Tag Archives: Winter

He is Risen Indeed

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Good Friday is a solemn celebration, a reminder of how bad things were—how bad things are. It’s a reminder of what life is like without Jesus. Most years it rains, or at least clouds over with darkness.

But Easter is bright and hopeful. A celebration of grace and love and life and mercy, a reminder that we’re loved by an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator who became flesh and died so we could spend eternity with Him.

Spring (at least in the Midwest) is the perfect time to celebrate the juxtaposition of life and death that holy week brings—bleakness and bright hope.

The seasons mirror the work God does in our lives, in our world. It’s a cycle of life and death. A reminder that good things come to an end, but for a reason. It’s not senseless. It’s not the last word. Death is required for new life to break forth. The leaves must turn crisp and fall, the peaceful white snow must cover the land, hiding that death and ushering in the new life that comes with spring. The birds start to sing again. The flowers send shoots up out of the soil. The air embraces you with a warm breeze. Summer is coming. Sunday is coming.

As I’m preparing my heart for Easter, I’m remembering just how bad it was before He came—how bad my life could have been without Jesus—and I’m praising God for the new life He brings.

He is risen. He is risen indeed.

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Finding God at the End of the Path

trailIt’s no secret that I don’t like where we live. Our apartment is great, but the area leaves a lot be desired. At least for me. When Jonathan took his new job a few years ago, we had to leave St. Louis Park, a lovely suburb where we had a great apartment just blocks from the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. We could walk to Trader Joe’s, Target, the gym—even Lake Calhoun was just a mile away if we took the Greenway. Then we moved here. It’s not walkable. And I don’t feel safe when I’m outside by myself. I never go anywhere.

But then I started reading a book (Worry Less So You Can Live More by Jane Rubiettathat contrasted worry with delight. The author asked the question, “Where have you encountered God’s delight through creation?” The answer was easy. I love walks that give me the chance to think and observe details—everything from picker bushes to perfect leaves to the eight-point bucks that like to hang out in our neighborhood.

I decided to get out and go for one of those walks, to put aside my fears—because really, they’re unfounded—and venture out by myself. Well, I only kinda put aside my fear. I told my husband where I was going and walked with my hand around my phone in my pocket. My bluetooth headset was in my ear, and I was ready to click it twice to call Jonathan if I got in trouble. I even debated whether to wear the hood of my puffy winter jacket up or down because, what if someone snuck up behind me and I couldn’t see them because of it? How far around the lake should I go? Should I stay away from the wooded parts of the trail where I was less visible from the road (but still able to be seen because the trees are bare and my coat is a bright color)?

trail2Then I came across a non-paved path that wound down a gradual hill and disappeared into the weeds along the lake. A path I had never noticed before. Spurred on by the idea of delight, my curiosity got the best of my anxiety. You only live once, right? What if I could meet God at the end of that trail, wherever it led? But should I text Jonathan to tell him exactly where I was? What if I unknowingly ventured out on to the ice? What if I fell through? I’m not a yeller. No one would hear me. Should I just turn around and go home?

I didn’t, because I was determined to do something scary, to take a risk, to ask God to use the experience to chip away at the wall of fear I’d put up between us.

You know what? I didn’t get attacked from behind. I didn’t get kidnapped or raped. I didn’t fall through the ice. (I did get the poop scared out of me by a fairly large bird that flew right in front of me, however. Not actual poop, since I know some of you are wondering. Geez.) You know what else? I told God I was afraid, and He told me it was okay. I didn’t have any grand epiphanies or see any awe-inspiring views, but I started to see my fear melt away as I took a risk and took God at His word. He’s always with me and I don’t have to be afraid.

lakePerhaps it seems silly to you that I was so afraid to go for a walk by myself. I wasn’t terrified, I wasn’t shaking, I wasn’t convinced I was going to die. But I did ask a whole lot of “what-ifs” as I jumped to the worst possible conclusions and imagined the scariest scenarios. This is just a small glimpse of what it’s like to live with anxiety. This wasn’t even the crippling kind. But I’m hoping I can keep having experiences like this that expose my fears and allow God to chip away at them with His love and kindness and care for me. I don’t want to spend my whole life surrounded by “protective” walls of fear that don’t let me see or experience the world around me. What kind of life would that be?

Actually, I know what kind of life that would be because I’ve been living there. It’s a pretty lonely, boring one. I want more than that for myself.

(Check back in a few days for a full review of Jane Rubietta’s book, Worry Less So You Can Live More.)

Where It’s Snowing All Winter Through

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It’s been a little wintery up here in the “Great White North” (that one’s for you, Anne-Marie). We got our first snow of the year and it was NOT flurries like it usually is. It was a full-blown storm. Think inches of snow (some places got over 16!) and school closings and slushy roads and 90-minute commutes. Yep, that’s how long it took me to get to work yesterday.

But today I was prepared. Rather than sit in traffic for two hours, I worked from Caribou. And when I did head to the office, the roads were traffic-free and it took me 30 minutes. Success.

Here’s a tribute to the lovely snow from one of my favorite movies.

 

Saturday in Duluth

A few weeks ago, we went up north for the weekend. We were both desperate for a vacation and it was glorious. We stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house (they’re in Arizona), slept in way too late, and spent Saturday in Duluth. It was nice enough to spend some time outside, and it was still cold enough for Lake Superior to be frozen, at least the part we could see. And yes, that is is a guy on a bike. He and another guy on a bike drove off across the lake. bikeandlighthouse

If you’ve been to Duluth, you’ve seen the old loading dock that people swim out to and jump off in summer. I would never be able to stand the water long enough to handle that. BUT we were able to walk out to it. I may or may not have been terrified of falling through the ice. And I maybe fell on my butt while a bunch of strangers watched. Maybe.

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To warm up, we spent a few hours at the Amazing Grace Cafe with our books (notice the creeper in the magazine rack next to Jonathan). Then we went to Va Bene (my absolute favorite restaurant in Duluth) and got some great pictures of the sunset.

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Lately I’m . . .

JournalIt’s been a long, long three months. And since I’ve been (mostly) absent from Editionally, here’s an update on what I’ve been up to.

Getting better. Finally. I caught some kind of bug in the middle of January that set off a chain reaction of health issues. It triggered my anxiety, which resulted in so much muscle tension I lost strength in my hands and arms. I just finished physical therapy last week. That led me to start taking an anxiety medication, which had some really “fun” side effects that led to some kind of infection which led to antibiotics which led to more side effects. But all the side effects have worn off, the infection is gone, and I finally  feel like myself again. Oy vey. I am so ready to have a healthy spring.

Researching becoming a Microsoft Office Specialist (expert level). When I mentioned to Jonathan that I wasn’t feeling challenged, he suggested I look into Office certification. Since I spend 85% of my work hours in front of a computer and I love to learn, I got excited. I’m still not sure what training and testing will look like for me, but I’m doing my research. Let me know if you know anything about it!

Writing again. With the return of my anxiety and the little bit of depression caused by all my health nonsense, I wasn’t writing. I couldn’t. When I get to a place like where I was, I avoid any independent thought. I cope by cutting out quiet spaces and freedom to think. I’m not saying it’s healthy, but it’s how I stave off some of the anxious thoughts. As a result, my creative stores dried up and I had nothing to say, even though I tried. But here I am writing again. I’ve kinda gotten back to journaling, too. And I currently have a six-page list of ideas for devotionals. I’m so ashamed to admit I haven’t been published in a really long time (so long that I’m not even going to tell you how long it’s been). I feel like I’ve been wasting the education I’m still paying for. But I’ve got tons of ideas, so I just need to start submitting. Feel free to give me a pep talk—I tend to put things off so long I don’t care about them anymore. But I really want to make this happen. For the experience, the joy of seeing my name in print (honesty is best—I love that feeling), and the extra money won’t hurt. And I like to think what I write could make a difference. I’d love to write the devotion that someone reads in the morning and it just changes their whole day. You know when you read something and you know it was meant for you? I want God to use my words like that.

Painting my nails obsessively. (If you’re a guy reading this, you can probably skip this part. Unless you want to know something about women, or at least this woman.) Okay, so they’re not painted now because I figure they need a break, but I’ve become addicted to nail polish. I love the colors. And as silly as it is, my job (which consists of lots of writing and typing) gets infinitely more fun when I can watch the pretty colors fly across the keyboard. Julep has amazing (but spendy) polishes that last over a week if you use a top coat and keep your cuticles hydrated. I also love Essie—their polishes last quite awhile, too.

Planning a vacation. Sometime this summer we’re going to get away for a week. With our limited budget, I’m still trying to figure out where the heck we’re going (I’m thinking north shore, but maybe not). Suggestions welcome, but keep in mind that we’re not going to fly anywhere.

Learning about Jewish culture. Our Life Group is listening to some talks by Ray Vanderlaan, and we’re all learning a ton. It’s amazing how differently you read and interpret the Bible when you know the historical context. For example, I learned that typically students would find a rabbi they wanted to follow and then ask if they could. If the rabbi thought the student could be like him, he would accept his request. But Jesus chose his disciples—and they were all kids who likely flunked out of rabbi training, hence the fishing. And Jesus still thought they could be like Him, even after they screwed up, like Peter.

Praying for Grandma. Jonathan’s grandma, Carol, had a heart attack and a stroke last week and we’re not sure what’s going to happen. If you’re someone who prays, please pray for her.

Hudson’s Hot Air Affair

When I was a little girl, my aunt and uncle helped plan the local hot air balloon festival. Every summer, I got to spend an entire weekend watching balloons launch, fly, and glow. The whole thing was magical. Then, when I was ten, my family moved to a different town that also hosted a hot air balloon festival every summer. It was close enough to our house that we’d often see the balloons fly over our house. And then, when I moved to Minnesota, there were no balloons. It was sad. Until . . .

Until I randomly came across a website about Hudson’s annual Hot Air Affair. Not only is there a balloon festival within driving distance, it happens in FEBRUARY. That’s winter, guys. If a hot air balloon festival is awesome in June, it can only be awesomer when there’s snow on the ground, right?

So last weekend, when my cousin Rachael came for a visit, we took her with us to see the balloon glow on Saturday night. This is before we all looked like Rudolph (it was maybe 15 degrees out).

If you don’t know, a balloon glow is when they inflate the balloons at dusk and take advantage of the dark to make the balloons “glow.” They don’t actually launch. They just look pretty.

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patchwork-balloon-2 quilted-balloon balloon-glowballoon-glow-2My favorite part about this festival was that they actually let you out on the field. We got to stand right next to the balloons. It might be different for the launches, but it was the coolest thing. I had so much fun, and now I want to go up in a hot air balloon even more than I did before. I’m not a huge fan of heights, but I’m willing to suck it up for that experience.

Meet Margaret

This is my car, Margaret. I named her after my grandma. Jonathan and I bought Margaret in Minnesota, but she was made in Michigan like me. She’s 125,500 miles old.Car

Margaret is a champ. So far this winter, we’ve had several days of at least -20 degree windchills (that’s not even counting all the other below zero days), and she sits outside all night and starts right up every morning. She’s a little groggy at first, but she comes around. I think we do just as well as native Minnesotans—maybe better. Jonathan’s car, which doesn’t have a name, can’t do that unless it sleeps in the garage.

 

This morning Margaret and I had a great conversation.

“Good job, Margaret. You can do it. We’ve just gotta get to work and we’ll be fine. I know it’s slippery, but you can do it. We just gotta stay safe and we’ll be okay. Just keep going.”

Then I patted her dashboard. Repeat four or five times and you have our ride to work. We made it without incident. A little pep talk goes a long way!

And Jonathan thinks it’s silly to name your car.

Failure (and Hope)

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New Year’s has always been one of my favorite holidays. Growing up, we’d get together with family and the men would watch some dumb action movie while the rest of us played games. At 11:50 we’d all crowd around the TV to watch Dick Clark count down to midnight. When the ball dropped, the adults would kiss, the kids would drink sparkling grape juice, and I would sit there thinking about all the exciting possibilities.

Now that I’ve grown up and moved away, my traditions have changed. My goal-oriented self has come to love crafting resolutions and making them happen.

I did that last year. I set 10 resolutions. But I failed. Miserably. That doesn’t usually happen. Of the ten goals I set for myself, I achieved two of them—and only kinda.

I did “run” a 5k. When I made that goal, it was implied that I would run the whole thing. My 5k was on November 29, and I did not run the whole thing. I did want to do it in 45 minutes, and with my sister running faster just ahead of me, I managed to do it in 42:16. Not too bad.

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And I did read a lot of books. My goal was 24, and I think I ended up somewhere around 22.5. Not what I was shooting for, but pretty darn close. And the three “classics” I wanted to read? I started Les Miserables and read about 30 pages. I never even picked up the other two.

I’m just going to pretend the other goals didn’t exist, okay? It was that bad. (If you must know what they were, go back and read last year’s post.)

But it’s a new year, right? I’m going to try again. This time I’m setting fewer goals (three!) and I’m going to make them a little more challenging. Want to know what they are?

Check back in a few days :)

The First Snow and Some Thoughts on Wonder

Do you ever have one of those days where you want to write (paint, design, photograph, etc.) something and just feel dejected because you know you just can’t capture that special something that brings you so much wonder it hurts?

Today is one of those days. All week I’ve been thinking about the things in life that make me light up, that make me feel most alive, that steal my inspiration because there just aren’t words. Yet here I am trying to write about them anyway.

Last night was our first real snow fall of the year. In my book—and perhaps only in my book—that makes it a holiday. I love to celebrate by visiting a coffee shop where I can sit inside, thaw next to the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate, and think about the way snow transforms the world as I stare out the window. And crunching through the snow on my walk from the car? That’s just a bonus. My favorite “snow experience” came last night when I went outside and just stared up at the sky, watching the snow fall around me until my neck hurt.

That first snow (and each subsequent snow) brings out the same thing I feel when I visit a book store. Or when I go to the mountains. Or a Great Lake. Or when I step back during a family gathering and observe from the outside. Or when I think about the first day of school. Or the six months when I was praying Jonathan would notice me.

It’s wonder. The kind of wonder when you can’t speak, except to repeat the same phrase over and over (in my case, it’s usually “It’s so pretty!”) The kind that makes you ache inside because you know it’s beyond you. The kind that overwhelms you with beauty and brings the slightest bit of sorrow because you know you can never contain it. No matter what you do, you can’t take it all in.

And it’s really difficult to describe.

But that’s what makes it so perfect. So exciting. So wonderful.

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