10 November 2009

ugh. junk.

Moving has a funny way of making one realize how incredibly blessed/spoiled one's life is. I mean, Jesse and I had to pack up all our earthly possessions to get from AZ to WV and it took the work of two trucks and a huge trailer. Why so much junk? Yes, to make our lives "comfortable" but there are so, SO many people in the world who are completely content if not happier with so much less then we have!
Unpacking the boxes gives you time to examine the contents of your life closely. With each item that is removed from the carefully, or not so carefully, packed box, one can determine it's importance. "Do I need to find a place for this in the new home, or can I leave it boxed up and in storage somewhere for later?"
The unfortunate reality is, Jesse and I have too much stuff! What needs to happen is we need to go through all of our junk that was not deemed "needed at the present time" and just give it away! Have I done this? Of course not. I've thrown away a lot of stuff we don't need, but the still useable stuff- items that others could make use of?- still neatly packed. What is it about the human race that makes us hoarders? Jesse is not a pack-rat by any means, yet we still have just soooo much stuff! It's ridiculous!
Why? What is it about Americans, in general, that want to keep useless possessions and acquire more?

22 October 2009

random thoughts with no conclusion.

Jealousy is gross. To be jealous of others- to want what they have- is wrong. There is nothing flattering about jealousy, and can lead to disastrous consequences. However, it's a fact of life in this sinful world we live in. What do you do with it? Many people have found peace and happiness in the things they have been given and what they have in their lives; others go through life always wanting more, always looking at others things and wanting it for themselves. In essence, comparing themselves to the "Jones.'" What do you do when you find yourself jealous of someone? Of possessions they have or a life they lead that is not your own? How do you handle it?
The best option, of course, is to view your life and be thankful for what you do have. Recently, I have been faced with a situation where I am jealous of others: the direction of their life, how comfortable they appear in their world and how everything just seems to 'fall into place' for them.
While on the million-mile drive across the country with Jesse and his parents, the mother-in-law and I got to talking about this topic. She shared how throughout her marriage, she always felt other people had "more," specifically in the financial aspect. However, she was also able to view her life and see what SHE had that others didn't. This brought me hope, knowing I wasn't the only one who struggled with such feelings and emotions.
Even if you look at the life of someone else and want something they have..what do you have that they don't?

05 October 2009

where the sidewalk ends..

Life is funny.
What are you supposed to do when you don't know what to do? When all that you thought you knew is challenged? When the people who you always assumed would be by your side are nowhere to be found? When life hits you again and again and you feel like giving up?
I wish I had answers. While I'm wishing, I also wish it was easy to continually sacrifice things I think that I want to make the most important person in my life happier and at ease. Sacrificing my old personal goals to come up with new goals that fit better isn't easy either.
What are you to do when you know the end goals but see the timing and road to the goals differently?
Just wondering..
"Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends."
--Shel Silverstein

24 September 2009

Kevlar makes better armour

Mistakes happen. They are part of life. My question to you is this: what do you do after your mistake? Do you use it to better yourself, help enlighten others or stay the same? I think that those are roughly the options you have.
To learn from a mistake, it can be small, medium or large. It doesn't have to be ground-breaking and earth-shattering to learn something. You can learn from even little mistakes and go "oh, I'll never do that again!" Or, your decision to never repeat something can occur after a lot of blood, sweat and tears and maybe someone getting upset and mad at you. I hope for the sake of argument, you have never made a mistake that big, but if you did, that you learned from it.
Staying the same and not moving on is often the easy choice. Learning can be more of a challenge. You can even learn from others mistakes, but that is harder to do. Many people have to go through the fire themselves in order to learn the lesson, or so they claim. I am one of those people who learn through doing, including mistakes. However, do some people use that as an excuse? They really, really, really want to do something that they know is wrong and everyone is telling them is wrong, but they just want to do it anyway because they know for the time being, it will be fun. They throw out this "I just need to see it's a mistake for myself and then I'll learn" line, but is it really an excuse to get away with something they know is wrong?
Borrowing a thought from a wonderful TV show, it's like smelling milk you know to be bad. Someone reaches into the fridge, smells the milk and gags, then turns around and holds it out to you, saying "here, smell this: it's awful!" Automatic response? You smell it of course. But why do we do that? We learn through doing.
Listen, even if you learn through doing, don't let that be your excuse to do something you know you shouldn't, I guess that's my bottom line. Listen to reason, listen to people who have gone before you and made the mistake before you. If someone advises you strongly against something and in your heart of hearts you know it's wrong, don't hide behind the "I have to learn for myself" shield because it's pretty thin and flimsy: you WILL get hurt, even if you don't feel it for awhile.

14 September 2009

for your consideration, I present to you: the light bulb

So I asked Jesse what I should write about in my update, and his response was "incandescent light bulbs." Rarely a dull moment with that guy. Here goes nothing!

Everyone knows what incandescent light bulb are: the little light bulbs that contain a little filament, first invented by Mr. Thomas Edison. Seeing as how these were the first light bulbs created and we're still using them today, they seem pretty reliable and like a good idea, right?

Wrong. According to our government, these little bulbs are a bad deal. Incandescent light bulbs, apparently, use too much power. Consider this: the power we enjoy in our homes to turn on the incandescent light is powered by the power plants which burns coal as the fuel. Burning coal releases Carbon Dioxide into the environment which is the big cause of the green house effect we experience in the world. Obviously. So, by banning the use of this type of light bulb, we are going to save the environment by going green. Splendid.

So let's now consider the alternative option: fluorescent light bulbs, also known as the little "spirly light bulbs" in my house. The claim is that these little guys save about 70-80 watts per bulb. Ok, I'm fine with this. Now, let's bring all the facts together. Incandescent bulbs, which apparently use too much power which apparently puts too much Carbon Dixoide into the environment which apparently is causing the global warming, are the bulbs being banned. Flourescent bulbs are going to be THE bulb to use in America because they last SO much longer. Oh, something to mention about the flourescent bulb, they contain mercury. Which is more dangerous and a much more real threat then global warming (in my opinion). And by the by, they don't work in the cold. Good luck lighting anything, New England and all you northern states. The only apparent plus to the flourescent bulb is the fact they look cooler. Alright, I'll give them a second: they do last awhile. However, it has been proven that the incandescent light bulb will last much, much longer if the bulb is placed on a dimmer switch (they burn out because the flip of the switch exerts so much power through the bulb that they burn out faster-- a dimmer switch allows for a slower exertion of power).

Why are we banning the incandescent light bulb? Because a couple other countries have done it and the tree huggers are concerned with too much power being used? I really wouldn't have a problem with these activist people, except I bet every single one of them use light bulbs too. Jesse told me that this particular gem of a bill was snuck through in the shadow of a bigger bill that our president passed. Bills that are covers for other little things that people want passed are a whole other rant though.

So by the year 2012, you won't be able to buy incandescent light bulbs. Because our government is controlling what kind of light bulbs we can buy. Light bulbs. Because they use up too much power. Something to think about..

09 September 2009

can I please have a neon sign? ok, thanks.

I sometimes believe that my life could make a good book, with a title like "Just Because You Think You Know Where You're Going Doesn't Mean That's Where You'll End Up." Obviously I'm still working on the title, but you get my point. If someone from the future had told me my freshman year of college that this is where I would be 4 years later, I probably would have laughed at whoever it was. Where I am now is nowhere close to where I thought I would be. I don't say that with regret at all..I honestly believe I am in a better place then I could have imagined, and I feel like I could say that about a lot of experiences I've had these past 4 years. I do also secretly wish that before Jesse and I had gotten married, he would have clued me in to what an interesting and excellent adventure our lives were going to be.

God has this pretty cool way of getting you where you need to be. Fortunately for those of us who don't take the simple nudge, He also operates in knocking you over the head, trial and error, and providing your life with a neon sign that says "AMBER GO THIS WAY!" or something with your name in the lights. The road He may set you on may have trials and hardships; you might get hurt; you might have an absolute blast and see nothing but blue skies and clear sailing. Regardless of how you get there, He will get you there and you will learn the lessons needed along the way. When I first moved to Arizona, I couldn't understand why I was here. Why did I need to be so far away from my comfortable home to start a new home out here? Why couldn't Jesse and I start married life somewhere else, closer to family? What a road the first 6 months out here was..looking back, I don't regret it. How could I? The things I learned, through the laughter and tears, have made me a better person. I was thrown into the world with pretty much no life experience which made me lean more heavily on the only person I had. Jesse and I had to figure so much out on our own or through helpful (sometimes not helpful at all) phone calls with our parents. I can honestly say now that we learned so much out here and we grew so much closer then I think we would have if we had stayed somewhere comfortable. Another lesson I've learned: if you're too comfortable where you are to learn what God has in store for you, He just might move you somewhere else. i.e. move you to the desert.

I wish I could offer everyone encouragement who is going through a rough time. All I can say is hold on: God could be in the middle of working something excellent out in your life that you just can't see. Keep your eyes open, He may be getting ready to light your very own neon sign and it will all make sense.

13 June 2009

And your priorities are where?

Yes, I realize it has roughly been forever since I last posted. Deal with it, life happens, and I had nothing to say. This has now changed.

So I listen to a talk show radio station. I'm not really sure how to describe it, but it's really interesting to me, and often catches my attention as the hosts explain little bits about what is going on in the country. Obviously it has a lot to do with politics and individual perceptions on what all is going on. However, what really caught my notice the other day was the discussion about what would happen if you lost your job.

A "sub" host recently lost his job at a different radio station. The co-host was asking how he felt, what he was going to do, etc. The guy who lost his job was commenting that it was kind of nice being able to bum around and live off his severance package for awhile. He wasn't looking for a job yet, but he would, and until then he was just kind of "bumming around." What struck me as so odd was the focus that came up on such lame materialistic things.
Pet peeve #1: materialistic people.
Through the discussion, the host that had lost his job was talking about how he might have to get rid of his pool and lawn service. I mean, yes, this is Arizona and pretty much everyone has a pool..but can't you just take care of it yourself? Has the United States become THAT lazy that we (as Americans) can't take care of our own stuff? I was kind of appalled..when I (we) own property, I'm pretty darn certain that *we* will be taking care of it. All of it. I understand, the lawn service people are great, they need jobs too, blah blah blah. But..this is a guy. With a family. He needs a lawn service? He is too busy to take care of his OWN lawn? Yards in Arizona aren't that big people..and they rarely have grass. He had to cut down on his lawn service AND his pool service..ouch. How in the world will these things be taken care of..

As Americans, this seems to be the trend: lose job. Obtain severance package. Live off of severance package for a few months, while cutting back on the frequency of Starbucks visits. Think about getting another job. Then what? What happened to being proactive and actually taking care of yourself? Personally, I know Jesse and I want to be able to eventually have enough money in the bank to live for 6 months if neither of us had jobs. This talk show host? Said he might be able to make 3. MIGHT be able to.

Is this the new American way? I know this was just one guy..it just really hit me wrong. I know that not everyone is lazy: I know so many people who aren't, and work hard for everything they have. But..where are the priorities in life? Is it behind the "stuff" or behind what is really important, such as, oh I don't know, survival? When push comes to shove, it's going to be survival of the fittest and the government won't be able to print enough money to bail the whole country out. Where are most Americans putting all their money? Jesse and I recently went to visit a big city- which will remain anonymous- and we were struck with how materialistic it all felt. Everything revolved around being entertained and the actual city. We hated it to be honest.

Where are your priorities? What do you want to spend your money on? Is it for the immediate pleasure that will soon pass, or is it delayed gratification? This is equally hard for me, especially when I want something new, so I'm not saying I'm above this. I know that what the talk show was discussing just hit me wrong, but it really got me thinking about what and how I prioritize things I "need" versus things I "want."