Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Quite Possibly the PERFECT Day!
Okay, so everyone has one of THOSE days (and quite possibly many of them). You know, where whatever can go wrong does. But have you ever had a day where everything that could go right, does go right? I think I've just experienced one of those days myself...... in my very own family none the less. It goes like this..........
Sunday morning was upon us again. Our children simply love Sundays. It is the one day they get to see their best friends and run through the halls where we meet for church each week, chasing each other in reckless abandon, all the while mom and dad are too busy preparing for the gathering to stop them. This morning in particular, was special in my mind. Garrett was given the honor of preaching and his topic was adoption. I was going to give a short testimony and sing a solo that would help to emphasize his point. I had been feeling a bit apprehensive about singing a solo since the song Garrett chose required my full vocal strength and I could feel the cold I had gotten 2 weeks ago still lingering by a thread, but there none the less. Alright, enough about what we were going to do it was time to get ready to go do it.
We woke the kids, who all seemed to be in stellar moods. When asked by the youngest," Where will we go today?" and upon finding out it would be a church day, she threw her little arms around my neck and crooned loudly,"Ooooh, thank you." Like by some great power of my own, I had willed the day into existence. It made us all smile and there was a good feeling all around.
There was cooperation in our midst as we breezed through the getting ready to go process and loading ourselves into the car. A usual tantrum of one sort or another usually erupts and keeps the tension high, but not a whinny voice of rebellion broke the calm morning air this day, to the relief of all.
In the car we prayed through the A.C.T.S. prayer, as is now our custom on the way into town. Everyone went in their right order, one after the other without having to be reminded it was their turn and with each saying more than just one thing on the subjects of ,"You are.., Confess.., Thank You's..... and Pray for....." Even the youngest, who refuses to participate on a regular bases, had her heart set on praying this morning.
At church our focus changed from immediate family to our church family. Garrett and I warmed up and practiced with the worship team. We have been part of the worship team now for 3 months and are loving it. The practice went smoothly and a run through of my solo alleviated any lingering fears I had had that I might not have the vocal strength or nerves to sing the whole song the way Garrett had written it so many years ago.
During the service, worship went smoothly. None of our kids caused a commotion or tried to come up on stage as in weeks past. They sat unattended and payed attention. People seemed to be worshiping with us and not yawning from a previous late night out or an exhausting week of being over worked and underpaid.
Garrett preached on the Lord's adoption of us. Saul translated. The two worked like one on the stage. It is like poetry in motion to watch. There is not a lot of pausing for these two as when other people translate. Garrett spoke fluidly and so did Saul. Both were preaching at the same time so it seemed. I videotaped some of it. Then Garrett invited me up to share a bit about my adoption experience. I choked through most of it since I am still so raw with emotion right now and felt confident as I looked around at the congregation that God had touched some of them through my pain as I saw a few people dab at a tear or two in their eyes.
Near the end of the service I came up to share the song "Abba Father". Garrett played the guitar while I sang. Being a perfectionist I can say it was not the best I have done, but God is giving me the capacity to be okay with not being perfect and not feeling like a complete failure because I wasn't. We had the song translated on power point so people could understand the words and I know the message was brought forth and that is what we had intended to do. That being done, I went back to my seat to take my place by our boys. And to my complete delight and utter surprise, was greeted with comments from them that went like this," Was that you??? You're AMAZING!!!! That wasn't a recording was it, that was you singing? You sing soooo great! Why don't you do that more often?" Little did they know that I would ride on a cloud for weeks from those powerful words they spoke into my life. I think I will never need a complement again. These little rascals know me and have seen me at my worst and yet they poured forth words of kindness and awe that I could see came straight from their deepest parts. They were not holding anything back. They were not trying to make me feel good. They were really impressed. I have done so much to un-impress them by not being a good manager of my temper, that to have impressed my boys was truly an honor and privilege for me. My boys think I have an amazing voice:) I wonder if that is how God feels when we sing to him? It has helped to give me a whole new picture about worship and how God responds when we give it to him.
After church, we broke down the stage and purposefully headed home without a whole lot of socializing. This was the day we had set aside to get the house ready for Christmas. We were going to go into what the kids call "The Dark Forest" and chop down a Christmas tree. Our first time ever to chop one down. It felt so much like "Little House on the Prairie".
We have 3 forests. Two of them are mostly Elm trees. All their leaves have fallen to the ground. You can see all the way through the trees to the other side now by just standing at the forest's edge. The other one is full of Pine trees (evergreens) and they are so close together that they block out ALL of the sunlight. When the kids go exploring deeper into this forest midday, they have to take a flashlight with them. Thus the name, "the dark forest."
We had been scouting out the trees for a few weeks now as we would drive by them each day and thought we spotted one that would work near the edge of the forest just down our dirt road. We got all dressed in our winter gear, grabbed axes, saws and camera equipment, of course, and headed down the road to find our prize! It was a sight that delighted my heart as I brought up the rear. Our dog and his puppy joined us for the adventure and really made the picture complete. I was bursting inside for the unity of family it felt like this activity was bringing us. Everyone was excited to be together and get our tree.
After looking at some possibilities we finally settled on one in particular. It wasn't a perfect tree at all. Some of the branches went here and there and it looked like it had two tops, but it was the right size and we decided we rather liked its imperfections. It gave it character and we are a family with some characters of our own so we set to chopping it down. It was quickly discovered that the ax was not the way to go and the saw was. Everyone took their turn at sawing, but Ezra was made for the job and so he fell the tree with great enthusiasm and encouragement from us all.
Next was the job of carrying the tree back without dragging it through the mud on the way. The "men" took on this task while us "ladies" took our time bringing up the rear. Well, really Sonshyne did her best to help carry the tree and keep up with her brothers while Hevenlee and I scurried to keep up and document it all with pictures while I held her hand and tried to avoid the huge puddles from the nights previous down pour. But the first 2 sentences just sound better:) And since this is my "perfect day" story, we'll just stick with that. Choose what to remember right?
After we got the tree in the house, all trimmed up and in position, we got out the lights and ornaments. Now it was time for fun Christmas music! Traditional Kids music was the unanimous choice and we set about singing songs, like 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' sung by the "Gold and Silver Choir", while decorating our tree with the Lithuanian straw ornaments I found at a great price. Our kids were eager to help hang the ornaments, though I had to fight the temptation to redecorate the tree later so that it was more pleasing to the eye. Our tree still has no ornaments at the very top. I just smile when I look at it and think the kids won't remember the way the tree looked but they will remember that they got to be part of the experience and that is what is important here.
When the very last ornament was hung, we turned out all the lights and had the official lighting of the tree! It took Ezra a few moments in the dark to hit the switch, but when he did it was wonderful. It is always my favorite moment when the Christmas tree lights come on for the very first time after we have spent so much time getting the tree ready. It officially felt like Christmas!
We played the "Frosty the snowman" and "Rudolph" cartoons on the TV, while we cleaned up. They are the same cartoons Garrett and I grew up watching each year when we were little. We lounged around the rest of the evening and had popcorn and other finger foods for dinner. I think we even squeezed a card game in there somewhere.
Sitting in our living room together getting along, with a fire in the fireplace, all the candles lit and loving and enjoying each other reminded me of a Norman Rockwell painting. It was a day I will cherish for many, many years to come. It is a day where our family really bonded with each other and a few weeks later we are all still talking about it with fondness in our minds. It is a day that we are all longing to do again and thinking of ways to do it. God knew we needed a day like this day. It is a day like this day that will get us through many, many days, like the usual days. It is also a day like this day that will keep us thinking on how to make it happen again. I am looking forward to creating another day like this one soon.......