We’ve lived in several states;
In some of our home states, we have had extreme seasonal changes
and some states have had fairly consistent weather and temperatures.
Today, in Texas, we are enjoying the first day in quite awhile where temperatures and humidity are fairly low. A subtle, yet very sweet breeze is keeping the day beautiful. There are a lot more days like this to be enjoyed in Texas in the coming weeks, so it was pretty easy for me to shower up after my workout and head to my computer to complete some much needed work. I have a rare window of four hours to really get things done- no one is home, no one needs me, and I have no commitments that are urgent.
But, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t flip into my researcher mind and work on a project near and dear to my heart.
In an attempt to clear my mind, I decided to give the dog a few minutes outside. Instantly, I knew that what I really needed was some fresh air and open space. In an instant, I exchanged my office space for my pool deck.
I thought back on our many years living in Minnesota. We had six young kiddos and we definitely had many days of extreme cold where we hunkered down and kept ourselves busy with indoor crafts, games, and activities. Likewise, we lived in Arizona for several years and enjoyed months on end of sunshine, blue skies, and hot, hot HEAT- we were well versed in the local parks, pools, and activity centers that could offer us outdoor activity, with precious cool down space. We lived on going to swimming pools in the early morning, play lands in the afternoon and indoor crafts after dinner.
In both states, extreme temps and weather dictated the way we lived and spent our time. We knew how to bundle up in the winter and how to lather up in the summer- taking care to know our needs and our limitations. But it was always the surprise days, where temperatures relaxed a little and conditions softened up that I loved the most. These were the days that my big, little family learned to put EVERYTHING aside and simply ENJOY what life had to offer.
Sometimes it came when the endless snow was that perfect kind of ‘wet’ which meant snow angels, snowmen, and broom hockey; Sometimes it came when 110 degree, blistering heat gave way to 92 degrees with a perfect breeze which meant hiking, exploring, or a trip to the Zoo!
What strikes me today is that BECAUSE of the extreme weather patterns, it seemed like we were a little more apt to get out and find the simple JOYS when opportunity presented itself. Laundry day could wait in lieu of the perfect snowstorm for sledding the simple of hills in Minnesota. Shopping and meal prep got traded in for a trip to the lake with friends. Once in awhile, even school got traded in for exciting and much-anticipated movie release dates.
In complete contrast, we’ve lived in Texas and California. Both are states that have weather patterns, but for the most part seasonal weather is fairly consistent and dependable. Tomorrow’s weather will look a lot like today’s, so I find it a little easier to put the simple pleasures into the ‘tomorrow’ box. There are stretches of days where weather might offer an opinion as to how we spend our valuable time, but those days are few and far between.
I think seasonal patterns in our emotional and spiritual lives are similar. Perhaps, when things are going fairly well, life is moving forward with consistency and predictability- we get lethargic about planning for simple pleasures. We can enjoy a nature walk tomorrow, plan a lunch date next week, and fill our heart with light and space another day.
But when emotional and spiritual well-being is a little tempest struck by the extreme weather patterns caused by trial, fatigue, loss, or burden- those precious days of rest and respite become miraculous gifts from God- small touches from Heaven that strengthen today and carry us into tomorrow.
When things are going well, it’s easy to get lost in the consistency of complacency. It’s also very tempting, when tempests brew and storm clouds release, to close up the windows and shut ourselves in. Honestly, neither represent a healthy or balanced paradigm for living.
Often it is in the unpredictable moments that we find our simple pleasures. I believe hope and faith are built in these moments- moments we aren’t expecting it, but we see, feel, and hear Heaven whisper that we aren’t alone, that we haven’t been forgotten.
I’m recognizing that this has big application as I transition from parenting little ones to the experience of parenting teens and adults. This summer, I reminisced on the days that I could load up the car and travel for weeks on end- visiting local attractions, museums, water parks, family, and friends. Keeping busy was my mantra as we planned for activity and adventure in our togetherness.
Several years ago, that freedom and flexibility got traded in for teenage schedules- year round sports, part time/minimum wage jobs, and social lives. Like those extreme weather days, I have to be vigilant in looking for the breaks- brief moments when I can change our pace and ‘re-center’ on home and family.
I’m grateful for this 80 degree day, a cool breeze, and a few moments to rest and renew my heart, mind, and soul. I’m grateful for the reminder to look for the simple pleasures, and for the grace of Heaven’s gentle touch-
Love, Grace, and Joy~