Thursday, July 08, 2004

Live and Learn

"For by grace given to me I warn every one among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought - not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance; but to rate his ability with sober judgment …” ~ Romans 12:3 (Amplified)

Well it's a strange old game, you learn it slow
One step forward and it's back you go
You're standing on the throttle
You're standing on the brake
In the groove – ‘til you make a mistake
Sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the bug…

The Bug” ~ recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Have you ever had one of those days? Well, I’ve had one of those weeks. Last Tuesday I planned to run several errands in Manhattan, but when I arrived in town, I discovered that I’d forgotten my wallet. I had changed purses that day and unfortunately, my wallet didn’t make the transfer. I did find enough cash in the glove compartment to meet a friend for coffee, however. But then I somehow managed to spill it all over myself. Ugh!

“I’m myself. I can stick my foot in my mouth. I can trip and fall. I can mess up in front of the whole world and be honest. Instead of trying to cover everything up.”
~Jessica Simpson

A few days later I noticed a strange phenomenon in our back yard – brown spots were popping up all over. I eventually realized that I had used the wrong weed spray on our grass. So instead of having a dandelion-free lawn, we now have a polka dotted lawn with dead spots scattered throughout. Lord only knows how many years we’ll have to look at the results of that little oversight.

“People who seem most at home with themselves are not rocked by their faux pas. They are able to move past their flub-ups without absorbing them into their sense of worth.”
~ Patsy Clairmont, Women of Faith

Well, I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it. I think we have to learn not to take ourselves too seriously, because none of us makes it through life without experiencing our own share of personal humiliations and ego busters. It’s always better to be honest and real about our mistakes rather than pretending that we never make any. A friend of mine gave me a copy of a poem titled To a Louse by Robert Burns (1786). It’s about a pretentious woman who walks into church, not knowing that there is a louse in her bonnet!

The English version of the final paragraph reads:

Oh, that God would give us the very smallest of gifts
To be able to see ourselves as others see us
It would save us from many mistakes and foolish thoughts
We would change the way we look and gesture
and how and what we apply our time and attention

The Bible warns that pride comes before a fall, so it would do us well to keep a close watch on that particular area of our lives.

Anyway, my woesome (that’s the opposite of awesome) week also included a not-so-friendly discussion between me and my husband after I was informed that my previous rule about Kirk not talking on the phone after 9:00 p.m. on school nights had not only been altered while I was away in Nevada, it had been eliminated all together!

Yes, as much as I hate to burst my own bubble, I must admit that life at the Umbehr house is not always filled with love letters, laughter, cute kid stories and Bible verses. We are a real family with our share of ups and downs, just like everybody else. But thank God, there are far more “ups” than “downs.”

To top the week off, while I was mowing our lawn on Saturday morning, I got something in my eye that caused me extreme pain every time I blinked. My optometrist, Dr. Janasek (who had just finished mowing his own lawn), graciously agreed to meet me at his office. Lo and behold, he found the tiniest black speck under my eyelid. It turned out to be a weed seed, of all things. How could such a minuscule dot no bigger than the end of a pin cause such extreme discomfort?

But I’m happy to report that my less-than-idyllic week ended on a much more positive note. Saturday night Keen and I enjoyed a special evening on our covered porch, listening to the radio and dancing to our favorite songs in the cool night air. It was simply magical. Then on Sunday morning we both awoke early and decided to take a long walk down our country road. We arrived at the top of a hill just as the sun was rising, so we sat on a stone fence and watched that beautiful orange ball emerge above the Flint Hills – thankful for all the blessings in our lives.

It’s a great day to be alive
I know the sun's still shinin' when I close my eyes
There's some hard times in the neighborhood
But why can't every day be just this good?

“It’s a Great Day to be Alive” ~ recorded by Travis Tritt

I’ve Learned…...
By Andy Rooney

I’ve learned….that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned.... that when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned.... that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned.... that I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I've learned.... that when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned.... that just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day.

I've learned.... that being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned.... that you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned.... that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.

I've learned.... that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I've learned.... that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned.... that we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned.... that money doesn't buy class or happiness.

I've learned.... that it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned.... that under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned.... that the Lord didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

I've learned.... that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned.... that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned.... that love, not time, heals all wounds.
I've learned.... that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned.... that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned.... that no one is perfect… until you fall in love with them.

I've learned.... that life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned.... that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned.... that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned.... that I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

I've learned.... that it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life-threatening situation.

I've learned.... that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I've learned.... that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.