Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Crafty Valentine

I guess I'm a pretty festive person. I love decorating for all sorts of holidays. I didn't go all out for Valentine's Day, but here are a few of my creations...

This is what I spent a Saturday afternoon doing... I layered buttons and tied them with wire to create some whimsical "flowers." It took a lot longer than I anticipated to get it just right, but I like the result.

I sprinkled leftover white, red, and pink buttons around some candles and potpourri sticks on a cake plate for a coffee table centerpiece with a little vintage flair.

I made some paper roses that added some simple accents around a vase.

Since Valentine's Day falls smack in the middle of my birthday and Mark's birthday, we opted not to go out for dinner. Instead we cooked a nice romantic dinner at home of scallops with lavender and basil, and for dessert some delicious chocolate croissants. It beat the heck out of fighting the crowds for a mediocre meal at a pricey restaurant!

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Life Right Now - Marriage

I’ve been married over a year and a half. On one hand, I guess we still qualify as newlyweds, and sometimes I think,” Wow…I’m a wife!” On the other hand, it feels like we’ve always been married. It’s weird to think there was a time in my life when we weren’t together, when I didn’t even know Mark, when all my pining over silly boys was a big fat waste of time. But I know that was the time when God was preparing me for my future husband.

In July 2008 we had been married for a few weeks, and I came down with a mild case of the “honeymoon-is-over-blues.” I had spent nine exciting months planning a wedding, coordinating every detail and enjoying every moment leading up to the most fabulous celebration of my life. Then the wedding day came, and it was all a blur. It was over. Just like that. Some weeks later we went to another wedding, and as I looked at the beautiful bride, in my head I was pouting, “It’s not about me anymore…” And though I already knew it, the truth didn’t hit me until a little later, “DUH!” – it was never about me. It was about US starting our lives together as husband and wife. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the wedding and ignore the obviously most important piece, the marriage. The wedding lasted only a few hours, but we have an entire lifetime of excitement ahead of us.

I'm not going to say we have the perfect marriage - who does? We do things that drive each other crazy - I forget to turn off the lights when I leave a room, and Mark keeps all his clothes in piles on the floor - but we learn to live with it. We argue a lot more than we ever did when we were dating, but somehow we always wind up laughing at the end of it. We discover that our selfishness become more apparent in marriage, but we pray that God will give us the grace to consider the other. The challenges of marriage (which I’ll save for another post) are very real. But I love my husband, I love being married, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day - the Value of a Dollar

In honor of tomorrow, I want to share something that really touched me...

Last year I was working at the bank on the Friday before Valentine's Day. A man, probably in his late 60's, came to my window to make a cash deposit. The stack totaled just under $2000 in mixed denominations, and all of the currency was of the older design, dating mostly in the 80's and 90's. I was curious - maybe he was one of those that kept money buried in a tin can in his back yard. I made a comment like, "Wow, this is some pretty old money." He kind of half-smiled and shrugged, "I guess."
I could tell he didn't want to talk, so I didn't press any further. In my mind I was judging him as just another grumpy old customer. He stood quietly as I continued to count his money. I finished the transaction and handed him his receipt, "Is there anything else I can do for you today?" He stood there for a second and then said, "Well, since it's Valentine's Day, I'll tell you a love story. My wife died seven years ago, but the whole time we were married she charged me a quarter for each of my shirts that she washed and ironed. That money is all the money that she earned from me and kept in her trunk."
I don't know what made him decide that today was the day to part with it, but I knew that the love and memories attached to the currency far exceeded its cash value. His story touched me so much that I had another teller swap one of the bills so that I could buy it. Now I keep it in my dresser drawer as a little reminder to enjoy the simple and sweet moments in my marriage that I sometimes take for granted. Because someday when we're a grumpy old married couple, those are the moments I want to remember.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Life Right Now - Work

"I’m a bank teller (Ryan told me to always tell women you work in finance).” – Michael Scott

Every time someone asks what I do, I always answer, “I work at a bank.” I secretly hope that he will not ask the next question, “What do you do there?”, so I don’t have to say that I am a little peon at the bottom of the totem pole cashing checks and taking deposits. Ok, there is actually a lot more to being a teller than that, but either way, it’s not my thing. People get really weird when it comes to money. They are rude, impatient, and smelly (I keep a can of Lysol and a big supply of hand sanitizer at my window at all times!). And the attitudes – is it really so hard to smile? A couple of things that particularly irritate me:

ID’s – I will never understand why people get upset when they have to provide identification for receiving cash or information on their account. People seem to take offense to requests for ID’s – as if I am accusing them of something. Or maybe they think I should automatically know who they are. After all, they have a lot of money in this bank, so shouldn’t every single teller in every branch across the state know their face?? Personally, I am grateful when I get asked for my ID - it lets me know that my privacy and finances are being protected. And it doesn’t take THAT much effort to pull out my driver’s license.

Cell phones – I think it is incredibly rude when someone walks up to my window yapping away on his or her phone. How do you expect me to provide excellent customer service when all that I can interact with is vague facial expressions and a quarter of your attention?

Aside from the unpleasantness of dealing with the general public, the monotony of the job is wearing. I am a creative person, and I like having a physical product to show for my efforts. How wonderful it would be to get paid for doing arts and crafts all day, but unfortunately my search for a “Martha Stewart” position on turned up no hits.

Lest my superiors read this and think I’m complaining, I AM GRATEFUL TO HAVE A JOB! I know a lot of people are not as blessed to have a job that pays the bills, provides health insurance, etc. As long as I am at this job, I will be cheerful and work my hardest. I just know that I am meant for something else in the long run…