Month: April 2011

  • Perspective and Gratefulness.


    I am writing from a cozy, reddish-burgandy chair in the fireplace corner of my parent’s living room in Pennsylvania. The rain is pounding outside the window, and the wind is blowing in great gusts. It reminds me of the hurricane weather that we get the effects of in Georgia. But it’s a very cozy sort of day! A morning where I don’t feel guilty at all, sitting curled up on a chair with a blanket and hot coffee. :)

    [my father and Olivia]

    Penn. in March 031

    [Zoe, reminding me of Dick & Jane :) ]
    Penn. in March 082

    The past few weeks have been a quick change of plans, due to various circumstances. About two months ago, Ben’s employer informed him that there wouldn’t be much work at all for the next 6-8 weeks. That was a big gulp for us – not that it had anything to do with his employer, but work in general has been slowing down very much in our area, and we knew we were finally feeling it now too.

    So in those 6-8 weeks there was some work that trickled in, and well, some days there was nothing. Ben had work probably 50% of the time, maybe a little more, due to little odd jobs popping up – which were not happenstance at all, but God’s provision for us.

    [Pennsylvania has THE greatest Goodwills and consignment shops! I was more delighted than the girls with these finds there. :) ]

    Penn. in March 041

    But two weeks ago he learned that there was nothing at all for the next two weeks. Meanwhile, my dad had offered him a temporary job would he need work. So, in the course of 1-2 days, we decided to load up our suitcases, jump in the car, and head up north. We thought we’d stay a week – we’re ended up staying two.

    It’s been a great arrangement, and we are feeling incredibly blessed.
    Blessed by the work that God has provided for Ben through my dad.
    Blessed by the leisurely days of time with my family that normally feels so rushed when I come back home. Blessed by the friends and family that I’ve seen and have yet to see.
    Blessed by the snow on 4/1 ~ I think it was God’s April Fool’s joke. :)
    Just blessed by so many things….

    [snow on April 1 in Pennsylvania]
    Snow 3Snow 1

    [Absolutely delighted little girls! Zoe groggily came down the stairs that morning and peered out the window. "What's that white stuff?" she mumbled through sleepy eyes. Then she audibly GASPED and said, "IS THAT SNOW??!" :) It was precious. Her excitement was contagious, and we went out and played in all the one-inch delight of it!]

    Snow 2

    Snow 4

    [we were so unprepared for snow! she got so cold in her pajamas, spring jacket, and sock mittens! but was she ever excited!]

    Snow 5

    I’ve been thinking lately how my quality of life is affected so much by our perspective on life. By how we view things. By how we see God in it, rather than seeing only the hard things…

    I thought of it when I texted my neighbor, Lauren, one morning on her way to work, telling her I was thinking of her. I knew she had a huge detour to make on the way due to a forest fire in the neighboring town. She has a little girl, and leaving for work on a normal day is early. Leaving for work on a day where the drive takes an hour longer than usual is even earlier. But I loved her perspective when she texted back, saying that yes, the drive was long, but at least she had a house that was standing, and a family that was not suffering from smoke inhalation…. I love how she chose to see the good things that day…

    Penn. in March 024Penn. in March 071

    Penn. in March 066

    I think of it when Ben doesn’t work much work, when pennies are pinched tighter than usual, when runs to the grocery store are mostly milk and eggs, and menus are planned around economical things instead of trying out new gourmet recipes. Hard? No, not really. Challenging? Sometimes.

    But I really don’t think that I know what hard is. Hard is not eating eggs and casseroles instead of a French I-can’t-pronounce-it-food. [Not that I make many French-sounding things at all anyway! Ha!]

    Penn. in March 048

    [a bag that we saw while perusing/window shopping... isn't it so great - out of a burlap coffee sack? i would love to make a similar one]

    Penn. in March 060

    Penn. in March 058

    What hard is, is losing a family member…
    …is having an earthquake wipe out a huge area of your country…
    … is having a tsunami wash your children out to sea, never to be found again…
    …is never ever feeling loved, by anyone….
    … is feeling like there is no safe place on earth for your heart…
    … is having your house and all your sentimental treasures burn to the ground, and be left with only the clothes on your back…
    …is having not a bite of food for your children and watching them starve before your eyes…
    … is having your country ravished by a people that seem more like savage animals than human beings…
    … is being homeless, and having no where to go at night except a warm grate or a kind shelter.

    Work for us hasn’t been steady, but you know, we are really so so blessed. God has been faithful to provide for us. We aren’t starving. At all. We might not have an abundance of material things, but we DO have an abundance of vast blessings of so many kinds!

    I think there is so much emphasis placed on introspection that we can easily lose our attitude of gratefulness. We can get so caught up in the things that don’t go right and that have gone wrong that I forget to thank God for the many many things that are incredible blessings. In our North American/western-world mentality, we can get so upset about the things that go wrong, not realizing that on a bad day, we have much more than 80% of the world on their best day.

    There is definitely a place for introspection, for being real about life and the hard things we face. I’m not discrediting that. I love people that are real and when asked, “Hey, how are you?” can answer honestly, “You know, my day is just rotten.” Or, “The last few weeks have just been HARD.” But what I don’t like is when people stay there. Their whole lives. And they can never get past the bad and the rotten.

    It feels like God is calling me out and asking me to look for the blesssings that are sometimes in disguise. Not in a fake, pretensive way. But in a way that is calling me to look beyond right now, and trust His heart for today. Trusting that He sees the bigger picture. Fearless trust. And the more He calls me into this, the more I realize how little I know about trust. About fearless trust. But I want to live that way.

    I want to live wanting GOD more than I want my life to be a certain way. I want to want God more than things to go well. I want God more than an easy life…

    Perspective ~ choosing to see God in my days… Choosing to be grateful. Choosing GOD in the little moments of my days, those defining moments that could threaten to ruin my day or  walk forward with more knowledge of His faithfulness… So help me, God!