Stream of consciousness

Currently, the wind chimes out front are clanging and providing music. The snow flurries that fell this morning are already gone, and so is the sun. The temperatures in the days to come will be dropping drastically with highs not getting above double digits. Although I can’t complain after yesteday's sun and walk outside. My mom, Isaac, and I grabbed light coats, scooters, and a packed lunch and spent a few hours by the water. Isaac rode ahead of us, turning around every few minutes to make sure we were still behind him. He squatted down to see green moss and dried leaves. He told us to be quiet so we could listen to the birds.

We grabbed takeout from a favorite restaurant and sat by the water. A few fishing boats zoomed past us while walkers and their dogs traveled the path. Isaac sat on his knees spooning yogurt and fruit in his mouth. “Mmmm this is good,” he tells me between bites. And before I’m halfway through with my sandwich he put the spoon down and jumped to the grass, “All done. Can I play please?” He asks me with big eyes and a smile. He ran to the playground, thankfully empty at this hour, and came quickly running back. “I need my notebook.” He tells me. “I have to write something down.”

I have to write something down.

I laugh to myself. He’s repeating words I’ve said to him before. Words I say as I rush off to a notebook and pen. Words I tell him as I’m frantically typing notes in my phone. Words I say when all I can think about is a turn of a phrase or an essay idea that needs to get out of my head.

After I come back with his notebook and crayon he runs back to the playground. We hear him yelling to us. “Come to my restaurant. I need to take your order.”

For the next few minutes he plays restaurant and brings us food while the water breaks on the rocks and the white clouds float above us in a clear blue sky.

Later at night when the skies are dark and the stars shine outside, I cut out hearts for the kids. A few years ago I saw an idea for the month of February where you write what you love about your children every day. I was again reminded of this activity and knew it was the perfect year to try it out. So each night I write a sentence for both Charlotte and Isaac telling them what I love about them. I tape it to their door and read it with them each morning. By now they are looking forward to the heart and wondering what it will say. Charlotte especially smiles as I read all the things I love about her (her smile, the way she cares for her brother, how much she loves school). For tonight, I write to Isaac: I love watching your creativity come to life.

I think about doing this practice for myself - writing a note from God about how much God delights in me. Reminding myself that I am loved. I’m thinking about this as I’m preparing for an eight day email series all about just this - God’s abundant love for us (see how I did that to promote signing up right here?)

I haven’t started writing the notes to myself, though. But then I remember the drive home a few nights ago from our weekly speech therapy appointment. For the past few months we’ve been driving home half of the drive in the dark. I watch the sunset in my rearview mirror and every so often I’d yell to the kids: “Check out the sky!” One day I pulled over just so I could take a picture. Now, as the days are getting longer, I watch the light linger above the horizon and our trip is still mostly in the light of day.

Last week I pulled over again to stare at the colors - pinks, yellows, orange - flooding the sky. Illuminating the fields and barns. Dripping over the land like a blessing. And the more I remember that sunset and trip home with the kids laughing and cheering for one another, I wonder if maybe I don’t need to write down reasons God loves me. Perhaps, I just need to look up at the sky, the colors dancing together, sparkling, calling me to pay attention. Maybe I just need to listen to the voices of my children, their laughter and joy, their creativity. Maybe I need to take my own advice and take a few deep breaths to pause and listen to the sound of wind chimes. To lean into the beauty in my midst and hear God’s voice: You are loved, you are loved, you are loved.