“His eye is on the sparrow….”

This has absolutely nothing to do with simplifying or organizing….just really felt the need to share.

My two kiddos started swimming lessons today, which has been THE dreaded event of the summer.  Every week or so, someone would murmur about having to go, and I would say yes, you’re going, and the grumbles would begin.  Normally my kids love to be in a pool, but this was the first year (out of four) that they haven’t been in the same class, together, offering each other the unspoken support that only a sibling can provide.  Last year my son moved on, while my daughter didn’t.  So this year, the threat of  impending lessons has caused nothing but misery.

They woke up this morning having completely forgotten about it.  All morning they played, until about 10:00, when I called them up from the basement for snack and told them they’d need to get their suits on so we’d be ready to go….the whole time, praying that the word “swimsuit” wouldn’t result in a total meltdown.  (Usually they are quite thoughtful and take turns having fits; this was one instance I could have had them both explode at once.)  God provided peace; they seemed resigned to their fate instead of rebellious, and we had a good talk about nervous feelings and being brave trying something new and alone.

Thirty minutes later we were headed to the pool, and I was praying thanks to God for giving me fairly peaceful kids in what could have been a really difficult situation, when….wait…there was a familiar car up ahead.  It couldn’t be…. The car turned.  We turned.  No way…..  The car turned into the parking lot, and we followed.  Not possible!!!

Yes.  Friends.  The very first friends my husband and I had here; the friends who were in this city even before we were; friends from my husband’s grad school days who we’ve known for….wow, a long time….two boys piling out of the car and me yelling at their mom “You have got to be kidding me!”  Not a joke…the boys were all in the same class.

Shortly after, my daughter discovered a friend from school in her class.  (Not quite as surprising as the previous discovery….my little social butterfly can’t not find a friend somewhere.)

Leaving the pool, my daughter looked at me with a huge smile and announced, “I can’t wait to come back tomorrow!!”

Proof, yet again, that God really does care about the littlest of things….even nervous kids and swimming lessons….and will provide “even more than we can ask or imagine.”

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  (Luke 12:6-7)

All-American Girl

Back in April or May, I got an e-mail notifying me that the studio where my daughter used to take dance lessons was offering a special:  half-off on their summer camps.  She decided it might be fun; it had been a year since she’d been to dance and apparently she was missing it.  I looked over the age-appropriate options and asked if she’d rather go to the morning or afternoon class; after much thought, morning was her final verdict.  I then told my daughter about the theme:  by choosing the morning session, “American Girl” was the topic, which meant that all the girls could bring their dolls and take their dance lessons together.  Ever since that moment July 9th couldn’t get here fast enough for her.

I really do think the camp was a sweet idea, but I have to admit that “American Girl” dolls bother me.  There’s something disconcerting–to say the least–about dolls that come with more possessions than many people in the world own.  (One of my favorite “Arthur” episodes on PBS is all about “World Girl” dolls, and one of the characters is surprised to learn that her favorite doll is no longer being made.  “She’s from Tibet,” explains the saleslady.  “It’s a Buddhist country….it didn’t generate enough accessories.”)  Clothes, bedroom sets, pets…..That doesn’t even get into the prices, of both the dolls and all their “stuff.”  And, of course, there’s always more; now there’s a “girl of the year” each year, with her own interests and “stuff.”  And I haven’t even talked about the books.

So while I was excited to see how excited my daughter was, I admit I was a little concerned about how the actual week would go over.  Would there be a lot of they all have the real thing and I don’t?  They had a different doll every day and I only had one?  They had matching outfits for each day of the week and I didn’t? 

Nope.  We just finished day three, and I’m so pleased with how it’s gone.  She came home the first day telling me “who” each of her new friends had, without bitterness or complaint; not only that, but she wasn’t the only girl without “a real one.”  Each day she tells me about a new friend she’s made.  I’ve heard a total of one whole comment about a girl who dressed to match her doll, and it was stated in eagerness, not in jealousy.  Four of them huddled around an American Girl catalog this morning, before class started, and I caught a bit of her part of the conversation:  “I don’t have many clothes to match my doll.  But we do have matching ‘Kit’ pajamas!”  Way to focus on the positive, kiddo.

I wish I could bottle her attitude; keep it for a time in the future when she gets caught up in what others have and she doesn’t.  So far, she seems to have been gifted with an amazingly grateful heart.  I hope that doesn’t change too much.

Summertime…

Summer is my least favorite season.  Just as I’m not a “beach person,” like everyone else around me seems to be, I’m also not a “summer person.”  I know that makes me weird, and I’m okay with that.  But I’ve been really irritated with myself lately for dreading summer’s arrival, when there’s actually only one thing I really dislike about it:  the heat.  (Which, yes, can be completely unreasonable at times….but I’m putting that thought away for right now.)

The thing is, there are lots of things I truly like about summer, and I am determined to focus on those this year; to focus on the present and the now and to “fill my summer with summer things.”  (Many thanks to the “My Men and Me” blog for this final bit of inspiration: http://mymenandme.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/not-enough-picnics/ )

Summer blessings:

Quiet, no-rush mornings where we don’t have to scramble to get out the door on time.

Mornings spent in our glider swing:  two kids, one mom, books.

Grilling for dinner.  (Double points for this, since that means my husband is doing the cooking.)

Sitting in the shade chatting with friends at playgroup while the kids run wild…and coming home from playgroup, with sweaty, rosy-cheeked kids, walking into the sweet relief of air-conditioning.

Leaving the library with piles of books.  Often.

Waking up in the sunlight instead of the dark.

Kids running through the sprinkler.

Sidewalk chalk.

The birds enjoying the bounty of our mulberry tree.

Visits to Sylas & Maddy’s ice cream parlor.

Not having to set my daughter’s alarm clock.

Staying home on scorching afternoons with the lights off and the blinds opened just enough to let in some light.  (The kids asked to keep the lights off recently:  “It just feels cooler.”)

Art projects with the kids.

Watching parent birds feeding baby birds, seemingly in every tree in our backyard.

I have until the start of school on August 15th to enjoy these things as much as possible.  I plan on it.