Rainbows and Sun Dogs

The winter blues were just a snowflake away when my man called this morning 
and told me to grab my camera and head east. 
 The temperature here in North Pole, North Dakota is -9 
with a RealFeel (what we used to call windchill) of -41. 
 The forecast for tonight is -31 with a RealFeel of -47.  
My Texas brain just can't quite wrap it's forgetful self around those numbers.  
Minus 41?

So I drove east and saw the most incredible rainbow ever.

I stayed safely parked in my four wheel drive truck and snapped away through the windshield.  Isn't it lovely?  After a few hundred pictures I drove a little farther and saw more of my rainbow

along with the sun... so I drove a little more...

until I could see another rainbow on the other side of the sun, 
through my windshield behind the radio antenna under the high lines.

  I'm sure my mouth was wide open. 

 I drove again to get a shot away from the dirty glass and wires.

And it took my breath away!!  
I needed CPR....some oxygen,,.
a paper bag.

But wait - seeing this rainbow was like a whiff of fresh warm air. 
 I thought Jesus might step out of the center of that 
glorious eastern light any second.
Surely this is what His Glory looks like!

"All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. 
This is what the glory of the LORD looked like to me."
(Ezekiel 1:28)

The colors of the rainbow melted together in blazing light
and the sun was amazing.

  It was the hope of a rainbow, only ten thousand times more hopeful. 

When I walked into church this morning,
 Carol Jean came to meet me and ask if I had seen the Sun Dogs
 - Sun Dogs
That beautiful sight is called SUN DOGS?
 Oh, yes, we see them all the time here. 
 A few other good folks talked to me about them.  

Then I excitedly asked the sleepy Sunday School kids if they had seen them. 
Huh?  Oh, we see them all the time....

So for my Southern friends,
if the nerd in you needs a little more info on Sun Dogs,

Stay warm and dry
and keep looking to the Son.


Friday Nite Bites

What do you do on a cold snow blowing 3 degree
 -30 wind chill blizzard
 North Dakota Friday Night?

At this house, 
we warm the garage

Ted makes french fries with his new
super duper potato shuper.

Mark makes a BIG pot of bean soup

Ted spices up the french fries
and our noses 

Pat fries up his special speckled trout from
the Gulf of Mexico
via Louisiana
via Delta Airlines
via carry-on luggage

His fried boudin balls were gone before the camera could flash

And there were  french fries.....

...and then there were none.

This is what happens in our garage most every Friday night,

not always the same food,
but always very good food,
not always the same crew,
but a welcome diversion
for every crew.

Come on over next Friday.
We'll have the garage warmed for you!

P.S. Don't forget your cell phone!


Christmas Expectations

Happy Healthy
 Family Togetherness
Beautifully Decorated Tree
 Perfectly Chosen and Wrapped Gifts
  Norman Rockwell Turkey on the Dining Table
Contemplative Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
Sparkling Red and Green Family Portrait Around the Tree
My first clue should have been with the fabric sweet thing
granddaughter picked out at the quilt store -
she even drew a picture of the finished project for me.
Five bolts of cotton that were anything but pink or dainty.
While I sewed, and prayed, and ripped, and sewed, and prayed,
I laughed about this girl and I named her quilt
"She had better remember picking it out" I thought.

When we were finally packed and on the plane headed south,
I was the person no one wants to sit by:
you know, the one who is coughing, sneezing, shivering,
 and blowing her nose.
Sure enough, the person sitting next to me
took his 24 hour turn in the bed after I crawled out.
The plans for the perfect trip home were wadded up in a box of tissue.
The deer hunt was cut short, there were no visits with neighbors,
no last minute gift shopping,
no beautiful Christmas sweater or decorations.
I've talked to so many people whose Christmas Disappointments
were huge - HUGE
death, divorce, broken relationships,
different expectations within the family
and loneliness.
What about those children whose names we pulled from the
Salvation Army Christmas Giving Tree?
We had their wish lists in hand -
but what were their deepest wants and needs?
Our Wonky Christmas turned out peaceful and quiet
 at daughter and son-in-law's new house.

One thing I am learning in my long life is contentment.
Sometimes I get it.

Paul said it best,
"...for I have learned to be content
 whatever the circumstances."
(Philippians 4:11)

He said it from jail...

Participate instead of Anticipate 
and life works much better.
The Christmas Eve Service at the Mega Church
where we needed a ticket to get a seat,
was itself a bit Wonky -
instead of candlelight and organ music like my church in
North Dakota was enjoying at the same time,
we worshipped with a light show, guitars, and drums.
It was wonderful!

We did a little crazy fun cooking

and this girl's Wonky Christmas cake just may be her tradition.
We ate when we felt like it - which was pretty much all the time
without the fanfare of a sit down meal at the table!
Disappointments happened in the form of math homework -
all the holiday long.
But the not so math nerdy boy
made the best of his disappointments
even with the warning from the dad:
" you know that's gonna be on the blog"
And that Wonky quilt?

"It's the blanket I wanted!",
I was relieved to hear.
That family Christmas picture I thought I needed
where the twinkle of the Christmas lights
form the perfect backdrop to the family
all decked out in their Christmas finery...
was not to be
because the old tree was too small for the new house,
and no one owns a red shirt, and nobody like pictures,
and the grandmother was having a really bad hair day
and didn't put on lipstick.

But aren't they the most beautiful family ever?
While the children rode new bikes in the freezing twenties,
 Papa and I recuperated from the
North Dakota Crud (cold? flu?whatever),
  ate chocolate and party mix and cake
and watched the sands of time slip by,

And the angels, shepherds, wisemen, cattle, sheep, and townspeople
crowded around to see their Creator
who came to them disguised as a tiny baby-

to bring Shalom 
( peace and love and joy and healing and contentment)
to us living in a crazy disappointing world.

I hope you can turn away from your disappointments
and just look to Jesus for your hope,
Because He never disappoints.
Merry Late Wonky Christmas
from our
Wonky Little Family!
 and Happy New Year Too!


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