Throwing Boiling Water into the Air Gives Us an Ice and Snow Display

I’d seen those Youtube videos where folks in Alaska or Canada throw pots of boiling water into the air only to have the water freeze immediately and rain down a puff of snow and ice.

I figure (since it’s -8 degrees F), I would try it myself.

We boil water, pour it into cups, and stand on our back porch.  Ready?  We toss the boiling water into the air.  Instead of water, an amazing cloud of snow falls beautifully to the ground.  The children have no idea why this is happening, but it’s fantastic

Even when I explain the science, it doesn’t diminish the awe.

I learn that the boiling water is already so close to being steam that, when I toss it into the air, the water breaks into tiny droplets with large surface areas.  They lose heat so quickly, and the drops are so small, that they literally freeze before they hit the ground.

That conflict in the air astounds me.  Boiling water meets freezing air, and–voila!–the water transforms into a beautiful and completely unexpected state.  A state so fantastic we experience awe

I remember this today as I press on against my own internal and external conflicts.  What transforms in me when I release these struggles amounts to something beautiful and gloriously unexpected.

___________________________________
Journal:  Today, I experience a funny conflict:  Every other family member has a hot shower this morning, and when it’s my turn, I enter a freezing waterfall.  Talk about boiling rage meeting freezing!  I laugh about God’s sense of humor since I had just chosen the blog entry for today.  I learn that even my cold shower can transform something about my character.  Every conflict, disappointment, and struggle surely can.  How are my struggles transforming me today?

Share

Will Eating Snow Kill Me?

Holiday Snowfall

Traveling south, we emerge into a winter wonderland.  Every direction you turn, you see white fluffy frosting, pure enough to eat.

So we actually eat it.

I stand by a tree, lean in, and lick like I’m eating from a kind hand.  My children shovel snow into their mouths like it’s vanilla ice cream.

I imagine coconut or maybe white chocolate flakes. 

For a moment, I think about pollution, toxic things, and all the germs I’m taking in with every lick.  I’ve read the websites that tell me I’m eating more bacteria with every taste of snow than if I were actually eating dirt in the yard.  This was last year, when the girls wanted to flavor their snow with syrup to pretend they were pioneer girls like Mary and Laura Ingalls.  I let them, even though I read that you should limit your snow consumption to one cup every 5 years. These websites also claim that I am eating spores from outer space every time I eat a snowflake.

Just now, I think I ate 2 cups of snow.  I’m doomed! 

I couldn’t help it.  The sky made a beautiful gesture–an appetizer offered from the trees’ arms, like servers’ platters at a fancy party–and I bent down and received what nature made.  I am trusting my stomach acid to neutralize what I’ve just done to myself. 

Living with flair means I eat a little snow. Maybe just one lick.  I just had to.

Share

Becoming an Adult

Getting small children ready to play in the snow requires patience.  Change your agenda for the moment because this is going to take some time. 

My child wriggles into her snowsuit, and then reports that her jeans are bunched up by her knees.  I pull each pant leg down, digging up underneath her snowsuit and repositioning her clothing.

We’re almost there.  Boots on, coat zipped up, hat secured, she stands by the door with her hands up and fingers splayed  like she’s just been arrested.  She only needs her gloves.  She can hardly move within that bundle of snow gear, but still she manages to hand me two pink gloves.

Carefully, I hold the glove’s mouth open wide while she shoves each eager hand in. 

We try again and again.  Every finger has a slot–a place it belongs–and her task is to find it.  I can direct her and inch her fingers just so far, but she needs to navigate the dark cave alone, journeying up until everything’s in its place.  She’ll know when it feels right.  Nobody can know it but her. 

We try again, and this time, she’s figured it out.  I push open the door and stand to the side.  I send her into the bright, white snow, where all the other children play, and she doesn’t look back.

At some point (and it’s a different point for everybody), I became the glove holder and the door opener.  This is a good thing.  Living with flair means adopting–with flair–my adulthood.   It’s not just parenting.  It’s embracing adulthood for all its work for those who come after us.

I’m a glove holder and a door opener.  And then I sit back with my cup of coffee and watch with delight as children tumble down the hills–only a boot clinging to the sled.

Adulthood means I am more concerned with facilitating the joyous moment for others than I am living it for myself.  I give myself away to a new agenda, serving with the strength God provides, and mysteriously–miraculously–find the deepest joy.

Share

What You’ve Been Given

It’s officially winter here. 

Snow swirls up and settles, finally, on the land.  

But it’s the worst kind of snow because there’s not enough to do anything with it.

But the neighborhood children, despite the lack of significant snow accumulation, still coax sleds down hills all afternoon.  And they still make snowmen no matter how little they are given.  In one child’s front yard, I stop and notice she’s made a mama and a baby snowman, in miniature.

Miniature Snowman

Lord, help me take what I’ve been given today and turn it into a beautiful thing. 

Living with flair means I make something out of whatever I’m given.   

Share