Tuesday, December 29, 2009

almost right

so today, while attempting to call my brilliant and talented friend, natalie, i relied heavily on my crazy good memory. i recalled her digits from deep within the depths of my tired mind...a number i had not dialed in over 2 years (because im THAT awesome at keeping in touch). often wrong but never in doubt (as my incredibly perceptive dad likes to point out), i dialed. ring ring. ring ring. so a few more rings later and the voicemail kicks in. this message was so outlandishly stupid with the thickest, weirdest accent and strangest names imaginable, that i, remembering natalies adorable sense of humor, proceeded to ramble on a 5 minute message. no joke. of course i mentioned the 'clever' voice mail message noting the weird accent (afterall, she lives in south dakota) among other numerous details of my life before laughing once again at her creativity with the voicemail and finally hanging up. a few minutes passed when i thought to 'double check' my crazy good recall skillz with my contacts list. yes, i had her number in my contacts all along, but my phone was charging and i was so very sure of myself. blah blah blah. once i checked the number (merely for some ego stroking affirmation) i realized i was off by one number. just one. but...we all know thats really all it takes, right? so im waiting for freak show voicemail people to call me back anytime. ill keep you posted. sometimes i really impress myself with the level of dumb i somehow reach. good job, katie, that memory is almost as awesome as your judgment.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

something brilliant

if you were hoping for something brilliant to read, join the club. im simply hoping for coherent thoughts that fit like puzzle pieces rather than one of those stupid staring pictures that were oh so popular a decade ago. the ones where if you looked at them long enough and let your eyes glaze, the most wonderfully obvious picture would come into view. ive never ever been able to see one. maybe im not patient enough to wait, maybe when my eyes glaze my mind quickly follows or maybe my failure to recognize the obvious in those pictures is one more facet of my life where regardless of the time i spend, the obvious hidden meaning eludes me far longer than id like to admit. clarity for me, im afraid, simply takes more time, effort and experience than one of those eye glazing moments. the truth is, it sometimes takes years.

and here i am, finally soaking up a bit of clarity in a house that is strangely silent except the soft hum of our heat and im staring at the most perfectly imperfect Christmas tree with ornaments crammed on the top third so the littlest of the little people can no longer reach/choke/break them. i cant help but think of this most glorious season of giving and receiving and what i have to be thankful for. ive had this pervasive thought over the last few weeks as certain people have crossed my mind that you can tell so much about ones priorities by how they spend their time and how they spend their money. i know of some of the most generous people who sacrificially give to so many with their time, talents and finances. i know of others that while they have much to offer, are mere sponges in life. soaking up excessive amounts of attention, love and possessions without so much as giving a trickle of themselves in return. one is incredibly inspiring, the other nauseating. i have the profound privilege of spending one night a week with a group of high school girls from our church. its a life group of sorts where we share our days, questions, concerns, thoughts and prayers for one another. we had our Christmas party last night and one of the girls on her own had asked if we could collect money and purchase something through world vision. her generosity moved me. her thoughtfulness inspired me. at 14, she has a sincere consideration and compassion for others. and so in the midst of laughter and comfort, we stopped and shopped for those who this Christmas (as well as the other 364 days of the year) have very little. we are financing the education of 3 kids for a year simply because one person thought of someone else.

priorities tend to shift over time with the demands we place on ourselves or have placed on us. while we tend to say our priorities are the same...many say faith, family, friends and others....like who really wants to admit theyre number one priority is themselves? yet, i know people who live out their faith in the most dutiful of ways, see their families with the leftovers of themselves and rarely make time for the friends in their lives. and others? what others. sure, while the idea of helping and serving those in need is a lovely thought, it is just that. a thought. a thought that crosses the mind, camps out long enough to conjure up a grateful thought, maybe even a quick tear and then leaves as quickly as it entered, never leaving a trace it was ever there. and if im being honest (which i tend to do here) i empathize with this more than id like to admit and while its easiest to point the finger at the biggest sponges i know, the truth is i have had countless moments where i found myself caught up in the overwhelmingly sad reality of others only to simply move on and back into my own world where things are much easier to stomach and the blessings are too numerous to count.

and i want to do more and be more to those most in need. if i truly want to raise selfless children with hearts of compassion and gratitude, they have to see it first with me. and regardless of what we do already, i know we could do more. when i think of the money spent at this time of year, this glorious time that began with the greatest gift of a Savior, born bloody and crying in the arms of His mother, i think of what all of these purchases have to do with His birth. sure, we give gifts to celebrate His arrival, the sacrificial gift given to us so many years ago...but what do our gifts say about His gift? what am i giving this year that glorifies and honors His life changing gift to me? and im not suggesting we stop the gift giving. im simply giving more than a moments pause and thought to the idea that if all i do is give to those i love rather than those in need, perhaps i am missing the message of the greatest gift of all. surely He did not come to simply save us, but also to redeem us and change us. to bend our hearts toward loving, living and serving others with our whole lives, not simply in the fleeting thoughts of occasional compassion.

this Christmas will not be about me. about us. or about the amazing family and friends i am blessed to share life with. it will be an opportunity for my life to reflect my priorities with more than easily spoken words. my hope and prayer is that i am a good steward of the time and finances so generously given to me. that the way i spend the minutes of my life will accurately portray what i value most. faith. family. friends. others. clarity can be an elusive, beautiful and often times challenging thing, but always always worth the wait. merry Christmas.