A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
Our street is a sun-lit crystal winter wonderland playground this morning. Only, watch where you step. I carefully made my way onto the front lawn—and no further as the sidewalk was sheer ice still—to capture the ice with my camera. The bokeh in the background of these shots is so so fun.
Happy winter, everyone!
Meteorologists correctly predicted an ice storm to sweep across the Midwest. At first glance it doesn’t seem all that terrible outside. I mean, it’s been raining for awhile but the temps aren’t even very cold. But when the dog goes out and slips and slides his way to the crunchy grass for a potty break, yeah, you know not to attempt an outdoor excursion.
The ice is beautiful and cruel. It hangs from every knob of every tree branch, it evenly coats each blade of grass, it cascades down each frozen bit of concrete—stairs and driveways and sidewalks turn into paths of treachery. I long to move closer to the ice, to photograph it in a way it deserves, and yet… one false move with my slippered feet would end up in some sort of disaster. Years of rheumatoid arthritis have turned a simple fall into a huge cause for concern. I’m an elderly 39 year old. :)
So from inside my cozy warm home—and maybe with one step out under the covered patio—I admire the deceitful beauty outside our doors. I praise God for my husband’s office just down the hall from my own. I am grateful for this day off of school so Livia and I can lounge and dream and read and play a bit more. Happy ice day, my friends! Be safe.
Earlier today I was ready for the DPP to be over. Like… Okay, we’ve had twenty days and I am done. There are no more things to shoot. If I have to shoot a closeup of my toaster then I am beyond all saving. I saw the light vanishing on the western horizon and went to grab my camera thinking I could salvage something from the Christmas lights hanging in the dining room. I took my shots and moved on to another task. And then the sun began to set. And crazy vibrant colors filled the sky. I caught it, and my heart just filled with the beauty from my back deck.
I’m finding that our march towards December 25 feels just like the DPP. I’m kind of slogging towards it. My semester ended last week and I feel fairly worn out in body and spirit. I want to rally but my pep is low. Still, there are these moments of amazing glory like what I experienced in the sunset tonight. I found such a moment reading the story of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke this morning. After a semester of studying the world of the New Testament, Luke’s words jumped at me from the page.
We read about shepherds so often at Christmastime, but this morning I tried to imagine the scene in more detail. First one angel visits the shepherds and the glory of the Lord was intense! The humble shepherds were afraid, as is frequently noted in the Bible when a human comes face to face with these supernatural beings. What happened next must have absolutely shattered their minds. A whole host of angels lights up the sky and praises God with these words, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). Angels are made to praise God, and for a brief moment those shepherds are privy to what hardly any human has seen. They witness the worship of the Almighty God by the ones who are allowed to worship Him day and night, always. No wonder the shepherds then head over to Bethlehem fast to see this Savior! What a sight to witness.
We’re made to worship. Sometimes we get a little drum of worship in our hearts, a little stirring that makes us feel small. For me, it’s the Tunnel Walk just before a Husker game—there’s nothing like seeing that in person and feeling the amazing excitement from the crowd. It’s overwhelming. At other times I feel that sense of worship during a really good concert. My heart and mind both swell with joy. I can sense that same joy, only a thousand times greater and more powerful, when the shepherds personally witness all those angels worshipping God in the skies that day. Every week when we sing songs of worship to our Creator at church, we join with those angels, and all the saints that come before us and behind us, in worship of the One most deserving it.
Today I get a small glimpse of glory in a sunset, but one day I’m gonna get the real deal and I’ll be joining those angels for all eternity. Slogging through the present, even as I move towards something as great at Christmas Day, I’m reminded that I’m made for something much greater.
Funny how a bowl of pears can delight me so much. There’s something about the glass, the fruit, the light that captures my attention over and over.
This one. She gives me a nudge in the costume department and I can’t help but join her in some sort of crazy scheme. All the elf love for Redeemer tonight. Yummy treats, great company, and as always, a hilarious white elephant tradition was upheld. We now have a literal white elephant in the house. Maybe he’ll show up on the DPP. You never know.
Can anyone else feel how important it is to stop and see beauty right now? It’s been a long political season and I don’t feel like engaging anymore. The news seems overwhelming this week with Oakland’s warehouse fire and other hard stories. Friends are struggling with surgeries and hard relationships, their children’s hardships and financial needs. That’s not all mine to handle, though my heart tries to tell me it is—oh the negatives of being empathetic, right? However… at some point in my day my fellow DPPers are forcing me to move slowly, to see beauty, to capture it, label it, hashtag it and share it with world. There is beauty to be found. And we’re doing it! We’re finding the gracious moments God’s given us, the blessings beyond all counting, all right here in the midst of the ugliness and hardness of life.
The bright white clouds in their furrows against a rich blue December sky. God’s sweet gift to my afternoon middle school pickup. White orchids on my dining room table. Elegant and extraordinary, they send birthday love from my family.
Lord, open my eyes that I may see this amazing world. Open my heart and remind me that You control it all. Amen.