Friday, November 28, 2008

A Thanksgiving Tribute

The holidays single-handedly make our home a whirlwind of chaos, laughter, tension, and warmth. My dad's annual question for mom is, "Will there be enough food?" The answer is in our refrigerator for a week after Thanksgiving. Yesterday, my grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncle, and some friends joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. The conversation at my table about household traditions had us all laughing. One man said, "At our house, the women prepare the food and the men do the clean-up." His confused wife leaned over and asked in reply, "Where is this??"
The below pictures were taken when the pies were brought out. Have you ever seen this many men in the kitchen?

Yesterday was memorable. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. The game we played after dinner forced everyone to laugh at themselves and revealed us all at our most creative and quirky. I hope this isn't too much of a "you had to be there" post.

On a more serious note, I haven't realized how rich I truly I am until much was taken. With some significant things gone, I feel freed up to think about what is truly important and how, in reality, I have more than I could ever ask for. I always will. Thank God for the holidays and that we have a time set aside every year to concentrate on our blessings.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Operation: Cut Expenses

The promise of a dim future -- the immediate future -- delivered innovation to the otherwise predictable dinner table talk. Eating forkfuls of warm chicken marbella on white rice, I listened to Dad list this week's travel itinerary. This is the third or fourth week in a row he travels west to put air back in the lungs of his business by meeting individually with investors to ease the blows of a bad economy.
This is not the golden year for financial institutions, my father's business being no exception. Tonight, the conversation centered on ways to cut expenses at home, as personal income would inevitably be affected. We live quite comfortably, so thinking of ways to cut back was not difficult. We discussed the obvious, everything from turning off the light when leaving the room to running the water only when necessary in the shower and sink. We'll embrace the winter with sweaters and slippers instead of the thermostat and maybe even enjoy frequent candlelight dinners. My contribution is forfeiting the heater at night. I wake up hot anyway.
Once the ideas to cut expenses began to fizzle, my mom suggested we think of ways to increase what we bring in. My imagination went to Depression days when everyone in the family worked primarily so they could give all they earned to the family fund for survival. We're far from that, but how remarkable to think America is sniffing down its own 80-year-old trail.
I enjoy these challenges. They become a game, a road to accomplishment. It's tempting to donate a month to frugality and experiment with my perspective. It just might change me for good. This small piece of history may lead to greater sacrifice with little material result, but I would expect it to produce tenfold the bits of life that can't be measured or purchased. I secretly hope that something will happen that's big enough to once more cause us all to realize that life at its simplest can be life at its most beautiful. For that, I'll lather without the water.

White Walls

White walls signal new beginnings. An empty room with white walls is the most welcome place for change as the only thing to do is to add color, design and function. The finished room depends entirely on the vision of the designer. This is where I am -- I've been emptied out, swept, painted white and primed for renovation. My architect and designer are One, and He will put His mastery on display as He completes the room according to His initial design. This designer is Jesus, the Redeemer, the only one who can create life out of death and make old things truly new. This blog will serve as the place I describe the color, the furniture, the artwork, and even the fresh flowers set on the table. It's time to start over.