Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Daddy Pancakes

I enjoy pancakes because, really, who doesn't love carbs.And I am simple in my enjoyment of pancakes -- a good buttermilk recipe is just fine, just as is a nice pumpkin spice or what-have-you recipe. I hate cooking pancakes, however. Indeed, the only good pancake sometimes is the one I haven't had to make. I think maybe it is the fact that the process is messy, and I am typically the only cook/dishwasher in the house.

My children wanted pancakes Saturday morning, and I consented. I wanted the pancakes, though, for the family. It was more than just wanting to acquiesce or even to indulge my daughter in her delights, though certainly and undoubtedly I did want that. No, interestingly, my daughter was asking for something which she asked for for the family very likely because she wanted them herself. But I know how each member of the family loves pancakes, so ensured she made enough batter for extra servings.

The thing is this: in my heart I was delighting with giving the whole community of the family what they all loved together. Simply delight, and the focus of my efforts were bent towards the family as a whole. My daughters delights were important because they delights the family shared. I would have given her pancakes simply because she wanted them, and she is important to me, but the family's enjoyment together was my aim, my desire, my inclination.

We cooked them together, me teaching her what few things she desired know about and I could tell her, and while she and her brother ate their first round of pancakes I continued making the extra servings.

I do very much see the father-heart of God in this, where His focus in on the delight of the greater family/community. It is not an exclusion of the individual, nor a minimizing. It is a recognition of the deeper delights equally shared by each member of the family, and seeking that end. Ultimately there is a secondary level of delight in that the family shared together individual and mutual delight (around the same meal in this case).

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Break 2017

Been a while since I've posted. Life has been happening, and on top of that I've encountered one of the various, perennial struggles of every writer/artist -- the kind of which interferes with consistently writing.

At any rate, this past week was Spring Break for the kids. We decided we all needed that time away, and elected to go to our beloved little spot in Port Aransas. We have visited this little spot several times over the years, and the very first time the kids went to the beach it was at this spot. It was and always is a blessing to get to go for us. My daughter was so excited I all but had to forbid her to start packing days too early for her packing to be practical.

We arrived somewhat midday the first day, and spent time on the beach awaiting the room to be ready. Surprisingly the water was colder than anticipated and my daughter was the only one able to enjoy the surf enough to be any distance out in it, though we all enjoyed the beach time. From the beach we made our way back to the pool/hot tub areas and played there a bit, the pool being just as cold as the ocean.

While at the pool we encountered a grandfatherly sort with a young boy, the boy wearing some googles. I think that encounter gave my daughter the notion for having googles for when she went out boogey boarding the next day at the beach. Having goggles or a mask was clearly important to her. So, the following morning, in a quick jaunt to the store to get a few essentials I made it a priority to look into getting the swim goggles for her.

Given that it was a short trip we only spent one full day at the beach, but it was long enough that, despite repeated slatherings of sun screen, my ginger-headed and fair skinned, Welsh-descended daughter still got burned somewhat badly. We spent the afternoon back in the room, and during the evening the kids and I enjoyed the luxury of watching Animal Planet -- a luxury because we don't otherwise have access to the channel at home. We had all curled up on the bed (mainly given that we couldn't figure how to watch the television in the living room), and made a relaxing evening of watching various programs about animals and nature.

The next day was our trip back and among the various options before us I found it important to have the children brought into the decision. It was all of our trip after all. It was an easy consensus that we should go to the Texas State Aquarium, another beloved tradition on these beach vacations. My son made it abundantly clear he wanted to pet the stingrays, and that became our first stop at the aquarium. I think all of us but my wife were content to dangle our hands in the water the entire time and feel the velvety bodies as they drifted along the walls of the exhibit. The aquarium, however, had enough exhibits we desired to see that we eventually left the stingrays, but not until we got to feed them and here the lecture. We spent as much time as we could going through the other familiar exhibits, though admittedly I could spend an hour just sitting and watching at each one, just as if it were a television show. As had been the case with my daughter and the goggles, my son evidenced an importance upon a gift from the gift shop, and so he got for himself a stuffed hammerhead shark, which became almost a whole other passenger with whom to engage in conversation for him on the ride home.

We had needed this trip, all of us. I had from the onset wanted for the family to have the time it needed, in those ways it needed it. Those individual things which became priorities for the experiences of each thus became my specific priorities, since I was already determined we should have this time. The subtle and as yet unspoken thing here is that, in the moments, the children were "lifted up"and having their decisions and priorities determine our agendas. I wanted for them to partner and be partnered with the family's experience, and I wanted that not just because it is good for their development as maturing persons, but specially because I wanted (and believed we are/should be) a unit, a singular body, living together.

Clearly in that want for us to be a singular body living together, as well as in the entire desires for and towards my family and the children in the trip, clearly this is a picture of the father heart of God for us, individually and as a body. In those moments on the trip and with the trip itself I was wanting for us (as I do in the largest senses) for us to be one family, whole, together, and blesses (augmented, amplified) both by each other, and by the unit of all of us. Surely God's father heart feels no less for us, wants no less for us.