Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Special Olympics

Some of you may not know that I work for Easter Seals. It is a non-profit agency that works with kids and adults with all kinds of disabilities. Through this job I have been so blessed with the honor of working with and for some amazing folks. Today I had the opportunity to experience Special Olympics. What a blessing! It was held at a local high school in Little Rock. There were hundreds of kids with disabilities, their parents, teachers and caregivers. It was awesome to see the excitement in there faces. Since working with Easter Seals I have been convinced that these folks are here to remind us of what Jesus looks like. A real life example of his love, grace, tolerance, forgiveness and raw joy. The opening ceremonies were great. There was loud music, which was fun for me, but I thought odd because of all the sensory issues. Anyway, 6 police officers on motorcycles, 2 "black and whites" and a hummer escorted about 15 people running into the stadium with a lit torch. Really that was all that the ceremony consisted of but I have to admit, it totally brought tears to my eyes. The kids cheered their hearts out. They love that their Olympics is like the winter and summer games. We then got to watch them compete in a few events. The walking race, wheelchair race and standing long jump. How great is it that kids with such limited abilities can participate in events that prompt hundreds of people to cheer for them, they get medals and get their names announced on the loud speaker while standing on a podium. It was so wonderful to watch each kid express their happiness and joy in their own way. So many times these kids are looked at like they will never be able to contribute to society and they are such burdens. Well they weren't today. They were athletes and heroes and they even had medals to prove it! I am so thankful to have the opportunity to work with such a fantastic population!

The Jungle

That is what I like to call our yard, though as of yesterday it has lost its junglness. You see, we don't have a lawn mower. I really do feel okay about this because we also don't have the time to mow regularly. So our plan has always been to pay one of our kids to mow it. Really the best way to do things, I think. They get money, we get short grass without lifting a finger. So now that the lawn is cut, on to the beast of everything else. We literally have not touched our yard since we moved in last August. Yesterday was rake and bag leaves day. Raking and bagging leaves is awful!!! I was blessed with parents that didn't ask us for help doing the yard while we were growing up. They enjoyed it and I also think that they were to particular to hand these jobs over to kids that didn't give a rip about the yard. Well now that kid has grown up and gives a rip and is so discouraged and overwhelmed with the state of this situation. It is so much work!! We have to move azaleas and holly bushes, plant a Japanese Maple tree and lay sod in the back yard. We also have to pull weeds plant new flowers and apparently have to collect all the monkey grass. What we are doing with it once it is collected I havn't the slightest idea. YUCK!!! I will keep you posted on our make over project. I have to admit I don't have high hopes.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

3 down, one to go and feelin' it

The third piece of furniture has been purchased. A TV cabinet. The cabinet was our compromise. Steven didn't want to commit to a size TV and I wanted all electronics hidden. So now the TV is not hidden but everything else is. It looks good. So here has been my thoughts thus far. I do not spend just to spend. When I am thinking about purchasing even then smallest of items I go through this process of justification in my head. It drives Steven crazy and probably Matha too, because they are the two that get to listen to my justification rantings. I guess it is just my way of drawing a line between what I want and what I need and feeling okay about my splurge of new chapstick. With each furniture purchase I have gone through this same thought process. Do I really need this? Is this frivolous? Am I spending our money the way God calls us to spend money? I am having a really hard time defining what contentment means to me. I know it is okay to desire for your home to look nice. But are you going over board by spending hundreds of dollars on things you don't really need? Is my lack of contentment and greed fueling this decision? For example, the coffee table that our TV has been sitting on for the past 2 years is a perfectly good place for our TV to rest. It's sturdy and houses all of our electronics needs. Is it okay for me to want something better? Something that makes the TV sit higher and hides all the cords. I don't know! I have wrestled with this for most of 2006. I want to be a good steward of our money. Is spending money on furniture that we don't really need being a good steward? At what point is it okay for you to just buy something new, just because. I don't ever want our home to be a place that causes others to be discontent. So in defense of that desire I find myself explaining to people that I have saved and put aside money for all of this. That I deserve this in some way. (See "Why do I love furniture so much?" post) "Way to go Kelly, you saved money!" The truth is that it is not ours to spend. So if I look at it that way, would God buy us a TV cabinet, loveseat, buffet and couch? Is that how he would spend his money? Do people that live a much higher standard of life then we do go through this every time they spend too? I can't imagine. I can see how folks get themselves into major credit card debt when they aren't thoughtful about all this. We have only one more thing to get and because of all of this I am planning on changing that forth item to something significantly cheaper. Not to "toot my own horn" (how was that one Leslie?) it is just another process of justifying. Does anybody else understand what I am saying? Any words of wisdom or encouragement from my faithful readers? Am I being crazy about all of this?