Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Gratitude Day 852
A couple weeks ago, our four-year-old granddaughter Jensyn was at our house with her big sister and Dad. Hubby Rick and his son were watching the UW-Madison Badger football game. Jensyn wasn’t interested in the game. We played tag and hide-and-go-seek. We’d found something to eat and chatted about her new school experience of going to 4K.
And then, Jensyn noticed the pumpkins scattered around the house. A day or two earlier, I had dug out the tote from the storage closet labeled “Fall Decorations” and quickly put a few things out. Mostly, this means, I found places for a variety of pumpkins that I had.
Soon, Jensyn was wandering around the house looking for every pumpkin. She found big ones and little ones, soft ones and ones make out of twigs. Jensyn wasn’t interested in the ones covered in plaid but thought the different colored soft velvet ones were cool. Her favorite? This tiny little one made out of wool.
We made a little game out of collecting the pumpkins, putting them in size order from smallest to largest. Every time another pumpkin was added, we counted them all, as a little exercise in learning to count. I was amazed when we collected 25 pumpkins, all in a circle on our coffee table!
After we had played with them for a while, Jensyn came over and asked if I had a basket we could put them in. Sure, I have a basket. We loaded them up into the basket and placed it on the floor. But Jensyn had one more question for me, “Can we put them in the car so I can take them home?”
Take them home? Immediately, I thought of their 180-pound Great Dane, Auna. She’d make short order of some of those pumpkins, whether they tasted good or not. All I could envision was half-eaten pumpkins strewn throughout the house with dog slobber all over their bent and broken pieces.
I suggested that we keep the pumpkins at our house. “But I want to play with them at home,” she said with some big, sad brown eyes.
I probably did not win Grandma award of the day when I encouraged her to come back another day and we could play with them again at my house. We continued to play with them a bit longer and then made a game of putting them back where they had been found.
Sometimes, we come up with really good ideas. Ideas that sound good and make sense. Other times? We discover an idea sounds good but the reality or application may be a bit tricky. Personally, I knew Jensyn’s dad would not be excited about taking a basket full of pumpkins home. I pray he privately thanked me for less clutter getting moved into his house.
Certainly, our perspective is different at, um, an older age than at 4. Our role is to encourage helpful ideas and thoughts without squashing creativity and ingenuity. Yet, sometimes, may we also realize that we don’t have every good idea.
Take for instance this little 7-year-old girl. Her story is one that I wished others would embrace. Her idea is that she can make friends with residents at a sr. care facility. And she has! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more people, no matter what their age, saw the opportunity to make friends, improve her skills and share with others?
What other ideas are inspiring me right now?
This. My office.
After we moved to our current house, I set-up my office using the furniture that I had. But it never felt quite right. My office at our last house was about twice the size of my current office. As part of our downsize, I knew my office would get smaller, which encouraged me to get rid of lots of stuff.
But every time I walked into my office, I felt closed in by the furniture. When I had a ZOOM or Google meets meeting, the sun hit my laptop screen wrong. I just didn’t find it terribly inspiring.
One day, Rick was gone helping some farmers. I thought I’d take an hour and try some different furniture arrangements. Mind you, I’d already tried about 15 different ways, none to my complete liking. This time, I move the parts of my desk more in an L-shape and pushed them into a corner. I know sometimes it is helpful to keep furniture away from the wall. But this time? IT WORKED. Now, when I enter my office, I have a wide open space where I can get around. I have a place where I can lay things out if I need to. It’s amazing how just moving a few things changed my attitude and opened up my mind to new possibilities.
I’m not encouraging you to go move a bunch of furniture. What I am saying is this: if something feels off, don’t ignore it. There’s an idea resonating down there. Give it space to work itself out. You might be surprised how some seemingly little change can adjust YOUR attitude and ideas.
Finally, may I encourage YOU to embrace an idea that has been stirring around in your being for a while? Something you have been wanting to try. It could be as simple as new recipe or a different restaurant. Maybe reach out to a person who you find interesting and possibly develop a new friendship. Where is a place or opportunity that you have considered volunteering or helping out? What is one corner in your house that you could create a little place that would focus on something important to you?
I have a lot of ideas every day, week, month. I can’t act on every one of those ideas. Honestly, some of those ideas are really not bad. But every once in a while? I have an idea that I believe is inspired by God. An idea that may stretch me in a new way or encourage me to embrace a side of me that isn’t terribly comfortable. This weekend, pick one idea that has been ruminating for awhile and decide that you will take one tiny step towards that idea. You don’t have to full-on embrace it yet, unless you want to. Maybe it’s just one little decision that brings you closer towards an inspiration that God has placed on your heart and you’ve been ignoring. Or not embracing.
Maybe Jensyn didn’t get to take the basket of pumpkins home. But we embraced playing with “decorations” while she was at our house. She was fascinated with them and they certainly didn’t get hurt because a 4-year-old thought they were cool. Maybe the idea for this day was to allow a little person see that normal, everyday things can be fun.
Possibly, some of us bigger people need this encouragement as well.
For the opportunity to embrace new ideas, no matter what our age is, I am very grateful.
Holy God – Every day, I find so many thought buzzing through my brain. Some of those ideas are good and important. Others, mere distractions. Help me sort through those that are inspired by You. Help me know when an idea is one that I should act upon as a way to serve You, others and Your kingdom. Amen.
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