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The unseasonably cold weather in central Iowa has led to some school closings this week. It is quite unusual to have a “snow day” without any snow, but we have been trying to make the most of being cooped up in the house during the week. On the most recent “snow day,” I woke up early with the call that school would be closed for the day, and decided to make a big breakfast for the kids. I brought the ingredients for pancakes over to the kitchen island and started mixing everything together. Out of the corner my eye, I saw what looked like a rainbow out my kitchen window. There were no clouds in the sky, and there hadn’t been any snow, so I stopped to look more closely.

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Not having lived in the Midwest until more recently, I had never seen anything like this before. Evidently sun dogs are a common phenomenon during frigid weather as the sun is either rising or setting. If I hadn’t given myself permission to stop what I was doing and look out the window, I would have missed it. Every ten to fifteen minutes, the sun rose higher in the sky, and so did the sun dogs. It was spectacular.

On another cold morning, I saw this pair of sun dogs on my drive home from the kids’ schools.

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All we have to do is stop and look. There is beauty everywhere, if we would take the time to notice it. From the hoarfrost of winter…

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to the first signs of life in the spring…

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the creation is leading  a chorus of praise.

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Where are we looking? If I’m honest, too often I’m looking at a computer screen, a phone, in a mirror, or at the television. But, when I stop and look outside, it almost always has a way of helping me really see.

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And it takes my breath away.

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Because the whole world is a canvas…

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covered in the fingerprints…

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of the One who made it all.

We just have to stop and look.

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
-Psalm 19:1-4a (NRSV)