Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Winter Snow That never stopped

We've been snowed in for now the 4th day.
The first of the month it was kind of sweet and we needed the break.
But the end of January kind of loses a bit of its charm when the temperatures continue to plunge into negative readings and the wind chill feels like it whips one in to a submissive fetal position. 
But I have been working hard at fighting the cabin fever syndrome. Typically I do it with food. Lots and lots of baking happens. But this time I decided to use the extra time to get crafty. After all Valentines Day is just a few short weeks away and I always have lots of great pictures pinned but often I only get to dream about how I would do it. So I got busy painting.

And then I decided it was time to put the snowman away... I thought maybe I was encouraging the weather to continue with all those snowmen still sitting around. But if I clean off that shelf I need to replace it with something.
 I got Jason to chop off a block of wood for me.
 I got some paints out and painted up my blocks.

I painted them and then roughed them up with a sanding block. Easy Peasy.
I made a little banner for my love birds.
And made a heart out of tissue paper.
I cut out some felt hearts for a heart chain.
And used the rest of the hearts to hang on my little pine tree.
I found these little wooden letters for $1 a piece and painted them white.
All I had was time right? That's mostly all it cost was my time.
Those sticks have cotton swabs strung across them. I took a needle and thread and just strung them together.
Meanwhile Sophia used her Christmas money and bought a knitting loom. 
And knitted this sweet little baby hat for our friends who just had a baby.
Malaina got on board and knitted herself a scarf.
We're running out of yarn....
A few things I have learned to survive being snowed in.
1. Showers and daily hygiene must continue even if no one is coming or going. It just brightens ones mood. Plus people just stink after awhile.
2.There is something to the saying too much of a  good thing...So switching chairs and places while movies are being viewed or books are being read or crafts are being formed is recommended
3.The more you bake... The more you eat. proceed with caution.
4. Snow is pretty. So I better just savor it and feel blessed I have shelter.
5. It gives plenty of time to reflect and spend time with the Creator. 

I just got the call that tomorrow will be another snow day. 
I may need to start working on spring stuff if this goes on much longer.
Winter 2014 you are breaking records. 
I'm blessed to have all my chicks tucked in with me for one more winter.
I'll take it!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Its a New Year... A new Day

A snowy blustery frigid way to start a new Year.
We had snow before and on Christmas which was just a warm up for all the snow that the first week of January brought.
This boy(Micah)passed his father up in height over the Christmas break. One morning he came out and his dad looked at him and said something like this, "You grew!"And "I think you're taller than me". And so they quickly got out the measuring stick and stood back to back having me declare who was tallest from my estimations. And yes indeed that night of sleep had been good for the boy because he was indeed a half a hair taller than his dad.
 It was a celebration for the boy but the father looked the boy square in the eyes and said in his most fatherly, deep manliest of voices "I can still take ya". And so there you go. That's how we roll. No competition in this household. 
No Ma'm! 
 So since we are not allowed to go out on  the roads except for emergencies we have decided to act like Christmas never ended and just keep eating and playing games and watching movies like it's our job.
 We celebrated the New Year with friends and Food.

 And then the snow came descending on us like a great force from the sky.

But it didn't stop us... No way we had plans.
To head to play some Whirly Ball. Even though the roads were not good and we had to drive slower and our van had trouble with some of the slippery hills in the city, we had a wonderful day.
With this group of friends that we've been enjoying since our big boys introduced us back in about the 2nd grade. That is a lot of male energy right there. :) What a great group of kids!

On the way home we stopped for gas. The kids all got out and used the bathroom and got drinks and snacks. They all piled back in the van except for Micah. He was still inside. So we joked maybe we would just have to leave him. To which his big brother replied, "No way! Losing him would be like cutting off my right arm!" Which made my eyes instantly fill with hot liquid. Because 1. I remember many days praying they would be best friends one day.  And 2. That 16 year old boy of mine has already experienced tremendous loss in his young life and he knows how deeply it hurts. He has felt How raw the sting of losing one you love truly is.
Every time I think of his words I  get a little teary.

Friday we started hearing about this huge storm that was supposed to hit us by Saturday evening. So after a trip to the store on Saturday we were ready to be snowed in.

Some pretzels and Blizzards for my peeps, because of course, the blizzard was upon us.
On Sunday we ventured into the weather and made it home without incident.
By afternoon we knew that we would be getting calls of cancellations. And we did. Including My work which hardly ever closes.
I decided to go outside and capture a few pictures before dark.
  I braved it long enough to record it so one day when we talk about the blizzard of January 2014 I would have pictures :).
 Serious beauty every where.
 Every step I took felt like It got deeper and more intense. Up past my knees at some points.
 We didn't see any deer today. They must have heard the news about the winter storm advisory and stayed tucked in their homes as well.


Did I mention Downton Abbey started Last night. Yeah well it did. And I was a little over the top about that.


And now today I am happy as I shuffle around my house, baking some food, doing some laundry in my pj's as I look out the window at the clean fresh snow that has covered my world. I feel content and blessed today.
Maybe it's a symbol of the New Year. 
New Life.
New Adventures.
New Mercies.
New.

Bringing in the New Year

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?
And then break them by February? 
Me too.
Although I have lived long enough to realize specific "I will do's...." are pretty pointless,
I still try to think about the question of how  next year could look different than the past.
What I still need to work on.
How should I grow up this year?
For my job, each January, I am asked to make specific goals for the year. Things that need to be improved areas that I could do better. Etc..
So why not ask the question for my personal life?
When I was asked to Give one word that describes my resolution for this year,
Without hesitation the word that formed in my mind was 
Courageous.

And although that word is impressive and speaks loudly in the ears of someone who would rather run away and hide than face the enemy at times, It can be a meaningless word if  I am not learning to be courageous about things that matter.

1. Face my fears.
I cannot ever overcome that dark shadow if I am unwilling to come clean and face the fear that crouches in the corner. I must let God's Word illuminate my heart to expose those dark places that need his healing or refining. Fears of the unknown can make its way around my heart and wrap me so tight it makes it hard to breathe. When it's boiled down  This Kind of Fear is actually a lack of trust that God has my best in mind. 

2. Do what is right. Always.
This takes tremendous courage. In a world that tells us to do what we feel, I serve a master who never gives me that advise...Rather he says do what I do. This means that even if I feel awkward doing the right thing. Even if I don't feel it is deserved. Even if I have to swallow hard. I must do it anyway. I should pray for those who mistreat me. Stand up for truth when I would rather be quiet. Look for opportunities to do good.
Some people call that fake. Which could be the case... Or maybe we could call it forming good habits. Just like running on a treadmill. Sometimes I start out with a really bad attitude as I exercise. I don't want to do it, but either way in the end I get the benefit of the exercise. When I begin to form those good habits eventually it becomes part of me, but if I lack the courage to start to do the right thing, to step out and exercise those heart muscles, my habits won't change no matter how many books I read or how much counsel I get.
Do it anyway until I feel like it.

3. Engage.
I need to Engage my whole self in God's call. Getting hurt has a way of making us not want to feel the fire again. I want  the courage it takes to step up and out. I can't begin to describe the feeling that rises in me when I think of this word but I know that it is not  from God. I need his strength to overcome that battle. I have become very comfortable in my spot and engagement feels stretching and icky and uncomfortable.

4. Say no.
This takes as much courage as engaging at times. The word  NO can seem like rejection. I hate rejection. I hate being rejected and being perceived as rejectionary. So, often its just easier for me to say yes. But I must learn to say no to the things that weigh me down. No to more stuff. No to my way first. No to distractions.  No to comparison. And yes, even the courage to say No to good things at times.
No can be a positive word if It's a no to things that keep me from His best.

5. Make Changes.
This is a hard one if change comes hard. But the quote, "If you keep doing what you've always done, you will keep getting what you've always gotten", reminds me change will never occur until I am willing to make some hard, courageous decisions to change. 

If I try to do this on my own. I will fail.

The Remedy?
Remembering this promise.
He is always with me. So what have I to fear?

 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”
~Hebrews 13:5

He is here With me. That should be enough. 

Courage may come at a price. 
It usually does. But I can rest assured I am never alone. And I will never be Forsaken. 

Courageous. 

To be all in for Him.