Dance Parties in the Sunset & Life’s Questions at the End of Day

Photo Credit: Sarah MacMillan, Creative Commons, cc license

A bird chirrups in long unfamiliar calls outside and we clamber to discover what it is. Kneeling on the couch, we peer out the living room window, searching for a cardinal or robin, and struggling to remember which bird sounds like this. Our ornithology science class seems further away than just a few years.

Orange twilight laps pink rose onto treetops, and a horizon of tree trunks glows red. A spring breeze blows evergreens into naked lilac bushes, and tiny buds tremor in the wind. In moments, brick twilight stains the treetops, and evening’s cool slips in through the open deck door. Darkness follows.

My oldest bikes south with the wind at his back, miles spinning past, and I’m relieved when he texts me later to say he has safely arrived. Meanwhile daughter and friend chalk sunset art on the black driveway, and dance bare feet on the images in an attempt to smudge and shade the colors. Youngest sleeps, husband relaxes, and my brother calls. Wrapping up in a purple afghan, I curl up on wood deck planks outside, and carry the phone with me as we talk. He shares about his back pain, and we wonder about physical therapy, before talk turns to grilling and supper recipes. Soon his chicken is done, and we say goodbye, and I remind myself to pray for his upcoming appointment this week.

A friend drops by this evening, and we update each other on our families, our wonders, our worries. Her sweatshirt is still on, and her foot stays lifted mid-step on the stairs. The conversation is short, but our eyes meet, and we share an encouraging hug. She heads home, a whiff of sunscreen still in her hair.

The evening passes quickly, and after laughter and hugs, my fifteen year old sneaks up behind me.

“Mom, will you pray for me?” She has an end-of-year oral presentation tomorrow.

 I pull my tall fifteen year old onto my lap, and lean into her cheek as we pray.

And this life? It is normal and ordinary. Brown matted grass wrapped in crimson twilight that fades to black. And this? This is community. Whether with our kids, or neighbors, siblings, or friends, we can unfold our lives, peel back the colors to share and pray, worry quiet in the soft sunset together, then dance laughing on the picture, adding dimension to what is there.

(Learning to see and count God’s gifts each day, I link tonight with Ann at A Holy Experience.

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  1. Craig and Bethany on April 22, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Your writing is refreshing. So many active verbs and images, thank-you. I really like your blog.

  2. Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith on April 22, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Life really is beautiful all the time. And there's so much to be thankful for. Your post is delightful. Thank you. Blessings to you and yours!

  3. Bill (cycleguy) on April 22, 2014 at 10:51 am

    It never ceases to amaze me how the little things mean so much.

  4. Floyd on April 22, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    You really captured the essence of just another day in your life, yet each day as you spun so convincingly is a gift and is to be shared. And your Father smiles down upon you and yours. This is beautiful.

  5. TC Avey on April 22, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    So many things to be thankful for. Counting our blessings really isn't hard, when we take the time.

  6. Jayne on April 22, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Life really is beautiful, if we will only take the time to enjoy it more. Your word pictures are beautiful! You really have a gift with writing!

  7. Dolly @Soulstops on April 22, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    So lovely to see all the blessings in community God has given you 🙂 Thank you, Jennifer 🙂

  8. Anonymous on April 24, 2014 at 2:06 am

    Beautiful word pictures! Your gratitude is so expressive and certainly will lead others to gratitude too. Blessings, Mary

  9. Jennifer Dougan on April 29, 2014 at 8:35 pm


    Thank you. How encouraging! 🙂 Nice to have you here.

    Jennifer Dougan

  10. Jennifer Dougan on April 29, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Oh, Mari-Anna, I agree, there is so much to be thankful for, when I really stop and look for it, and stop to notice it. In your life too, I'm sure.

    Thank you.

    Jennifer Dougan

  11. Jennifer Dougan on April 29, 2014 at 8:42 pm


    So true. The trick is training my eye to notice, see, and thank him for those.

    Jennifer Dougan

  12. Jennifer Dougan on April 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you, Floyd. Our Father smiles down on us all, huh? His love amazes me.

    Have a great week,
    Jennifer Dougan

  13. Jennifer Dougan on April 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    TC, oh I agree, friend. 🙂 Thank you for stopping in here.

    Jennifer Dougan

  14. Jennifer Dougan on April 29, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Thank you, Jayne, for your encouragement. 🙂 I appreciate you all.

    Jennifer Dougan

  15. Jennifer Dougan on April 29, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks, Dolly. We all have those in various ways, if we look hard enough, huh?

    Thankful for you too, 🙂
    Jennifer Dougan

  16. Jennifer Dougan on April 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Mary (passage through grace),

    Thank you for your kid words! Nice to have you here. Noting and writing down seems to help build my gratitude to God too, I've found.

    Have a great week,
    Jennifer Dougan

  17. Anonymous on April 30, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    such warm visual presentation of your life. Yet it's not because you are "lucky" to have a great life, as most would look it…but that God has blessed you with a contented heart!

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