I got to admit, I am tired of Winter. Ever since last weekend when I returned home from Texas, the dreary clouds have been hanging over my head. We've had more snow this year which has been fun, but I'm ready for sun and for warmth. The winter blues have hit and I'm fighting hard to resist the melancholy mood that has seemed to take residence inside me.
It has been good to look at these pictures and remember that Winter can be fun and God has given us some really wonderful friends here in Canada. At the beginning of February, we were invited to join our small group for a weekend in Muskoka, beautiful "cottage country" about two hours north of the big city. While there, we got lots more snow, and the scenery was breathtaking. As we took a hike to a frozen waterfall, I remember thinking, "This is why people enjoy living in Canada." The Winter is so long and dreary, yet it can also bring with it a lovely and inviting playground.
Over the weekend, we enjoyed God's amazing creation and we refreshed our souls through prayer, worship, and just enjoying being together. I am thankful for these memories, for these friends, and for the beauty in the midst of the Winter.
We buried the body of my grandfather last Saturday. As I mourned the loss of my Granddad, I felt the heaviness of my grandmother's death all over again. I was closer to my grandmother. Maybe it was all that we had in common: our love of cooking, crafting, teaching and our name, Jo. And as I said goodbye to my grandfather, I said farewell to their home which housed so many of my childhood memories. My grandparents lived just a few blocks from me, so I saw them quite often. We went to the same church, and not many Sundays passed by that I did not get my hand squeezed from my grandmother as I said hello to her and my granddad in their familiar seats in the sanctuary. The way her fingers felt in mine as she tightly grasped my hand in her own is a memory that lies in the forefront of my mind. It is a fond memory that stirs up the love I know she and my granddad had for me. All of my cousins gathered around my grandparents' table this past weekend along with my dad, aunts and uncle. We reminisced, remembered, and recounted many happy times we were in that house and under the umbrella of Cecil and Jo's love. I miss them both. I appreciate the love and legacy of godliness they leave behind. And as I sat at that table surrounded by such warmth, I saw a glimpse, just a taste of the glory and joy, the saftety and comfort we will one day know when we are all finally at Home feasting at our Father's table.
my sweet grandfather, his brother, Dewey, my cousin, Andrew, and Wesley in 2008
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body...
We thought we had lost our beloved beta fish, Sammy (short for Samar i) . We had just returned from a trip to a friend's cottage (more on that in the next post) and were quickly trying to get the kids in bed when I noticed the lifeless body laying limp on the leaf in the fish tank. When I gently gave the tank a nudge, the fish fell to the bottom of the tank and remained there showing no signs of life. Both of the boys burst into tears when I told them our fish had died. I knew Sammy could make it a few days without food as Betas are very hardy fish, but I had forgotten that the house would get quite chilly as we had turned down the heat while we were away. It was just too cold in the house for the fish, and I felt horrible that my actions had caused the death of this poor creature. Graham cried himself to sleep that night, and after he finally fell asleep, Tim and I contemplated removing Sammy from the tank and flushing him down the toilet. We decided to wait until the next day to perform the funeral.
On Monday, after I got the boys off to school, Lidiyanna and I were in the boys' room cleaning up a bit. Lidiyanna asked me, "What's Sammy doing?" I looked in the tank expecting to see the body laying motionless on the tank's floor, but instead I saw Sammy's bright blue body swimming around with his little fins flickering in the water. I started laughing and quickly gave Sammy some food which he gobbled right up. Our little fish had not died but was in some type of lethargic state while the water was cold. Once the water warmed, his energy and vitality returned. I couldn't wait to tell the boys that Sammy was still alive and kicking (or should I say swimming?).
I was telling the story to Kimberly later that night and she was reminded of a song she had heard in which the lyrics were "everything sad will come untrue". One day, Jesus will return and make all the sad things untrue. What a beautiful picture little Sammy gave us of how God will one day turn our tears into laughter and our sorrow will be replaced with joy.
It made me think of another song by Matt Redman that says,
And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on A glorious light beyond all compare And there will be an end to these troubles but until that day comes We'll live to know You here on the Earth Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on And there will be an end to the troubles But until that day comes Still I will praise You, Still I will praise You Oh, no You never let go In every high and every low O, no, You never let go Through the calm and through the storm Oh, no You never let go Lord, you never let go of me