Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bigger Picture Moment: Positively Filled

The garage door is open, letting frosty air settle around the mini-van as we leave for school.  Lauren drops her backpack by the passenger side, reaches up to the door handle, and tugs backwards.  One hand is not enough -- she stretches on tip-toe now and grabs the handle with the other hand as well. 

I can feel the smooth handle cold in her grasp as if it were in my own.  She grimaces.  She yanks.  She arches and pulls.  And nothing happens.  The latch is too firm for her to open without help.

But, as is her habit of late, I know she'll refuse help or at least become very angry when I attempt to help.  So I wait patiently.  And with my own hand dipped into my purse, I push the automatic button on the key fob.

The door glides open with a soft whoosh of hydraulics.  Lauren's face opens up from within.  She is positively filled with delight.

Steam billows in great clouds of warmth as Mia sings in the shower, dancing and slipping.

She pauses while I lather a dob of silvery shampoo into her scalp.  I tell her, start scrubbing from the top to the bottom, and don't forget any chunks of hair.  She reaches up, dancing again, and scrubs one small bit of hair, directly on the top-center of her head.  I squint at her bare attempt.  With four hands, we manage to make each strand and lock slippery with soap.

We repeat the facade.  I instruct, she attempts, I cleanse, she dances.  As the water turns from comfortably warm to bracingly cool, I force one last rinse-off.  She steps from the shower into my towel-clad arms.  I chuff and rub her skin dry as she chatters her teeth behind purplish lips. 

She smiles as broadly at her grown-up ability to shower.  She swells with dignity and dances towards the bedroom and warm pajamas.  She is positively filled with delight.


Landon's bedroom is almost completely dark.  A tiny green light in the corner shows me where the baby monitor lies; a slice of muted white light tries to filch in under the door frame; the digital clock glows red on a top shelf. 

I shift Landon's sleeping head from my left elbow to my right palm.  He is swaddled and compact; he probably won't even register my motion in his perfect sleeping package.  I've done an awesome swaddle, I think. 

What's more, I've done an awesome bedtime.  I rocked him until his eyes became heavy, I walked him until his breathing became deep, and now, I think, I'm within reach of the goal. 

I step over to the crib, nestle him into his favorite position on the flannel sheet, prop his binkie in place with his swaddled fists, and back away.  Slowly.  I don't want a popped ankle or stubbed toe to undo my perfect bedtime success. 

On the other side of the closed door, I sigh in relief.  My pride at a bedtime well-done overflows.  I am positively filled with delight.


And yet, none of us has really done anything on our own.  We each had help or luck or blessings to see us through.  We are each imperfect in our assumptions of triumph.

But our joy isn't dampened by that knowledge.  Instead, it is completed by that knowledge.

It's okay to be filled with delight, however softly our attempts fall into the category of success.

We're seeing the Bigger Picture through simple moments -- moments that force us to stop and take notice of the ways our worlds are important, meaningful, and beautiful. Please join us here today!  Grab the button, link up, and read a few others to encourage them as they walk this journey of intentional living.


  1. This is beautiful, Sarah. I love the rhythm and the parallelism here, as well as the remarkable observation at the end. Well-written, and well-lived. These are beautiful connections, thank you for sharing them with us.

  2. Your descriptive skills are such a treat, Sarah, truly.

  3. You have such a beautiful life, Sarah, and such a beautiful family. I love these vignettes, and I think you're right: we don't ever really do *anything* on our own. We're all connected.

    And, um: Congratulations on that bedtime! Joint effort or not, that was impressive!

  4. our joy is completed by that knowledge. I agree and like that!

  5. This post positively fills me with delight. :)

    It's remarkable how it is so often the little things we do that delight our kids. The simple things. So often I forget that and I feel like I have to wow them with something huge, when all they really want is a little bit of lovin' to fill them with delight. :)

    Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I'm going to try and hold onto this thought (this lovely, lovely thought) all day long today...

  7. Amen to that. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Co 12:9
    Your word paintings are lovely, Sarah.

  8. So good. So wise.
    I related completely with Lauren thinking of all the times I have struggled to open doors in my life-doors I could not possibly open on my own yet miraculously were opened to me. Joy!

  9. I enjoyed reading this -- so nicely stitched together.

  10. You are such an amazing writer! Loved these little snippets and your reflection was simply beautiful :)

  11. Beautifully written and I love all the connections. We all need a little help now and then no matter how big or small. Wonderful!

  12. Sarah: I am sorry. Somehow, I linked to the wrong blog post of mine. The Rambling Follower 2 is the correct post!

  13. As you know, I think that your writing is flawless.

    This story of achieving and caring made my heart soar. Your little family is just delightful and your patience is something that I envy.

    Adored this, Sarah.

    Adore you! :)


  14. Oh this is so beautiful and such a definition for family, right? Success completed together?

    Also, if I had a dollar for every time my ankle popping woke up the baby...I would hire a night nurse so I could sleep!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?