Hi friends, I started this post just after our most recent trip to Bloemfontein in October, but it stayed in the drafts folder until this evening. Hopefully that suitably explains the anachronisms!

While our recent trip to Bloemfontein was a very special one, with some highlights that I hope to share with you soon, there was one “downer” that I struggled with a bit during our visit.

I forgot my chapstick.

The air in the “high veld” is very dry. While Bloem is a beautiful, flower-filled city, it is also a comparitively dry place, and for a gal who grew up in the hot and humid South, and then spent four years in a country that on average receives precipitation 317 days a year, I significantly feel the difference when we arrive in Bloem.

What’s the difference, pray tell?

Well, my legs get so dry and itchy I want to scratch them off, my nose dries out and bleeds a little, and my lips absolutely feel like they’re gonna fall off. While I had lotion for the legs and could just keep a tissue around for red nose goblins, sorry, I know that’s kind of gross, I did not have chapstick to help me survive the dry lip battle. And lip stick just wouldn’t cut it.

Normally a quick trip to Clicks (that’s a pharmacy kind of like Boots, dear Brits, or like Walgreens, dear ‘merkins) would solve this crisis. But that just felt contrary to something I’ve been trying to work on: the I-need-it-so-I’m-gonna-go-out-and-buy-it-right-now-Syndrome. After a couple days passed and the opportunity to run-out-and-buy-it hadn’t presented itself, (or else I just forgot to go to the store when we were out and about) I kind of felt for some reason, that I needed to tough it out and let the chapstick issue go.

Opening up the honesty box a bit, when I was a kid, I can remember half-accidentally-half-on-purpose not packing something for a weekend away and hoping that would mean I’d be able to go and get a new whatever it was I’d “forgotten.” I know that’s cheeky, I’m being real honest. Sorry, Mom. Nine times out of ten, that little experiment ended with me toughing it out without getting a replacement for the thing I’d forgotten but “desperately needed.”

Finally we arrived back in Gordon’s Bay after a twelve hour road trip. It was long and we were tired. After dinner and putting the Bear down, I began hunting for some chapstick. A few minutes later I’d found four or five different types, some HH’s and some mine, scattered about in a big tub of toiletry goodies that I keep in the bathroom. I’m pretty sure there’s more somewhere around here.

This made me begin to consider how much I have, with regard to things great and small, and to be reminded that while I’m debating something as frivolous as an extra tube of chapstick, there are desperately hungry people without the money to buy food. And while I’m convincing myself I need this or that or something else, the money I waste on the stuff I’m unwittingly convincing myself I need could be put to much better use.

And the heart issue beneath all this is a deeper one than the purchase or non-purchase of a tube of chapstick. It has something to do with goals, with priorities, with discipline and with those delightfully challenging fruits of the Holy Spirit, Mrs. Patience and Mr. Self-Control.

And, now here in the States, while I’m tired and my heart is tugged in lots of different directions this evening, with plans for an early road trip looming on tomorrow’s agenda, the affects and consequences of being blessed enough to be 29 weeks pregnant catching up with me, and the delights and sparkle of being here for the holidays mixed in, I thought I’d take a moment to finish a post from the drafts. Why? If nothing else, I hope to simply be a voice in the midst of the looming advertising and the jingle and jangle and the bright lights and dazzling displays to share a few quiet words:

We need His Presence more than we need these presents.
We need a lot less than we think we do.
And unto humble and lowly shepherds, watching fields by night, the glory was revealed. Not to princes and kings or academics and presidents. In still, in quiet, where humble space was made, so the Light made His way into darkness.

We too, must be still.
We too, must get low.
We too, must make room.