Friday, January 27, 2012

Deal of the Day!

Every morning at 8:15 my smart phone receives the Groupon for the day—I love to check it out to see what bargain waits.  Don’t know what Groupon is?  Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website that offers localized discounts.  The website claims you can “receive 50-90% off the best stuff your city has to offer.”  Since I don’t live in a major city, I am signed up to receive deals from DC and Richmond.  Many times I have found great deals.  A couple weeks ago I purchased 2 movie tickets for $4 each!  Around Christmastime, my mom paid $12 for a $24 gift card to Old Navy.  There are really some awesome deals to be had. 

With that being said, I have to say I have found myself either shaking my head, or laughing out loud at a few of the more recent deals.  For example, singing Justin Bieber toothbrushes and a huge reduction toward purchase of the Shake Weight.  A few of today’s offerings showed wine-infused whipped cream (52% off), night vision goggles (44% off), and a sock monkey hat for $9.  Now, I’ve never had wine-infused whipped cream, maybe it’s good.  I don’t really need Justin Bieber singing to me from my toothbrush while I remove plaque, but I do find myself intrigued by the deals!  Many of the deals are service offers.  One I saw the other day was 86% off a chemical peel in Reston.  Am I really going to drive all the way to Northern Virginia for such a deal?  Probably not…however, the funny thing is I found myself saying “that’s a pretty good deal.” 

I think the folks at Groupon are pretty darn clever.  In an era when extreme couponing exists (even enough to create a reality show about it!), and we are carefully spending; we need deals like Groupon to offer us a discount on food, fun, get-aways, and products. 

It made me also think about when Jesus fed 5,000 men with 5 loaves and 2 fish.  Imagine if that sort of “deal” could be offered on the daily Groupon.  What would the discount work out to be??  I’m kidding. :o)

I do think the best offer we have is the grace that’s given to us daily for FREE.  There will never be a coupon or offer better than that.  No matter how many times I mess up.  No matter how crummy I may feel about the choices I have made.  Each day when I wake, there is grace.  There’s no app or email delivery needed.  Anne Lamott wrote, “Grace works like water wings when you feel you are sinking.” 

So, the next time you get your Groupon update take a moment to remember the best deal you have already received.  And, if they ever offer one on water wings I may make the purchase just to have a visual.  Sort of makes me look at their silver “G” in different light.  “G” may be for Groupon, but think also “G” for Grace.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy New Year?

First snowfall of 2012
It's 2012!  Actually we are almost halfway through January already!  Did you make any resolutions?  According to the internet, ONLY 8% of resolutions made are kept.  8%!!  Those are stiff statistics to overcome.  However, if we built change against the odds of statistics there wouldn't be much success.  A friend reminded me of a Nathaniel Branden quote, which is "The first step towards change is awareness."  In case you are wondering, the second step is acceptance.  Powerful words!

Maybe there isn't much you are looking to change this year.  Maybe you are glad to have 2011 over and done with.  Maybe you feel sad that 2011 has ended because it was a great year for you.  I'm not sure where you are.  I feel more like holding on to 2011 because it was a good year for me and my family.  That being said, I welcome a new year and look forward to the possibilities it holds.  I'm thankful even for the challenges that 2011 put in my path because I grew in ways I hadn't anticipated.

Here a few my favorite 2011 highlights:

Sydney started Kindergarten and is learning to read.
John was baptized and our kids were there to witness it.
Elliot read a 476 page book, on his own, and it didn't have a single picture!
We experienced our first family trip to Disney's Magic Kingdom.
My sister, Emily, had her first baby.
I started this blog, which reminded me how much I love to write.

I feel deep appreciation for many other things that happened's just that those really stick out to me.

I've looked at my life since January 1st and took a little inventory.  There are things I want to change.  I want to be more organized around our house.  I want to learn the names of the books of the Bible, in order.  I want to maintain my gym routine. But, aside from those things I really want to show a deep appreciation for what I already have.

Sydney and Elliot request to sleep in Elliot's room together every night.  Sometimes I stand outside the door and listen to them whisper to each other.  They say the most beautiful prayers to each other.  They pray for our cat that went to "cat heaven" in 2011.  They talk about what they will do when they are in heaven.  It's adorable and so innocent.  It's in those moments that I don't want another year to arrive...I want to bottle up this time and save it forever.  I need to somehow show deep appreciation for these moments.

So, I'm back to the odds.  There's that 8% again.  As Mr. Branden stated...the first step in change is awareness.  I'm going to apply that quote to my life, and also pray that God will give me the perseverance to move forward.  Besides, I read a great quote today from Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love.  "If you improve just 1% a day, in 100 days you’ll be 100%."  Those are odds I can live with.

Thanks for reading.