Archive for November, 2011

Are You Contagious?

I once heard a surprising statistic.  Seventy percent of what we think is negative.  To verify this would actually be fairly easy.  On Thanksgiving Day, for  example,  my kids had solid scientific evidence. 

It began when I noticed that our large freezer had been left open all night and had been thawing all of my carefully prepared frozen food. Then pumpkin pie filling sloshed all over the oven.  Think burnt pumpkin smell filling the house and picture marred pies.

I tried not to think about our turkey that wasn’t a turkey.  I had sent Tom to buy one and the butcher gave him a Chester chicken.  Since it was very large, and here the turkeys are usually downsized, Tom did not think to question it.  (As you can see they practically look the same only they taste differently.) Having a daughter thousands of miles away took its toll on my already gratitude-challenged heart. 

When we arrived at the home of our friends  I was startled by the simple beauty of the table. Crystal goblets, cut-glass bowls, and a graceful glass decanter, filled with chilled ice-tea, were positioned on an attractive table-cloth.  It  was easy to give my grumbling a well-earned holiday in such a setting.  While sharing the things we were thankful for it was plain to see that the magnitude of God’s grace far outweighed any temporal irritations.  God’s gracious salvation, His gift of family and friends by far tipped the scales on the side of my indebtedness to Him.

But when we piled into our car for our short drive home however, my grumbling attitude hopped into the car too.  As our car pulled out of the drive baked beans splashed all of across the trunk.  Once we got home the freezer was clearly not recuperating.  

I read a quote this morning by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  …If we yield to a complaining and impatient spirit, we shall mar our own peace without the satisfaction of benefiting others.  Truth is hard-hitting!

When I bless the Lord and am praise-filled I bless those around me, but when I complain, I clearly infect everyone.  Lord, help me to be contagious in the right sort of way.    


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This caught Hudson’s attention one day.

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Relaxation for me does not come easily.  I come face to face with my inability to let go of my frenzied pace often as I move about in Brazilian culture where people know how to work hard when needed, but know how to call it quits when the time comes.  That is a gift.

I remember one day while I was picking out apples at the grocery store.  I was probably wearing shorts,  probably in comfortable walking shoes and, for certain, had a certain “let’s gitter done” attitude.  I could not help but notice a woman close to me.   She lingered over the apples with a casual grace. Beautifully dressed she was humming and swaying to the music.  She obviously was not worrying about getting out of there fast.  My utilitarianism winced in the face of such leisure and poise. 

I remember when I came face to face with this clash of cultures a year ago.  Thanksgiving was a few days away.  Stress was already mounting as preparations for the holiday weighed on my mind.   I got up early for my water aerobics class, which takes place at a small water park near my house.I was looking forward to a good workout so I could begin to eliminate some of the tension.  Ready for action I was irritated when my aerobics instructor informed me that we would have a recreation class.  Children from the swim classes would also be joining us.  I could not hide my exasperation. I came here to exercise not to waste time playing around in the water, I thought to myself.  I was  ready to head back to my car so I could get things done when an acquaintance near me said, “Oh, stay, you will love the massage pool!” My resolve weakened and I decided to stay where I could at least work-out by myself.   As I clipped along at my fast pace in the water I scanned the pool.  I could hear the other women conversing and laughing.  Some were even dancing in the water to the music, having a great time.  They knew how to relish the moment.  They were no less busy than I was but they knew how to put things in their place.  When the children arrived I saw that the current for the lazy river had been turned on.

Just for a moment I let myself forget my schedule and my Thanksgiving prep looming over  me.  I  began to feel the tightness of anxiety flow away.  Dare I allow God to use this to help me face the day with a different attitude.   I finally I made it over to the massage jets where the ladies made room for me.  It worked it’s magic.  The shoulders that soon would be bent over pie crusts could feel the soothing pulse of the jets.  What a beautiful way to go into the day, relaxed and unhurried.

Heading into another holiday season I hope I have learned my lesson well.

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