The other day, our neighbor on the hill of prosperity sent me a text asking if I had ordered the April snow. No, I said, but it might be a back-order delivery from Christmas time. So much for on time delivery.
    With that in mind, who put in an order for time to slow down? Who asked to get off the hamster wheel of life? Who wanted to stay home and not have to go to town again? Who wanted to just hide away at home and not have to worry about changing out of their pajamas for the day? Who wanted the kids to be home a little bit longer? We have all put in those requests and prayers over the years, and I guess it was time to make the delivery.
    So now what do we do when our back-order delivery of more time has arrived? I have pulled out long lost projects and rediscovered why I put them on the back burner. My biggest project was to go through all the pictures and sort them out for each of the kids. I have been doing this off and on over the years, but I forgot how many pictures I took when they were little. Today, the kids take millions of pictures with their phones but never print them off. There is something about flipping through a photo album or a stack of pictures. It is as if you are holding time in your hands as your mind races back to that captured moment on film. You see the images through younger eyes yet with a wiser heart. A smile reaches across your face as you feel the warmth of the moment. Your heart cannot help but sing as tears of joy fill the corner of your eyes. You long for the younger days but rejoice in having the memories stored in your soul.
    As I was going through these piles of memories, I discovered I had clipped articles of friends and neighbors to send but never did until now. A back-order delivery of a special moment in their lives to revisit. I grabbed my Bonnie Mohr cards and started writing a short note to go along with the memories I was sending. Some of the clippings were over 10 years ago, but I think they would appreciate the thought of knowing we were still thinking of them. I felt I needed to reconnect with these friends. I was talking with my college roommate last night, and we both agreed the best part of having this extra time was the chance to reach out and touch someone (with our voices because we have to keep 6 feet apart).
    Every couple of months, the Eight Maids a Milking, a group of dairy farm wives, get together in town for lunch to connect, share, laugh and support one another on our life journey. April was our next scheduled event. JoAnn is our coordinator and instigator of this wonderful group of women. She reached out to us and asked for a conversation of highs and lows of this quarantine because we could not get together for lunch as planned. All of us are celebrating having family home working together to keep things moving forward. We cherish the closeness of our family, friends and communities. We all love the fact that we do not have to rush to walk in late for church on Sunday mornings. We are even sitting in the front row. The only low was spending so much time in the kitchen that our pants seem a little bit tighter, and I do not think it is because we tumbled dried them in the drier. I have been baking six to eight loaves of bread a week. Mark is loving it, but my jeans are reaching their stretch limit. It is a good thing rock picking season is just around the corner, and I can work off my extra winter layers.
    I enjoy connecting with this group of ladies. While we could have only seen the lows of these times, we all choose to focus on the positives – the growth of our faith, family and friends. The memories created by reaching out to others. Denise put it best. This shut down has given us a chance to hit the pause button and then the reset button. While we have been given the chance to get off the hamster wheel for a while and the dust around our busy lives starts to settle, we can take a moment to see what is important and direction we need to take.
    Bernie passed on a text her sister sent about the current shut down. There are some interesting ideas to think about. Our lockdown started March 25 and is scheduled to end May 3, exactly 40 days. The Latin root word of quarantine is forty. There is something biblical about this number. The flood lasted 40 days. Moses wandered in the wilderness for 40 years (but that is because he would not stop and ask for directions). Jesus fasted for 40 days. Lent is 40 days. A group of theologians think the number 40 represents change. It is a time of preparing a person or people to make a fundamental change in action, heart or mind. Notice how mental is in the word fundamental? We are in the year 2020 and 20 + 20 = 40. Lastly, 2020 is perfect vision.
    Have you noticed that during this quarantine, rivers are cleaning up, vegetation is growing, the air is becoming cleaner because of less pollution, there is less theft and murder? Healing is happening. The Earth is at rest for the first time in many years and hearts are truly transforming. May these days of quarantine bring spiritual liberation to our souls, our nation and our world. The best is yet to come with a back-order delivery that was right on time.
    Natalie, Mark and his brother Al, farm together near Rice, Minn. They milk 100 registered Holsteins under the RALMA prefix. Their four children are grown up and all involved in agriculture with hopes of someone returning to the farm. For questions or comments, please e-mail Natalie at mnschmitt@jetup.net.