“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11

Anna Mae pulled her chair close to the fire and covered her legs with the lap quilt her niece Emma gave her for Christmas. The vibrant blue and yellow-flowered pattern brought a smile to her face on the cold January morning. Winter set into Sugarcreek with the onslaught of last week’s storm, and with spring still months away, and she looked for something to wash the blues away. 

Her garden, covered with two feet of snow, left little hope of warm weather, but the pages in the seed catalog she was looking through helped her dream of spring days. A flood of memories lingered on her bottom eyelashes, and she wiped them away before they dropped to the colored pages. In the twenty years since her husband died, the beginning of the year always left her longing for years gone by. 

A time when they dug in the warm spring soil, a time when her knees didn’t stop her from planting flowers, and a time when her children still needed her. The letter from her schwester caught her eye, and she traded the magazine for Maryanne’s familiar handwriting. Her note, filled with updates about her family in Mt Hope, also included a few words that lightened the heaviness in her heart.

I know this time of the year is especially hard for you, so I wanted to remind you to take comfort in knowing that Gott is in control, and He is with you even on the darkest days. If you’re having trouble seeing the good in your life, look for one thing to smile about each day. It will remind you of the blessings you’ve already been given.” 

She folded the letter, put it back in the pretty pink envelope, and held it close to her chest and thought. “I’ll start right here. Thank you for blessing me with a schwester who always knows exactly what I need to hear.” 

Photo by Jim Fisher