We got probably 8-10 inches of snow a couple of nights ago. I want out several times in the evening to shovel so there’d be less to shovel in the morning. Shoveled a few neighbor’s walks too, and threw most of it in a giant mound (five feet tall, ten feet long, seven feet wide) on our front yard so that the next morning I could bore out a quinzy for the kids (that’s a hollowed out igloo thingy, for all my Southern readers who care).

Next morning I got up and dug the thing out with the kids, making an entire second fort with the snow from the hollowed cavity. Tedious work, but so worth it. I mean, the inside was so big we fit our whole family of 5 in there yesterday just for fun! (that’s Joel inside at night). I stood up after finishing with a throbbing back, cold-bitten cheeks, and a sweaty back, only to realize my pockets had been open the whole time. My wallet was stuffed with snow like an arctic hor’deuvre… and my keys and cellphone… were gone.

Oh, snap.

Could’a been anywhere. I shoveled two neighbor’s places, one right up to the front steps, and then of course there was the mountain of snow and the freshly built fort. Did I mention that I’ve already lost my cellphone once this year and that there was one’a’them newfangled electro-coded dudad Toyota keys on my keychain worth $300? Yeah.

I prayed, I really did. Cause God knew where they were. And he could show me, in all that snow. Cause otherwise, it was like finding a needle in a… you know the drill. But these were two very expensive needles in a very unforgiving haystack. Er, snowstack.

When I prayed, I had a thought. That perhaps I’d inadvertantly scooped my stuff up and over the fort walls as I built them. I could even see it in my mind’s eye. So this morning, I dug around a bit on the walls. Chiseled the snow away from the edge (it hardens crispy overnight when you shovel it). Nothing. Yeah, I could have done more, but I gave up about three quarters around the corner. It felt silly, thinking I could find such small things in such a big snowstack. So I stopped working. But I kept praying.

Then a neighbor called. Said he had my cellphone. Happened to find it as he was moving snow around as he re-shoveled his walk, one of the two I’d done a day earlier. Thank you Jesus! And hope surged in my heart! Maybe we’d find the keys after all. Now, watch this:

I went to school to pick up my kids, and Glory asked to have a friend over. I hadn’t recharged my phone yet and usually Shauna and I check with each other before saying yes to friends requests. I couldn’t call to do that… but something VERY small inside me said I should yes. So I agreed. I mean, very small.

When we got home, Glory asked if she and her friend could play outside. It’s minus 30 today, plus windchill. I should have said no. Inexplicably, I said yes.

Glory and her friend went to play in the quinzy, and they decided they wanted to dig a hole in the wall right at the very spot where I’d shaved off some snow in my futile search for the gear and given up. Even though I specifically told her the day before NOT to pick at the fort because I’d spent so much time making it so awesome. But I said yes anyway. I’m not sure why.

Two minutes later, you guessed it, in come the girls flashing my jangling keys! (They were right where I’d given up looking, buried six inches into the middle of the fort’s wall, waiting for the next Chinook or Spring to ruin their hiding spot).

Think of how many times I could have chosen a fork in the path that took me farther from my keys! I think God kept them from me earlier so that I could tell Glory’s friend that I had prayed to God to find the keys and that she had become the answer to my prayer.

Cool, huh?