For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Name Monster

Time suckage. Have you noticed how many things designed to make our lives more efficient, tend to also fill the free time they were supposed to help create? Laptops are my prime example this evening. I have spent way too many hours on mine over weekends. Granted, I've been using my laptop to research and plan our vacation, but really - TWELVE PLUS HOURS? Oy to the vey. (Fortuantely, I've also managed to pack in some fun with an amazing session of yoga on the mall.)

The time suck issue got me thinking about other things that kill my free time buzz. Another example I've experienced is the existence too many options. No one needs 500 sources of the same product or information. Do you remember going with your parents to the grocery store back in the day? There was the name brand item and there was the black and white generic version. That's it: two choices. It wasn't until Malcom Gladwell and his fantastico focus group sessions about spaghetti sauce preference came around that we uncovered a 'need' for 36 varieties of sauce.

Please don't get me wrong. I adore condiments, as well as the freedom to choose. Variety is the spice of life, after all. But what of too many choices? I believe in the law of diminishing returns: the first sip of cold beer is always going to taste best. And in our over-stimulated society, there is often just too much going on. Too many choices could offer a diminshing return on the advantages of variety.

Indulge me as I offer a final illustration: the husband and I are expecting! This news has us beyond the moon with excitement. It is indeed a blessed time, and I am daily thankful for our miracle. Far be it from me to wax poetic about the positive (this would be my excuse for the few and far between blog posts). I'm too busy being happy to worry about capturing the moment in writing. Any literary inclinations I may have usually stem from the ridiculous or the unfortunate.

Like with this wonderous event, I've not yet written a word. But I'm urged to blog about the immeasurable number of car seat/stroller options that exist, and how every manufacturer seems to patent an unnoticable difference in their version. So few things mesh across brand lines. As with weddings, just stick the word 'baby' in a product name and companies have an excuse to jack up prices and prey on your guilt for getting your child the very best.

PUH-LEASE PEOPLE. Did my naked behind need a baby wipe warmer thirty-four years ago? Unh-unh. And depending on who you ask, I came out just fine. Am I tempted to register for a baby wipe warmer for our child? Yes! Because I want only the best for our precious bundle. I'm just not sure that literally blowing smoke up her ass, or to politely rephrase, laying warming vapors on her bum, is going to be the method for success here. Enthusiast purchasers of baby wipe warmers comment that it's changed their lives. I'm tempted to go with the Pray and Play method of parenting (which I've just now made-up), versus the Pray and PAY method which so many companies would prefer me to follow.

Pray and Pay Parenting would be: Pray you have enough resources, and pay through the nose for all things baby-esque. This method ensures your house is filled with plastic junk made in China, and your retirement fund principle grows at 0%. Babies 'R Us shareholder dividends however, grow quite nicely. Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against Babies 'R Us, and am registered there. Let's just be rationale, and maybe even sustainable with our purchases, shall we?!

Pray and Play Parenting goes like this:
1. Pray non-stop for baby's health, happiness, present and future. Trust in the Lord to provide as He promised He will.

2. Balance work with lots of play. Babies are babies for a short time only. Revel in the wonder that is this new life. Thank the Lord for His goodness and mercy.

3. Rinse (bums sans warmed wipes) and repeat daily for the rest of your life.

Yep. This event is a life changer. Perhaps by planning and practicing the Pray and Play Parenting Method now, I'll be that much closer to perfecting it by our due date. Final disclaimer: Perfect is Beige. I love this! I'll never be perfect, so I'm thankful and covered.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Causes & Considerations

OUCH! With so many wonderful causes and organizations needing assistance, it can make your head hurt trying to decide. The husband and I have used the church to dissemenate our tithes and donations to those in need; however, there are times when certain issues hit the heart hard. It's then that we try to dig a bit deeper with our time and other resources.

Three issues that affect me deeply are:
*social justice - International Justice Mission is an amazing Christian non-profit human rights based org, that literally rescues victims of human rights abuse across the globe.

*clean water - Blood: Water Mission in part builds wells in sub-Saharan African communities where water is multi-mile per day walk. Did you know that $1.00 can provide one African with clean water for a YEAR!

*animal rights - I'm a BIG fan of animal sanctuaries and I la la love Farm Sanctuary, as well as the our local Poplar Springs (where we celebrated our first vegan Thanksgiving in 2008). Today, I received an email from PETA, of whom I confess I'd let my support lapse.

They shared information on circus elephants being abused and my heart broke all over again. I've known that circuses, theme parks and others using animals for entertainment tend to mistreat their 'employees'. One need only consider the recent Sea World killer whale attack or famous the Sigfried and Roy mauling to see that wild animals forced into unnatural habitats are not going to gently respond.

Sign Here to Stop Circus Cruelty

Seeing the video and photos of these elephants spurred me to act as a conscientious consumer as best I could. I'm once again a PETA supporter. I invite you to reflect upon issues that are dear to your heart, and seek out like-minded organizations with whom you can partner. So many of us are blessed with freedom, easy access to food and clean water, some spare time to share with those in need. Where can we make a difference?

"If I am not for others, who am I for? And if not now, when?" - Talmud

"Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"Whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me." -Matthew 25:45