If you were to look at these pictures I took the first night we used our new-to-us fire pit that we got from one of Jeff's customers/friends, you might think, "Oh, what a lovely, peaceful evening for the Fisher family to enjoy being together."
And you would be right.
Did I particularly want to be separated from the majority of my family? Did I want to follow Benjamin up and down the driveway? Was I having more fun than if I had been able to relax in the circle with the others?
No, no, and no.
But when Josiah came over to me on the driveway and expressed his sorrow that I wasn't able to enjoy the time around the fire and his recognition that this phase of life with Benjamin is rather demanding of my time and energy, I realized anew the splendor of, yes, this phase of life. You see, when Josiah said, "Next year will be easier," I thought, "Yes, maybe so, but next year will mean we're one year closer to our family breaking up, in a sense, as Josiah (presumably) leaves for college. I don't want to be one year closer to that! I desperately want these three remaining years and would not like to fast-forward through one of them, leaving us with only two before our fledglings begin to leave the nest!"
And so I told Josiah that. :)
And then I began to keep my eyes out for the joy that's found (but all too often, overlooked) in the everyday. In the ordinary. In the extraordinary ordinary.
In moments like...
...Jeff working with his sons to replace the "floor" (what's it really called?) of our trampoline. After having it for 6+ years, a tear was developing in the trampoline--not in the net around it (goodness, we've had to replace that several times because they just don't stay in great condition for long!), but in the floor of it. It wasn't the easiest job to get the new one on, but the guys used their muscles and made it happen. And we have very happily used it lots since then, relieved to know that the floor won't suddenly split wide open and dump us on the ground! :)
And in moments like Jeff playing poker with the older boys. (No real money changed hands, but a lot of fun was had.) ;-)
And in moments like the biggest brother holding the littlest brother so he could watch (boring to us, exciting for Benjamin) tractor videos on YouTube.
And in Jeff cutting Moriah's hair...
And in siblings playing foosball together (after I FINALLY cleaned off half of the porch--the half containing the foosball table--and got it playable again).
In a picture-perfect morning spent at a local track--just the thing for my aspiring runners who are preparing for a race in August (and just the thing for those of us who aren't preparing for any races but who benefit nonetheless from fresh air and good exercise!). ;-)
In our church picnic on a gorgeous day...
And in moments, just today, that warmed my heart. Like Jeff sending me an email this morning, letting me know that he had blocked off some time in his schedule and wanting to know if I would like to meet him for lunch at the Olive Garden restaurant that's newly opened in our town. Would I ever!! :) And then after that, going to a thrift store to look for some clothes for myself and spending $26 to bring home two pairs of jeans, two other pairs of pants, two skirts, and one shirt.
In moments like David deciding to memorize the first 101 digits of pi...and succeeding. And then him deciding to memorize a poem, so he chose "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost and got right to work. When I walked into the bathroom later this evening to put away some clean towels, I heard him enthusiastically reciting it to Benjamin who was in the bathtub (being watched by David) and was quite a captive audience. :)
And then I went downstairs and found Jeff and Josiah discussing various Bibles and commentaries, and then Jeff helped Josiah order a new Bible (one with extra wide margins for note-taking and journaling purposes), and Josiah got inspired to study Galatians more deeply than ever before (because he read The Silas Diary by Gene Edwards). And I thought, "Watching my husband and our firstborn talk so earnestly about how to study the Bible is...well, it's just priceless. No words can express how sweet it is."
That's pretty much how I feel about life these days.
Even when it's tough, no words can express how sweet it is.
So I'll stop talking now. ;-)