Monday, January 23, 2012

expectation: the thief of joy?

So I have been reading a new book the past couple of weeks and at the risk of sounding insincere or melodramatic, I must confess that I feel it is changing me. With each word I read, I feel like the writer has glimpsed into my very soul and knows how to captivate me with the turning of every page. This past Saturday, I was reading a chapter on joy and how our feelings of expecation and/or entitlement are the very thiefs of joy in this earthly life. This brings me to my lunch break today.

The scene: I was mindlessly walking out to my car, prepared to do my normal study that I do on most of my lunches. I had no expectations, no sense of what might be awaiting me, when lo and behold, I gazed upon this:

No, that's not touched up one bit and yes, it's 100% an i-phone pic. There were no fancy cameras at work. I immediately smiled and then proceeded to become almost giddy. It was as if God knew I wasn't expecting this glorious display of cloud-like beauty, so He purposed that I might see it because He knew how very much I would appreciate it.

And that's very much how I feel about 2012. While I'm expecting it to be great, I'm not basing my expecation on anything in particular. Simply put, I know if I'm alive, it will be great. But what does great mean? How does one define great? Is great void of pain, suffering, disappointment, grief, guilt, broken promises, failures, etc.? Of course not, but I believe if I purpose to focus on the everyday graces of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God, then 2012 will be my best year yet. I believe that if I'm intentional in relishing every cloud-flocked sky, savoring every delicious giggle that springs forth from my niece's mouth, marveling at every common day-to-day miracle that occurs, praising God for every example of His all-sufficient grace...I have everything to look forward to and nothing to be afraid of. It is a beautiful thing, this new-found freedom.

In other (perhaps less reflective news), my dear friend Christy celebrated another year in her life and of course, we had to do it up right. To keeps things interesting, I requested that party attendees wear their favorite hat, fedora or other headpiece. While we didn't exactly get 100% participation, we did have some and I think any excuse to break out of the ordinary is good enough for me. We started the night with cocktails at a "speakeasy" and had dinner at a new restaurant.

After that, it was back to the house for champagne, rum cake (a la Rachie), presents and maybe a game or two. I created a special game for the birthday girl and it was very interesting to see her responses.

This past week, we had the ole company "holiday" party. In a major departure from last year, this year's theme was "Two Step into 2012" and was held at a local western-themed restaurant. The best part of the whole night was the band (none other than Emerald City) and the photo booth (always a fan favorite). In true Rachel fashion, I cut a major rug and danced until my legs could dance no more. Please note from the pics that I was on stage with the band at one point. That's right, yours truly, in front of God and everyone (everyone being the hundreds of people I work with), got up on stage and shook her tail feather. For all those who don't dance, let me just say, it's high time to let your hair down and get out there on the dance floor. There is nothing more fun than throwing caution to the wind, bouncing around and acting like a complete fool.

And well friends, that's pretty much the full recap of the past three weeks. I can't say that 2012 has been ground-breaking, but it has certainly been filled with so much grace. Until we meet again...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012