I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13 NIV)
First of all, let me congratulate, Carol Ann! You won the giveaway from last Friday, your own copy of Times of Trouble Bring Rays of Joy by Cecelia Lester. (I am planning other giveaways as the year finishes out, so stay tuned!) I love giving gifts of goodness away.
This past week has been packed full with lots of goodness. Over the weekend, I prepared for a birthday party for our younger son, who normally doesn’t put a lot of hoopla into birthdays and such. He likes to celebrate life every day. But it just happened that he was available for some festivities on his actual day of birth this year.
So I went overboard, as a mother tends to do. I hung up art work from his school days and dusted off the scrapbooks. He wrote a song once about being “a perfect snowflake,” so I wanted to decorate with those. I found lights at Lowe’s, and my project crew (aka my sister, my mom and my niece) helped me hang them up on the porch.
Since we are traveling to celebrate the next holiday (Thanksgiving) with our older son and his wife, I contemplated putting our Christmas tree up for the birthday bash. But then, I decided that was really over the top.
After decorating the porch, I went to see a local production of The Drowsy Chaperone. My husband had been out for the day, and possibly relieved that we tackled the light hanging project without him. Since, I was sort of proud of our accomplishment, when we both returned home, I took him out to the porch to admire the lights. As we were intently looking at the lights, we missed this.
My mom, my sister and her kids, secretly placed this live spruce tree with snowflake decorations hanging from its branches on our porch. I burst into tears of joy, mingled with awe that my family heard my heart’s desire to have a Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving this year.
The whole day was a series of tender reminders of the goodness of God in the land of the living. That morning, I was once again recognized as a veteran, along with others at our church service. The pastor was a poignant storyteller, and I came away humbled by the losses he had experienced in his life, and yet he held onto hope.
The message of the musical combined humor with hope. In the last scene the narrator shares how his love for musicals transports him away from “the horrors of life for a couple hours.” As the cast sang the reprise of “As We Stumble Along,” tears welled up in my eyes. The messages of hope combined with the thoughtful surprise tree, moved me to more tears. Sometimes goodness causes me to cry tears of joy, hope and sadness all at once.
The goodness continued through the weekend, with an impromptu visit to the local outdoor skating rink. A first time experience for my nieces.
And we stopped to admire this sculpture on the way out of Forest Park. My older niece said, ” I enjoy this sculpture.” Something about the way she said it, made me want to enjoy things, too. The younger niece read the plaque, and told us it was called “Looking Up,” and then she did a cartwheel just for good measure in the darkened parking lot.
And on Monday, some of us went to the zoo, and all the creatures and critters were exulting with life and movement, even the sloth, who was reportedly a chronic sleeper.
And on Tuesday, we had a house full of goodness and good people. We enjoyed BBQ cooked by the hubby, board games and pumpkin pie for the birthday boy.
And a measure of humor, to push the goodness over the top.
As the holiday season fast approaches, I hope you have many goodness sightings. May your life be filled with expectations tempered with appreciation.
What is one of your favorite ways to celebrate life?