Monday Gratitude

“Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and contentment, and 100 virtues which the idle never know.”

Charles Kingsley

Ordinary? Nope, it’s Extraordinary…The Egg

Every now and then, the little things I pass by as “ordinary” suddenly appear unique and amazing. Today, it’s the egg.

Take 60 seconds and really think about the egg! Who thought to take the egg from the chicken, crack it open and decide to eat it? According to Incredibleegg.org, Europe had domesticated hens back in 600 BC. There are some very interesting factoids on that site, you might want to check it out!

Who first decided the egg might be good by tossing the whole thing, shell and all, in boiling water to make a soft boiled egg?How did a fried egg sandwich become so popular at restaurants? Who decided to crack open the egg and pour it onto a flat skillet? How about the hard boiled egg? Used now in cobb salad, deviled eggs, egg salad, radiant Easter baskets and just for sheer enjoyment!Eggs are now even used in beauty treatments!

Enjoying the EGGstraordinary in the ordinary today! 🙂

The Glory of Nature by C.S. Lewis

“Nature never taught me that there exists a God of glory and of infinite majesty.
I had to learn that in other ways.
But nature gave the word glory a meaning for me.
I still do not know where else I could have found one.”  C.S. Lewis

Photos: mine

Assuming Her Life Must Be Easy, But Really, It’s Not

One of my friends (we’ll call her Hannah) has been slightly overweight all of her adult life. We never discussed it much as she never felt hindered by it, nor expressed desire to change it. Then, unexpectedly one day Hannah admitted to me that she had admired one woman in particular for nearly 20 years who was married to her husband’s colleague. Hannah almost-resentfully stared at the woman’s incredibly fit and slim figure at every work function. Then, at their most recent corporate gathering, Hannah was shocked to see that this same woman had gained some weight due to hormonal changes and major family problems causing her stress.

Hannah learned that this woman who Hannah had built up in her mind as having a very “easy life” – blessed with money and model-like genes – had spent the last 20 years in regimented self-discipline, following a healthy diet and strict work out schedule to avoid the actual genetic makeup of her overweight family. Hannah proceeded in a somber tone, confessing to me that she had spent an embarrassing amount of time judging and envying the woman as having an “easy” life. She confessed quietly, “I guess some women really do work for it.” She wrongly assumed the woman’s strong body and groomed appearance were as natural as the weather. She also wrongly assumed that money ensured happiness in their marriage.

My friend isn’t the only one who made a wrong assumption and believed the “lie of ease”.

If you have read my About Me page, you know I love watching QVC when I have time. Over the summer, I saw this stunning woman selling beauty cream. She was a vendor, not a QVC host. I was mesmerized by her beauty and really tuned in when she mentioned her age. I could not imagine that this woman was around my age when her figure was so slim and her skin so flawless. I stared at the kitchen television wondering what it must be like to have life “so easy”…a dream job, a spectacular face and body…

Then, I saw her again about a month later, pitching her products. In passing, she mentioned how having a regular routine was helping through a health struggle. Now, I was really intrigued about her age, children’s ages and this health issue. So, I googled her. To my deep sadness, I learned that she is battling a serious cancer diagnosis. She simply chooses to still pull herself together, do her hair and go to work, no matter how tired she is.

I was so angry with myself. I literally made a sweeping assumption that a woman who got a terrific job, who does extensive traveling and has the skin of a 25-year old must go home to chandeliers, servants and ease.

A little bit of effort on the outside tends to make onlookers (most but not all) think a woman’s “life must be easy” in all aspects.

Unlike when we were in our 20’s, effort is usually (for most women, not all) required just to reach “decent”. Why? Because by the time most of us are over 40, we’ve been through some stuff. We’re a bit worn out. We’ve cried a lot. We’ve grieved, been passed over, treated less-than and raised teenagers. Hormone changes begin, leaving sagging skin and soft muscles. Even mild effort is required just to feel decent, let alone look presentable.

This “making it look easy” goes beyond our appearance. People who also put in even a small amount of effort housekeeping, raising their kids, or volunteering, receive assumptions that they “have nothing else to do”. “If they can bake the brownies, they must not be that busy.” “Must be nice to have time to run the school fundraiser.” “Who has time to attend every one of Johnny’s games?” They too only have 24-hours in a day, they just decide to give up some Netflix to help out and support others.

I know better. The grass isn’t greener, it’s just different grass. It’s rare that I fall into assumptions any more, but occasionally I do. The truth is, when we admire something in someone else, there is usually considerable mental discipline and/or physical effort they are expending when we are not watching.

Excruciatingly few, if any, humans truly have it “easy”.