Giving

The day before Thanksgiving, something happened.  Well, a lot of things happened, but one in particular.  Early in the day I was at Stater Brothers with my son.  We were doing the “Get Teresa a turkey” thing, and filling up on the last things we needed to get us through Thursday.  Minor things like milk, yeast, etc.  The lines weren’t horrible, but they were there.  The woman ahead of me started putting her items on the belt while the people ahead of her paid.  She seemed nervous and caught my eye.  “I left my purse at home.  I sure hope I have enough cash.  Prioritize, right?”  She was laughing, casual, but I almost had a feeling that it wasn’t quite true.  She watched the register tally rise as I passed her my cash.  I only had eight dollars myself (I’m a debit card kind of gal), but it looked like it’d be enough to make up the difference.  She seemed to demur and then finally accepted it.  She offered me the change, but I told her to keep it.  All was well.

But that’s not what happened.  Not what I mean anyway.

Later I was back to get something else (why is it there is always so much more to get done!!!) and a couple waited in line ahead of us.  The man between them and me was in an electric chair/scooter thing.  It seemed as if time was dragging.  We all wondered what was going on, but after a while, it became obvious.  The young woman saw someone she knew and said, “My mom sent us to the store with 100 dollars in gift cards and a 200 dollar list!”  I was dumbfounded.  What a frustration.  I saw her husband talking to someone on a phone and then he hurried outside.  A CSM came over, apparently to void the transaction.  All items were put in a cart for when the rest of the money arrived.  I sat there with my hand on my debit card.  I could afford it.  I could.  Why was I so hesitant?  It’s not like me.

As I left the store, I saw her on the phone pacing up and down, glancing around for a car– obviously waiting for someone to bring the rest of the money.  I felt bad.   Why had I been so selfish?  It felt unsettling, and yet even then I wouldn’t go in and take care of it.  I opened the car, sat in my seat, and stared at the steering wheel.  Why?

Then I realized why and I didn’t like it.  I had a laptop to replace.  I didn’t like spending more money when that big chunk was coming out.  Of course, the next day I didn’t think twice about spending half the amount on a Christmas tree, decorations, or a Christmas present.  Combined, those came to almost double what it would have cost me.

It was a kind of selfishness I am not happy to discover I have.  I like to help.  I’m a fixer.  I want to fix things.  It would have felt wonderful to take that frustration and burden off those people, but the holidays are here and I have learned that I am selfish.  Sigh.  I’m willing to serve others if it doesn’t interfere with MY plans.  That is just pathetic.

However, it’s a good thing.  I mean, isn’t that how we grow?  Isn’t it how we learn to die to self?  Had this not happened, I’d never have learned it.  I hope that if something like this happens again, I’ll take that pause and realize that we can cut a few things and cover it.  I kept justifying my actions because it really seemed as if the money was coming– they had it.  You know what, that wasn’t the point.  The point was I could have met a need but my wants overrode that.  That is what bothers me.

I know I can’t meet every need out there.  I know that there are times I have to let others handle it.  That isn’t what is bothering me.  Why I didn’t do it is what bothers me.  The selfishness behind my motives is the problem.  I was willing to help when the problem didn’t “hurt” but when it meant I might have to limit our spending, suddenly I was a little less willing to open the wallet.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m overreacting, but I don’t think so.  It’s been bugging me for days.  I thought about doing something for someone else, but you know what?  That isn’t the point for me.  I think the real problem is that I  felt like I should do something and I didn’t do it.  I feel like I failed the Lord somehow.  Thank God for His forgiveness if I did.  And, tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it.  Yet.

Thanksgiving 2011 Is Over… Hello Christmas!

Well, eight Hungarian Coffee Cakes, four pies, two batches of rolls, an enormous batch of mashed potatoes (without a single spoonful left), gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, and TURKEY later, Thanksgiving is over.  We played games, did a bit of shopping, enjoyed more good food than we usually eat, and enjoyed a lot of work.  Yes, I mean enjoyed.  My eldest son turned seventeen– full circle from birth.  He was born on Thanksgiving Day.  I tease him that the Lord did that to remind me to be thankful for him.  As if I needed it.  Friday began the Christmas season.  I was awakened at around six-thirty by my daughter Andra and I drove her out to Inyokern so she could go shopping in Lancaster with friends.  I came home and went back to bed while the family shopped.

At ten o’clock, I got up and Kevin and I went to buy a new laptop.  The one I wanted was no longer on sale.  I was so disappointed.  The one I have I liked, but it isn’t as perfect as the other one was.  I am working on letting go of that disappointment.  I had no idea why the other one mattered so much to me.  I had no idea I felt like that.  I didn’t know.  However, I’m getting accustomed to the change.

Friday was spent pounding out words, cooking more, and having fun with the kids.  We played more games, laughed a bunch, and then had Mud Pie to celebrate Nolan’s birthday.  It’s a tradition.

Saturday was even more exciting.  Christmas trees, decorating– a beautiful house.  I love my house.  It’s exquisite right now.  There are lights, villages, greenery, trees, cranberries, candy candles, and even better- a new carousel!  We splurged. Everyone spent Saturday night stringing popcorn and cranberries.  We sang, laughed, and enjoyed hot chocolate with a dinner of leftovers.  YUM.  Unfortunately, Morgann had to zip on back to Irvine in order to have time to finish assignments.

Speaking of which, most of Sunday was spent writing by three of us!  While Braelyn took her final math test (possibly of her life), Nolan wrote about the evolution of science fiction in the twentieth century.  Jenna and I both wrote of pirates.  She wrote about what they are, what they stole, and such, while I actually wrote about pirates stealing, murdering, and finally reaching the Caribbean with a huge prize to boot!  (Or is that booty?)

Finally, at around ten o’clock, I finished and validated my 50k words for my NaNoWriMo novel.  This novel excites me.  I love the young boy who battles self who wants his own way against what he knows is right.  He loves and respects his father and yet despises their life and wishes for a different one.  Finishing was great for me because there are only about another 10k words to finish.  Now, if I could just find a replacement for illegitimate children.  There is one sentence where I WANTED to use that word.  I really wanted it (that’s a pretty unusual thing) but of course, it’s inappropriate.

So, now life goes back to normal.  Tomorrow I have more cleaning to do– my room is a disaster. It always is the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I need it cleaned up so I can get going with the rest of the month.  December is a huge thing in our home.  We have a lot of fun.  I can’t have fun in a mess.  No, no I cannot.

School goes back to mom involvement (including me helping the older kids to break down their papers better in the future– oh and I won’t be scheduling two intensive classes to take place during the same week and on the week of Thanksgiving!  YIKES!  My poor son was writing on Thanksgiving (remember… his birthday too).

It also means my blog is no longer neglected.  It means that Confessions of a Decluttering Junkie can end now!  Just a few more posts and it’ll end!  I have another idea for January.  “Frugal to a Fault.”  I can’t wait for you to meet our new friends.

Life is good.  I am very blessed.  I have had a lovely life, a wonderful family, and God to keep me grounded when things feel like they’re spiraling out of control.  Isn’t it strange how feelings are lies just as often as they are truth?  The feelings are real, but they may not necessarily be true.  That’s what my life feels like when it feels so uncontrolled.  It is.  I live in the palm of the Lord’s hand, in the shadow of His wing.  I am a daughter of the King of Kings and my life reflects that– even when I can’t see it.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas, my friends.

Excitement

It happened.  Today was the day.  The genesis of the holiday season!

It all starts with turkeys.  Every year I buy a turkey a day for a friend.  So, today I decided to go early so she could pick it up when she picks up her son from Driver’s Ed.  That’s tradition one.  I stepped out of the car and heard one of my favorite sounds of the year.

Bell.

That obnoxious clack, clack, ding, ding, ring-a-ling of the Salvation Army Bell ringer.

The holiday season has arrived.

Oh, and I forgot to go out that side of the door so I could drop in my first change.  I feel gypped.  Oh, well.  An excuse to go again later, no?

I Had a Dream…

In my dream, I woke up and the house was a disaster– I mean the kind of disaster it hasn’t been in probably fifteen to twenty years– not even when Braelyn and I were making the costume of the decade.  It was horrifying.  Closets had stuff falling out of them.  Furniture was piled with, you guessed it, stuff.  Floors NEEDED to be scrubbed.  Cabinets– oh we don’t want to talk about cabinets.  Everything from the front yard through the house, and into the back yard all the way to the alley was just gross.  Not “messy” gross.

I got to cleaning. I mean I really went to town.  Worked hard as a dog (since when do dogs work anyway?) and got bits done so it was livable.

Then I got sick.

That was when the dream went from nightmare to amazing.  After a week in bed, totally out of it and delirious, I woke up feeling 100% normal.  My room was clean.  In November!  My room is never clean in November or December.

The bathroom was clean– not just picked up with the trash out but CLEAN.  Top to bottom, no dust or hairspray anywhere.  It was absolutely wonderful.

The living room was clean.  As in sparkling clean.  Dust gone, Closet cleared out– perfect cleanliness.

Kitchen, boy’s room, girl’s room, front yard, back yard, THE CAR WAS SPOTLESS.

When I woke up, I whimpered and rolled over.  My eyes opened.  I saw my room.

Why can’t we live in a dream world?