Sunday, February 21, 2010

Old Man Winter

Dear Winter...I am tired of you. You're stronger in the northern states and do not give way as quickly nor as easily as you do in the south. Because of you, I was excited about a sunny day with a temperature of 47 degrees. Most of the people I know just enjoyed a gorgeous weekend with temperatures in the 60's or 70's. I'm trying not to whine because I know there are far worse things going on in this world than being cold. But today I missed the south and the hope of spring that was in the air. Today I missed friends, family, and the familiar.

I'm tired of fighting snow mounds to park my car.

I'm tired of this being what we see in every parking lot.

I'm tired of playing the "I wonder if I can get to the sidewalk?" game.

And the "Where do I park to get anything done?" game.

Even the sea gulls have had to adjust their normal resting places.

But you only have 26 days left until your cousin, Spring, arrives. Because she is gentler and kinder, you may be able to hold on to your reign a bit longer than you're supposed to, but know this: you will be vanquished for another season and Spring will come. It will come again to this city and to my soul.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

31 Days!

This year, spring begins on March 20th. That's also the day Michael and Bekah are getting married. And it's also my friend Karen's 60th birthday. And all that is in 31 days. Wow....

I think it's going to take longer than 31 days to get rid of all the snow left in Baltimore from the two giant snowstorms that hit the area. I have never seen so much snow in my life! I took a few pictures today to show you the aftermath of winter's fury, but don't have time to post them right now. I'm not feeling 100% and need to go to bed and get some much needed sleep. AND I pick Michael up in the morning from the airport (if he can get out of Boston) for a very short visit with us en route to Orlando where he'll link up with Matthew and Tiffany for a sibling weekend. The warm temperatures he's been dreaming of aren't going to greet him, but there won't be any snow and it will be above freezing. It's the little things, people, trust me!!

For now, as I have to put on my wool coat, scarf, hat, gloves, boots, and occasionally the cuddle duds, I'm looking for the little things to keep me going. One of the most exciting is this.

There are 2 days, 13 hours, and 15 minutes until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. I might not make it to a game this spring because of the wedding, but since it's Bobby Cox's last season, I think Opening Day is a must, don't you? :-)

But the most encouraging thing I ran across was this picture I found. Spring really is 31 days!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Tale of Two Worlds

This is the picture Hamp sent to me this morning of the view from our living room window in Baltimore.

And this is the picture I took this morning of the view from Tiffany's living room balcony in Orlando.

No, it's not fair, but who of us hasn't heard a parent say at least once in our lives that life isn't always fair? Turns out they were right about that along with many other things they told us. :)

It's been crazy to read and see the reports of all the snow that has fallen in the mid-Atlantic over the last week. And if the forecast is correct, there's more coming early next week, although not in record amounts. I haven't escaped winter, nor was I really trying to. Okay, maybe I was trying to for a little while. But who can blame me when just a few hundred miles south of Baltimore, there are scenes like this?

I can't let Kit see how Ellie is spending her days while she is just trying to stay warm and get through the winter.

This has been a much needed soul rest for me and the longer stay has given me some relaxing time with Tiffany. She's got lots of interesting things going on in her life right now which she will be sharing soon. When she does, I'll pass along the link to her blog so you can catch up with her too. I've said it before and I know I'll say it again, but she and Nikki are two of my modern day heroes. We've joked about being princess warriors for years, but that's honestly a good description for them. To watch them bravely navigate the twists and turns that come their way in life and continue to lean into God and His will for them is an inspiration and encouragement to me.

For now, I'll leave you with a hint for one of the new adventures Tiffany is about to embark on. Again, as our parents used to say, "Never say never".

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Smart Choice!

This is what's on the Weather Channel's page for Baltimore this morning:

Issued by The National Weather Service
Baltimore/Washington, MD
2:34 am EST, Tue., Feb. 9, 2010





Thank you AirTran for your very gracious assistance yesterday in waiving transfer fees and rescheduling my return flight to Baltimore for Saturday.

The only thing that's missing is my sweet husband who advised me to stay in Florida. He said it's a mess everywhere, there's nowhere to put the existing snow, and now there's lots more coming. I think I'm perfectly fine missing the snowfall record breaking winter of 2010.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What Would You Do?

Happy Monday from partly sunny Orlando! So, here's a question for you as the week begins. My original flight back to Baltimore was for this afternoon. I tried beginning two days ago to contact AirTran to see if waiting a day would be helpful for all. Their system is so overloaded that I never got through after almost 2 hours of waiting on hold. (Thank goodness for free night and weekend minutes!) Since that was unsuccessful, I tried going online to see what options might exist because often carriers waive transfer fees, etc. when it's a weather caused reason. That system crashed too with the message, "Contact AirTran directly to talk with a representative". Been there, done that, to no avail.

The next thought was to fly out tomorrow and miss the incoming storm predicted for Wednesday in the same area. Then I got up this morning to discover this amended forecast.

More snow, beginning tomorrow with as much as 5" to a foot depending on who has the most accurate forecast.

After talking with the almost snowbound husband who got out in the mess to go to work and seeing many pictures from friends on Facebook and reading airport news and local newspaper advice, I think I'm waiting 'til Friday or Saturday to try and head back. We still have to go to the Orlando airport this morning and get all this straightened out since talking with a human being on the phone is an impossible task. But...once that's over, we're heading to the Magic Kingdom to take advantage of the best weather day predicted for the week. When in doubt, go to Disney, right??

This could be viewed as extremely irresponsible or extremely brilliant depending on your perspective. So, again, the question of the day...what would you do? :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Time Flies!

I can't believe it's late Sunday night already! The time has gone by so fast and I'm not ready to head back to snowy north. It looks like I get an extra day here due to the slow re-opening of the airport in Baltimore, but all the airlines are so bogged down, you can't get through to them. I'm going to have to actually go to the Orlando airport in the morning and get everything checked out unless something miraculous happens between now and then. But....once we're done, we may get to head to Disney for a few hours.

Anyway, I mostly just wanted to say, "Happy Birthday, Tiffany"!! It was a fun day of checking out a new church with her and Nikki, a yummy birthday lunch, and watching the Super Bowl with Jenn and Will and cute baby Bella. (By the way, congratulations to the Saints. I was pulling for them - I can't help but root for the underdogs most of the time.)

To update you briefly on my time here so far...yesterday we drove to the Daytona Beach area for a shower for Nikki's sister. We decided to take a small detour so we could see the ocean and while it was a bit chilly, we had to document our brief sighting, especially for my snowbound hubby and friends in Baltimore.

We even passed the Daytona 500 race track where there was a race going on. We could hear the cars as we drove by and managed to get a picture as we were stopped at a red light.

While it hasn't been as warm as I would have liked it to be, I have enjoyed the sun when it's been out and the scenery that isn't blocked by tall buildings. There are things about living in the city that I have grown to enjoy, but I don't realize how much I have missed the wide open spaces until I'm away from the concrete and asphalt. I don't know what God has for us next, but I'd be OK with trees and sky outside my window and a spot for a chair in the sun would be an added bonus!

Back to Tiffany for a minute. Most of you who read this know our whole family and know what a joy she is to all who know her. When we were pregnant with her and beginning to think about names for a girl, we came across the name Tiffany, which means "in God's image". We had ideas of our own as to how that might look during different phases of her life, but God had His own plans to let her life reflect His in ways we never imagined. To watch her stand firm in her faith and lean into the difficulties that have come her way has been one of the greatest reflections of God's life I've ever seen. Happy birthday to you, sweet daughter, and may this coming year be wonder-filled as you continue to seek the God who made you and has greater things yet to come.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Definitely Still Winter!

I'm sitting in Tiffany and Nikki's apartment with the screen door open to the balcony as I read online all the cancellations happening in the Baltimore area as the giant snowstorm approaches. While watching two feet of snow fall in just a few hours time would be really fun to see, I think I'm definitely in the best place to ride out this storm. :)

The weather here isn't great - rain and thunderstorms due later this afternoon which postponed our Disney trip for the day. But once they move through, it "cools down" to around 60 and sunny. I think I can live with that.

This morning I've had fun playing with my grandkitty and just enjoying a leisurely beginning to the day. The air mattress I was sleeping on last night acquired a leak since the last time it was used, so sleep wasn't great as I moved to the couch in the middle of the night. But it makes for a funny story (now that I'm awake) and we'll be replacing it this afternoon.

We'll keep you updated as the weekend progresses. Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's Still Winter

Greetings to you, if there are any readers left. It's been a while since I've actually posted an entry. I've created many in my head and even wrote one I ended up deleting. I've mentioned before that sometimes when there's too much racing around in my head I can't get it out very well and that's been the case lately. We'll see what happens as I try to catch you up a bit before my next adventure begins.

So, six more weeks of winter, huh? That's what our furry little friend, Punxsutawney Phil, determined yesterday. (Isn't he cute??)

I remember the first time I realized that there were six more weeks of winter according to the calendar and it didn't really matter what the groundhog predicted. I was quite miffed as yet another myth came crashing down right along with Santa and the Tooth Fairy. But after living much farther north than Atlanta, I do see the merit for something to encourage the weather-weary inhabitants of true winter states.

I've seen a lot of snow this winter - more than I have in my whole life. And if I wasn't leaving tomorrow to fly to Orlando to celebrate Tiffany's birthday with her, I'd get to see another foot or two. But if the forecast holds true, I will return to even more snow at the first of the week. This was what it looked like outside our window last weekend.

This snowfall only brought 2-3 inches and it was so cold outside, I didn't even get out in it. But last night it snowed about 4 inches in a very short period of time and so around 11:30, Hamp and I decided to go on a short walk and enjoy the peaceful scenery. I got a few pictures, but between it being dark and trying to keep my camera dry, I didn't get many.

This is right outside the front door of our apartment looking down the street. The snow was so light and fluffy it stuck immediately to everything it touched.

Since we don't know where our next residence will be or when we'll be moving to it, we want to try and experience to the fullest where we are in this moment, thus the night walk in the snow. But I think a deeper benefit happened for me which is what I hope to be able to explain.

I've learned a lot in the past few years as I've journeyed the road of grief and subsequent healing. I knew about grief bumps and how they can set you back for a while, but it took me most of January to realize that's what had happened to me. I couldn't shake an undercurrent of anger nor the desire to see some of those who had played starring roles in this chapter of my life come to a painful demise and preferably at my hand. About halfway through the month, I read this excerpt from "Ruthless Trust" and just closed the book when I did.

"To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives - the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections - that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God."

I knew what I was reading was true, but I didn't want to keep doing the hard work so it would be true for me again. I forgot that when those grief bumps trip you up, you have to take the time to grieve again so you can keep going. I feel like I've been stuck in winter for so long with the hard ground keeping spring from coming. There have been glimpses here and there, but nothing long term that felt like a true transition into a new season. Then last night as I saw the stark beauty of the cold and snow on dormant life, I realized that was what hope and life looked like in my heart. They might be dormant, but they're still there and winter is working it's design to bring the most life out of the dark and cold.

So while it might still be winter, spring is coming. I don't know when it will fully arrive, but it is coming. I've shared with you several times how Steven Curtis Chapman's music and ministry have spoken to my heart. The song "Spring is Coming" has been one that's been an encouragement to me and if you'll click here you can hear it. I'll close with the lyrics for you to read before or after you listen to the song.

We planted the seed while the tears of our grief soaked the ground
The sky lost its sun and the world lost its green to lifeless brown
Now the chill in the wind has turned the Earth hard as stone
And silent the seed lies beneath ice and snow
And my heart's heavy now, but I'm not letting go
Of this hope I have that tells me

Spring is coming, Spring is coming
And all we've been hoping and longing for
Soon will appear
Spring is coming, Spring is coming
It won't be long now
It's just about here

Hear the birds start to sing
Feel the life in the breeze
Watch the ice melt away
The kids are coming out to play
Feel the sun on your skin
Growing strong and warm again
Watch the ground
There's something moving
Something is breaking through
New life is breaking through

Spring is coming (Out of these ashes beauty will rise)
Spring is coming (Sorrow will be turned to joy)
All we've been hoping and longing for (All we've hoped for)
Soon will appear (Soon will appear)
Spring is coming (Out of the darkenss beauty will shine)
Spring is coming (All of Earth and Heaven rejoice)
It won't be long now (Spring is coming soon)
It's just about here (Spring is coming soon)

I might have six more weeks of winter to get through, but I will get a glimpse of spring this weekend as I wing my way to the Sunshine State. I'm looking forward to some warmer temperatures, a trip to the Magic Kingdom for a day, and lots of love and laughter with two of the most amazing young women I know who live out these words every day. Spring is's just about here!