My whole crew woke up dancing this morning. Excitement trumped their normal sluggish start to another school day.
I commented on their zeal as they packed their backpacks after breakfast.
"Mom, this isn't just an ordinary day," Hannah reminded me.
"Yeah," my resident five-year-old echoed. "It's the day I've been dreaming about since I was four."
I glanced at the suitcases piled by the door and smiled myself in anticipation. In a few hours we'll be piled in our overstuffed mini van and heading out on a grand adventure to the beaches of Florida where we'll spend our spring break hunting for seashells and wading in the ocean.
My kids are giddy with the wonder of it all.
Without a doubt, I'm grateful for the opportunity to explore somewhere beyond our quiet cornfields, but to be honest, I no longer believe that we must leave home to find wonder. In fact, last year at this very same time, we began an experiment that has changed our family's life. It started with 500 pennies and a prayer.
The joy these little gleams of copper have cast across the landscape of our daily life is immeasurable. From pennies in the washing machine to pennies in the fridge, our discipline of penny praise has transformed our eyes. Where we used to see reasons for grumbling, we now spy glory. What we used to call hum-drum, we now call holy. The concept of seeking wonder right where we are has infused more awe in our days than any fleeting vacation ever could.
Truth be told, I'd trade seashells for pennies any day!.
Here's a glimpse back at the spring break that changed our life:
The 4:00 arrival of the lumbering yellow school bus marked not only an end to another school week, but also the beginning of Spring Break. While the sheer thrill of NOT going to school is marvelous in its own right, the excitement around our house isn't exactly off the charts this year. In fact, I might dare to say that there was a touch of disappointment brewing over breakfast.
"Last year on this day we came home and packed our suitcases," Hannah remembered aloud.
"Yeah... and I tried on my new swimsuit like a hundred times," Lizzy recalled with a giggle.
"And Luke started playing his new D.S. game before we even left for the airport!"
"I wish we were going to Florida again this year," Hannah said with a wistful sigh.
"So do I," the voice of my own restless spirit echoed. But then I remembered her words, the striking musings of another mother longing for life to the full:
I remember once sitting at the hairdresser’s. The woman beside me reads, and I read her title in the reflection of the mirror: 1000 Places to See Before You Die. Is that it? Are there physical places that simply must be seen before I stop breathing within time, before I inhale eternity?
Why? To say that I’ve had reason to bow low? To say that I’ve seen beauty? To say that I’ve been arrested by wonder?
Isn’t it here? Can’t I find it here?
This mother's quest for abundant life has moved me. My own appetite for wonder has been sparked by her relentless search for beauty. If she can find it amidst farm chores and dinner preparations, six children and endless piles of laundry, then surely I can find it, too.
Blue eyes turned to look at the one who had voiced such a crazy supposition.
"Well, maybe if we had a beach."
"Or 80 degree sunshine."
"Or a major league baseball team."
"Or just the right mindset?" I asked.
"More like the right kind of heart," my perceptive daughter corrected.
Yes, the right kind of heart. Hearts with open eyes.
This year, we may not have souvenirs to place gingerly on a shelf when our spring break is done, but I'm praying that we will possess a new appreciation for the countless gifts of grace that have been here all along!
For more stories about the marvelous way God has revealed Himself through gleams of copper in the midst of our ordinary days, read here. And here. And here. And here .
No matter where you find yourself on "spring break," may your days be studded with praise and your hours be laced with wonder. I'll be back here in a few weeks ready to seek Him with you once again!
The Overflow: “Open the eyes of my heart so I may see…” -Ephesians 1:18