Sunday, January 15, 2012


Even though I was on the inside looking out the window at the frozen and snow-dusted Earth my breath still made its presence known before disappearing into the air. The dark lines of the plowed soil in the garden formed patterns on the ground, providing visual relief from the otherwise white land. The sun kept threatening to break through the hazy layer of clouds which were holding it back. 

My body was in the summer kitchen of our host family’s house (i.e. unheated kitchen in the winter), cooking banana pancakes made with milk from a neighbor’s cow and a touch of cinnamon. But my mind was back in Colorado. Back with friends. With our old small group. With my family in Buena Vista. With Revision International and the communities it serves. With our faith community Denver Community Church.

I looked down into the cast iron pan to see the edges of the pancake starting to harden and the bubbles appearing briefly in the middle of the batter before popping. My hand extended, already holding the metal spatula, and seemingly on its own deftly flipped the pancake over to expose the golden brown goodness waiting on the other side. 

In the midst of the beginning of a new year; exactly a year since our evacuation from Niger; after the holidays we just missed at our homes; about to move into a new house here in our village in Moldova. So many emotions are stirring in my mind and heart. Over the past few months it has begun to dawn on me just how much Ash and I have to be thankful for back in Colorado. And in those moments, perhaps aided by the aroma of cinnamon banana pancakes and the anticipation of dowsing them in homemade raspberry syrup before slowly enjoying each bite between sips of coffee, I was reminded once again how much we have to be thankful for in general.

The birds were flying in and out of the bare branches of the trees out back. The grape vines lay dormant, hanging on the wires strung between the concrete posts and waiting with what I imagined to be something akin to the same anticipation I felt toward breakfast toward the coming spring and the chance to bloom and bring forth life once more. The clucks and crows of the chickens reached my ears from their coup. The light shifted with the clouds, changing ever-so-slightly my perspective on the frost-bitten village and surrounding hills.

I am surrounded by life. I am surrounded by miracles every second. Indeed the breath I see dissipating into the air is itself the culmination of a million miracles within my body. The biggest miracle of all; God having created all of it and deeming it all good. Him who is endlessly knowable having created something (really trillions of things) so complex and so interconnected that we will never fully grasp how they exist.

The wave of gratitude helped lessen how much I was missing home and ground me again in the knowledge that wherever we are, we can be thankful.

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