Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lessons from Wal-Mart

If you're anything like me, I cringe just a little bit come May and June. Not that I'm a scrooge or wish not to be appropriately ecstatic at high school and college graduations. The dilemma is simply logistical: How can I give a gift that doesn't seem too, well, cheap? (Not much chance at giving a seemingly over-the-top gift, like a car or enough money that fills a bank account.) But there was one particular graduation announcement that required double-time thinking. What to do? What to do?

Cheyenne is my niece. She is bright and beautiful and just had a college diploma handed to her in May. But she did it the hard way. Cheyenne brought a little girl into the world a year ago tomorrow. Most would have thrown in the towel. But not Cheyenne. She beat the odds, staying in school, parenting exceptionally, and already has the first course of her masters degree completed. My hat is off to her!

I spent a lot of time thinking about my gift to her. Of course, I was a day late and a dollar short since I was not able to attend her graduation celebrations. Nonetheless, I decided on a letter and a string of gifts. This is what I wrote:

Dear Cheyenne,
 I am really sorry that circumstances prevented us from coming to your graduation. You are to be commended for your hard work, focus, and perseverance. That being said, you have earned rights to a really terrific graduation gift. However, the rub is this. I couldn’t think of anything that was fitting. Everything was either too cheap or too expensive. So I got to thinking. (Dangerous, I know.) And what I settled on was rather. . .well, untraditional. Hope you don’t mind.

As I waltzed myself through Wal-Mart, I got to thinking about all the life lessons that could be reflected in some of the products. Hence, you are getting a smattering of things, none of which, quite frankly, have much intrinsic value. However, I hope what will not be lost are those principles that the items represent. So, here we go. Read each statement and then open the corresponding gift.
Life is beautiful. You are living proof of that. On the inside and out, and reflected by your daughter, your life screams out grace and mercy, humility, perseverance, and that sweet, sweet aroma of Jesus. Savor it.  
Wall decal
You are planning to be a teacher. Wonderful. You’ve been standing in line for this wild ride for a long time. While you’re waiting, I’m sure many thoughts cross your mind, just as they would if you waited for the terrifying but exhilarating first drop of a monster roller coaster. So while you wait, use these journals to jot down your ideas. Some of them are bound to be good. The other ones may provide comic relief once you’ve been in the classroom a few years. “What was I thinking?!?!?!?!?"

In some cases, having a thick skin can be quite advantageous. If you’re a rhino, for example, few things will be able to penetrate that thick hide. Therefore, Rhonda the Rhino can choose not to pay attention to the bird sitting on its head or the insects trying to bite and sting. You can do likewise. There will be some who annoy you, perhaps even aggravate or disrespect you. Ignore them. Just go about doing what you know to be right and just and true. And while you’re at it, keep that thick skin smooth and beautiful with a little exfoliating soap. Thick hide or not, sometimes we need our rough edges smoothed out to give us that soft, beautiful glow.

Clean heart. Clean mouth. And a little brushing never hurt anyone.

  If you make a mistake, clean it up right away. Don’t wait and let the stain set. But remember this, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Ps 103:12)

  If it seems to be raining in your life, you have two choices. A) Stay inside and mope or B) Get out your umbrella and have a dance party. The latter will lift the mood.

 Sometimes a girl just has to have a little bling. Decorate a tee and remember, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more” (Ps 71:14). 
Sorry. Didn’t think to include the tee.

Dream big. Do big.

____ happens. (You know what I'm talk'n about.) When it does, put a fresh spin on things.

After ________ happens, wash up real good (at least a 20 second scrub with soap and lots of friction per the CDC). . . then kick back and eat some chocolate.

If________ continues to happen, go with it. Flash folks that winning smile of yours!

No matter what, keep your head in the game and a hat on your head.

When it’s all said and done, keep calm and carry on.

We love you, Cheyenne.  Congratulations on your accomplishment!
Gary, Rebekah, Caleb and Seth (Although we all know the males in the group had nothing to do with this gift.)


Cheyenne said...

Hehe, I absolutely looove the gifts, and it was really fun to open them all up! Also, thanks for the sweet words ;) I couldn't have done it if it wasn't for all the support I received from family and friends. Your prayers brought me to where I am today. God is SO good!

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Yes. God is good. And so are your wonderful, supportive parents! (But I'm sure you know and appreciate that fact.) That kid of yours is lucky to have such a family.

Follow the yellow lines

Jack in his younger days "Well, you know I can't live here by myself. I'm moving in with you." I guess he was serious....