My brother studied abroad in Germany one summer. None of my siblings or I had ever been far from home by ourselves, so my parents were understandably on edge. They circled his return date on the calendar and checked it every day to see how much longer until he returned.
Finally, the day arrived, and my sister and I created some cute and tacky ‘Welcome Back’ signs to carry with us to the airport. We pulled in to the parking lot a good thirty minutes before arrival and watched the planes taxi about on the different runways.
The electronic board in the center of the airport notified us his plane was in and ready for passengers to depart. We huddled together and threw up our signs. He walked out of the terminal and smiled. He was exhausted from his journey, but he was glad to be home. We took turns hugging his neck and left to celebrate over pizza.
My idea of the prodigal son story was reshaped after this encounter. I had never before experienced greeting someone who was coming home from a long journey, especially a close family member.
Unlike the son in the story, my brother went away on good terms and knew he’d return in a matter of weeks. It didn’t stop our family from missing him and awaiting his arrival. How much more so did the father in the story anticipate and long for his son to come back?
I can only imagine the weight of sorrow the father in the story felt. He had no calendar to which he could point and countdown the passing days. Each day took longer than the previous one to complete.
When you’re waiting on something to happen, sometimes your mind plays tricks on you. It makes you think time is passing quickly, but at the same time it feels as if it’s going slowly. The father was hopeless.
How many times have you felt this way?
What if we were thankful for our blessings 365 days instead of just on Thanksgiving?
It would change our interactions at the coffee shop. Instead of snapping at the barista for messing up our order and making us late to work, we’d be grateful to be standing, happy to be alive, thankful for the job we’re about to go to, and maybe even happy for the fact the person on the other side of the counter has a job to help feed his or her family. Being thankful everyday would greatly shift our perspective.
Think about this: The very basis for a time of thanksgiving was created when the Pilgrims wanted to celebrate surviving a harsh winter and the year’s harvest. I was reading some information to my fifth graders the other day about this, and I believe the article said only about twenty of the original people from the Mayflower were still alive at the celebration dinner.
Can you imagine? After sailing to a new world, setting up Plymouth colony, building shelter, and establishing a new way of life, the Pilgrims had earned their time of thanksgiving. They had literally started with nothing.
You and I are great at reflecting during the holidays. All of the pretty lights, saxophone-driven music, and family gatherings do that to us I suppose.
But, what if Thanksgiving is more about getting us to say “I’m thankful” for only one day? What if the whole point is to launch a whole new attitude toward life?
I bet our baristas would be a lot happier…
Instead of giving you a quick, bullet list of items from my novel…I thought today I would grant you insider access. That’s right, never before seen words straight from my book! Ok, so some people have actually seen it, but not many. Maybe one or two.
Parker smiled and ordered his usual large soy latte with extra foam. He walked over to a large, empty table and set his guitar down. Surveying the crowd, he noticed many of the people had not seen him walk in. They were focused on their coffee and the company. The inattention did not bother him. Oh well, he thought, at least they won’t be disappointed when I start singing. He was just about to go start looking for Joe, the manager, when he saw the older gentleman walking towards him.
So, what did you think? Be honest!
Last night, hubby and I came across a show entitled Secret Millionaire. It’s a really neat show where millionaires visit rough neighborhoods in various cities and volunteer for however long they are there. The episode we saw focused on mainly on the children of this specific town, so it really caught my attention. Several of the things that the millionaire came to realize in the show are notions that can be applied in our everyday lives.
Don’t get caught up in the notion that you have to be “well off” to make a difference. Let me point out that while on the show, the millionaire only has around $45 for the week for spending money for their meals. The most important thing they do is get into these organizations and ‘get their hands dirty.’
Sure, at the end of the show they get to surprise those people with checks and buildings and land. But, that’s not the point. The point is to make a difference. How can you do that?
-Volunteer at an after school program somewhere
-Pick up trash in your community
-Smile at the cashier at the grocery store
-Ask someone how they are doing
Don’t underestimate the difference that you are making.
I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. To get a better mental picture, imagine Gollum from Lord of the Rings when he’s fussing over his precious. Yeah, I even looked like him too.
Luckily, when I was driving to the grocery store, I decided that the rest of my day did not have to resemble the morning I had started out having. I choose then and there to hit RESET in my mind. Don’t worry, my eyes were still open and on the road. Although, there was this truck going 30 mph on a 50 mph road…anywho.
Sometimes I forget that I can choose to feel better. I just said a quick prayer and TA-DA! My day got off to a rough start because I slept later and lazed around in the bed. This always makes me grouchy, which is odd because you would think it would be quite the opposite. However, whenever I stick to a morning routine, know matter what time I get up, I find that my attitude is remarkably better.
Question: What do you do to hit reset in your life?
I’m in full on attack mode today. What am I attacking? I’m glad you asked dear reader. Here is your answer: my grody house.
It seriously needed a deep cleaning, and that’s what I plan on giving it. It’s like a layer of dust/nastiness settled in on it sometime when I was wasn’t looking. Why wasn’t I looking? Thank you again for asking my little, attentive readers. I was focused on my writing. When I am working on a writing project (such as a novel), I find that I just bury my head and ignore whatever undesirable things appear in my house.
I don’t want to stop writing because if I do, then it is hard for me to refocus whenever I complete the task. So the little things add up, and before I know it, I have to spend the entire day cleaning or whatever. This is not a very smart way to operate as a writer.
Pete Wilson wrote on his blog the other day that whenever we make a decision to do something, then we “cheat” something else. For instance, if I write all day, then I cheat at housecleaning. Or, if I choose to spend the night ‘unplugged’ from my computer, then I cheat my writing.
Finding balance in what you want to cheat is key. This is where our priorities kick in and persuade us. If I have a writing deadline (these are self-imposed, but I try to stick to them as much as possible) and haven’t managed my time well, then unfortunately precious things get cheated. In turn, I feel guilty for cheating them.
If I just plan ahead and keep balance in mind, then I don’t have to rush and feel guilty for it. Balance is tricky, but I know that with a little effort it can be achieved. This way we don’t cheat the things that matter most.
Ok peeps…I hope you all had a great weekend and Father’s Day.
Today’s “Ask the Reader” question is this:
What is your favorite book right now?
Just click “comment” below or feel free to comment on the Facebook page as well…looking forward to reading your favs!