Winter in Minnesota can be feel long. It actually is the same time as anywhere else. It certainly is not as boring as those warm places. But we needed to do something different, so we went to the beach.
It looked a little different than it does in the summer. We managed to only fall a few times on the ice. There were no injuries. We then went for a hike. I noticed that my son was still in his pajamas. Well, at least he had a jacket on. For whatever reason they do not want to wear jackets anymore. Perhaps a resolution for the new year.
The trail is just as icy as the lake. But it was a brisk walk (literally)
We did see some deer. Actually there were like 10 of them here. They didn’t seem at all threatened by us. We had lulled them to sleep with our calm. (we were in the pick up)
So for those that wonder how we manage to survive here. I would say, we do more than survive. We even go to the beach in February!
After a tough start to winter this year, we finally had some days where we could go outside and not have the wind freeze our flesh. It was quite the treat. As I walked around the yard I noticed that the snow was deeper than I remembered it being and that getting that snow in your boots is cold. Over on one side of the yard sat the Christmas tree, waiting in line to be burned in the fire pit during the summer. It still looks really green, but is not as nice as it was in the living room. In my hands were Christmas lights that for whatever reason decided to stop working, ironically just like my preteen son. And then it hit me: I would sure hate to be January.
December gets all the hype, fun lights, gifts, movies,elves, and sweet treats. November gets Thanksgiving which takes food and football and merges them together in merriment. What does January get? Dark days and nights. Cold temperatures. Frozen pipes. Cars that won’t start. Ice covered roads. Garage doors that break. (yes, the replacement of the aforementioned door is happening this week– could be a blog post in that) All of this and the let down emotionally that Christmas has now come and gone once again. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the seasons of the year. I look foward to them in fact. It is just that January seems to get left out of the fun, like that one friend that nobody thinks to call and invite to the movie. Thankfully February shares candy hearts early with everyone, which makes us look forward to spring and February 15th when they get marked down to 50% off.
Yet, as I thought about this I realized that there is a lot of joy to be had in January. Life is full of adventure and experiences. Winter sports are in full swing. Movie nights in the warmth of the living room are a nice treat that does not happen in the summer. Getting out the skis is a fun activity that even the littlest among us can figure out pretty quickly. (I mean how can you look at her and not smile?)
Yes, I guess there is joy to be found in every month of the year. It takes looking for something that will brighten your day and doing that. For me it might be getting a cup of coffee and staring out the window for a while. At other times I enjoy pulling my daughter around the yard in the sled or working on some project. Whatever it is for you, get out and enjoy each day because each day is a true gift from God. Yes, even January.
I am not too worried about it, but many people seem to be. What you ask? I am referring to the 6 inches of snow we got early Friday morning. For this week’s Lego Jar I want to show a few pictures of that because it was so beautiful.
One night I took a picture of my 6-year-old son. The reason I liked this picture so much was that he was reading his Bible when he fell asleep.
After church on Sunday my boys had some sandwiches. This is what was left of one of their sandwiches.
Then there is my daughter. As it turns out, all of my kids are experiential eaters.
This week we had snow and all the fun that goes with it. For this week’s Lego Jar I will share a few pictures of that.
The storm that came through last weekend knocked out power for like 40 hours. It got cold in our house so we went to a different house where they had a wood stove. We had a great time using our camping skills indoors.
Playing in the snow
If you go back to a post titled “Drop Where you stop” you will be reminded of my 5 year old’s ability to sleep wherever he lands. This week my 3-year-old showed us that he is also capable of that.
I took him to the grocery store this week and got him a sticker.
One night before bed I asked my 3-year-old son if he had his head on. He said, “no, I don’t need it. I can’t see with my eyes out.” Well, alright then.
In preparation for the snow storm we were expected to get, we fully anticipated we would lose power. In fact, given the amount of wind and wet snow expected, I would have been shocked if we did not lose power. All night long, and through much of the day, the wind roared with enough force that it broke things off our house. Finally, early Saturday morning the power went off. Yes, our house got very cold, as did many. But we were inside and sheltered from the storm. Yes, I was frustrated with the amount of time the power was off, but I was able to stay warm by a wood stove. It is difficult to lose power when we rely on it for so much.
In the aftermath of this storm, the power company was out there in force working to restore power. They were assessing damage while we were all inside. There were a lot of power lines down and that is only part of the issue. There is wind and snow. There are obstacles. Our response to them should be “thank you for your hard work.” Yet, if you look at social media right now you see a lot of complaining.
I understand the complaints. We went for nearly 5 days without power after Tropical Storm Irene. It was hard to live that way with our children, but it was summer and we managed. I know winter brings with it cold weather and can be dangerous. Our house was 39 degrees at one point this weekend. However, don’t you think that the utility companies are aware of that? I don’t understand the raking over the coals that so many people are doing.
There are many things we take for granted. Everyday I turn on the light and make my coffee without much thought. Then one day it is off because of something that no one could have avoided and we berate the utilities. What happened to our manners? What happened to our willingness to thank people for working in harsh conditions in order to bring power back to communities? Yes, it is their job. But they do still deserve at least some appreciation in the midst of all the complaints.
After our church burned down we took plates of cookies to the local departments as a thank you. (story) There were 7 different departments involved at that fire. We took them a card and some cookies. They were shocked by our gesture. One of them even said they should be giving us something. Some wondered why we would do that since it was their job to respond to the fire. The reason is simple — people are more than their job title. People care for each other and show concern when something happens in the community. People look out for their neighbors and appreciate the hard work of community members to fix important parts of our lives. We should not take that for granted.
For those still without power, I hope it comes back quickly. For those of us with power restored, we really need to consider who we know who might be in the dark still. Rather than complain, let’s help each other. Thank you!
People have been dreaming of a white Christmas for years, making the song “White Christmas” an extremely popular song. There is something magical about waking up on Christmas day to new snow. To those that find there to be beauty in the snow, it seems to add the proverbial whipped topping to the top of what is already a wonderful piece of pie. It is wonderful to see the calming nature of fluffy snow. To those of us who celebrate Jesus Christ, it is also a meaningful metaphor of the Savior born to make our sins ‘as white as snow.’
I have lived on Cape Cod for six years and we really haven’t had that much snow. We get snow, just not like I was used to when I lived in Minnesota. The prospects of a white Christmas don’t generally look good. My kids don’t seem to understand this truth. They believe that since it is Christmas, it automatically needs to snow. They even talked about what they would do in the snow before they went to bed on Christmas Eve. I tried to be the voice of reason only to be met with: “but, it is Christmas tomorrow dad! It has to snow!”
How can you argue with that? They went to bed and prayed for snow. We woke up and it was 45 degrees and raining. They didn’t seem too upset by it, except for a few comments about how nice it would be if it snowed. They even saw some snow on a movie and said, “see dad, that is how it is supposed to look.”
When it comes to Christmas, the little things are what matters most. Candy canes, calculators, small notebooks, and pens make for an exciting Christmas at my house. If it would have snowed there would have been pure pandemonium. They are still praying for snow, but are alright with Christmas coming without it. My 5-year-old told me last night that we should pray for snow because God can do anything. I agree! Let’s watch and see what God will do.