A few weeks ago, our friend, Matt, came to visit us. In our first year of marriage, he was our favorite supper guest. We haven't seen him in person since we moved to Austin, so it was so good to catch up (and eat plenty of suppers together). While he was here, we disc golfed, ate tacos, barbecue, and homemade waffles, watched movies, and we had a game night. All the best things, really.
Coincidently, his visit was on the same weekend as the annual Pflugerville Chili Pfest (our city likes to spell all words that start with "f" with a "pf," i.e. pfamily pfun. I think it's pretty cute). You pay five dollars to get twenty small cups, tickets, and a few spoons. Then, you taste as many versions of chili as you want and vote for your favorite(s) with your tickets. Booths are hosted by churches, the police department, realtors, motorcycle clubs—everyone joins in. My tickets went to the chili with less meat and more veggies, but all three of us had a different favorite. It is small-town-festival-fun at it's best and the perfect event to attend with an out-of-town friend. We're so glad you came to visit us, Matt!
As I wrote this, Nicholas was working from home like he does every Friday. I made aeropress coffee, because we didn't have to rush anywhere in a hurry. We sat on the couch, watching Bob Ross paint landscapes. It was pouring and windy, so gusts of rain hit the windows and we kept the lights on/candles lit to keep it cozy inside with the storm outside. While I made us eggs-in-a-basket with sprouted toast, I paused intermittently to watch as Bob painted another "happy little tree."
I can set the scene for you. The other aspect of setting the scene is to tell you that I struggled with writing this post. I knew I wanted to write about Matt's visit and a few other little things in our life. But I was hesitant, because sometimes I worry that others tire of reading about my "happy little trees" in life. I don't write to flaunt joy. Whenever I write about happy things in our life I want to make it extremely clear that my joy has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Jesus. I read this today, from Thomas Schreiner:
We don’t master life, and we don’t know what the days ahead will bring. But we put our trust in God, and eat and drink every day with joy. We give thanks for our daily bread. We find joy in the ordinary things of life: in taking walks, in exercising, in regularly attending church, and in meeting with friends. If our days are good, if we are spared suffering, that is a gift of God. Ordinary days have their own glory. Every piece of toast with jam on it is a gift of God. Every sweet apple and tasty clementine. When we receive life as God’s gift, we see the glory in the ordinary .
I love that. Ordinary days have their own glory. And I'll stick to my plan to look for glory in the ordinary as I receive God's gift of life. Because what is the alternative? This week, these are my ordinary, weekly joys:
- I finished my briochealicious shawl and I love it. It's lightweight, but cozy. I'll share more pictures soon!
- Cool fall mornings with temps in the low 60's, which is the perfect temperature for morning runs. The other day, I ran four miles (the furthest distance I've run in several months)
- Scouting out fiction books at the community library and texting my library-loving mom for recommendations
- Dreaming about what to knit next—and puttering away on a garter stitch square in the meantime
- Muffin recipe-testing (with Nicholas as my eager taste-tester)
- Looking forward to having the entire weekend off
I encourage you today to take stock of you weekly joys—your "happy little trees," if you will—as you search for glory in the ordinary.
Fall feels like a number of transitions, one right after the other. We are now bridging into late fall, with lots of frost in the mornings, first sightings of bare trees, and darker, cozier evenings at home. Of course, there is talk of Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon too, along with early preparations for those. I do tend to be swept by the momentum of this season, if I'm not careful. I'll admit that Christmas music accompanies us throughout the day sometimes, and I've already done most of our shopping, but I do want to be intentional to savor the almost-but-not-yet. To not wish away November and it's baring of trees in favor of the glow of Thanksgiving and Christmastime. There is great beauty and contentment in this month, as well. I don't want to miss it.
We've taken to a regular "cozy hike," as we've termed it. A nearly wooded path, my favorite spot for fall color, a wagon, an eager toddler, a cozy blanket, and snacks. I look for the bright red leaves, since those are a favorite for both of us. And we also look for acorns and pinecones, treasures on the ground.
I'm typically in a rush to wish away the hot days of summer, to exchange them for cozy days, sweater season, cool mornings. I'm an optimist, and that optimism frequently couples itself with being future minded. Constantly looking forward with hope, but also sometimes looking forward with misplaced longing that can inhibit me from being present. But this past weekend, the events of both days were lovely, and being present felt easy and good.