Finally a chance to write, if even for a bit.
Today we had our first "real" snow. The boys can't stay out of it. "It's perfect for snowmen, Mom, " Donovan tells me. And Weston has never gotten dressed on his own so fast. I'll try and get some pics up soon. These pictures are from a bonfire we had last Wednesday. It was great to be out of doors under a bright starry sky and a full moon. We had marshmellows, of course, as Weston so aptly demonstrates, and today we're indulging in warm luxuries again with homemade soup, followed by another romp in the melting snow and then homemade cocoa (with melted Halloween candy bars) and Snider boy cookies which they made with Daddy yesterday (peanutbutter cookie batter with Reece's pieces and Smarties poured in from Halloween stashes.)
It's nice to have a day off. Although it wasn't totally free because Dave and I were responsible for the hymn story that was shared in the service today by the jr. high and highschool Sunday schoolers. It was very poignant: the story of Lina Sandell and Oscar Ahnfelt. We centered on the hymn "Day by Day" but we also touched on "Children of the Heavenly Father" and created a new melody for a poem that Oscar sang before the Kaiser in Sweden. It was special. The students were a bit shy, but nobody bailed, and oddly enough (this happens all the time in drama ministry) two of our leads were unable to come today. Thankfully, their co-mates stepped in and it became all the more precious for the added vulnerability of not being too rehearsed. Bill Hamm led the service and it was powerful that he read from a book and then the scripture, and the only song we sang was Lina's "Day by Day". Then Ray preached a daring sermon from I Peter and I was so glad he didn't spare us from the hard parts. He showed a brief video of the marathon runner from Tanzania in the 1968 Olympics who had injured his left knee, but kept going, for hours. The closing ceremonies had apparently already finished and he finally entered the stadium alone. (Of course once the underscoring set in and I was already a goner). The people in the stadium applauded and cheered as he finished his race. Then we were challenged to continue our journey and not to grow weary of doing good in this tough race of life. Important stuff. Life is hard. And we keep going because we want what is good and right. What else can we do? Alice Anderson was there, so sad. She just lost her brother last week in a plane crash. Yet the simple encouragement to keep going is so timely... to all of us. And thankfully for me, it was without promises of ease, comfort, and spiritual high. I can't trust that right now. It was real encouragement, in the midst of trial and suffering. I think I need to read I Peter again the whole way through. Then the hymn had even more relevance when we sang it a second time at the end of the service.
--I love this image of the fire. When the flames lick the blackness and make a dancing shape of light, there's something right about that. Sure enough, that night, eventually other students came tumbling out of their residences and we chatted in the smoke and sang a bit. A fire really draws a circle of community, and it does something for the body and soul. I remember when I had a miscarriage when I was just 30. Dave and I went to a small cottage on Vancouver Island and we had a fire place. I think I just stared at the flames in silence for two hours...
--Yesterday Weston and I had a special snack. We opened and slowly ate the seeds out of a pomegranate. We marvelled at the perfect packaging inside: thin honeycomb walls separating packets of bulging juice jugs ready to burst. There is no graceful way to eat a pomegranate, just go slow. I remember Michelle Lieffertz suggesting a pomegranate must have been the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden... I can see how plain curiosity would have got the better of me, let alone it being forbidden.
So, it is these small blessings and freedoms that keep me going now. The pressure to sing well in the show is big, and I'm scared for my health and rest, but it has been going well, and I want to remember to be thankful for that, nerve-wracking as certain moments may be. I was quite humbled when I guess I started the group on the wrong pitch the other night, for a few beats I think I was the only one singing. Music technicalities are still elusive sometimes, but thank God, my high notes really soared by the end of the week. Somehow my tiredness made for a convenient lack of working at the singing; there was only room for one thought, and that was the story. Ahhhh.