Was sweet to be able to spend time with Chase a few weeks back. We walked and talked on the beach and then he started throwing shells as I took some beach shots with my camera.  He didn’t realize that he was the subject of the photos a lot of the time…

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And as I looked through the lens and watched him skip shells, well, it brought a huge smile to my face. I don’t even think he realized what he was doing. It was like he was back on the third base line, firing a ball home….He would put the shell behind his back…

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Lift that left leg…

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..stick his tongue in his right cheek (yep, every time)…and…

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…whiz that shell to the waves.DSCN3251

Then, he’d watch. Just for a moment because it disappears right away of course…

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my boy-now-man repeat those steps. He played third base as far back as coach-pitch…and muscle memory tells him that when he picks up a ball, a rock, a shell, he follows a certain sequence. And he follows it…even when skipping shells at the beach 🙂  And I don’t even think he realized it.  Until I couldn’t hold back my laughter and he realized that this not-so-conspicuous photographer of a mom was taking photos of him. And then I told him about his stance…totally baseball third base stance was on the beach …and he smiled as he reached down for the next shell.DSCN3255

And I did a lot of grinning as I watched. Because no matter how crazy life gets, well, we have our ‘go-tos’. We have our little things that are so ingrained in us that we don’t even realize it. We have our things that help us stay steady when life gets a bit unbalanced.

And as I watched, I thought about how the patterns developed during the easier times in our lives so matter during the storms. When our hearts and minds go to defaults, where do they go? I mean, I know that skipping shells or stones in a certain way isn’t a big deal, but it just reminded me of how what we practice is what we do. What we pour into our hearts, minds, bodies comes out even when we don’t realize it. What we pour in comes out. What we practice is what we do. What we think is how we live.

And during crazy times when we may not feel like we can sort through things, well, we have our defaults. So am mindful of making sure my default, the things I practice, are the things I want to flesh out when I’m not thinking.  Because, if I’m honest with myself, there’s a lot of instances when yours truly is so not thinking. I react, respond, and revert to my default. Some good defaults. Some so not. Gotta work on those so nots.

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Because you never know when someone is watching and taking it all in. Ask Chase 🙂 When a stone is thrown in a lake, the splash goes in and then the ripples go out and out and out… And it’s the ripples, not just the act, that can impact those we never even know. Our defaults matter. They so matter.

I’m thankful that scripture gives good defaults…good things to ponder and pray through and practice. Here’s one  of my favorites. (the verse  below, Philippians 4: 4-8)…..  Cool how determined, disciplined action that may start out as going against the grain of our feelings, etc. can, with practice, become our “go-to” defaults. And peace follows…peace that passes understanding. That’s another cool thing about defaults…they provide stability, normalcy, familiarity, when things might be so not stable, normal, familiar. Love that. Crazy how watching my Chase throw a shell can start these rambling thoughts…  Maybe that’s one of my defaults….rambling thoughts, ha!  Yikes.  Oh well…here’s the verse to think on…

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:4-8

And one more (rambling) thought.  Those shells that Chase threw out to sea?  They’ll most likely come back to shore soon. It’s what waves do. It’s what shells do. There are “defaults” and “go-to”s all around us designed by a loving God. Creation speaks of His Presence and love. Being mindful of His goodness can make this whole setting good defaults a whole lot easier. We love because He first loved us. It’s what He does. Maybe the more we realize that, the more we will, as the verse says, have our defaults be to love. Maybe so.

Blessings ~

Heather