Saturday, March 15, 2014

on investing and our momentary stories

momentary carbon stories. . . life is here now, breathe it all in
I Am Mountain, Michael Gungor
Driving through slush and leftover salt and sand this week I was reminded of my first visit to this little town that is now all wound up in my heart.
It was early March, not a particularly beautiful time to visit anywhere in the midwest. I was driving down with my sister and then boyfriend Daniel to see where he was going to be living and working.  We'd both agreed to wait to get engaged until he landed a firefighting job with a real fire department so though I didn't have a ring on my finger I knew I'd be living and working here too. 
I was drinking it all in: industrial, slush, grey, foggy haze, frozen river, roads, brick buildings, old, old, very old.  We found an overlook to look at the bridge and the river and I was overjoyed because  I was with him.  The smoggy lil town didn't impress me much at all but I didn't care.  I was in love.
Daniel took me and my sister for lunch at the very worst Chinese restaurant any of us had ever eaten at; it closed soon after. He showed us around MFD, so happy to finally be back in his firefighting happy spot after college and half a year of full time paramedicine.
I never even thought about the less than ideal conditions. I learned soon enough that it would be hard to choose a less picturesque route than my first impression introduction; but I didn't care.  My rose colored glasses firmly in place, I looked forward to building a life with my boyfriend --> fiance --> husband.
Eleven years later we are here and this is home.  We have loved well and laughed and built friendships and discovered parks and said goodbye as others moved, hiked in the woods and boated on the river, splashed in the fountains, said hello (and goodbye) to favorite antique stores,
bought a house,
bought a crib,
bought a car,
bought a truck,
bought a potty chair,
bought a van,
bought a cemetery plot,
bought another crib,
bought a trampoline,
bought $20 x 52 x approximately 11 years of Friday night pizza (that equals $11,440) (wow.)
bought a bunch of swimming lessons
paid a lot of overdue library fines
bought a bunch of girls night appetizers
bought soccer cleats
bought pink soccer cleats
bought some golf rounds
bought a bunch of beach towels and pool chemicals up the wazoo
and it all invests in making a home.
When I pour in. . . money or time or resources or love. . . it matters to others, yes, but it impacts me.
Investing, pulling out the stops, throwing your hat in the ring to a community and saying I'm in. . . sure, it (hopefully) benefits the community but it benefits you too.  Belonging, loyalty, neighboring, friendships - they happen when you choose the rather risky investment of pouring time into people.   People make up any community, no matter how large or small. People are the best part of our lives: how rich we are because of the relationships that have been built here.
I'm thankful I never had the opportunity to overanalyze my small town:  because now it's home and I'm living this brief bit of life that God has given -- my momentary carbon story investing in my little corner of the world.
And it's so beautiful, when you choose to see.

In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.
Robert Arnott
where you invest your love, you invest your life
Mumford and Sons

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Godward Heart by John Piper

Despite the rather vague title, I was drawn in by this collection of 50 short essays from the great thinker, John Piper.  Since each chapter stood alone, it was a great book to take in during my new reading style which consists of short bursts of time.

Covering tragedy (Putting My Daughter to Bed After the Bridge Collapsed), parenting (Why Require Unregenerate Children ot  Act Like They're Good), social media (Creating Pointers to the Greatness of Christ), the human failure of leaders (If You Can Be Godly and Wrong, Does Truth Matter?) and every topic in between, A Godward Heart is a great book to discuss and mull over. 
Some brief quotes:

Human language is precious. It sets us apart from animals. (pg. 41)

Christianity is not withdrawal from business. (pg. 48)

It is right and risky to aim at being worthy of emulation. It is more foundationally right to aim at being helpful. (pg. 133)

I chose to read this, actually my first Piper book, because we are currently going through the Don't Waste Your Life video curriculum with our small group.  I found A Godward Heart to be even more practical, applicable and succint than the (also excellent)  Don't Waste Your Life material. I underlined many, many passages, texted excerpts to Daniel, posted quotes on Instagram, and discussed the parenting chapter with my sister in law. This is a book you can use right now.

I received this book for free from Multnomah's blogger review program, Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review.