Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Days

Snow Days
By Brenda Black

Slick-soled cowboy boots make great pond skates. I learned that when I was in elementary school. Not in the classroom of course. Rather, when school was dismissed because of snow!

After Dad approved safe passage, my brother, sister and I swept and shoveled snow that covered the glassy base of our above water, winter city. We created wide, sparkling paths to serve as roads and packed and piled snowballs for houses, walls and forts. We worked up a sweat as we labored so hard at play. Little by little we peeled off layers of coats and scarves until we could move more freely. And that's when we discovered you can slide a long way in cowboy boots across a frozen sheet. We raced, played tag, pretended we were cops and robbers, race car drivers or Olympic speed skaters. We challenged each other with sleds and sped and crashed with great abandon. Just kids clad in stocking caps, gloves, layers of socks and cowboy boots, we spent hours out in the snow.

If not on the pond, we were at the top of a hill located either direction from home. Our hilly road was always the first one closed and the neighborhood took advantage of toboggan runs paved by the city. Moms and Dads and kids alike scrambled and crawled up icy slopes then glided down to the area that leveled out right in front of our driveway. The ride was thrilling on sleds with runners and even more exciting atop inner tubes. Folks flew down on trash bags, tractor tires, inflatable toys or just did a belly flop at the top and went as far as the frozen road would take them. Ah, snow days, what fun!

Maybe the best part was the warm-up after a playful day in the tundra. I can still feel the prickling sensation as my fingers and toes painfully thawed in front of the gas stove. We jockeyed for the best seat in front of the gaping warm mouth of the oven, while Mom whipped up a homemade pan of hot chocolate. She didn't opt for the kind from a paper pouch, but made hers with real milk, sugar, vanilla, cocoa and love. Ah, snow days, how cozy the thought.

This winter we've experienced hassles and headaches with icy roads, sloppy lots and frozen pipes. I know it has been taxing on both man and beast to endure the cold and wet day in and day out. But for a moment, stop and look at the snow in a different way – through the eyes of a child. Run to the window when you first wake up and feel that giddy delight when you hear your school's name on the radio. Notice the sparkling beauty when the sun hits a drift untouched and pristine. Build a snowman, mold a fort, have a snowball fight like you did when you were young. For just an hour or only one day, or five minutes if that's all you can muster, see the beauty, remember the magic, enjoy the privilege of the variety of seasons here in Missouri. Ah snow days, make the best out of them.

Here are some tips for turning snow days into fond memories:
Snow Ice Cream
3 cups loose, clean snow
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients, sample the result and add more sugar and vanilla extract to taste.

Snow Painting
Mix water and food coloring in a spray bottle. Narrow the stream for fine line drawings and widen the stream for splattering effects and filler color.

Snow Sculpting
The wet, heavy snow we've had lately is perfectly suited for snow sculpting. Much like wet sand, you will be able to pack and create all sorts of shapes. Use the edge of a metal spatula to smooth walls, slope roofs and square up corners. Hollow out windows, doorways and tunnels with a large serving spoon. Bring out the beach toys and put them to work this winter.

If nothing else helps you appreciate the flakes that float and drift, at least acknowledge that they cover over a multitude of ugly this time of year. Barren trees become crystal statues, ruts look like rolls of cotton, dry and dead weeds shimmer like diamonds. And so it is with sinners saved by faith that we too look brand new under a blanket of grace. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Ah, snow days, they remind us of a fresh new life in Christ. “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:7-10)

Thoughts of God's goodness toward us should give us joy and warm our souls to the extent we make the best of our lives lived purely for Him.

**Visit www.thewordsout-brendablack.com to learn more about author Brenda Black. Order your copy of “I Stand” or “Were You Born in a Barn?” on line and receive an autographed copy today, schedule Brenda for your next event, or find out where she will be speaking and signing books this spring.

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