Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tiny Corners of Our Everyday Lives

There is a book my momma gave to me a couple of years ago called "Cold Tangerines"... it's author Shauna Niequist wrote that,
"The discipline of celebration is changing my life..."
and that thought really resonated in my own heart.
I love the way she writes. She has put into words thoughts I hadn't ever been able to formalize or come to grips with. Let me share an excerpt from her book...

"I believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without even realizing it.

I don't want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day."
Sometimes I need to remind myself to be present, to soak up this day. Not to focus on the big events and just be busy in between them, but to take great satisfaction in these moments. Little as they may be, they comprise my life. And I want to live in gratitude now, not just in retrospect.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Has the Best Puddles!

WARNING! This post has an excessive amount of pictures in it! That tends to be my way, but it is especially so today.

While in Colorado, our search for sunshine was satisfied at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. After several rainy days in the mountains, the blue skies and zoo made us happier campers! Upon arrival we were greeted by these towering and colorful giraffe statues, but Evie's interest laid at her feet, in the form of puddles large and small.

Here was our first puddle of the day. Evie does not discriminate against the littlest of puddles, they are fully acceptable in her eyes.
I found it funny that in the presence of such impressive giraffes and other interesting things, like a zoo built on the side of a mountain... that Evie's fascination was in it's puddles. I guess sometimes it really is in the simplest of pleasures that toddlers revel, like playing more with the box than the toy that comes in it.

Oh wait, there's a giant giraffe with blue and green spots!
Look at that!
And we're back to the puddles...
Fascinating birds...


I however was amazed at how many giraffes there were, maybe 12 or more...

Evie wasn't ready to feed them, so daddy did. Pretty brave if you ask me!
This is when he got slimed. I love the look of disgust on both Philip and the giraffe's face,
and the look of awe on Evie's. 

And even though it's artificial, this is the closest I've gotten to a Baobab tree. So cool...

Evie said this bird had "cool hair", I agree.

I wanted to stop and watch the meer cats longer, but Evie had other plans. Don't you just want to rub their round bellies? Or is that just me?

Chipmunks being adorable...
sheer delight over the chipmunks...

The carousel made me giddy.

The calliope music reminded me of Joyland. I wish that Evie could have experienced that place! Here's a clip of Louie playing the Wurlitzer... (sorry if clowns creep you out, just scroll down and listen to the music, that's what I love).

An orange fire hydrant plopped in the midst of purple lupine seems like a silly thing to take a picture of, but there's just something wonderful about these colors, don't you think?

I thought this tiger seemed especially serene...

and after seeing where the tiger lives, I understand it's serenity.

Like "Where's Waldo", can you find the tiger?

Who enjoyed the zoo more? It's a toss-up.

A giant ant in "My Big Backyard".

Hmm... can we get mushrooms like this for our backyard?

This year we didn't pack a stroller, (space was at a premium in our compact SUV). And arriving at the zoo when Evie would typically be starting her nap time, made us consider renting a stroller. But, she not only had energy for the afternoon without a nap, she was skipping UP all the hills and playing in/on/and around everything else! Did I ever have this much energy? 

Winding down at the hotel after a memorable day. (Complete with the souvenir lion juice bottle!)

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo will likely become a Colorado tradition for our family.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Daddy Set the Standard

Where do I begin?
A friend of mine named Karie wrote something about daddies that really stuck with me...
(you can follow the link on her name to read her sweet blog)
the idea is that a father sets the standard for a daughter's guy relationships.
Karie's husband takes their daughter out on daddy/daughter dates. I think the intentionality they are taking and how they are investing in their daughter is really touching and valuable.
And Philip agrees with me that we should do the same for Evie. 
It is exciting to think of the impact this can have in her life.

So this makes me reflect on my father, and I know I am blessed to say that He is truly wonderful.
I have never known anyone who better encourages me in my interests and talents.
And having lived out the Bible story of the "Prodigal Son" (as the prodigal daughter), I have been more fully able to receive and understand divine grace and forgiveness because of my tangible experience of it with my earthly father. That has profoundly changed who I am and the value that I feel!

So Daddy, Happy Father's Day (late, I'm sorry)!
And THANK YOU for setting the bar high, for guiding and shaping my standard of a man.
The faith, love, strength and patience you have shown me have become the traits I value most about Philip.

And it means even more to me that this little girl is experiencing that kind of fatherly love.

From her daddy,

from my daddy,

and from his daddy.

Happy Father's Day to all three of you, you are setting the bar high.

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