Thursday, January 23, 2014
Have you ever seen a sun dog? Despite its strange name, a sun dog has nothing to do with our furry, four-legged friends. It's a weather phenomenon that only occurs on extremely cold winter days. If you live in the South, chances are you might never see a sun dog. But for those of us who have the "privilege" of experiencing single digit to below zero temperatures, the elusive sun dog is not such a rare sight.
Basically, a sun dog, also known as a mock sun or phantom sun (scientific term: parhelion) is "an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun," according to Wikipedia. Sun dogs usually only appear when the temperature is under 10 degrees Fahrenheit, which causes ice crystals in the atmosphere. These tiny ice crystals create halos by refracting and reflecting light. The reflecting light, displaced 22 degrees to the left and right of the sun, is also sometimes called a snow bow.
This glorious display of light reminds me of how great our God is! "Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind." Psalm 104:1-3
If you live in a cold climate, be on the lookout for sun dogs! You have to be an early riser, though, since the best time for viewing sun dogs is at sunrise.
Friday, January 10, 2014
You can’t live life with your eyes closed. Well, you can, but you won’t really see. You’ll miss the sun’s rays peeking through the clouds over a frigid field of snow. You won’t see the way your daughter’s eyes light up when she giggles and gives her daddy a big hug. You’ll overlook the way your son crinkles his brow when he’s working on a really tough math problem. And you’ll miss LIFE.
These everyday snippets are more than just moments. Put them together, and they’ll pack the suitcases of your mind full of precious memories.
Sometimes – more times than I care to admit – I don’t really see. I have my head down in a screen or a book, and life just passes me by. It’s something I regret, and something that I’m trying to work on this year. Choosing to see.
Father, open my eyes and help me to really see. The abundant life you’ve given me is so much more than screens and Facebook and Instagram and texts and distractions. Give me Your eyes, Your vision, Your heart… so I can truly SEE.
This is an entry for Five Minute Friday. Every Friday hundreds of writers join in this five minute writing exercise at Lisa-Jo Baker's blog, Tales from a Gypsy Mama.
We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that Lisa-Jo posts on her blog. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #fmfparty (Five Minute Friday Party).
No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Have a blog? You can join in, too!
Monday, January 6, 2014
I have always had a love/hate relationship with the start of a New Year. On one hand, I see it as a fresh opportunity, stretching out before me like a pristine beach at sunrise. Untouched, unspoiled, full of promise.
Then there’s the other side of that coin: Looking back at the old year with regret and seeing the missed opportunities and failures. The "could haves" and the "should haves."
A few years ago, our family started a tradition at the start of the New Year. It didn’t involve the typical New Year’s Day fare of corned beef, black-eyed peas or cabbage (thank goodness!) or the writing of resolutions. But it did involve food for the soul.
This tradition has quickly become one of my favorites – choosing a word that we want to characterize our new year.
So on New Year’s Day, we all gather at the table and write our words with a corresponding Scripture verse on index cards. And we take turns sharing our words with each other and describing our vision for using the word in the year ahead.
It seems simple. But each year, this little tradition has had a profound impact on our family. Each year, we come back together and share stories about our word from the previous year, and how God used that one little word in our lives.
In the past, my words have included character traits (gentleness), things I want to become (captivated - click on the link for an explanation) and spiritual disciplines on which I’d like to focus (prayer). This year, I thought I had chosen my word, but then something changed. I read a Scripture on the morning of New Year’s Eve, and it was like God saying, “This is it.”
You show that you are a letter from Christ… written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3)
I knew after reading this Scripture that my word for 2014 would be WRITE. Of course, the word has dual meaning, because I’m a writer and have set certain goals for my writing. But the other meaning is far more significant to me: This year I intend to open an empty page and invite God to write His story with my life. I want to show others that I’m a letter from Christ. I desire for my life to be an instrument in the hand of God so He can etch out His words on tablet of my heart.
Father, You are the Author of me, and Your grace and eloquence are abundant in my life. Write your words through me. Help my life to communicate Your love, Your peace, Your joy, Your truth. You are the Word. Without You, I have no words. Speak through me, Father, and make me Your letter.
Have you chosen your word for 2014? If not, it’s not too late! Start now, pray for guidance, choose one word and see how God will transform your life!