Popcorn, Blueberries and Godiva Chocolate

Popcorn, blueberries and a Godiva chocolate was my dinner tonight. A smile surfaced when I looked at my “dinner.” I amused myself with the trail of thoughts they produced.

Popcorn, blueberries and a Godiva chocolate is what you eat, when you have no energy to cook. After a long week of travel and emotional ups and downs, food wasn’t a priority, but eating was. Our family of three left three weeks ago to go to Wisconsin for a wedding. After 11 days, we came back home, but left our daughter with family. Twenty-one days after leaving Illinois, she finally returned. She and my husband, met me in Chicago, for the last session of conference I was attending and serving at.

They rolled into the parking lot around 4p.m. Seeing her was one of the highlights of the trip. She looked like sunshine to me and I swore she grew while she was away!

The conference ended amazingly sweet, but the evening ended not so fragrant.

The booked-up hotel room we were assigned to, was a smoking room. It was going for midnight, so I tried to sleep. The environment reminded of when my parents smoked and how everything in our home smelled like musty tobacco. My sinuses ran until I coughed while trying to get to sleep, which only fed the discouragement and exhaustion. The vast, gaping disparity of an hour’s time made me feel crazy. One hour ago I was having the time of my life, now I am battling raging negative thoughts. Suddenly my friends words ran through my mind, “Choose joy.”  How do I do that when every breath I took on my pillow, exhaled a billow of smoky smell?

I thanked God that I do not get triggered into an asthma attacks, like I did in earlier years. I thanked God for friends to speak truth to me and help me when I am struggling. I thanked God that I had a bed to sleep in, I live a smokeless life and this situation was temporary. I finally fell asleep.  When I woke up, I had swollen eyes and a bad headache.

That began my less than idyllic journey home. Being an idealist is often difficult. From Chicago, we were to take our daughter to camp, instead we came home. She wasn’t feeling well. Who knows the why, (over-tired? not feeling well? frustrated with circumstances?) but upon arriving home, we–all three of us–quickly developed a family feud. We were ALL upset with each other. Lovely, just lovely!!

I’m exhausted from two different trips in one week. The last conference entailed early mornings, full days, and late nights. It ended with me painting for three hours on stage, before clean up, tear down, and the pack up party. Add one smoke-filled night and a family tiff and I am just plain done. I was so upset, that although I needed a nap, I didn’t even want to. Naps are for when you are tired but not tired, wound up, and stressed out! My anxiety level was not conducive to laying down to rest in peace. Peace.

Love, joy, and peace. That is what I want and need. Generally, have a very healthy family, so I didn’t expect to experience much family drama. Now I understand that we are moving into “that” age range. It will happen, like it or not! All three of our buttons are getting pushed. I pray it ends well. God loves our girl more than we ever could and He loves me too. He will continue to work things out in us as we push in on each other’s tender places. And, I rest in the knowledge, that even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, we all want to do better.

It’s after 8 p.m. and I am tired and hungry. I pull out the carton of blueberries and see the bag of half eaten popcorn on the counter. While in Chicago, my husband and daughter bought me a Godiva chocolate. They, of course, bought one for themselves too! Perfect, popcorn, blueberries and Godiva chocolate for dinner. Here’s the correlation of the last twenty-four hours and my dinner as an analogy of my family.

Popcorn is common. I’ve eaten it for dinner many times when I was single, but not often as a mom. It reminds me of the common days of being a family. It’s light, zesty and satisfying.The hulls are annoying. They get into your teeth and make you look unsightly, but they don’t really hurt anything. Sometimes the salt gets into places and stings a bit, but you know it is just salt and won’t really hurt anything long-term.  But, you have to be careful not to bite on the unpopped kernels or there can be damage. The pressure could explode into a pain you are going to need to give more attention to and it can even result in costly repairs. Sounds like family life to me! Today, my mouth looked unsightly, I got salt in my wounds and bit on something that I shouldn’t have.

Blueberries are healthy, full of antioxidants and they are just plain pretty to look at. They are “good” fruit. When our family is operating as a healthy unit, it is a beautiful thing. We give each other life and love. We make each other’s hearts healthier. Our love make other’s lives better too.

Chocolate is fine, let alone Godiva chocolate. The Godiva chocolate was the gift that my husband and daughter bought–in love–for me. At the cost of a Starbucks latte each, the little treasures were an extravagant gift.

Last night, I painted on stage for The King. I painted on stage, for the final session of Karitos Worship Arts Conference and Retreat, while the band worshipped and the amazing artist and teacher Matt Tommey gave one last powerful message. What a mountain top experience!

How did I go from elation to slumming with my emotions within an hour?

The kernels in life, do not in any way, get to diminish the decadence and sweetness of God and His good gifts. I need to keep in mind, my mouth might be unsightly and my flesh may sting, but there is good fruit too. I need to, no I choose to, focus on the good fruit more than the painful encounters our family grows and I especially chose to focus on the goodness of God and His extravagant grace. We need, I need, His extravagant grace for when I mess up and to remind myself that because of Jesus, ALL of my, ALL of my husband’s and ALL of my daughter’s wrong behavior and attitudes have been covered. I am reminded to look at them with His eyes and when I do, I see them as a heavenly mix of sweet and salty, healthy Godiva chocolates!

Bad things happen. That is partially why I write. It helps me process life. But rather than savor the bad, I savor the sweet.

I smile as I finish up the last of the delectable chocolate and savor the sweetness of our lives.

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