Yes, we were thankful for my new job last May. No, I was not thankful for my new commute. For many people, a one-hour commute isn’t much to complain about. But if you’re used to a commute from your bed, to the bathroom, to your desk each morning, it can be a rude awakening. Needless to say, I was coming home each day just a little more grumpy than before.
So after a few months of that, our original plan to stay at my parents home and save some money on the side went out the window. That’s when I started taking lunch breaks to scout out the apartments in the area by my work.
I eventually zeroed in on one particular complex about 2 minutes from my work. It was relatively new, clean, safe, and affordable. So I began monitoring the online rates every day when I work up. After a few weeks of monitoring, I woke up one day to an unbelievable rate on a two bedroom unit, which happened to be going for less than the one bedroom model we were eyeing. I went in early that morning to investigate. It turned out they had listed the price incorrectly, but they said they’d honor the rate. We moved in that weekend, and we’ve been very happy with our new place.
Our living room with Cathe's seasonal handiwork on the wall
The office where not much blogging happens
For a while now, there was a little nagging voice in the corner of my mind that told me to dust off the keyboard and write in my blog. So after suppressing it long enough, here I am. So to ease my way into the practice, I thought it’d be a good idea to take a look back at 2010 and count some of the many blessings that God’s poured out into my life.
Around May of last year, I started a new job doing merchandising at an online retailer. After working at home for two solid years, it was a welcome change of pace to actually be in an office. I won’t lie–having actual warm bodies to interact with on a daily basis did have its adjustments. If you thought I was awkward before, try talking to me after what little social skills I had were out of practice for that long.
Regardless, it’s been a good ride so far, and there is much to be thankful for. I’m in an industry that I thoroughly enjoy (tech). Of course, there are times when work is just work–but by and large, it’s been gratifying learning about the business and industry. Co-workers have been helpful, and some of the more experienced ones have even go out of their way to show me the ropes, which I’ve greatly appreciated. Free lunch every day isn’t a bad perk either.
Day 1 of my week-long vacation and it’s raining. Not fun. Plus, we’re spending time in San Jose this week, which would normally be great. But this week, for some reason, there seems to be a plethora of sweet food deals near home. Here are some that I’ve read about over the weekend:
Chick-fil-A Snack Attack: SoCal Chick-fil-As are giving out free goodies everyday this week from 2pm-5pm, including chicken strips and nuggets. Chick-fil-A rocks. Like I mentioned before, Cathie and I have probably eaten 20+ free meals there over the last year.
Jamba Juice Buy 1 Get 1 Free: They’re celebrating 20 years in business with a two-week long coupon for buy 1 get 1 free smoothies. Love me some mango-a-go-go.
Starbucks Free Brewed Coffee: On Thursday, April 15, if you take in your own mug, Starbucks will fill it up with free brewed coffee.
Jack in the Box Free Fryday: Then, on Friday, April 16, JITB is introducing its new fries by giving them away for free.
Tell your tummy I said you’re welcome.
“Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:11 (Jesus speaking to the women caught in adultery)
Words of grace. Salvation doesn’t come by way of holiness, but holiness is a result of grace. In our brokenness, when we are defeated and give up our own striving, Christ gives us words of grace to enable us. What a salvation; what a savior.
(Heavy breathing and sobbing) “I got into an accident.”
Let me back-up a little. It’s Saturday night, and I’m at home hanging out with a friend. My wife is out shooting her first wedding ever (so proud of her), and it’s getting pretty late. I get a little concerned, so I call her. No answer. Okay, no biggie. Wait ten minutes, and I call her again. No answer again. Hm, okay, she’s probably busy.
By the time I call her the third time, it’s nearly 10pm, and she’s been gone for over 10 hours. I’m not typically a worry wart, so I’m surprised to be fighting off crazy thoughts of accidents or even worse.
When I finally hear my wife’s ring-tone at half past 10, I calm my nerves and pick up the phone. The moment I hear her sobbing voice, my heart sinks and a rush of blood shoots up my head. I run upstairs, grab my keys, and run out to my car as she’s struggling to explain what happened. Her car had spun out on the freeway while she was driving home.
That was undoubtedly the scariest call I’ve had in my life. Once the situation settled down, and I realized she was unharmed (so thankful!), I had some time to process what had happened. The initial shock wore off, but I’ve been thinking about the feeling all week. I can’t help but wonder about how many people get even worse news over the phone each day. Loved ones getting terrible, earth-shattering phone calls and visits. And if you think about it, the chances are good that everyone will experience that type of trauma in their life at some point or other.
For me, it was a sober but timely reminder that we are pilgrims in this life, and as Steven Curtis Chapman so succinctly says: we are not home yet. The only true security we have is the hope we have in Christ.
Originally wrote this in October, 2009, and it’s been sitting as a draft. Draft no more:
Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
Only recently did I realize that there was some correlation between the lack of hardship in my life and my inability to sympathize with others in their trials. To mourn with those who are mourning. I would hear of hardships in the lives of those around me, and often pray for God to strengthen them in their time of need. But at the same time, I couldn’t understand firsthand the position they were in.
My prayer is that as a result of our miscarriage, my heart would be opened to those in and near my life who are going through trials. I want to be able to love them the same way so many loved us in such a difficult time: to pray for them, to write them an encouraging email, to visit them in their time of mourning, to bring them a meal, groceries, or ice cream–to be Christ to them.
I don’t want to presume upon God’s purposes in such trials, but I’m confident that one of the results of our troubles is that it deepens our capacity to feel, which in turn helps us to feel for others.
Lots of free goodies today:
Free pancakes at IHOP
Endless pancakes from Denny’s
Free grilled sandwich with a large drink at Jack in the Box
And since we’re talking about free goodies and great deals, here are some other great resources for OC residents:
Groupon: Great deals for food, trips, and various services. The “deal is on” only if enough people make the purchase. So far, I’ve seen nearly half off deals on massages, house-cleaning services, meals, trips, and hot air balloon rides.
CheapIrvine: They have various deals for Irvine restaurants, and they feature a Coupon Deal of the Day, which is limited on a first-come first-serve basis.
ChickFila , Santa Ana on Twitter: I think Cathie and I have had at least 20 total free meals in the past few months here. They do one free lunch entree each Wednesday and one free breakfast item on Friday morning. Last week was customer appreciation day and they had free lunch from Monday to Thursday. This Twitter feed is specific to our area, but other Chick-fil-A’s might do the same thing.
If you have any other free food resources, share the love.