Snow Cat (Photo credit: clickclique)
It is March 1st today and there is no sign of warmer weather in the Pacific Northwest. I was reminded of the saying, “In like a Lion, out like a Lamb” and sure hope that will be true this year – as we are all freezing here!
I was born in Calgary, Alberta and up until I turned 8 years old. I am a March baby and I remember snow on my birthday every year when living in Canada. But from then until a few years ago I had not seen snow on my birthday here in Washington State. March is typically rainy in western Washington – but usually not cold enough to snow. However the weather patterns have been slowly changing and the things I don’t remember in the seasons 40 years ago, or even 10 years ago – are indeed happening today.
And so we make a fire almost every night – bundle up when we go outside to take a walk and try to stay warm in the house during the day – and pray for warmer weather to finally arrive.
And so Happy March to all of you whether you are in cold weather or experiencing spring already. We will more than likely catch up with you at the end of the month when we get that “out like a lamb” kind of feeling. Lambs are definitely much more preferred right now in Seattle 🙂
- March…In Like A Lion? (boston.cbslocal.com)
Image by ex.libris via Flickr
I was inspired by a few of my students this week. I love talking to children about Christmas – to see their eyes light up and the excitement on their faces as they tell me what they are asking for – hoping Santa will bring for them.
This last week has brought joy, excitement and laughter as each student has come for their lesson – with a brightly wrapped present for me. They love to watch me open their gift (I’m pretty much a kid at heart) because I get so excited to open it! It makes them giggle. And it proves that Christmas is WAY more about giving than getting.
I try to make Christmas special for each one of them. We sing and play only Christmas music in the month of December after the recital is over – and it is REALLY fun! Last week my grown-up married daughter, Ashlee was here during some of my afternoon lessons – and I invited her in to sing harmony with us as we sang Christmas carols for most of the afternoon. Special memories.
I have many memories from my childhood as this season approaches. I remember taking my very first airplane ride the Christmas that I was 10. It is forever etched in my memory – and nothing else will likely compare to that Christmas for me. We were flying from Seattle to Calgary, Alberta – where I was born and lived for the first 8 years of my young life. My Grandparents lived there – and we were flying up to spend that Christmas with them. Calgary is very cold in the winter – and we were greeted with a ‘winter wonderland’ of snow! Our taxi driver was very nice – he could see our excitement and stopped by a Christmas light display at a neighborhood park – turned off his meter and let us get out and enjoy it. I will never forget that Christmas.
However – we make new and unique Christmas memories every year – without knowing it. As I look back over my life – I’m sure what I’m doing right now in this season with my students will rank right up there with the most special memories. And I do have many wonderful memories when our own children were small.
Sometimes we are not even aware that we are ‘making memories’ while they are happening. It is only as we look back on them – some years later that we truly recognize it – smile and remember.
I’m not sure if we should try to recapture the past – as great as some of those memories are. Life is ever-changing – and we are all on a journey, good and bad. The present and future are still there to write upon – and I for one can’t wait!
What are your favorite memories? Do you think the best is yet to come? Do you try to recapture the time when your children were small – or still with you? Or do you see the future as an opportunity to meet new friends and share yourself with others that need your encouragement and warmth?
I am praying for each one of you this holiday season – that you will surround yourself with those you love, who love you and those that cross your journey this season. That you will have your heart open to embrace and love – and be in anticipation of the wonderful things ahead. That you will have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with those you come in contact and share your life with. That they will be drawn to the love of God just by knowing you. This is my prayer.
May God truly Bless you!
Image via Wikipedia
The chill in the air feels familiar
there is always something missing at this time of year
I wait for something
I sense the anticipation
Leaves hang on
as if they too
are waiting for something
and then they fall
surrendering to their time
surrendering to the cold
And like the leaves
I too – hang on
waiting for something
But in the end
I too surrender to the inevitable
perhaps an echo
of past things
a glimpse of something
from long ago
in this time of the year
when chill and thoughts of snow
fill the air
Another winter season
when something was lost
and something else found
And I realize
I am the leaves
that have fallen
surrendering to the cold
and the winter
I am getting up again
crushed but not broken
Another ‘winter’ came
to steal my joy
rob my spirit
and I was lost
But I survived
got back up
and here I am
to face another winter
that feels familiar
but is so different
And I smile
on my journey
regrets that lessen
in all things that matter
and I am content
Image via Wikipedia
Anyone recognize ‘Jingle Bells‘ from the music on the right? Then you must be a musician – or at least had some piano lessons as a child 🙂
I am a private music teacher. I have two recitals a year for my students – piano and voice combined – and we usually do a Christmas recital – so for my household it means we start listening to “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night” on the piano and things like “What Child is This” and “A Baby Changes Everything” by voice students – as early as October. In fact – it’s already begun.
Why fight it? Christmas music is beautiful – and it’s a tough job to listen to talented and gifted students everyday playing wonderful music – but then to have to play for voice students as they lift up their voices singing holiday classics? Why it’s almost too much for me. I have the greatest ‘job’ in the world – making music with my students – it just doesn’t get any better than this – folks.
I have found that I can listen online to much of the music before purchasing it for my students – on youtube and then a great place to instantly download sheet music is at musicnotes.com. Listening, choosing, downloading – yes this has been my life lately. So FUN!!
I see another happy piano student coming in now – so I must close. I believe she’s learning ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ – great arrangement. Wish you could all be here in this area to hear my students playing and singing. If you were in this household – you’d be in the Christmas spirit REALLY early this year!
Here is one of my favorite Christmas songs – by Neil Diamond. It reminds me of all of the wonderful Christmases I have enjoyed with my husband (30 of them) – and it gets better all the time.
Yesterday Greg and I took advantage of having no Sunday obligations. It’s been years since we could do this – in fact – we never could because of church staff positions all of our married life – and even going back to childhood. I don’t mean that we never got Sunday’s off – but they were seldom – usually limited to two a year. Now we take off whenever we want. Much of this is because with Greg’s job he is ‘on call’ 24/7 for emergency funeral services and even last-minute weddings – and when you’re self-employed – you keep your cell phone ON and don’t turn away any work. This has been our life now for the past year and a half – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. So when we get a day that I’m not teaching – we often jump in the car and just GO!
Because our weather has been unusually cold this year (we’re even having to turn our heat on in July) we longed to ‘chase the sun’ and find out where summer had gone. Everyone told us – “go over the pass and you’ll find it there” – so we jumped in the car and headed out to find summer.
Going over the mountain pass is a higher elevation and the weather soon dropped down into the 50’s – not too much different from Seattle – but that 5 or 10 degrees can make a big difference – especially because we dressed for ‘summer’ and had high hopes.
After an hour or so and now out of the mountain pass – we discovered that the temperature was only in the upper 60’s – not too much different from Seattle. These little towns were usually HOT this time of year! What in the world is going on??? – we thought. Good Grief. And to top it off – it’s REALLY WINDY in Ellensburg – which added to the chill in the air. Well – we didn’t want to drive another hour to Yakima – where the weather ‘promised’ to be a balmy 75 degrees or so – so we had lunch – in the wind – and drove back stopping at a fruit stand to buy some cherries.
As we headed back over the pass to Seattle – it started raining – perfect for the 4th of July – nothing like a little cold and rain when watching those fireworks. Our searching brought us nothing – and we came back exhausted from the ‘chase’ and wondered why we even went at all.
I got to thinking about this. We sometimes ‘chase’ things in our lives – opportunities, family connections, approval and wealth – only to realize that once we are done with the chase – we are often left with disappointment and even resentment at the things ‘lost’ – things that we could not claim. There are things we can’t ‘chase’ after – and sometimes we spend a lifetime discovering that. And sometimes – the things we were ‘chasing’ after – don’t really exist at all. What is real and permanent in our lives – and what will last – and what is important – are the things closest to us. Not the ‘great unknown’ that we often look for and try to find. All the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ can play around in our head if we’re not careful – and our fantasy life can become very real to us – causing us to lose sight of what is right in front of us – all along.
I believe we do need to go after our dreams and dream BIG – but I also believe that there are some things we cannot chase after in this life – and there are roads we should not go down to find them. Take a look around you and find the ‘secret’ of being content that the Bible talks about and your eyes will open up to discover wonderful things that are right in front of you. It is only when we are ‘content’ not to ‘chase’ other pathways – that we begin to find the secret of being truly happy and fulfilled.
Oh – and that cold and rainy weather for the 4th? It stopped raining but it was chilly enough that the men in our family built a fire – and we sat around it down at the lake to watch fireworks with family that live here – and out-of-town. It was cozy and warm and fun – and we made smores and laughed together. We would not have had that opportunity if it had been hot.
Some things we ‘chase’ are not worth ‘chasing’ – no matter how cold and raining it may seem. There is always a blessing – even in the storm.
rounds the bend
filling up my senses – replacing the cold
like a long lost friend
Trees flaunt their finery
the sun kisses the new buds
my spirit soars
my soul floods
Ever in a hurry
to throw off it’s heavy layer
and with new resolved purpose
a consummate player
Mountains shed their winter coat
water rushes in liberation
Every flower, plant and tree
all of creation
Sunshine and rain
birds singing in the morning
sounds of nature
All of this and more
Last year Greg and I read a book together on marriage. In one of the chapters the author talked about the “seasons” of marriage. It was interesting and stimulated much conversation. I think many of the things in this book could also be applied to each one of us individually – as we are all on a journey.
This usually applies to the times of our life when things are going well. Like a hot lazy summer afternoon – No problems – no crisis – nothing to get too excited about – You’re in a comfortable pattern of life and things are happening in a predictable and even comfortable way – no real work required – just coasting nicely along. You sleep well – you’re enjoying life – and everything is good.
Usually the fall of our lives is a time of a “shaking up” of the mundane and comfortable. You can’t always see “sunny skies” anymore or what’s coming – things happen – life happens. It can be a ripping and tearing of things that are dear to you. In the fall – leaves turn color – fall off and die. This season of our lives can be stormy. There is a chill in the air – and a faint memory of better times.
This is the hardest season of all – in marriage and in our individual lives. It can come and last for many years. This is the barren time – the time when warm days seem far away – and praying and hoping for them seem hopeless – there is no relief in sight. Sadness and depression come in the winter of our lives. People have hurt us – we’ve lost a loved one – we think God has abandoned us. We question everything. We wonder what we did to deserve this. And it is a hopeless bottomless pit. God is very near during this season – and is doing His deepest work in us during the trials and pain. Bringing healing and restoration to our hearts.
And then God. He brings life from death – hope from despair – mourning into JOY! In the spring of our lives we find validation for the winter. Reasons that now become clear to us. A weight is lifted off our chest as we begin to see clearly how the winter was indeed our “friend”. And how near God was to us as we were so near to defeat and plunging into a “dark place”. Spring brings color and texture to our winter world – new life buds all around us – we feel alive and free. Creativity and self expression burst forth and we become ever grateful for blessing – and appreciate the little things life has to offer.
What season are you in today? Do you find things good? Then you are probably in a “summer” season of life – Praise God for summer! I would live there all the time if I had my way. But maybe you’re in the “winter”. I’ve been there. I did most of my growing in that season. It was cold and uncomfortable but I heard God speak to me more during that season than any other time in my life. If you find yourself in that season today – allow Him to do the healing work in your life and heart. “Spring” is just around the corner – and when the timing is right – it will be there for you.
Maybe you are in the “fall” or “spring” of your life. I am finding myself in the “spring” right now. I appreciate the journey and God’s hand on my life through the “winter” season. I will never again take things for granted – but find the value in each relationship in my life – and find a way to love and encourage those around me to do the same.
I am praying for you