Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Snow Melts in Spring

Last night I read Luke 15: 1-7 about the shepherd rejoicing over finding his lost sheep. Today I watched a miniature version of it play out right in front of my eyes. Mia has a mild obsession with the anime cartoon Hamtaro. It's about sweet hamsters who have a life their owners know nothing about. It aired a few years ago on Cartoon Network, but it's fallen out of popularity since so she watches it on DVDs from the library. She's probably watched all of them more than 20 times each!

Doogie surprised her with a wonderful gift when he found a keychain featuring the main character, Hamtaro, and gave it to her. It probably originally came in a Happy Meal and you would be hardpressed to be willing to pay 59 cents for it at a thrift store, the kind of thing that ends up in the free box at a garage sale. To Mia, it is precious, and she keeps it with her. She brought it along this morning to town when I dropped Molly off at work. We had a couple of hours of free time before her swimming lessons, so I took her to the playground and library; Hamtaro of course by her side.

After swimming lessons as I buckled her into her booster seat and started up the van to head for home, she asked me to look in the pocket of her shorts for Hamtaro. I could tell as soon as I picked them up that the pockets were empty; they were far too shallow to hold anything safely. I asked her where she was sure she had last had it, and she thought the library. I called and talked to my favorite librarian, Joan, who searched the areas where Mia had played to no avail. Hamtaro was nowhere to be found, and worse news: there had been a lot of other kids came in after we left, so if it was left behind, another child probably claimed it as their own.

I had to tell her the bad news. She broke down into sobs, her little heart broken. I ached for her as I drove home. I tried to comfort her by saying that we would look at the beach and playground again tomorrow, but she understood that if another child had found it, it was gone. And it's not something that can be easily replaced. She cried all the way home, and I thought of suggesting that she pray, but then I worried about how her faith would handle it if God chose not to answer her prayer for the recovery of Hamtaro. I didn't want her to pin her hopes on God bringing it back to her only to face that disappointment and perhaps disillusionment in Him. I said a little prayer to myself and held her hand for the rest of the ride as she cried silently.

When we arrived home, I went around to her side of the van to help her out, and as I opened the door, I saw Hamtaro in the toy bag hanging from the seat in front of hers. I wish you could see the look on Mia's face when I handed it to her; she was lit up from within with such relief and happiness. She whooped for joy and we hugged each other and Hamtaro. As I fixed lunch for both of us, she declared it to be a celebration for Hamtaro's safe return, just as the woman who had lost her one silver coin did when she found it again in Luke 15:8-10. She said, "Mommy, what was the worst day of my life has turned into the best day ever!"

I was shamed by my lack of faith in not trusting even this little thing to prayer, and I was moved to see an example of God's love for his lost sheep. Broken-hearted and devastated but committed to the search, and when found, relieved and joyful, ready to celebrate its safe return. God loves each of us even more than Mia loves her Hamtaro. I love how He uses my little girl to teach me about to love Him better!

Snow Melts in Spring by Deborah Vogts is the first book in the Seasons of Tallgrass series. Mattie Evans has happily devoted her life to the Flint Hills of Kansas, working as a veterinarian and trying to find a way to buy her own ranch so she can ride its beloved hills. Gil McCray left those hills at the first chance he got and because successful as pro football player, but after his retirement from the game, he returns home to help his ailing father repair the family ranch and to check on his injured horse, Dusty. Mattie and Gil instantly clash as he assumes she's incompetent and after his father's money. She thinks he's an arrogant and selfish man trying to abandon his legacy as a rancher, but the more time they spend together, the more they learn about each other. Vogts has created an incredibly charming character in Mattie, I could read a whole series of books about this feisty, bright, and loyal woman. Gil is an unexpected pleasure to read about as well, not at all fitting the stereotype of the arrogant, famous prodigal son. They both have a lot to learn about forgiveness and sacrifice. It's a terrific romance, and I look forward to more in the series.

I'm giving away a copy of Julie Lyon's Holy Roller this week, and it's easy to sign up! Just drop me an email before 10 pm tomorrow night. I'll announce the winner here on Friday. Good luck!


Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Thanks for your nice review of Deborah Vogts new book.

Positive mention of the Flint Hills always gets my attention! Thanks!
So happy it brought me to your site. Hope you and your readers visit regularly.

Our 22 county Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, Inc. promotes visits to the Kansas Flint Hills – the website is:

Best wishes!
Dr. Bill ;-)
Personal Blog:

Deborah Vogts said...

Thanks for the review, Christy. God's blessings to you!