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Parable of the Red Kitchen Aid

“It’s enough for me – my life. It’s enough”

I read that line in a beautiful book, The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah.

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I stopped reading immediately and wrote down that line on a piece of paper.

“It’s enough for me – my life. It’s enough.”

Don’t you love that sentiment?

It made me put down a very good book because I wanted to remember that one line.

My life really is enough for me.

In fact, it’s more than enough.

But sometimes I let the things I want overshadow what I have.

I suspect I’m not the only one guilty of this.

We’re wired to want things.

Boy, do we want things… especially at this time of year.

“What do you want?” is such a common question at Christmas time.

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I know this sentence in the book was not referring to things.

It was referring to a character’s satisfaction with the whole of her life — her feelings of being fulfilled, satisfied and grateful even though her life had been one of unimaginable grief and terror during World War II.

This simple sentence reminded me that I am lucky to be happy with the whole of my life.

But, sometimes I forget about that and I start wanting things

Today, I found myself wanting a red Kitchen Aid on the Cyber Monday sale.

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Keep in mind, I have a Kitchen Aid.

It’s old, scratched, and has a few parts missing, but it’s the genuine article. It works. It stirs stuff and has a lot of untapped potential.

But, the one on sale was new, red and shiny.

I couldn’t’ stop thinking about all the ways I would use it, and how pretty it would look all gleaming on my kitchen counter.

I got into a little conversation with myself that went something like this…

I don’t need that Kitchen Aid.

 But, I want that Kitchen Aid.

 You have a Kitchen Aid.

 I know, but it’s not red and I love red.

 You rarely use the one you have, and when you use it, it’s mostly for baking, and you have no business baking.

 Trust me. You don’t want the red Kitchen Aid.

 But, Doug could use it. He likes to make bread. I could get it for Doug for Christmas.

 Yeah, that’s just a selfish, manipulative way of getting it for yourself.

 I could give my old one to Annie and then, of course, I would need a new one — the red, shiny one.

 Well, there’s the true Christmas spirit for you…buy you the new shiny, red one and give Annie the old scratched one with the knobs missing.

Remember, Annie doesn’t even like red. Oh, and she might actually have one.

I was briefly ashamed of myself.

Finally, I decided to put the Kitchen Aid in my virtual shopping cart and guess what?

It was sold out.

I debated too long.

I wish I could say I remembered that my life is enough, and that I didn’t want the dumb red Kitchen Aid, but that would be a lie.

I wanted that thing.

However, after moping for a second or two that it wasn’t available, I was relieved.

No more conversations with myself over something I wanted but didn’t need.

Remember: “It’s enough for me – my life. It’s enough”

Yes, it’s enough… even without that Kitchen Aid.

C’mon.

You’ve got your red Kitchen Aids, don’t you — things you can’t stop thinking you want or need?

Well, when you get as focused as I was today on what you want, take a moment to think about what you have, especially as we enter this Christmas season.

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Chances are you will discover your life is enough, and that what you want might amount to nothing compared to what you already have.

Remember: “It’s enough for me – my life. It’s enough.”

 I hope I can remember that next time I see something red and shiny that I want and don’t need.

 

 

 

 

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Gratitude 2016

So it’s Thanksgiving eve.

stocksnap_d481z1aazyOur tables are set.

Pie crusts are baked and ready to fill.

Turkeys are in the fridge ready to be roasted.

And, snow is swirling outside.

stocksnap_m1g6nwulhlFor the first time in over 30 years, we are ready for a Utah Thanksgiving with our families, including our two daughters.

Our son-in-law Josh is in basic combat training for the Army, learning tactical and survival skills, along with how to rappel, march, and shoot.

When we see him at Christmas, he will be a trained soldier.

These are all things we could not have predicted last year as we celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends overlooking the ocean on the Outer Banks.

But, here we are, living in Utah, having Thanksgiving in the snow with our families, and missing our Army soldier.

img_6856As I think about all of these changes, I am grateful for…

  1. The little nudges that push us to do something new and unexpected
  2. The courage to follow those nudges even when it’s like driving in the fog and only being able to see the tiny bit of road illuminated by the headlights
  3. The influence of good people
  4. The warmth, comfort and love of family
  5. The stunning beauty of the world around me
  6. The never-ending rewards of faith
  7. Opportunities that come out of nowhere and transform our lives for the better
  8. A life of unending abundance
  9. Sunshine
  10. Truths that transform and transcend this life

Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope you’ll take a minute to examine your life and remember all the big and little things you truly love.

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Proud to be an American

Hoping to beat the crowds, I went to the polls this morning about 6:30.

There was already a long line.

Despite the fact I wasn’t happy with my choices, I was struck by the beauty of the experience.

I get to vote.

I get a say.

 

I was standing across the aisle from a soldier and his wife. He was dressed in his military uniform — physically fit, handsome, and calm.

His calm really struck me.

 

photo-1473352448849-78c8988ba01eFinally I said quietly, “Who do you want to be your Commander-in-Chief?”

“I’m in uniform ma’am and I am strictly prohibited from talking about politics when I am representing the United States military,” he politely replied.

Well, bless your beautiful, patriotic American soul, I thought.

Then, I thought of my son-in-law who is joining the Army this month.

Who do I want to be his Commander-in-Chief?

As I walked to the voting machine, this question was still swirling in my mind.

Again, I may not love my options, but I have a choice in who I want to run our country.

Not everyone in the world can say that.

Last week I went to a book discussion with the author of Quest For Freedoma book about Son (Samuel) Ngoc Nguyen’s escape from Communist Vietnam.

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After the Vietnam War, when the Americans pulled out and Saigon fell, the Communists took over the country. The government confiscated money and property and started punishing the South Vietnamese soldiers who had fought for freedom.

Since Son’s father supported the war against Communism, his family was punished severely.

When Son was five years old, he, his parents and 10 siblings were forcibly relocated.

After a few months, they returned to find their home had been destroyed. His neighborhood had turned into a ghost town.

“We were lost. Our family had no food, no work, and none of the staples of home,” he wrote. Eventually, they ended up in a makeshift village. They were assigned a small piece of land where they needed to live and learn to farm to survive. They basically lived in bamboo huts with straw roofs — no running water, electricity, schools, stores or transportation.

Son was 11 years old when he planned to escape Vietnam. Eleven!

Even though he knew of thousands who had died pursuing that dream, he had to do it. He wanted more than anything to live in the United States of America.

He said, “Nothing else mattered to me.”

At 11 years old, he paddled a canoe through the dark of the night to board a boat bound for a refugee camp. Fifteen minutes into his journey, there was a loud burst of gunfire. The person next to him was shot and killed. They were captured, towed back to shore, and thrown in prison for three months.

He tried and failed two more times. Still, he said, “I prayed every day and night for another escape opportunity,” he said.

His prayers were answered in 1986 when he was 16 years old.

He made it onto a small fishing boat packed with 97 other people.  He spent days on the open, dangerous ocean before eventually ending up in a refugee camp in Malaysia, about 1,000 miles from Vietnam.

As a young teenaged boy, he stayed in the refugee camp for two years before finally being allowed to come to the United States.

Someone asked him at the book discussion what he likes most about America.

He said he’d need to write a very large sequel to answer that question because he loves so much about America, but mostly his freedom.

Then he paused and said, “And, I love the American flag and what it represents.”

His wife said she couldn’t count how many pictures he’s taken of the flag. He can’t get enough of it.

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So, while I might be unhappy about a raucous election year and feel troubled over how to vote, and worried about our future, Son reminds me of what it means to be an American and to have a say.

Thank you Son for giving me perspective and for reminding me of the price you paid for your liberty and for the blessing of freedom.