The Thing About Gifts

My husband, wonderful, thoughtful man that he is, gave me the gift of a lifetime.

And I confess, I balked. I didn’t automatically receive that gift with gratitude. In fact, I said I was going to have to prayerfully consider whether or not I wanted that gift. You see, if anyone was going to give me a gift of that magnitude, then I had a grittier dream in mind, a different type of gift altogether.

How like my selfish heart to believe that I had any right to dictate the details of a gift! I shudder to think.

It’s a good thing I prayerfully considered that gift. It gave me a better perspective.

I didn’t drop hints, make reminders, leave around flyers or in any other way bring about what I was being asked to receive. It was handed to me on the proverbial silver platter. It represented years of hard work and planning on the part of my husband, sacrifice of his own needs and dreams, was made possible by his character and had finally found its fullness of time in the way of opportunity. Suddenly, I’m overcome with love and gratitude for the one who went to all that trouble for me!

Here’s the thing about gifts – a gift, by definition, is something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone; something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned ( And just like that I realized that the best and truest gifts are the unexpected ones, the ones I didn’t place my hopes on or build a dream around. Because anything I desire that much, I will put effort into getting, even if that effort is only a dropped hint in a child’s ear on the off-chance they’ll tell their father.

My husband is a master of best and truest gifts, surprising me with gifts I would never have thought to seek on my own. And when I truly receive, I gain unexpected pleasure.

I think I was given a glimpse of the Heavenly Father.


©Erika Rice 2014

He Keeps on Giving

We are buried here. Up to our armpits. A bitter wind whips the stuff into dunes across the yard and fields and bites my skin as I push my way out the door. The minute I manage to clear 5 steps in front of me, I am back indoors for my camera. I want to remember the way the golden light plays across the textured fields and casts shadows in the wind-blown, white waves. My fingers ache from exposure as the pink snow-dust hurries from the amber, blushing light. I’m pushing daylight now and after a quick warm up of the fingers, put my shoulder to the business at hand.

As I struggle to right the eight-foot ladder and plant it in the four-foot drift under the eave, I am thankful the backyard view greeted me first. It occupies my thoughts as I stand on a roof in knee-deep snow. I’m motivated to work up this sweat in subzero wind by previous experience with ice dams and the indoor waterfalls they create when allowed to grow. Icicles are destroyed at my hand and the roof cleared in short order. I gingerly step down the ladder, grab my roof rake and trudge back around the corner of the house. I am arrested. Dead in my tracks. The horizon holds a glorious sunset. And I yell to the wind, “Oh, God! You just keep on giving!”


©Erika Rice 2014

The Gravel Road

On January 28, 2011, I wrote the following thought:

If I had seen the whole road before beginning the journey, I’d have chosen one with fewer potholes. But if the wheels of my self-reliance hadn’t come off, I never would have been awed by my miraculous rescue.

I don’t remember the circumstance that prompted me to write those words, but the thought has remained and comes frequently to mind. I am learning to give thanks for the potholes while I enjoy the ride, knowing I’ve already been rescued.


©Erika Rice 2014