Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
If there is a place that might resemble a bit of heaven, it has to be Andy's parents house. They live on a farm with lots of ground for the kids to roam around and beauty surrounding you wherever you stand. Lois, my mother-in-law, loves to garden and has the grounds looking gorgeous. It is quiet and peaceful - completely the opposite of Philly. We come here to escape, to relax, and to have our children know what grass and dirt are - and boy, do they familiarize themselves with dirt!!!!
Tonight, we came up to visit with Andy's cousin from Iowa. She and her family are in to join the Schultz family Christmas being held in Lancaster tomorrow. We used to gather toghether on Christmas, but then many of the men in the family became pastors and it started to conflict with church responsibilities. So we moved it to the summer - usually around Labor Day. It was great to see Heidi and Ross and their three kids! Sarah and their daughter, Ellie, hit it off great and enjoyed their "girl" time together. They both have two brothers and each LOVED playing with another girl!
While Heidi and Ross were gathering up their crew to leave, we stood at the front of the house overlooking "the swamp", a reedy, cat-tail inhabited, damp area across the street from the house. The cloud formations were so incredible. Huge, cottonball, puffy clouds! The sun was setting and hitting them just right to show their definition. We just stood their fascinated at God's handiwork! I tried to take some pictures, but I am sure they will not do the actual event justice. A short time later, just before bedtime, Lois called us out again to look at the same clouds. This time lightening was flashing around inside the clouds making them light up! It was so incredible! Daniel was "oohing" and "ahhing" and clapping his hands at the show! We again thanked God for the proclamation of his handiwork! Someone once told me that sunsets were the result of pollution in the air. Since then I have always looked at sunsets as a sort of life lesson. God takes something so awful and uses it to create something beautiful - just like our hearts. He can take them and turn something so full of blackness and create a beautiful life of service for Him.
So, while I would love to live here in "Heaven on Earth", I know God has us in Philly for the reason of helping others see the beauty of God's love. But I thank God, and Andy's parents, for the place of retreat when times get tough and we need to regroup!