Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Every Day is a Brand New Adventure

Time flies when you're having fun, sleeping, or welcoming your first child into the world (it should be noted that it's impossible to combine those last two).  About 372 days ago, Ashlyn Nicole Smith took her first breath of fresh Austin air and she's been breathing, crying, eating, sleeping, and doing other necessary bodily functions ever since.  It's been the slowest year of her life and the fastest of her parents'.

As I type this blog Ashlyn's crawling towards me on our hard wood floor, singing, screeching, and doing her "excited pant".  I don't know what's got her worked up, but it sure sounds like fun!  Things are so simple for little children.  It doesn't take much to make them happy and they forget almost instantly the things that make them sad.  For a little baby, every day is brand new adventure.  Their little minds are constantly at work discovering new sounds, sights, tastes, and touches.  The stuff that we take for granted are the very things that make life so exciting for a one year old. 

G.K. Chesterton once wrote, "A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged...It may be that He (God) has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."

As Ashlyn begins year number two, three, fourteen, thirty-four, and so on I hope that she'll hold onto her abounding vitality and ever seek to imitate the youth of our heavenly Father. - Shay   

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

I'm a planner and always have been.  Well, at least until this past weekend.  Thursday evening at our basketball training I went up for a shot, but came down with back spasms.  I watched the rest of the training session from the sideline and I feel like I've been on the sideline ever since.

Many of the plans I had for the weekend and the next few days have been altered by my minor injury.  Instead of meeting Craig Hutson, Eric Miller, and Scott Karnes for Bible study and prayer on Friday morning, I was resting at home and setting up a physio appointment for the afternoon.  Instead of helping out at the basketball academy in Ballymun on Saturday morning, I was sitting on the sofa with a hot water bottle on my back.  Sunday afternoon was absolutely gorgeous in Dublin, but I wasn't outside enjoying it.  Today's not so beautiful, but I'm still not doing what I hoped I'd be doing.

On Saturday evening, Juli commented to me, "I like the fact that you're not able to complete all of your tasks right now.  I like having you around instead of your plans."  Her words are a good reminder that who we are is far more important than what we do.  The Scottish poet Robert Burns famously wrote, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, Gang aft agley."  Or, if you prefer English to the Scots dialect, "The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry."  Proverbs 16:9 states, " In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

As we plan our course in Dublin, it's good to know that God is here with us to keep our steps in line with his will.  We would rather follow God where he's leading us than try to embark on some man-made adventure without his blessing.  If it takes a few back spasms to remember this, than so be it. - Shay