Soggy Christmas Moments

Once again my extended family gathered at my parents to celebrate a very early, but now our traditional, Christmas over Labor day weekend.

But our annual “fun in the sun/last hurrah of summer/Christmas celebration” took a very wet turn this year.

The rains we’ve been needing for weeks finally came. And came, and came, and came!

Those that would normally tent were chased inside every night by heavy rain and strong winds. They found whatever floor space they could to throw down their sleeping bags.

The favorite topic of conversation at the breakfast table was “where did you sleep?”

The brave few who found that they could hang their hammocks up in Papa’s Jim outbuildings answered with “above the table saw and just left of the riding mower!”

It was dry long enough for our annual cookout in the grove of trees and for our traditional sock hop that followed. This year’s dance included glow sticks which added a bit of color to the lightning display far to the south.

But we carefully picked everything up and put lawn chairs under cover before the next round hit in the middle of the night.

The crazy amount of rain did little to dampen our enthusiasm! Instead it provided extra entertainment and excitement! Watching the lightning in the distance, gator rides to the river to see how much it was flooding, and eating lunch in the funeral tent in a downpour all made unique and priceless memories!

Amazingly enough, it was the unpredictability of the weekend that provided the most adventure. When the rains stopped for a short while we all ran outside to enjoy the sunshine and when they started again, we’d gather on the porch to chat or find an empty table to play games.

Honestly, if I could have picked the perfect weather for the weekend – rain would not be included. But I’m thankful that Someone much wiser than I knew it would be the perfect addition to a one-of-a-kind family get-together!

And now we all know that soggy moments can sometimes make the very best memories!


God of Wonder

God of WondersWe had some massive storms roll through the state last night – tornadoes warnings, hail, strong winds, heavy rains.

With three of my kids at Teen Pact Camp in Des Moines – this momma bear was relieved when one of the coordinators posted this on Facebook:

“I just got back from the Teen Pact Camp. There was a tornado warming so we all went into this ‘cozy’ (that was the word we agreed on) basement. I must say, if being in a basement can be epic, this totally was. We did a bunch of singing. Let me tell ya, ‘God of Wonders’ takes on a whole new meaning when there’s lightning, hail and wind outside!”

Thank you Josh.

I had to smile. I knew exactly what he meant.

Years ago – when I was in youth group – we were on the church bus on a very hot and humid July night traveling home from an activity.

The air was so still it was suffocating.

There was lightning off in the distance.

We watched the storm get closer and closer – until the sky got dark and our church bus full of kids was in the middle of the rain, wind, and lightning.

It was a little scary.

Then someone started to sing the scripture song from Isaiah 41:10:

“Fear thou not, for I am with thee,
be not afraid, for I’m thy God.
I will strengthen you, yea I will help you,
yea I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.”

We all joined in. Song after song flowed out of that bus on that dark stormy night.

Singing “How Great Thou Art” while the lightning cracks above you and you can feel His power in the wind and rain is an incredible experience.

That impromptu acapella worship service in the church bus on a country road in rural Iowa surrounded by the raging storm remains one of the most meaningful ones in my life.

God of wonder indeed.

Lightning Storm

lightning storm

We had more severe weather last weekend, and this time I wasn’t on top of things and didn’t turn the computers off or unplug them.

I should have known.

I just wasn’t thinking.

I’m kicking myself now, but it’s too late, the damage is done.

I knew better. But I didn’t do it and we were hit. We still aren’t sure just how or where the hit happened, but it looks like it came through the electrical lines. The wireless router was zapped and the power supply of one computer was fried. (At least we hope  that that’s all the happened…but the printer has been acting goofy since the storm…)

Of course it was the newest computer that was knocked out of commission. (Murphy’s Law!) So I’m back to work on the old slow computer while my dear wonderful and very talented “techie” husband tries to salvage what we can on the other.

If only I had paid attention and unplugged the electronics that afternoon. We would have saved so much time and hassle.

“Regret is insight that comes a day too late.”

Hello Summer Hot Dog Roast

roasting marshmallow on camp fireHello summer!

After the spring we’ve had here in the Midwest, I think all of us are ready to leave it behind and begin a new season.

We celebrated the official start of summer tonight with a hot dog roast. We had planned to go out to the ponds, but the weather looked a little uncertain, and the ticks are awful, so we stayed close to the house instead.

We sat and enjoyed nicely charred hot dogs, lukewarm baked beans and carrot sticks while swatting gnats and flies all the while getting smoke in our eyes and grass in our lemonade.  Don’t you just love a hot dog roast!?

Actually, I do! There’s something about the informality around the campfire that relaxes everybody. The kids got to telling stories and joking around. Everybody ate more than they should have, and it was fun. We made a memory tonight.

The kids are sitting outside now, joking around and watching the storms move in across the rural skies. It’s an amazing sight.

I guess I’m a pretty contented country gal tonight…smoke-filled hair, a belly full of s’mores, fun family time and a glimpse of the awesome power of God. I’d call that a good evening!