The #write31days challenge continues. It’s Day 13 of my 31 Days of Gratitude 2016. In a new tradition, I’ll be having Throwback Thursdays and reposting past posts. Here is one I originally posted in October two years ago.
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Last weekend we spent the day at a friend’s ranch/farm, which was about an hour out of town, for a birthday party. I have to admit that when Brian and I get invitations from friends our first response is – can we get out of it? Well, maybe it’s not that bad but these days we are more prone to stay home than to venture out.
However, lately I have been feeling like we need to get out of our little “bubble’ more often and spend time with other families. And not just families that believe exactly the way we do, but those who differ in their faith. We all share a common love for our kids and are trying to raise them within a moral compass but we don’t necessarily see eye to eye on certain things. Finding common ground and learning to be respectful of our differences, without necessarily changing our own beliefs, is not always easy. However, it is essential to learn how to interact and live peacefully amongst our neighbors (or even family members.)
In the end, we had a great time. The party was so fun and the kids absolutely loved all the carnival games and bouncy house and looking at all the different farm animals. (Although John-Paul inherited his mother’s dislike of certain smells and did not want to stand near the “stinky cows.”) I loved talking to the other moms and Brian was in awe over the little ranch chapel that our friend’s mom built. He already has plans to remodel our current outdoor shed into something similar. 😉
I also thought it was funny that this was my second time in one week to spend time at a farm. As I mentioned earlier, I am a city girl and not used to being around horses and cattle and other live stock. I’m not keen on all the flies everywhere but something about this ranch just took my breath away. You could see the hard work and dedication that was involved in maintaining it. Although it looked different from scenes of the ocean or the forests, there was an undeniable beauty in the land. At one point I wandered around with my camera and took a few shots. As my feet kicked up the dirt and the sun beat down on my back, there was a sense of God’s presence in the simple beauty to be found. A beauty I had not appreciated before.
My attitude reminded me of a stranger coming into our home and hearing the boys yelling and playing, seeing the Legos and the toys on the floor, seeing the crayon marks on the walls, stains in the carpet and the dishes in the sink and thinking, “How can they live in all this noise? How can they continually keep cleaning up after all these kids? I’d hate it.” But if they looked deeper they’d see that beyond the noise and the mess, there are giggles and laughter. There are sweet kisses and tight hugs. There are acts of kindness and reflections of God’s love. Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to see the beauty in the mess.
Being at the ranch today not only opened my eyes to the simple beauty in front of me but opened my heart to welcoming in other people and enjoy their companionship. Those are not things I would have learned had I just stayed home. For that, I am very grateful.
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