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Joe’s O’s

I think we pissed off the weather-makers with all our joyous delight about the wonderful spring we’ve been having, because it responded with a little mini frigidly cool wave at the end of this week. There’s even supposed to be snow where we’re going this weekend. Bummer, ‘cuz I was soooo looking forward to last year’s sun-soaked lounging at the pool. It’s completely weird to be back in sweaters one day while just in the days prior lathered in sunscreen and sundresses. I’d forgotten what it feels like to have that tight, itchy skin from being outside for most of the day, despite copious amounts of sunscreen slathered on. It was downright hot. And I was loving it. Tuesday we donned dresses to run errands with the car windows rolled down, splashed in the fountain at University Village and met up with friends to sit in the sun eating cupcakes. Then contrasted to last night- Matt and I headed out to West Seattle for date night wrapped in wool jackets and we were freezing our butts off to the point of uncontrolled shivering the few blocks we walked to and from the car. I had thought we were winter people. What wimps we’ve turned into.

Then it dawned on me how bent out of shape this was making me. Like I was so hung up on what this weekend’s retreat was supposed to look like in the world where I control everything. Apparently that control ought to extend over even the weather. Like what in the world are we supposed to do now that we can’t do the things we did last year that I am so tightly holding onto doing again?!? I mean, we have plans. Hiking plans. Pool plans. Outside plans. All about to be ruined by the un-cooperation-no, downright spitefulness- of the forecast. But you know what that’s setting myself up for? Unmet Expectations. Those can be deadly. They kill off any opportunities to be stretched in new ways.

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See, in some ways I’m just like my kids, who are currently parading around the house in shorts and tank tops, collecting the various pieces of their swimsuits, flip-flops & sun dresses in preparation for what comes to mind when told ‘we are going to Suncadia today‘ (picture THIS and THIS). De-nial. They are flabbergasted as to why in the world I would be pulling the tank tops out of their suitcase and stuffing wool sweaters in. They still can’t believe that it wouldn’t be warm and sunny in this magical place called Suncadia they have in their little heads. They are expecting something abnormally wonderful. That unrealistic Expectation when unmet in the ways we would like them to be will lead to focusing sooo much on what we are not getting that we completely overlook what we are getting. I mean, really- a weekend away with amazing friends, amazing teaching, at an amazing resort and somehow I am believing that the lack of a little sun is somehow going to make that not as worthwhile? Bam. Put back in perspective. Like I was really going to not allow myself to have fun this weekend? Or learn? Or… well, I guess I could have, but that would totally defeat the purpose of going on a retreat. Dumb, I know.

But I had to check myself for a second. While my kids will still likely have just as good of a time with adverse weather having nearly zero bearing on what they do and how they do it. But I very well could be prepared not to, like I might not allow myself that same freedom in having fun because my expectations aren’t getting met. I desire to be more like them. Don’t you remember the days when you could swim for hours even though the weather had turned bad and temperatures dropped? I even recall begging my parents to let me go swimming in the kiddie pool on our deck even when it was frozen over with a two-inch layer of ice. I stood beside the thing, all ready in my swimsuit and not fully understanding why it wasn’t cooperating with my desire to swim, ‘cuz I sure didn’t feel that cold.

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Now that has absolutely everything to do with perspective. Something seemingly ordinary can become extraordinary when we look at it a different way. This week I was serving Tallis breakfast, Trader Joe’s O’s, which we have very frequently. This time she asked if they could be pink. I thought about it for a second, asked her if I could put strawberries in her cereal, then the milk would become pink. Sure I did absolutely nothing to change the actual cereal. In fact, the milk didn’t really tinge either. She loved it and has talked all week about her pink Joe’s O’s. Sure, they were the same old, plain, simple breakfast. Perhaps I could have added food coloring to meet her expectations of literally having pink Cheerios, like she was expecting. Instead, she got something she didn’t expect, we just added something new, something different, and they became even better. She never would have enjoyed this combination if I had simply given her what she wanted. The O’s didn’t change in any way. We both had to look at her request in a different way. But even things that are simple and familiar can become exciting with a new ingredient added in.

So this year for our annual church retreat, we may not be getting any sun. It may be very cold. We may even get snow. Likely it will be the same old, boring grey drizzle we get in Seattle. But regardless, that’s not the purpose we are supposed to be getting out from this. And think how exciting it would be if we did get snow while we’re up there?!?

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