God's Faithfulness, Stories I Share, Winter

The Stories I Share: Our Goldilocks Trucker

Years ago, after a Christmassy North Carolina weekend, we started home in the rain. Within miles, the rain turned to snow, and as the snow thickened, I urged my husband to turn back. He refused. A work crisis demanded he be present Monday morning.

My anxiety increased each time we passed sideways cars in the median. Truckers either slung blinding snow across our windshield or struggled up hills causing surrounding cars to respond haphazardly.

However, one trucker forged a reliable path. After observing his steadiness, my husband decided to follow his tracks. We passed when the trucker passed. We didn’t when he didn’t. When I asked if we were going to take an exit, my husband said, “It depends on what the trucker does.”   

Our Goldilocks trucker. Not too slow. Not too fast.

We lost view of the truck due to merging traffic near Richmond, Virginia. “Maybe the driver noticed a green Subaru following him and will hang back,” I suggested. My husband didn’t think so. I won.

Eventually, we exited and left our guide of over 100 miles. The next morning, I called Armellini and expressed our gratitude for the driver of truck 5716.

Have you received unexpected guidance?

Book Recommendations, Winter

Winter Book Flood

Icelanders read the night away on Christmas Eve. (See Here for Christmas Book Flood) Our family never read the night away, but one winter, we did read the day away. My youngest still remembers the book I read aloud in its entirety—Trapped by the Winter Storm. Coincidentally, that son now lives near the setting of this favorite.

If I had children at home these days, I would officially declare a Winter Book Flood. What would I read aloud? Below are my favorites in order of difficulty.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton, and Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Brave Irene by William Steig, Winter Story, and The Secret Staircase, both by Jill Barklem.

The Tough Winter by Robert Lawson, Trapped by the Winter Storm by Aileen Fisher, The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Prairie School by Lois Lenski, and Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. As a bonus, the first two teach about animals’ winter needs while the remainder teach history.

Giving myself “permission” to read the day away was a great winter gift.

Ready to declare a Winter Book Flood?

Book Recommendations, Christmas, Winter

Jolabokaflod: Christmas Book Flood

Books are not only treasured as Christmas presents in Iceland, they are also given in abundance. For Icelanders, the holiday season begins with the delivery of Bokitidindi, the catalog of the new books published in Iceland that year.  Citizens pour over the catalog for their Christmas selections.

After the books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, everyone snuggles down with hot cocoa and reads the night away. The occasion is called Jolabokaflod which translates roughly to Christmas Book Flood.

The closest our family came to a Jolabokaflod was when my husband unwrapped a Field of Dreams DVD one Christmas Eve and all five us piled into our queen bed to watch it. A favorite memory. Books with hot cocoa would have been even better.

Of all the things I wish I had known—before my children were grown and scattered— Jolabokaflod is probably the most fun and bonding. Christmas Eve is too full with our established traditions, but I would have declared another day,  perhaps New Year’s Book Flood.

Interested in a new tradition?

Homeschooling, Winter

Hang a Bird Feeder

My oldest son’s first clear word was dog. A family pet rushed into the living room where we were visiting Christmas Day. “Dog,” he blurted.

Bird followed. My toddler kept vigil over the birds eating the seed outside our kitchen window. “Bir” he said over and over. “Bird” corrected his visiting grandmother.

We moved, and moved, and moved again. Bird feeders were forgotten for twenty-two years.

Twelve inches of snow followed by nineteen inches of snow caused my husband and I to hang bird feeders on our deck.  We watched cardinals, blue jays, doves, woodpeckers, chickadees and more. We photographed them. We researched them. As the snow lingered, and word spread, the quantity and varieties on our deck increased.

This red-bellied woodpecker visits frequently.

My joy was mixed with sadness. My sons were in college. They were missing adventures and learning experiences that could not be regained.  If only I could go back twenty years and re-hang a winter bird feeder.

Does something need to be reinstated in your home?

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Luke 12:24 (ESV)