19 last friday, we grabbed dinner with friends.  i have a love/hate thing with dinners out on friday night.  on one hand, it feels good to get out and celebrate the close of the week and kick-off the weekend right.  but friday afternoon is also such a crazy time.  i am wrapping up work projects.  ben arrives home with his brain a bit burned out and burning up from the summer sun beating down on him on the extra long car ride home.  {why is traffic so much worse when you are in a hurry to get home?  come on, people!}  we try to squeeze in a workout before elinor wakes up from her nap.  i want to clean up so we have an orderly house before saturday is in full swing.  and we are really ready to wind down and relax.  you know what i mean?  there is something so appealing about just sticking close to home.  puttering around.  making dinner.  sitting at our table.  talking.  no specific social obligations.  no fuss.  easy peasy lemon squeezy.

BUUUTTT...there is that other hand.  the appeal of a meal made by someone else.  the lure of social stuff.  spending time with friends.  big laughs.  stories.  atmosphere.  being out and about.  that feels pretty good.

and so, the social side won out.   we did a bit a racing around.  i got myself ready.  ben hurried to execute a quick turnaround.  i did my motherly/milkmaid/moocow duty and got a fresh bottle of the good stuff ready to go.  i gathered all the miscellaneous baby-in-restaurant-entertainment bits for the little miss. ben woke elinor early and got her all dolled up for a night out on the town.  the dogs were fed and took out to potty.  we did our final checks and hopped in the car...and only a few minutes behind to boot!

upon arrival at the restaurant, i did my quick diaper bag/purse check for all the essentials while ben grabbed E from her seat.  as we walked from our car to the door, while wrestling with my mama odds-and-ends, i suddenly paused and looked up.  and a wave of joy and gratitude rushed over me.  there i was, standing by the curb, with the goofiest grin on my face.  just overcome.  and i snapped that picture above.

why do i let myself stress out over the silliest of things.  so utterly nonsensical.  my mind can spin over the most ridiculous and insignificant things.  thank God for those moments when He kind of smacks me in the face.  "hey rachel!  slow down for a second, would you?  drink this in.  i have given you all these things to enjoy.  now, enjoy them."

i can so easily get wrapped up in the busy.  darting from moment to moment, thing to thing.  just trying to get through it.  i am so grateful for these reminders.  when God literally stops me in my tracks and says "look up!"  it is when i look up that i see how good it is.

yes, the drive home from work is hot.  but i am so grateful for employment.  and that we have cars to take us from here to there.  we have air conditioning, for goodness sake!  and the sun, the sun provides warmth and energy and light.  yes, the weeks can be tiring.  but what a blessing to get to use our time and talents.  i am so grateful for work that keeps our hands busy.  no idleness here.  yes, it can be tough to fit in exercise.  but i am so grateful that we have bodies that work.  that carry us through the day.  that can move and sweat.  yes, it is complicated to pump and plan for feedings.  but i am so grateful that i am able to so effortlessly nourish my little one.  AND...how incredibly grateful am i that God ordained to bless us with a little one at all?!?!   yes, it is crazy to get all the things together and out the door.  but we are so blessed to even have things that need gathering.  clothes.  diapers.  toys.  food.  cute purses.  stuff.  and we have a home.  a place to rest.  yes, life and human interaction can be exhausting.  but we have the ability to think and speak and laugh.  we have friends to dine with, supportive communities to engage in, and family that loves us.  yes, it may take some effort to coordinate all the logistics of a night out.  but we get to have a night out.  we can spend money for fancy food.  we have a baby girl who enjoys adventures and is flexible enough to be passed around a group of strangers and stay up way past her bedtime.

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every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.  look up.  take a look around.  enjoy the blessings.  savor the silver lining.  taste and see that the Lord is good.  He richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  so, you know what?  enjoy.  God is good.  praise God from whom all blessings flow.  amen.