Tuesday, June 11, 2013


    Last week, I was on the phone with my best friend, when my six-year-old son, Hyrum, ran into the kitchen and breathlessly exclaimed, "Mom, mom!  It's a miracle!  You have to come see!"  I was intrigued, as was Kate on the other end of the line.  I followed Hyrum into the backyard, half expecting to see a carving of the Virgin Mary on our apple tree, or to find that Pippin, our puppy who died last October, had emerged from under his stump in the corner and was running around the yard.  So, it was slightly anticlimactic when Hyrum led me to the garden, still out of breath and pointing frantically down at the petunias around the border of the zucchini patch. "See mom!  Look, look!!"  I looked down at the four little pink and purple petunias, which I had planted around the border of the garden bed because I happened to have a few plants left over from the front beds, and had heard that they would attract bees to pollinate garden plants.  I wasn't quite sure what to say.  I stood speechless for a moment before muttering, "uh.....yes, sweetheart, it is a miracle."  I headed back inside with the phone as Kate laughed on the other end.  Kate knows all too well that I have a black thumb, as she also shares that particular curse.  We had a good laugh over the fact that it literally was a miracle that something was growing anywhere within a fifty foot radius of my house.  I have a little plaque hanging over my front flower bed, given to me by a dear friend a few years ago.  It reads, "Love blooms here".  I have often thought that I needed to somehow add the disclaimer "even if nothing else does" to the bottom of the plaque.  Yes, I have a special aptitude for killing green and flowering things.  After Kate and I had a good chuckle, we talked about the simple faith of children and how things which seem commonplace to us jaded adults are still wondrous miracles to their tiny, developing minds.  Kate just earned her elementary ed degree and will begin teaching school in the fall.  She will play an important role in helping mold the developing minds of so many precious children.  Kate and I had an enjoyable conversation and said our goodbyes.  Long after I hung up the phone, I sat and thought.  I thought about how fast my babies were growing up.  I thought about the time when I used to see every blooming flower as a miracle.  I thought about how much I take for granted on a daily basis and about how much my children continue to teach me about life and faith.  I wondered how I could teach them to keep that faith and hope alive in their hearts in a world that is so riddled with doubt and despair.  I decided the only answer was that I needed to become more aware of the miracles myself.  

     The last few nights, I have sat out under the stars to say my prayers.  There is something about talking to God while staring up at the vast expanse of the night sky above me that humbles me and fills my soul with gratitude and awe.  It reminds me of the miracle of my very existence.  In those pristine moments, I feel a clarity of purpose and a peace in knowing that there is someone in charge; that it's ok if I don't understand all or any of life just yet, because there is Someone who does.  Ralph Waldo Emmerson once said, "The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common."  In this regard, children are wise beyond their years.  As adults,  we sometimes think we have it all figured out.  We have evidence and experience to back us up.  We can explain in technical terms exactly why a flower grows when exposed to water and light.  We often, unwisely, fail to see the miracles of every day.  When I sit out under the stars, I feel so small and vulnerable, as I am made aware of the infinitesimal part which I play in the immense, unfathomable vastness of space and time.  Then, the next day, as I clean up vomit or drive the kids to soccer or fold laundry, I fail to look past the mundane to the miracles all around me.  I thank God for my children; for the little reminders they give me.  When I try to see the world through their eyes, I remember.  I remember that a petunia blooming in the garden bed is in fact a beautiful miracle.  On a warm summer day, I can sit out on the cool green grass  as cotton clouds drift through an endless expanse of clear blue Idaho sky, and I can watch my three little miracles, comprised of thirty fingers, thirty toes and three blond heads as they frolic through the yard.  Oh, yes, this world is full of miracles; we need only open our eyes and see them.  


  1. Shannon,

    I have to tell you that you are one of God's greatest miracles-- a mother who not only loves her children, but reads to them, sings to them, speaks in soft tones to them, and (my favorite part), loves their dad. This article is nothing short of Pulitzer!

  2. This post made me think of one of my most favorite quotes by Albert Einstein, "There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." I actually googled this quote just to make sure I got it exactly right before I posted it here and this one came up too:
    "Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."- C.S. Lewis
    I thought this was too beautiful not to share. Children open our eyes to the miracles that are too small, or sometimes too large, for us to see. I am so grateful to have a friend who gives her children enough time and attention to let them point out the tiny miracles.

  3. I agree with Cathi, this article is stunning (nothing short of Pulitzer), my favorite article you've written so far. I've read it about four times. You are simply wonderful!