Things: That Make Me Stop & Think - Part 2
- Blessings - When I survey my life as it stands, I am absolutely amazed by the abundance of blessings God has bestowed on me. I come from a solid Christian family who nurtured & encouraged me during my formative years & continues to do so even now. And I am thankful for an easy childhood full of wonderful memories. I have a wonderful husband. Lord knows how he puts up with me. We've had our ups & downs over the last 8 yrs - as every marriage does. But we've come out on top - better and stronger for the struggles. I am blessed with many incredible gifts but none as wonderful as the gift of music. I shudder to think what my life would be like without it. It truly is my lifeblood. Derek & I both have terrific jobs - jobs that allow us to do some wonderful things that we never dreamed possible. It's so nice to be able to help kids go to summer camp or help the choir commission a piece of music or save an animal in a shelter or keep our favorite public Christian radio station on the air. We weren't always able to give to charities & certainly not in the amounts we're able to now. We're able to save money for those "uh-oh" moments. We can drive vehicles that won't leave us stranded. We can vacation. We have a nice house in which to live. So when I survey the list that could continue on & on, I am reminded to take a minute - thanking Our Heavenly Father for faithfully watching over us, for caring for us, and for bestowing His abundant blessings upon us.
- The economy - Today's market is tough. I think of it often as I hear the unemployment rates and more & more about people in trouble financially. Boy, it would be tough to be unemployed. Or to be working a minimum wage job. Or to be a single parent. The price of oil puts more & more pressure on an already very stressed market, driving the costs of everything up & up. The recent natural disasters add more pressure. Politics - silly politics - can send the market into a tailspin. What's the answer to our national economic woes? Balanced budget? Sensible spending? Better government? More regulations? Hard to say, in my opinion.
- My brother's job - Until my brother became a state trooper, I'm not sure I gave much thought to public safety. It's something easily taken for granted. You're safe at home, safe at work, safe on the road. Not until you hear stories of tragedy do you necessarily remember that someone has to make a sacrifice to keep you safe & sound in all of your comings & goings. When your loved one decides to dedicate his life to public safety, the dangers of the job suddenly become a lot more real. While we don't like to think about it (b/c why think about the bad things?!), each day is a precious gift - each day David leaves for work, he could be leaving for his last day of work. It's just the reality of his job - and none of us likes to dwell on it. Without necessarily setting out to do so, I think, as a family, we're spending more quality time together since David graduated from the academy & took his first duty station. We certainly enjoy hearing his stories ... b/c he has some great stories. And it's nice to know that he really enjoys his job. We also get to spend time with his bosses & co-workers - all who think so very highly of David. We're so very proud of him. And we're so very thankful for each day that he returns home safely.
- The US vs. everyone else - Given the state of the market right now, I've thought a lot about US oil consumption. The figures are pretty astounding. For a country with only about 1/3 of the world's supply of oil, we consume 75% of what's on the market. To me, that's just shameful. It made me consider just what makes us such a monstrous consumer. And then I realized that we've developed SO much differently than foreign countries. Think about it. In foreign countries, you have a tight city center with farmland surrounding the city. This development plan allows better mass transit b/c your population is centered in one small area and then the farmland on the outside of the city center provides the raw goods for the citizens within. How did the US develop? Spread out as far & as quickly as possible - giving no regards to transportation or food & durable goods supply. So we, as a nation, are essentially, by design, set up as a nation of consumption rather than production. Now isn't that an interesting concept. Certainly it was not forward-thinking. We were a "me" society from the get-go. And thus, now we're in what seems to be one of the biggest pickles we've faced as a nation where our economic woes are fueled by our lack of planning & push for progress. How would we be faring had we developed in much the same way as our European counterparts - with easy-to-use mass transportation & rich farmland being used to supply food rather than to make the almighty buck? As more and more fields are plowed over to create more and more developments - both residential & commercial - I wonder how we will survive. Do we intend to import everything? Can we really expect to survive in this manner? Has anyone really stopped to think about it? Or are we simply in "progress" mode?