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Picture Perfect

Christmas Day 2009 ~

I often have moments where I know to bring my camera and get great pictures, but there are those times when I don’t have my camera with me but I wish I did.  At those times, when I’m thinking “Man, I wish I had a camera!”, I try to commit everything to my memory, hoping that I’ll still remember enough to tell the story when I’m old and feeble minded.  Here’s the story of my “camera” moment:

It was the first White Christmas in a number of years.  Depending on where we measured in my yard, we had from 8 to 12 inches of beautifully soft, powdery snow.  It was perfect skiing snow, and we have the perfect hill (our driveway), but unfortunately, we don’t have any skis.

Our driveway (steep grade, long, winding) is bad even on a good day.  When we put in our house, we put the driveway through a natural underground spring.  It is constantly wet, even in 100+ degree Oklahoma weather.  So, we know that when really bad weather is coming (for us it’s usually ice, but occasionally it will be snow), I leave my mini-van parked at the top of the driveway.  My husband has an older Nissan Pathfinder that is 4-wheel drive, so we drove it down to the house on Christmas Eve.  Our house is perched on the side of a hill, so hubby took the Pathfinder back up a bit to a more level spot.

So, Christmas morning dawns clear and bright and beautifully white.  Our three children get out in the snow as soon as they can (presents and breakfast came first, but only because the parentals made it happen in that order!).  Dear husband also goes out to see if he can get up the driveway to his parents house for our Christmas dinner (it’s always about food!).

Now, to me, it seemed obvious that he would stay “high” on the driveway ~ that means go right instead of left because left is where it is usually always wet, there are huge ruts from previous instances of being stuck, and with the normal idea of snow drifts, it probably was more than 12 inches in most places.  But of course, he goes left, and as you can probably guess, he got stuck.  (A little note: he has new good tires on the back and old almost bald tires on the front.  That means the 4-wheel drive feature is almost useless).

We live on the same stretch of land (22 acres) as my in-laws.  They are such wonderful people and really do put up with a lot from us.  My father-in-law has rescued us countless times ~ and he came to our rescue again.  We chained and hand-winched and re-chained and re-hand-winched for about 45 minutes.  Then my father-in-law told my husband to climb on the back of the Pathfinder (there are no roof rails, so he’s holding on by sitting on his tire mount and squeezing his fingers into seams), told me to get in the back seat on the right side, and he finessed (with a lot of rocking motions) the vehicle right out of the stuck.  On the fourth try up the hill part of the driveway, we finally make.  All the time, my husband is hootin’ and hollerin’ as he hangs on for dear life!

He had a blast.  Said it was the closest he’d probably ever get to riding in a rodeo. And it was on one of the tries up that he hollered, “You should be getting a picture of this!”  It was definitely a picture moment.  And I definitely didn’t have a camera with me.

The pictures I wish I had captured:

  • my three kids in knee deep drifts building forts and having snowball fights like I used to when I was young;
  • my husband riding bronco on a Pathfinder, back and forth and up and down, over and over while grinning from ear-to-ear and laughing;
  • the two of us, running and slipping and laughing, as we snowball-fight our way back down the hill to the house;
  • my husband using an old empty dog food bag (it had been blown into the yard with the snow) as a sled down the hill.

The stories these pictures would tell:

  • kids can get along well and play well ~ mine even like each other on occasion.
  • boys will be boys even when they’re 30+ if it involves cars and danger
  • I’m still in love with my man almost 14 years later; I love laughing and playing with him; and snow is “tres romantique”
  • boys will be boys even when they’re 30+ if it involves snow, hills, and trying to ski without skis.

I have a wonderful family ~ it’s a wonderful life!  And I owe it all to my Best Friend, Jesus Christ.

He created – He was disappointed but not surprised – He planned – He informed – He loved – He redeemed – He lived, He died, He rose, He conquered!

He loves – He lives – He helps – He provides – He leads – He blesses – He disciplines – He cares – He comforts – He gives – He takes away – He is mine!

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To Declare Him

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know about the recent getaway I took part in. I’d like to give some more details about the weekend, specifically how this blogspot came to be.

Since the very beginning of my consciousness, as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be “a writer”. I’ve tried my hand at poetry (which I cannot write and do not enjoy writing), fiction, and nonfiction. I’ve never had the courage to do anything with what I’ve written, but I have boxes full of paper.

Before going on this trip, I had been feeling a desire to write again. The desire often comes and goes, wavering with my moods. Yet my primary question was and has been for a while, “Do I have anything worth writing about?” I often think of the verse in Ecclesiastes that says there is nothing new under heaven. There are SO many books and authors and written words that I wonder if it is presumptuous and arrogant of me to think I have something new or profound or meaningful to say. So, I haven’t been writing much.

A lady on this trip started our Saturday morning by bringing up an online newspaper she subscribes to that has a devotional corner. She mentioned that she would send me the link because she knew I liked to write and she thought I might be interested in checking out this website to submit a devotional. While I had not intended on speaking with God about my writing, or even spending any time thinking about it, she planted the seed in my head.

As part of our prayer time, we were to go off by ourselves for some solo prayer and see what happened. Our pastor (who wrote the curriculum for the weekend) had given us suggestions of things to pray about/for as a help to keep our focus. Being a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to answering questions (it’s the teacher/student in me), I attempted to pray for everything on the list and tried to receive answers for every question.

Then here came this: pray that God’s plan for you will be your plans for you. Ask Him what His plans are for you. So I did. My exact prayer was: “Do I have anything worth saying? anything that hasn’t already been said?” I reclined on the rock beside the water, hoping for God’s audible voice, hoping for an answer. I waited. I waited.

Nothing happened. So I sat back up and moved to the next section of the book, which was to read Isaiah 40. Immediately I got chill bumps. I had a hard time reading the passage out loud because I was crying with joy. God answered my question. Through His breathing, living Word, this was His answer:

1″‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God. 2’Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the LORD has punished her twice over for all her sins.’ 3Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, ‘Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! 4Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves and smooth out the rough places. 5Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken.’ 6A voice said, ‘Shout!’ I asked, ‘What should I shout?’ ‘Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the LORD. And so it is with people. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever.’ 9O Zion, messenger of good news, shout it from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, ‘Your God is coming!’ 10Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, He brings His reward with Him as He comes. He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.'”

I had my answer. Yes, I know enough about Isaiah to know that this is a book of prophecy. If my mind is remembering correctly, this particular passage is referring to John the Baptist declaring Jesus. And while a book of prophecy is not necessarily completely applicable to me all the time, I couldn’t help but notice that it did directly answer my question. “What should I shout?”

I am to declare Him – but specifically, I am to declare His comfort, His reality, His coming, and His care.

So now I’m on a quest. If I’m supposed to be declaring Him and four of His aspects, I better know Him and those four of His aspects. So, I’m searching. I’m learning. I’m thirsting. I’m growing. I’m changing.

And I just declared Him to you. Enjoy!