Friday, June 14, 2013

Catching the Breeze

As I consider how my life has changed since I started working as assistant editor of Victoria magazine in April, my mind drifts to a happy memory from my early days of motherhood. Son Carson was about 8 months old, and every day was full of joyful discoveries. I relished seeing life anew through his piercing blue eyes. Carson keenly observed every detail around us, and the intensity of his experience heightened my own senses. Tasting the sweet indulgence of a creamy chocolate milkshake, touching the soft fur of a neighbor's energetic new puppy, listening to the soft creaking of the rocking chair as Carson reluctantly succumbed to sleep -- every moment of the day seemed extraordinary encountered with someone so new to the world.

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


Anonymous said...

I understand your changing time. I, too, went back to work five years ago to teach Kindergarten. Our little Christian school closed, so I am now teaching in a large, faster paced Christian school. The demands on my time are more than I had expected, but like you, I know it is a blessing and I, too, keep reminding myself to live in the moment and embrace the blessings of the present. I know God will use you in your new job and will give you the energy, strength and grace to continue nurturing your sweet family. I will ask God for these things for you as I ask them for myself.

Michelle in San Antonio

Auntie Bliss said...

Bless you and your family and your new job :)
I came to your blog because I searched "Chicken A La King" LOL :)
You described exactly how it was with my first child, also a boy. It was so fun seeing things fresh through his eyes :)

btw I canNOT get into the email attached to my blog no matter what I try.
Thanks for the recipe!

The Mrs. said...

So happy for you and your dream job!!!130 easelers

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Melissa, I dropped by the grocery store and picked up copies of "Victoria" and "Victoria Classics" with you name on the staff. I was SO excited for you. So was Mr. Magpie.

I can't tell you how proud I am of you! We are still with my MIL, and I am popping in to let you know that I am going to settle down and read them both tonight.



The Quintessential Magpie said...

I see a typo my post. Guess I was so excited I was typing fast. Sorry! xo

Love Being A Nonny said...

Praying you are finding the balance you so desire! Miss your posts!

Nancy Hood said...

I needed to read this today :) Goes right along with my devotional. I've shared it with my readers via a link,

I'm sure your time is busy with your growing babies and the fun new job! Or is it really a job when you have fun there :) My teaching career was never a job and I miss it to this day.

Have a blessed day, sweet friend, and I pray you always run into moments such as the one of a KY wind to share with us.
Nancy Hood

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