Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thankful For The Light

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We’ve come to that point in the season where the trees are now nearly bare. Their leaves have gone, their colors have faded, and their jagged branches point and twist in a seeming melancholy sorrow.

It’s a gradual turn from radiant glory to silent sticks with these trees that greet me every morning. Or is it? Perhaps it happened overnight while I wasn’t paying close enough attention, and I was too distracted to notice.

One morning this week I was in awe of how beautiful one particular tree was. There was nothing remarkable about it. Its bark was blanched and rough, its barren branches poked its neighbors, and there was not a single leaf to show its unique colors.

But it was beautiful and radiant. It was illuminated from behind.

The sun shone so brightly on this tree, forcing it into the forefront so that every detail of its knotty trunk, every intricacy of its intertwined branches stood out for the world to see.

And it was beautiful.

On this Thanksgiving, when we so carefully count our blessings, I will say a special prayer of thanks for those who illuminate me from behind. Those who see beauty, grace, and strength in me when I do not; those who push me to be a better person by their guiding, shining examples.

I am grateful for those who light me along the way. And I am blessed to have opportunities to shine light on others.

Either way, I am thankful for the light today.

 

The House Pinterest Did Not Build

Erin's house

Erin designed, built, and decorated her own house the other day.

She thought it out, carefully constructed it, and intently decorated it.

All on her own.

I came upon the finished construction in a bit of a daze, having just spent 20 minutes scrolling through hundreds of pictures of laundry rooms on Pinterest. Hundreds. And I closed the iPad more confused and overwhelmed than when I typed “laundry room makeover” in the small search box, dependent upon others’ creativity to spark my own.

I looked at her beaming with pride in front of her accomplishment, and it struck me that she had made the whole house without consulting a single outside source.  The entire thing had been built as a testament to her strong sense of self.  And I quickly realized what a shining example that was to me.

I love that she built it the way she did. It’s hers. From start to finish. From the green and silver duct tape to the bright red swirling star in the entry. From her “please knock” welcome on the jagged carved door to the purple streamers hanging in open air windows.

It came from her heart and her soul. It was crafted with her spirit. She used what she had. She made her own decisions. She trusted her own sense of style. She allowed herself to be creative.

And she did all of it with confidence, enthusiasm and joy.

There was no Pinterest involved. No replicating. No comparing to what others had done.

I let her house sit in the middle of the family room for several days, so that each time she passed it she could beam with pride. And so each time I passed it, I was reminded of the precious lessons to be learned from a confident third grader and flimsy cardboard. Somewhere along the way I have forgotten how to trust my own instincts, often becoming paralyzed by indecision. I don’t remember how to take risks without concern about others may think. I’ve ignored outlets for creativity.

Erin’s house is a tribute to the valuable lesson in trusting ourselves.  And clearly I have a great deal to learn from her.

I am pretty sure that one day when she is all grown up she will have a lovely house.  It won’t be made of cardboard, but it will be a warm and lovely home filled with her spirit and that of those  she shares it with.  One day she’ll likely want to makeover her own laundry room and I am sure she will tackle it creatively, with her own sense of style, and with unyielding confidence in her choices.  On that day I will think back to her as an eight year old girl beaming from inside her cardboard house.

And I will grab a paintbrush and be happy to help, grateful to be learning from her example once again.