This morning, as I look out at the beautiful, sunny day the Lord has given us, I am reflecting on the mode my life has been in lately (ok, more than just lately...). I have set aside any attempt at thriving for the bare necessity of surviving. This sounds melodramatic, especially considering I lead an extremely blessed life. But, this has been the posture of my heart - one bent on survival. I think my time captured in survival mode has made the gradual resurfacing of spring seem so much more dramatic.
Several times this weekend I was struck by how great life is, how beautiful the world is, and thus how awesome God is. On Saturday morning we met with our accountant to sign our tax documents - fun stuff. Fortunately, despite owing state taxes in three states (gotta love moving), we came out above water.
With those figures in mind we stopped by Target to "look" at bikes and a bike trailer. ***aside: I don't recommend visiting Target, or any place that calls to you, after calculating your tax refund*** Of course, "looking" turned into buying and we left over an hour later with two shiny new bikes, a bike trailer for hauling the kids, helmets, etc. In our defense, we have been contemplating a similar purchase since we moved so close to some amazing bike trails almost a year ago. In essence, it was an impulse buy in timing only.
On our way home we stopped to get sandwiches from Jimmy John's - they have such quick service and awesome food! Katherine decided we needed to have a picnic outside so we got home, took our lunch out in the backyard, and ate at the picnic table under the playset. After we ate, the kids played together, slid, swung, helped James fill the bird feeder, just had a great time in the sun (with hats of course). Sitting there with James, watching the kids play and feeling the breeze, I was struck by how blessed we are. We are alive, we are together, we live in a free country thanks to the sacrifices of others, we own a beautiful home, James has a good job, we have health insurance, we are healthy, we know God and He made the ultimate sacrifice for us by sending Jesus to be our savior. How could we ask for anything else? How can I consider myself as just surviving when I have been blessed with so much?
Our first weekend with the bikes was amazing. I got the trailer put together, water bottle holders attached, helmets unpackaged, and the trailer hitched while James helped a neighbor put together the trampoline they bought their kids for Christmas (it has been a really long, cold winter in KS so they are just getting to put it up now). Fast forward another hour or so (during which I helped a tiny bit with the finishing touches on the trampoline, enjoyed a nice glass of sweet tea courtesy of our neighbor, hung out with said neighbors while the kids jumped, and put together water bottles and snacks for our inaugural ride.
After a quick trip around our cul-de-sac to reassure myself that I could, in fact, still ride a bike, we were off. Coasting down one of the streets in our neighborhood, with the wind cooling me off, I was once again struck by what a beautiful day we were having. Our family was outside, doing an activity together, and just enjoying being together! We rode to the trail entrance closes to our house, made our way a short distance down the trail and decided to stop off at a local bar & grill (Talk of the Town) to eat an early dinner on their patio. Aside from the smokers coming onto the patio for a nicotine fix, thus clouding our air, we had a truly enjoyable meal together. The kids were well-behaved, ate a good dinner, and we accomplished it without any screaming (by the kids or the parents)!
The ride back was nice because I was more confident on the bike, but more difficult because we were going against the wind and somewhat uphill. I hate to admit it, but I actually had to get off and walk my bike up one hill. All the while James rode on, pulling two kids in a trailer. Bless him, he stopped a couple of times to let me catch up and when a guy spreading mulch in the greenspace behind our neighborhood asked him how he ended up pulling all the weight (i.e. our two kids in the trailer), James pointed out that I am pregnant (which is suddenly all too evident, sigh...) as justification. I rallied, getting back on the bike for the last couple of blocks to our house.
We followed up that amazing Saturday with a fantastic message at Heartland (our pastor is truly amazing), a busy afternoon of cooking and cleaning, and a great dinner with friends. James even got to play hockey in there somewhere! (His team won their first round play-off game, round two is next Sunday) We all went to bed, happy and tired last night.
So, here is to hoping that my heart emerges from survival mode as beautifully as spring has come upon us. Jack and I are off to run some errands and enjoy the sunny day!