When I was a child, my dad emphatically stated that a magic pea existed inside of a pod. The challenge, he said, was to be the first to find it. He never described it. He only said that we would know we found it as soon as the pod was opened. In the center of the table would be a mountain of peas freshly picked from the garden. Dad would begin shelling, and after opening the first, he would exclaim that it wasn’t in his pod. He then hinted that perhaps it could be found in the next. My siblings and I would join in, eagerly opening hundreds of pods of peas in hopes of finding that one magic pea. Summer after summer we searched but never found it. This small memory of my life taught me many things. Here are just a few.
Advent and Angels
As an adult, I have grown a garden or two (and not very well). When I managed to grow peas, I opened the pods still remembering the magic pea search of my youth, and I confess I still look for that magic pea today! The search from my childhood inspires me to never stop believing, searching, or dreaming for the impossible. More importantly, it reminds me of the importance of creating special memories for my children. When the girls were young, it was a tradition to read during Advent Sarah Reid Chisholm’s book My Christmas Angel: A Hide-and-Seek Story. The girls loved searching for the angel on every page. The illustrations by Michelle Neavill are wonderful! Each page contains pictures of so many things to talk about (the manger scene and the Happy Birthday Jesus sign to name a few.) The story is more than just a search for the angel. The author clearly shows the importance of family, church, giving, and how God sends angels to take care of us. It is better than a magic pea. My girls still remember where the angel is hidden on each page!
Tom Sawyer and Benjamin Bear
Another lesson learned. It was in junior high that I realized Dad was a regular Tom Sawyer from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Just like Tom tricking his friends into whitewashing the fence for him, Dad took a tiring chore (shelling peas) and made it appear to be fun so that we would accomplish it without complaint. I’ve learned to look for the magic moments in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The holidays can be an exhausting time of year – shopping, decorating, baking, etc. My magical moments occur around the Advent wreath as my one daughter reads from the Advent Storybook: 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas by Antonie Schneider (highly recommended) or the other daughter proudly displays her newly decorated prayer jar (complete with lights this year) so we can add special prayers for loved ones or those in need. The girls have not outgrown this book as they both still enjoy going on Benjamin Bear’s journey to Bethlehem.
Finally, Dad’s little trick taught me to find that magic pea in everything I read or watch. Part of this blog is my hope to share with you some of my favorite books and movies and reveal what, for me, are the magic moments in each. There are so many golden moments in the Veggie Tales episodes that I want to share, for example, but that will wait for another time. Ironically, if you haven’t watched any of the Veggie Tales episodes, the peas (despite being minor characters) add to the magic, humor, and lessons that can be gleaned! For Advent, watch The Star of Christmas. You won’t be disappointed.
Magic Pea Challenge
Looking back, I love that Dad had us search for the magic pea. As I begin this blogging adventure, here’s to us finding the magic pea in art, music, literature and history together!