Sunday, October 14, 2012

Splashes of Beauty: Fall Beauty in the Hood, Sky Safari, a Mommy/IsaacPhoto Shoot, and More

Life in the hood has been a little intense lately.

If you're new-ish around here, you may or may not have discovered yet that my family and I live in "the hood."  A.K.A. inner city Kansas City, MO.  A.K.A. the Historic Northeast Neighborhood.

Seems like there's been a little more crime than usual lately.  Definitely a lot more praying going on among those of us who love Jesus and live around here... praying for God to bring His Kingdom... to bring peace... to reveal Himself to these people who need Him so desperately.

And yet in the midst of all of the intensity of this precious neighborhood... there is beauty here.  And God continually makes us aware of His nearness here.... Here, where everything seems dark, and hope is hard to make out against the backdrop of crime and poverty and oppression.  But hope is here.  

Hope is here in our 16 year old neighbor boy who out of nowhere asked us to pray for his family last week... and then allowed us to pray with him right there in his driveway... and then shook our hands and thanked us sincerely, totally dropping his guard and his need to be "cool."

Hope is present here in a million other ways too... if we're just willing to keep our eyes open.

All of this beauty, glimpses of hope against this backdrop of hopelessness and fear.  They speak of who He is and the way He loves. 

And of His presence... even here.  

We just have to keep our eyes open a little wider for Him.

Question to ponder:  Where does God fling "splashes of beauty" into your life? How does He display His splendor and whisper His nearness even in the midst of dark or difficult moments or seasons?

Here are a few more splashes of beauty from my life this week.  I've been acutely aware lately of His whispers to slow down and notice Him, all around me... His pursuit of my heart, evidenced by these good and perfect gifts.

Okay... um... I know I said good and perfect gitfs. Who knew
hippo bottoms could fall into that category?! But this was
actually a really cool moment.  You see, we were at the zoo
in the late afternoon and we're usually never there at that
time of day, so we rarely see the hippos move out of the water. So
this was a maybe once or twice a year experience for us!
So yes... I felt loved by the Lord in this moment. :)  God cares
about the little things, like the fact that my son passionately
loves the hippos, right?!  DEFINITELY.

At the KC Zoo they have this "Sky Safari" thing that takes you over the
Africa portion of the zoo.  It's a really fun view.  Isaac and I had never
ridden it before, but it's only 2 bucks each way for both of us to ride, so
I decided to go for it this time.  It was so beyond worth the $4!
Taking pics was difficult with me trying to keep one arm tight around
him... but I managed to get a few. Isaac loved being "way up high!"

This one was taken on the train at the zoo.  Isaac absolutely ADORES the
train. It goes through tunnels (his FAVE!!) and everything!
Like I said... trains and tunnels... There is nothing in the
world more amazing to him. 

A good friend had his birthday party at a bowling alley and it was Isaac's
first time bowling.  Annnnnnd.... he got a STRIKE on his FIRST bowl!!!
Okay, so I helped him a little. It was cool though. :)

FINALLY... (If you're still reading, please pardon all the pictures!  Definitely have a ton this week!) I'll leave you with this set of pics from a random Mommy/Isaac photo shoot from one day this week.  We were just having fun goofing off with my iPhone camera.... and this was what happened.  (This is the real me.  Yup.  And the real Isaac.  In all of our weirdness glory.)

Whew!  There ya have it!  All of our goofiness right here, just for you.  If you're still here, thanks for caring about our life!  

God is so good to us in the midst of all of these mundane and messy and beautiful moments...even in the moments when the waiting for promises to be fulfilled feels endless.  He is here.  He is faithful.  He is extravagant.  He is WORTH IT ALL.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
 They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
 For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.
~Psalm 36:5-9

Be blessed today, my sweet friends, to have open eyes to see and discern the Father's extravagant heart toward you, all around you.  And may your worship flow out of that place this morning.

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