Wynnie’s Winter Picnic

“I love a winter picnic,” said Daddy.

“Why Daddy?” Wynnie asked.

“No bugs. They have all gone to sleep. And lots of nice birds. There’s one now!”

Chickadee, dee, dee. “Hear that, Wynnie. That’s a chickadee. It sings it’s own name.

Do you see it, there in the birch tree?”

“Can we feed it now, Daddy?” Wynnie asked.

“Let’s wait ’til we have lunch. Maybe it will come right to the picnic table.”

The first snow of the season had fallen overnight, just a few inches. As the late morning sun broke through the clouds, the sky turned blue and the sun, warmer.  The silent woods extended an invitation. Come and see what’s here. Rabbit, squirrel and deer tracks in the snow. Tinier tracks of a vole or deer mouse. Winter birds like cardinals, blue jays and chickadees, each with their own special call, size and colour.

The picnic lunch, planned ahead, was packed in a backpack that Daddy carried. Inside were hot dog buns, wieners, ketchup, mustard and relish, plates, cutlery, some napkins and two containers of fruit juice, one apple and one grape.

“This is just like home, Daddy,” said Wynnie. “Mommy gives me hot dogs, too.”

“Just one difference here, Wynnie. We have to build a fire first, so we can roast our wieners and toast our buns. Do you want to help me make a camp fire?”

“First, we need some dry wood. You start by looking for some dry, dead twigs. There’s a birch limb over there with dry twigs. I’ll make a spot in the snow here where we can start the fire.”

Daddy scraped the snow back with his boots to make a bare patch for the fire. With the dry twigs that Wynnie gathered, he made a small pyramid ready to be lit. Daddy struck the match, and the cold snuffed it out right away. He tried again and the same thing, the match went out.

“It’s always harder to start a fire in the winter,” he said to Wynnie.

Adding some paper brought from home, Daddy tried again. This time, the paper caught fire, then the twigs caught fire. Daddy added bigger twigs and then some small branches. Soon the fire was big enough to start roasting and toasting. By this time, the camp fire was throwing a nice heat as well.

“Can I put these on the fire?” asked Wynnie. There was Wynnie standing with an armful of wet wood. Daddy appreciated her help, but he knew that wet wood wouldn’t help to keep the fire going. In fact, wet wood could put the fire out. Daddy gently explained that wet wood wouldn’t be a good idea

“Let me try,” asked Wynnie, please?”  “Well, you watch what happens,” Daddy replied. So Daddy took a piece of wet wood and put it on the fire. As the steam rose and the fire sputtered, Daddy said, “See, Wynnie? The fire nearly went out. So that’s not a good idea. Wynne slowly dropped her armful of wet wood, and said, “I’m hungry. Can we eat now?”

The winter picnic was soon ready to be served on the picnic table as the heat from the outdoor fire reached two happy people. Then Daddy spread the sunflower seeds on the other end of the table. It was like all the chickadees in the neighborhood heard the announcement ‘Dinner is ready’ and flew in to enjoy their winter picnic.

That night, as Wynnie was being tucked into bed, Daddy wanted to talk about the winter picnic. They talked about the chickadees that came to the table. Wynnie asked if they could go again. Daddy said he liked building the fire.

“Yes, we can go again.” After a pause, Daddy said “Do you remember, Wynnie, when we put wet wood on the fire? What happened?”

“I saw lots of steam and the fire, it sputtered, but it didn’t go out” she offered.

‘That’s right.” said Daddy, “but the fire nearly went out.  And when you or I get cross or upset, it’s like putting wet wood on a warm fire. It doesn’t help. It spoils the fire. Love is like a fire. Love is warm, happy, and caring.  In fact, we all need love to be truly happy. So we never put wet wood on a warm fire.”

“Good night, darling.”

“Good night, Daddy.”

 

 

 

 

This I Believe – about the Bible

Although I have been alive and well since December 20, 1941, not everything is callable from memory. Writing is my favorite activity. Besides, it stimulates memory and brings about a refresh. There is tremendous value in recalling the past and tracing the positive and negative influences on the present. This is how we learn and grow. Ideally, it never ends.

From my earliest memories, I have always had a fascination with the natural world which persists to the present time. Think about this. With natural vision, humans can only see a defined, limited portion of the total spectrum of the natural world. Electron microscopes and powerful telescopes launched into orbit are needed to see beyond. At the time of writing this piece, neither the smallest particle nor the limit of space has been discovered. Knowledge around the complexity of the natural, living, reproducing world continues to grow, in concert with the remarkable work of science led by the smartest and brightest people on earth. At the same time, social ills, suicide, hunger, disease, and wars persist and spread. Global warming threatens life as we know it. Meanwhile, mankind is driven by the conviction that eventually, human effort will make the world a better place, and if not this world, then one developed on a planet beyond. No one is offering a comprehensive way out. Enter the Bible.

The Bible itself is a collection of sixty-six separate books. History records that these were written over a span of 2,000 years by 44 authors who came from an eclectic list of bygone eras, countries, languages, customs and backgrounds. The first set of five books, the Torah were written by Moses around 2000 B.C. and the final book, The Revelation of Jesus Christ was written by John, the Apostle, before the end of the first century. The genres encompass history, poetry, prophecy letters and narrative accounts. The writings were assembled as one volume by Jerome around 400 A.D. When read and studied as a whole, a remarkable coherent, cohesive, epic story emerges that envelops the universe and everything in it, including the reader. The story starts at the beginning of the world and ends in a future yet to be experienced. The recorded history is accurate. The science has not been disproven. The stories are deeply engaging. The poetry is profound. The principles are invaluable. The promises exceed the imagination. The Bible declares that the human spirit and soul can be rescued and made new, literally born again.

In unique ways,  copies of the Biblical writings were protected and preserved by a variety of cultures and communities from the time of their writing up to the modern era. Today, the Bible stands as the most-printed book in the history of the world, perhaps the most cherished book of all time and remains the best-seller of all books year after year.

I recognize the skilled and difficult work of the Bible translators who must understand, interpret, resolve and convey the essential  meaning, word by word, subject by subject, page by page, book by book to the readers of their generation in their own language. There may be apparent inconsistencies in original texts or the unusual choice of a word used by a translator, but none of these issues detract from essential content, nor from the inherent power experienced by a searching reader. Within the text, the claim is made that the authors wrote at the impetus of the Spirit of God Himself. Thus, the Bible is widely accepted as the Word of God.  However, when the Bible is read by a seeking, expectant reader, the Spirit of God reliably and consistently translates the words written on the page and brings them to life in the mind, life and spirit of the reader. This coming to life of the written Word, in a deep and profound way, is called the release of the rhema word, the living word, pertinent to the reader and to that moment in time. Thus the process of experiencing the rhema word is both exhilarating and inexhaustible. The Creator God is able and desires to speak to me directly, personally and continuously – every moment, every day of my life. He wants to speak to you, dear reader. Preface every reading, however brief,  with the simple prayer:  Lord, I accept the words on this page, as your Word to me. Speak to me, I pray. In Jesus name.