On this vivid day, Carson was a few weeks from taking his first steps. He could sit up in the stroller, and we both enjoyed venturing out into the fresh morning air for a walk around the neighborhood. Blissfully unaware that when he started walking at 9 months Carson would never want to sit down again, I buckled him into the carriage and stepped outside to discover a perfectly beautiful day. The sun was shining in Kentucky, where we lived during his infancy, but the mild climate kept temperatures blessedly comfortable. We set out for our walk in silence, taking in the sights and sounds as the world around us awoke to a new day.
A little while into our stroll, we paused to study something on the path, and a soft breeze began to blow. The rich green bluegrass began to dance, and tree branches nodded gracefully as the welcome gust caused the leaves to quiver and sway. Carson grimaced, closing his eyes and wrinkling his nose as the gentle whisper tickled his face. As the breeze grew stronger -- lifting tufts of his baby-fine blond hair and playfully caressing his exposed arms and bare feet -- a smile spread across his little face. As the wind blew harder, Carson started bouncing in his seat. A giggle erupted, and from his belly he began to laugh heartily. I laughed, too, experiencing his first encounter with the wind. I will never forget the moment I watched my sweet baby boy lean forward in his stroller and stretch his arms wide, as if to embrace the breeze. It was a moment of pure, unrestrained joy.
Carson accepted that first breeze as a gift -- fully experiencing it and appreciating it as if God Himself blew a breath of love for my baby's pleasure. My own whispers of thanks mingled with Carson's giggles as the wind played hide and seek that morning. In the years since I have never forgotten the feel of the fresh air on our faces.
During this time of transition into my new job with Hoffman Media in Birmingham, Ala., my thoughts often return to that blissful stroll. Thinking of Baby Carson's observant nature, I am reminded to be present. Whether I am on the road for a lengthy commute, playing with words to craft a story for Victoria, or spending precious time nurturing relationships with family and friends, there is a gift to be unwrapped in each moment. Just like that Kentucky breeze, joyful moments can be fleeting. The challenge is to stay focused, aware and open to the blessings at hand. As Psalm 188:24 declares, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." That pledge holds true whatever the day holds, as long as we strive to be present where we are.
Remembering Carson's exuberance in greeting the wind, I want to stretch my arms wide to embrace the day before me. Growing older can make us more tentative in our outlook. We count costs, measure our frailties and hold back as we figure possible outcomes for failure. But children remind us to fully live each moment. Their examples teach us to love fearlessly, laugh deeply and run as fast as our dreams can carry us. And what do we have to fear if we are striving to follow God's will? Scripture assures us in Romans 8:31, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Finally, that distant neighborhood walk reminds me to be grateful. James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Whether viewing the ever-changing beauty of the landscape along the country roads that lead to my office, basking in the inspiration of creative people and projects, or savoring the welcoming security of home and time spent with the ones I love most, every experience offers a gift from God. He has blessed us all so richly and deserves our continual thanksgiving.
So to update you on accepting my dream job, sometimes I am unsure how I will balance the demands of working and raising a family. Often I am tired and wish I had more hours in the day. But always I am very, very thankful that this rich, full life is the one God planned for me.
And just like my sweet baby boy who has grown into a strong young man since our beloved stroller walks so many years ago, I am eager to lift my chin and feel the morning sun on my face. I hope you will join me as together we step out in faith, stretch our arms wide, and catch the next breeze.
"As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world." ~ Terri Guillemets