Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hungry for the Best Day Ever?

 Flaky pastry crumbs tumble off orange-vested autumn color. He eats with a surprising blend of seriousness and gusto. Focused on the apple turnover, he nibbles and chews. Focused on him, I snap photos and realize how this wild love for my son melts me inside.

At the apple orchard, we purchase tickets for a wagon ride, pose for photos next to giant plastic apples and wooden pumpkins, and clamber onto a tractor wagon ride through the orchard. Glimpses of blue lakes, green-algaed ponds, and rows of Harelson, Cortland, Macintosh, and Honeycrisp apple trees lurch gently beside us on the wagon, and I see his face again, serious, steady, a pensive happiness.

Climbing into the car this afternoon before we had even left the driveway, though, he was ready for joy. "This is the best day ever!" he exclaimed. This phrase of his: "The best day ever!" comes up every day.

Pulling up to the kitchen table and seeing spaghetti makes him cry, "This is the best day ever!" Hearing that his college-age brother is coming home for the weekend elicits it --"This is the best day ever!" ("You can pray," he tells John at supper that night, giving him the honor of praying for our family meal)

After small things even: time snuggling on the couch, Lego battles, or even longer conversations, Daniel grins, hugs us, and exclaims, "This is the best day ever." Sighing happily, he kisses us and then ambles off.

How do you live life so free and joyful? On sunny wagon rides in orchards dripping with apples, joy comes easily to me. Or while eating my share of the fluffy frosted apple turnover and watching him eat somberly, the joy is there too.

But to keep that sense of wonder in the kitchen full of dirty dishes or amidst the petty family squabbles? It's a choice, I'm sure of it. A decision to see the good, to grab delight in simple pleasures, and to exclaim it loudly, "This is a great day!" 

Thankful for tangy fresh apple cider, for flaky popovers that leave me hungry for more, for sunshine and warmth on rainy fall weeks, for warm homes after rush hour, for a car that runs, for hot sudsy water to wash dishes, for family and friends, for God's gentle love and patience with us all, for sweet five year old sons, and for the wonder of science and seeds on this homeschooling day, I practice and learn.

Hungry for the best day ever? Take lessons with me from a sweet-cheeked five-year old and take joy seriously. Look, see, count, and thank our God.

(Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose too.)


Pamela said...

Oh, I love that joy! And how God must delight in it, too.

Floyd said...

Great post! It really is a choice. The gift of free will is so under estimated, even in the church. What a blessing our Father has given you in your family. Those are beautiful pictures of you and your baby...

Think I'll go out and have "The Best Day Ever! Tell your wee one thanks for the reminder that "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

pam said...

what a joy for you to hear that every day! :)

Alecia Simersky said...

Yes, that is the challenge-keeping our sense of wonder in the middle of our everyday chaos. Many lessons to be learned from your sweet little boy :)

ps. in regards to your question about the Gideon study on my blog, it's by Priscilla Shirer. It's great!!

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Pamela. How fun that our God says he delights IN US too!

Nice to talk with you again,

Jennifer Dougan said...


Your line "The gift of free will is so underestimated" keeps catching my attention here now. It's true, huh?


Jennifer Dougan said...


Isn't he sweet-- and what a great perspective for me to try to learn from too.

Thank you.

Jennifer Dougan said...


Our kids are so sweet, huh? And fun to watch. Thanks for stopping by.

Oh, Priscilla Shirer, okay. Thanks,.


Healed By His Wounds said...

This post was such a joy to read, Jennifer. Thank you!

"Focused on him, I snap photos and realize how this wild love for my son melts me inside." Can't help but think of our Heavenly Father here, looking at His beloved Son with such tender Love...

Thanks for this key: we can find "greatness" in the most ordinary of days by focusing, instead, on the Greatness of our God!

So glad we connected via Imperfect Prose. :-)

In Christ's Love,

Anonymous said...

I love this post... I want to be that joyful. Even as I read this, my heart pipes up and says "i want to, I really do!" yet, I make different choices...
But I think I'll try and remember your sweet boy...

This week through our sermon and into our life group we've done a study on Christ's miracles and how he can use us. There have been many Bible examples but the one I'm thinking of now is the story of the loaves and the fish. How that one small boy took his lunch, and Jesus shared it with thousands, with more left over... Maybe your sweet boys Joy, as told by you here, is his lunch and God will use your story to just bless, and bless and bless... . :)

Jayne said...

I love the way children can find joy in the simple pleasures of life. We adults could learn to find that joy if we would just trust our heavenly Father like a child trusts his earthly father.

re to your question from my post The Sounds of My House. You asked where my kids are. Well, my daughter, Kathy is married, her twin brother, Will, is off at grad school, and their little brother, Dillon, is also off at college. Enjoy the sounds of your house and give thanks for them.

Unknown said...

Great story and advice Jennifer!

Mary Hill said...

Hi, absolutely inspiring look at the apple picking trip. Finding life lessons in memorable moments is my goal too.

Mary-andering Creatively

Mary-andering Among the Pages

Jennifer Dougan said...

Healed by his wounds,

What a neat reminder, you're right, of how much our Father God loves his Son, and loves us too with this fierce wild melting love. Thanks.


Jennifer Dougan said...


What a neat analogy too about how one boy's obedience can be multiplied by God in miraculous ways-- both a boy's bread and a boy's joy. I want that in my life too.

Thanks for chiming in here today.


Jennifer Dougan said...


I forgot your children were that old! Wow, crazy. I bet that IS so odd to get used to. I'm sure you miss them some days, huh? is your oldest enjoying college?

Have a great week.


Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Bi Ti,

Thank you. Thanks for dropping in.


Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Mary,

Thank you. Thanks for stopping in. Have a wonderful week.