October 26, 2011

First Snow

We had our first snow today.  Standing outside feeling the snow fall on my face is a gift.  Quiet, still, beautiful snow.  Snow that silences the busy world.  I stand there and, if only for a moment, I consider that God really is good.

He really is loving.
He really is gracious.

A glimpse of the majesty of my Lord in a tiny flake of snow.

76.  The seasons first snow
77.  Seeing my husband from many miles away
78.  Listening to the soft sleepy breathing of my 4 year old
79.  The smell of rolls in the oven
80.  Warm soup
81.  Colorful leaves trapped in wax paper
82.  Bright smiling eyes
83.  The reminder that God will indeed one day make all things new
84.  Little girl falling asleep in my arms
85.  Seeing the world through the lens of my camera
86.  The wonder of a child
87.  Folded clothes
88.  The way God moves and speaks right where I'm at
89.  Endless games of tag
90.  The soft touch of Madi's hand
91.  Missing my husband... reminding me how much I love him
92.  Perspective brought through death of a friend's son
93.  Sadness and joy mingled in tears
94.  Playgrounds
95.  Libraries and hunt for new adventures in pages
96.  My husband
97.  Fireplaces full of crackling
98.  God's presence in suffering
99.  Moments to read God's Word
100.  Breakfast alone at a diner
101.  Sisters living in unity
102.  Making big pottery bowls
103.  Little fingers wrapped around my own
104.  A quiet moment
105.  Sticker "birthday" cards from Avery
106.  Friends who pray
107.  Snuggles with Avery under fluffy covers
108.  Hugs from Madi
109.  Two sleeping beauties
110.  Soft carpet under my tired feet
111.  The sound of the furnace warming our home
112.  A husband who loves me no matter what
113.  Dates with my best friend, lover, and companion
114.  Heat blowing on my feet as I stand in the kitchen
115.  Long walks in the quiet
116.  Beautiful roses from my husband
117.  Our home
118.  Walking with a good friend sharing life together
119.  An 18 month old playing the "lip banjo"
120.  Big orange letters written by a 4 year old

A Glorious Hope

Read these words on a friend's blog the other day...

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"  Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."  He said to me:  "It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son."  Revelation 21:4-7

In a broken world I can live with hope of what is to come.  A glorious hope.  A picture of something so far beyond my experience here on earth. 

How I long for that day.  How I thirst to drink of that water.  How I long to live forever in that place of perfect peace and joy.

October 16, 2011

Beyond The Mundane

A few days ago I was chatting with some friends about how to transcend from what often seems like a mundane existence to something supernatural, beautiful, lovely

When I daily swim in loads of dirty laundry, listen to reruns of the soundtrack "Happy, Sad, and Mad Screams" (available anywhere you find children),  read the same children's book so many times I could recite it for memory, have polite yet superficial conversations with neighbors, get lunch on the table for two starving children while completely neglecting to feed myself, live in a quaint house, in a quaint town, with quaint schools, churches, grocery stores, and drive-thru Starbucks (we just got one here by the way)...  HOW do I see what is God's grace touched down to this earth?

I often think that my middle-class suburban life is a very difficult place to experience gratitude.  For to me, it seems... Average.  Undistinguished.  Normal.  I consider those living in "extremes" as having the perfect foundation for a life rich with thanksgiving.  That somehow, with extreme living comes a heightened sense to taste, touch, feel, and see the movements of God.  I read stories of the poor, persecuted, oppressed.  I see images of places with exotic and majestic beauty, cities with never-ending skylines, countries thick with mystery whose people live lives radically different than my own. 

I don't want normal.  I don't want undistinguished.  I don't want mundane.  I want extraordinary.  And these things can paralyze me from touching God's grace where I am.

Yet God has me here.  Okay.

If I stop fighting Him and live in the now I am bending my distorted will to His flawless will.  My eyes awakened to see beyond the physical to see what is spiritual.  To see God's grace...

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?
G.K. Chesterton

I pose myself this question...  Isn't even one grace enough?  Two healthy girls sleeping peacefully in their beds, a loving husband watching football downstairs while I write, friends who love me...

Therefore, the list goes on...
57.  Squeaky pajama feet on the kitchen floor.
58.  Avery teaching Madi new words.
59.  The wonder of a child learning to put words to what she sees.
60.  Smiles so big they make eyes disappear.
61.  Wind blowing through little girl's hair.
62.  The world's smallest ladybug climbing up the hammock rope.
63.  Timely words spoken by a wise pastor.
64.  The steamy whistle of a red teapot.
65.  Gourds all crooked and green.
66.  Hunting for the perfect pumpkin.
67.  Steam drifting up from hot tea looking like translucent flames.
68.  Rubbing Avery's face at bedtime.
69.  Mugs of tea that warm the hands.
70.  Sitting next to Avery at the park while she eats raisins.
71.  Pictures of my big girl that bring a permanent smile to my face.
72.  Driving with the windows down.
73.  Watching Avery play soccer on a cool fall morning.
74.  Trees all red and yellow.

75.  Chopping celery.

October 13, 2011

I Continue On

"How in the world will I ever write down 1000 moments of gratitude?!"  I have had this recurring thought many times on this journey.  It seems daunting.  Yet, I continue on.  

Wanting to experience the depth of real thanksgiving.
Wanting to know greater joy.
Wanting refreshment, hope, and perspective.
Wanting to be lifting from the weighty reality of this broken world... if even for a moment.

Even as I wrote these words of hoping for deeper gratitude an "explosion" happened in my home and heart.  Tantrums.  Whining.  Girls screaming.  My "agenda" got interrupted.  Napping ended.  Buttons got pushed.  And I just lost it.  How does that happen?  Take a deep breath... Pray...

Lord, you know the yuck of my heart and love me still.  Thank you.  Incline my heart to you.  Empower me to live out the grace I have received.  I'm sorry for the way I sin against you by acting out in anger toward the children you have blessed me with.  May they always know your love deeply and experience your transforming grace.  Amen.

Deep breath....  I continue on.

41.  Dimples on chubby cheeks.
42.  Sky so blue I get lost in it.
43.  Red leaves on a backdrop of a blue sky canvas.
44.  A faint dot of a moon in the middle of a blue sky.

45.  Mirrored reflections on still water.
46.  The warm touch of my husband's hand.
47.  A big pumpkin that my big girl grew all by herself.
48.  Bike rides with training wheels.
49.  The tick tock of our wall clock reminding me to "be still" for a moment.
50.  Bubble mountains.
51.  Bubble hats. 
 52.  Blanket forts.
 53.  The first sight of my husband after a long absence.
54.  Sweet words of a sister.
55.  Tears shed from a heart full of love for my girls.
56.  A glass of wine shared with close friends.