Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Finding the Joy

A note about the picture:
Sometimes, what I catch through the lens becomes an entirely different picture after I take it home to my computer. I crop. Sometimes I crop away. Sometimes I crop toward. Either way, the final picture is the result of a hunt for the best composition. I think, a lot of times, we find joy by looking for the best composition in our circumstances. We can frame it and crop toward it, or we can frame it and crop the extraneous distractions away.

Finally, brothers and sisters, 
whatever is true, 
whatever is noble, 
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. 
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

"Tomorrow, I eat my breakfast slowly."

The refrigerator door is open, my eyes focused on the makings of my own breakfast. I only half hear her. Some people need coffee to wake up; I need food in my tummy to take myself off of autopilot. But something about this sentence stalls me out, stops my hunt for the cream cheese container, and has me look at her.

Autopilot means I haven't noticed that my daughter is standing at the counter eating her banana, instead of sitting at the table. Autopilot means I haven't noticed the 'work' bag on the counter next to her, flaps open, purse inside. Autopilot means I haven't noticed she has already changed out of her exercise clothes and into an 'outfit', ready to return to her volunteer position at the Army Community Services center on post.

I know she's excited. We've spent the last three weeks as a family, my husband on leave, boating, fishing, enjoying the crisp weather and blue skies. She has started telling me it is time to go back to work. She has started telling me she will see her friends. She has started telling me she is hard work (yes, exactly in that way...) But what stops my pre-breakfast autopilot is the -ly in the word slowly.

Yes, it's a really little thing. Two letters, to be exact. At the end of a 6-word sentence. But for me, it is huge.

See, my daughter has Down syndrome. Those little morphemes, those little one-, two-, and three-letter word attachments, those little bits of meaning, have been agonizingly slow to show up in her vocabulary. Sierra, my daughter, is very concrete. Very in the here and now. Very visual. So it's not surprising to understand why this part of her language skill lags. Those bits of meaning add abstract information. The -ed shows past tense. The -er shows someone who. The -s shows plural, or possession. For most of us, these little bits get added way back in our toddler and primary years. For Sierra, it's an ongoing process.

And now the -ly. It tells how.

So, I'm standing in the kitchen with my mouth open, just like the refrigerator door. And I'm celebrating my daughter's language. She just turned 24 - and the language keeps coming. Nice, right?

Jennifer Dukes Lee found a barn painted with a sign "Praise God." She interviewed the veterinarian who had the sign done.

He said the two words, “Praise God,” seemed like the best ones to hang over a farm … and over a whole life.
You can read the rest of her post here. It's worth the read.

Today, I'm joining the #TellHisStory Community, and ThreeWordWednesday with a simple praise of my own. I praise God for steadfastly walking beside my daughter and me, in all things, even something as little as an 'ly.


  1. I love that you noticed what might have quickly slipped by and turned it into a moment of praise. Especially while still on "autopilot." (Mine is a coffee need.) I'm enjoying reading about your daughter. She sounds like a wonderful blessing!

    1. Hi Deb, Well, yes, I think my daughter is a wonderful blessing, but then, I suppose I'm just a little bit prejudiced! It warms my heart, though, to know that she can bless others as well. Oh, I have coffee needs, too, but that's WAY before the breakfast autopilot! That's the, as Sierra would say, "I'm-not-awake-yet" thing. More like sleepwalking than autopilot - and I used to think I was a morning person! Thanks for visiting and for being such an encourager.

  2. Hello Janet, I enjoyed your morning encounter with your daughter. Most importantly, I PRAISE GOD today for all those special moments with our family.
    God Bless Janet, I am glad to join you here today.

    1. Hi Ifeoma - what a beautiful and unusual name! Yes, I try to give God thanks everyday for something - family blessings are the easy ones! Even when life hits hard, though, I find I can praise God for being God - He IS - after all! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with me.

  3. Janet, I noticed you were writing again but hadn't had a chance to stop by but it's so good to be here this morning reading your words. I actually just watched a video by Shauna Niequist that spoke about slowing down to be more present. Seemed appropriate that I would read your words immediately following . . . as another example of how busyness doesn't equate to meaningful. Praising God with you for the ways He walks with you and your daughter; for the ways He walks with all of us. Blessings.

    1. Hi Beth. I am sincerely glad that you were able to come by today. I saw that your husband is home (I know, it's been awhile now...), and that the two of you are doing some bible study together. My two cents? That's awesome! I actually watched his homecoming video on your site - of course, crying happy tears... With Sierra, I've been learning to celebrate baby steps - it doesn't really feel so much like slowing down, but like the photograph at the top of the post...'cropping down' so that I can be sure I don't miss those important details. I hope that makes sense. It's really good to see you here, thanks for your encouraging words. Hugs to you and your family.

  4. I really appreciate you sharing this. It is kind of funny that I wrote something similar to this today- about slowing down ♥

    1. Hi Summer, I'll pop over to read your post! I'm glad you could visit. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Praising God with you for this reminder that God cares about the details of our lives and gives us opportunities to see him all around. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

    1. Yes! That's exactly it! God cares about the details of our lives - I love the way you put that. Thank you for coming by, and especially, thank you for hosting! I have wonderful weekend full of opportunities to see God.


I know we probably haven't met in person, but I believe that the sharing of our ideas and thoughts, sometimes our hearts and souls, makes us more than strangers. I would like to say friends. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to my little space - I appreciate you.