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When I just had one son, God gave me two stories. Back then, we lived on a little farm, at the top of a rolling hill. The sunsets and sunrises flamed and dipped beautiful. The wind, on the top of that rolling hill, could be your gentlest friend, comforting on a hot summer day. On other days, it was a wonder it didn’t roll the hay bales across fields – the currents were so strong. It was a pushy, hurrying friend then. In the Spring, the Buttercups always looked like they could touch the sky.

These two stories grew on the top of that hill. When I wrote Where the Wild Winds Blow, I loved the Father, but I didn’t realize I was a beloved daughter of The King. I didn’t realize that He would make whole my brokenness, or that all my quirky ways were designed by Him. I especially did not understand that He created a life plan that would unfold each day, each step closer to Him – and that plan meant that being a southerly mama was part of being holistically me, along with the writer, the wife, the homemaker, the teacher.

beachwalk22cc_edited-1Where the Wild Winds Blow was originally one story, but it has been broken into two – about Spring/Summer and Winter/Fall. The other story, well, it was a God message to me -coming to you for back to school – but for now – it’s Spring. It’s time for part of the first story to make friends – I’d like to introduce you to Where the Wild Wind Blows Spring and Summer.

A little boywind goes to work with his mother, a southerly, motherly wind – to not only find out what she does, but what a Spring Time and Summer Shine wind does. After their day together, talking about “big and Little things, little and Big, the little boy wind asks, “Mama, must we forever roll the rain bales and tug the shade?”

Below are some phrases from the text that have become more enriched, more meaningful to me in the last 24 years. It’s not so much the story behind the story, but the story after the story.

“We feel and are felt
with our big and Little things
Little and big”

The Purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Proverbs 20:5)

Springtime, Summershine, Coldly Winter Weeks, the Fall Corner

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecc. 3:1)

tiny seeds that slept and burrowed deep

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5: 7-12)

Homeward they blew, talking
About big and Little things, little and Big

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2: 1-6)

rolling great skeins

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19)

hearing a different melody . . . .coaxing the sun to shine

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16)

finishing jobs, beginning jobs

“The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever–do not abandon the works of your hands” (Psalm 138:8)

We feel and are felt
with our big and Little things
Little and big

 Dreams unfold in God’s time. Dreams are often like prayers sent out – the most important part of living happens in the wait of a prayer sent out – just like the most important part of living happens in wait of a dream unfolding. Celebrate with me a 24-year-old dream in a new stage of this journey, and click here to enter to win a copy of Where the Wild Winds Blow Spring and Summer.

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So many are ready to be done with the snow and ice. Eyes are already set on a Spring that isn’t ready to receive. Yet, the snow comes from the Father, bringing gifts – if we’d but open them, find the grace embed, read the messages designed within them. Set your eyes on what He has brought you now, gifts of extravagant love.

snow2015c_edited-2“He orders the snow, ‘Blanket the earth!’
and the rain, ‘Soak the whole countryside!’

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“No one can escape the weather—it’s there.
And no one can escape from God.
Wild animals take shelter,
crawling into their dens,”

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“When blizzards roar out of the north
and freezing rain crusts the land.
It’s God’s breath that forms the ice,
it’s God’s breath that turns lakes and rivers solid.”

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“And yes, it’s God who fills clouds with rainwater
and hurls lightning from them every which way.”

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“He puts them through their paces—first this way, then that—
commands them to do what he says all over the world.”

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“Whether for discipline or grace or extravagant love,
he makes sure they make their mark” (Job 37:6-13).

snow201519c_edited-1(I see a crown here – don’t you? – a leafy crown tipped in snow diamonds)

Maybe you’re praying for Spring to be early. Consider that often, the most important living happens in the wait of a prayer sent out.

God brought it, and I met it, welcomed it (though I’m not comfortable driving in it). I bundled up and set out, camera in hand – and made myself look for what He’d brought me. I inhaled crisp, invigorating air (i.e. gasping cold air). I walked carefully over the white crunchy snow-covered ice to a wooded area (i.e. slippery) and found stories and art: the remnants of a fort made by a band of brothers a few winters past,  a nest at the base of a tree, lined with leaves, broken trees covered in snow blankets. When I bent low, wondering what God had brought me, I found a leafy crown tipped with snow diamonds. God’s designs were everywhere – and ever changing.

If I hadn’t determined to look, I wouldn’t have found them. God’s extravagant love is available, even in the snow and ice, even in the uncomfortable places! Are you determined to find them in all seasons and all weather?

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“Stop. . . Mom. . . we’re not 5 anymore,” said a boy growing up.

Can one really be too old to be excited about a cloud falling from the sky and splatting itself all over your home on a mountain?

I guess 16 is a stuffy age where falling clouds spilling everywhere are replaced with more grown up words like fog.

There’s something about raising children that wrings the stuffiness out of you – and fills it with an appreciation for

. . . .for pulling good things out of the daily like the the relief felt in a thorn pulled from the tender pad of a foot and the more-than-whimsy of things like mists and fogs.

Stuffiness can’t find God in the in the coolness of a milk-box morning, an imperfect parenting moment, a turtle dove calling on a roof ridge, a holy spirit message in a summer storm, the broken rebel’s anger, the steeping of tea leaves, salting chicken soup, the prodigal’s imperfect walk homeward, the routine of dinner dishes – the every day ordinary where an extraordinary God meets us.

He doesn’t just meet us in the parting-of-a-dead-sea-moment or a lame-man-walking moment but in the everyday comfortable and uncomfortable moments of an ordinary man’s ordinary day.

In the ordinary of our day, God spills his grace over us in our imperfect living – like a cloud falling from the sky, spilling over my little mountain.

Driving up the hill homeward into the mist always makes me feel like I’m entering a shield of protection (not when I’m on the interstate, only when I’m homeward bound).

That cloud fallen down reminds me of God’s protection – how He paid the price to offer me that protection.

“I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free” (Isaiah 44:22).

In a world where up seems down and right is viewed wrong, I need a place of refuge. He’s created a safe haven, a sanctuary where I can go – and in the midst of all this non-stop pouring rain in saturated Tennessee red clay, I needed that reminder that when I am in Him, I am there.

“Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by” (Psalm 57:1)

What a gracious God we have, a real-knight-in-shining armor – who has the power to bestow sanctuary right where we are when we are with Him, who desires to conceal us from the things we were not created for.

“He has made My mouth like a sharp sword, In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me; And He has also made Me a select arrow, He has hidden Me in His quiver” (Isaiah 49:2).

“A weapon even keener than a sword, smoothed and polished, so as to make it pierce the deeper, and kept hid in God’s quiver until the time came when it could be launched with most effect against the hearts of ungodly men” (Pulpit Commentary).

There’s much more to the ordinary things in the daily and things like clouds falling from the sky to spill over a mountain home – so much more!


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not just re-posted but re-vitalized – kind of like an old piece of furniture that you just don’t want to throw out – but an overhaul giving it new life:

“Hast thou entered into the storehouse of the snow?” (Job 38:22)

Rumor has it, there’s a big snow coming. Some in its path are pulling in the welcome mat, and some, like me, are rolling it out.

The in-house boys are rolling it out. School will be cancelled – it’s a home and hot chocolate day. My out-of-the-house boy – all grown up said, “I still have to go to work” – and my heart saddened at the growing up – when snow days aren’t holidays anymore.

Whether it’s a scorching hot summer day, a torrential down-pour – or snow – snowman-deep – I find myself looking for the message God is sending in it – a love note just for me. I bet He has one in there for you, too.

I’ll be at work if it comes -but I don’t want to lose the holiday of it. The holiday of it is still there.

When the BIG SNOW comes, I will be hauling as much as I can – into the Storehouse of the Snow.

“Snow is here represented as something which is laid up like treasure, and kept in reserve for use when God shall require it. . . . like the weapons of war, to be called forth when God should please,” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

What have I laid up in the storehouse of my soul? A treasure? Weapons of War? Snow? I admit, that when times toughen, and the little foxes tear at me, it is what I have stored up that sustains, strengthens, gives hope and sees me to a good result, a peace result, a joy result, a content result. In the midst of battle, it is the storehouses that tip to victory.

My Spirit has grieved to not see
Snow for the storehouse
Snow for the ground
For the pin oaks and fir
when all along
the snow for the storehouse was in me

The hurricane of snow’s icy taste,
feathery-feather falling flakes
melting into dripping
water
at warm finger touches and cheek kisses
as the wind blows into swirling
metallic smells mercury cold
rabbit, opossum and wild coyote tracks
size little boy sevens and men elevens
crunch in the wild loud quiet
snow is nature preaching raucous simplicity lessons
of God’s mighty weapons, tools pulled
from His word, of His faith, about His love
stored up in my heart
working out my fingers,
voiced in the faith ballad
walked out in my snow boots
God-Words heard, read, stored
in the Storehouse of the Snow

the snow today was just for reminding
to inventory this storehouse
of my soul
these miniature crystals, dazzling Holy Spirit light
from the inside out
Like God in me
Hast thou entered to inventory
the storehouse of the snow?

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I grew up on small town Main Street USA – before the big city creeped closer and closer, and suddenly boon-dock citizens were big town city folk. I grew up to back yard and front-porch greetings, after schools walks to say hi to my mom at work and sit with my aunt a spell, kick around Fall leaves on sidewalk trails, traffic noise. Until I married farm boy – and this can-do girl went everywhere with him – to feed the cows, to bale hay, to strip tobacco. If he hung out with his family, I did, too – in the house, on the farm, in the barn – I was all in – at being with him. Now – before you think I’m now a bona-fide farm girl – my mother-in-law is probably laughing incredulously here – I only helped bale hay and strip tobacco once. Not because I gave up though – but hay baling became rolling and they stopped growing tobacco.

I’ve been in a barn a time or two, owned one. I love photographing them – so I thought, with my poem on God’s Storehouses of Snow – we ought to talk about what’s inside those barns:

Inventory in the Storehouse of Snow

barn1_edited-120 sticks of faith stories hung on rails in the rafters, curing, seasoning to share, remind and encourage when challenges come either to you or a neighbor?

barn61415 bushels of humility from wrongs handed out and graceless moments, whether intentionally or not, cored into forgiveness, ready for sharing

barn314Unending bails of God love so that you can love more than you need

barn81410 Faith, hope and love seed bags, for open-handed sowing to feed those hungry for the bread of life?

barn2141 Storehouse Manuel filled with the Word of God, the most important item in the Storehouse of the Snow, the most powerful weapon, the greatest treasure, without which all the rest means nothing.

Everything  – everything – contains the opportunity for good. Make sure you are not missing the blessing offered in things like dead twigs, vanilla beans – and snow.

Let the snow fall. Let it fill up the yards. Let it fill the Storehouse of the Snow.

barn816

Click here to see original, “Store House of Snow and Other Blessings”

 

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