Monday, September 29, 2014

Embrace the Everyday

Vacation is over. Last Monday morning I sipped coffee on the balcony for the last time. We loaded our SUV and left our condo in paradise after spending five nights in Orange Beach, Alabama with my sister-in-law and niece. Every day was amazing - swimming, floating the Lazy River around the pool area, sitting in the hot tub, napping by the pool, writing, shopping. Before we left, my boys asked if we could buy a condo at the resort. I told them if I hit the New York Times Bestseller list, we'll talk about it.

I went home with bags of dirty clothes and a to-do list. My hair was crunchy from the salt water and chlorine, my skin was toasty, but my soul was refreshed. I honestly can't remember the last time I was so relaxed. It was probably our last big beach trip, ten years ago. This trip was exactly what a worn and weary momma needed.

Why don't I do this more often? Not just the vacation - there are obvious reasons we can only travel periodically, like jobs and gas prices. But why don't I embrace the little things: Sipping coffee on my patio as the sun rises, watching my kids play, lingering over the pages of a good book, enjoying the stillness and quiet without feeling the need to fill the silence?

My life - and I'm guessing yours too - is full of the busy and the bustle. Do this, go here, call them, drop off that. It's a crazy blend of work and grocery shopping and errands. The clock is always ticking. Do we ever slow down and really just take a look around, appreciating what God has gifted to us? Sometimes we need to just stop and realize how beautiful life really is.
I try to appreciate the little things with my One Thousands Gifts list. It’s made a huge difference, but I spent just a few minutes each day jotting down gifts. The rest of the time, I live in the busy, negative world surrounding us all – the world that pulls us down much too quickly. How do I hang onto God’s graces?
Late last week, I went running with my family through a quiet neighborhood in our small town. My oldest son caught sight of some flowers on the side of the road and pointed them out to me. They were nothing fancy – probably just considered weeds – but they were beautiful. It made my heart smile to see him appreciating something so small. It also made me realize maybe my efforts are paying off. The boys make fun of my tendency to pull out my iPhone for photos of birds, flowers, and spider webs. Yet here’s my oldest, noticing the same things. Maybe we can teach each other to be thankful for every moment and every breath, to embrace our everyday gifts.

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