Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring is in the Air (or maybe just in my heart)

Feeling a little more upbeat these days. Maybe it is the sunshine and random warm days. Maybe you can only be in a funk for so long. But, I feel a lightening in my heart and a desire to experience more and worry less.

I am attempting to finish up applying to grad school. I am nervous about the prospect of not getting accepted on the first attempt. I hear that is common. But when I see myself at the end of the program graduating and being able to say "I have a master's degree!" that makes me happy; excited even.

I need more things to be excited about, I think. I need to spend some time researching what I want to see in Italy so I can get excited about our trip in June. I need to be less reserved and let my excitement about things show and I need to take more pleasure in the everyday.  It is so valuable to be able to focus on the joys in life rather than the disappointments and to be able to do that on a day-to-day basis. I can always use encouragement. 

Today's victories:
1. I ran 10 miles for the first time ever!
2. I made some beer bread for a get-together with friends tonight.
3. I made small progress toward repairing a broken friendship which feels really good. :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Trying not to take my blessings for granted

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?' So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:1-16

I am trying not to be the first workers, but I am struggling with it mightily these days. I keep focusing on the things I lack rather than what I have. My car is now almost 2. I've had my home for 4.5 years. I feel the only people who love me in the world are my parents whereas others are blessed with large families of husbands and children and in-laws that love them.  I am getting a pay cut (on the next paycheck?) and I'm worried about what that will mean. But the thing is, I don't deserve any of it anyway. How can I question God's generosity toward others? How arrogant of me! The things I do have are very good things and I am very blessed! I have my health and my car and my home and my job. If I must compare, I should compare to those that don't even have those things and then give what I have away to help them. I should work hard, accept my lot in life, and find what God's purpose is for my life.

One of our elders on Sunday spoke of how Jesus told us that the only way to be happy is to serve others. I know that that is generally true for me. When I don't focus on myself I tend to be much happier. I need to worry less about how much I am loved and more about how much I love others.