oh, december!

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Lots of life happens in this month!  These are just a few random snapshots from decorating with the kids, which is more fun every year as they get more excited about family traditions, and a recent visit to a local attraction, the Biltmore Estate, with my mom.  If only I could have taken pictures inside, it is so beautifully decorated for Christmas!  But it was nice to just soak it in with the kids.  I haven’t been inside the House since I was a little girl, what a crazy thing it is to visit and to imagine living there.  The kids thought it was a castle, which it sort of is.  I look at it differently now, after Downton Abbey. 🙂 Also, our weather here has been uncharacteristically warm, which we are enjoying but it just feels weird.  I’m ready for snow and storms and blustery wind and knitting cozy by the fire.  In the meantime, we are trying to play outside as much as we can and make the most of it.

settling into winter

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We’ve been happily busy with lots of THIS lately.  My older brother + his sweet family have been in town, and we’re so enjoying having the opportunity to be with them.  I’m loving the chance to get to know my nephew a bit and it is precious to me to see all the cousins play together and build little bonds.  I know from my own childhood years how special cousin relationships can be!  It’s like having extra siblings.  And I’m thankful for more time getting to know my sister-in-law and reconnecting.  Our hearts are full!

The leaves are mostly off the trees, a cold front moved in with a wild gust last night, and we’re settling into winter slowly.  Things can begin to look dark + barren, like the black-eyed susan stalks, shooting their bald heads into iron sky.  All can seem lost, empty.  Yet hidden within that flower’s cone are all the seeds for next year’s flower, each cone containing dozens of potentially viable seeds.  All this glory and beauty and light bottled up in that dark little bumpy-looking ball, just waiting for the right conditions in which to burst forth.  The same stalks that wave cheery yellow wildflowers in the summer, we pass by, or even trample underfoot in these winter months, assuming it’s all dead anyway.  Winter is full of promise and waiting and hope in small, hidden places.  There is all manner of beauty in those barren places, if we’ll look.  There is all manner of potential.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope.” (Psalm 130:5)

From Today

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We were surprised with a decent snow (for our neck of the woods) this morning!  It’s a sweet reminder to me that God is always working, even while we’re sleeping, covering the old with something new, giving us the gift of a fresh start and new mercies every morning.  I’m grateful for the delight of snow on this otherwise ordinary Tuesday.  Though we’re still battling some sniffly noses and aching ears over here (please, germs, go away!), we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get out for a little bit and play in it!

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For those of you to whom it’s relevant, happy snow day!

winter: looking hard for hope

Sometimes the barrenness and deadness of winter gets to me.  In the gray and brown bleakness it can seem that all beauty and life has faded from the world.  The daylight shortens, the cold sets in, the life and bounty of summer shrivel into shades of brown, crisp papers carrying forgotten stories.  And the winds blow the weightless shreds away.

And what is underneath are the skeletons.  They have their own stories to tell.  They have their own beauty to proclaim.  From a distance and from a quick scan, it all looks like death.  You have to look harder, listen closer.  Slow down and draw near to really see.

Sometimes it’s good to just go out and search for it, to see in order to remember:

There is beauty here.  There is life here, contained, ready to combust.  There is hope here.