Seeing the Beauty

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

 In our backyard there is a maple tree.  It’s not a huge tree, but decent-sized, large enough to offer some shade on a hot day.  A few years ago, I asked Michael to build a flower box around the tree so we could plant some flowers.  He built a simple box and bought some mixed flower seeds.  Now, my husband isn’t a gardener.  I’m not sure if he’s ever grown a plant in his life.  The flower seeds ended up spread out on top of the dirt.  Yes, dirt…no soil.  Yes, on top…no digging and planting.  I tried to say something but realized he wasn’t going to back down on this.  He believed they would grow.  After a couple of weeks, something did start to sprout.  Weeds.  But Michael was insistent that flowers were growing.  What do we have now?  Really tall weeds that have white “flowers” on top.

 I have laughed to myself a few times over this.  Then I gained a different perspective.

 We drove out to Coley Bunch Nursery to pick out some plants and flowers for our front yard.  One of the owners was very helpful, pointing out the flowers that would grow best in our yard, explaining how tall they would grow, etc…  As we were walking through the many flowers, there was this tall, flowering weed.  It looked an awful lot like the weeds growing under our maple tree!  Of course, Michael immediately saw this and began asking questions about it.  The owner shared the name of it, Queen Anne’s Lace, and then Michael asked THE question:  Is it a flower or a weed?  “Well,” the man explained, “it’s a weed.  But remember that one man’s weed is another man’s flower.”

I’ve thought a lot about that statement.  Do I allow the weeds to define my thoughts?  Do I tend to view the negative instead of the positive?  Do I neglect to see the beauty in things and circumstances because I’m too caught up in what went wrong?  I don’t trust people.  I expect bad things to happen.  I assume people don’t like me.  I even see weeds instead of flowers!  It’s time to replace my negative thoughts with the positive words of God!

 Today, I will focus on seeing what someone does right instead of what he does wrong.  I will spend more time thinking about the good in my circumstance instead of the bad.  I will see the value of the rain instead of my ruined plans.  Lord, help me gain a different perspective

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Cherishing Life’s Interruptions

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life.  The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.  This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.”  C. S. Lewis

Saturday mornings.  Remember when you were a kid?  Saturday mornings were hands-down the best time during the week.  No school!  Cartoons!  A slow-paced move towards the day.  I thought Saturday mornings would always be that wonderful.  Even after I became an adult I still looked forward to Saturday mornings with the same anticipation I had as a child.  That anticipation was fueled by a hope that nothing would come between me and a leisurely Saturday morning.

Then there was Katy.  My precious little girl.  As soon as she was old enough to sleep in a big-girl bed, Saturday mornings frequently began the same way.  I would wake up to tiny, two-year-old fingers pushing my eyelids open. “Mommy, wake up (insert a lot of whining), I’m hungry!”  Yes, it was cute.  Yes, it drove me crazy.  In that moment, my hope for sleeping in was gone.  I would drag myself out of bed and get breakfast for my baby-girl blessing, having faith that eventually she would allow me to sleep in on Saturday mornings.

I agree with C. S. Lewis.  Sometimes it’s hard to always remember that these “interruptions” to the life I  imagine are actually the life God has given me.  As I grow older I view interruptions much differently than I did as a young parent.  Much more often I see those interruptions as opportunities.  Maybe that’s why there is such joy in being a grandma.  Last Saturday I got a text from Katy that read, “This morning Trenton peeled my eyelids open and said, ‘Wake up Mommy.'”  Then she added, “You’re welcome!”

God, send us more interruptions!  Make us stop in our tracks and say, “Is that you, Father?”  May we be so in tune with what you are doing in our REAL lives that we are here and now in this moment, cherishing the tiny fingers and looking for the opportunities you give us to serve you.

Remembering

A year ago my mama went to heaven.  It’s a strange thing for Mama to be gone.  Sadness and joy collide on some days.  Bittersweet.  As this first year without her ends, I have discovered the comfort of remembering.  

On New Year’s Eve my grandson Trenton came to spend the night with us.  We had a couple of friends over and enjoyed the evening.  Not too long before midnight, it was just Trenton and I.  At three, he has no concept of the New Year coming in, so everything I said to him was met with a look of confused anticipation.  We counted down with the television, and at zero, I gave him a kiss and said, “Come on!  We’re going outside!”  He followed me excitedly…still unsure though.  I gave him a pot lid and wooden spoon and showed him with my own how to bang away as we stood on the porch yelling, “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!” to no one in particular.  

Making memories.

Sharing memories.

Because that’s what my mama did with me when I was a child.  I remembered banging the pot lids.  

Of course tears come sometimes with the remembering.  But sometimes comfort replaces the tears.  I am comforted knowing that I learned from Mama how to make the little things special.  

I miss you, Mama.