Thursday, January 3, 2008

Resolution: To Matter

I'm from Texas and I make my living in the oil and gas business. Needless to say, I work for and with people who have a lot of money. I was reminded of this today. Angela got a diamond-studded Rolex for Christmas. Randy flew his private plane to Houston for New Year's. "What did you do Christmas?" asked Diana, my co-worker, at lunch today.

I told her, ending with: "... and we drove around Christmas night looking at lights."

"Oh!" she breathed. "We did too! We got one of those Hummer limousines with a fireplace and water walls and went to that display in Grand Prairie." And that was after they spent $600 on lunch, apparently, at the Gaylord Texan.

"Six hundred dollars!" I gasped, immediately thinking two things: What in the world did you eat that they could charge $600 for? And: Crap. Six hundred bucks would feed me for a year!

All week I've been listening to what my multi-millionaire buddies are going to buy this year. Where they're going to vacation. What yacht or ATV or car or TV they're going to get. And it's cool, I guess. Gosh knows I have my eye on appliances for my kitchen and a trip to England. But after a while... after all the stuff is unloaded and all the new becomes old... isn't it bound to feel... well, a little empty?

"I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful," Marilyn Monroe said. I thought of that quote when I was making my new year's resolutions for this year. Do you make resolutions? I do. Sometimes I keep them and sometimes I don't. Last year I did, so I'm hoping to make it a two-in-a-row type of deal in 2008. Yep, I sat down Tuesday with a pencil and thought and thought. I'd write something down, then I'd erase it. I'd write something else down, then I'd mark it out. I'd scribble other words, then I'd crumple up the paper and start again. What is it you want to achieve? I kept asking myself. Who is it you want to be? And finally I wrote one down. Just one. The paper read:

New Year's Resolutions:
1. To matter.

It suprised me, I think. It wasn't a resolution I'd been planning. What an enormous thing to resolve yourself to. It almost made me cry. I mean, what in this world could be more significant than to matter?

So here's Matter Project #1: handmade pillow cases and toiletry items for a women's shelter in Texas and a children's church camp in Mexico. It's not much, but it's what I can handle on the road. I'm collecting small items... hotel sizes are great... in shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, etc., and packaging them in pretty pillowcases and shipping them out April 1st. In plenty of time for summer mayhem. My first bit of fabric (it takes a yard for a pillowcase) is from Purlsoho. And I'm already hitting up my traveling co-workers for supplies from their hotel rooms.

Crazy? Yeah. Guess I am. But I'd probably do something stupid with a Rolex anyway... like drop it in the toilet. And private little planes make me nervous... JFK Jr. and all. And my favorite place to eat will always be Chili's. Six hundred dollars can buy a lot of Chicken Tacos. So I suppose I'll be here, sewing pillowcases and tying tiny shampoo bottles with ribbon and trying... in some small way... to matter.

31 comments:

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

I'm with you, Brin. I want to matter too & have really been thinking of ways I can make a difference this year in other's lives. I don't care all that much about stuff like Rolexes & big houses, things like that. I'm perfectly content where I am. I'm hoping that the Lord will show me how I can matter more too in the new year.

Hugs,
Rhoda

April C. said...

You hit one of my resolutions too! The other one is help others know THEY matter. To me. To God. I don't think we make people feel important, nearly enough. Then we're left feeling like there was so much we didn't say, wishing we had a little more time. I don't want to live that way. So, I'm joining you.

My resolutions:
1) To matter
2) To let others know THEY matter

Cathleen said...

Brin, don't you realize you already do 'matter'? Reading your words, enjoying your photos, and the way you find contentment in the little things in life inspire me and give me hope. I'm sure many others feel the way I do. Thank you for having a big huge, Texas-size, giving and generous heart!

Martha said...

I was watching a new show called Party Mama's and this woman spent $30,000 on a birthday party for her 10 year old son. If she had spent even $1000 and sent the $29000 to a charity she would have honored her son more. One of the shows commercials was for St Jude's Hospital. We all need to stop and think. Thank you for you warm thoughts and helping me to think more.

Mama Lisa said...

i like that. have you ever heard the story of the man walking along the beach, riddled with starfish from a bad storm? he was picking up one starfish at a time and throwing them back in the ocean. a passerby said, "how can you possibly make a difference here when there are thousands of starfish here on the beach?" the gentle man tossed another starfish back into the ocean and said, "i made a difference to that one!" and he kept on humbly walking and throwing them back into their homes ...one by one. making a difference...making them matter.

Mod Girl said...

And in trying to matter you will bless...and be blessed.

betty r said...

To matter and let others know they matter...I like those resolutions, Brin and April!
Never mind the "big money" lives...I don't want it. I'm quite happy in my own little corner trying to make the world a better place to live. I love your idea Brin of collecting all those little hotel bottles and sending them where they are needed and appreciated.
Would be wonderful if we all made that our motto..to matter and to let others know they matter..

Christina said...

Your New Year's resolution is powerful and inspiring. Thank you for your heart!

Lindy said...

Good for you! True joy and contentment can NEVER be obtained by obtaining STUFF... no matter how expensive it is or how wonderful it seems at the moment.

My New Year's resolution is to be more thankful for the blessings that I do have, and to be more kind and generous towards others. So far my plan is to go on a crocheting spree and make afghans for practically everyone I know. lol

And you do matter! You matter to me. I visit your blog every day, and I am always inspired or challenged in some way. Thanks for that! :)

Lindy said...

PS: Besides... with all your labors of love... you're "laying up treasures in heaven... where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt." :)

Robin J. said...

What gorgeous resolution, Brin.

I hope you know it matters to many of us that you continue to post your thoughts and prayers, especially when you stumble upon inspirational nuggets such as this.

grace said...

Hummers with fireplaces and water walls???? Thanks for filling me in! I'm obviously very much out of the loop. God has placed you in a very interesting place ... to be be his salt and light. You matter so much....already!

jimr75 said...

In provoking the thought, you already prove that you matter. That's the stone in the pond; now you're going for bigger waves!

Happy new year!

Bax said...

What a wonderful post! In our business we've met alot of very wealthy people and my first thought when I drive up to their homes is "Gosh, I hope they're being philanthropic with all this money". Unfortunately, some of them aren't! You ARE making a difference and you do matter! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Jan

She sure is strange! said...

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.
"I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone." "The Wise Woman's Stone" Author Unknown

Like April said, don't worry as much if YOU matter, work on helping others to know that THEY matter. You DO matter, I love reading your blog about your adventures in traveling and fixing up a home, you are one LUCKY girl deary!! One LUCKY girl!!!

Molly

Haus Frau said...

bingo!

Daffodil Hill said...

Sweet Brin, you DO matter! You are making a difference every single day through this blog. With your attitude, I know you are making a difference in a million other ways, too. Keep living the simple life, and keep being yourself. It's a winning combination!

Hazel said...

This is truly the best post I have read this year!!

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Oh Brin, you DO matter! I wish you could see the impact you have on us, your fans! We love you and cling on every word, your our Martha Stewart! lol

Amy said...

Brin, that's awesome! It really makes me think about how shallow we can be sometimes.

By the way, I have travel size toiletries I can add to your stash if you want, just email Jim your address. (They were an obsession for a while and now they just look pretty in my travel bags!)

Cottage said...

Oh my, I know just what you mean! Working with investors and finally getting my feet wet by investing, my hubby asked 'what will we do with the money?'. We sat wrapped up on the patio (5 miles from the Gaylord Texan) and thought about it while the old backyard grill cooked our steaks just the way we like them.

We looked at each other and hubby said 'We can donate a house to the church each year for a needy family' and I nodded in agreement and added 'and grill out more often'. :)

Today my son read a bible verse to me, it was from Psalms 91...and for hours I basked in His love, off-loaded the greed and want that we are subjected to among the high-rises and glut of shopping; the decadence of this world and cherished my peace and sat on the patio, cool breeze blowing, and thanked God for his Rest.

Your blog so frequently speaks what's on my mind.

Elaine said...

Dear Brin,
How I love your blog and this post is exacrly what I needed to be reminded of!
I have a beautiful cross stitched picture with the caption that says:
"Flowers leave some of their fragrance in the hand that bestows them".
It is so true that we can NEVER outgive God and that even when we give a simple gift like a cup of cold water, we have given as unto the Lord and we will recieve a blessing for that from God, both now and later!
It is so true in my experience that the most joy I recieve is by trying to give more than I take and yes, this joy is much greater than a material possession ( although those certainly have their place).
About your sewing ministry, how great that is! Before I learned to sew, I remember being mesmerized by anything handmade, that someone would give to me as a gift! First, because oft eh skill they had, that I did not possess, and secondly, because of the TIME they had invested! Doing some kind of ministry with my sewing is definetly one of my new year's goals!
The posts here are so touching and they remind me that the Spirit of Christmas is living well beyond December 25!
God bless all,
Elaine
www.ElaineBarnett.com
Writing To Encourage YOU!

Erin said...

Brin,
the other day I was checking out your blog (I am a busy housewife and mother of 2 two -year olds until my oldest turns three later in January)anyway, I was looking at your blog and I suddenly felt silly and thought I should be doing something less "silly" than reading pretty words and looking at pretty pictures. Immediately it was like God spoke into my heart : Joy isn't silly and neither is pleasure. I realized that day to day God is surrounding me with comfort and joy. So thank you for the joy -and the pleasure.

~Kristen~ said...

My wonderful friend Robin (she posted above) who matters to me so much, led me to your blog today and I am so thankful she did! How inspiring! I look forward to many more visits!

Kristen
Peabody MA

ancient one said...

I have always loved your blog. I just like the way you think!! You do matter to so many of us!

Anonymous said...

Hello Brin. Believe me, if you show others that THEY matter, you will definitely matter. Have you ever seen the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart? This movie drives that principle home. How ridiculous some wealthy people can be, wasting money that way! I wouldn't even want that stuff if I COULD afford it. I would feel ridiculous even stepping into a Hummer limo! Something like that is so against all that I am about. I have everything I need and more. We have NEVER gone out and bought the latest and the greatest. I am reading a book called Hard Times, An Oral History of the Great Depression. What an eye opener, and what a great 1st account reading of the people who experienced it. There is a line in it, stated by one of the people interviewed, that is so profound that I am going to carry it into the New Year: speaking of material goods, this gal stated, "Security to me is not in what we have, but what we can do without." You are wise in learning now, at your young age, to turn away from the "Rolex" mentality. You will be much richer for it, in more ways than one!

Donna said...

Oh Brin.
The life the people riding around in the Hummer Limo can't hold a candle to your wonderful life at Freeman House. I'd much rather ride around in an old VW Bus to look at the lights or to go anywhere else. It's my dream car for this simple girl. I could move into your house & think I'd hit the lottery & got a mansion. Things are what we make them be. I'll keep mine simple

Lallee said...

I remember hearing George Grant speak several years ago and drumming in the fact that all great movements have started at the grass roots level. The small things we are able to do, really do matter and make a difference. If we each throw the pebble (of care, voice, etc.) in our little ponds, it does start a ripple that travels out. So lots of small ponds, lots of little pebbles, can start large waves. We're responsible for our small part. I ask the Lord to show me the small needs right around me and to put away my sin of selfishness for my time and move to do something. I have many elderly around me who need some loving visits. My crochet earnings are currently going towards my church's new youth building. Thank you for this message, Brin.

Mrs. JoAnne Mabey said...

you have always mattered to me. since the day i met you- i think that you can make a new resolution now. ;)

Nen said...

today i have really been struggling with contentment... i stumbled upon your blog for a reason. your words are inspiring. i hope to be able to matter and to let others know that they matter. i am still trying to figure out what gift(s) it is that God wants me to use and how i can keep my mind and heart focused on Him so that i AM content in all situations.

Robyn Regan said...

Well Brin your life looks great to me!!! Hey and if you want to come to the UK..I have a spare bed. We live near Aberdeen and I know what you are saying about the gas and oil industry!!! We are not in that league and if I was I certainly wouldn't be wasting it on stuff. xxxRobby