Learning to capture joyful moments, or capture the fluffy moments, in overseas life can be challenging.
Stopping, smiling and enjoying the simple joys can quickly get lost in the stress, busyness and unknowns of the passing hours.
Yet, each day is an opportunity to capture joyful moments, to see what God is doing around us and to lighten our heart with the wonderful, light, happy things we see each day.
Twice a week, a soft knock taps on our gate, alerting me that our vegetable lady has arrived.
She is a sweet lady who comes with her sister with baskets of fruits and vegetables on their heads. She might offer me her cell phone and ask me to translate an English text from another “toubab”, the local name for foreigner, into French. She might ask me to teach her the name of a specific produce item in English. I ask her for the name of the same item in Wolof, the local language.
I ask her about her sick son and she asks if my girls like school. I tell her that the fabric of her dress is beautiful and she smiles at my t-shirt.
After I purchase my produce for the coming days, she pulls out her calculator to add up my total for the morning. I scramble for CFA, our local currency, so that I can pay her in exact change.
It was in one such moment that my dog broke loose from his collar, plowed into me while I was crouched down searching my coin purse, and knocked me out into the dirt road in front of my house.
“Toubab in the street!” I could almost hear whispered with laughter from those walking past. Not to mention all my produce spread out around me.
But all I cared about was that my collar-less puppy was loose! He was quite anxious to get into the street. His whole body tensed with the possibilities of adventure. I had a hold around his neck, yelling for my husband to come get him, all while trying not to let our dog jump up on my vegetable lady. She is terrified of dogs.
I want a peaceful, welcoming moment with my vegetable lady not a crazy “can I buy produce and keep my 6 month old, 50lb German Shepherd contained” moment with her twice a week.
My husband came and got Zander back into the gate, I picked myself up off the sand, gathered my produce, repacked my bag, paid the vendor, apologized profusely for the near death experience and headed in for the morning. All while shaking my head at Zander with his silly puppy grin.
He KNEW that he’d done something bad but he sure thought it was fun! I glanced over and saw Jeremy shaking his head at the broken collar still attached to the leash.
Capture fluffy moments
The whole situation was quite humorous and I’m still laughing about Zander plowing me into the street. I did not even hear him coming! It was a total “Surprise! I’m here to play with you! What kinds of things are in the street today?” puppy moment.
The joyful moments play in slow motion in my mind, reminding me of the truly goofy things that happen each day.
It might be the dog plowing you over into the street, or trying to walk through huge sand dunes with grace, or giving a valiant effort to getting rid of a mouse in your kitchen or even tackling the termites taking over the cupboard. It could be getting a nail in your tire because not much is done for construction clean up on the paths around your house. It might be watching workers take 3 days to replace a door with one mishap after another because they aren’t sure how to do the job they are trying to do. It could be the huge spider that makes your daughter scream or the gecko hiding under the bed.
So many things about our lives, if we step back and look at them with humorous eyes, are quite funny and should add a lightness, a fluffiness to our days.
Yet, with a shake of our heads, we can smile, snap a picture for instagram, write a silly facebook status and move on with the day. We can see the joy, the smiles, the laughter around us and let it impact our hearts.
Where these things could make a mess of our attitude and possibly steal our joy, let us purpose to not give in to the very real annoyance. Let us allow God to flood our heart with the humor of the moment, to allow us to capture joyful moments. Let us laugh and capture the fluffy moments.
Take a step back, look at it with new eyes and maybe even crack a smile. This life is full of such moments… let’s enjoy them!
Now, I’d love to hear how you capture fluffy moments and capture joyful moments.
What is a moment that replays with hilarity in your mind? Was it an annoyance at first and funny later? Were you able to laugh right away and capture the joy? How can you allow God to flood your heart with fluffy joy each day?
And while you do that, I will be trying to find a stronger dog collar…
*this post was originally written and posted on Velvet Ashes
**Zander is now almost 5 years old. He’s still quite mischievous and we love every minute.