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This morning I was sitting on the back step in the sun, watching the cat prowl around the half-weeded garden. It was one of those really lovely, simple, satisfying moments. My first thought was, “We’re so lucky to live here”, which I immediately corrected to “We’re so blessed”. I’m not equating luck with blessings by any means; rather, I am acknowledging that all these good things we have don’t just happen to us by chance, or by anything that we have maneuvered, but they are given to us by a loving and generous God.

Then I went inside to have my breakfast, and unwrapped the Sunday paper.

If there was ever a thing that showed up the contrast between the Christian life and what the world has to offer, it is the lifestyle section of the Sun-Herald. Maybe there are only some of us who are susceptible to this, but I find the rare occasions when I flick through the ‘S’ supplement of the Sun-Herald leave me feeling dissatisfied, feeling bad about myself, and with a strange urge to go shopping.

I ate my porridge and drank my coffee, idly scanning over photos of celebrities and party people, an article defending the use of swearing in everyday conversation, and a profile on Angelina Jolie, the “mighty-hearted actress” who “finds there is no rest for a beautiful, wanted woman”. But the thing that finally made me shove the paper away was the box titled, “Don a dog tag to win in the style stakes”, which offered solutions for both the ‘filthy rich’ and ‘dirt poor’ fashion conscious who think wearing a little metal disc on a chain around their necks will make them the envy of all. The filthy rich option was an Emporio Armani tag for a cool $399 and the dirt poor? Well thank goodness that those people who are having trouble paying the bills and buying enough nutritious food will be able to be cutting edge for only $119 – what a bargain for a silly little bit of metal with some brand’s logo stamped on it.

(I was only up to page 11 of a 32-page supplement. Thank goodness I didn’t feel compelled to read right to the end, or this rant might have been a lot longer!)

I’ll be better served going back outside and finishing off my gardening job from yesterday, and thinking more about the many blessings God has given me, which don’t involve finding my identity in clothing and accessories. Maybe the newspaper will make a good base for one of my veggie beds…