Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cheerio-covered Floor

Cheerios drop, bounce, and rest across the floor under the kitchen table.  Joseph, humming a made-up tune and plopping his hands on his knees as if they were drums, crunches more cheerios - those that made it the harrowing distance from his bowl to his mouth without falling from the spoon - while Ezra sweeps the floor with his walker and squeals in delight.  It looks as if both boys were playing marbles under the table - and neither fared very well.  Alas, it is almost vacuum time.

Modern gadgets make cleaning up so much easier.  My heaps of laundry would have taken days to clean with an old ringer or washing board.  I can understand why my grandparents did not have as many clothes as we do today, and why they wore them longer before washing them.  I cannot fathom cooking a Thanksgiving meal on an old wood stove, but my grandmother did it most of her life.  Cars, planes, and trains allow families that live states or countries away to come together within a day or two journey.  Even Skype allows them to see one another if they cannot be together!

When we stop to allow ourselves to be amazed by such technology, we also have to remember that every day we take it for granted.  We don't care about the genius of electricity switching on a lightbulb, as long as the lights come on when we click a switch.  If they don't, we do care - and we let our local electrical provider know about it, too!

Friend, do you complain too much when our technological advances fail?  I know I do.  The next time technology lets you down, instead of calling to chew someone's ear off, perhaps take the opportunity to go for a walk, visit with a friend (in person), and savor the moment while holding thanksgiving in your heart that you even have such an option.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gray Sky

Leaves fall, fluttering in zig-zag fashion, as if inspired by the quilt of gray clouds outside.  A misty drizzle just begins to reach the window, where a nearby lilac bush nods its still-attached, yellowed leaves with each slight spray.  The day seems grim, but began with a bright sunrise stretching across the sky.

Whenever it rains, I would expect the dreariness to soak nature in dismal gray.  But, it doesn't.  Instead, a richness enhances the beauty of nature.  Blue mountains seem saturated in hue; leaves dance in a wide range of browns; trees twist high donning shimmering silvery skirts.  The clarity causes me to breathe deep and let the bottled up worries leak out into the storm's clouds, which act like netting to gather them.

When tendrils of sun come and sweep away the clouds, my worries are gone, too. 

Friend, do you have worries heavy upon your heart?  Pick one up, feel its smoothness in your hand, and let it skip out into the gray clouds as if they were waiting to help clear the clutter from your thoughts.  Then, take a deep breath and look with hope for sunshine to scintillate stars into your eyes once again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bruised Feet

I love being barefoot!  Soft tufts of carpet soothe my soles; gentle slaps upon smooth wood please my ears; free toes happily wiggle when inspired.  Nothing feels better than slipping off shoes and socks after a long day on my feet and letting them breathe.

But, my shoeless preference has led to bruised feet.  Ezra, smiling his two-toothed grin with drool dripping from the subtle point of his chin, rolls everywhere in his walker.  He's as fast as Fred and Barney at times, and more dangerous to bare toes.  Sometimes, I jump out of the way just before Ezra's careening sends him into my leg; other times, the top of my foot unwantingly serves as a bumper as he attempts to smother me with hugs from outstretched arms.

Loving someone so much it hurts is quite an odd affair in life.  After all, who hurts you the most?  It is usually someone you love deeply.  There are moments in time when the pain from unhealed wounds throbs as ardently as rain pounding on a metal roof.  Forgiveness is a constant event and it seems you'll never forget the personal harm.  It's as weighty as a tumor.

Instead of focusing on what cannot change, seek to change the behavior that has resulted from the pain.  Like favoring an arm or leg in-set with aches, when I favor the heart-wound, I tend to curl my attitude around it - protecting it.  I'm hindered from trusting others and allowing the ministry of true friends to soak my sores in healing balms.  So, I have to chance living with an open heart and looking to God to provide the strength and courage I need to walk without a limp.

Friend, how can you focus on changing your outlook, instead of licking your wound?  Would not you rather pour kind words from true friends over yourself, rather than ponder the past's unpleasantness?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wild Turkeys

Billows of gray dust rose in our wake as we took our hyundai on a narrow gravel-covered trek through George Washington National Forest.  On one side, layers of rock cascaded to the road; on the other, a steep cliff toppled over tall bare trees, large boulders, a brown carpet of crinkled leaves, and a gaggle of wild turkey.  Wattles shone bright red, backlit by the setting sun, and rhododendrons' waxy green leaves scintillated as we caravanned across high peaks and around tight twists.

Blue mountains, growing ever softer in hue, stretched to the horizon and seemed to continue even beyond.  Had I not once seen the endless expanse of the prairies, I would have expected rising ridges to go on forever.  And while our eyes drank in the beauty, our boys snored in the back seat.

So many times, my blinder-eyes focus so much on tasks, duties, or worries, that I forget the beauty and joy at arm's length in all directions.  I take the people I see daily or the chores or accomplishments I tick off a list for granted.  I seem to be sleeping in the back seat while life's bittersweet surprises slip by.

When was the last time, friend, that you stopped, looked around, and really saw what joys God sprinkled into your life?  I dare you to do so - and let the wonder seep deep and transform your vision today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lattice Work

Although autumn whispers all around - crisp brown leaves shimmering on gray branches, curled corn husks sleeping in the fields, clear purple mountain crests sighing in cool nights - the wisteria vine still smacks a verdant smile at anyone daring to stop and admire.  Her long shoots spray in a frenzied reach for higher ground.  Perhaps attempting to stretch to the sun, itself, the vine catches in an afternoon breeze.  Happy waves continue constantly, sometimes lessening but never ceasing.

It's impossible to be happy all the time.  If we wore eternal smiles, we wouldn't have realistic perspectives of the world around us - no matter what Barbie and Ken say.  Just press the television remote's power button or venture to your stoop, flower bed, or paper box for that trusty morning news and you will find several stories to wipe away any traces of a smile.  Most of us don't need the television, internet, or print sources to know that life is full of an assortment box of ill manners or bad events in place of delicious chocolate sweets.

But, we shouldn't dwell on those bitter surprises.  I would rather savor and celebrate happy like the father his prodigal son, whenever he decides to show up.  So, when happy is here, I tickle and dance with my sons, decorate yummy sundaes, and enjoy every second I have with those most dear and strive to leave the unkind events to mope in the corner.

What about you, friend?  How often do you let that joy shine and leave any worries, dreads, or illnesses fend for themselves?  Would you rather dwell on what kills or heals?  Wind your feelings of joy about a lattice work and wave your happy hellos today.