Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dematerializing Christmas

It absolutely boggles my mind at the number of sale catalogs I have already received.  Each one of them insists that they have the best deal on everything I need.  This year more then others it feels like companies are making a grander attempt at trying to make me believe that if I don't get what they are selling, I am missing out.  Here is the kicker though - I, an admitted shopaholic, am disgusted.  The mass consumerism is too much.  There are over 400,000 children living in foster care in the US.  There are close to 700,000 homeless people in the US.  There are countries with no drinking water, and no access to medical care or food.  There are children being sold and bought as playthings for adults.  And companies wants to try to tell me I need a Santa doll that dances the hula?  Seriously?

My family isn't hard off.  My husbands job meets the needs of our family.  We have a roof over our head, electricity, food, water and clothes.  We don't want for much.  But each year we look through the ads and convince ourselves that we need more.  Not this year.  This year we have looked at each other and struggled to convince ourselves that need anything else.  At this point we've decided that we are going to get a new washer and dryer, not because we want them, but because our current ones are a step away from being nonfunctional and you can usually get a good deal on Black Friday.  But we recognize even that, is a luxury.

We've made some bold decisions this year, perhaps not bold to others, but bold for us because it goes against what we, and those around us, are used to.  We haven't made the decision because we are cheap, or because we can't afford to.  We've done it because we feel that the right thing to do is to not feed into the monster of excess, the one that keeps our kids, and us, feeling entitled .  We've decided to pare down big time on the gifts for the kids.  We are going to only be giving one gift to each of our extended family members with whom we regularly exchange gifts.  We will be increasing our donation to Samaritan's Purse, collecting non perishable items to donate to local food pantries, and visiting with individuals in nursing homes.  It's a change, we hope, in the right direction.

I want to make it clear that this blog isn't an attempt to make anyone feel guilty, or like they have to make the same choices.  I am no better then any person reading this.  We, as a family, are just trying to make some different choices, and, hopefully learn a bit more about ourselves in the process.      



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tastier then a Testamint

When I sit back and really think about the legacy I want to leave in this world, I automatically think of two things.  1) I want my kids to know I always tried to do my best and 2) I want everyone to know that nothing good I have ever done came from me.  The result of those thoughts tonight, prompted this blog entry.

I've gotten criticism/concern in the past about my participation in the Susan G Komen 3-Day.  Some of it is legitimate and relates directly to what I am going to share with you.  Some of it is just plain hurtful, like when it was said that my place was at home with my kids and not out participating in these types of events.  And some was toward the organization itself.  I am not going to take the time in this blog to discuss the second or third types of concern or criticism.  But I am going to share about the first, because what happened this year was nothing short of a miracle - and I need you to know that.

I've participated in four 3-Day events.  Two being in Philly, and two being in Tampa Bay.  In 2010 I walked in Philly and injured myself.  The route there is tough, with a lot of hills.  I trained hard that year and was completely disappointed when I had to pull myself off the route or risk being red carded and unable to walk into closing (for those who aren't aware, a red card=removal from the event for reasons of health).  I finished the 3 days with bursitis on my right hip and a sprained IT band.  I don't blame the event for this injury, I blame myself.  I didn't stop when I should have - pride got in the way.  I committed to having a new attitude in 2011, and tried to just accept my physical limitations.  I signed up to do Tampa Bay with the understanding that I wouldn't be able to train as I had in the past, and that I would have to be ok with not walking 60 miles.  It was a goal I had to give up.  

Shortly before this years walk I got a phone call that my Aunt, a 10 year survivor, was in the hospital with congestive heart failure and her prognosis wasn't good.  It scared me.  I didn't want to think about my life without her.  She told me that she shared with the Dr that she had to get better, because she HAD to get to the 3-Day and cheer on the walkers, and her niece.  And she did.  Three weeks before the walk I fell and injured my tailbone and spine.  An xray showed that I had osteoarthritis in both of my hips and my spine, as well as disk deterioration - the disease had progressed.  Two weeks before the walk I had a suspicious spot removed from my back, and one day before the walk I learned that this spot was precancerous.  When I arrived in Tampa Bay I had given up any hope that this year would be anything amazing - I admitted defeat. 

And then something happened. 

I walked 60 miles.

I am not sure about a lot of things, but I am 100% positive that God set before me everything I would need to complete this task.  The Medical Crew that knew exactly the treatment I needed at just the right time, the Safety Crew that said just the right thing when I needed to hear it, the cheerleaders who stayed to cheer us on even when we were last, the Pit, Sweep and Camp crews who encouraged and supported me, My family who poured out love on me, strangers who hugged me, survivors who inspired me, the church that had its service along the route, my team that never left me, and my daughter who motivated me to just keep going.  I didn't complete this walk in my own strength, I am far too damaged and broken.  I finished because God carried me the entire way and he used those around me to ensure that I finished the task set before me.      

I shouldn't have made it more then 5 miles.  I should have ended up with debilitating pain.  I should have failed in my mission.  But I didn't.

And that... is a miracle.

Thank you to those who loved me, encouraged me, and supported me - and continue to.  It means so much more to me then you will ever know.  To the various crews and to those who walked with me, your passion and willingness to fight so hard for something is inspiring - never give up.