Monday, December 6, 2010

making a list, checking it twice


i'm a big fan of lists.

in the eighth grade, i wrote a list of 10 things i needed to do to make the boy-of-the-week-of-my-dreams fall in love with me. the list included things like "smile at him in the hall then look away shyly" and concluded with step #10: "wear my black and white floral capris from Express while sweeping the gym floor and knock his socks off."

at this point in the story i should explain that i was a gym assistant. and office assistant. and time out room assistant. pretty much any middle school assisting job i could take to get out of vocational and technical education class.

the boy wasn't robert, and for all my planning, i didn't turn his head (cue garth brooks, unanswered prayers), but that didn't deter my love for, and faith in, the power of lists. besides the usual grocery lists, i numerate my work tasks, vacation plans and school deadlines.

so you'd think i would love this part of christmas. before the first frost hits the field beside my childhood home, mama begins her sweet natured begging and questioning. what do you want for christmas? make me a list. unlike robert, who gave me his birthday/christmas list in july, i have a hard time with this one.

it's not because i can't come up with things i want. my anthropologie catalog came in the mail yesterday and i devoured it. it's just that the people who ask me for lists are usually mama, dad, and robert. i hate asking for things from people who already give me so much.

and as much as i'd love a new mustard yellow peacoat or platform clogs, i don't need them. so this year, i've created a little list of things i do lack and desperately need this christmas, starting with:

1. less focus on presents, and more on presence. so many times, especially at work, people approach me and talk about things that are important to them--their kid got a good report card, their car broke down and they've been hitching a ride to the office with their wife all week--and though i let them speak, and i even listen, i let other thoughts, typically selfish ones, creep in. what time is this proposal due? what am i making tonight for supper? i miss out on being truly engaged and present in the conversation and thus miss out on the chance for that conversation to strengthen and enrich me.

2. to not let worry have such a stronghold over my life. i place such an enormous value on my family and it can be easy to drown myself in fear over their well-being. anxiety sneaks in over my work and school pursuits. "who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" -matthew 6:27. worry is my biggest enemy and my greatest temptor. i'm like a moth to a flame, and it's burning my wings away.

3. to stop what i'm doing every.single.time pablo trots over to me, nudges my thigh with his nose, and dangles his toys, begging me to play. the older i get, the more i appreciate play time, and if i can make this little furball happy just by flinging his stuffed bear across the living room floor, then really, why not? the internet can wait. facebook can wait. television can wait. i want to do more this season, tear my eyes away from the screen and engage myself in activity. i want my fingertips to feel more than the keyboard, and i want to make others happy with my actions.

4. to remember the beautiful reason for the season, and prepare my heart for this time of year. i don't want to be so wrapped up in the decorations, gift buying, holiday-outfit-choosing and carol singing that i forget to invite the guest of honor to the party. for me, this means a little less fruitcake and a little more fruits of the Spirit.

this is a little list, but a mighty one. i pray it has more effect over my life than my middle school crush-winning one did. i still don't understand why those tactics didn't work. those black and white capris were pretty fabulous.

27 comments:

sarah nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sarah nicole said...

This reminds me of a favorite childhood Christmas song - Amy Grant's "Grown Up Christmas List" - have you heard it? I agree that we all need to focus less on consumerism and more on family. Another lovely post!

Sarah

a whole lotta love said...

I LOVE THIS! Well, a) let me first start out by saying how funny your 8th grade list is. isn't it hilarious to think back on how you thought in those days and what a different person you are now? and b) I think that you list is what Christmas is all about. Our society focuses so much on 'things', but the real meaning of Christmas is to help us to remember that its all about a person... a person who helped the world to see that there is a better way to live. I would love to re-post this on the peace train if you want me to. Have a lovely day!

Love,
Adrienne

vintch said...

@a whole lotta love: it would be my honor to be be on the peace train. thank you so much, sweet friend.

Amy said...

What a beautiful writing. I adore this! I'm such a list writer as well. And you have such a big heart. I hope you get all on your list dear, you deserve it and so much more.

e.day said...

you totally put into words what i've been struggling with this year! my mom has been after me since before thanksgiving for a christmas list, and i only just sent one to her yesterday. but when i was making it, i mostly felt confused and kept thinking, "i don't really NEED any of this!"

JJ and i talked about our wishes going into the new year, and it more resembled your list above. except he wants to start playing guitar again.

my list definitely has focusing on living life more away from screens/computers/indoors and getting out there. i can always count on you to put feelings into words! :)

Ana* said...

Yes yes yes to everything on your list, specially #3. I have been thinking about it lately and my thoughts weren't clear but you did a great job putting them into words. We all live in a technological bubble now days. It's just nice to turn off the tv, computer and mobile.

Have a nice week my friend!!

grace said...

i totally feel you girl- so for this christmas i asked for a donation to an organization in haiti that i feel really strongly for. i already have everything, and those kids have nothing. i'll be doing a blog post on the organization soon, but let me know if you want to know more about it.

as for your list and "wear my black and white floral capris from Express while sweeping the gym floor and knock his socks off." hilarious. lol in the office hilarious.

Peaches said...

I love your list and many of the things you are working on, I am working on as well. Especially the one about worrying less...just today, it's been a difficult morning and I'm trying my hardest not to stress and worry. And reading this post gives me a little more encouragement to keep my worried thoughts to a minimum. Love!

Haley K said...

Oh I can't get over you writing :) beautiful, simple, insightful...so glad you said Hi over at my place! I'm now a happy follower of your fantastic blog.

I love that the kid was your boy-OF-THE-WEEK-of-your-dreams. so how it is in good ol' middle school. haha And your new list for Christmas is lovely...loved every bit. Especially focusing on PRESENCE and not presents :)

lindsay said...

this is beautiful miss! it is so nice to read about the things that are important in your life because it definitely inspires me to evaluate where i am today and what steps are neccessary to take in order for it to get better.

i am a list girl too...i think i need to also make a list of things for myself to follow this holiday season...a good list is always wonderful to have :) thank you for sharing yours!

Amber Blue Bird said...

i am right there with you on #3, my fur baby is not a fan of my blogging because it takes time away from him so i am reallt trying to make more time for playing with him :) Cheers!

Shalyn said...

This is the most beautiful thing I have read in a LONG time. Thanks for this:-) I am also an avid "listlady" and love that you mentioned Garth Brooks "unanswered prayers"-Simply lovely. Thanks for the eloquent reminder and thanks for the sweet comment on my blog as well:-)

Blondie's Journal said...

Your list is truly inspiring...it makes me think a lot about priorities and the things we THINK we want. Seeing it all in writing really helps us focus!

Another wonderful post! :-)

XO,
Jane

Candice said...

I love your lists and I love your blog even more! It brings with it the sweet feeling of being cozy and at home! I am definitely a new follower :)
Looking forward to reading more of your lovely posts!

mskanorado said...

I'm glad you found me! I'm following you back as well, I love this entry! I am the same way about asking for things, I'm not any good at it. I am completely with you on your list, and I love that you are embracing those types of needs. My husband and I were just talking the other day about the "materialistic" ways Christmas has turned into and how there is so much more behind it than all of the gifts! I look forward to reading more of your posts!

Maaike said...

Thank you for visiting creJJtion, following and leaving such a nice comment! I had a great laugh reading this post... love your writing style and recognize the listing as well as the boy-fall-in-love-with-me trics :-).
Love, Maaike

Jude said...

Oh, what a beautiful list! You just made me totally grin like an idiot, and I totally needed that on this too-long Monday - thank you!

I love all these and esp. agree about being present, and just generally taking time to focus on what's happening around you, rather than worrying (since, as my S.O. likes to tell me, worrying changes nothing - I'm a big worrier too :)). Life is too short! :)

Jeska said...

I love this!! It's so true, I hate asking for stuff I don't really NEED from people who give me so much throughout the year. Your a great writer!

Christine said...

PERFECT! thanks for bringing it back to reality. xoxox

Becca said...

This is GOOD, girl!
I know how you feel about asking for stuff...of course I love things. But how can I give my grandmother a list of what I want this year? She's done everything for me!
Presence is a wonderful gift for grandmothers :)

Rebekka Seale said...

I'm a big fan of those GLASSES! Where can I find some like that?

xx
Rebekka

cara said...

oh no, my list was so shallow compared to yours! and to think, i just received (and subsequently drooled over) the new anthropologie catalogue as well and planned to make that my next blog wishlist! you are so right though, i have such fun making hypothetical lists but none of that really matters to me. i agree with you completely. c:

cara

for now said...

great post, i need to remember these things much less to spread the cheer and somehow not consumerism...

and I am a list-er as well, I think it's a lovely habit :)

Michaela said...

I LOVE lists, too! I'm super organized. Maybe a little too organized (: hehe. So happy I found your blog (:

Jenni said...

What a beautiful, thought provoking list! I was truly touched by this.

I worry constantly about the well being of my family, too. I have a lot of fear and anxiety in my life, so this one would be on my list too.

Also, I totally agree about throwing the darn stuffed animal/ball for the doggy... their lives are so short, and I want to take every opportnity to fill that short little life with joy. :)

Bridget said...

yes! go you. this is a great post.

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