Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rediscover Your Everyday Miracle

Every day you and I get to be a part of a miracle.

But I don't always see it. (Do you?)

It's undeniable when we see a beginning. A sweet newborn: we celebrate, we cuddle, we photograph. The miracle of life captures our attention and we pause to marvel at it.

But then our vision blurs. (My vision blurs.)

My schedule becomes hectic, and I find myself yelling like a madwoman for my family to hurry up, find their shoes - any shoes, matching is overrated - so we can get out the door and be almost on time somewhere. (Why can even the ordinary be stressful?) A phone call tells me my beloved grandma is in the hospital. (Oh, my heart. Why do people have to get sick? Why does pain exist?) My elementary age son is upset because a classmate pushed his lunch bag off the table to the floor and told him that was his seat. (Why do kids face stuff like that? How should I best handle this?) I get frustrated and tired....

...and I can't see the miracle.

But then, there are moments that stir my heart and remind me the wonder is still there...
In the middle of the night, our youngest son makes his way into our bed and fits his little body into the curve of mine. His lips pucker into steadfast breathing; I wrap my arms around him and cherish his smallness. Or I hear our three boys playing. They battle their toys with great animation and the sound captivates me. So much everyday love, I am lucky to be a mom.

With fingers laced around a warm drink, I look out the window and see the golden hues of the sunrise.
Man, it's beautiful. I linger. I feel the hope and fresh start a brand new day brings. And God gives us that gift every morning. Mind blowing.

My phone buzzes and I smile. It's a quick hello text from my mom and picture of my little niece wearing a paper bunny mask she proudly made. She's calling herself, "Carrots." Those pretty eyes and big grin, she is charming. People enrich my everyday life. Amazing, wonderful people. So blessed.


Yet, what do we do when we can't see the miracle? How do we mentally shift our focus from worry, pain, doubt, discouragement and fear to see the miracle of life and all the joy, love, hope and peace it holds?

Each morning, I fumble around for my glasses near my bed and I don't think about what makes me able to see - the lens that bends the light so it hits my eyes just right and the frames that holds the lens in place. I also don't always think about what sharpens my perspective on life. 

Gratitude.

God breathes a holy quality into it. Because the more I stop focusing on life's messiness and start focusing on my blessings, the better I see.

Everyday busyness can be stressful, but there are so many great activities to be involved in. Life is full. (And we can always say no if it all becomes too much.)

Yes
, my grandma was in the hospital, but I still got to hear her sweet voice on the phone. She is one of the most incredible people I know and I get to be her granddaughter. Blessed, again.

I want to guard my kids from all challenges, but that is not how they grow. And parenting is hard, but I get to be a parent. What an awesome privilege.


With each positive thought, I can find another thing to be thankful for. You guys, it’s working. I can feel the light bending and hitting my eyes, my heart, just right. I continue to list: the good I saw come from the bad, the obvious things to be thankful for, and the blessings I take for granted. Discouragement is fading and I am wrestling back my perspective. My focus sharpens until I am only looking through the lens of gratitude. Then I can see – really see – where I am.

Where we all are…

…in the middle of the beautiful, breathtaking miracle of everyday life.


Friday, November 20, 2015

The Coolest Operation Christmas Child Video

We filled Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes the other day. After we packed markers, notebooks, toothbrushes, toys…etc…each box had a little room left. I got all excited and was like, “Yay, boys – how fun would it be to fit a few more things into these boxes! Let’s dig through your excessive amount of toys and pick out some that are done playing with but are still nice!” (Cue let down music.) Apparently, they still play with all of their toys at all times and couldn’t part with any of them. Even the neglected ones. (Boys 1, Mom 0)
Then, I came across this video. That reaction? Wow. Just, wow. Someone hand me a kleenex. 
So, I showed this to my boys. It moved them too. They immediately went downstairs and came up with an impressive amount of toys to top off the boxes. 
God, thank you for stirring my boys’ hearts on this one. (Boys 0, God 1) 


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Photography

The other night, I sat on the floor with my computer on the coffee table, editing family picture. Then – get this – my oldest son wandered over, sat behind me on the couch, and started playing with my hair. (Ahhhh!) He never does that. Take his brothers down? Yes. Gently run his fingers through his mom’s hair? No. So I tried to act all chill while freaking out inside. This kid is almost a tween. This might never happen again. I knew I could ruin it all with one you-are-such-a-sweet-boy comment, so I sat as still and nonchalantly as possible. And then I had a moment. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. I happily worked on a favorite hobby; my blessings smiled back at me from my computer screen. My oldest played with my hair. (Seriously, I can't get over it.) My husband relaxed and watched basketball. (His version of heaven.) Our other two boys giggled and played. Nicely, together. (Did I forget to mention that key fact?) The room came alive with joy and love and contentment. It hung thick in the air. It dominated. My heart swelled and I didn't want to blink. How did I get so lucky to be sitting right here, right now in the middle of all this love? This must be what people mean when they say they see the fingerprints of God.
 
I learned how to add rain on Photoshop from this awesome tutorial.