Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Choosing between Anger or Blessing





   Today we are blessed with a snow day. Trust me, it took me quite some time this morning to see it as the blessing it actually is. I woke up feeling tired, dragging, even frustrated and I hadn't even gotten up out of bed yet!

In my area in PA, they are saying we can get dumped on by a snowstorm. So far, there is barely an inch on the ground. Around 5:30 this morning, it was still snowing -it is now raining- and there was a good covering on the ground. This is around the time that schools must put the notice in for a delay or closing, so since it was snowing and the weathermen are calling for up to 10 inches of snow, most schools have closed.

As I lay in bed listening to the sounds of the boys coloring together, the quiet voices of the cartoon they are watching, I realize something. The boys are no longer being quiet. In fact, there is an outright argument going on. Yes, sometimes I am slow on the uptake. I listen to see if they can resolve their fight on their own and am dismayed to realize that I now needed to leave the nice, warm and cozy bed I've been dawdling getting out of. When you are tired, the last thing you want to do is crawl out of your bed.

The rising voices and tempers of the boys were loud enough for the neighbors to hear by now. Momma need to step in it seems. Just what I did not want to do. I wasn't paying attention to my own volume and tone as I yelled over the boys to be quiet. I don't know about you, but realizing that I am doing the same exact thing they are, and yelling at them for doing what I found myself doing, is hypocritical. I closed my eyes for a minute and desperately tried to reign myself in. "Patience, I need patience and to be calm," I told myself. I took a deep breath and calmly and gently told the boys to quiet down. The result was the same as it usually is: being ignored. I find that unless I yell to get their attention, they ignore me, talk over me, scream, fuss and cry. The thought alone makes my temper flare up. Deep breath again. 



 Okay, I am calm again. I decided that instead of spending the day with anger, frustration, some tears, time-outs, and outright rage, I would look at the day as a blessing. We choose how our day goes. No, we cannot choose what life brings us, but we can choose how we react to it. Today, I choose patience, serenity and joyfulness. It will not be easy. I know that I can do it though because it is part of what I prayed for this morning. I can do serenity and calm. I like calm. I like things that give me a calmness.



 In nature, there are many, many things that I can find that feeling of calmness, that serenity. I love nature, all those beautiful things that God has made for us. Like the deer pictured above, I can settle down and feel a sense of calmness settle deep within me. When my temper starts to flare up, I tend to force myself to look at the sky, in hopes of something to calm me. I love to watch the clouds, especially when they cover the sun and the sun's rays flare out all around and sometimes through the clouds.


 My family loves nature. In fact, our vacations take us to different places in the country specifically to see nature, to be around it and to bask in all of God's glory in the form of His creation. We are blessed with children who love nature - mountains, oceans, and everything in between. We've been to the Rainforest in the Northwest and really enjoyed walking through it and very much enjoyed everything about it including the ground! Really, who enjoys the ground? On that vacation, we were blessed to enjoy not only the Rainforest, but several National Parks, including Yellowstone, beaches and stony shorelines in Oregon, the Redwood trees in Northern California and many other places.

Yellowstone Buffalo nursing her young calf

Hoh Rainforest

Oregon coastline

Mountains out West

California Redwoods

Rocky Oregon Coastline

Drift Logs

Hoh Rainforest

Yellowstone 

Oak Harbor Washington

 God has blessed us with so many of His beautiful creations. I am sharing some of my favorite pictures I've taken from our vacations. I have somewhat of an odd perspective at times, so some of the pictures (here and in future posts) may not exactly make sense. I love writing and photography, so combined with God's earth, the sky is literally the limit!

In walking through the forests, through the mountain valleys and along the coastlines, I can bask in God's glory. I am always more calm on vacations because nature calms my heart and soul. Being at home all day, I look to the clouds and trees for my feelings of calm. The picture of the cardinal from the beginning of this post was taken in my backyard. I try to find things that keep me calm and serene or I can blow my top and go through life like I'm chained to the back of a smoking bus and not enjoy anything. That is not the life that God wants us to have. He wants us to enjoy it. Joyfulness, kindness, love, compassion are only some of the good things that He wants for us.

You can start your day tired and you immediately have a choice. You can spend the day grumpy and even angry or you can choose to spend the day finding the joy in life. I think that a joyful life is much better than a grumpy, sour outlook. I have my grumpy days which always make my upset and full of regrets at bedtime. There is a sense of a wasted day.


 For the past few weeks, I have been trying to picture this flower when I first wake up. Its bright, sunny color immediately makes me smile, the bright green of its leaves remind me of the green grass and the combination of green grass and a bright sunny skies does wonders for my spirit. The center of the flower, the deep red color contrasts with its otherwise bright colors but does not overtake them. It all blends together to form the perfect flower. God has created it this way. Life is a balance. You can't have a good life, without some trials because we wouldn't know how to truly enjoy the good. In photography, I like to find the contrasts in nature, especially my sky pictures.

 

 Like the bright blue of the sky, the slightly deeper blue of the water and the dark trees, the bright white heron stands out, yet blends in at the same time. To me, the white heron is a glaring example of Christ in our lives. We are the scene behind the bird. It is a pretty picture without it, but missing something. We go through life trying to find what we are missing, to find what leaves us with a sense of emptiness and loss. But with the addition of Christ, shown by the white heron, He fills that emptiness. He cancels out the sense of loss and instead fills it with joy, with beauty. Christ is the completion. We see this in the things that He blesses us with.


 He has blessed us with so many things, that it is often easy to overlook or even take them for granted. There is no guarantee of the blessing of another day. God blesses us with another day. In the morning, even before you even take a single step out of bed, you have been blessed. You woke up. You have been blessed with the gift of another day. It is up to you how your day will go. God has blessed you already, with the beauty of the morning. Even with the rain, or snow - whichever the case may be - there is beauty if you truly take the time to look. Those are just a couple things, but so many more can be found if you look.

I choose today, to count it as a blessing and enjoy my day with the boys. I choose to be serene and calm and to keep that calm. Today, I chose happiness instead of sadness, joy instead of frustration and anger. Today, I choose to be blessed by my boys' love for me. I choose to enjoy being their mom and even choose to enjoy the work that needs doing in the house. I can easily ruin the day by choosing to remain frustrated and angry at the boys' fighting and let my own emotions run out of control but that doesn't make sense now, does it? Why choose to spend the day upset when we can so easily choose to let my heart feel lighter and filled with God's love and all His mercy, grace and blessings?

Isn't this a place of calm, of serenity?
Do you choose to serve the Lord today, or do you choose to serve your human feelings and emotions? 




 These are my little blessings, well, smaller than they are now but these are my little miracles.  Back when they didn't mind being held and snuggled with mama in pictures. Today, I choose to be blessed by their love and of course, by their hugs.

Have a great and blessed day, my friends!
~ Karen