Does beauty ever stop you in your tracks? Has something seemingly insignificant ever taken your breath away with its simple perfection? The ability to see beauty in the mundane is one of the things I'm trying hardest to instill in my children. While we were in Michigan visiting my parents last month, we stopped by a petting farm. I delighted in seeing my kids, James in particular, revel in the beauty of the place. Where some might see an uncomfortably bumpy dirt road and some muddy puddles in the picture above, my kids and I see a road to adventure and new places to explore. That fact is something for which I'm so very grateful.
One of my favorite things to do with Lily and James is go on what we call "nature adventures" in our backyard. Our yard is nothing particularly spectacular, just a good sized patch of sparse grass that backs up to deep woods, but we can spend hours getting down near the ground or up close to tree trunks exploring the tiny ecosystems that thrive in our little bit of the city. I hope and pray that these times will stick with them both throughout their lives, and help them keep a sense of wonder about even the tiniest of God's creations.
The only drawback to this perspective, however, is my vast capacity to want to care for and keep any and all animals that comes across my path. If left to my own devices, my home would be so filled with pets that there wouldn't be space for the humans in my life. Thankfully, God gave me Stephen, who is particularly adept at reigning in my pet-acquiring propensities. He has a very simple method: he just says no. ;)
The other day, James was looking out our front windows and shouted that he saw a baby goat in our front yard. In the 1.5 seconds it took Stephen to get there and say that it was, in fact, a wild turkey (still pretty cool), this is what went through my head: "A BABY GOAT!?!? THEY'RE SO CUTE!!! It must be lost. I GET TO KEEP IT!!!!" I'm serious. I was halfway out of my chair getting ready to run outside and scoop up my new baby goat before Stephen corrected James's (totally bizarre) mistake. While it's pretty sweet that we have a wild turkey living around our house (we saw her in our backyard the next day, too), it wasn't nearly as exciting as the prospect of having a baby goat of my very own.
While wanting to keep every animal I see isn't an ideal personality trait, I think (and hope) it's a reflection of my intentional attitude towards nature. I want to see beauty in the everyday. Those brief hours we spent at the farm left me feeling so renewed. Beauty grows on farms, and visiting them brings me such joy. Though on a much smaller scale, that's what I'm trying to capture for my children in our explorations of our yard. Beauty can be found in the tiny and insignificant just as easily as in the greatest works of art.
Here's to finding beauty in the simple things, and bringing up children who can appreciate the awesome creation that is a baby goat!