Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day, deconstructed

A few days ago #1, who is always looking ahead, asked me to go over the calendar for the next few months. She likes to know what exciting events to look forward to. I told her about swimming lessons, #3's birthday, the end of school, our extended vacation in Utah, Brother Brig's wedding. She seemed unsatisfied.

"You forgot a holiday."

It's true. I hadn't mentioned Memorial Day. But what does she know of that?

"You forgot about celebrating Earth Day."

I roll my eyes. "We don't celebrate earth day."

#1 has become aware this year that all children don't celebrate the same holidays. She is used to being in the majority when it comes to birthdays, Christmas etc. So her face lit up in surprise when she thought for a moment that she might be the object of sensitivity in her class, the lone abstainer of Earth Day.

I imagined #1 in class the next day, asking to be excused from all the Earth Day activities. And why shouldn't she? Our family does not teach earth worship. We do not study the prophecies of Al Gore. We do not accept the selling of indulgences otherwise known as carbon offsets. We abhor the outward and overt displays of 'greenism' and we certainly do not measure our devotion to the earth by the size of our carbon footprint.

But what could I tell #1? There are many things I had hoped I would never have to tell her. Things that are just so self-evident that they would rarely need mentioning. Things like, we don't lie. We don't hurt people. We pray. We love. Imagine setting aside one day a year to celebrate honesty. Today's the day we're going to be honest with everyone! This garish recognition seems to cheapen the quiet mundane messages of daily living. As if to really love honesty you must wear your t-shirt, slap on a bumper sticker and shout from the roof tops how honest you are. Respecting and caring for the earth is one of those things I had hoped would never need a label. It would just be our way of life.

I'm afraid the 'green' band wagon is picking up so much speed that in a few years the zealots, however well intentioned, who started this thing will have moved onto the next bigger and better cause, and all of us who went along buying florescent light-bulbs and bragging about our 'greenness' will run out of steam. But the true earth lovers, the real respecters of God's creations will still be doing what they've always been doing, long before it was hip to be green: living a simple life, consuming little, wasting little.

Even though #1 brought home an abundance of handouts, fliers, worksheets and coloring pages celebrating Earth Day (oh! the irony!), the 'holiday' came and went in our house without notice. Just the way I like it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Things that make me go Hmm

I wonder.

I wonder at the wisdom of an ice cream truck blaring the tune of La Cucaracha. I mean, what are they advertising? {more of my ice-cream truck grievances here}

I wonder if this means #3 is ready for a real bed:

I wonder if I was dreaming or were my children actually playing nicely with each other:

I wonder if this is a sign of things to come:

I wonder if these boots were made for walking (or sitting untouched in a closet for 15 years):

I wonder if I'll ever be ready to do this again:

*Sorry. I know you'll never be able to look at the me same again.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Serious Question For Your Consideration

I consider myself quintessentially mediocre. I've read enough and listened enough to have an opinion on several subjects, but I'm not an expert. I have a few casual hobbies and interests but no real talents. (Don't start thinking of a sympathetic comment to write. I'm totally cool with this.) But there is one area where I've always thought of myself as gifted: finding lost things. I'm good at retracing steps, remembering details and logically deducing the location of the lost thing to the most likely places. When the item is found my self esteem inches upwards and I mentally chalk up another victory.

And since we are on such intimate terms on this blog I'll divulge the source of my finding powers: God. Like clockwork, I say a quick prayer for guidance then I get a new idea of where to look. Every time. Like Paul said, there are many spiritual gifts. Some people have great faith, some charity and some can speak in tongues. I can find things.

So last Friday while Spouse and I were in our front yard weeding, I noticed through our screen door that #3 was playing with my set of keys. A few hours later when I tried to find them, they were gone. Lost. But I had no doubt, no fear. Just confidence that the Lord would lead me to the keys. As usual, I mentally petitioned the Lord for help and went about finding the keys.

{On my key chain I keep our mail key. Which is illegal to copy and if lost you pay to have your mail box re-keyed. Times are tough, friends. $100 goes a long way these days. And now you understand my motivation for finding my lost keys.}

After a little while, and no luck yet. I began to doubt. Its never taken this long. Why doesn't the Lord just hurry up and give me my keys back? But I couldn't give up that easily, not after the many, many times I had found the thing I was looking for.

A day passed. Still looking. Just waiting for the light bulb in my head to switch on. Why are you testing me, Lord?!? Is this supposed to teach me patience?

Several more days passed. By now every drawer, every cupboard had been emptied out and searched. Under beds, behind furniture, under cushions, searched. Under stove, behind frig, behind washer, dryer....dust bunnies from every possible corner dislodged and still nothing. There is no end to the possibilities where a curious 22 month old could leave something! At this point we were praying as a family for our lost keys. I'd even offered a Webkinz reward to whichever child made the discovery.

I guess I'm going to have to find a new spiritual gift.

Last night as Spouse and I were about to turn in he said, "I think I'll wake up early tomorrow and go through our trash before it gets picked up." Bless his heart.

7:00 am found Spouse rummaging through repulsive bags of week old raw chicken trimmings, soiled diapers and foul smelling milk cartons. The sacrifice was not in vain, because after only a few minutes he triumphantly entered the house holding the lost keys over his head. (For a moment he attempted to capitalize on his victory by claiming having found the keys entitled him to certain compensations.)

They were found! I don't know what I was more relieved about, having found the lost keys, or knowing that the Lord hadn't let me down.

So my question is: Can I claim any credit for the finding of these keys? Because this is really what matters.