Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Joy Choices

We were in the middle of our Sunday afternoon drive tradition when I told the Man I'd always wondered what wheat felt like. He grew up in the country, while I grew up in the concrete jungle, so he's starting to get used to me saying things like this.

It was a somewhat enforced Sunday afternoon drive since we'd had a rough night with the twins and a ensuing nap battles, and they had finally consented to fall asleep in the car, and there was no way we were messing with that. So the boys sipped strawberry limeades, and we drove through fields of gold brown Oklahoma wheat, and the Man and I talked about big things and little things and wheat.

He said wheat was kind of fuzzy.

"Really?" I replied.

And he pulled the car over to the side of the road so I could jump out quickly and find out for myself.

It wasn't fuzzy. It was prickly and proud, and one of the little seeds rolled out into my hand, and I crunched it between my teeth, and it tasted like joy.

The Man asked me that night what my favourite part of the day was, and I told him it was when he had pulled the car over so I could experience the feel of wheat first hand. 

Turtle number two and happy boys

Three weeks ago, before the Man was home, the boys and I woke up to an empty Saturday after a long week of grumpiness, tantrums, and missing Daddy. When the Man is gone, it's always the weekends that are the hardest. During the week, we can pretend he's at work, stuck at the squadron for this or that, but when the bleary weekend comes, the reality that he really is gone always hits again.

I sat on the guest bed in the nursery, feeding the twins with my eyes closed and my head tilted back against the wall. I wanted nothing more than to climb back in bed and get another few hours of sleep. Instead, I decided to pile the kids in the car, and we went to pick up donuts. When we got home, we grabbed a blanket, the stroller, and a to go mug full of coffee and walked ourselves and our donuts down to the creek to look for turtles.

The donuts disappeared even more quickly than usual, and the boys could barely wait for me to finish my coffee so that we could go turtle hunting.

We found 6 turtles that morning, and I got a great work out off-roading with the twins' stroller.

I wanted nothing more than to quit that morning when I woke up. We were so close to the end, with the Man's return just around the corner, and all I had to do was grit my teeth and survive. Making what at first seemed like a choice that would just wear me out more brought me my favourite memory from the entire 8 weeks of separation.

Some women go to the gym

Yesterday was another nap war with a few side skirmishes in congestion and crankiness. Every choice had to be purposeful.

Bang my head against the wall or bathe screaming twins?
Complain or cook dinner?
Cry or cuddle babies?

It was a one step at a time day. And there were moments that I lost it. But when I found myself taking a picture with both twins strapped to my front while I stir fried beef and green peppers and brokered train deals between the boys, and I was somehow still laughing? Well, I knew I'd won. At least that day.

Sure, I was dog tired and I could feel my spine compressing vertebrae by vertebrae (I've always wanted to experience life as a short person), but there was still joy, and I had found it. I had made one tiny joy choice after another, so no matter how difficult the day became it never turned into a bad day.

In retrospect, it's easy for me to over emphasize what I need to live a joy-filled life. Even when I think I'm being low maintenance (the words "all I need is a cup of coffee, some time to write, and the twins to take a nap at the same time" may or may not be my new mantra), I'm still asking for more than I really need.

You see, I already have everything I need.

I've already been given every spiritual blessing in Christ. It says so in Ephesians 1:3.

So if I can just remember that, and then ask Him for the strength to take the next step, to make the next small joy choice, there never have to be bad days, even when there are challenging ones.

Sometimes, it's about pulling the car to the side of the road (all the while risking waking the babies) so that you can pluck a handful of glowing life and taste it on your tongue.

Sometimes, it's about donuts and coffee and turtles and the early morning sunlight on the laughing faces of your children--but please let the coffee be caffeinated.

And sometimes, it's about getting to the end of a day where the twins traded off screaming for four hours straight, and knowing it was still a good day because of the many, many blessings that I was able to see because in Christ I could choose joy.


  1. you are awesome. (: xoxo -stacey

  2. I'm so glad I stopped by to visit you, Marian. This was simply beautiful. My one word is actually JOY this year. I chuckled at first that God would give me this word when my hubby would be gone most of the year but I now know He wanted me to discover how joy could still be found in the every day because God would be with me every step of the way. Praying for you and your family. I agree . . . the weekends are by far the hardest. Much love. xoxo