Friday, July 24, 2015

Mercy Hunting: Post the Good Stuff

Oh, July, July!  You are so full of good, but you move so fast!!  

We kicked off high summer with Aaron's 15th birthday.  Aaron is my BABY.  Oh, my.  If it weren't such a pleasure seeing him grow up, I would ask him to stop.  He asked to go out to eat with his buddies for his birthday, and we obliged with a surprise trip to The Magic Time Machine.  This is a crazy restaurant full of whimsical decor where each staff member is a character.  The restaurant is so dark, I didn't take many pictures, but you can see Maleficent at the hostess stand below.  We sat in The Library, and Sinbad was our waiter - he was hilarious!  We always have a party on July 4th as well, so Aaron had a second chance to blow out more candles, and of course there were pyrotechnics of all kinds after dark in every direction.

LtDan's birthday is mid-July, along with one of our dear friend's, and she and her husband came from North Carolina so we could celebrate together.  Eight of us converged on the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine for a birthday party extravaganza.  The Gaylord is a huge hotel and resort on Lake Grapevine and it is a world within itself.  I didn't take pictures because I just wanted to enjoy it all, but some day I'm going back just to take photos.  It's amazing - if you're looking for an incredible place to spend a weekend and a Gaylord property is an option, go!  You won't be sorry!  We had a gorgeous view of Lake Grapevine from our room.  We spent the evening at the Glass Cactus, and there was music and dancing and much laughing.  It was a stellar way to spend a birthday!

We love local live music and this week went to an Andy Timmons Band concert at The Sanctuary.  They covered the entire Sgt. Pepper's album, some classic Who, and some favorites from their original stuff (my personal favorite).  I'm not savvy enough to say all the cool things about how good Andy Timmons is, so I will attempt to suffice with WOW, what a great concert!  We sat right in front of Red Beard, and if you're familiar with big name radio DJ's, you know he's a music industry legend.  We hadn't been to The Sanctuary since Nathan, our resident musician, played }this{ benefit concert there, and it was fun to revisit this superb venue - it's big enough to be spacious, but small enough to be intimate.  

The present is loaded but feels barely big enough to cram in all that needs to be crammed in before summer is over, and I have to remind myself to notice the moments and hunt for God's mercies, even on my morning walks.

Last July, I walked 12.71 miles.  This July I've walked 31.35 miles and the month isn't even over yet!  Pardon my completely geeking out on the Map My Walk analytics.  I've learned that getting some protein in before the walk is critical to having energy in the afternoon (I eat a low carb/high protein bar just before I head out), and that drinking water during the trek is critical, especially in the nearly triple digit temps.  

I started my walking venture last year with a paralyzing fear of snakes but determined to get over it.  This week I was thinking about how when Moses was in front of Pharaoh, God changed his staff into a snake, and I wondered if maybe God has worked the miracle in reverse for me - maybe He has changed all the snakes into sticks?  But then that made me really uncomfortable, because there are A LOT of sticks out there.  And anyway, I saw two snakes this week.  But the miracle is that the fear has turned into tacit fascination.  This is a great mercy!

Lately we've had some pretty involved family conversations.  It's challenging when your little ones turn into real live people with their own opinions, experiences and ideas.  They're no longer little guys who listen and then do as you say because you said so.  You have to allow them their time on the floor.  Of course.  Of course you do.  But you forget.  You forget that they are not five years old anymore.  But when you remember to let them have their say?  They keep their cool.  They cover all the points.  They present better solutions.  It's pretty awesome.  I keep reminding myself to talk in smaller sound bites so the conversation can go back and forth.  I'm not very good at this with my kids.  I hope they're patient with me.  

I ran across a great quote in }this{ book today:
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 imagination.  - C.S. Lewis
If you're like me and you trip over all those "one's" and they distract you from the meaning, here's my paraphrase:  the great thing to do, if you can, is to stop thinking of all the unpleasant things as interruptions of your "own" or "real" life.  The truth is that what you call interruptions are your real life - the very life that God is sending to you day by day.  What you call your "real life" is a phantom of your imagination.

I'm guilty of that - begrudging the interruptions because they derail "real" life.  But C.S. Lewis has it straight ... the interruptions are real life.  "Normal" days are anomalies.

Many years ago, when I realized it was having an impact on how I felt about the world, I stopped watching the nightly news, since it's so full of specifically bad news.  Even though the vast majority of the terrible things that happen are far removed from most of us personally, when you hear about them 24 hours a day, it begins to feel like it's all happening next door, and that the world is a hateful, fearful place.  I love keeping up with friends on social media, but there, too, the bad news of the world seems to be increasingly prevalent.  You know what?  I think it's a battle, not of flesh and blood, and we need to post the good stuff, too, even if it's small.  When you post that you just got ice cream and you're driving home with all the kids in the back with the windows down and the radio blaring, that's good stuff.  When you post the picture of the dog that greets you at the door every single night with wagging tail, that's good stuff.  When you talk about how great your garden is growing this summer, that's good stuff.  When you post the obligatory photo of your feet from the beach or the pool, that's good stuff.   

I'm not suggesting that we ignore the news of the day - I believe we each have a responsibility to do all we can to right the wrongs of this world.  I just mean we should add our positive, sunshiney corners to the newsfeed.  If we all let some sunshine out of our private worlds, maybe we can help balance out the media-hyped negative perspective.  This is still God's world, and His mercies are new every morning.  Let's post the good stuff! 

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

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