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The weekly reckoning...
605. Knitting time in the car
606. A good ride with Brooklyn
607. A little birthday Bliss {cupcake!}
608. Getting to meet Carolyn at the Farmer's Market
609. and the spending a few hours walking around by myself
610. Adam's extreme sweetness in making a huge effort to organize a surprise party for me
611. Brooklyn not starting a riot in the UBC nursery (which she did last time)
612. Owning a vehicle with a bench seat - it's so nice to be able to sit next to Adam on drives!
613. The travel stop in Ozark that has every possible kind of candy and plays Casting Crowns
614. Sleeping on my own pillow (I forgot to take it with us over the weekend)
615. Whole Foods having all of the ingredients I needed to try a recipe from the cookbook Morgan gave me
616. Brooklyn not poisoning or injuring herself (despite her best efforts)
617. Meeting her new pediatrician while at the Air Force base for something else (but they needed a baby for a photoshoot)
618. Experimental recipe success!
619. That Brooklyn really likes beef-and-broccoli - the more broccoli, the better!
620. Her delight at getting to hold the gift registry at Target - pink paper!
621. Adam coming home from work and grilling dinner
622. then cleaning up, not only the grill, but also the kitchen, afterwards
623. An overcast morning, 10 degrees cooler than the day before - Brooklyn and I enjoyed a walk around a little nearby lake!
624. Meeting Kristin for smoothies and catching-up
625. A driver pausing to let me onto the road, after waiting several minutes for a line of cars that had collected because of construction and didn't show any sign of thinning

I kept the latter part of last week's list on a random envelope. Not because I had misplaced my journal, but because I was wholly stuck on one exceptionally bad day and couldn't think of anything to write down (that in itself is to my discredit, but belongs in another post on another day). Born marketeer that I am, I ended up rephrasing a few of that days events and listing them that way (taking CS Lewis' tack that if you act like you love someone, you'll eventually find it to be true, and applying it to gratitude).

But it got me thinking about the difference between only being affected in a positive manner ("seeing through rose colored glasses") and the contrast of the square-framed perspective we sometimes have on our wide-angle world. Too often, rather than viewing all things as gifts, we try to crop out the harsher aspects of reality. The baby crying while we caption the smiling shot we just captured for Instagram. A careful angle of our book and coffee that conceals the clutter on the desk. An artful plating of a successful recipe - pay no attention to the string of unmentioned failures that preceded it. We take all of our problems and just crop them out - but we cannot perpetually live our lives ignoring everything that falls outside a prettily filtered square.

That picture? I didn't have to set it up. I opened the door of our third bedroom (which is going to have to somehow be emptied and become a baby's room by or before January), waded about halfway in, and snapped a shot that typifies the rest of the room. Because reality isn't sterile - reality includes things that break and are broken (dishes, cars, hearts...), the crushing disappointment of opening the dryer to put in the laundry only to find a clean load from the week before that you'd forgotten about (so that's where all the dish towels were!), tears deserved and tears dramatic, jobs that are not your dream job but must continue to be worked at, floors that haven't been vacuumed in so long that you silently refuse to open the door when UPS knocks, soured relationships that you brightly lie about in carefully crafted Facebook statuses - there are things in all of our lives that we would love nothing better than to just edit out.

But our world is fallen one, and the small-scale redemption we can work in the Now is far from the perfection of the Not Yet, and pretending that the bad never happens doesn't make it go away - and it leads to unrealistic expectations for ourselves and for others. The perfect mom/wife/friend/worker/student/Christian/activist/fill-in-the-blank persona can lead to discontentment in others, as they fall for the lie that they're seeing the whole picture - and if we keep it up long enough, we can begin to deceive ourselves into thinking our lives have attained perfection (until a cold blast of reality takes our breath and confidence, and knocks down our house of cards).

Seek the positive in every situation - find the silver lining to every storm cloud - recognize the gift in every moment, every breath - and allow that to strengthen you to face life in all of its wide-angled fullness. Ask for prayer, admit areas of weakness to trusted friends and relatives (and to yourself), learn to laugh at the pool of spilled milk creating a small lake on the kitchen floor with a sheepishly dripping toddler in the middle - and remember to take a picture and post it --- reminding yourself of every possible gift associated with the situation, and encouraging others that they are not alone in the messy reality of life.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will trust in Him.
[Lamentations 3:22-24]

Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us each week to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!

Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other:
   Kayla [at] Renown and Crowned
   Kelsey [at] Faith Fun and the Fergusons

What aspects of your life are you tempted to crop and filter?


Kayla said…

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