Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My "Bucket" List - 130 Things not necessarily in order of importance...

• Have a child or adopt a child
• Forgive Myself
• Forgive Others
• Have an attitude of gratitude
• Better control my tongue
• Learn how to take a compliment well
• Live in a small town
• Spend more time in nature
• Stop biting my nails when I get stressed out
• Try things that scare me
• Get my left inner wrist tattoo “I Am Saved Romans 5:8” (Only if hubby gives his approval, but I think this will always be a hubby veto!)
• Send a message in a bottle
• Be Debt Free and financially more independent
• Help a family in need
• Own a big flat screen TV
• Own a really nice digital Nikon
• Be passionately kissed in the rain
• Grow old with my husband
• Have a romantic candlelit dinner
• Kiss on top of the Eiffel Tower
• Kiss on top of the Empire State Building
• Pray more often
• Read my Bible more often
• Read Genesis thru Psalms
• Read Proverbs thru Malachi
• Read the New Testament
• Visit the Holy Land
• Visit Petra, Jordan
• Attend the Kentucky Derby
• Attend the Summer Olympics
• Attend the Winter Olympics
• Attend the Super Bowl
• Go fly-fishing
• Play racquetball
• See a Nascar race
• Watch an Angels game from a luxury suite
• Watch a Ducks game from front row ice
• Go to England and see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben,
• Visit Italy – Rome, Tuscany, Venice
• Visit Greece
• Visit Hawaii
• Be a better role model
• When possible – donate time or money to help others
• Make a difference in a child’s life
• Continue college studies
• Get published
• Go camping on a lake so you can canoe
• Drive a race car
• Make someone smile or laugh daily
• Drive along Route 66
• Gallop a horse on a beach
• Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
• Achieve a more ideal weight
• Run a 5K, 10K or ½ marathon
• Take part in a mini triathlon
• Go water rafting
• Ocean kayaking
• Start my own business doing something I love
• Be a mentor
• Learn to play chess
• Skydive
• Paraglide
• Give a heartfelt surprise to someone
• Perform more kind deeds without expecting anything in return
• Fly in a hot air balloon
• See the Northern Lights
• Go to the Magic Castle
• Adopt a dog from an animal rescue shelter
• Get a makeover
• Learn ballroom dancing
• Learn a martial art
• Pack your bags for a random road trip with no itinerary planned at all
• Swim with dolphins
• Buy the software to design my Dream Home
• Whip up the best meal ever for my loved ones
• Bake cakes for someone special
• Fly a kite
• Go snorkeling and explore marine life up close
• Go on a marriage retreat
• Get closure on all my hurt, grievances and unhappiness from the past
• Bury the hatchet with anyone I need to
• Go on a picnic
• Do something completely crazy and out of character
• Visit a volcano
• Fly in a helicopter
• Go on a cruise
• Visit a castle
• Learn more sign language
• Visit Alaska
• Own a home
• Drink more water
• Sleep under the stars
• Go to bed earlier
• Take more photographs
• Have more confidence
• Take better care of myself
• Learn to knit
• Learn to crochet
• Invest
• Go camping more often
• Catch a firefly
• Visit a working lighthouse
• Disney World
• Explore a ghost town
• Visit New York City
• Attend a taping of Saturday Night Live
• Ice skate at Rockefeller Center
• Carriage ride in Central Park
• Hear a wolf howl in the wild
• Kiss the Blarney Stone
• Ride the train to the Grand Canyon
• Sleep in a castle
• Tour Hearst Castle
• Visit Alcatraz
• Go whale watching
• Visit Scotland
• Visit Ireland
• Attend a show at the Hollywood Bowl
• See the Rockettes
• See a Broadway play
• Cook with herbs from my own garden
• Eat fish & chips in London
• Eat gelato in Italy
• Take a cooking class
• Age gracefully
• Make exercise a regular habit
• Meditate
• Grow a bonsai tree
• Sew a quilt
• Enter a photography contest

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Simplicity of Childhood

I had a fun and mostly carefree childhood. I always had the good fortune of having great friends no matter where we lived. My friend Darlene when I stayed with my grandparents, Cynthia & my beloved Scotty at our first house in SJC and then Michelle, Asha, John and many more off of Ortega Highway. And when I wasn't playing with friends and came to work with my Mom, SJC was a much safer place. I could walk to the library alone and spend hours reading. I could walk down to the candy store this little old lady ran and get some cheap treats. Go to the butcher shop for the worlds best beef jerky. I knew the owners of every business around the mission in San Juan and could spend hours looking over the cat merchandise, beads, or doll house miniatures.

Whenever I stayed at my Grandma's house in Garden Grove, Darlene & I could not get enough of playing with the dolls from my Grandma's doll collection that she would let us play with or playing with the whole Strawberry Shortcake doll collection. Remember those dolls? They all smelled so good. Even the mean Purple Pie Man!

Scotty was my absolute best friend in the whole world in our little duplex in SJC off of Calle Villa Clara. Oh man! My first day of school getting on the bus and slipping with my stupid patent leather shoes and splitting my chin open. Scotty was so sad to have to ride the bus all alone while watching his mom carry me back home to take me to the hospital for stitches. Scotty went to the circus with me for my birthday. We rode our bikes all around the neighborhood playing cops & robbers because I had my amazing CHiPs bike. No stupid banana seat girls bike for me!!! And whenever something needed to be fixed on my bike, we could knock on Mr. Blum's door and he would gladly patch a tire or pump up a flat, or fix a chain that had de-railed. And when I felt like being a girl, I played with Cynthia who was very into collecting those plastic horses and held little club meetings in her garage. I also played with my big brother Jeff and his naughty friend Jason Bicknell. We had all the action figures from the Marvel and DC Comics and hot wheels cars. The Trans Am from Smokey & the Bandit being a favorite! We played ding dong ditch, but the neighbors didn't mind (except for one neighbor we all secretly thought was a witch) because they knew it was just us kids having fun. We would stretch out our garden hoses and have hose fights.

Moving off of Ortega Highway in SJC was at first tragic for me. How could I leave Scotty?!?!? But I made friends with Michelle Pettit and her brother John right off the bat. We were in Mrs. Case's 3rd grade class together and inseperable. I spent so many nights at sleep overs at her house. Her older cousin Pam gave us her old training bras and we thought we were so cool. MTV was born and Michelle's family had cable!!! So we pretended to be the Go Go's or Cindy Lauper and listened to the old AM station the Mighty 690! We ran all over the place in our neighborhood. Playing in the creekbeds catching frogs & turtles, swinging on the old tire swing over the creek, riding our bikes, roller skating, hanging out at Tuesday's Horse Stables, stealing pomegranates from our neighbors tree, playing with Barbies, occasionally washing cars to make a little money.

Then...moving from SJC to El Toro in 5th grade and having to leave my dog Shadow behind. But again I lucked out by meeting Kalei and Dawn my first day at Santiago. Swim team at the club, the freedom to ride my bike to the club to swim every day it was warm enough to go.

Oh to experience that freedom of being able to run around barefoot, whole long warm summers to be gone all day and get home when the street lights came on. Slumber parties, karaoke using brooms for guitars and overturned trash cans and wooden spoons to play drums. Hours spent laughing, playing, using our imaginations and having a ball.

Now plenty of not so fun things were going on around me as a kid, but my parents did such a good job of sheltering or protecting me from those things. We definitely were always tight on money, my Mom was ill with MS, my sister was a runaway, my brother could definitely be a big jerk, etc. But I can look back and the wonderful fun and carefree times dominate my memories and never fail to bring a smile to my face.

Monday, March 8, 2010

He's Still Working On Me

"He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me."

Those are the lyrics to a song I learned as a child in church. How true they remain! I remain frustrated about the living situation I am currently in, but God is giving me pause to have a better persepctive on it. My Pastor has spent the last couple weeks speaking on "How to Recapture Lost Joy" "How to Maintain Your Joy" and at my AWANA club, one of the girls I teach asked me questions about the story of Naomi & Ruth. OKAY GOD!!! YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION!!!

But I realized the anger I have towards my MIL is so misplaced. It's not her fault that we live together. It is just how it is. She has financial hardship in that the company she works for lowered her wages substantially because they knew they could. She is in her 60's and needs insurance. So they overwork her and pay her crumbs, but they know that in this economy and at her age that she won't leave. My husband has been unemployed for over a year, and before that, he's been underemployed as far as salary. Good jobs are hard to come by here Anyways, I am entitled to be frustrated, but I can't place blame on my MIL.

Pastor Mike said "When that which you trust in as your source of faith & assurance is greater than your circumstance, you will still have joy". WOW!!! I have let other "things", things that moth & rust will destroy become more important than the fact I am a child of the King! It made me re-think my priorities and perspective. I am really trying to focus on how God provides and turn my negativity and pessimism around.

We just got back our tax return and I was so excited that we actually got a little bit back this year. But then my daughter's car started sounding like a wooden roller coaster when it is going up a big hill, that awful creaky sound. So we took it in to Bo, and of course...$837 later, she has new brakes and fixed axles and no more creaking. I at first got really mad. I told Jim it's like the stupid car knew we had money and decided 'ha ha ha, not for long!' But Jim said, "More like God made sure the car held out until we had this provision". Thank you Lord for giving me a godly husband to turn things around when I can't. Thank you Lord for making sure we had the money to ensure our daughter is safe.