I think one of my favorite things to do on a warm Saturday afternoon is to take my book, or in this case laptop out to the back deck, sit in the shade and enjoy the peace that comes with it. The only noises that I hear are the squeeky screen door when it opens and closes and my youngest child playing in the water slide with the frogs he just found. Not sure if the frogs appreciate the afternoon of playing but at this point they have water and leaves as boats to play on, if they were children I would say they will sleep well tonight. There is something about the back deck, it’s a place to eat, a place to read, a place for the kids to play on and a place to ponder.
This morning when I took Jorj on his morning walk I was listening to a podcast from my home church. This wonderful pastor and his wife go through a chosen book in the Bible and reflect on what they have learned from it. With this particular podcast they were talking about King David and how when he does something he does it to the fullest whether it’s following God or when he was sinning. The main point of this podcast was David influenced a lot of people in his life, whether good or bad. The pastor then asked if we the audience had someone or some people in our lives that gave all they had to whatever they did? And if we did how have they influenced our lives. So this here is where my back deck ponderings started.
I can say growing up my mom, her sisters and her mom (my aunts and grandma) really influenced the way I see the world. A typical family gathering (which happened a lot) consisted of food, talking, laughing, and more food. To this day my aunt’s laughter brings joy to my heart. They knew of the things going on in the world and would discuss them but it was more about being together as a family and enjoying the company that it was trying to solve the world’s problems. Moving forward to high school age and it was more about the influences of friends. I think the only way I survived high school was having solid friendships. I was nowhere near popular being a band nerd and all but my friends and I stuck together and now as a mom I look at my kids and hope that they have good solid friendships to get them through there high school days. College brought the house of five super fantastic girls. We were so close that I was able to go to 3 out of the 4 girls’ weddings after college, and all four of the girls attended my wedding. These girls were forces to be reckoned with, they were strong, they were Christians and they stood up for what they believed in. They loved wholeheartedly. Even now my world is miles away from theirs I know that I can reach out to them. Once I got married and started new adventures new friendships formed and those friends became family.
One friend in particular, my lovely friend Jaime saw something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself. We met one day at the vet hospital I worked at. I was so impressed with the tattoos she had that I literally asked her one day if she would show me her whole sleeve, which meant her getting partially undressed, but from that day forward we have been ( and still are ) good friends. I can’t tell you how many times she encouraged me to pursue my dreams even when I thought they were out of my reach. One of the best influencers I have in my life is my sister. Through every major milestone in my life she has been there for me and I have been there for her, which brings me back to my backyard were at this very moment my children are playing together, they are living life together and I pray as I watch the relationships form, they will remain strong even after they move away and become adults.
The saying is true: “You become like those you hang out with”, if you are constantly around people who are vegetarians at some point you will start to become one too. If you are constantly around Christians you are going to start acting and believing like they do. If someone wholeheartedly believes that pickles make people happy they will keep talking and talking about it until believers are formed (silly example I know, but there are some studies that show pickles can cause happiness…I believe because I love pickles =)). So who do you allow into your life and how do they influence you? Do you have people that are cheerleaders in your life? Are you a cheerleader for someone? I look at my kids a pray that when they are my age and doing their own pondering will they look back on their lives and remember those who helped shape who they are? So laugh together, encourage each other and look for the good in others, more often than not you will find that when you do these things you will be filled with a special kind of joy, and who wouldn’t want that? Until next time:
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:13-17