Monday, September 20, 2010

Light Up Your World

As our ward choir was singing yesterday in church, I dropped my oldest over for one last practice about 8:30 am. During my ride home I listened to 100.3 fm, a local radio station that plays more sacred and religious based music on the Sabbath.

Even as I pulled up into my driveway a song I'd never heard before, by an artist whose name I could not even remotely pin down, began to play. Before turning off the car four little words were sung, immediately capturing my attention and not letting go even now.

"Light up your world."

We are all asked to be a light in this world, a light for righteousness, for love, for all the good things in life. A light that represents our Savior, His example, and His teachings. We have been told to be a light unto the world, a phrase that can sound daunting, perhaps to some even impossible. How can one person light up the entire world? How is it possible for us, who may never reach further than our own little neighborhoods, influece this vast and enormous world filled with people we may never meet in our lifetime?

Those four little words, just one of them changed, brought about a beautifully enlightening thought to my own mind: we don't have to light up the entire world, but we should be working our hardest to light up our own world.

Some of us out there are not filled with wanderlust. We do not crave the chance to travel from place to place, to move a billion times over, or to wander too far from home. I am certainly one of these people. So the circle of people I know is small compared to some. But this does not mean I can't have a great influence on that small circle of loved ones. It does not mean I can't be a light for those I meet in my own little, yet wholly satisfying, world.

Who knows how one kind word, one unexpected hug, one spontaneous compliment, or one experience in listening to the Holy Spirit's whisperings will influence the life of someone around you? It could be someone you've known your entire life. It could be the individual at the check-out counter at your local grocery store. Whoever he/she may be, you never know when holding up your light nice and high may cause another lost or hurting soul to be comforted, to be lightened, or even to start on a path of finding themselves closer to the Savior. All because you chose to hold up your one, seemingly insignificant light.

We don't need to light up the entire world, but when we choose to shine the light of Christ on those around us the effects might actually ripple to places we would have never expected. Our influece could be felt in places far beyond our own limited reach.

No, we don't have to worry about lighting up the entire world, but we should do all we can to light up our own world.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

'Cause We're Awesome. That's Why!

These days it's nothing to sniff at, managing to make it to number fourteen on the marriage anniversary list. What's even more incredible is the fact we're still going strong! So I've got two lists for you today. First, I'd like to give you the top five serious reasons our marriage works.

#5 - We communicate!!! If fincances are tight, we talk about it. If there's a problem at work or home, we talk about it. If we're feeling frustrated about something or someone, we talk about it! Communication invites intimacy, allowing each person to feel important in the other person's life.

#4 - We're similar, and opposites - and we embrace both in each other. My hubby and I are very similar in many respects: our love of service, we'd both rather be home than anywhere else, we enjoy reading and sharing what we've read, we're both peacemakers, etc. But we're also opposites in many respects: I'm a thinker, he's a doer; he's a morning person, I'm a night owl; he enjoys a nice tomato sandwich, I'd rather not (but thank you very much); he'll eat just about anything, I'm one of the pickiest creatures on the face of this earth; I help him chill out, he helps me be motivated. It works for us.

#3 - We're both very selfless, and even a little bit selfish. We're the sort who will give up everything at the moment to help the other (and he's done more than his share of this in recent months). We keep watch over one another, and notice when the other needs a pick me up. But we also know when to say, I need some help. As I learned from my therapist this last summer, if our own needs aren't met, we cannot help fill the needs of those around us. So if we need a little time to ourselves to read alone, or take a walk, or go to the library, we'll make it happen.

#2 - We make family a priority. I'm not even talking about our immediate family, but extended family as well. We have both been blessed with AMAZING brothers and sisters and in-laws. Our nieces and nephews are to die for, and our parents would move heaven and earth to help us out. We do not take that for granted, and lend our love and support whenever possible.

#1 - We make God a part of our marriage. We make Him a vital and essential part of our marriage. There is no doubt in my mind, without Him, we would not be where we are today.

Now, for the top five silly yet equally important reasons we've made it this far.

#5 - We share a love of Coke products. What?! GASP! For shame, Laurie. I know, I know. But there's nothing like seeing the face of my husband when he sees a bottle of Coke in the fridge that I got for him as a surprise. Or my delight when he's stopped off at 7-11 to get us a couple of Big Gulps before he comes home. Good times, people, good times.

#4 - We also share a love for teasing the children. It comes in really handy when one is trying to convince the children of something improbable (like we're having snake for dinner) and needs the other to act as though it's true. The hubbs is WAY better at the teasing, I'm merely the pupil. But I'm getting better at it.

#3 - Neither of us is way into sports. Nope. When hubby's brothers and nephews (and some sisters-in-law and nieces) get together to play some basketball, you won't see my hubby among them. And I love it. While others talk about this sports team, or who's doing what and being traded where, neither of us has any idea of what's being talked about. And neither of us, even just a little, root for the U more than the Y. Instead we sit back and enjoy watching the rivalry.

#2 - When we're old and gray we plan to share a room in a rest home. We'll both have Alzheimers and plan to flirt with the cutie in the bed next to us. A lot.

#1 - 'Cause we're awesome. That's why.

*** Author's Addition ***
My good friend Carol reminded me of something, and it's just too good not to put in. When all the kids are out of the house and we won't have to worry about any children saying, "Why won't you let us get one!?!?!", hubby and I are totally getting motorcycles and traveling the U.S. of A.!!!!! OH YEAH BABY

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Reviews: Science Fair

I was rummaging through the Walmart Bargain Book table when I came across a book front with a giant frog on the front. Add to that the name Dave Barry and immediately picked it up. Scanning down the inside book jacket I saw one sentence that clinched the sale: "He made the mistake of selling his dad's priceless original Star Wars blaster to a lunatic who thinks he's Darth Vader and travels with a large, hairy sidekick known as the Wookiee."

GOLDEN!!! This book was right up my boys' alley. For a whopping four dollars I became the proud owner of this completely awesome book.

I really do mean awesome. The authors are actually Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, both of whom have (apparently) put together a whole other series of books. This particular book, however, is absolute genius.

We start off in the land of Krpsht, where there are very few vowels and a whole lot of crazy. The leader of Krpsht is planning the destruction of America due to a grave insult to their country, one that simply cannot be overlooked. Their plot revolves around the science fair held at Hubble Middle School, where an insider is working to make their horrible vision a reality.

Here enters Toby Harbinger, your average, run-of-the-mill middle schooler who wants nothing more than to get through one day without being made fun of by the ME kids (you'll have to read the book if you want to know what that stands for!). Little does he realize his entire world is about to fall apart as a series of events takes him into the world of weird science, a lunatic man who uses a voice changer to make him sound like Darth Vader and wants Toby to help him steal more of his parents' Star Wars collection, a plot so twisted, so deeply hidden he becomes involved with the FBI in a desperate attempt to make ANYONE believe his claims something is wrong at the science fair, and - perhaps most disturbing of all - the Wienermobile. Every time you think to yourself, "This can't possibly get any worse for Toby," oh yeah, it does.

It may take a few chapters to keep your attention glued, but this book is entirely worth the read. I'd lend you my copy, but...uh...I'm already lending it out to just about everyone I know!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On My Bucket List: The 7-11 Man

Just a short walk away is one of our favorite local convenience stores, the 7/11. It's owned by a family who take turns manning the store. I have enjoyed chatting with the husband and wife, and can even claim to have gotten a bit of conversation out of their daughter, who comes in to help out occasionally after school.

The one who poses a challenge, however, is the young man who is there most often. He could be a very younger brother, or perhaps an older son - it really doesn't matter. What gets me is he is so closed off! This attitude could easily be taken as being rude, arrogant, and/or just plain hating being there. I, however, think he's just shy and guarded.

I can't blame him. The family is of mid-Eastern descent, though I could not say precisely where they are from. In this day and age anyone of any color and nationality faces a world of discrimination and hatred for things they have personally never done and most likely don't even condone. But that's a discussion for another time.

When I come up to the register the young man won't even look at me. I'm okay with that, as I realize we all have certain reasons for doing, or not doing, something. Every once in a very long while I'll get him to look me in the eye, and consider it a huge accomplishment when I get more than a "You're welcome" out of him.

I've told my hubby more than once my biggest goal with this young man is to get him to smile for me, just because. If you've ever visited this particular 7/11 you'll know what a daunting task I have set before myself.

I've been slowly breaking down his barriers, though. I have made him almost laugh a few times. I always say hello, thank you, and have a nice day. For the most part he remains stoic, answering with as few syllables possible. But I remain undaunted.

Recently we took the kids over there to get Slurpees, and he was outside washing down windows. I had finished paying for our things and had started backing up to the door when it suddenly opened for me. I looked up in surprise and said, "Oh! Wow! Why thank you." I don't know what struck him as funny, but he gave me an honest-to-goodness, completely unguarded smile. It took my breath away, and made me even more determined to see that smile happen without me looking like an idiot.

So there's my first ever post on my Bucket List. We'll have to see if it's a goal I can accomplish!