Snow and lots of it! I've looked online and can't seem to find a snowfall total thus far, but just from my memory I'm guessing we've had near 2 feet total for snowfall this winter. That's a lot of snow for this Tennessee girl! The snow caused us to have to cancel several services this winter as it simply wasn't safe to be out on the roads.
Hudson is not yet a fan of snow.
Not only have I experienced more snow this winter than in my enter life, but I also had my first experience with snow drifts. The wind here is fierce. It would push the snow around. This is particularly dangerous when the snow is being pushed around on the road - many vehicles get stuck.
You remember how I can look out the kitchen window and see our church? Well, not with freezing fog.
I'm learning that the story I heard growing up in the South that northern areas are more prepared for snow is a myth. Perhaps it's true for those who live in a city, but not for us. The state and county road crews are in no hurry to come blade our roads. More often than not, by the time they arrived the area farmers had already used their tractors to remove the snow from the road.
So you can understand why we've not been out and about much this winter. Not only has there been a ton of snow, but the bitterly cold temperatures have simply kept us inside where it was warm. I'm ready for spring, y'all!
But all has not been lost - here's somethings the Lord in his kindness allowed us to do.
A Christmas Play! It was very sweet and the kids (including mine) did so well sharing the story of our Lord's birth.
James rocks at nursing home visitations. Truly, it is a gift from the Lord for him. He's patient, caring, and listens intently to their stories. Always prays for them and seeks to be an advocate for them for better care.
Nursing home visitations are so hard for me. Confession - I don't enjoy them and try to avoid them like the plague. But I know it is a vital ministry and that the Lord uses them to soften my heart so Hudson and I do go sometimes. All of our nursing home church members absolutely love Hudson. He's such a good "therapy baby." Mrs. Hazel especially adores him. She had many miscarriages and never had any living children of her own but is so sweet to my boy. We took her a Christmas present (Christmas kleenex) in December and when James went back in January, he found out that she had refused to open and use the facial tissues because they were "Hudson's." She also saves her dessert from her meals for him. Heart melting, I know.
Youth Christmas Party was almost cancelled due to ... you guessed it, snow and ice. Thankfully we were able to have them over and get them all home safely, even with a little slip and slide along the way. We sorted Christmas cards to be delivered at church, played games, watched The Natvity Story, and just had a good time being together. So thankful for these kids.
January was a quiet month due to snow, again. But from the New Year through Valentine's Day we studied purity in the Sunday evening youth group. Not just sexual purity but also purity of speech, sight, thoughts, dress, and especially heart. I am a firm believer that one can be sexually pure but impure in heart and therefore, not pleasing to the Lord. But that's another post for another day :) As a culminating activity, I planned a modesty scavenger hunt at our local mall that I shamelessly stole from an AcTeen activity Mary Ann and Lora once led with dinner out at Applebees afterward. Sadly it snowed the night before we were to go, so we had to reschedule. But the day we finally got to go was a beautiful 40 degree day. :)
Here's Hudson anxiously waiting to pick up the kids from school in the church van. Huge benefit of living in a small town is that all of our kids (Pre-K through 12th grade) go to the same school.
Hudson and his BFF riding the rides at the mall.
Can you stand the cuteness?
Grubbing at Applebees!
Valentine's Day, it snowed again (sigh) but later the next week we were able to deliver cookies and an adorable picture of Hudson to our church widows. Valentine's Day is hard for many and it's amazing what a little gift can do for one's spirit.
So our winter didn't go exactly as planned due to the weather. But the Lord is in control of the weather, so it's all good. We have big plans for the Spring - Ladies' Spring Tea, Easter, etc...and even bigger plans for the Summer. Bring on the warmer temps!
- Neighbor, L. I was to begin a Bible Study with her at her home but due to this horrible winter weather it's hasn't gotten off the ground yet. Pray for her heart to still be open to the study.
- Neighbor, E. Her daughter and son go to our church and I've somewhat befriended her. She comes from a different-church background so there are some misconceptions to relieve.
- A & A - our neighbors who became believers in our home back last summer are now living in Iowa. They also recently had a baby boy! We miss them and hope to visit them this spring. Pray that they will get connected to a local church.
- B, J, G, and D - all people in our community with serious illnesses (strokes, cancer, lymphoma, etc..) Mercy is needed desperately as only B is a believer.
- I'm newly leading a ladies' weekly Bible study at a sister church. It's exciting though I am finding that with a toddler in the house, my time available to study is quite limited.
- Encouragement for James. I think we're all suffering a bit from Seasonal Affective Disorder a bit from being stuck in the house, but I am learning just how discouraging ministry can be for a pastor. I also encourage you to pray for your pastor. And let him know through a note or email or even face-to-face - the encouragement will be huge!