Except when I don’t.

I have my husband’s old iPhone. (Lucky me.) And unless I’m comparing the camera quality on mine compared to his (4S), I absolutely love it.

But things keep going wrong with it.

A month ago we had to get the home button replaced. $70.

And now the touch screen is going wonky.

For the last several days parts of the screen have stopped working meaning I can’t type certain letters in texts, emails, or anything else.

Just this morning the phone made three phone calls on it’s own while I was already on the phone to the doctors office. (Not good.)

I tried to send a text message. My converter was opened.

I tried to open Notes. The Pinterest ap opened.

I tried to use the timer. The phone started barking and ringing and chiming at me (as it scrolled through and chose different notification sounds for itself).

This is not good.

Really, really not good.

I could go back to using a regular old phone, but do you have any idea how prehistoric that would feel after being accustomed to my camera/phone/diary/note-keeper/emailer/googler/meal-planner/entertainer/calculator/converter/timer/weather-checker/Bible/GPS/calendar all-in-one hand-held device that has changed my life? *gaspforair*

It would kinda be torture.

The other options are forking out for yet another fix. (Blah.)

Or forking out for a new phone. (BLAH.)

Or maybe just remembering the days where I didn’t have immediate answers and solutions at a tap and a swipe.

What to do?

Technology is driving me mad. A love-hate relationship for sure.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you have a smart phone? Have you become highly reliant on it like I am?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited