Has the world gone stark raving mad? On the news this morning there were very graphic images of people getting into brawls over products being offered on the black (Friday) market. I will pose to you this question: Is there any object worth the craziness that folks are willing to subject themselves to in order to save a few bucks? I say "NO, absolutely not!"
I have never been a Black Friday shopper. In fact, I avoid Black Friday like the plague. There happens to be several reasons for this. First of all, I do not like crowds. Secondly, I do not like to stay up late and I do not like to get up too early. My sleep is worth way more than I could ever save on an item that I can only purchase after midnight on a given day or before 6:00 a.m. on a given day. For example, if I save $20 on an item and don't get the sleep I require (as everyone in my circle knows I desperately need), I have saved $20 but I have lost valuable inner beauty acquired by the proper rest and someone will most definitely pay for it later with my grumpiness, lack of patience and shortness of temper. Thirdly, I have never, ever NOT been able to find a great deal on pretty much every Christmas present I have ever bought in my lifetime. Now, that's a bold statement, but I have found that virtually all stores have awesome sales every single solitary day between December 1st and December 24th. Pretty much guaranteed.
I have wondered if it's the madness itself that really attracts people to the Black Friday sales. Is it so they'll have a really funny story of their bravery to tell the family on Christmas morning? Is it so they can guilt the recipient of the gift by reminding them year after year of what they went through in order to give them the present of their dreams? Maybe it's because people just want a little drama in their life, I don't know. I, for one, don't need any more drama in my life. I find that drama comes very naturally if you just let life happen. Drama has a way of finding you without your trying to find it. You might be saying, "No, it's none of that, I just want a good deal." Nonsense, that is a total cop-out. Who would really put their life on the line just for a good deal? Don't answer that.
My Christmas shopping goes something like this. I try not to wait till the last minute but I will confess that the hubs and I have gotten quite a few great deals on December 24th right before the stores close. I will admit that it did in fact happen a time or two. This is actually his favorite time to shop and it drives me crazy. But for the most part I try to have all my shopping (which isn't that much) done a week or so before Christmas Eve so that I'm not wrapping gifts at midnight on the 24th. That's another one of my pet peeves, but that's for another discussion at a later time. Sooo...I find a day that nothing too special is happening, like a Tuesday or a Wednesday when most people are at work. I start early (but not too early), and I plan my rounds to my favorite stores which ARE NOT part of the mall insanity. I slip in and out of a handful of stores quietly and quite efficiently like a church mouse, but it's hard to be too incognito when you're dragging large bags of great deals purchased without the throngs...just me joyfully cruising to my car when I'll cruise to the next store and do a little more damage. But not before I slip into one of my fave lunch spots where I grab a bite for shopping energy. When I finally arrive back home in the evening, the sun is dropping behind the horizon, I flip on all the Christmas lights in the house, light a candle, and begin my gift-wrapping marathon while Michael Buble plays on Pandora. A day that is profitable for sure but, more than that, peaceful and joyful. And isn't that what Christmas is really all about?
I know that being in the retirement years affords me the time I need to do what I just described and it's not that easy for young moms to find a pocket of time to do such, even though you would like to make it happen. But your time will come when they kids are grown and, believe me, it's a trade-off. Even if you're not able to carve out a day all to yourself, you can take measures to avoid the madness of shopping on Black Friday which will only lead to stress and regret. My point is this: Do everything within your power to make Christmas enjoyable not just for your family, but for you. There was a day when I was so intent on making Christmas perfect that I forgot to take care of my own self, and who was affected by that? Everyone! I also learned early on that the true Christmas spirit is found in not how much we give, but in how we give it. Plus, do you want to teach your kids discipline and a way of life that is not given over to excess? Make gift-giving smaller and more meaningful. I promise you, it will only serve them well in the future.
But if you are one of the ones who insist on the dramas of Black Friday, whatever your reasons may be, just remember this: YOU HAD FOREWARNING!
And an official Merry Christmas to you...
The last week has been a plethora of activities as we've attempted to close the sale of my father's house, and as I've begun trimming my house for Christmas. I guess the retailers have gotten to me and I'm not sure if the week's activities have been out of the Christmas spirit that I'm sure lies dormant in my belly until I see the first festive display of the season, or if it's out of sheer panic when I think Christmas is a mere month away! Probably a bit of both if the truth be known. But thinking it's probably more of the latter, I decided to start early so that after Thanksgiving I can hopefully focus on the spirit of the season. Plus, I have family coming in and I want it to be festive when they first walk through the door. When you have a two-year-old in the house, the sky is the limit and it's my duty as her nana to make it magical. I even played my Christmas tunes while decorating this week. It was a joyful moment to the beginning of one of my favorite times of the year.
But as every year we seem to start Christmas preparations earlier and earlier (I'm as guilty as the next person), I never want to overshadow Thanksgiving. In many ways, it's my most favorite time of the year because it's more laid back and centers around eating (a favorite pastime of mine), and because it focuses on the many things we have for which to be thankful. I, for one, could begin a list of things I'm thankful for and I'm not sure the list could ever be completed. No, I'm sure it couldn't because every single day that list grows and lengthens. I'll share just of few of the things every person in this nation has to be thankful for (just in case you're trying to think of something).
1. I am thankful for freedom. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a patriot. Where else in the world can you live where you have the freedoms we enjoy? Where can you better chase your dreams and find them? Where can you worship in the church of your choice without persecution? Where can you work hard and be rewarded for your hard work? Where can you choose who your leaders will be and have an active role in the authority of those leaders who govern you and the choices they make? I am thankful for this nation. No, it's not perfect and, yes, we're in a crisis but, if I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times...it's the best of the best.
2. I am thankful for truth. Truth is not hard to find and anyone can be privy to it. The key to finding truth is to truly be seeking it. You can't say that you're looking for truth and put it at the bottom of the totem pole. Seeking truth is the first and foremost thing we should desire and it's shouting to us from the mountaintops if we would but listen. What good is a life that's built on falsehoods?
3. I am thankful for having a friend and for being a friend. I have come to believe as I've grown older that it is entirely possible for anyone to have a friend. But the key to having a friend is to first be one. Do you want a friend? Do you need a friend? Be willing to choose others over yourself, and be a friend first. Friendship is guaranteed.
4. I am thankful for the kind acts of men. Everywhere I turn in this great nation, I see people trying to help others. If you are in a car accident or deathly ill, there is no hospital in this great land who would not take you in. If you are hungry, there are people out there who make it their daily work to find food and pass it on to you. If you don't have a roof over your head, there are shelters out there waiting to give you a warm bed. If you are in trouble, there is someone out there looking for you, not to make more trouble but to help you out of yours.
5. And last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for Thanksgiving. I am truly thankful that we have a holiday that sets aside 24 hours every single year to say thanks for the many blessings we enjoy. Even in the hardest of years (and, believe me, I've had them), there is always something we can be thankful for.
Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied
Come to God's own temple, come
Raise the song of harvest home.
by Henry Alford and George Elvey
I'm not exactly sure of the circumstances surrounding this event, but my memory is quite clear on the actual event itself. It was always a hot summer day when it happened and the first time was sometime in the nineties. I had probably ushered the kids outside because they had turned into a/c couch-potatoes and were driving me a little crazy. I am not totally sure of that either, but it's more than likely true. To cool off from the summer heat, I probably suggested the kid-os pull out the water hose and go to it. Now, the next few things are fuzzy in my mind and I am just speculating as to the order of things, but a huge water battle ensued that made such an impression upon all involved, that they repeated it every year afterwards and are still talking about it to this very day.
Because this most likely occurred on the weekend, my hubby was totally involved in the entire incident and, truth be known, probably started the whole doggone thing. But for reasons not completely clear, he ended up right in the middle, and every battle since then has revolved around him and his evil (I say that loosely) battle plan. He reached way back into his childhood and drew upon his own sneaky youth to stir up something that will forever and a day be revered as a sacred time in our family's history. What started out as an innocent enough thing, whether it was for play or garden-watering, or just plain cooling off (who really knows?), the events took a turn and what commenced was an epic water battle that somehow, and with no effort on my own part, became a yearly event that not only is now remembered by my own kids but several of the kids who lived in our neighborhood I'm sure. Did I partake? No, sir, not me, I absolutely do not do water battles. Why you ask? Because No. 1, I don't like being wet unless I'm in the shower or a swimming pool, and No. 2, I don't like being hit in the face with water. I'm no fool; I avoid fighting of any kind and at all costs, even if it's considered all in good fun. But my husband? Oh, he has absolutely no problem with getting wet or getting back, if you know what I mean. If you hit him with water, he's gonna hit you harder with water.
Evil, it is. Just plain evil.
So from that first water battle came many more. Every summer, it was a highlight for the kids to have "Water Battle ____ (you fill in the year). Yes, every single summer till all the kids were out of the house, the family water battle was on. All the hoses were pulled out along with the water guns, and anything and everything that held water could be called into active duty. For the sake of defense, trash can lids were used as sturdy shields or whatever else could be found to protect your head from a huge gush of cold water. As the battles evolved over time, it was not uncommon for neighborhood kids to stand on the sidelines all forlorn that they were merely onlookers. So what did my hubby do? He invited them to join in on the fun! The more the merrier when it came to water battles! Sometimes we had six or seven kids in our yard shooting water guns, armed with hoses, running for cover under a trash can lid, and having the time of their summer! Good memories. Really good memories.
So on our recent trip to Tampa to celebrate Tim's 40th birthday, it was a warm sunny day and no surprise when the kids asked to get out the slip-n-slide. After all, even winter days in Tampa sometimes prove warm enough to have some water fun. The men (for the most part) were watching football. I timidly ventured out to the backyard where I issued the warning that NO ONE better get Nana wet or they would be gravely sorry. It started innocently enough with Emma, Ben, and Little P on the slip-n-slide. But very shortly, it was way beyond the abilities of my two daughters to sit out while the little ones had all the fun. With all the running and screaming, Poppy came out to see what was up and before I could get out of the way, he was fully engulfed and had begun what we now lovingly call Water Battle 2015. By the time I had stepped back inside to ensure I remained dry and uninjured, Tim forsook the football game and joined the fun. Angela had also slipped into the watery warzone and battle strategies were formed, mostly on how to defeat Poppy because he's the one you have to conquer. I might add here that Adam (my son-in-law) and Joel (Abbie's boyfriend) solidly remained couch potatoes in front of some silly NFL game. All I can say is LOOOOO-SERS! My mind went back to the days of our summer water battles when the kids were young, and I ran for the camera so that I could keep this memory alive for many more years to come.
When I visit Honduras every year, I play the role of nanny to my little Preston. Let me first say that Preston has a fantastic nanny who has been with her since day one. She comes three days a week when Hollie is at the clinic, and I am very grateful to know that Hollie has such competent help. But when Nana is in town, Karina gets to take the time off and Nana steps in. It is one of my greatest joys to be there and experience Preston in a normal day, as she goes about the house playing, laughing and "doing what she do." We read books, put together puzzles, paint, color, and have tea parties. It's a time I put a very high priority upon, and I find myself laughing uncontrollably more than once in a day at some of the things this smart, funny, two-year-old says and does. Since my little P is quickly approaching the age of three, I had told Hollie I would be glad to help potty-train her when I was there. She had introduced her to the idea of putting her pee and poo in the potty and had had several successful attempts, but nothing consistent so far. So I was glad to help. After all, I've trained three children, and helped with two grandchildren. I am a potty-training expert (ha!).
I was about to experience a grave disappointment in my potty-training abilities. On my first day alone with my precious angel, I took her straight to the potty after breakfast. After all, what goes in has to come out, right? I was armed with all the ammunition I needed: Books to read, Goldfish for sheer bribery purposes, my iphone which always distracts her, and one Nana's extreme will to potty-train her granddaughter in two weeks' time. But much to my dismay, things took a turn for the worse. Preston informed me that she did not want to sit on the potty and that turned into a much more direct response to the cute potty sitting on the floor: I WILL NOT sit on that potty! As I tried to convince her, she turned into what resembled the tiny spawn of satan and I knew I was in big trouble. She did a 180-degree about face from "wanting Nana," for everything to "I want my mommy!" And it was right there in the middle of the bathroom floor in the throes of a classic two-year-old meltdown that I had an epiphany: I was not going to be able to train her while I was there. I had failed. But this is the true epiphany. No way, not for one second ever, was I gonna let anything make me the bad guy. When you only get to see your grandchild three or four times a year, you refuse to do anything to make her hate you. Bottom line. So I reluctantly turned the potty-training duties back to her mother, and it was never mentioned again while I was there (well, maybe once but I tried to avoid the subject). The rest of our time was spent doing only the things that Preston wanted to do. Nana was at her beck and call.
Now, don't get me wrong. I do discipline my grandchildren when they're naughty. And that's because I love my own children enough to not make their lives miserable after Nana leaves. That's not to say I don't spoil them. There is a huge difference. Do I give them my undivided attention? You bet! Do I buy them things? Absolutely! Do I crawl around on the floor on my aging knees with them? Yes, indeed, I do! Am I guilty of giving them an extra cookie if they ask? Well, heck, yeah! Do I tolerate disobedience and disrespect? Never, ever. Like I desired for my own children, I want my grandchildren to learn a healthy respect for authority when they're young so they hopefully won't go to jail one day when they're older. It's part of my tough-love philosophy for child-rearing in the 21st century. But I sincerely hope by the time my visit has ended with any one of my three grandkids, they know beyond the shadow of any doubt that Nana loves them to their sweet little cores. Grandchildren are the best.
So does this story have a point? You know me better than that. My stories always have a point. And this is it: If you have a normal, healthy child, they WILL be potty-trained. I have never heard of any child going away to college still in diapers. It might not be the week you have chosen or the best timeframe you would choose (after all, we'd like them to be trained by the age of one if that was possible, right?), but there will come a time that they will be ready. It will be on their terms. Not long after I had returned home, Hollie informed me that they were successfully potty-training. The key had been putting the big girl panties on and trying not to pee on Princess Sofia. Who knew? But there is apparently a key component for the potty-training of any two-year-old and the hardest part is to find what works for your child. For your little girl or guy, it might be M&M's (I won't judge) or another treat; it might be stickers or a stamp or another kind of reward. It might be the little game of not peeing on the character on the undies. Voila! Every child is different.
One last note...Hollie informed me that the night before potty-training officially commenced, she had one final act of her own will to deter the process. In a mad-two-year-old-induced meltdown, she ran around the house shouting for Mama to just put a diaper on her so that she could do her business. The next morning, it was as though a light switch had gone off in that little curly-haired head of hers and she was ready to potty-train. Go figure.
Which brings me to realize...she knew exactly what she was doing all along. She was gonna potty-train when SHE was ready, and not one second earlier.
Well, all righty, then. You da boss on that.
Our ears started to feel the pressure as we climbed higher into the Honduran mountainside. As you leave the city and ease into the rolling hills right outside Tegucigalpa, it is as different as night and day. The city is a bustling mix of people rushing to and fro', curbside vendors selling their freshly-made tortillas, students in their uniforms rushing to class or grabbing a bite of lunch, and traffic. Lots of traffic. To this day, as many times as I've been a passenger in a vehicle on the streets of Teguz, I am still on pins and needles and am known to utter the occasional "gasp." It's not uncommon for a large bus packed with locals to come within an inch of your car before stopping on a dime in the middle of an intersection. With only an occasional street light there to govern the disorderly mess, aggressive horn-honking is just a part of the process and it is very loud and heard on a regular basis. So when Hollie takes me to one of my favorite spots outside the city, I know it's because she loves me so much that she is willing to go through all the chaos to get there. Driving in Honduras is not for the faint of heart. She's the best.
Valle de los Ángeles (The Valley of Angels or Valle as we call it) is an open-air market and is true to its name, located in the valley of the gorgeous hills about a 40-minute drive outside the craziness of the city. It is not desolate however, as you still see people offering their wares on the side of the road, mostly food as they roast corn and hope they'll be the one who gets your business as you pass by. There are places where you can buy fruit and the most gorgeous flowers grown right in the rich local soil. When you pull into Valle, it too bustles with the hum of conversation and laughter, the colors of the products offered, children playing, and the smell of delicious food. It's reminiscent of tourist attractions in any American city with t-shirts, jewelry, and vendors selling their handmade wares and novelties of every imaginable kind. The mix of people look mostly Honduran, but you see an occasional American or Asian person, and I always wonder if those people are tourists like me or live and work in the city somewhere. Most of the Americans we come across are included in the few that make Honduras their home and many work in the American Embassy. I have surmised in my years visiting that, unless it's beautiful Roatan off the northeast shore, no one would ever choose Honduras as a vacation destination. No one visits developing countries on vacations or one that's considered the murder capital of the world. Relaxing is what vacations are all about, and safety plays a huge role in your relaxation. It was brought to my attention that possibly many of the locals are from towns outside the area who are coming to this tourist attraction to explore for the very first time. I guess it's much like many Americans who have never seen Disney World or the ocean.
But you can visit Valle without having to spend "Disney World" bucks. Everything is reasonably priced and you can enjoy a day of lunch and shopping without breaking the bank. This is where I go to add to my small collection of hand-woven Honduran baskets. As you can see, there are thousands to choose from and every one is colorful and useful. It thrills me to know that they are woven by local hands. It's my absolute favorite thing to do at Valle and we try to go every visit. But if you visit often, then you know of places off the beaten path that are quiet and restful and one such place is Hollie's favorite coffee shop. We were gravely disappointed this visit to find this little cafe closed because the owner was vacationing in the US. The nerve of her, not checking with us first! Everyone needs a vacation I suppose! This visit we were excited to find a festival going on. Local schools were attending with their bands and dancers in traditional Honduran costumes, so I was elated as this is the first time I've been able to experience this. The Honduran people love to dress up, and it is not uncommon to see them at church in their fanciest clothes, jewelry, and shoes showing off immaculate pedicures. They are passionate people for good food, color, music, and dance. Experiencing the culture is always one of the highlights of visiting Valle when I'm in Honduras.
We had lost all track of time and realized it was getting late. Making our way back to our car (where a sweet man had kept watch over it AND hand-washed it while we were shopping for around $5.00! -- uh, repeat --that's parking, security, AND the hand-wash), we began the journey back home. We passed the roadside vendors still hard at work and the beautiful-flower growers and descended into the city, still quite alive in spite of the fact that the darkness was falling around us. Much to my delight (I don't like to be in the city after dark because I am a great big chicken), we pulled into Hollie's driveway just as the sun had ushered in the moon for its nightly watch and I sighed with relief to be home safely and with the satisfaction of our wonderful day at Valle. Then I welcomed a shower, my bed, and the quiet reprieve prepared for me on the ground floor of this place I call my second home.
I am absolutely sure that Christmas 2014 ended just a few weeks ago and that we are only into 2015 by a couple of months...at best March or April. But then I go into stores and I see objects that glisten, glow, jingle and have a little fake snow, and I am brought to the reality of the fact that Christmas is but a mere six weeks away. How can it be?!!
Many years ago my mother told me that, the older you get, the faster time flies. I didn't believe her. Because I, being in my young adulthood, had nothing but time it seemed. It felt as though I had to wait for everything. I waited forever before I found Mr. Right. I waited even longer for us to have our first baby. I waited for our first house. That seemed like an eternity because, well, with Mr. Right and three young children, we really, really needed a house. I waited till I could finally get all three in school and have just a smidge of free time for myself. I waited till I could get all my kids out of school so they could be gainfully employed and we might have a smidge more money. And then I waited for a grandchild. Now I've been married to Mr. Right for 35 years and we have three grandchildren, one of whom is already 12 years old. Whoa.
So here I am in 2015 about to celebrate Christmas in six weeks and I find myself realizing how right my mother was. The older I get, the faster time goes by. Sometimes I wish I could go back and squeeze my little ones one more time but we know time doesn't travel backwards, only forwards (at least for now). I wish sometimes I could go back and have another swing at my studies because I know now I could've made much better grades than I did. That was way more important than the fun I apparently was having doing things that don't make one bit of difference now. I am quite sure my sweet mother warned me of that as well, but did I listen? No, I went about my merry way, taking the years for granted to a certain extent, and now way down here in 2015 I find myself wondering where in the world the years have gone. My three children have morphed into three adults and, even though I can no longer hug their two-year-old necks, thankfully I can hug their adult necks (they are a bit bigger, however). I can also hug on my grandchildren which I do every single time I get the chance because, believe it or not, they too will morph into adults much sooner than I think. What is that old saying, hindsight is 20/20? So very true.
But here's my point. Every single day has always had exactly 24 hours in it. That has never changed and we all are gifted with 24 hours to do with what we choose in that period of time. One person doesn't have 24 while another has 12 and another has 8. God knew that would cause complete and utter chaos on this earth so he gave everyone the same number of hours in a day. But it's up to us what we do with them and I have found that, the busier I am, the quicker time goes by. Sometimes we are forced to be busier than we prefer out of choices not our own, and sometimes we choose it. Either way, being too busy can be a time stealer and a memory robber. Sometimes it's hard to remember what we did last week, let alone what we've done this year that got us another 12 months under our belts so fast. For me, this has been one of the busiest years I can remember in a very long time. And now here it is six weeks until Christmas and I am about to do it all over again.
The holidays are indeed one of the busiest times of the year. We plan, we cook, we visit, we shop, we wrap, we give, the list goes on and on.We try to remember everyone on our list and we try to make the holidays the best we can for our families. We try to do good, we try to pay it forward, we try to remember the less fortunate, we try to be a good neighbor, we try to have people over, we try to keep a clean house. It's all good, but may I make a suggestion? Let a few things go this year. When you are so busy that you cannot enjoy the moments that are truly special, THAT I would say is too dang busy. Do this instead:
Listen to Christmas music early
Dance with the kids
Watch every Christmas movie you can get your hands on
Read bedtime Christmas stories
Read THE Christmas story
Practice being thankful.
And love on those babies and grandbabies day in and day out (whether they're 3 or 13), every single solitary moment that you can. Because I promise you one day, in about what seems like three or four months, you will be getting ready to celebrate Christmas and wonder...where have all the years gone?
As most of us go about our daily, mostly ordinary lives, there are people all around the world who are working tirelessly to make this world a better place in which to live. They are the missionaries, the philanthropists, the do-gooders...the folks who put others' lives ahead of their own. How do I know this? Because I've seen them in action. I've seen them put three and four extra hours in an already-packed 24-hour day. I've seen them push a little harder when most of us are willing to rest a little longer. I see them take on more when they really should be taking on less. But these angels in ordinary clothing looking much like ordinary people are definitely not ordinary. They go way beyond what is required or even expected of them to give hope to those who would not otherwise have any hope. I know, I know, every time I get back from Honduras, I have a refreshed vision of the raw needs of people in a less fortunate land. But since I am blessed to get to visit every year, shouldn't I share my heart with those who do not get to travel to developing countries so we'll all remember and never forget what we're really on this earth for? Whether it's in a foreign land or on your neighborhood lawn, we should always serve others in some capacity.
Every year I have been fortunate to visit new ministries in Honduras where North Americans coupled with Hondurans are doing great works for those who struggle to make it in life. This year it was the Micah Project. Michael Miller, a man from the United States has spent many, many years reaching out to young men who have fallen through the cracks of Tegucigalpa's rugged streets and into extreme poverty and hopelessness. Most of these young men are completely destitute. In fact, most of these young men have succumbed to lives of alcohol and drugs and, just as in America, doomed to a life of failure unless someone who loves in more than just words finds them and chooses to invest in their broken lives. The Micah Project rescues these boys and gives them hope by housing, feeding, clothing, rehabilitating, and educating them, with the goal of raising up young leaders who can go back into their communities and serve. Going into this compound-like facility, you'd expect to find a jail-like existence or maybe that was my own preconceived idea. But instead I found cheerful dorm-like rooms where the boys are separated into age groups and housed in a way that is more like a huge family home than a prison. I saw young men having classes in the computer lab, art classes on the back porch overlooking the beautiful mountains (inspiration for art!), and precious Honduran women preparing food for the noon meal. I saw boys and adults alike smiling and laughing. This ministry also provides jobs for local Hondurans who not only benefit from being employed but are paid a decent wage and reap the benefits of investing in their own community. It's a win-win for all involved.
But here's the thing. Every single year I go and every single trip I've ever made, I wonder and ponder in my heart How do these people do this life? How do they give and give and give, sometimes without much thanks, then get up the next morning and do it all over again? How do they consistently give up their own private hopes and dreams, sacrifice their own lifestyles and privacy, and raise their children in a foreign land where they face even more challenges than in the US? Here is what my heart has told me. They are called to do this. They have heard the call to give more and take less. They have heard the call to love others more than themselves, and have answered that call. They have dedicated every ounce of energy they can muster to go, to serve, and to bring their families along with them to do it as well. So when I think about a person's life in view of "a calling," I am a bit relieved. I am relieved because I know without a doubt that I would not be able to do it. Just being there for a couple of weeks at a time is enough to tire me completely out from observing how hard they work and what they sacrifice in any given day. But that's the mystery and the beauty of it all. They don't see it as sacrifice, they count it all as joy and privilege and, when they are away from the heart of it, they long to return.
"Callings" can come in many shapes and sizes. I firmly believe that successful doctors and nurses feel a calling and answer that call. And we know that the "calling" makes all the difference as to whether you're a good doctor or a good nurse. We've all been the recipient of a medical professional who loves what they do and they pass that love on to their patient. And we've also been the victim of a medical professional who does it because it pays the bills, and the contrast between the two makes all the difference in the patient's care. We are not all called to be doctors, nurses, preachers, teachers, social workers, or all the many other jobs where a true calling to that profession produces the best of the best. But we are all called to something and we are required to answer that call if we want to not merely exist, but thrive in life.
This is Nico, who was born in Africa and adopted by North American parents John and Becca, and who has a little sister, Emmie. They serve with The Micah Project in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and it simply exhausts me to think of raising two children under the age of two in a foregin land while you serve others. God bless them.
If you'd like to make a donation to The Micah Project, you can
contact them and follow their work at their website at https://www.micahprojecthonduras.org and, of course, my own sweet Hollie's place of adventure at http://www.afehonduras.org where she and her little family invest daily in the families who make their living in the city dump rummaging through trash.
What is your calling...have you answered it?
Posted by CC
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