11 November 2013

Taking Inventory

Last week, I wrote about being thankful for the little things - saying that I was going to jot down one per day of the things that make our lives more beautiful and full.  So I thought, I'd start off this week by sharing with you some of the things - the little things - that make me happy.

Choices:  Ever think about how blessed we are that we have choices?  I mean, just think about all thechoices that we so fortunate to be able to make.  Like what shoes to wear, what form of transportation to take (to drive or take the bus), where to shop, how to spend our time, what to eat, what to drink.  How many of us have ever thought about what it would be like to not have a choice. I have a lot of friends on the street that don't have that luxury.  That's really a true blessing when you think about it.

Warmth: As you know, I take the bus in the morning.  At 6:30 in the morning, it's cold out on the street. Usually, on those cold mornings when the bus pulls up, the driver's got the heat on, and it reminds me of how fortunate I am to be warm.  I have a jacket, a home and family to keep me warm.

The foothills:  I live in the foothills in Sunland.  They're so beautiful, especially in the late afternoon when I'm getting home from work.  The sun is hitting them just so, and they have this beautiful color to them.  It always reminds me of the words in the song America the Beautiful.  The "purple mountains majesty above the fruited plane".  I always wondered about purple mountains when I was a kid singing that song in elementary school (and once, when I was about 8, drew a picture of a fruited plane...a jet airplane with fruit trees on it...but I digress). Anyways, in the late afternoon sun, my mountains have this beautiful warm, rich reddish purple to them.  And when I see my them, it reminds me that I'm almost home...and lucky to have a home to return to.  It also reminds me that God is the best artist of all.

Opportunity: As tough as the economy is, and as difficult as it is to start a business, I am thankful that we live in a land of opportunity.  I have watched this one corner in my neighborhood change from a vacant lot, to a small produce stand, to a very nice "farmer's market" type of store where I buy my produce.  This little store is owned by Armenian immigrants who started their fruit stand, and then were able to build it into a better store because of this country and the opportunity it affords. I'm grateful to live in a land of opportunity, where with some VERY hard work and the support of your community, dreams can become reality.

A sturdy bus bag - Okay, this really is a "little" thing...though not so little at all.  As minor as this sounds, my reinforced bus bag helps me to carry my reading, my lunch, a scarf or sweater when I get too warm,  my produce on Thursdays when I shop at the farmers market.  This bag has big flowers on it, is white/black and blue, and it's sturdy,  and saves my hands from getting the circulation cut off. I just throw it over my shoulder with my purse and I'm ready to go.

Beets! - Need I say more?  What's not to appreciate about beets!  They're beautiful, and pink.  Filled with vitamins and iron.  They keep on giving you "pink" if you know what I mean.  And I love them.  And I even love the golden ones too!  I'm grateful for beets!

and the last one for this week...Morning Kisses from my mom - My mom has been living with us. Every morning when I'm ready to leave for work, I go into her room.  It's early.  She's asleep, but I have to tell her I'm leaving.  It's the rule.  As soon as I walk in, she wakes up.  It's always, the same, "Gertas?  Already? Gimme a bachig.  Asdvadz heded."  (basically, "You're leaving?  Already?  Give me a kiss.  God be with you.") And I get my morning kiss  from mom. As old as I am, I will always be her baby.   I love her, morning bachigs and her daily blessing.

So there it is.  One week's worth of the small stuff!  I hope you think about things that make you thankful. At first I was trying to write them down, but it became to cumbersome to carry a notebook with me, so I justed used my memo app on my phone and put them down as they came to me.   Then I could look at them and build on it later...(which I did).  Like I said last week, I'll be doing this for the month of November, so I'll have a fresh list for you next week.  Please share yours with me as well.  By the time Thanksgiving comes, we'll have a whole new perspective on those little things that make our lives so beautiful.

Okay...so on to this week's topic.  It's been a busy week! Just a week ago I was working so hard on jewelry for a harvest craft fair that I participated in.  My friend  and epostle producer extraordinaire, Suzie and I were vendors at a craft fair.  I had my Pomegranate & Eye line of jewelry for sale and Suzie had her crocheted creations and her amazing homemade jams.  Things were slow for the first few hours, and thank God we had each other. (which reminds me that I have to add Suzie to my list!)  We kept each other company, talked, laughed....I mean, the worst day of craft fair is better than the best day of work, right?  Oops, what happened to my new positive attitude about work???  : )  No, no, it's still there.  But it was nice to be able to do what one loves.  Anyways, the day was a huge success though thanks to Facebook...and there's that power of social media again.  I had posted the address of the fair on Pomegranate & Eye's facebook page and some of my fans came out!  It was great to meet Carmen, Sonia and some of the others that stopped by that day!

So last night, I was talking to my mom.  I was wondering what I could blog about this week.  I had hit this wall and just had no ideas at all.  My mom started thinking...."Write about your cat that escaped and how Ned had to shower with it."  As true and funny as that sounds, uh, no.  Although I'll tell you about it a little later.  So mom had all these suggestions but none of them felt like a good fit.  I told her not to worry about it, because everytime she would walk from the TV room to her room, or the kitchen, she'd offer more suggestions.  Finally she said she was going into her room to do her nightly prayers.   I gave up...I played a few rounds of Candy Crush....answered a few emails. It was getting late, and mom came out to say goodnight.  "Did you find something to write about?"  When I told her no, she said,  "You will.   I prayed about it."

Even though it was getting late and I should have been getting ready for bed, I had this idea to go through the jewelry that I had brought home from the fair - and compare it to what was on the website.  Right after the fair, I had made some sales online, and unfortunately what was purchased online  was what was also sold at the fair that day.  I had to create new pieces...and I wanted to make sure that I cross checked my inventory so this kind of thing didn't happen again.  .  So there I was at close to midnight, checking actual pieces against the site when the topic came to me.  Divine intervention perhaps?  The topic for today is Inventory!

Most times when I have my items for sale, people come by and either look or buy.  But sometimes I get people that stop and talk.  And they offer suggestions.  Not that I asked for them.  But they tell me what I could do, how I could change things, what would look good, what would sell.  Unsolicited advice.  Sometimes when I'm in the mood, I chat them up. But other times, it's kind of a "yeah, whatever" (mentally, of course).  So last night as I was going through my inventory, I was thinking about all this.  And change.

Although I make bracelets for the most part and handmade silver, copper and bronze pomegranates, what sold out at the craft show were my copper wire sweater/scarf pins.  It was a total surprise to me too since they are not really the main focus of what I make.  So I was making a note of what I need to make more of, what supplies I have to buy in order to increase my inventory in those areas and then assessing what I have in stock,  and I started thinking about how so much of this inventory process was also pertinent to life.

Think about it.  God has given each of us has a life to make the most of.  Somethings about us "sell" or are desireable, yet other things "sit" on the table.  That desireable trait that we have is usually a talent or something that sets us apart from others.  Something that God has given us...whether it's artistic ability, sense of humor, musical talent, the ability to speak, create, parent, etc.  That is what makes us unique. When we use those talents to glorify God, others will naturally gravitate toward us wanting what we have.  Not because we blatently profess it and say, "Hey look what I've got. Don't you want it?"  But because the love in us - God's love - shines through and makes those that are searching sit up and take notice.

Then there are those things about ourselves that we THINK will be appealing to others.  We showcase them, dress them up, package ourselves nicely.  Sometimes we're accepted, and other times not.  If we're rejected more often than not, then it's time to assess. Do a little self inventory.   Do we need to bring ourselves down a notch?  Make ourselves more approachable.  Are we being the best we can be from God's standpoint?  Are we loving, giving, caring and compassionate? or are we too concerned with the package and not the incredible potential inside?  What about the suggestions made by the outsider?  Are we too proud to take constructive criticism? or can we listen with an open heart and mind and then decide if the suggestion makes sense for us?    How can we accentuate the positive qualities that God has given us?  And how can we make them shine on others so that they see the beauty of God within us?

The responsibility of Christianity is a big one.   I love the quote that says, "At all times preach the gospel.  When necessary, use words."  We have a responsibility to carry Christ's message of love and light in the world to all - taking inventory of ourselves, adjusting attitudes and approaches, so that we can preach that love and light to all, not with words but with actions.   So that they'll know we are Christians by the love the that we have toward all.  And it's definitely not easy, but something to work toward.

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  I'd love to hear from you.   So leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are, or share your "little things" with the rest of us.

One last thing.  As promised, I'll share with you the cat story.So we have two cats, Mati and Zelda.  Mati is my big bad boy kitty weighing in at a whopping 23 pounds.  And Zelda is the demure and beautiful black
The sleeping Mati - the bad boy kitty!
cat.  Both kitties are indoor cats, and not allowed outside.  But once in a while, if Neddy leaves a door open while he's checking something outside for a minute, one of them will escape.  Inevitably, they always end up under the house, and this means one thing only?  They must be bathed.  Okay, so have you ever bathed a cat?  Maybe.  But have you ever bathed WITH a cat?  No, I didn't think so.  Yet my fearless husband will shower with the cat, shampooing and holding him down at the same time while hearing the cat meow and howl in complaint.  But his justificiation is a good one.  I mean, the cats are allowed on the couches, and on the rare occasion when they've "escaped", they come back pretty dirty!   Anyways, needless to say it's a traumatic experience for Mati, and he had to go through that today.  And usually, they remember. Zelda has learned her lesson.  It's only happened once for her, and once was enough. So if the door happens to be open, 9 times out of 10 they will both just sit in the doorway and not venture out.  But sometimes the call of the wild is too much for poor Mati, and he has to endure the 'wrath of Ned' and have a shower. And then of course, sadly, when he is finally released from the shower to my open towel, after drying him off, the poor cat is so humiliated.  Hardly the toughy that he looks like when he's dry. Live and learn, Mati.  Live and learn.

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