You may have seen the quote by American syndicated humorist Art Buchwald,1 “The best things in life aren’t things.” It has a way of popping up in my mind whenever I’m about to buy a new gadget that I’ve seen advertised or exchange a household appliance for the latest model. Sometimes I give in anyway, but at least this saying usually helps me give the purchase some extra thought and consideration.
I love photography. When I got my first camera—a cheap point and shoot—I thrilled to the new world of possibilities. I took it everywhere and captured a lot of memories, till the day it fell against a hillside rock and failed me forever after.
Then I upgraded to a bridge camera with more options and a much greater built-in zoom. This was my pride and joy for years, though eventually my skills outgrew it as well. I wanted something that took the photo as soon as I pressed the button.
My husband and I spent a year in a small town in Tanzania. When I say a “small town,” I mean a town with two stoplights, no supermarket, no restaurants to speak of, only one two-story building, and no entertainment! We lived in a simple house with only the most basic furnishings and conveniences.
I’ve kept a journal of some kind since my preteen years. At the beginning of this year, I decided that I would not only record things of obvious significance when they occurred, but I would write at least a line or two every single day, whether or not anything apparently noteworthy took place. I’m happy to say I’m well on track to finish strong.
I vividly recall the men in our neighborhood gathering every evening after work in a vacant lot next to my house for a game of horseshoes. The pace of life was more relaxed when I was a child. Work was from nine to five, and then it was time to knock off and play horseshoes.
Our true treasures are not money and possessions. Our true treasures are the kingdom of God, His love and interaction in our lives, our salvation, God’s provision and care for us, and our coming rewards. Understanding this puts our finances and their use in the right perspective.
I have spent the past several years caring for loved ones. I helped care for friends who had serious illnesses, and I became a full-time caregiver for my mother until she passed away from terminal cancer in 2009.
One thing that I enjoyed about the years I spent in Japan is how adept the Japanese are at turning everyday activities into art forms. Such routine tasks as making tea, arranging flowers, gardening, and raking rocks have been transformed into cultural and spiritual experiences. I admire how they hold on to and appreciate the beauty of the simple tasks of life.