Color Me Rosy

give your attitude a high-five

Taking Out The Trash

I opened the door to the garage with my arms full this evening and looked at the obstacle course that was before me; a one car garage with my car, 3 bikes, 2 sets of shelves the bike trailer, golf clubs, a skate board, tools, chairs and some other junk standing in my way. I was trying to take out the trash, and the garbage cans were on the other side. I turned sideways to pass by the car, having to lift the 30 pound bag of trash over my head to squeeze by, my other arm wrapped around some empty boxes. Half way through the obstacle course I asked myself why I had chosen to lift the heavy garbage bag over my head instead of the light empty boxes. Who knows, then BAM, my adventure to the other side of the garage became an inspirational moment.. If sometimes we choose to do hard things even when we don't have to, we become used to and even comfortable with doing hard things. Then when difficult things come our way without our choosing, they are more easily overcome. Ha, you thought I was just going to tell a story about taking out the trash didn't you. Yes there is inspiration to be found, even in taking out the trash.

Subs for Santa

Sitting near our Christmas tree this morning, before the kids woke up, looking at the mound of colorful presents spilling out from underneath, I was feeling pretty blessed. I love Christmas, the lights, the music, opening presents, food and spending time with friends and family. How could I ever complain or have want when we have the ability to spend so much money on trivial things. Sometimes I catch myself thinking of a bigger house, a bigger car, a lager paycheck or even a new bicycle - not to replace the one I have of course but you know, I need a separate one for 'commuting to work'. I'm grateful for the perspective that brings me back into focus.

Every Christmas season the company I work for searches for an opportunity to bring some unexpected happiness into the lives of families who are experiencing challenges. This year one of my co-workers learned of a program in the Las Vegas area called 'Subs for Santa'. A program similar to the United Way's Subs for Santa but in our area it is run by just a few volunteers.
The families chosen to be sponsored by our local Subs for Santa are selected through the school district; whenever a teacher or school administrator has knowledge of a student's condition they have the opportunity to forward that information to the Subs for Santa program. My company was informed of five families in need and we received a few details about their ages and number of siblings.
The majority of them resided in North Las Vegas. For those who live in this valley, we all know the type of city North Las Vegas is since it has the highest rate of... really everything bad in the state. It was up to us to find gifts, groceries and anything else we thought these families might need, and we were to deliver the gifts on December 21st. We were responsible for contacting the parents or parent (since most only had one) of these families to find an appropriate time to stop by. While sitting in a meeting at work one morning, I was pulled out by a co-worker who was trying to call a family and needed help, they only spoke Spanish. Having learned Spanish as a missionary in Venezuela, I was confident that it would be a quick conversation so I could go back to what I was doing. 15 minutes later my attitude had changed. The story that unfolded after I asked a simple question was difficult to hear, but all too common. The mother had four children in her house, her husband had left years ago and that day she had just lost her job. Through tears she explained why we might not ever be able to stop by, she was afraid. Afraid of being evicted, afraid that her children wouldn't make it through school, that her oldest son would choose the same path as his father, afraid that there would not be enough food to last another week. I said what I could, "have faith in God, we would like to help etc." but I mostly just listened. I decided to call back the next day to see if see was feeling better and to see if stopping by on Saturday would be okay. Saturday came; we attended an awesome company Christmas party, went bowling, and ate pizza, not a care in the world. In the afternoon we gathered to go deliver our gifts to the sponsored families. I knew which one I would visit. As we approached the neighborhood I was taken back to Venezuela, concrete walls, bars on everything, crumbling houses, abandoned buildings, roaming dogs, all just minutes away from the capital city of indulgence and excess. I walked up the empty cracked driveway as a dog with matted hair yapped at my ankles, knocked on the door and stepped back. A young girl peeked through a broken window fixed with duct tape. I smiled and waved and she ran away. When her mother appeared I introduced myself and asked if we could bring in a few things, tears immediately welled up in her eyes and she invited us in. An empty living room except for a tattered futon and a concrete floor was all we found. We felt very good to be able to fill it. We emptied our two vans full of groceries and gifts and made several trips to carry them inside. It was a humbling experience, it was a wonderful opportunity to help, and thinking back about it now I ask myself, "What else could we have done?" There were so many houses in that neighborhood, and so many neighborhoods just like it. I am so thankful that during Christmas we are reminded to help others, maybe we need to be reminded more often. Our help doesn't always have to come in the form of gifts purchased at the store, it can be listening to someone on the phone who has had a rough day, a smile and a wave, advice, prayers, service projects, volunteering. Feeling peace and fulfillment in life doesn’t come from what we make, or get but what we give. So we have had our reminder, let us never forget and find some way to share our blessings all year long.

A Good Deed Here, A Good Deed There...

Some people hit the high seas and go on a cruise for vacation.  Others road trip across multiple states or fly across the country looking for their next adventure.  Me?  I drive the 2.5 hours to Cedar City and mingle with the small town, home grown folks inhabiting Southern Utah.  It's okay to roll your eyes.  I do.  Or at least I used to.  

There is a "must do" list I have for whenever I am in Southern Utah.  Brad's Food Hut is at the top of that list.  It's greasy, deep fried, saturated-in-anything-that-might-cause-a-coronary deliciousness.  My mother, the nutritionist, will deny it if asked but might possibly be having a small love affair with their fish'n'chips and dirty Dr. Pepper.  It's that good, y'all.  Anyway, I was sitting in the drive-thru after having ordered when one of the girls working comes to get my payment.  The total: $23.48.  When she returned with my card and the receipt, I checked out the amount paid and had to double check the numbers staring me back in the face.  $8.48.  As if reading my mind, the girl at my window explained the difference, "The lady in the car ahead of you comes in once a week and pays an extra $15 for the car behind her," before hurrying back inside.  The mysterious woman who paid for more than half of my order was gone and I didn't know who to thank.  For once, I was speechless.  I've heard of this kind of thing happening but never has it happened to me.  I couldn't believe it.

I'm not entirely sure why I happened to be the recipient of good deeds on my last trip home, but the occurrence at Brad's wasn't the only one.  My grandmother woke one morning having a major craving for pancakes.  I've tried to get a handle on my culinary handicap but have yet to master the pancake flip.  I wasn't about to attempt it, especially since my grandma wanted them so much.  The solution to my problem came in the form of IHOP.  You want pancakes?  Why not go to the International House of, right?  

I have a daughter.  She has this condition known as "three years old".  Most things she does are unpredictable.  But there are some that roll around like clockwork and most of these things involve the bathroom.  We get in the car and she suddenly needs to go.  We sit down in a restaurant and she can't possibly hold it any longer.  That morning, at IHOP, was one of those instances.  We deserted our booth and rushed to the bathroom.  Business done, we returned to find what appeared to be a hastily written note and a 5 dollar bill in the middle of our table.  "We noticed you had kids and remember how expensive it can be to feed them.  Hope this helps."  In between wondering how loud my kids had to be for someone to notice they were in the building and looking around for a clue as to who left the note and money, I was touched.  This was random act of kindness number two in the span of a few days.  

A week that I expected to be unremarkable has changed my outlook on life and people.  I am ashamed to admit that I get a little frustrated with the lack of compassion in the world.  I know there are great people out there.  I read and hear about amazing stories of service and selfless charity, but often times the negative overshadows the positive and I forget that maybe there is a little hope in the world.  Maybe, just maybe, there are people who really do care about the big picture.  It's nice to be reminded and an ordinary trip to Cedar City, Utah, has definitely brought a little spark into my life.  To top it off, I probably won't be rolling my eyes the next time my mother requests us home for a visit.  

The Juicer

It was not just a sense of old timey nostalgia that held my attention when I first saw a Jack Lalanne video on YouTube. I looked him up after hearing about his death in 2011. I never really thought much about him, other than the Power Juicer infomercials I had no idea who he was. Turns out Jack Lalanne had some things pretty well figured out, one of which was being motivated. So just what level of awesome was Jack Lalanne?

1956 Age 42: Set a world record of 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes on “You Asked for It, a TV Show with Art Baker.
1959 Age 45: Completed 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hours and 22 minutes.
1984 Age 70: Handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 ½ miles.
Okay so he was really fit... I get that. But he was fit way before Jillian and Bob, Cross Fit, Tony Horton, Les Mills etc. fit before fit was cool. At age 54 he even beat then 21 year old Arnold Schwarzenegger at a bodybuilding competition. He invented the 'jumping jack'. So it turns out Jack Lalanne did way more than just Power Juicing. It wasn't his strength that impressed me the most, it was his take on life. Jack used to have a TV show where he would teach exercises and share some of his advice. They are worth watching, at least for a good laugh at how our society has changed in the last 50 years. I have a collection of clips that help get me out of a rut sometimes. Enjoy.

I'm still looking for a place that sells those jumpsuits. Just wait 'till I show up in the gym with that, settle down ladies.