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“A Father’s Love”

 

It was the subtlest of movements, the slightest shift of her eyes to the floor. A downcast movement of her heart. No one saw it, no one knew it was happening.
No one but me, and her, and God.
She watched her new friend hug her dad, and she listened as her friend let out a sweet laugh. A laugh that said she was comfortable in his arms. A laugh that a million other girls had laughed with a million other dads.
I watched the sweet embrace of a young girl and her father. The gentle banter of two hearts that loved one another, that cared deeply for one another.
And as that precious moment unfolded like it has for countless other girls and their dads, my gaze was drawn to the other girl. And my heart broke a little.
I wanted to believe it was just my imagination, that I hadn’t really seen her heart take another blow. It wasn’t a punch to the gut like she usually encountered. This was more like a little jab. A little poke to remind her that she didn’t have what so many other girls had. What so many other girls took for granted.

And what she so desperately wanted.

I knew she wanted the love of her father because she had all but told me so. We had spent many days together, walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Our conversations were light-hearted for the most part. Occasionally they went deeper. Especially when she would get me to tell a story and then say with all earnestness – “Tell me everything!”

And so I would tell her another story and I would do my best to tell her everything. It isn’t often that I meet people who really want to hear everything in a story. And so we came to know one another through stories. Some funny, some sad, some enlightening.

That is how I came to know the girl I nicknamed “Cool Girl”. Outwardly she was obviously a girl of good taste and a poise that defied her age. Inwardly is where the real cool came through. Her coolness was marked by a self-confidence and a sureness that is rarely seen in people twice her age. And of course anyone that wanted to hear me tell a story was cool in my book.

That is how I recognized the sails of her spirit having the wind taken out of them as we stood waiting for our flight. Because I had come to care for her.

And is so often the case with me, I began to question God. Are you trying to tell me something? Am I to say something? If I feel a twinge of pain in my heart, what must her heart feel like? What would you have me to do?

And the answer was twofold. First, pray. Second, write. As I prayed, the question came – could she have the courage to hope for something that eluded her, her entire young life? Did she know what I had come to know? For there was a time in my young life when I hoped for a love that had escaped me. To hear my father say the words, “I love you son”. Words that eluded me my entire life. Words that wouldn’t come from his lips in simple response to my telling him that I loved him. Words that didn’t come on his death-bed. Words that I will never hear.

Until I heard them. I remember the day well. A day when I heard my Father in heaven say that he loved me, that I was a delight to him. Can you imagine? A delight? Those were his exact words. I was a delight to the maker of heaven and earth. And that changed everything.

And so I will write in the hopes that she will read these words or perhaps another girl who needs to hear these words will read them. That they will know they have a father that delights in them. A father that has dreams for them.

And I will pray that she won’t talk herself out of believing that His love for her is real. And enough. And healing.

“The Girl in the Red Dress”

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,  for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16

I have put off writing about the little girl in the red dress for too long. Not sure why, maybe because she touched a nerve that is still raw, deep down inside of me. A place that I never go to. A place that I need to go to. She also touched my heart in a way that I never expected.

I travel often to places around the world and see things that most people never see. I experience things most people don’t even know exist. I’m not bragging, I’m simply stating a fact. Most people never get past the “escaped llamas” or the stupid “what color is the dress?” fanatisicm of social media. What I’m trying to say, is that I have moved off the beaten path many times. My job forces me into difficult and dark places. I have to condition my heart to not “feel” everything, to not turn into a pile of mush at every situation. I am asked to lead others into these places. I am tasked to keep them safe. I am forced to be strong for them. 

So strength will rule the day in most situations. While others are moved to tears and grown men are sobbing like little girls, I don’t get the luxury of showing my emotions. There are even times when I have questioned God about the condition of my heart. I know to guard it. I know it is from the heart that everything flows from. But I still have to ask – “is my heart ok?”. “Have I grown so calloused and so guarded that I can no longer feel sympathy or empathy?”.

And then a little girl in a red dress will show up on the scene. She’s not the first. And I am certain that she will not be the last. Sometimes it’s not a little girl at all. Sometimes it’s a little boy or a young man. Sometimes it’s a grown man or woman. But those are stories for another time.

I noticed her immediately as I stepped off the bus. For some reason I was the first one through the lines of children gathered to greet us. The children had formed a gauntlet for us to walk through. They all had on their finest clothes and their warmest smiles. The little girl in the bright red dress stood out as she stood between the children. She knelt in front of me and handed me a bouquet of roses and caught me off guard. I didn’t want a child to bow to me. I don’t want anyone to bow before me. This is courtesy that is reserved for kings, not for men like me. I was immediately honored and humbled in the same instant.

The little girl in the red dress took my hand and escorted me into the church. So with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in one hand and a beautiful girl in a red dress in the other, we walked together. And I knew that she had captured everyone’s attention. All eyes were on the tall “mzungu” (white man) and the precious girl in the red dress. She was and is a captivating child. 

I leaned down and asked her what her name was and she replied in the sweetest voice, “it is Mariam”. This is not a name I would forget. The little girl in the red dress is Mariam.  The rest of our team often commented over the next ten days about the “little girl in the red dress” but I knew her as Mariam. 

Mariam stayed with me throughout the day. When I was asked to speak a few words to the members of the church she was at my side. When I set the microphone down she would pick it up and say a few words of her own. When I took a seat she climbed into my lap. She climbed into my arms at every opportunity. My arms would tire and I would set her down. She would let me rest and climb back into them again. This went on all through the day. I would hold her and I would grow tired and set her down.

The one place that she climbed into that I will never grow weary of holding her is in my heart. We stood outside at one point in the afternoon and there she was again, in my arms, hugging my neck.

Someone loves the attention

Our host Lillian, asked her “do you like this guy?”. 

She said “of course I do.”

“Why do you like this guy?”

“Because he is a good man!”

“Are you sure?”

And Mariam replied with certainty, “Of course I am sure!”

And my heart melted. The melting started when she spoke the words “because he is a good man”. A good man? Who is good? No one is good, but only God! But for a moment I felt good. And my arms didn’t grow tired. I never wanted to let this precious little girl in the red dress down. I didn’t want to let go of this captivating child that had captured my heart. I was there to bring hope and encouragement to her, not the other way around.

The mzungu and the little girl in the red dress
Captured heart

This is Mariam and this is her story. This is the little girl that I had been storing up my tears for. And a dear friend of mine  reminded me recently that  Mariam and a million other kids just like her probably don’t have anyone shedding tears over their lives. In my friend’s words, “it makes me feel like all this crying is somehow a divine entrusting instead of an emotional breakdown”.  And then she asked, “does that make sense?”

Nothing has made more sense to me in my entire life. 

I had  been told on this trip that the reason we are to write has nothing to do with us, we are to be good stewards of the stories that are told to us. We owe it to those that have no voice to  make their stories known, to tell the stories that are entrusted to us.  To make  them known and to make them remembered. I agree with my friend to a point… I pray that the stories I tell will  capture the dignity and the beauty  of every Mariam in the world. To make sure they are never forgotten. To make sure they are prayed for. To make sure they are loved. To make sure that tears  are being shed over their lives. Yes, I believe all of this.

But I also believe that I write for myself.  I write to tell their stories  and to make them known. But I also write to guard my heart, to keep it tender  and to help me to make sense of my own tears. I write so I will never forget Mariam, the girl in the red dress.

She Wouldn’t Trade It For The World

I am at the end of my trip today as I write this and have much to reflect on, so I will highlight what I can remember as the memories come to me. It’s been a long day already so I will do my best. I can start by saying it has been a week of tears. They started early on this trip, and kept coming. They were still coming during lunch today with some of the sponsors. The stories flowed out of me all week and they kept flowing today.

Some of the stories were new ones, many were old ones. This trip provided many more. 

Where to start? I will begin with the story that a mother told me just a few days ago. She wanted me to know about the sacrifice that her two daughters had paid for several years. 

When these girls were young teenagers of fourteen they returned from a concert with child packets in hand. These were twin sisters that had just heard about an amazing organization called Compassion International that helped rescue children from poverty around the world in the name of Jesus. They each wanted to sponsor a child and make a difference in the children’s lives. They didn’t consider that they were just children themselves. 

There mother was happy that the girls wanted to do something for someone else but she knew that the exuberance they displayed couldn’t last very long and she was very hesitant to give them permission to embark on such a journey. She knew that these children would be counting on this commitment and this wasn’t something to take lightly. And she certainly wasn’t sure about any organization that she had never even heard about. 

One at a time the girls would parry every thrust of common sense and every good and valid argument that the mom could reason with. “Girls, this is not something that you do for one month because someone gave an emotional appeal and after you lose your passion you just forget about”. “We understand and we won’t just quit”, they promised. “I’m sorry, but I can’t allow it, I can barely make ends meet now. We simply cannot afford such a commitment”. 

“We know mom, we’ve talked about it and we have it all figured out”. 

“I’m serious girls, I cannot take on another payment for anything” 

“We promise that we will make the payment every month, we will use any money that we make from house sitting, and dog walking, and birthday and Christmas money”

The mom finally ran out of arguments and eventually was worn down by the twins enthusiasm and firm promises. I think that secretly she was hoping that the girls would succeed, even though she never told me that. What she told me was that she really expected the excitement to wane and that she would be left having to pay the monthly commitment or making the call to cancel the sponsorships. Much like the parents that are convinced by their children to take on the responsibilities of a puppy or kitten with promises of cleaning and care and attention. We all know how most of those stories end with puppies being dropped off at the animal shelter, or tired moms and dads that wind up taking care of the animals that have long since lost the attention of the children. 

But these are not ordinary girls that I am talking about today. These are girls that have somehow learned that others in the world have so much less than they do, even though these girls did not come from a home of any special privilege. These were girls that had been abandoned long ago by a father that had more important things to do than raise them. Perhaps it wasn’t his fault and I am certain that he would have a story to tell us about how he had become the way he is. Perhaps he would even admit that he is a broken man with a broken heart, living in a broken world. So let us not be too harsh on him. 

And so the first month passed and the excitement did not wane and the girls were true to their promises. And mom thought to herself, one month does not a commitment make. 

The girls saved every nickel that came their way and they labored diligently on whatever task presented itself. And the second month passed and still they were true to their promises. 

Dogs were walked and houses were sat and money was saved and every month they were true to their promises. 

Winter came to their neighborhood and now they saw the opportunity to shovel snow from their neighbors walkways, and money was tucked away. The months passed into a year and the girls held true to their promises. 

By now mom was pleasantly surprised and was even willing to send in a check with the promise that they would repay her by the end of the month. And again they were true to her and they were true to the children they sponsored. 

The months turned into two years and the girls not only remained true to their sponsored children but on this day they returned from another event with two more packets that represented two more children that would require monthly support. Mom attempted to reason with them that this would change things, this was going to double their commitment and she knew how hard they had worked the past two years just to support two, let alone four now. 

She applied all of the usual logic again but she was turned back by their enthusiasm and of course their two year track record of keeping their word. 

So now there were four children from different parts of the world that two teenage girls would support every month with their diligence and their hard work. And work they did, being older now they took on part time jobs waiting on tables and a host of other odd jobs. 

Our loving mom was certainly proud of her two energetic and enthusiastic girls because she knew how hard they worked to make sure they were meeting this commitment. Maybe it was the fact that they were twins and could encourage one another if one grew weary. Perhaps it was because mama had instilled in them a work ethic that most young people never receive, her motto was always and still is to them “make good use of your time”. By the way, I saw this displayed in mother and daughter for an entire week. There were hats to be knit while riding on the bus from place to place, and people to be served at every turn. 

And because our loving mom knew how dedicated and devoted these two young ladies were, she began to look even deeper into this organization that could inspire teenage girls to such levels of sacrifice. The deeper she looked and the more she discovered about Compassion International the more convinced she became that no organization could be this good. It was impossible that so much could be done, that lives were really being impacted and that people were really being rescued at all. 

Her motherly instincts kicked in and she was now determined to protect her girls and prove to them that all of this effort was only putting money into the pockets of yet another “good cause” that really only helped the people working at Compassion and not helping those they said they were helping. 

So our loving and protective mother does a most surprising thing (at least to me), and signs up for a sponsor trip. She was out to show her girls first hand how none of this could be true, and boards a plane to Tanzania. One of her girls sponsored a boy from there and she knew if she went there directly she could come home with first hand knowledge of how none of these things actually happened. How could a little more than a dollar a day provide a child with clothing and meals, medical attention, education, and most importantly, hope? And all of this would be provided in a loving environment that required nothing of the child but to attend. And the way they were providing hope was by preaching the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It all sounded too good to be true and she would have to see for herself. Of course she did not expect to see any of it. She expected to experience a sham. 

What she did experience was the farthest thing from a sham. Every where she poked her head and everywhere she thought she would spot a fake, she found the reality of a changed life. She found children that loved and laughed and were immensely happy to see her. She found students that were full of the life of God and were filled with the hope of a brighter future. She found young men and women that had attended these programs as children and were now fulfilled and responsible adults. Adults that were changing their communities. Communities that were affecting their cities. Leaders that would some day affect entire nations. She experienced what her girls had always known in their hearts. She experienced true love. 

So now she returned home with plans that had backfired and she knew without a doubt that she would have to bring her Katie to meet the young man that she was helping to transform. So she returned to the African continent to the country of Tanzania and to the little student center in the little church in the little village somewhere in the remote regions of the countryside. 

And there Katie saw why she had shoveled snow and washed dishes and walked dogs and waited on tables. She saw a young boy that was growing up surrounded by people that loved him. She realized that every letter she had sent him was precious to him in a way that she might never understand. She saw that she had given of herself and had given him the precious gift of hope. The hope that he could end the cycle of poverty that he had known, and his mother had known, and his grandmother had known. He could break the hold that poverty had on his family for generations. And Katie returned with her own life changed. 

But the story doesn’t end with Katie. It is only half of the story. For now the mama knew that what she had done for one she must do for the other. They both had sacrificed equally. Now it was time to let Tyler see what all of her effort and all of her letters and all of her encouragement had produced. 

And that is how I came to know the story. 

Tyler and I connected immediately. God has had a way of doing that with me over the years. And this trip to the beautiful island of Hispaniola, to the wonderful country of the Dominican Republic would be no exception. For this is where I heard the story of two young girls that knew in their hearts that what they had heard at a Christian concert so many years ago was true and right. They knew it was the right thing to do, they knew it was possible. 

Tyler came to the Dominican Republic only knowing partially what to expect. She was hopeful but she was not certain that her experience would be the same as the one her sister had. Mom and daughter could only hope that Tyler’s experience would be as rich. This was not Africa and this was a different group of people and there was an inexperienced leader. 

And this young boy was now a man. He was grown up. He wasn’t even part of the program any longer for he had departed more than a year before. But our loving and determined mother was hopeful that Tyler could still meet him. She knew the long hours that Tyler had given for him, the extra work, the sacrifice. When other girls Tyler’s age were off doing what young girls do, Tyler was working odd jobs and trying to keep her grades up. Instead of posting pictures of her latest haircut on Facebook, Tyler was writing words of encouragement to a young boy on an island faraway in the Caribbean. As a matter of fact, Tyler is now in her late twenties and she still does not have a Facebook account. 

There was a good chance that Tyler would never get to meet this young man. He was an adult now and he had moved on. Would anyone even know where he was? Would he have prior engagements that could not be broken? And perhaps he did have other very important things to do on this day. He may have had to ask for a day off from a job that already did not pay enough to make ends meet. He may have become like so many other young men on this Caribbean island and had turned to drugs to ease the pain of poverty. 

But on this day he did show up. I believe that nothing could have prevented him from meeting this beautiful person that had chosen to love him. Loved him without ever knowing him. Loved him because she loved a God that loved this young man. Loved him because she could do nothing else. 

And so they met for the first time and hugged one another, and they cried more than once on this day. And they expressed that deep and abiding love that only people that have toiled together can express. 

And on this day a mother’s heart was broken and healed all at once. She may never say those words but I saw it happen right in front of my own eyes. I saw the tears of a mother that has poured her whole life into two beautiful girls that have grown into two beautiful women, and could do nothing else but quietly cry at the back of the bus, as her daughters stories were told to men and women that could do nothing else but shed their own tears. As she had poured her life out for these two, they had poured out their lives as well. 

And for that one moment all of her effort and all of the efforts of her girls was worth it, and I know that she would not trade that moment for the world.

In the Broken Places

imageThe storm is wild enough for sailing, the bridge is weak enough to cross, this body frail enough for fighting, I’m home enough to know I’m lost. Home enough to know I’m lost. It’s just enough to be strong in the broken places, in the broken places. It’s just enough to be strong…” Jars of Clay – “Faith Enough”

I cannot shake the phrase…”broken places”. I keep hearing the words “the light can only shine through the broken places of the vessel”. It was just this morning that a dearly loved person sent me the picture posted here, and the words “another way of seeing beauty in the broken”.

“Beauty in the broken”. “The piece is more beautiful for having been broken”. Isn’t this what any great art does for us? It’s not just created to look beautiful. It is meant to make us feel something.

The Japanese believe when something has suffered damage, it can become more beautiful than before. The signifigance of that object has increased.

Those of us that have just returned from Uganda, that have had our hearts torn and our faith stretched; are we not better now from the experience? As others have asked, are we not broken but somehow better? Damaged but still significant? Incomplete and yet wonderful? Are we not feeling limited and yet filled with possibilities?

Has not God taken our broken pieces of life, our shattered hearts and filled those cracks with gold?image

So the statement is – “We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand” Isaiah 64:8 NLT.

And then the question becomes – how do I allow you Lord to pour your gold into the cracks and the broken places? To know that I have been dropped and kicked and marred and broken, yet you still see that I am valuable. You see that I am of great worth and your intentions for me are to be used for your greater good. That you intend to take this cracked and broken vessel and repair it with the finest gold. Gold that has been through the Refiner’s fire and will make this seemingly useless and simple piece of clay gleam and sparkle. A vessel used by the King of all kings. Formed in your hand for a higher purpose.

We have seen enough of the broken places to possibly last a lifetime. Perhaps there is more we need to see.

Some of us have cried enough for a lifetime or have we even begun to really cry? We walked on their streets and visited their homes. We listened to their dreams. We encouraged them to hope. We held them in our arms and kissed them on their cheeks. We laughed with them, even when we thought there was so little to laugh about. But here the laughter was real. It was genuine in a way that laughter is not many times where we live. I can hear the difference. I can feel the difference. Their laughter went down into some deep place in my soul. I can still hear it when I take the time to listen. To borrow a phrase…when I become still enough to tremble. That is when I hear what is most important.

It’s the sound of hope that is flowing through the cracked places. It is faint and then it is loud. And I don’t see the cracks any longer, I see the gold and it’s a vessel made whole. It has a higher purpose.

I will end this post with some more of the lyrics from the Jars of Clay song that spoke to me on more than one return from broken places…

“poor enough to gain the treasure, enough a cynic to believe. Confused enough to know direction, the sun eclipsed enough to shine. Be still enough to finally tremble. And see enough to know I’m blind”

“And see enough to know I’m blind”.

Snow Day

It’s day two of being snowed in and I am completely bored with it. I am sick of looking at people’s pictures on FB of how much snow they got. I already know how much snow you got. I’m staring at it outside my window right this moment.
Ok, I know you are posting pictures for people that don’t live here. Wanting them to feel one of two things.
Either jealousy because they live somewhere where they never get to experience the wondrous joy of sledding or making snow angels. They don’t understand the feeling of creating a snow fort and tossing snowballs or making a giant snowman that looks like Frosty. However, today people are making snowmen that look like a fat Pharell Williams instead. Or they are super creative and are making snow dragons or super cool ice sculptures.

The second reason that you are posting all of these “look how much snow I got at my house!” photos is because you want sympathy. Don’t you feel sorry for me because I’m snowed in and can’t do my daily run, or ride my bike or whatever else you want us to know you are missing.
If truth be told, you probably wouldn’t be doing any of those things anyway.

For me, I’m just bored. I’m tired of rummaging through the pantry and the refrigerator looking for comfort food. If you know my wife, this is a very hard task indeed. She doesn’t keep Oreos and potato chips in the house. “If they aren’t there you won’t want them”, she says all the time.
It’s not true, I still want them. But thankfully I have to resort to more nutritious forms of comfort. Veggies and fruit. Good thing too. I would be enormous if she kept buckets of Chunky Monkey in the freezer.

I saw a great video recently of someone coming home from work and parking in their snow-packed driveway. The snow was piled up for ten feet and he could barely make it to his front door. One of his kids (I’m guessing) had made the most adorable snowman in the front yard. A Frosty look-alike with the carrot nose and the cute scarf and adorable hat.
As he walked past the snowman he swung his briefcase as hard as he could and knocked the head clear off the snowy creature.
I laughed out loud. The caption was “anyone else getting sick of all this snow?” We can relate buddy.

There is a good side to snowstorms, no really! For instance, I’m listening to my wife right now talking on the phone with her mom. They have been at it for over an hour now. Maybe two. I keep catching little bits of their conversation and little bits of laughter. They are talking about everything under the sun. It’s a good catch up talk. My wife knows she needs to call her mom more. She loves her mom very much but calling her requires a great deal of time. And when you aren’t snowed in there doesn’t seem to be enough time. Of course there is, but on snow days there seems to be a lot more of it.
Another good side? For me I always make excuses not to write. I did everything I could over the past two days to avoid it. I read. And read some more. I caught up on all those silly videos that I have been saving on my phone. I read blog posts from friends and strangers. I attempted to shop on line. And realized I don’t need a thing. Not sure why I avoid writing. Once I start I enjoy it.
And I hope the people reading this enjoy it.

So back to snow day. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to walk away from this and think “man that guy is depressing!” It’s just that as an adult, snow for days, means shoveling the driveway, especially since my snow thrower wouldn’t start today. I was actually looking forward to using it. We finally have enough snow to justify me breaking out the machine and gloat at my neighbors that are stuck using shovels. It hasn’t been started in two years. And it wasn’t about to start now.
So I let my wife keep manning the shovel. I know what you’re thinking- “jerk, why are you making your wife do the shoveling?”
Before you condemn me to the “crappy husband” category, she likes doing stuff like that. She wouldn’t give me the shovel. I asked, really I did. I didn’t keep asking. It’s kind of like when you offer to pay for something, a lunch or dinner, or offer someone gas money and they say no. I usually ask once more and if they say no, I’m off the hook.
Don’t try this with me though. If you ask me a second time I will take your money.
Snow for days also means having to drive in it eventually. I’m actually a good driver in the snow. I know not to lean on the brakes when you start to slide. I know to turn the wheel into the skid, the most non-instinctual thing about driving on ice and snow. It’s the other drivers that you have to contend with.
Those people that don’t live here or are coming from those warm weather places that you have been trying to impress with your “look how deep the snow is here!” pictures. The ones that are stranded on the side of the road because they didn’t want to spring for snow tires.
The ones that bought a four-wheel drive and think they can drive as fast as they please. And you can drive fast with a four-wheel drive. But at some point you will need to stop. Those are the ones that I pass by that are in the ditch with their front ends all twisted up. Or the ones that are having their vehicle towed to the shop for an alignment or new rims because they slammed into one too many curbs.

But it’s not all frozen pipes and busted water mains.

I was reminiscing about some of the snow storms I have lived through. Thinking about when I was a kid and we would take our sleds out at the first sign of the white stuff.
I remember a place when I was around ten years old where the local fire department would run the fire hydrants for what seemed like days to make an ice skating rink. They would mark off one side for ice skaters and the other side for sledders. This worked out remarkably well until some of us boys got the great idea that if we got enough of a running start, we could play ice bowling with the less nimble skaters.
We had those great old-fashioned sleds made of wood and steel, with handles on the front that you could actually use to steer if you applied enough pressure and leaned just right.
So off we would go, running as fast as we could run. This wasn’t really all that easy. We were running on a sheet of ice after all. But we would get moving as fast as our feet could go and leap onto our sleds. Man, we would glide for what felt like miles. And we would steer for the kids that weren’t looking. If we got someone to fall we would shriek with laughter.
Bowling for skaters. We’d wind up getting sued by the ACLU if we tried a stunt like that today.

I thought about the time my dad took me and my brothers sledding in the forest. It was a big deal. This was no ordinary find a hill that we could walk to and have to share it with a thousand other kids outing.
This was loading up a toboggan and those round metal discs into the back of the pickup truck and driving up to the mountains sledding. This was the real deal. This was living the scene from Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold greased up the disc and headed down the mountain.
We didn’t catch on fire but we had to dodge our fair share of trees. It took us a few runs to pack down the snow and create our makeshift bobsled run. We probably almost lost our lives several times that day but all I remember is dad took time off to take his kids sledding.
And that’s a memory I still cherish. It brought a few tears just now thinking about that simpler time in my life. A time when nothing else mattered but getting in another run and hanging on for dear life. Well that and trying to stay warm. That was really the only reason that any of us would stop sledding. That was the only reason we would stop a game of bowling for skaters. That, and because someone’s mom or dad would come out and yell at us to stop hurting their kid or they were going to call the cops on us.

So yes it’s cold outside and the snow is getting deeper. And I know you would rather have a snow day on a weekday. Who doesn’t like getting out of a day of work now and then?
But take the time and read a good book, grab a hot chocolate, watch a good movie. Make a few phone calls. Snuggle with some of the people that you love.
And if you’re feeling really ambitious, make a snow fort and have a good old-fashioned snowball fight. Make a snowman or a snow dragon. Or maybe take the kids sledding. They just might write about it some day and it just might bring a tear to their eyes too.

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