“Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush aflame with God. But only those who see take off their shoes. The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.”
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
When our special-needs daughter Katy was young and just beginning to realize that babies aren’t delivered by storks, I answered her queries about the birth process the best I could, in words she would understand. When I finished, Katy stared at me, her eyes like silver dollars. I braced myself for a deeper, more graphic question. But after a very pregnant pause, she said, “What a great way to start people! God thinks of everything.”
Ecclesiastes 11.5 says, “Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” Katy and I left our conversation awed and amazed at God’s way of bringing us new life.
We live in Ohio Amish country and get to watch the world come alive in spring after a harsh winter. Our Amish neighbors let us peek in on the births of foals and calves, lambs and kids (baby goats). Every birth is a miracle, a declaration of our Creator’s grace.
God’s blessings surround us in the spring. It’s as if the world gets to be born again. Buds burst onto lilac bushes, and jonquils reach for the sun, while dozens of shades of green rise from the ground, and leaves sprout on barren branches. And the smells!
Earth gets a brilliant do-over every spring.
And yet, I have another neighbor, who will remain nameless. She hates spring. From her point of view, spring is an awful season to be endured. Not only do her allergies attack, but everyone else’s allergies fill the world with runny noses and dangerous germs. And that’s not all. “Spring forward” ushers in Daylight Savings Time, and who would willingly lose sixty minutes of life? Now she’s forced to drive to work in the dark and go to bed in the light, after mowing the spring grass and pulling pesky weeds. Plus spring cleaning. And please don’t get her started on the noisy spring birds and the ubiquitous bugs.
I disagree. I welcome spring. Yet I admit my neighbor poses some valid points. We have two points of view about spring, and both viewpoints merit a voice.
For a long time I’ve wanted to write about differing points of view. Ask a brother and sister what they’re fighting about, and you’ll hear two distinct stories of the same event. Few children realize that there’s usually another side to the story, or simply more to the story, a different point of view.
Tyndale House has joined me in a long-held dream by creating a new line of books, FLIP BOOKS. Readers get to hear the same story from two different points of view. We’re pretty familiar with the Bible story of the lost lamb, but we can gain understanding by imaging how frightened and alone that lamb would have felt. And we gain a deeper understanding by imagining what went through the Shepherd’s mind as he left the 99 in search of that one lost lamb. Readers get to see the story from the lamb’s point of view, then flip the book and read the story from the shepherd’s viewpoint. For me, these books are exciting and new . . .
Dandi Daley Mackall is the award-winning author of over 450 books for children and adults. She visits countless schools, conducts writing assemblies and workshops across the United States, and presents keynote addresses at conferences and young author events. She is also a frequent guest on radio talk shows and has made dozens of appearances on TV. She has won several awards for her writing, including the Helen Keating Ott Award for Contributions to Children’s Literature, the Edgar Award, and a two-time Mom’s Choice Award winner.
Dandi writes from rural Ohio, where she lives with her husband, Joe, their three children, and their horses, dogs, and cats. Visit her at DandiBooks.com.