Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Owen and the Baler

Owen loves to be with his Daddy, and can easily drop whatever exciting thing he is doing under my supervision to join the work down at the farm shop or jump in Jason's truck for errands in town. Because of his inquisitive nature, he has been to places I never have and knows more about farm equipment than I ever will. I love to watch him identify with Jason and try to fit himself into his Daddy's world. The other day when our family walked into the farm shop to say hello to Jason, I saw that light in Owen's eyes and a very awed grin across his face and knew it was the beginning of the end.

One person Owen met and loved was Mrs. Beth, who worked the parts counter at Smith Tractor. She paid attention to him, and he definitely noticed her. When Mrs. Beth announced she was quitting, and her last week of work came up, Jason took Owen with him into the John Deere dealership. While Jason was conducting his farm business, Owen must have been perusing the toy aisle, because he came away talking about a round hay baler that he wanted to buy. That night, Jason helped him count the change in his bank, which happened to be a very small sum. Since Jason had promised Owen he would ask about the baler, the next morning he brought the toy up to the desk at Smith Tractor to ask Mrs. Beth how much it was.

That kind woman would not name the price until she had heard the contents of Owen's piggy bank. "And that's how much it is," she pronounced definitively. She took the hay baler, placed it under the counter and told Jason to bring in Owen.

Jason called me before I picked up Owen for school and gave me the low-down. He was in the fields and was not able to come into town, so he asked me to take Owen and his money in to Mrs. Beth.

The parts counter was hopping, so we waited our turn to do business. The vending machine guy was refilling his machines at the moment, and it was a little hard to pull Owen away from his place of observation. Mrs. Beth had everything ready, invoice included, and had figured a price that left Owen a little money to rattle in his bank. She and I counted the rolling coins, and the transaction was made official.I saved the invoice, made out in Owen’s name. When he is older, I think he will understand better the gift Mrs. Beth gave him, which was more than a 75% discount and a glimpse of her heart. For now, he is just enjoying the hay baler.

And here's a little glimpse of what the other two kids were doing: holding hands after fighting.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I took this picture last December, a few days after my nephew Bryce was born, at a time when I felt thick pain all around me, as if it were a physical substance. It was everywhere I turned--I bumped into it in my kitchen as I was struggling to remember how to cook. I heard it in the surface chatter of friends.

I was also clinging to God as never before. No, let me say that I remember realizing that I couldn't even hold on--I had to trust him not to let me go. In those still, painful moments of quiet before God, He began to speak His truth to my heart. I felt his discipline, but I also felt his unfathomable love.

And so when I looked out from my kitchen window and saw that the suffocatingly grey sky had been transformed by the light piercing through the clouds and spilling itself over the dull earth, I was moved to tears. There is beauty in shadow.