I can't believe it's August. It's been a beautiful summer, and even though I didn't enjoy all of it, I DID have a wake-up call and realized that I was disengaged from my own life. Some things changed, so it was good. It's not fun to realize you've wasted time, but it is what it is.
I have been learning to live simply. One of my favorite Scriptures (Micah 6:6-8) says that the only things God expects of me are to live justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. I notice how often I over-complicate everything, including faith. Thankfully, though, one of the things I learned fairly early on is that striving is futile. God wants nothing from me but to love. Any way that I'd try to strive would make God love me no more than he already does.
My hope is that, if you are disengaged from life like I was, you get your very own wake-up call. It can come in many forms, though mine came through someone's very tragic death. Life is too short to waste it on unimportant things. Be present in your life. Living either in the past or in the future is worthless because the life you have RIGHT NOW is a gift.
I'm grateful for...
A layoff. My husband got laid off last week. Instead of being worried or frightened, I was excited. My husband was happy, too, and is thinking of it as paid vacation and a chance to travel. Perspective is a good thing. We could look at the economy, and at the fact that union plumbing jobs are in short supply in some areas, and we could choose to be worried. But I, personally, don't want to waste time on worry. We have everything we need. We have our children. We have our big, old house. We have our two cars - they're not new, but they are both paid for. Life is good, whether we're on unemployment pay or not. We are blessed. Wasting one day on worry is futile and takes away from the quality of life.
Sunshiny summer days. It's been incredibly hot, but I don't care. As long as it's not snowing, I'm happy. Even if it is snowing, I remind myself each day that we're one day closer to Summer. Silver linings either way, people.
Art. While I don't always see the artistic value in what some people call "art" (air quotes), I love the creative expression of the individual. People's perspectives are all so different. It makes me appreciate how different we all are and how we weren't meant to conform to one way of looking at the world. Whether it's a photo or a painting or a sculpture or a piece of music...whatever it is, it's unique and it's the expression of someone's heart.
Dropping sugar. I feel a lot better since I've started to drop sugar from my diet. I still include it occasionally. I'm trying not to be religious about it, but it's more of an experiment. I adore sugar, but I am realizing it's just not that great for me. (*whispers* I still love my milk chocolate, though.)
Happy kids. As I've said before, they argue all the time and they have a constant power struggle going on, but they truly LOVE each other. If someone were to mess with the one, the other would come to his rescue. They are happy, loving boys, despite the fighting. I often feel like an UNglorified referee, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Opportunities. Whether it's opportunities for unexpected fun, opportunities for me to express myself through my photos or opportunities to practice random acts of kindness, I am grateful for any opportunity.
Random acts of kindness. Whether they're committed by me or for me, they make the world a little bit better. You don't have to believe in a particular religion to appreciate the kindness of another person, especially when it's unexpected.