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image courtesy of thejesuschristwallpapers.com

I know…Things have been rather quiet here In These Shoes. The funny thing is, these shoes haven’t been quiet at all! In fact, my shoes have been quite busy, especially my snow boots and my slippers.

Two weeks ago to the day, my sister and toddling nephew came to visit. They were my belated birthday present. During Christmas in a small fit of homesickness for family, I told Superman I wanted my sister and nephew for my birthday. He looked at me and said, “Well, buy her a ticket, then!”

So I did.

It was big fun. Eight days of toddling nephew snuggle time, book time (because he takes after me), and chasing him around the house time.  We squeezed in lots of special sister time between my crazy weekday schedule, had family movie time, train time, 2014 Winter Olympic Games time, and even three baptisms! (Yes! My three youngest children were dunked in Jesus’ name on February 9th! Superman and I helped baptize them and my sister stood in as their sponsor—it’s a Lutheran thing.)

Then, just as she was preparing to leave, Winter Storm Pax hit (because I guess we name all our storms now), stranding my sister and toddling nephew for five more days.

None of us, with the exception of her husband back in the Midwest, were disappointed.

It was more big fun. We built snowmen, forts, tunnels, did snow wod’s while we dug out vehicles, back patio furniture, and fire pits. We went night sledding down our street (because in two feet of snow our street becomes a giant hill), had a neighborhood-bonfire-block party one night and a back patio-snow-fortress-fire pit party another night. I took my nephew on his first sled ride. We had more family movie time, toddling nephew snuggle time, book time, and chasing him around the house time. By the time they left yesterday, he had learned a small arsenal of new words including, What? No (of course his cousins helped with that one), Thank you, Welcome (or was it Wacka?), Popeye (our cat), and most of his cousins’ names. There was plenty more Olympic Games time, and my sister and I even watched not one, but two Downton Abbey episodes together—complete spoilage for sure.

Their extended visit was great fun, for sure. But it was more than that. It was thirteen days of Abba providing us precious stones of remembrance.

“You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth…And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance.”  Exodus 28:10-12

Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel…And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”  Joshua 4:4-7

Early in my sister’s visit she shared with me a task commended to her by one of the wise women of her church. This mentoring friend pointed out the significance of stones in the Scriptures; how they were often used by God’s people as a memorial—visible reminder—of Yahweh wielding His Power and showing His Love on their behalf. Then she charged my sister to begin building her own personal memorial, her own stones of remembrance—moments in her days when her Savior shows up, steps in, and stops the currents of chaos in her life or simply keeps her safe through them, all while lavishing her with gifts of holy moments to remind her of His presence.

I need to collect stones of remembrance, too. Why? Because I’m forgetful and worrisome. I think ahead of my moments and wonder how I’ll ever make it through these days. I forget about the One who has created my days in the first place. Not only this, but He shows up for me, too. A lot! And when He shows up, He shows up big, gifting me with the holiest of moments: toddling nephew time, sister bonding time, stranding snowstorm time….

So, that’s why it’s been so quiet around here. I’ve been collecting stones for my memorial—my own beautiful pile of stones of remembrance.

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