Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Celebration

Today I awoke a bit early so that I could sit in the silence of the morning.  Today is a day of celebration!  It may sound silly but we have a tradition in our home that we set aside a day at the end of each summer to mark the beginning of something new.  Every year we take the opportunity to spend an entire day together as a family.  The day is set aside to do one thing, celebrate!!

Yes we celebrate the goodness that we've had over the summer but more importantly we celebrate the beginning of another year of school.  The beginning of school is seen as an opportunity to remind us to be open to learning and exploring in ways that we have not experienced before. It's the opportunity to open ourselves to new relationships and take a stand for the things that we hold dear. 

It is also a day of celebrating E in all the things that she has accomplished in the past year.  I'm not talking about the 'things or the awards' but who she is becoming. Yes, today is a today of encouragement...a day of recognizing the courage, the boldness, the deep sensitivity, the creativity, the sense of compassion that lives within her.  While we speak these things throughout the year today is set aside to speak these words to her so that as she begins her school year every ounce of her is filled with a celebration of all that she is!

So often I think we allow our pressures of the world to push us and determine the path. We forget to celebrate the small things...the joy of living in a country that provides education for children....the way children grow as individuals and contribute to the world around them....the creativity and sensitivity that lives within each and every person....days and moments of being a family....having breakfast, lunch and dinner together as a unit....and so many more!

Today as you begin your day, what do you need to celebrate? What person in your life needs to be encouraged?  Where do you need to be open to new adventures and exploration?  My prayer for you is that today you find someone and something to celebrate.  May your day be filled with the warmth of pure love and laughter. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Holding on

It hits about this time every year; that the unscheduled days of summer fly by all to quickly.  Two weeks from now our nights will already be filled with homework, preparing for the weekly spelling test as well as the dreaded math facts timed quizzes, getting to bed on time ,trying to get up in the morning to get to the bus on time!  Yes, the unscheduled nights of simply deciding to to the pool and not have dinner until 7:30 or so are quickly coming to an end.  

I always want to push back on time and claim more days of simply being outside on the back porch trying to catch lighting bugs, playing the wii until we can't jump or dance any longer, and swimming until we are completely water logged . I always want just a bit more.   A bit more of the moments where I can truly enjoy Emma being a child with no worries in the world.

Today while I write my sermon, I am torn. I wonder if we have played enough....have we laughed loudly enough....have we danced our hearts out in the living room enough.....have I been an example of love to the ones I care for the most.... 

I always want more time in the summer. I want more days at the pool....more opportunities to invite friends over on the spur of the moment...and simply more times to love and laugh.  

I want to hold onto summer for what it reminds me of from my own childhood.  I want to hold onto summer for 'moments' it provides me to look beyond the schedule and live in the joy of the day.  I want to hold onto summer for the childlike things that we take the time to do and explore.  I want to hold onto summer.

Yet the reality is that another season awaits us and there is no need to hold on so tightly to that which is ever moving.  I must take told to live in the season that is before me. Opening myself to the joys of tests that are passed....knowledge that is gained...skills that are enhanced...and relationships that grow.

As I let go of the summer and the unscheduled days, I embrace and take up the goodness that has been had.  May we walk together holding onto the One that created all things for good.  May we help one another to let go of the things we need to be released. May we encourage one another in the continuing those things that bring us joy and gladness. May we find ways to explore and celebrate with the heart of a child!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Coasters

When Emma was four and about to begin Pre-K we decided to take a family day trip to Beach Bend Amusement Park to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a new adventure called school!  Every summer since then we've spent a day at an amusement park riding rides and laughing with one another (often taking close friends with us).  This year we upped the ante taking three days for thrills and adventure at Kings Island. 

Emma is tall enough to ride every ride in the park so needless to say we were pumped!  We were ready for the adventure from the moment we walked in the Park.  We immediately jumped on the smaller rides eventually moving to the bigger, more serious rides with twist and turns.  We were laughing, screaming and pushing ourselves to ride in the front car of the rides.  But then it happened, we jumped on a ride and the reality of fear fell upon Emma.  Firehawk is literally unlike any other ride I have ever been on.  You stand up (ok so I've done that before) they lock your feet in (I had never done that), and pull a strap over your shoulders (normal) but then the ride flips you on your back and you do the ride backwards and upside down.  During this ride Emma was literally filled with a fear of helplessness begging for someone to help her.

I could tell that the ride frightened her deep within her being.  As we made our way around the back side of the park, Emma found the courage to get on another ride. Not just any ride but a ride with 3 corkscrews and 3 full flips. As we climbed aboard Emma did her normal thing, grabbed my hand and told me how she hated going up the hill.  Needless to say this ride that  flips you upside down 6 times (the Vortex) became Emma's favorite ride during our three day adventure.

Each time she reached for my hand I smiled knowing that she was putting her trust in something greater than herself.  In life it is so difficult to keep walking when you are filled with fear.  When those moments come in our lives most of us want to stop and pull the covers up over our heads.  Our hearts are beating a bit to fast for our taste.  Our heads are swimming with doubt that leads us to believe that we are a failure at what we were trying to accomplish.  While we walk forward we often lose trust in the people and things that surround us.

I was reminded that I have to be willing stretch out my hand as a gesture that I cannot do things on my own. As I stretch out my hand I must be willing to trust that there are others that love me and want the very best for me and are willing to calm me if I allow them to enter in.

As we walk this journey, what has taken your breath away?  What is making you feel hopeless and insecure?  Where are you letting your fears over take the joy and adventure that is coming your way? Where do you need to stick out your hand and place your trust into someone bigger than ourselves?