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Choosing Life More Abundantly

Here follows an account of the birth of friend from high school’s son. I’m reposting a letter that their family received from the anesthesiology who assisted during his wife’s C-Section. This is just a VERY small portion of their journey. I strongly encourage you to read the rest of the story here: http://www.choosinglifemoreabundantly.blogspot.com/ Some of the issues discussed … Continue reading

  •             I don’t really think I've ever had such a pressing requirement to separate the things I need from the things I want. My bank account is sitting WELL below my freak out level, and we’re currently both jobless. And while we have a place to live and all the basics covered, I still REALLY have to ask myself “Ok, do I need this, or want it?” For example, I’ve been noticing lately that I only have 4 fingernail polishes. Not the end of the world. But hey, finger nail polishes are cool! But, when push comes to excruciating shove, they aren’t things that I need. Same thing with lipstick. I would love a fun, Christmas-y red. But, I honestly don’t even wear lipstick that often, let alone enough to make it an essential. I would LOVE to get my hands on some John Frieda Red shampoo and conditioner. But, to be honest once again, I have at least 3 half used bottles of shampoo or conditioner (I haven’t checked) in the linen closet. I don’t need any shampoo, let alone a pricier one. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” not “Give us this day our daily bread, and all the other fancy things we don’t need even a little”. I need to realize that I’m stressing out over the little things that I don’t need. I have all I need. Now, I’m not saying we should all toss over this life and go live in a monastery (Although I do think that everyone should do something like that for at least a little bit) that’s not the point I’m trying to make. Little luxuries are nice, fun, comfy. Because I’ll admit it: I LOVE my creature comforts. I LOVE having fun little things that don’t matter all that much. I love my STUFF. I love the accusation of more stuff. But they are just luxuries. If my needs are met, I need to start being more content with them. I’m learning this lesson because I really don’t have an option. It’s a “be content of loose your mind” kind of situation here. My prayer for you is that you can learn this lesson before you HAVE to learn this lesson. Where are places in your life that you are letting the excess pile up? Buying more books then you need? Go to the library. Do you REALLY need to buy that extra box of cookies when you know you have all the fixings at home to not only make your own, but spend some quality time with a kid or partner while making them? If you can muster up the courage, ask God to show you where you are letting that want over power the need. It’s not always fun to have your failing points pointed out, but hey, it might just be worth it.      
  • I often times find myself wishing that I could handle things better. I have long lists of things that I’m sure I’ve handled rather poorly indeed. I’ll not list them here-or anywhere for that matter- because they make me look bad, and no one wants to look bad if they can help it. At times like this, when I’m feeling that I’m just making a dog’s meal of everything I’m endeavoring to do, I comfort myself with a quote from the movie Little Women. It’s from the scene where Jo is in the Professor’s apartment. He had just saved her manuscript from being trampled in the streets and they are drying the sheets in front of the fire. I can’t remember exactly how the words are placed, or how they get to the point, but Jo says, in her funny, frank manner “I’m afraid I’m incurably human.” The Professor goes on to say something wonderfully insightful and romantic. Jo blushes and AHA! We know that here, there is something more. Wonderful budding romance aside, this is my favorite scene in a movie filled with favorite scenes (come on ladies…when she tells Laurie no…come on, you know it gets ya every time…). That phrase “incurably human’. It just holds all the hopes, let downs, foibles, glories and struggles of being a person. AH, YE GODS! How human am I? Often time I wish that somehow I could have a bit more robot in me. A little more ‘do’ and a lot less ‘feel’. Being a robot…there’s an idea. But, alas, I am, and always will be, incurably human.
  • We didn't ‘do’ Santa Clause growing up. He just didn't factor into our celebration of Christmas. No Elf on the Shelf. We happily consumed our own cookies and milk. And the only bearded jolly guy we had was my dad or Mr. Joe. This wasn't some evil ploy of my parents to deprive us of the joy of a modern, American Christmas. It’s just that, well, Jesus was quite a celebration enough for my parents. We got presents, had a tree, eat good food, watched A Christmas Story, baked, cooked and sang off key Christmas carols with the best of them. It helped that none of my friends in the neighborhood really did the Santa thing either. My fondest Christmas memories involve sitting in the Arconti’s living room with the lights off and only the light of their Christmas tree illuminating our happy young faces as we listened to “Amy Grant-A Christmas Album”. We were in awe. I can’t speak for the other kids (I’m pretty sure they were all contemplating the mystery of Divinity clothed in human frailty, and that He, while tested just as we are, remained sinless…they’re just like that…) but I was overcome with the general sparkle. Sparkly things till distract me. I have many of these type memories.  It was something we did quite often. But THE best Christmastide memory I have far out strips all of those comfy moments in its level of pure epic-ness. I don’t recall exactly WHY we were doing this, but, hey, there were 5 of us involved…and it really did start out harmless…it’s a fast paced story…try to keep up. So, there we stood, Regina, Grace, John, David and myself,  (and maybe Peter... I don’t remember.) all squished into the upstairs hallway of the Arconti’s house. The only light illuminating our scene was coming up the stairs from the Christmas tree and the down stairs windows. I recall so clearly the moment, but I can assure you (because I’ve checked….) there are at LEAST 5 different accounts of what actually went down from this point on. I can only give you mine, and perhaps fill in some of the gasps from other people’s perspectives. So, we’re singing “Oh Holy Night” at the top of our voices outside of Mr. and Mrs. Arconti’s bedroom door, on the other side of which, Mrs. Arconti was trying to sleep. When we get to the part where the listener is instructed to “fall on their knees and hear the angle voices”, someone to my left started pulling on my shirt, which coincides perfectly with Regina’s blood curdling scream and the sound of loud feet running up the stairs. I automatically assumed that whatever it was causing Regina to scream so spectacularly had gotten ahold of me. And as every child knows, the safest place to be in case of emergency is in the presence of the nearest adult. This must be achieved as quickly as possible. Even if that means breaking down the door to the bedroom to do so.  I don’t know what happened, to be perfectly honest. All I remember is grabbing…well, I’m not sure who I grabbed, but I grabbed someone and rushed head long, with the rest of the throng at my heels-or where they in front of me? Who knows. However it happened, and whether the door was actually knocked in like I remember, or opened suddenly, the effect was the same. Five frightened, frantic and slightly giggly children where unceremoniously deposited in a squirming heap on Miss Mary Grace’s bedroom floor. Now, this was over 10 years ago. We’ve compared notes over the years, and come up with a somewhat factual reconfiguration of the actual events. First off, the person pulling on me was my best friend Grace, urging me to ‘fall on my knees’, NOT a horrible ax murderer determined to slaughter us all in the upstairs hall way. Regina’s scream was caused by John. We thought was with us the whole time, but had evidently slipped downstairs at some point, and was coming up the stairs at that exact moment. Due to the fact that the lights where dim and he was back lit, he cast a giant shadow that Regina wasn’t expecting. Regina’s scream made him think someone was after him, because why would his appearance cause his older sister to scream like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz?? So, he ran faster, making me think something along the lines of “Oh GOD! Not only am I being attacked, there’s someone coming up the stairs to get the rest of them!” So, as best I can remember, I Hulked out and took out a bedroom door. Oops. Now, I’m sure that after reading my account, the other members of the fiasco will have entirely different stories-I recall one version where Grace knew what was going on the whole time- but, that’s not the point, is it? The point is this-IT HAPPENED. It happened around Christmas. And we all remember it. In our own wacky way, we created a Christmas legend. And all without the help of that jolly old Elf…and I don’t men Elrond.