30 December 2008


I took such delight in having out-of-town guests for the weekend after Christmas, dear friends I had not seen for a year and a half. All of us being simple people with simple pleasures, it merely took being in the same room to generate smiles and laughter and good conversation.

By Saturday evening after supper, we were toying with decorative glass pebbles on the table, lingering after a fruity supper in the candlelight.

"I don't think these are made out of glass," said one. "Real, round marbles are heavier."

His wife and I were slightly skeptical, and I got out a broken one to show that they were, indeed, made out of glass. But just to check the weight, I dug out some marbles given me by a child, and sure enough, the real marbles were heavier.

Which fact began a round-about discussion of marbles and how the game is played, the way he had played when he was a child and the way we had read about the game being played. Which discussion led to a circle in the carpet, marbles in the middle, shooters, and (at first) very poor aim from my shooting hand.

And I reveled in company and pleasures known to so few in our modern day--contentedness no matter the weather and activity, pleasant connectedness in our disconnected society.

24 December 2008

Blessing in Disguise

I meant to go to town last week to keep an appointment. Snow had fallen, and the air was somewhere below twenty degrees, which didn't please my little car very well. I coaxed and prodded, and pleaded just a bit, all to no avail.

Checking the clock and cancelling my appointment, I called a farmer friend to see if there was any hope of my driving. Yes, of course there was. Never underestimate the ways of a farmer with a troubled engine.

Still, we both agreed: the time had come to take the car to the doctor to see what was the matter. Further discussion with my father brought the matter even closer. Why wait until Friday when I could leave the car at the shop first thing the next morning?

As the car warmed the next morning, a thought was planted in my mind: Load the snow tires in the car now, while you wait, so you don't have to do it on Friday.

This done, I drove the half mile or so to the shop, dropped off my car, and walked to work. It would need to wait there while the engine got cold enough for them to observe the problem. I would not need the car for a few more days.

Over the next two days, so much snow fell that if my car had sat at home, I would have been entirely snowed in. If I had not loaded the snow tires in the car, there was no way I could have had them changed at all by the time I needed them. By now the problem is fixed and my snow tires are securely on the vehicle. Since then, I have not even parked the car in my own driveway for fear of getting stuck, parking instead across the street that gets plowed.

Before I called, my Father in heaven answered my needs, working my car problem into great blessing.

23 December 2008

You're More Fun than the Snow in my Sock

Or was that, "Heidi, you're more fun in the snow than I thought!"?

Either way, quite a compliment! And either way, I steal the secrets of having fun in the snow from my mother...and from my father. As the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun, and my insatiable delight in snow got fueled, amazingly enough, by the woman who would move to another city to escape the stuff.

Writing giant messages in the snow with my feet? Her idea, done years ago on top of a frozen lake. We kids (there was a large group of us staying in cabins) looked out after our time occupied indoors to her lovely footwriting in the smoothe, white surface.

Making snow angels? Her idea, too. Although this is mostly a child's activity, I do believe I at least learned it from my mother.

Burying Emily Rose in the snow until only her head showed? Well, Dad inspired that idea when he buried me in sand years ago.

What a blessing it is to have not one, but two creative parents.

09 December 2008

Golden Fog

Driving three hours home, fog still blanketed the earth in late afternoon. Although it drew near the ground in places, there was not enough of it to slow the traffic. At times I could even see patches of almost-blue sky beyond it.

Still, the earth was gray, the frost still clung to the fields.

Unfamiliar with the road, I was not certain where my next turn would come, or how I would recognize it when I reached it. Yet I remembered our highway system always posts signs ahead of the exits, and continued on in faith, surrounded by fog.

As much as I trust the interstate system, how is it that I sometimes doubt that God Himself, who never leaves me nor forsakes me, will clearly signal my way and give me the warning I need to turn?

I drew near the town of turning, yet saw no sign for my exit. The sun began shining more brightly through the fog, which in response began glowing golden. I saw the sign for my exit, and my car curved around the off-ramp until I could join the straight stretch of another highway.

I pointed my tires in a new direction, and at just that moment, all the fog and all the doubt and even the gold dissipated into glorious, clear sunshine. I could see for miles.

08 December 2008

God With Us

"The kingdom of heaven is near," I read. It's the one-sentence revival message given to the lost sheep of Israel, the one thought meant to inspire their lives with renewal and healing.

I can remember one sentence.

At the day's end, I am weary. Do I stay home, finish the dishes, sew on the quilt, practice the piano? Do I run about the town on my errands? Do I join a small group in a Bible study? What is most important to accomplish in this one evening?

In my weariness, I find it difficult to choose, but then I remember: The kingdom of heaven is near, and it is the devil's work to force me into stress, into anything, rather than the atmosphere of heaven.

Thus, in one way, it matters very little which one I choose, for wherever I am and whatever I do, God knows the way that I take and His kingdom is near. (See Matthew 10 and Psalm 139.) I am free to choose from any of the options, to breathe deeply with my mind at rest.

Yet I see that it also matters very much what I choose, for some things enable my soul to dwell in the peace of Immanuel--God with us--much more easily than others. And when I am most weary, my mind and body need the most potent conact with my Creator as possible. Some things take my mind away from the kingdom, while others draw me into it.

"Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced until the day of probation shall be ended..."

Whatever keeps the truth from my vision, whatever leaves my mind confused, over-active, or under-active, these are the things I must avoid at all costs.