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You're a standing ovation...

He's worn dinosaur pajamas all day. He slept in them for a good twelve hours, woke up and had breakfast and watched Mickey Mouse in them and then I hauled him to Walmart, shamelessly. His big puffy winter coat shrouding the t-rex and the snug hood squishing his precious face. We had things to do and it was more important that we did them than if we did them looking pretty.

I pushed the prized nap later into the afternoon - both in hopes of him taking a longer more full restful time and because he had been so contentedly playing and reading his books in the corner behind the front door. There are toys all over the main area of our house. Literally, all over. Buzz Lightyear lies face down on the couch, while all the pillows are on the floor. There are police cars and tractors, cows and a rhinoceros and my coffee table where I used to keep my journal, Bible, laptop, and planner is now devoid of anything if it isn't toddler approved. I told my husband, "If you let him play up there once, it will become an every day thing." Guess who insisted on eating his snack of Teddy Grahams while sitting on the table yesterday? Yeah.

I sat at my dining room table this afternoon post-lunch and wrote out a crazy list of goals for the next year. Things that I would love to see happen. Things that are more challenging and more specific. Things that push me outside my comfort zone and put me in a straighter line with the things - the people - that matter most. After handing a sippy cup of water to my son over the edge of his crib, I told him I loved him and shut the door, ushering in his nap time. I stood looking at the table - at my gratitude journal, my schedule, my lists. I took in the chaos of my house and relished in the toys in every corner. My eyes rested on the box on my counter, a care package for a best friend and I thought, "We did good today."

The day isn't over and while he takes his nap I will surely have one of my own. But there is something peaceful and smile-warming about knowing that I not only did what I set out to do, but I did what my heart wanted to do. I wanted to slow down and enjoy today (hence, the footy pajamas out in public). I wanted to pause in my list making and goal setting the instant little hands found my knees and blue eyes found my green ones and we coaxed smiles and passed them back and forth like a hot potato. I wanted to treasure what matters because it matters. Because it's a gift. Because it's here and now and I'm thankful.

There are many things I could and do get conflicted about. My mind can easily trip me up and I can start to gnaw my nails as I ponder more chaos and more change and more lack of a beloved routine. Sometimes life can seem overwhelming but I wonder sometimes if it only ever starts to feel like too much when I'm simply choosing the wrong things. When we have bad days within our four walls it's typically because I haven't rested when I could have or that I failed to accept help when it was offered or I'd rather be selfish and not be responsible. It's when my choices don't match up with the good I say I want. When I'm trying too hard to be too perfect and to do it all while standing tall and looking pretty... when I'm too scattered to notice the beauty of words from an open book or a seriously taped up care package for a friend. It's when I forget to look.

As I prepared Joel for nap time (ie: changed his diaper), I didn't hurry. There are days when nap time can't come soon enough (for him and for me) but today wasn't that day. And I prolonged the sleepy-time by kissing his belly every time he said, "Again!" and by holding him a little longer before putting him down, kissing him just one more time, patiently and joyfully watching while he took a drink of water before snuggling down into his blankets.

At bedtime I do similarly. By the time 7 p.m. rolls around I am beyond ready for my day to end. But I'm not ready to let him go. I'll kiss him as he drinks his milk and I'll distract him by blowing on his arm and making him laugh. We do the belly-kissing routine again. He'll push his foot into the leg of his pj's and say, "Stuck!" when his toes get hung up. I love that.

It's the littlest little things. And in the midst of it all we may get bad news. Or disappointing updates. Or I can sit here and look out the window and think of those with serious loss and my eyes burn. And I feel so simple and so blessed in our little house with our little boy and the leftover biscuits and gravy in the fridge. I don't want to take it for granted, but I also know I can't worship it or hang onto every second. But I can hold those seconds for a second. I can choose acceptance when things don't go the way I'd like. I can choose to trust God for peace and joy when the sun isn't shining and when grief seems to strangle all the hopes. I can choose to rush through precious moments like bed times and bath times and day times - or I can tug on the strands of time and say, "Hold your horses. This really matters."

Maybe it is just an open book. Maybe it is just a box on the counter. Maybe it is just another toy, just another cup of coffee, just another diaper. But maybe it's everything that really counts, too.

"So whatever you wish that others
would do to you, do also for them,
for this is the Law..."
~ M a t t h e w 7 : 1 2, ESV

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