The other day, while I stood in the kitchen feeding spoonfuls of yogurt to the baby, and filling three plates with apple slices, turkey sandwiches and tortilla chips, I heard three voices shouting for me.
"Mom! Come quick! You have to see this!"
I ran out the kitchen door, and found them squatted in a circle around a big, black bumblebee.
"Mom, look!" they exclaimed, their voices alive with excitement.
"His whole body is covered in pollen.""He must have been in the orange trees."
"He's so big."
"I don't see his stinger. Do you think he's really a bumblebee?"
The questions and observations went on as they continued to scrutinize their discovery.
Someone went inside for one of the magnifying glasses--perfect for occasions just like these. Upon closer inspection, we realized how truly beautiful our little friend was.
His body was covered in black, fuzzy hair.
The perfect sort of thing for catching pollen as he bumbled his way in and out of flower blossoms.
And that pollen was such a bright, golden yellow-- dusted so fine, and yet clinging to him so tenaciously.
Best of all were his wings.
They were remarkably beautiful--absolutely iridescent.
They were covered in fine veins and different parts were colored purple, pink, gold, and blue.
We were in awe of how much beauty could be seen in one small insect.
And we all took turns looking at him, front and back, over and over again.
When they finally tired of looking at the bee, they put him in a little jar to show Daddy when he got home from work.
Such a treasure needed to be shared.
"We can draw him in our nature notebooks," they decided as they ate the lunch.
Their bumblebee sat on the table in front of them, where they could all see him as they ate.
So much excitement over one small bug.
That pretty much sums up life for my kids: exciting.
I've been reflecting a lot upon our little brush with greatness.
And my reflections have made me realize something incredibly wonderful.
My children make my world bigger.
"Well, of course they do," you say.
"How can this be news to you?"
Let me tell you.
Lately I have been feeling the limitations that come with having four young children constantly underfoot.
Most days I have very little time to pursue my own interests.
Some days I have no time to pursue my own interests.
The combination of being a mother, being a wife, running our home, and teaching our children often stretches me to my very limit.
And I have been struggling with that.
And that struggle has led to another struggle.
I have been struggling with believing a lie.
It's the lie that works its way into the heart of so many of us mothers.
It's the lie that causes us to respond with "oh.....I just stay home with my kids," when someone asks us what we do.
The lie tells us that this life we've chosen is not enough.
We need to do more, make more, be more, live more.
The lie tells us that our world is small.
And that there is a great big world out there, and because we've got these children weighing us down, we're missing out.
I'm here to tell you, it's not true.
The bumblebee reminded me.
Since I have had children, my world has grown so much.
I can tell you the names of most any construction vehicle on a work site.
And the function of each one.
I can tell you the names of many of the wildflowers on a Southern California trail.
And the names of most of the birds that fly through my backyard.
I can tell you about the Battle of Hastings and the story of Joan of Arc.
I can tell you that the only gas planets in our solar system are outside the asteroid belt.
I have learned all these things because of my kids.
And I have learned so much more.
Because of my kids, I stop and look, really look, at a dead bug in the driveway.
Because of my kids , I have kept grasshoppers as pets and marveled as I watched them eat and drink.
Because of my kids, I have watched the sidewalk in front of my house being cut and taken out by a backhoe, and been amazed at the delicate touch of the machines operator.
Yes, my kids have made my world a bigger place.
The truth is, making my world a bigger or smaller place has nothing to do with my kids.
It is entirely up to me.
It's not really about what I do.
It's about my attitude while I'm doing it.
It's about embracing whatever kind of life I am living right now, and really living it.
I can be bored, or I can be interested.
I can choose to see the negative, or I can choose to be content.
I can choose to take my children hiking, and to museums, and to let them cook with me.
Or I can say, "this is too hard."
I can choose to see my children as a blessing or a curse.
I can choose to believe the lie, or I can live in the truth.
I'm choosing truth.
Even thought it is sometimes very hard to do.
Praise God I don't have to do it alone.
"But He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9
These two thoughts are very inspiring and encouraging to me right now.
And I hope they will encourage you too.
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."