February 21, 2009

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

~Howard Thurman

A good friend of mine has recently been searching. Searching the world to find what makes her feel alive, more like herself. I have often reflected on the quote above in regards to my own life. Although the concept sounds simple, figuring out what makes you “come alive” is not always easy to do.

I truly believe that everyone has the potential to do something they really love in their life; it is not necessarily a career or a world-changing position. It’s more of a purpose. Maybe it’s a relationship, either with a family member, a spouse, a close friend. Maybe it’s a hobby or an opportunity to serve the community or a church. Maybe it is a job or position in which you can directly see the impact you have on the world. What is the one thing (or maybe more) that you do with all of your heart? What is it that makes you feel most like yourself? Some people are lucky and know from little on what it is that makes them “come alive.” Some don’t find it until they are old and gray. Some may never find it. Diligently searching for it takes courage. Then once it is found, it takes courage to go out and do it.

I have a feeling that the world would be much better off if everyone did.



February 20, 2009

Yes, life can be ironic sometimes.

Take yesterday, for example: After spending nearly two hours the night before talking to my dad about mortgages and the sad possibility that this might not be the year for Mike & I to buy a house, I woke up freezing. Our furnace had gone out sometime during the night and the house was sitting at a balmy 50°F. Luckily, we got a hold of our landlord before he got to work and he was over within 15 minutes, calling a service technician. Fortunately, Thursday is one of Mike’s days off during the week so he was able to stay home and wait for the technician who’s ETA was 11am. I left for work, thankful to be headed someplace warm! Sometime that morning, I heard from Mike that the original technician who was scheduled to be out to our house had his work van broken into and all of his tools stolen. Mike got to revert to his “caveman” instincts and spent the day stoking our small wood-burning stove in the living room. When I got home at 5:30pm, the technician had finally just arrived and had the heat pumping within an hour.

I couldn’t help but think that if this had been our house, we would have been paying the unexpected $230 bill to have the “burners” replaced (who knew a furnace had burners?). Funny how God sends reminders like that…And of course now, we’re seriously re-considering our plans to look for a house this summer. It is hard for me to accept that renting again may be the route we take, especially when all you hear is what a great time to buy it is and how perfect our situation is since we don’t have a house we sell. Yet I guess it’s best to not get in over our heads and wait until the time is right. And maybe by some stroke of luck, we’ll find ourselves a good little foreclosure which we can make our “project.” Too bad I seem to love projects more than my husband does…

February 19, 2009

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.”

~D.H. Lawrence

The weekend proved to be quite productive.

As some of you know, Mike works every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a couple of Saturdays a month. Now before you wonder, “Why doesn’t he work full-time?”, let me tell you: he does and then some. These days consist of him arriving at the shop by 7am and usually not returning home until after 9:30pm. Sometimes these days entail plumbing calls nearly halfway across the state to Madison and back and then down to the Illinois border and maybe a quick one up in Sheboygen. For those of you unfamiliar with Wisconsin geography, this means a LOT of driving. Anyway, it’s not so bad: afterall, he’s off on Tuesdays and Thursdays so the dogs aren’t alone so much and last week he did the dishes, ran some errands, and cleaned the bathroom while I was at work. I can handle that! But I confess, I do miss him on those lonely weeknights. Especially Fridays. See, Fridays are a little different because of a crotchety old dispatch woman who has threatened to sue the company if she slips on the ice while walking to her car at midnight. So guess who gets to wait with her every Friday night, just so that she has someone to hold on to while she makes the oh-so-dangerous trek to her car at the end of her shift? Yes, that would be my husband.

Therefore, my Friday night this week consisted of a night with the girls at Buffalo Wild Wings and then what was going to be a quick drink at O’ Sullivan’s, a recently opened Irish Public House not far from Mike and my place. Of course, one drink turned into two and you know how it goes. After trying a Blind Russian for the first time (it’s good!) and almost getting into a fight with the bartender’s son (ask if you want to know the story and maybe I’ll tell in a future post), I headed home a little after midnight, just in time to say hi to my husband before we both fell asleep.

Saturday consisted of a father/son-in-law building project. In the house we’re renting, there is a small cinder-block walled room in the basement. Not very large, maybe good for some storage or a tiny guest bedroom. Since Mike and I both seem to have hobbies which take up quite a bit of table space, we decided that this would be our workshop. Once my dad caught wind of the words “building” and “work benches”, he started diagramming the benches he’d help us make and squirreling away pieces of scrap wood. It kind of warmed the heart seeing the two of them down there, figuring out how to use some of Mike’s new “toys” he had gotten for our wedding and solving the problems of the world. While the boys worked hard, I headed to the grocery store and then vowed NEVER to go again on a Super Bowl weekend. Other than the confused men standing in the middle of what seemed like every aisle, the deli clerk wiping his nose with his gloved hand, and the bagger busting my bag of bird seed, I would say the trip went quite smoothly. And when I returned, the work benches were finished and looked perfect. I am nowvery much looking forward to “setting up shop” with all of my stained-glass supplies!

Then came Sunday. Sunday was Mike’s day to be on-call at work, which usually means he WILL get called in. So Mike and I both sat in church that morning, praying that his pager would not start vibrating and hoping for a quiet day at home. Shortly after the service, the page came in and we rushed home. Mike left and I was disappointed. I spent the day paying bills, doing four loads of laundry, cleaning out the fridge, taking Chetany for a walk, and filing our important paperwork from the past two months. The weather was gorgeous and it felt good to get so many of the projects I had put off done. Mike made it home in time for most of the game and we were finally settled in. Shortly after the Cardinals gave up the game, we set up the DVR for The Office and gave into our fatigue from the day’s work.

At 3:30am, we awoke with a start to the much hated beep of an all-too-familiar pager. Honestly, who wakes up at three in the morning and notices water in their basement? It actually turned out to be a somewhat elderly couple who told Mike that they just couldn’t fall asleep knowing that it was there…gotta feel a little sympathetic, I suppose yet it’s very hard for me to be sympathetic when I’m awakened at 3:30 in the morning. Stumbling to the kitchen, I reached for all of the sandwich fixings I use for Mike’s lunches and proceeded to stumble through the lunch-making process. Chances were, he would be out on this call for the next several hours and then slide right into the regular schedule of the day. And everyone knows: A hungry man is a very unhappy man.

So it is now Monday. And I am tired. But happy. In this struggling economy, both my husband and I have a job. And we now both have work benches. And groceries in the house. And for all of these things, I am very thankful.