Posts Tagged ‘free’
“What if the only things you had today were what you gave thanks for yesterday?”
My friend Jen shared this quote with me last week because she and I both know it’s much easier to complain, than it is to give thanks. I am the kind of person who likes (and unfortunately is quite good at) pointing out the things that are not quite working. If you’re familiar with the Enneagram I am a classic One; The Reformer.
I like to make things better. I can walk into a room, a meeting or really, any situation and my immediate thought is, “Ok, how can I make this better?” Words like change, improve and fix are my manta, but I am finding that these words leave very little space for gratefulness and contentment. When you’re often focused on what’s not working it’s easy to lose sight of what is.
What if instead of trying to make everything better, I started trying to be thankful for how things are?
• I want to be a person who gives thanks for my health and the ability to move and run free from aches and pains. • I want to be a person who sees the opportunities I’ve had to travel, attend college, and own a car as a privilege that I have been given, not a right that I have earned. • I want to be a person who gives thanks that I have enough money to buy today’s meal and plenty to share tomorrow. • I want to be thankful for my country, but not abuse its power or support its’ abuse of others. • I want to be grateful for running water in my house, a soft bed to lay my head and a roof that protects me from rain—luxuries that almost 2 million people in the world don’t have. • I don’t want to take for granted the fact that I can read a book or breathe in clean air or walk without fear in the street. • I am thankful that I have the freedom to choose what I want to do, who I want to marry and what I believe. • I want to be person who gives thanks for the small things; a hand to hold, a friend who knows me, a gorgeous sunset. • I want to learn how to have a thankful heart, even in hardship and loss. • I want to be a person that can be thankful for the what, even when I don’t understand the why.
So, I ask you dear reader: “What if the only things you had today were what you gave thanks for yesterday?”
What would you give thanks for?
Yesterday I celebrated my 27th birthday. In many ways it was a fairly normal Wednesday, but with just enough little extra surprises that it felt special. I like birthdays for that very reason: a day full of thoughtful, little things that somehow make a big difference.
Here are my top 27 little things that made my birthday really special:
• Waking up to a beautiful, sunny October day.
• A phone message from my sister in Italy including the words “freakin” and “sweet” and “birthday” all in one sentence
• Surprise coffee deliveries to my classroom (yes, plural!)
• One of my students gave me a bundle of sage and said…and I quote, “Here, Ms. Acker this is for your birthday…you’re supposed to burn it.” Umm, that might have been the oddest gift I’ve ever received, but I think his intentions were sweet
• Even though it seems cliché, the host of facebook messages and wall posts meant a lot.
• Lunch with one of my favorite friends, complete with my favorite sandwich and favorite bag of chips
• Lots of dark chocolate
• Practicing being honest, with others and myself.
• When one of my students guessed my age and said 39! (what the $%*!)
• A text from my parents in Indonesia- the night before. (thank you, international date line)
• A FREE car wash! (yes, people…if you don’t know about this, you should. Fairview Car Wash gives FREE car washes on YOUR birthday! Take advantage of this one)
• Greeting cards that made me laugh!
• Thankful for my health and that my bad knees still let me run for 30 min along the beach
• Ingrid Michaelson’s new CD
• Learning to let people help me, instead of pretending to be completely self-sufficient and independent
• Hamburger, fries and a beer from the Boathouse with two of my best friends.
• Good friends who remind you about the “remember when…” and look forward to “one day…”
• Delicious homemade brownies from my roommate
• My ninety-year-old grandma who still sends me a handwritten card for my birthday every year!
• Learning to let go; life doesn’t always happen in the order we expect it to.
• A car nap
• The comfort of a home and place to just be me.
• Redefining what it means to experience God’s presence in seasons of pain
• Getting emails and messages in Spanish from friends in Guatemala and being able to read them without using google translator
• Feeling more comfortable and confident in my own skin; instead of always comparing myself to others
• Getting to wear my favorite brown boots all day because it felt just a little bit like fall
• Being thankful.
I get really excited when I can find new uses for old things! I don’t know exactly why- some thrifty and resourceful part of my dad must have worn off on me. But I seriously feel like I accomplished some fantastic feat or at least beat the capitalistic consumer market for a day when I discover some new use for something that could have been thrown out.
I am partially inspired by Real Simple, (probably one of the only magazines that I faithfully read cover-to-cover) because my favorite section is their New Uses for Old Things. I am convinced they should hire me, but they have yet to come knocking on my door to seek any great ideas. So, in the mean time I will share them with you.
New Uses for Old Things-a few of my favorites:
#1 Patron Bottle or Flower Vase
Confession, I do not even like Tequila, but I have walked up to my fair share of bartenders to ask for empty patron bottles. After the initial awkwardness of the bartender’s confusion,“what did she just ask for?- it is not really a big deal. Most bars just recycle these bottles anyway so they are happy to give them away for FREE. Just soak it in hot water and take off the label and behold— a perfect vase!
#2) Old Contact Case or Perfect Travel Size Advil Case
If you’re like me and you have 5 or 6 contact cases lying around the house from the eye doctor, don’t throw them away. They’re the perfect size to hold advil, vitamins or any kind of small pill. You can keep it in your purse and they don’t get lost or crushed in plastic baggies.
#3) Tea Strainer or Powered Sugar Sifter
A few weeks ago I was making a chocolate bundt cake and the final recipe direction said “dust lightly with powered sugar.” How do you “dust lightly” when you don’t have a sifter? I thought about taking a spoon and shaking it but I have memories of trying that when I was kid making Christmas cookies and basically you end up with piles of powered sugar instead of evenly dusted sugar cookies. So, I decided to take an old tea strainer and fill it with powered sugar. And I was quite impressed that it dusted the bundt cake quite evenly, thankyouverymuch.
#4) Old Sheet or Perfect Beach Blanket
Everyone has an old sheet that either doesn’t fit your current size bed or has been washed too many times that you can’t remember what it’s original color was. Well, don’t throw it away. Old sheets make the perfect beach blanket. For one they’re big—lets be honest towels that are 24 inches wide and 5 feet long are just not adequate—and two, sheets are thinner and easier to fold up and carry with you instead of some thick beach blanket. And you thought you would never have a use for your old college sheets, hah!
More to come….
Do you have any good uses for old things? please share.