Thursday, November 17, 2011


It was an afternoon like many. Schoolwork completed, hours before dinner, our yard is boring, and irritable children were flopping and sighing on the couch. Honestly, I felt the same way. I could've curled up and spent a couple of hours staring at a screen. As I surveyed the scene before me, it was obvious that joy had left the building. We were gasping for air, withering under the strain of shallow breathing. But, what to do? And then, I felt the subtle prompting; the prompting of that still, small voice whispering, "life is beautiful, but this is not - lead them to a path more satisfying."

Bravely, I pull myself together and suggest putting on shoes, getting in the car and heading out to the nature park. The smaller two eagerly jump up; the older two groan and squish the couch cushions even more, "Oh Mom, do we have to?"

Is this how it's supposed to go? Must I fight them along with my own fight for joy? I already know the answer; and soon, we're all in the car.

We arrive, and begin on our path. Who can help but feel a little more alive under the direct influence of Divine wind and sun? Down by the Cypress-lined creek, I park myself at a rustic, little table to read, paint and observe. My firstborn sits by me to draw. The sweet baby spends most of her time picking flowers. And the middle two are delighting in the adventure of balancing across logs to make it to the "islands" in the creek. Every now and then, they slip and splash a bit. But, that's okay, because wet shoes and clothes will dry far more quickly than these memories will fade.

Our joy has been restored.

"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul."

Two sweet hours sail by and it's time to return home. Reluctant, but satisfied, we load into the car. As I buckle the little one, I lean over into the backseat and look at my big girls. "Tell me the truth, did that feel better than sitting around on the couch?" A moment of quiet realization comes over them, and they both agree - It was much better.

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