We are painting our house – I have to say, I love the color – a deep, brick / barn red. The folks who previously owned the home stopped by the other day and I asked them what they thought of the new paint job.
I was saddened that they didn't like it. They didn't say so directly, but it was pretty obvious.
I wonder if part of the reason they weren't so keen on it is that it was one more erasure of the years they had spent here. They lived on the property for almost 50 years and raised 4 kids in this house. Ruth wandered around the yard, interested in what plants were still there that she had chosen years ago. There is an old barn toward the back of the lot that was the original homesteading cabin, circa 1886 ish. Russ, the previous owner, knew the names of the original folks and said, "Oh, the stories that cabin could tell …" I wished he had had time to relay them to me.
We all want our time on this planet to matter. We want to leave something lasting.
As the new replaces what used to be, there is some sadness and then comes the question of "Will I be remembered?" I think we fool ourselves if we don't think that this is important to us.
Do you know what you are trying to leave? Because what you leave really starts today. And everyday from this day forward. These thoughts cause me to reflect on my attitudes and actions. Because five years from when you are dead, mostly people remember the big strokes. He was generous. She was naggy. He was angry all the time. She was creative.
I need to smile more. Laugh more. Hug more. I want to be remembered as someone who cared for God's favor and people's hearts, someone who was approachable and made people feel seen. Someone who was creative, unique, and interesting.
I want my impact to last longer than the new color of my house.
I asked a business owner what her services cost. I had already had this conversation with the front desk.
The owner looked confused and referred me to her billing agency.
I was not impressed.
A phone call later, I understood, and in the end decided to go with her, but I'll be honest with you, it was a toss-up. I could have walked away easily. It did not inspire confidence, that's for sure.
I don't like surprises – especially if it involves money. And, somehow, I don't think I am all that unusual.
If you are engaging with other people with financial matters, for your sake and theirs, BE CLEAR. It helps everyone.
Because we are putting in a new water line, I have a gi-normous hole in our yard. It looks like we are trying to bury someone / something – 4 feet long, two feet wide, and over 2 feet deep. As I walked by, my ducks waddled to get out of the way and our fat, clumsy female fowl fell in the hole.
Those of you who know my ducks know that they are a mis-matched pair of comedic relief. They are hilarious bits of feather and instinct. All quacks and fussing and not too many brains between the two. However, I was charmed as I watched the male duck volitionally jump in the hole – one he could not get out of (because domestic ducks cannot fly). He chose to place himself in a vulnerable and trapped situation, just so he could be near his mate. Even more heroic, when I got into the hole to lift them out, he spread his scrawny, bony wings across her in a protective gesture.
There are lots of arguments over the equality of men and women and battles over the various virtues of the sexes. And this blog post is not about all that. Really, I just have to say that I appreciated what I saw - a male choosing to be with and protect someone he cared about, even at the expense of his own safety. In a selfish world, this felt refreshingly selfLESS. And, whether this evolved over milennia or was created in an instant, at the end of the day, I credit God for the origin and design.
My silly Philleep … I venerate your chivalry.
I know someone whose husband is making small, weak efforts to connect with her, to please her. They've been married twenty years today.
What does she do? Because his actions feel puny and she has felt so hurt by his insensitivity, she berates him, tells him how inadequate his efforts are. What does he do? He stops trying at all.
You really can understand both people's hurts and both's actions. Yet, if you want any meaningful changes to occur, you have to notice someone doing something positive and praise that action. We are, after all, really just children in adult bodies – we want to be noticed and praised.
There is an axiom of life here that relates to anyone:
Catch them in the behavior you want more of, and reinforce it like crazy. And then watch it grow.
I have animals. LOTS of animals. And they can get expensive.
The other day, I was talking to God about how to pay for the things that they need … I was mostly just musing, not really stressing, but I did sort of say, "How are we going to do this, God?" (Because I feel like it was mostly His responsibility to provide in some way – you know – He "cares for the sparrows" and all that).
Anyway, that very day, I had an animal-helper-type-person suggest a trade: something I could do, for what they could do. No exchange of money; just swap skills. Like in the olden days.
Sometimes I have to think about things, but occasionally, it is so very clear: do it.
So I said YES!
Trades are pretty awesome – and more possible than you think. You just have to be open to them.