I have good news and I have Good News.  First the good news.

I heard about each of them in January. (See “It’s January .”) Two babies, Finley and Danielle. Both helpless. They had problems. Big problems. Life threatening. Both in need of miracles. I followed their progress. I prayed.

Finley needed a new liver. Danielle was born three months and several pounds early. That was January and now it’s May. 

The good news is both are alive and both are doing well. Both have a ways to go. Most importantly, both are home from long stays in hospitals. Good news. Great news.

Now the Good News. The Creator of heaven and earth, God, one who first loved Finley and Danielle, he knew them before they were in their mothers’ womb. He preserved their lives and has plans for them. The two girls’ journeys continue and God walks with them. As he does with us. That’s Good News. That’s today’s gift.


My great idea this morning was to hunt for trillium, a flowering springtime favorite in these parts.  So, I set off, camera in hand, to a trail just a bit north and not far too from here.  Here’s what I found.

Not too promising of a start… at first glance.  I kept looking.

Not trillium, but look what one can find if paying attention.

Still no trillium.  These flowers are still closed up for now.  Maybe I was too early.

Nope.  Not trillium

Keep looking…

At last!  Trillium!  However, it looks like I’ll have to go back in a few days to enjoy a fully flowering feast.

Today’s walk with my camera once again provided unexpected delight.  Today’s gift.


It was dark this morning when I started my walk. Cold, too, thanks to the clear sky. Venus, the brightest object in the morning sky at that point, glowed in the east. The planet accompanied me as I walked alone down the path.

As I walked through the tunnel of trees, I met my morning surprise. It dawned on me that in a few weeks, when the leaves pop out again, there would not be much chance of seeing anything noteworthy through the thick canopy. Yet, this morning, peeking around naked branches, Venus and I played our game of hide-and-seek, coaxing grins from me as I trudged on.  But, that wasn’t the surprise.

So there I was walking deep in my thoughts, deep in my prayers, alone, in the dark, surrounded by silence except for my mumbled prayers. Then, under the canopy of trees, nothing. 

Everything stopped. No praying. No more steps. Silent and frozen in place, I turned and looked to the east, speechless.

I don’t believe things happen by chance. I believe that even in ordinary everyday happenings there’s a plan, a purpose, a design by God. At times we can say, “Ah, that was a God thing.” Other times we’re left scratching our heads wondering.

This morning as I gazed at the rising waning crescent moon, I gasped. The moon’s beauty caught me by surprise. I was speechless. The slim, orange, lunar slice appeared huge on the horizon.  Balancing on one tip, the crescent was perfectly framed by the trees. I was in awe. I was at the right place at the right time to experience a remarkable celestial event.

Things happen for a purpose.  It was this unexpected, surprising bit of God’s handiwork this morning that reminded me that I don’t walk alone. He is always with me. Surely, today’s gift of unexpected delight.

“The heavens declare the glory of God.” Psalm 19:1


The following picture, taken with my phone, in limited light, with cold shaky hands doesn’t do justice to what I experienced. I thought I’d include it anyway.

It’s January – Unexpected Delight

My walk was about to end. Thankfully so.  For over an hour, the morning’s brisk air poked at my cold, rosy cheeks and as I wandered along the path, I wondered, “What am I doing here?”  Brrrr…  

My car waiting in the parking lot offered the promise of warmth. The end was in sight.  But, then, I stopped. A flurry of activity caught my eye. In the middle of a scrubby bit of brush that was all twigs and a few berries clinging to bare branches there were … Robins!

Really?  Robins in Michigan, in January?  In the middle of a short burst of snowflakes, a half dozen robins, feathers fluffed to insulate against the winter cold, plucked frozen berries from the branches for their breakfast.

Robins!  Imagine that!  I thought I had seen my last robin months ago.  Yet there they were in the middle of January, no less.  Is spring just around the corner?  Why did they come back so soon?

Then I realized that they never left.  Even though I missed them and thought they were gone, they’ve been around all along.

What was I doing here? Without realizing, walking this path, I was opening myself up to the delights of God’s world. In spite of the blustery January morning, this week’s unexpected delight came in the form of ones who were gone, at least in my mind, yet never left.  Today’s delightful gift.

This photo was not taken in January. I could well have been the same bit of shrubbery. It’s probably not the same robin. But who knows. 🙂

It’s January

It’s January.  It’s a short sentence that doesn’t warrant any other punctuation than a period. No exclamation points to be sure.  It’s a dismissive little sentence that for some explains away the blahs and bluesy feelings one might have this time of the year.  The cold air, the biting wind, the cloudy sky that gets gray and grayer, the dim mornings and the early darkness that creeps its way into what was once a hopeful day –  All of these are scapegoat explanations for the real reasons for the blues, a substitution for things people don’t wish to think about or share.  It’s January.

It’s January.  There are two babies.  Maybe three.  All of them clinging to life.  Living yet, but precariously close to the edge.  There are two sets of parents, hopeful.  Maybe a third set, but for them the hope may be fading.  There’s Finley and Danielle and perhaps another, all three ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’

It’s January.  There’s Finley, or Fin for short and Danielle, Dani, to her friends and family.  Fin, a six month-old, smiley, seemingly healthy, doing what a six month old should be doing.  Dani, tiny, tiny Dani out of the womb for a couple weeks only, hooked up to a mile of tubes and wires.  Finley and Danielle and the other, praising the God who loves them by doing what little ones are created naturally to do.

It’s January.  When it was no longer safe to be in the womb; when what should have been a safe and friendly place, warm and nurturing, became hostile; it was time for Danielle to be born.  Three months ahead of schedule, weighing in at a pound and an ounce, before anyone expected, she came face to face with the ones who love her.  Her parents, firm in the knowledge that the One who loved Dani first would provide and sustain her, are filled with hope.

It’s January.  Finley.  Ah, lovely Finley.  Precious and beautiful.  Perky and fun.  A child of God.  A month or so ago she got sick and wasn’t able to shake whatever it was that was causing the illness.  After weeks in the hospital with doctors and specialists, the answer came. Her liver is no good.  She would need another.  A transplant.  Her parents, confident that their precious Fin is in the hands of the God who loves her, now wait. … And now somewhere there may be parents, unknown to all of us, of the other child, also waiting. 

It’s January.  I’d like to say that I can give a full report on how the babies are doing.  I can’t. It’s too early. No one knows the future.  No one knows the paths these babies will eventually travel.  I have to leave all of this in God’s hands, realizing that life doesn’t happen according to my plans, my ways of thinking.  God’s ways and thoughts are way beyond my understanding.  What I do know is that “Our only comfort in life and in death is that we belong to our faithful savior, Jesus Christ… “1

It’s January.  While that little two-word sentence does not really give a good explanation for how things are, I’ll admit the cold, dark, loneliness of January days can get to me.  However, as I write this on this cold January morning the sun is coming up again.  Today promises to be one of blue skies and sunshine.  Cloudy skies or clear, God is good.  He will take care of things for us.  That’s today’s gift.

1 – Heidelberg Catechism Q and A 1