Friday, December 28, 2012

'Til Death Do Us Part

Today, I was marveling at the power of commitment.  I said to my husband recently how comforting it was to know that I was stuck with him, 'til death do us part.

I dated my husband, Jon, for almost 8 years before we got married.  For most, that is an insane amount of time to be dating, yet even despite the years together, our commitment was still conditional. I remember we would be arguing or struggling through a particular issue, and I would wonder, "Is this man the one I want to spend the rest of my life with?" I would question whether or not God wanted me to marry this man.  My commitment to our dating relationship was strong but conditional; I was prepared to leave if it were for the best for us as individuals.

Now, we're married.  I never got a word from God to break up, and He eventually led Jon to lead us to marriage.  A phrase we'd grown fond of that we added to our marriage vows was, "No Matter What."  To us, it was a phrase that symbolized our unconditional commitment to each other.  Little did I know exactly what that would mean.

It is so comforting to know that Jon will not leave me, no matter what.  It makes me feel so secure knowing that I will always have someone by my side, who cares for my well-being.  We aren't perfect, and there will be times along the way that we make mistakes, both big and small, but there is such a power in even our attempt at unconditional love for each other.

I can't even imagine the truly unconditional love that God has for us.  If my love for my husband and his love for me makes me feel this secure, how much more God's love for me should turn my world upside down.  To have the Creator of the Universe promise to you, "I love you no matter what that not even death nor life, angels nor demons can take you away from my love for you," is something that I cannot even begin to unfold.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to Shower When Your Water Heater is Broken

How to Shower When Your Water Heater is Broken
aka How to Appreciate Modern Plumbing & Hot Water More
aka First World Problems

My water heater recently broke.  The hubby said the pilot light wouldn't light and all that.  Most of it went over my head.  All I knew was there wasn't hot water for my shower, and it was winter.  As for me, my skin and scalp in less than 24 hours get as greasy as a bacon pan, so I need my shower every day.

Desperate and unwilling to take a shower in the frigid waters of the Arctic, I did the following:

1) I took my largest pot and filled it with water.  I lugged it to my stove and brought it to a boil.  Took awhile.  It was a large pot of cold water, so its understandable.

2) I filled my tub with about two inches of cold water.  I dumped about a quarter of the hot water in, so it would be tolerable to sit in the tub.

3) I used a pitcher of water to pour the hot water on myself.  I would mix it with the cold water from the bottom of the tub at first because the water was so hot.  Later, it cooled enough.

3.5) My husband had the absolutely BRILLIANT idea of pulling the room heater into the bathroom.  He turned it on high, and because the bathroom is such a small room, the room heated up in a few minutes.

4) Washed my hair twice, conditioned it, washed my body, and washed my face.  Felt a little exotic, like bathing underneath a warm tropical waterfall.  Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration due to the fact that I was relishing in the hot water.  (And note: it had only been 36 hours since my last hot shower.)

5) I had a third of the pot left at the end of the day to just pour over my face and body and indulge!

So, that is how I did it, for anyone who was wondering.  And for those who are thinking this is "TMI" for you, my apologies for making you feel awkward.

Funny how taking one "simple" thing away as a hot water heater made me that much more thankful for hot water.  And funny how living for 48 hours without a water heater can cause such a disruption in my life when people across the world don't even get clean water on a daily basis, much less clean hot water to shower in.

According to the first link on a quick Google search, the average shower head is using 2.5 gallons of water per minute.  So a 10-minute shower uses 25 gallons of water.  And I just used less than probably three gallons to wash myself this way.

I'm not here to bash the wastefulness of America or harp on our society's water usage.  I'm just concentrating on thankfulness.  48-hours and a new water heater later (Yay for my hubby, my water heater hero), I can say that I have a new appreciation for my hot showers.

And just to be super appreciative of this piece of technology, here is a picture of our new water heater.  Ta da!

And if you also from FWP, check out this video to help you here!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas...We're Doing It All Wrong!

Every Christmas season, I eagerly and excitedly get ready in anticipation for my favorite time of year.  If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see that lately, ALL of my posts have some sort of Christmas theme to them.

I know you've all heard it before, but the reason for the season often gets lost of in all of the doings and the goings.  We often try to make sure that we remember why we are celebrating.  You hear in church on Sundays the pastor tell you to SLOW DOWN and concentrate on what we're really doing.  Your children in Sunday School learn all of the symbols of Christmas and why we give gifts, etc. still feels like we're missing something.

The society today will try to convince you that Christmas is the time of year to give and to get.  The time of the year that everyone feels a little bit more generous and dumps that little bit of change in the Salvation Army kettle or donates hastily before the end of the year to that charity saying your gift will be doubled.  You hear of people on the radio talk about how we are so blessed in American and how kids in third world countries don't get anything for Christmas, not even food. 

I remember as a child on Christmas morning that my sisters and I would rush downstairs to see gazillions of presents spilling out from beneath the tree. We would want to open them, but Mom would always stop us, make us sit down at eat breakfast, and then we would sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

Yes, we are celebrating Jesus' birth.  But that's not just what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.  Its not just Jesus' birth.  Because the more I learn about Christmas, the more I learn about we are celebrating WHY Jesus was born.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is by Relient K called "I Celebrate the Day".  (Listen to it here!)  Their single lyrics says it all for me:

I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray to You to save my life

If we are to truly celebrate Christmas, isn't it imperative that we celebrate that Jesus was born to die?  Not just to die, but to die a painful, unthinkable death for me.  

I don't think I have truly wrapped my mind around that. 

How do we celebrate such a gift?  Its that moment when someone gives you something you so desperately need that you could not possible get for yourself.  Do we donate to poor children?  Give to families in need?  Sing Christmas carols?  Celebrate family?  

I don't think there is one right answer, but knowing what I know of God's heart, I believe He would want us to love to the fullest extent of our abilities.  To take His gift to us and make it explode.  Because true gratitude for Jesus' death comes with the understanding that we can never repay Him back.  But we can pass on the news.  

So, may your celebrations of Jesus' birth be filled with a warmth in your heart and a peace in your soul that only comes from knowing that we celebrate the most valuable gift ever given. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why We Have Money

I'm no economist or even a math person.  (Adding in my head is a chore.)  But I am a consumer, an employee, and a tax payer.  I am actively participating in this country's (and the world's) economy.

And the longer I earn money, the longer I am convinced of its true purpose: to be given away.

The only reason we have money is for the purpose of attaching a value to something.  One hour of work is worth $8.50 to an employer of a fast food chain, but maybe $50 for a doctor's work.  Money tells us how much a store is willing to sell a loaf of bread to us for.

Money also reveals value when we give it.  When you give $1, it means less than giving $10,000.  Also, if you earn $8.50 an hour, giving $100 means a lot more to you than someone making $50 an hour.

We all know about inflation, the liquid-like way money's value changes.  It's all relative, thus the reason why money functions as system of value.

But no matter who you are, whether you are a starving orphan in Africa or the CEO of one of America's top companies, there will always be someone who has less than you.  Yes, we use money to survive.  To consume those things we need, such as shelter, food, clothing.

But money doesn't really show its brilliant golden smile until it is given away, until the reason why it dictates value in the first place comes into play.  When you give it away, use it to buy someone else dinner or to purchase someone a gift, money's true purpose is revealed: to bring value to your gift.

This may not be entirely "accurate" in an economist's eyes, but money functions in a myriad of ways in our society, and I would have to argue all of those functions exist in order to demonstrate the value of giving it away.