Friday, September 01, 2006

Sacrifices & Rewards~

After a busy week and lots of scattered thoughts going on in my head, I am sitting down at my computer to share some of the most recent with you today. But before I go there, I am wondering if any of you smart Nitty.Gritty. readers can explain to me in simple terms why my liquid dish detergent has an expiration date on it. I totally understand the concept of a 'best before date' on items such as milk and ground beef...but dish detergent? It's got me stumped. Does it mean that it won't taste good past that date? Or that it won't clean my dishes past that date? And up until this point, I wonder if I've used 'bad soap' in the past. I've never noticed the expiration date before this...and although with the amount of dishes that pile up around my home on any given day, it's unlikely that I've used expired detergent, there's a slight possibility it could have happened to me. So, if you have any thoughts on this, you know the drill. Leave me a well-thought out comment at the end of this post. Or, if you've found expiration dates on other items where I may have missed them, let me know that too. I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to be ignorant about stuff like this!
Now, onto my thoughts on sacrifices and rewards. Most likely what I have to say is not new to almost all of you, but it's one of those things that I myself need constant reminding of, or at least a refresher course on it. As you may know, I have found a new "mini-passion' in life in the form of a morning (or occasional early evening) bike ride. My hubby got a bike, and I have been putting it to good use. Those of you who know me from way back....you know who you are...can testify to others here that I have never been into exercise or obsessing about my looks. For those of you who don't go way back, trust me on this one. And if you really need proof, I'll upload my senior picture sometime- although that worries me a bit, because I know I'll lose some of my readership. You'll think I'm not who I really am any longer! So, just trust me on this one...I've not always looked the way I do now. In addition, I am, repeat, I am NOT into my looks at this point in my life either. But I can say that I have come to love and appreciate my looks now that I'm in my thirties- mostly because I have found a hairstyle that works with the limited time I have allotted myself for grooming and styling. Okay. I am getting so far off the topic that I have to think about what's being said here
Oh yeah. Biking. I have been biking daily or almost daily for about a month- which isn't long enough to make me an expert or even skilled, but long enough that I've noticed some big changes in myself already. I never would have guessed it when I started riding, but it's more than just a physical change. Which, I am digging and enjoying the way my pants feel on me now. One month of sticking to something has yielded results. I'm surprised and happy, and hopefully will encourage somebody who needs a little nudge in a similar direction. Whether it is a physical change you want (or need) to make in your body, or not, I have found many rewards. That whole notion of exercise being good for your mental state has never resonated with me. I have been the kind of person to dread getting up earlier, or sacrificing something else in my schedule to squeeze in time for exercise, and yet I have become a believer that exercise absolutely is good for your mental health. My morning bike ride includes time of praise and worship (to God for all He is doing in my life), time of reflection (on the blessings I have everyday, and the challenges that make me better), time of prayer (for the people I know who need strength and encouragement), and time of soaking in the things I often miss (like the smell of fresh cut grass, the crisp air that I breathe, the simple beauty in the creation around me that is a blur from my car window on the same route that I ride). I have always tried to get in some daily quiet time or a few moments of personal thoughts and prayer each day, but when I'm on the bike using my mind and body and away from any distraction in my home, it has been a wonderful new thing for me. The notion that I would have to sacrifice something (remember? Like losing a few minutes of sleep because I have to get out of bed earlier) was replaced with the reality that I have gained so much more through these few minutes a day of bike riding. I have found that my overall energy has increased (I know...now I practically am superwoman! =) ), I have enjoyed small physical changes to my body, and have found my thoughts more focused and my spiritual self more aware. I have found the rewards outweigh the sacrifices by far. I've even found myself patting myself on the back that I haven't succumb to the excuses that I used to use in the past. Like, I'm too tired, or I'll do it later, or I've got too much stuff going on today- this will have to be the thing I cut out to get it all done.It has made me realize that being disciplined in exercise (or in taking care of myself) has benefits in all the other areas of my life. Things just seem to be falling into place better around here. Now, I don't know what will happen as the air gets cooler each day and the schedules get busier with school starting and life changes a bit...but I am going to give it my best effort to make time for my physical self. I was thinking it through in other areas of life as well. Isn't it true that almost everything in life that has a 'big' reward also comes at 'big' cost or sacrifice? Take this scrapbooking thing that I am in. I had a host of reasons why I shouldn't enter this contest. The biggest being that I wasn't a scrapbooker! (Probably everyone else that entered was already a scrapbooker before entering this contest.) I should have never looked into the official rules and regulations, because I didn't even 'belong' in this contest. But, I think that was part of what fueled my inner self. I wanted to push the envelope of what was actually possible for me. I had to buy products and goods to even make the pages for the contest (I know...poor me...I HAD to buy scrap product! Don't worry. The scrapbookers reading this totally get my humor here.). I also had to sacrifice things in my life, like sleep and some of my meals were less than stellar during my scrap-frenzy to get my pages completed. Then there was the realization that I didn't have a clue how to put my final entry together, or how my pages would stack up against the more qualified contestants. I knew that I was in over my head...and yet something made me keep going. I found a few people to be my 'cheerleaders' and to egg me on when I was thinking about it too much. They made me keep "dreaming" {Shout of thanks out mainly to Rachael O, my sister Stephanie, kellicrowe, and even without knowing it maybe, Heidi Swapp and Cathy Zielske} and press on. Now I am at a place- as one of the Top 10- waiting the results of my efforts and sacrifice. The reward has already been seen in the way I believe in myself and my creative abilities, the validation and support that Chip is giving to me, and simply in the belief that sometimes are heads get in the way of our hearts, and when that happens, we miss out on a lot of life's rewards. So, whether it is the sacrifices I make in my marriage to keep it strong and healthy, or the sacrifices I make everyday as a Mom for my kids, or even the sacrifice that I unwillingly made through the death of Teagan...and the sacrifice I have made in suffering- yet pressing on and choosing to live life to the fullest- knowing deep in my heart my reward is waiting for me in Heaven someday. All of life demands sacrifices. We choose which ones to make or not- everyday. I am realizing, that sometimes we make life harder than it is. I think we don't give ourselves enough credit for what we truly are capapble of doing. And in most cases, we don't give God enough chance to make things happen through us- that He could do easily- if we simply handed Him our open heart and mind.I could say more on this~ and I just might, at another time. But for now, that should give us all something to think about. I'm interested in what you have sacrificed and if you have seen real-life rewards. Or if you are struggling with something...email me. {nitty.grittyjody@yahoo.com} I'd like to pray about it along with you. Sometimes having a cheerleader is a small step toward achieving your goal. I'm only one person, but I'm willing to help. That's my Nitty.Gritty. thoughts on dish soap, sacrifices and rewards.

14 comments:

mommygoingcrazy said...

If it is liquid dish soap it starts to get really lumpy and has a bad smell when it get too old. I can see how it wouldn't be good to use it after a certain date. I don't have an answer for you if it is dry dish soap. You would think that stuff would stay good forever!

Anonymous said...

I think being a mom demands sacrifices every day, but the rewards make every minute worth it! Seeing my kids as they grow into caring, respectful, wonderfully unique individuals, and being on the receiving end of their love and admiration is the greatest reward!

Christine R said...

I enjoyed reading about your bike ride. It kind of goes back to the whole marriage post. When you do for yourself, everything else seems better. You are giving a better person to the world. Make sense? I started exercising this year and I know I feel like I'm giving a better person to my spouse and my children and I feel great! I had no idea dish detergent expires. When I sacrifice it's not that I feel I'm giving up anything of great importance to be there for my children or my husband. Who cares if I miss the season premiere of a show or dinner gets on the table late. I finally finished school and it was worth the many years it took to be home with the kids. In the end..it's all ok.

becky said...

An expiration date on liquid dish soap? Hmmm...it might be part of the "new" industry of planned obsolesence. "If we put an expiration date on it, some people will actually throw it away on or before that date, even if the bottle's still half full." As a single person somewhat addicted to frugality, I've bought some pretty large bottles of liquid dish soap and used them for a very long time (over a year!) with no negative consequences whatsoever.

Thanks for the "kick in the pants" regarding sacrifice; I needed to be reminded of that today. I've been stewing much of the day after sacrificing a significant amount of time & money to help a friend yesterday - and didn't even get a "thank you." I needed to be reminded that I didn't sacrifice in order to be thanked or recognized; I did it because it was right & my friend needed help.

Congrats on your healthy new habit!

Maija said...

I've been reading for a while - my first comment! I am an avid bike rider (it's my main form of transportation), so I am so happy to hear how much you love your bike. It's made me feel so much stronger to know I can get nearly anywhere in my city by bike, and you are right how much more you experience than in a car & you get time for thinking. Just being on a bike, I am more approachable for people to ask me directions or I can chat with fellow riders or pedestrians. I love my legs muscles, too!

I have many more things to say - maybe I'll send you a private note. I have one question - in some of your older entries you mention how in your 20's & when you first met your husband, you said you would never have kids. What changed? Maybe that's too personal - but from your blog, you seem comfortable talking about nearly everything!! As a 20-something woman, I would like to hear your story of how you went from "no kids" to a mom of many!

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was a biology and chemistry major. Some of the organic chemicals in the detergent can break down over time causing a bad odor and making the detergent less effective.

amy j. said...

I sacrifice sleep all the time to spend time alone and do things that make me happy...blogging, surfing the next, writing, editing photos, just listening to music. As a mom of two, I don't get much time for that stuff during the day, guilt free anyway. So I sacrifice sleep. Though I definitely pay for it because my energy level is generally pretty blah. But I must have that time for me and my husband. Putting all your focus on your kids and things around the house can make you crazy. Today I sacrificed a MUCH needed dental appointment to stay home and take care of my girls, who both have colds. And now am sacrificing my health cuz I'm coming down with it too!

shawnna said...

Jody -- U have such a HUGE heart and i feel so blessed to have stumbled upon your blog (WAY BACK WHEN ;)
everday it seems there is something you type that i "NEED" to hear - it is amazing to me how good is using someone I DON'T EVEN "KNOW" to speak to me -- THANK YOU

Anonymous said...

Had to respond to "use by" dates. Was brushing my teeth and noticed on the bottom of my toothpaste container (it's one of those that stands by itself) there was a "use by" date for sometime in '08. Makes one wonder...mmmmmmmm!!! Wonder if I set it aside until sometime in '09~~won't it clean my teeth? Brighten them, sanitize them...or worst yet~~taste really gross???? I will be checking more things around the house...you've brought up a very interesting subject!

Jana said...

Everytime I pop into Nitty Gritty I leave inspired, Jodi! I, too, have recently re-discovered the joys exercise can bring a gal....those endorphins are good stuff!!

Jenny said...

I think the dish soap has an expiration date because that is when the lemons in the lemony-fresh scent would have gone bad :)

On the biking, I have a bike, but I haven't really ridden it much in the last year, or at all, wait, I think I did ride it 2 streets away to find my child once, but that was because the power was out and consequently I couldn't use the cordless phone, or get the car out of the garage without pulling the handle and last time I did that i could hardly lift the door up it was so heavy and then it slammed down and I was afraid it was going to break the windows. Anyways, how far do you have to ride to make the pants fit better? I would think even riding around my neighborhood (ugly and treeless as it is) would be ok and work unless of course you are riding up hill both ways or down the side of rocky cliffs or something. Hmmm...that is inspiration for me...excercise you like! I hate to sweat. So far my main exercise besides chasing kids is floating in the pool, the exercise part comes in by holding my book or newspaper up to read and moving it out of the way from the kids splashing :) After 20 minutes or so, my arms get tired! lol

I have a story to tell you about sacrifice, but I will do it in a seperate post :)

Jenny said...

Now on to my story...

There is the sweetest couple in the world that I go to church with. They are grandparents and perfect for each other and I thought they had been together for a hundred years. (Turns out they have only been married/together for 10 years after they were both spouseless) John has pretty severe arthritis that leaves his hands knotted up, and has diabetes and a few other things and he is in a wheelchair. Arlene takes care of his every need and you can tell they love each other SO much!

Some time ago, they lived in a house that was paid off. One of their children got out of a bad relationship and needed a place, so they signed the house over to her to live in with their grandkids. Now that sounds like a huge sacrifice for anybody, but in their case, it literally left them with nothing. They have a very limited income, and now live in some low-income grandparent apartments.

Everywhere they go, Arlene faithfully hauls John's wheelchair in and out of the back of their truck, (that has no a/c and we live in Arizona where it is hotter then heck alot of the year) and brings it around and sets it up for him to get into. She pushes him around he helps by pulling with his feet.

We are doing a service project at church for "Make a Difference Day" in October. We are going to be furnishing a new childrens shelter with everything from furniture to diapers to linens to food. We have put out a list of items needed, and anything is greatly appreciated.

Arlene called and asked if I could help her and bring my boys. We got to their house, and the living room floor was filled with bags of things she and John had purchased for this project. I was in shock. I have seen this sweet couple at the grocery store picking through the produce that is pennies to find a cantaloupe with some good still on it, or strawberries that aren't completely covered in mold to eat. This is what their monthly budget allows. Now, here this sweet couple is, sacrificing for these little children who have been abused by a parent or guardian who was supposed to love them unconditionally.

It took the 3 or us 2 trips each to take out all the items they had purchased for this project. I was doing my best not to cry because of the Christ like example they have shown me and the huge sacrifice I know this is to them.

When we got it all loaded, they said "now, we have some money left, so be sure to let us know what else is needed for this project". I just tried to choke out "okiwillthankyouforallofit".

By the time I got to the car I was crying because I was so overcome with the emotions of knowing of their true sacrifice to give to others.

Anonymous said...

Remember the Oprah episode that you referred to recently? Kristin Armstrong was on that show, and while I kind of thought Oprah bashed marriage just a little, Kristin's message was loud and clear, and I agree with her: (as christin r also stated in her post) It's important to remember your own desires, interests, hobbies, and inner-self to maintain a happy home and marriage. It's when you lose sight of who you really are that you begin to feel empty. And I believe that you do a fantastic job of knowing where to draw the line between 'jody time' and 'all other obligations time'. I, myself, also feel good about that, too. So often I see wives who are so into running errands and serving there family, and you ask them what their hobbies are and they don't know. That's sad. So anyway, good for you on the bike riding, scrapbooking, blogging, etc. You are not only taking care of yourself, but also your marriage and your family! My 2 cents...

Anonymous said...

Good stuff

Bob H