Category Archives: Uncategorized

Simple. Or Not.

We’d been driving for what seemed like hours. Maybe because it had been hours. The atmosphere turned white, every last, loose snowflake not cemented to earth by former winds hurtled to the four corners by a vicious iciness; our sight often blinded to the road ahead.

We endured these conditions for the promise of what lay ahead. A reunion. A celebration. A ceremonial expression of self-denying love. In other words, a wedding.

Simple folk, simple setting, simple service, simple vows. Vows to love, honor, respect, in sickness or health, for richer or poorer, to have and hold till death. Beautiful.


Or not. Maybe more challenging than any bride or groom can fathom at the moment of speaking. Simple words to say. Costly promises to keep. A journey just begun – construction to be encountered, maintenance to be done and sometimes brutal conditions to be endured. Endured for the promise of reunions, celebrations, expressions of self-denying love and the wedding of all time.

Again we’ve been driving for what seems like hours. In fact, it has been hours. The winds are mellowed, the snow at rest on my particular highway. Cousins, aunts and uncles, however, are navigating storms and facing unknowns on their own stretches of road. As we all head for home, our prayer is for joy in the journey, excitement at each milepost, eager anticipation of what lies ahead, amazement at the unexpected bends in the road, and a sweetness and rest in our arrival.  We pray to be awed by beauty, strengthened by storms, humbled by hardships, and captivated by love, enduring to the final destination.


©Erika Rice 2014

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