Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A Host of Blessings

The last few days - and especially nights - have been frickin' cold here in southeastern Virginia. Now, I know that those of you who live in places like New England or Minnesota or Canada will find this laughable, but we're not used to cold temperatures. The last few nights have gotten below 20F, which is COLD here. I actually had to break out a hat and gloves when I went to class last night, and especially while I was filling my gas tank. We were supposed to get snow flurries last night - and we may have - but there was no evidence on the ground this morning. As much as I love a pretty, pristine snowfall, I am very thankful that I didn't have to drive to work through snow and ice this morning.

Last night, as I said good-bye to my family before I went to class, I noticed that my daughter was reading this blog. Too cool - a twelve-year-old who is reading her mother's blog! Maybe she just wants to know what I'm saying about her. I could make her mad by calling her the cutest little muffinbuns in the world, or addressing her as my pretty princess, or even discussing her bath and toilet habits as an infant and toddler, but I will refrain. Welcome, Becca-monster! I'm glad you stopped by.

My new laptop is finally, blessedly stable now. It hasn't given me a dreaded Blue Screen of Death since we reseated the DVD drive. When I let the corporate help desk know that they don't need to send me a new laptop, the lady said, "Wow, you're awfully technical for a Finance person." Um, yeah. I'm a software engineer at heart, and I'm married to a network engineer. We're both troubleshooters. I just laughed when I read the email, and decided it was a compliment. But I'm very thankful that everything is working now. And also thankful that the screen on this guy is larger than my old one.

Last night I had my first midterm in Operations Management, and tomorrow night I have my first midterm in Microeconomics. I feel pretty good about the midterm last night. I think I marked 5 questions out of the 60 that were questionable to me, and that's about 8%, so I will probably swing an A-. The econ midterm will have three (yes: 3) questions. It's not a big theory, formula-based class, but is more about applying the concepts to real-life situations. I feel torn between thinking I'm learning a lot, and thinking that everything I've learned was common sense anyway. :-) But that's what the authors of the textbook said in their introduction - that an introduction to microeconomics is more about teaching one how to think like an economist, which is a very common-sense-oriented way of thinking, once you know the framework. So I'm kind of nervous about the weight that will be allocated to each question, but the prof has been pretty lenient on his grading of our homework questions, which have been similar. I also have a project to do for my creative thinking class, but the professor teaching this class was nice enough to push out the deadline to Friday the 16th rather than Friday day-after-tomorrow, when we told her about our midterms this week. I'm very thankful to her for this!

I've been listening to music this morning, mostly sacred music. I bought an online CD that I'm very fond of - it's Acoustic Hymns by Mark Magnuson, and it is very soothing music while I'm working. The 13 hymns are played beautifully on acoustic guitar. I see that he has a wedding CD out as well, which is interesting to me since I play flute at weddings.

A story: in December, my children had the opportunity to see The Nutcracker live in Norfolk with their school, and I had to pick up my daughter after the ballet for a doctor appointment. I got there about 20 minutes before the end, and the ushers let me slip in the door and see the last part of the ballet. Within three minutes of slipping in, I found tears running freely down my cheeks. The revelation came to me suddenly that I have not had enough beauty in my life. I realized that I need to be intentional about bringing beauty into my life - intentionally listening to beautiful music, and exposing myself to beautiful visions, and actively seeking beauty in the world around me. Beautiful liturgy certainly falls in this category as well.

I am deeply thankful that there is so much beauty in the world that is just begging to be noticed and cherished. If you keep your senses ready, you can perceive so much beauty that goes unnoticed by those of us rushing about our daily lives. AND, I've also noticed that when my life has become frantic and I am stressed up to my eyeballs, that it's harder to perceive the beauty, but that it is far more important to soak it in. Beauty is very healing and restorative, if we only let ourselves perceive it. Thanks be to God!