So enjoyed my time with the people at Alderwood Community Church in Lynnwood, Washington this past weekend. After my time with them I was able to spend the afternoon in West Seattle. One of my favorite neighborhoods in the United States. I am always grateful to catch a few minutes of rest by the waters of the Pacific Northwest. These are just a few of the moments I took in. I hope they inspire you to sit back for a minute and take a deep breath as you reflect on the beauty that surrounds us.
Thanks to my sweet little sister for moving up in the photography world and letting me inherit your camera. Watch out people- I have a big girl camera now!!! I have no idea what to do with all these fancy knobs and buttons. But I see mom's whip out these big ole' things all the time... so I am sure I can learn. There's probably like a mom class somewhere- free childcare, lattes, how to have a totally awesome DIY 3-year-old-birthday party and how to use your fancy-shmancy camera. All in one fun-filled afternoon. But I haven't the time (or desire). So I am piddling around and figuring it out at home- in a rain storm- which I am sure is great for the camera. I digress. Day 3 of constant rain in Nashville. Hope you are enjoying sunshine- people of the world. Rainy Day? Make a Splash!
Spit. Always do an immediate spit. This might actually get rid of the bug. Next, blink your eyes rapidly and scrunch your face as if to ask your poorly assaulted self- did that really just happen to me? ME? Of course.
Give yourself a moment to think of all the ways you've been let down by the world and your life and the hard knocks of it all.
Now spit again! This time with a look of shock and bewilderment and a hint of taking it all very, very personally.
YES! You are being picked on by the bug world too!
Assault your tongue. Stick it out for the world to see. Then, with both hands, doggy paddle your tongue in effortless disgust.
That's right! Keep going!
Now gag. But not too much- as you are not convinced the bug has made its way into the lining of your stomach- just your throat.
Do a throaty gag. Do another throaty gag- but this time add in the simultaneous craning of the neck and head.
Now spit again. With a look of anger.
How dare you come inside my mouth? Spit! Nasty useless *#$#@%# bug. SPIT! YOU ARE THE SPAWN OF SATAN and I DESPISE YOU. SPPPPPPPPPPPPPIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!
Now look around.
If there is a person, act as though nothing dramatic or out of the ordinary has happened. Calmly say, "Wow, I hate it when that happens."And give that person your cutest, most sane smile. The smile really needs to reflect that you are a person at peace. So try to relax those forehead muscles and bulging neck veins (you know from the craning and gagging) and give them the sweetest smile you have. I am normal. I really am. Try and communicate this. Slightly shrug your shoulders and do a subtle closed-mouth smile. This gives you a little more cute factor.
If there isn't a person around, say a quick prayer of gratitude. No one saw your insanity as you raged against the poor, helpless, dying bug in your mouth.
Continue with life. And if you're real adventurous and scientific and trapped in a grown up body with your 6-year-old mind...
Keep an eye out for it. The bug that is.
When you see it say a little eulogy-
*Inspired by the bug episode I may, or may not, have just had on my front porch while sipping coffee and reading Chaucer.
** I've never read Chaucer in my life. I am actually going to have to Google him to make sure he was a writer and that I am spelling his name correctly. *** Definitely pretend to be reading a smart book or doing something very sophisticated after the bug episode. This goes a long way for people- trust me. **** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Chaucer BOOM! He was the Father of English! Heck yeah I was reading Chaucer!
It is 6:59 a.m. and I am sitting on my front porch watching birds. Annie, my four-year-old, is still sound asleep. I'll admit. She sleeps in late everyday. Most days I have to wake her at about 9:00 a.m. But if you have a child, please don't be jealous. In her waking hours she runs laps across parks and fields for fun. Then she does it again and again. Then she doesn't nap. She doesn't even honor "quiet time." Instead, she sings at the top of her lungs in character voices. Strange characters that she has made up. Then, when quiet time is over, she runs more laps. And she always, always wants me to run with her. And I do. Because I don't have a desire to produce a sibling for her to run with. So I run more laps out of guilt that she's not going to get a real-life-sister-in-a-cage for Christmas like she really wants. And I dance. And sing in character voices and then run some more.
And she unfolds this way with gusto, passion and slightly creepy superhuman energy each and every day. She is a freak of nature.
So don't be envious that she is still asleep. Soon she will wake. The giant will awaken from her slumber.
Until then- I sit and cherish the silly, mindlessness of watching the birds in the trees directly across from my front porch.
There are millions of birds, if not hundreds, who live in these trees. I know. Because they wake me up every morning. Whoever the ring leader is, he starts his yapping each morning around 4:00 a.m. when it is still dark and still night time. By 5:45 a.m. they are in full swing.
*Side note: My new neighbor just walked out and got in his car with a metal Star Wars lunch pail. There is no kid in sight. Please tell me this isn't a thing grown men do? Is it?
There are three birds who are clearly in love with each other. They bicker and fly around each other and chase one another. There is definitely some tension between two of the birds. They are clearly both chasing the other bird. And the other bird (it has to be a sassy pants girls) is clearly enjoying leading them on a chase. She is not making it easy for them. She is weaving in and out of trees like a wild woman. I think she is trying see which of the other two birds will die first. One of them- oh my gosh- yep, one of them is going to smash into a tree branch any second now and die. Then I will have to have a small service and bury it so the neighborhood cat doesn't get it and drag it around and leave it on my stairs for me to explain to my hysterical four-year-old why there is a dead bird head on our front porch.
I was so unprepared for a bird funeral today. Why can't they just try polygamy?
There are about ten birds playing chase or follow the leader or some sort of game like that. They are free like children. I follow their patterns as they follow each other around power lines, up trees, swirling around a squirrel and resting on tree branches for mere nano-seconds before taking off after the next leader. This is their version of summer fun.
There are two birds sitting in the little tree to my right. They must be the elder of the birds. They are buried in the branches, perched and sometimes talking. Mostly resting. Mostly just being. A cluster of birds fly by to occasionally taunt these elders, perhaps begging them to come play, but they are not shaken. They have done their fair share of playing. Now they rest. I look at them and I wonder- will I ever rest?
They look back at me. Curious. Still. The breeze slightly swaying their branch. The breeze slightly blowing through my hair.
You are resting, child.
A host of birds chase a hawk. Every single morning this happens. This enormous hawk with vulture like wings and midnight black, leathery skin swoops down to the tops of our trees. I think he is after our baby birds. And we will have no part of that. No, we won't.
The birds rally the troops and begin to dive bomb the hawk from every direction. I take it upon myself to narrate. "That way!" "Left" "He's back peddling! Quick! "RIIIIGGHHHT" "YOU SON OF A" "FREAKING BIRD EATER- GET HIM!!!!!!"
He appears to have gotten one. They press in harder. Making noises that sound more like wild baboons than birds.
"Birds unite!" "CHARGE!!!!" "KILL HIIIIIMMMMM," I say with gusto.
Oh my gosh. I just said that out loud. I just narrated that out loud didn't I?
I quickly scan the other front porches in my row of condos to see if anyone else may have heard me narrate the epic battle. With overwhelming relief, I see no one. But I'm sure my neighbor, whose front door is wide open heard me. I am sure she is thinking, "Please tell me this isn't a thing grown women do? Narrate bird battles while their child sleeps to an ungodly hour each morning."
What goes around comes around.
The two grand-momma birds are still sitting on the branches to my right. Unmoved by the epic battle. Or the flirting birds. Or the group of birds relentless in their quest for worms in my flower beds. Or the ones who are just flying to fly. Just to move. No. The grand-momma birds just sit. Knowing they will face those other responsibilities soon enough. Knowing that cool, breezy mornings only happen for a few minutes each day. Knowing that the world will not stop while they sit and they will not get too far behind in their duties. What is truly all that pressing?
I hear Annie yelling my name now. She never wakes up gently. It is always with full gusto and passion. Soon she will say, "Hi mom. Should I tell you my dreams now or later? Do you want to play? I was thinking we could play princess and we can BOTH be princesses! What are we having for breakfast? When are we going outside? Do I HAVE to go to school today? Mom, I just want to run."
I know you do baby.
And the talking will not stop for the next twelve hours. And I am grateful for the moments on my porch. And I am grateful for her. And I am grateful for the old lady birds who speak Jesus to me. Reminding me of what rest truly is. And I am grateful I didn't have to bury a dead bird this morning. And I am grateful my neighbors don't judge me for being the bird lady. And I am grateful that we haven't caught the evil hawk yet. It gives me something to look forward to.
Here- where I find rest.
Some people find solace and sanity in reading a good book, going for a hike, listening to music or being alone. I find solace and sanity in taking pictures of beautiful moments. Just me and my iPhone. Stopping on the side of the road. Hiking up a hill. Staring at a sunset. Memorizing the moment. Smelling it. Breathing it in deeply. Etching it deep into my restless blood. The world is full of beauty. My life is hectic. Taking a few minutes each day to look for the beauty around me settles my soul. Perspective gives birth to humility. Solace and sanity abound when the world is not so small and tightly wound around me. The whole earth whispers and boldly displays the creative, intimate, passionate beauty of God's presence- and in that alone, I find rest. These are a few of my most recent moments of solace and sanity. [gallery columns="4" ids="2995,3000,3008,2996,2997,3006,2998,3002,2999,3004,3009,3001,3003,3007,3005,3010"]
Where do you find solace and sanity?