There's a song by Audrey Assad that I absolutely love. In it are the lyrics:
Are these just some words that I say aloud?
Is that just the sun breaking through the clouds?
No, I know it's more - I know somehow that heaven is breaking through,
and it's You.
Do you ever just have days that completely embody these words? Do you ever have days where, everywhere you look, there He is?
Sometimes it's hard to see His presence around. Things are thrown at us, from every direction, and sometimes it just feels like we're being buried alive. Suffering, hardship, stress, struggles.....they seem to come at you at breakneck speed, until you can't see anything else.
But then.......there are days like today.
Days where He is so tangible, so strongly present, in everything that I do or see.
We've slowed down on the schooling for Advent (I think I mentioned that awhile back), and today, we were done with everything on our "to-do" list for this week in the schoolroom. The weather was perfect (low 70s, blue skies, finally dried out from all the rain we'd been seeing). The budget, while extremely tight, could be stretched for an almost-free excursion.
The kids and I packed some snacks, some sunscreen, and some jackets, and headed off to one of our new favourite places:
Seriously, if you ever make it to the greater Phoenix area, I am ordering you to visit the zoo. Not only is it huge, and always extremely clean, but if you have kids, you really cannot find many zoos that are more kid-friendly than this one. Every exhibit is accessible, even to the smallest of toddlers (translation: Mom doesn't have to pick up a child at EVERY.SINGLE.EXHIBIT just so they can see the animal).
One of our first homeschooling expenses was a membership to the Phoenix Zoo. Considering we've been there at least twice a month for the past 5 months, it's definitely paid for itself. We will definitely renew this one.
The kids were perfectly behaved, helping each other navigate the map. We discovered a new exhibit that we'd somehow missed on the other nine trips. We topped off the trip with a quick stop at Subway (had 2 buy 1, get 1 free coupons, so our meals were basically 1/2 price!), where the boys were STILL well-behaved, earning them compliments from not one, but two fellow restaurant guests.
Today was one of those days where God was so easily found: in the picture perfect mountain views surrounding us....the white, fluffy clouds in a vibrantly blue sky....in the excited cries and smiles on children's faces....in the laughter and giggles from the back of our minivan as the boys enjoyed each other's presence....in the contented sighs of the toddler as he fell asleep on the way home.
Today, heaven broke through just a little bit.
|The three musketeers (should I say amigos now?) watching the komodo dragon|
|The boys were AMAZED at how perfectly still this bird was|
|Pretending to be a baby hornbill, waiting for food.|
|This guy was bigger than the 3 year old, and about a foot away from us, next to the picnic table we were sitting at.|
|Petting "Pepper", his favourite goat ("Don't worry, Mama, I being VERY GENTLE!")|
|Baby #2 and #3 cuddling with Scrambler, another favourite goat|