Katherine, the Toad

Do you ever feel like you are taking a vacation from God in the summer? Or he is taking a vacation from you?

Summer hits and we are traveling more. Spending time at the lake or campground. Kids need full time tending to, as do our gardens and lawns. Bedtime is blurred and mornings start a bit later and slower. Our usual routines are jarred into a new normal.

If we were disciplined enough during the quiet months of fall, winter and early spring, we may have cultivated a routine that kept us more connected to God and our faith in general. More consistent prayer time, mass attendance, spiritual reading, or Zoom series at Firstfruits! All those things that made us feel the presence of God in a very tangible way. Especially this past winter and spring as we were trying to learn how to live with the unknown that the Corona virus pandemic brought and the greater dependence on God that was needed for strength and calm.

Reading scripture, attending mass, praying the rosary, listening to Christian music, and sharing with others our “grace filled moments” are powerful ways that God makes his presence known to us but I realized lately there are also other, less obvious, ways that the powerful presence of God is shown to us. And it happened in summer.

Two weeks ago I started Camp Num Num. (My grandkids call me Num Num.) For five hours, one day a week for four weeks I try to have fun and maintain control of a spirited group of under seven-year-olds. Last week, just when things were getting a little out of control I looked over and there on our patio was a large toad. Never have we seen an Elm Grove toad before. The kids squealed and when asked what we could name it they said “Katherine.” I have no idea why.

But Katherine (or maybe she spells it Catherine) was a Godsend.
We laughed so hard.

This past weekend we visited my 87-year-old mother-in-law in Mineral Point, a small town southwest of Madison where my husband grew up. The whole family was there for four days. There was so much love around you could cut it with a knife, as they say.

On the last night we took some of the grandkids to their first outdoor movie. As we were pulling into the fairgrounds there was a huge and very distinctly colorful rainbow waiting for us.

It was a Godsend. We gasped in awe.

When it was time to leave Mineral Point yesterday morning, the grandkids were in tears as they had to climb into their family’s car and head home separately. The joy on their faces those four mornings when they woke up with their cousins right there and those nights watching a movie in bed together with their sun-kissed noses and princess pjs won’t soon be forgotten.

It was all a Godsend. We burst with blessings.

Even though it might not feel like it, God of summer is near and showing us in creative, colorful, and subtle ways that He never takes a vacation from us. So, don’t take one from Him either. Include Him wherever you go, He travels light.


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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