Monday, May 7, 2007

Pre-Summer Family Fun

EDITED: Photos removed.

Today was Nicholas's first visit to the zoo!

He wasn't into the animals, but he did love the people watching and the carousel! It was a wonderful day.

Usually when I go somewhere full of, well, people, I get annoyed about something or other. I guess I'm not really a people person? I tend to notice everything, which means I notice all the good things and also all the things that I shouldn't really notice. You know, the person smoking in a non-smoking area. The person giving their two year old soda. The person hogging the grocery store conveyer belt with their inconsiderate item placement! That's my pet peeve in life, which is why my items are all neatly stacked and smooshed together so as to take up as little space as possible. In fact, when I was pregnant, I once, um (how do I type this without sounding like a terrible person), "accidentally" gently nuuuuuuudged a woman in line in front of me who would not move forward to allow me the opportunity to unload my groceries!

I just always tend to get on my soapbox about something. I feel the irritation rise to skin level and then I'm off. Poor Penn has been on the receiving end of soooo many lectures and diatribes about others' imperfections. This from Mrs. Plank-in-the-Eye, herself.

But yesterday I started reading James. Why does almost every single verse hit me right between the eyes? Did James know me, personally? Ouch! Especially 1:19-20: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."

Yesterday I prayed for god to replace my sinful tendency to be critical, judgement, and easily irritated. I want to be more patient, loving, and generous in spirit. And I know only God has the strength and power to change these faults. I come from a long line of perfectionism and criticism. I think our family motto had something to do with not "suffering fools gladly." The hawk on our family crest does look pretty sarcastic.

So today, I was delighted to see the Lord already hard at work on refining my atrocious character. I still noticed the usual things that might annoy me, but I noticed that I noticed. God pointed out all the opportunities I had to choose his way instead of my own. And just the gentle prodding of the spirit was enough. There were plenty of opportunities for eye rolls, but the usual venom didn't flow through my veins. I just noticed things, noted them, and let them go. As a result of God's work, I enjoyed myself even more than usual. There were no little annoyances to murk up a day full of clearly happy family memories.

Instead I got to focus on all the adorable children and their loving parents. The amazing animals and gorgeous scenery. The glorious weather, fragrant flowers, and blossoming trees. The (mostly) happy antics of our cherub and the proud adoration of his Dad. And all the many makes and models of strollers. Oh my goodness, the strollers. Not one person had our wonderful red Zooper stroller.

After our zoo outing, and Nicknack's afternoon nap, we spent the evening playing in the backyard. We even set up his kiddie pool. Weatherwise, it was a pretty impressive day for Seattle!


MyBestInvest said...

That's a great message. I particularly liked when you said that all the distractions and things to potentially complain about can blind you to the blessing of being out-and-about with your family. What a great reminder.

Tammy said...

Hi- I'm visiting from your comment at Melanie's...
Since I was an only child, I had to pop on over to "meet" you. And what a beautiful, honest post about what God is doing in your life! I so appreciated reading this.
Your little guy is so glad you had a nice day at the zoo!
(And I live in Oregon, so know what you mean about being thankful for the sunshine!)
By the way, I'm an "older" my 40's but with two young girls, 7 and 5.

Michelle said...

OH he's just adorable!