Just off the Beaten Path

Wednesday of this week I dropped my daughter off at gymnastics and had time to spend with just the boys. After an errand, I told them we were going to go for a little walk on the river walk, just to the Medal Caterpillar and then back. It wasn’t far- so they were game. We parked where our town has a large medal steam shovel and the boys groaned and physically itched at the sign telling them not to play or climb on it. I’d ignore the sign, but that particular sign (on that side) was literally put there for us. A year ago my kids were all over the twelve foot structure, dangling from every limb when we drew the attention of a stressed city employee. I told the truth when I explained that I hadn’t see the sign on the other side of the structure…. and… well now there are two signs. One on each side. And I’m very aware of both.

It’s a deep loss for my kids and they grieve it upon every visit.

So after passing said grieving site, we came on the next medal structure- A pump and broiler. “It has no NO PLAY signs!” Sammy squealed. “Right?” He can’t read all the words but the one sign looked way friendlier and the sign was clearly up high. The “No play” signs tend to be down low. “Can we mom?!”

So while the boys climbed on the broiler, I gazed out at the river beyond the path I was on. I saw people down by the water in the distance. I called to the boys and we stepped off the path. We wandered down across a lawn and through some bushes to the rivers shore. We made our way along the rocks talking about all sorts of boy things and just enjoying the incredible fresh views.

We worked our way from the Frazer river shore over to the aqua waters of the Quesnel river where we noticed the river rock size changed.

We even made it in time to watch the train rumble it’s way over the tracks.

And all I could think of as we explored and were smitten with the beauty around us- is how many times I’ve walked that path and never done this.

Then today as we wound our way home along a path we often take through the woods, we took a deer path we’d tried, but oh so long ago, and found a old dump site. We’d looked down the wreckage of cars and dumped pails in that pit before- but today we followed Jonas and Sammy down into it. To explore.

Treasures are all in the eyes of the beholder. My kids excitedly brought each one they found to me for approval of its value. When they started pleading to bring their rusty treasures home, I directed their enthusiasm to building a drum kit that we could come play. Right here. In the woods. We could even bring our friends to show. And oddly enough I, the adult, was the only one who came out of there with a rusted treasure I wanted to bring home… an old lantern.

And then like a mix between Sound of Music and the Trashing the camp song from Tarzan- my babies were playing me beats. With good old fashioned imaginations and a pit of treasures.

To think if we hadn’t veered of the path yet again we would have missed it all. I struggle with just doing things thinking “because they worked good once, let’s just do it again.” Also with finding safety in what I know. But there is something in me keen for adventure, and every now and then it convinces the safe predictable side of me to step off the beaten path. To go somewhere on a whim, pull over on the side of the road and go see, try something tricky, or new, or listen to a crazy kid suggestion.

Adventure doesn’t always have to be something you have to save money for. Sometimes it’s just stepping out of normal.

Like who rides a sled down a sand hill?

Um we do.

The very top picture of this blog is a sign I managed to create for our kitchen this week. It’s a reminder to me to look for life’s adventures and say “yes” to them. And to trust that God’s got so much more for those willing to step off the beaten path and trust Him with all the unknowns.

Gus

Meet Gus Gus. Our new adorable kitten.

My wonderful husband, much to our dismay, really disliked cats. We were given one shortly after we were married in 2008 and for all the smiles it brought me, it WAS a rather odd cat. It was cow coloured, large and came with the name MOO. I called it once from the porch (in my pregnant state) “Moo! Moo! Moo!” And vowed I would never again call the cat that name. I would not have the neighbors thinking I was a cow. So I named it Lou, as it was close sounding. Without going into great detail, however, the cat earned the name Lucifer from my hubby. And after the birth of my first, we gave the cat away.

And so began 9 years of “No cat”.

Sam could not be moved. Not even in the direction of other pets. In desperation the kids and I found some solstice in naming and caring for our chickens. But loving food and producers of food in that way…. well can be pretty hard. And sad. We knew we shouldn’t give them names and pet them, watch and laugh at their crazy antics… love them. But the children’s little hearts desired so deeply to care for a pet, and I longed to let them care for one.

Well let me tell you something about desires. There is someone who hears them. Someone who specializes in heart changing, the impossible, and the hopeless causes. God.

Yes, the kids and I called in the Big guy. Our friend that hears and does what no pleading can ever do- change Dad’s heart. We started praying.

I had hope. I just didn’t think it could be SO good. I thought maybe God would bring a stray to our door, and maybe Sam would let us keep it if we promised it would stay outside and that it would be no bother- he would barely know it existed.

After a few months went by, on September 28th I read Psalm 37:4 before bed

” Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

The next morning when I begged Sam to tell me what he bought our daughter for her birthday the words

“A cat.”

came from his lips.

(I may have said “shut up” and hit him.)

But it was true. He laughed at me in my utter joy and shock.

No stray. He choose us a pet.

I love my Jesus. Listener of little desires and big. He’s no gene- he’s a loving, all-capable,  giver of the great.

And I love my husband. Everything’s about him is an adventure- even the ways he loves. He’s one of the best gifts God blessed me with. And is such an awesome Dad.

So here’s our PET. Gus. He plays and the kids still haven’t grown tired of it. He purs and cuddles and keeps our only daughter company at night.

And daily reminds us just how wonderful Gods gifts are.

 

Top left: Wonder where the cat is?

Two Big Questions

Ok so I’ve got two big questions for you.

Number one:

Is this not the cutest owl?

Don’t feel too bad, I had to be told it was an owl too. He might possibly have a hard time getting in his car… poor owl.

Number Two:

Don’t most siblings make ridiculously random competitions? Seriously, my husbands family (he has 7 siblings) STILL do this every time we hang out with them. And I have all brothers… 4 to be precise. Half our life’s adventures started with the sentence

“Bet you can’t do this!”

Here’s my kids the other night,

And yes, we eat lemon juice on our fish sticks.

And can you tell the bottle has been dropped? That’s the sacrifice one is willing to take when getting a 3-year-old to set the table.

(I also feel like justifying that we’re eating processed frozen food… but don’t we all have those days? Wait… don’t answer that or I’ll have to change my post to 3 big questions.)

Both these random questions originate from the normal ongoings of our household. My fridge sheds pictures like the autumn trees do leaves, and my children are often challenging eachother to perfectly useless uses of their skills. But every now and then I actually notice it.

I’ll look down at the art in my lap and not just say what I say to the million that pass through my hands. Or stop and film their crazy antics because one day dinner will be way too quiet and boring. And realize how full life is with little gifts if I just notice and remember to be thankful. It’s downright easy to fill my mind with annoyances, but my whole being fills with peace when I let all my blessings sink in. And the blessings are right there, always before me- if I only just look with eyes of gratefulness.

Happy Thanksgiving you crazy lot. Hope your eyes see more than turkey this weekend, and your filled with more than food.

Thankfulness is a choice,

and it’s worth seeing.

When the Well Ain’t so Well

I don’t think we even realize how much water we use in a day. I know I didn’t. And I didn’t find out by going on some Save-the-earth, Think-of-the-water, Minimalistic, “What would it be like??” kick.

Our property’s Well stopped working.

I was pleasantly surprised when our plummer friend, Rob, pulled up in the driveway shortly after I’d phoned Sam at work explaining the situation. That was fast…

Sadly though, it wasn’t gonna be a quick fix. He had to give me the report that nothing INSIDE was broken… meaning something deep down in the Well was.

A nearly 300 feet deep Well.

So while we waited for the Well guys to call us back, the kids and I carried water from the neighbors. The first few days. Till my kind neighbor suggested hooking our garden hoses together and basically saved my poor body from elongated arms.

Before said idea, however, (when we were still carrying/ pulling in the wagon buckets of water… ) I’d managed to carry two 5 gallon buckets down the road in one go and help the kids with theirs in the wagons. Then lifted all 5 pails and a Rubbermaid bin of water up onto the porch.

The kids had left a doozy in the toilet, so I slugged one pail through the house and into the washroom. I began pouring it quickly into the back of the toilet as my arms were really done. The satisfaction from a job well done however, drained from my face as I watched the water drain away…

the toilet handle was stuck down.

Really??

I dropped the pail to the floor and groaned… It’s bad enough ONE flush is half a bucket, but there goes a good two.

I instantly felt for people in less fortunate countries who carry water daily as a way of everyday life.

The other struggle I was faced with was when I reminded the kids to not flush for just pee as they’d head into the bathroom.
“I won’t!” They call as they pass you, crazed by your ridiculous reminding.

Then WOOSHhhhhhh!!!!!!

and a head pops out the door.
I squint- eyes narrowing.

“Oooopppppps! Sorry Mom! I didn’t mean too!”

And I slug in another bucket.
(It’s the years of drilling “did you flush?” into their little minds- it’s like an animal instinct now; right up there with migrating. Except for the youngest, of course, pretty much still just working on general AIM with that one.)

If my career as a Homeschool Mom doesn’t pan out- I could always take up Pun-comics right?

I recently came back from a 5 day camping trip, which I felt had prepared me for this situation. You know- stinking and living unhygienic.
No actually, for washing dishes in minimal amounts of water, using paper towels for grease, leaving things in the rain, and capitalizing on baby wipes (what? I told you it wasn’t a save-the-earth kick).

Things camping didn’t prepare me for, was cooking meals like homemade pizza and the insane amounts of dishes that dinner requires . Or two kids puking, a bed wetting, and having to see actual CLEAN people in my “camp” state.

Let me assure you though- things really didn’t go so bad. In fact, I never got to feeling “crazed”or “desperate”. My kind neighbors beside us we so compassionate, they graciously lent us buckets, hoses, a hand, and their water whenever we wanted. A friend a street over let me use her shower one night, while other friends prayed. And running water really wasn’t too life changing, where as electricity, or heat, would have been so much harder. SOooo thankful it didn’t happen in the winter too.

Also, 3 of our off-road friends came over Friday and Saturday to help Sam yard up the cables and pipe with his truck, winch, and engine hoist. Because those well guys Sam kept calling?- never had time. And as fun as camping is and not doing laundry for a week, the time had come.

Getting the pump above ground and back into it was stressful with just Sam and I. But actually pretty fun with friends. At one point Sams magnetic beer holder fell in the well and Sam’s head came up drinking the last of it. His friend Alex was also flung over the well when the hoist took a lunge from some tape getting wedged into the spinning spool. And when we reached really inconvenient knots in the rope being winched up, before we knew it Robs volunteered. He’s the tie-down supporting the whole works with his body while Sam un-clips, switches, ties new knots, and loops. Our friend Teela worked and rewound the winch, and her and I both drove the truck.

Of course the very best was the purr of that new motor,

and water reaching me “un-carried”.

And knowing God takes REALLY good care of us. Not just blessing us with running water, but with awesome friends and neighbors. And per usual

So many things to be thankful for.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded of just how good we’ve got it.

Little R&R in the Washington Woods

Sam and I recently went on a off road expedition through Washington with two friends. The plan was to stay on gravel as much as we could, and explore the cascade mountains. Although we saw some incredible mountains-much of it was from gravel roads too well maintained, and our tires found pavement more often than not. You would swear your in the middle of nowhere and then “Pop!” you’re in a little American town decked out in Patriotic flags like it was Independence Day.

Only it was just a regular Monday.

AND I kid thee not- people drove their side by sides to the gas stations. One guy had like a mink tail flag off the roof of his, and another a dog bed strapped in the middle of the seats- with a pooch perched on top.

Although we felt a little yearning for truly wild roads, ones that lead us into the great unknown and didn’t end in a government gate… the little towns were amusing.

I adored the mailboxes at the ends of all the driveways, the clusters of coloured tin gathered where houses shared their drive. The guys even pulled over to oblige me in a photo.

I felt like the whole trip was a EYE FEAST. Days and days of incredible sights that we zoomed past. It was hard to take it all in.

I really had a hankering for some hiking. Last years expedition left me wanting more. So I was thrilled when the guys took me way up (2200 meters) a mountain on the last night. We camped out with a bunch of hikers who were doing the Pacific North West trail, and woke up with a mountain top view. Then we hiked to the radio tower, scaled some closed off icy steps, and saw Canada from its heights.

It felt so good to not have any set plans, a phone that I only used for the time and photos, nothing pressing for my time and no responsibilities. And to just be with my husband… long enough that when everything is said, we just enjoy each-other’s company sharing an experience together. I couldn’t wait to kiss my babies and be their full time mom again, but man what a fantastic 5 day break. September is made for exploring. Like a male peacock, it dazzles you with it colours and sights. Creation screams God’s name and calls us to be still enough to hear our soul.
And,
Although I sure didn’t look it after 5 days without showering, it was like a spa vacation. I was all pampered  by the Great Outdoor Beauty, and all rested and relaxed.

Butter

With all the fire evacuation alerts going on in Quesnel area right now, I figured I better sus out some of my valuables.

Ok so your looking at it.

Have I ever told u about my butter dish?

Besides the given gem (it holds BUTTER) this baby holds a whole 1lb brick of BUTTER. Please don’t rob me- but I basically found (at winners) the lost ark from Indiana Jones… in a dainty blue kinda way.

I even have strict kid handling rules. “TWO HANDS!” and they know to not even mess with the lid. The lid NEVER leaves the counter.

I’ve cut chunks of butter into all shapes and squished and squeezed it into all kinds of containers in my long life. But this one here. Unwrap. Drop. Place on the lid.

There are disadvantages to so much beautiful butter being poised and vulnerable before a world of small people though.

1. Random Eating/ licking

2. They never start at one end and work their way to the other- it’s an all out bloody skewer death.

3. While they skewer the poor brick they leave large deposits of their eatings for the next user to navigate around. Contamination! All in all p-r-e-t-t-y serious. Who wants P.B. and J chillin with their boild potatoes and fish? Or vice versa 😫

4. They take bigger helpings of butter. Then scrape the excess ON THE RIM. Oh why oh why? I go through tutorials on how to avoid this… and yet like our toilets, the rim is abused.

5. Cob spinners. 👐🏻 ok ok I see both sides of the coin on this one. I actually had a good discussion on this with a group of people at camp the other week. On one side, fresh steaming hot peaches and cream corn on the cob is dressed perfectly when spun through a brick of butter. It caresses the cob on both sides as it slowly melts and well, it’s practically a match made in heaven.

However (the other side), your committing the butter to a single life event.

One cannot tell me hairy butter is just fine on toast. Corn hairs are par for the course.

In the morning after your backyard shin-dig you may, (or perhaps not) regret not cutting off a section of butter for spinning corn.

As jaw dropping as my butter dish is though, I suppose I really could live without it. And when I think long and hard about it- same with all my other possessions as well. (Although, my pictures and journals which I hope to pass on, would be very sad to loose).

There is this really neat verse in the neatest book ever written. The Bible.

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Where moths and rust do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal.” Mathew 6:20

My kids are this, my husband, family is this. My friends are this- PEOPLE are this. Building into THESE things- People. Spending time and money on them, investing into them- is storing up the greatest treasure.

Historically Pharos were buried with all their earthly treasures sealed deeply underground in a secure room by their tomb. So that when they died they would carry these things into the after life with them. Sadly, you can ask the archeologists how well this panned out for them.

Those treasures stayed put.

Like my dish (if it even makes it through my children’s childhood).

But souls? Jesus tells us his Father has a house with many many rooms for us, in the kingdom of heaven, and “that if it were not so, I would have told you” (John 13:2)

So me taking time to love on, teach and build character into my babes? Treasures not wasted. Because like all the people I have in my life- I hope to see them in heaven. (I hope you know your valuable to me, and I hope I’ve shown u in some way.)

And as blessed as I am to own so many useful wonderful things, they’re only things after all.

And I ain’t no King Tut.

Hope you know your treasured. Not just by me but by your creator. I also hope you don’t spend your whole life working, saving and storing for things, when your surrounded by true treasures waiting to be noticed.

Ok, so tell me your butter pet peeves. Or am I really the only one who has them?

Waiting to get Back to it

The kids were just running through the summer rain as it pelted down on the dry thirsty earth. Hands swirling about them and bare toes carrying them through the fresh cut grass. It was a quick, glorious burst of excitement over all too soon.

“It stopped raining. Can we come in now? Everything is wet,” my oldest asked from the porch. A damp grassy crew (neighbour boy included) waited loud and wiggly on the lawn.

“Um, why don’t you guys light a fire and warm up by it?”

I’d managed to redirect their energy, and they’re presently running about collecting sticks from the woods and racing across the lawn to feed their hungry flame. I get flashes of yellow boots when my toddler runs by the window a little slower than the rest.

I too am hungry- to be outside in the “wild air” (as my 5 year old calls it).

I’ve found myself couch bound for a couple days… after not taking proper care of my bad hips and low back during our May Long camp- something tweaked in my back grabbing a piece of recycling off the floor yesterday morning. It was ridiculous- I couldn’t straighten at all yesterday! I was bent over like a tree in a gale, and whimpering in pain.

A dear friend assured me this was something that could most likely be fixed with strict rest, and that most certainly could be made worse without it. Seeing as I could only stand in a 90* angle- I instantly found the couch.

I could tell you all the woes of my interesting predicament- or brag of how well God sees us through in every circumstance. His kindness came in in so many ways.

Awesome friends, neighbours and hubby helped where they could. But my beautiful babies that I’ve cared and raised these past 9 years- really stepped up taking care of their momma. Swapping heat packs to cold packs, getting me medicine, making me tea, fetching pillows, making macaroni and quesadillas. Loading laundry, vacuuming and clearing dishes. The older ones being such a huge help with my toddler too- wiping his face, helping him with all random toddler needs, and even dragging him kicking and screaming to my couch so I could discipline him when the temper tantrum striked.

Little Si helped in his own special ways too. Wrapping his pudgy arms around my neck, kissing my face, curling up beside me and falling into a cuddly sleep. He taste-tests all my beverages, and delights me with his odd little whims.

So you see, although I can’t wait to get back to my job as Mom, it’s been special to see the children care and pull the extra weight for me. And before long I’ll be running about in the “wild air” getting wet grass between my toes with them.

So it’s Spring- eh?

I’m sitting at the computer with a hot tea having successfully tired out, and bedded, the young-ins. It was truly spring-like today in Quesnel. Warm and sunny. And i freed the gate to my garden! I dug furiously with my garden shovel- a Y shaped pathway- through two feet of untouched damp snow.
I never did see dirt.
There is a shield of ice, a force to be reckoned with, encasing my soggy spring dreams. I was busy as a bee though, carving out chicken trails that led to the hole we have separating the garden from the chicken pen. In triumph I stabbed the shovel into a near–by snow bank and called the feathered ones to venture forth into a new (or just forgotten) land. Widening their borders, giving them something new to do!
Feather brained idiots….
They never even tried it.
One chicken did, only briefly, as i locked her in the garden and chased her through the hole to show her where it was.
Another ate some snow off the path but never even ventured onto it. I sat squatting in the snow watching them.  Their deeply simple chicken minds.
Peck, peck, flap, poop, squawk, peck.
Later sweeping out the SUV i found a stale rice cake. I  took that out to the chickens.
Well that was a lot less work and much more entertaining. It was like Chicken Ultimate Frisbee. The best was when the disc got submerged in mud and all the players are pecking like crazy-till it resurfaced! Andddd off Maple goes with it in her beak with all the hens hot on her heals (?? do they have….? ). Then it’s cracked into pieces. The game divides. Hens get desperate, and with a squawk it’s over and the losers keep pecking at  the mud hoping something turns up.


I don’t always go squat near the coop…
in case your wondering.
In fact I made a point of it today as I needed to find some joy in my Backyard Layers. As of late there has been added work, problems, injuries, things on the coop breaking, death, too many roosters (harming hens), and not enough dry. Period. Everything damp, poopy, muddy and stinky.
But today the sun came out, dried out some areas, and the hens basked in it and tried to clean themselves up a bit. Two of our roosters were brought to a friends farm the other day (you can breath now ladies), and a hen (I could not help) with a bad injury was finally put out of her suffering. Each day as spring makes it’s appearance, things should get better.
Today I also helped make little trenches around the carport and driveway that added into the ones Sam’s made. Drawing water away from places we don’t want it.
And seriously my kids don’t think I play??
It was very addicting, I felt torn away when Silas told me he had to go potty. And I came right back.
I’ve been putting my garden shovel to work doing all kinds of things lately. Even if it isn’t gardening.
I also carved ice steps going to my door, and with the help of Elise, shoveled 4 feet off the deck where my porch window looks out. There is still 2 feet to go- but now i can see my yard! (even if it is covered in white). It was also quite fulfilling because I had tried last week and the snow wouldn’t budge. In defeat, I had leaned on my snow shovel despairing at my grand plans of seeing a view. But with a flicker of hopeful interest realized I was Eye-level with my houses gutters. The snow really was that tall!
So I went ahead and cleaned those babies WITHOUT A LADDER.
You just go ahead and be jealous- snow fortress win for me.
Even though it snowed here on the first day of spring (and the day after) don’t go and pity us. We’ve had warm sunny days where the children sledded in t-shirts. Sandwiches eaten in the fresh air. The roads are mostly bare and make satisfying splashy sounds. (Little Si loves to run through them on his runner bike).  And I’ve been sun basking in my lawn chair (first thing i freed from the porch snow pile), Going for sunny walks with friends, And the kids have been trying out various combinations of their outdoor wardrobe- succeeding in having the time of their lives and bringing the springfull sound of dripping indoors.


There truly is always something to be grateful for.
Sometimes it’s all too easy to be looking at what isn’t-
that you miss what is.
Hope your all enjoying the change of seasons, and have a little Spring in your step.

Parenting… why so… Important?

So a young friend of mine messages me asking for help with answering a question for her project. “Why is parenting the most important job in the world?”


For you parents, you can see how this is such a huge question. You know its so important! But why? I mean, someone will raise your children if you don’t, but why is it important that you do?
I thought about what our Pastor said on Sunday about our children not needing our money. That parents get caught in the trap of working more to pay for things to make their kids happier. But that kids need us. Their parents.
They need our love.
Gosh, it’s such a small amount of their lives they are impressionable enough to understand our deep love for them. (Like look at teenagers- need I say more?)
So here’s what I came up with in answer to her question;

Love is the greatest influence.
Loving enough to care for a child,
teach a child,
discipline and show right to.
Loving them enough to ask forgiveness when you show them wrong.
Loving them enough to take the time, your time,
to raise them.
To pray for them.
To play with them.
Being there enough to be an example.
Feed them God’s word,
and try to instruct them in ways that will develop good character.
And hoping by showing them love,
and caring for their needs,
they will one day go on to do the same.

Oh man, if you could have seen my parenting day today!! I need this encouragement BAD. Some days, today being one of them, I feel so frustrated with the children… and know lots of hard work and changes need to be made in order to fix the problem circuit that just keeps running wrong. Daily. I want to complain (OK i actually want to rant about my children’s bad behavior) and give up (after all I’m only one little me, how much fighting, crying and whining can one person take?). But writing and thinking about this parenting question makes me consider the incredible importance of my job.
SO…
Discipline, Order, here we come. (Please take the time to wait for us.)
And God, can you please take BOTH my hands? (I wish you offered piggy backs…)

So to all you parents out there. Don’t give up. Don’t pull away.
You’ve got the most important job in the world.
And you weren’t asked to do it alone.
The guy who birthed the stars, parted the waters from the dry ground, pulled life from dust, and cares for even the fallen sparrows-
can handle tantrums.
Be of hope.

Seemingly Backwards

It’s this crazy seemingly backwards thing that I’m learning. My nature resists the proofs of this thing and resorts to what it knows best- selfishness, comfort. And yet something in my mind is slowly coming around and can’t help but see this ‘seemingly backwards’ jem as truth.

I’d had a tough week. With my husband starting out his new business, he was home less. Especially in the evenings. I’d grown accustom to his adult presence in my day of children. 12 hrs of me being mother, school  teacher, discipliner, referee, cook, cleaner, driver, listener… was wearing on me. In fact I was feeling pretty sorry for myself right around Friday night. (Earlier in the day I’d attempted to do some “quick” errands with them all in town… walking…) I mentally felt even more sorry for myself that I didn’t have family in town to help my load. And I prayed/ pleaded/ blamed God.

I’d been trying all week to seek “me time”. I need it for my sanity... or so I thought. I’d seek it out whenever I could, thinking my happiness was in some self- fufilling quality me time.

If I’m honest I got lots of short breaks, that I filled with Facebook and other useless pleasures. But I still felt sorry for myself. I didn’t feel happy. Surly this is a problem needing attention.

Sam was able to make it home for a late dinner Friday night but then told me he had to head back out for a bit. I’d dreamed of leaving him with the children and going hot tubbing and sitting in the sauna at the pool that evening. After a sigh, for the sake of sanity, I quickly asked if I could just go for a short walk first.

Which I did.

As I walked I saw kids outside on a  neighboring street and thought of my own children full of energy and wildness tearing about the place at home. I decided the dark and cold were not reasons to stop them from going out to burn off some of that energy before bed.

I’m not sure how it happened, I think it was maybe that my two year old wanted to go outside as well. But instead of locking the door on them and indulging in that precious time all to my glorious self… I found myself whizzing down the hill with them on a sled.

We made trains (which the leader tricked me and took my poor adult butt over a jump), we did bumper cars, pulling and pushing and jumping on others sleds. And my toddler walked up the little hill himself like 10 times and never even mentioned his mitts (can all the moms give me a hallelujah?) and he road contently down with me cuddled in my lap. And the very oddest thing happened-

happiness.

Yes, I felt so alive and full of such simple joy playing with my children! Those 4 little beings I was trying to avoid… we’re fixing my unhappiness as I spent time goofing around with them.

I eventually took Si (my toddler) in to get ready for bed and then washed up the dinner dishes to the sound of the kids laughing in the yard.

That’s so weird. I thought. Why did that make me feel better than I have all week?

Here it is. That crazy seemingly backwards thing I was talking about. I took time to PLAY with my children, not just care for all their many needs… but enjoy them. And I was filled up. I became satisfied.

I think it’s easy, nature, to think happiness is hidden in doing things for ourselves. But it isn’t. The proof is all around us if we think about it. It’s seemingly backwards, but joy is found in enjoying others. Caring for their interests, not just our own.

When we give of ourselves, we take joy in the other persons pleasure at receiving our gift.

Alone time is good, and healthy, don’t get me wrong. But it shouldn’t be my daily goal. “I” should not be my daily goal. Because, however seemingly backwards it seems

loving others is loving ourselfs.

But after all, we were made in the image of someone who defined love. Said love was that he sent his only son to die… for us… while we were still ungrateful little sinners. The most selfless act in all of history. To be a God that can whisper a word and save yourself from all the pain, all heart wrenching pain, and yet CHOOSE to remain and take all our sin on his back. To be made nothing… or worse, treated like a criminal and a lair. For what?

Love.

And when my King rose again, 3 days later, after making the way for us all to be free from our death demanding sin… paying the only price that would ever need to be paid… let me tell you-

he was happy. Oh so happy.

Yes sometimes my kids throw toys at each others heads or argue over who once said that doll was heavy but “I never said that!!” and you wonder how they can fight over seriously, nothing. But they also draw me pictures, say thank you when I help them, snuggle me with stories on the couch, laugh and say the darnedest of things. And as I care for them and give of myself in so many ways for them… they grow, stay alive, become intelligent, kind, and loving of those around them. And oh! They do bring me so much happiness.

It’s easy to get sucked into the woes of ME. But that ME needs to remember- the cure to that is

THEM.
OTHERS.

 

 

 

Philippians 2:4
 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1 John 4:9-12
 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.