More than two weeks (actually 18 days) have passed since my last blog post. I took a little hiatus from blogging so my wife and I could attend to the myriad activities and responsibilities of the holiday season. Many of those were planned, anticipated; a few were unexpected.
Every two years, our geographically scattered family gathers at Christmas. At first, it was just my wife and me, our four daughters, and their husbands, and that was a houseful. Then dogs were added, and grandchildren began to come along, and it just got to be too much for us. So two years ago, we rented a large cabin in the Smokies, and everyone loved it.
By the time this Christmas rolled around and it was time to gather the family once again, there were five dogs and six grandchildren–with a seventh en route. One daughter and son-in-law who were having a large house
constructed, volunteered that spacious domicile as the gathering spot for this year–if it could be completed in time. Because one daughter/husband/grandchild had moved to the area from Wisconsin during the summer and the other two already lived there, only one daughter and family had to travel from out of state. The host daughter and husband moved into their newly completed house the weekend before Christmas, and the out-of-staters stayed with them. (Talk about close timing!) My wife and I stayed with another daughter. Christmas, gifts, and grandkids (with several dogs thrown in) always make for an exciting time.
A few days after Christmas, my wife and I returned home long enough to wash our laundry and repack–warm-weather clothes this time. Then we headed to southwest Florida, where my in-laws live. The approximately 11 1/2-hour drive stretched into 14 hours thanks to the worst traffic we’ve seen in our nearly quarter century of making that trek. Snowbirds, two bowl games, and a heavier-than-normal number of holiday travelers contributed to the logjam of vehicles on the road. Thankfully, we saw no accidents and arrived safely but exhausted. Mentally, we were prepared for a relaxing time of sunshine, warm temperatures, and low-stress fellowship with my wife’s parents. But as we entered, my father-in-law greeted me: “Hi, Dennis. By the way, you’re preaching Wednesday night!”
I had brought no notes, no preparation materials, no ideas with me. Tabula rasa. Whereas on earlier visits I had known several weeks in advance if I would be speaking and therefore had time to prepare, such was not the case this time. It pays to be current with one’s devotional Bible study and prayer! I awoke in the middle of that first night with a single word going through my mind: foundations. It remained with me over the next couple of days (and restless nights), and an outline slowly formed around Psalm 11:3: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” My first night of really relaxing sleep came only Wednesday, after the speaking engagement was behind me.
But then another concern arose. The “check engine” light of our car came on and refused to go off. I spent the next day–our last before we had to undertake that long drive back–ascertaining the reason for the warning light and getting a trustworthy mechanic to fix it. I hated even to think about the prospect of breaking down along the interstate in the middle of nowhere. It was a faulty thermostat, and Joseph Hoag graciously worked me into the busy schedule at his repair shop to replace it and get us back on schedule.
“Warm, sunny Florida” never produced temperatures above the
upper 50s while we were there. The day before we were to leave, I-10 across northern Florida had been closed because of ice. I-95 along coastal Georgia and South Carolina was snow covered. The morning we left, the thermometer read a balmy 34 degrees. We arrived in the Upstate of the Palmetto State safely, however, and awoke to 12-degree temps. BRRR!
Welcome to 2018! Yesterday, my wife returned to her teaching, and I’m back to my researching and writing–and blogging. We don’t know what the new year holds, of course, but (to paraphrase a song) we do know Who holds the future. And, in His ultimate plan, we know that it will all be to our good and His glory.
Copyright (c) 2018, Dennis L. Peterson