November 15, 2011

A course for life's obstacles ...

They pose by the gate, laughing and waiting. Bouncing.
He yells. "On your mark! Get set! Go!"

They take off and Reese is left in the dust before they even begin ... those little legs.

It's a perfect day and the leaves are perfectly crunchy. The ground is dry and why not make an obstacle course? Cara is serious and she has already planned her route. Her strategy.

Reese ... not so much. But the boots are key. She really wants to wear the boots.

Cara is focused, precise ... way ahead.

For Reese, this is all about the moment. She is going for the total experience and I have to laugh hard when she finally kicks her ball into the goal and we scream, cheer for her to catch up with sis. But she goes back again, hand rolls each ball into just the right position. She is still on the first of five stations and she is thrilled.

She calls for help on the balance beam. Takes her time, watches her feet. Doesn't even notice her competition. She is making her own way. 

When she finally makes it to the midpoint, her only requirement is to fill the bag. A few handfuls should do it. The pile is enormous and the bag is small. Cara is finished already... up the slide. Down.

And Reese stops and calls me. "Mama! Here, for you! This one! You will love this one!"

She is holding up a leaf.

In a pile of dead brown quadruple her size she picks out one with life. Yellow, perfect.

"Mama, come take this one too! You will love it."

She finds another. Red and orange. And another.

Cara is back at the gate now, ready to go again but Reese has changed the game. She is searching now, through the pile, pushing leaves aside and digging for color. Collecting them all, for me.

And this is a sweet mama moment. She knows me. She has watched me bend and pick leaves from the ground for weeks. Years. They fall out of my purse, go through the wash. I stuff them between pages of books and this has been the rhythm of every fall.

She knows what thrills this simple heart and, perhaps she is learning ... if only in the smallest way.

She is learning to see.

The full color in the moment. God in everything, everywhere. Wonder.

Just a few days earlier, I walk down the street with a friend, through the leaves underfoot. We talk about obstacles. I bend and pick up the color and she texts me today with pictures: reds and oranges and yellows. She writes, "I picked up some leaves on a walk today and thought of YOU."

Grace in the obstacle. Is it always there? Can we learn to see it?

That evening, our home is off. We forget grace. We argue and I worry. I lose my cool. We contort our faces when we look at the bank account. We don't feel well and family is tricky and there is always something new on the horizon.

Life has obstacles.

And I am learning that the grace always comes down. It's at our finger tips and at our feet. Available for the picking up-- could we search for it, wade in it, hold it up and cheer when we find it?

When the obstacles come, could we simply slow? Search beneath the dead brown to find Him in full color?

Then press on through, toward the goal?

I am looking hard today. And pressing on. Join me?


  1. Fabulous pictures, great story, and an inspiring message. I am so enjoying your blog, Abby!

  2. "....Grace always comes down....", love this word-picture....helps me see how Grace and Humility are sisters.

  3. Ohhhhhh beautiful Abby-----
    you have SUCH a way...

    I have MISSED you :) catching up now, and this is just pure refreshment and encouragement for my heart. THANK YOU :)

    I LOVE YOU :)