Thursday, February 4, 2016

Winter and Storms

Tomorrow has a full line-up of activity and obligation, and I'm pretty certain I won't be able to tackle it all. Sometimes the reality of never completing everything by day's end weighs on me, and tonight I already feel defeated by tomorrow. I'm STILL learning that I just need to do the next thing faithfully, then the next, and the next. What's left at the end of a day wasn't mine to do. In reality, all the to-do items really don't matter if they are just checked off to satisfy my sense of accomplishment. God rewards faithfulness, not checked of items on a list. God looks at the heart, and that can't be measured by an external standard of accomplishment.

And so tomorrow I will wrestle against my natural tendency to do, and I will strive to be who God calls me to be, regardless of what I must do. Being faithful to him and walking in relationship with him will change the way I go about my doing.


Tonight I am up to  my eyeballs with Olivia's test results. She took several standardized tests over the course of recent months, and I'm trying to interpret what they all mean. She's a smart cookie. She's in 9th grade and already has college credit. We're in another stage of making decisions since she is wrapping up course work early (and must continue on with something new till the end of the year) and class registration for the new school year is starting soon. She can take a mix of independent study, online classes, high school classes, and community college next year, but determining the best mix seems tricky. We want to be good stewards of her time and talent. And yet school is not everything. It's often said that the world is run by C-students anyway. And just because she can manage an academically heavy load, doesn't mean she should.


I forced myself to interject some fun and relaxation into our weeks. Not only do I benefit, but so do the kids. I noticed the disposition of one my boys changed drastically over the Christmas holiday, and I'm pretty sure it was due to the absence of academic pressures. In fact, the thought crossed my mind more than once that it might be in his best interest to drop out of school! If only that were a good long-term option! Anyway, it impressed on me the importance of free time. I find this is best done if we can literally separate ourselves from the work at home, so we occasionally head out for a little walk through town, or a quick trip to the shore, or a bike ride around the block. It does the mind and body good! And it nurtures relationship, too.


We've had a couple good storms this season. I hesitate to call it "winter" because this is nothing like the definition of winter I grew up with. Overall, we've had more sunny days than not, and less rain than I had expected. This picture was from early last month after the Christmas holiday, when a storm was brewing and we wanted to see it rolling in. The boys and I left the school books behind and took off for the pier at around 11:00 am.

Jacob loves to pester the pelicans. They were unusually resistant to his games, determined to stay in their cozy position. They probably knew the rain was imminent because moments later we were running fast toward the car as the rain poured down hard. We were drenched right through. They boys loved it, and to me the memory it created was worth getting soaked. We went to Starbucks before heading home just to top off our "recess." {Again, thank you Carol!}

For the most part, though, January was pretty balmy. The talk at the Treader Joe's check out was about days getting longer and spring being on it's way. The chirping crickets in the evening reminded me of summer nights. At times I've felt uncomfortably hot during my afternoon runs. It's not hot by any means, and our nights can be cold, but this is nothing like the snowy winters I grew up with. I find it rather ironic that I get  to enjoy the type of winter so many people envy. Me, the girl who loved the mountains and the snow.

I took my kids and a couple of the boys' friends for a hike to the beach one Friday after school. I guess this is an OK trade for the snowy ski hills! 

This is our winter.

The boys were disappointed the tide was out. They like to jump from this ledge into the waves when the tides are in. (The water is cold, though, and I don't imagine they would have actually jumped in anyway.)

Low tide makes for some pretty pictures...

My brother, David, would love it here. 

Little crabs

Heading back to the car before dark...

Good times for sure!

But good times don't last. Just like the storm that rolled in this past Sunday...

We came home sometime in the mid-afternoon. The coastal areas were apparently hit hard while we were at church. We pulled into our lane way and discovered that the upstairs doors had blown wide open. (I suspect I know who left them unlatched and unlocked!) The garage windows, too, had blown open resulting in broken window panes and shattered glass. Cold wind was sweeping through the house, creating an eery atmosphere and the feeling that someone had intruded. Outside, huge pieces of palm trees had come down, and something had fallen agains the house and turned on the garden hose.

At night the wind forced though every crack of this old house, under doors and through rattling windows. A small tree on the side of the house kept scratching up against the wall. I shuddered and wondered what it would be like if our house wasn't anchored to the ground, what it would be like to be tossed around out at sea. I wondered what it would be like to be on the verge of capsizing, and to have Jesus command, "Peace!" to the wind and waves, "Be still." Somewhere in the middle of the night and oppressive darkness, hail began to pound against the house.

But morning came, as it always does. In the distance we could see white caps, the waves still moving south in the same direction as the wind. On the way to school, there was debris everywhere: broken branches and some uprooted trees, broken signs and fences blown over, roof tiles.

There was also an undeniable new-ness, like a freshness of life that was not present prior to the storm. The sky was a crisp blue, the clouds an extra delicious shade of white, and all the green sparkled.

And such is life. God allows the storms to come. There is collateral damage to be sure, broken parts, pain, darkness and difficulty. Trials hurt bad sometimes. But then day comes-- as it always does-- and there is freshness of life not present before. God anchors the souls of his children, and he commands "Peace!" at just the right time.

What we see, I think, in the physical world is just a small picture of the more real spiritual world.



  1. "What's left at the end of a day wasn't mine to do" Oh, how I need to remember this.
    And I especially liked your insight about the storms of life. So thankful for the peace of Christ!

    Have a lovely weekend. :-)

  2. Hi Katherine,
    I have found myself coming across your blog a few times in the middle of the night while up feeding and holding Paige. I have found it encouraging and appreciate your thoughts and words of wisdom from the Lord. Your photos even encouraged me to get out my camera to play around with it (I'm still learning how to use it). I set a goal to try taking monthly pictures of Paige while she's changing so much. :)

    This blog was particularly a great reminder for me with the "to do" lists. To do the next thing faithfully and the fact that what is left at the end of the day wasn't mine to do. What a great reminder I needed! When I got married, someone counseled me through Picture Perfect by Amy Baker. It was very helpful. Since becoming a mom, I needed this reminder again. :) I'm still working on resting in God's grace and having grace on those around me.

    I realize this comment has become long, but thank you for the encouragement!


    1. Hello Bri,

      Thanks for your comment, and welcome to my blog!

      The needs of those we serve will come up at random and unexpected times. The needs of babies and children seem non-stop. Those unplanned needs, of course, usually are not the things we have on our to-do list, but they must take priority. When we are called to a life of service (such as service to our husband and children), it is God we serve. I think I sometimes fall into the trap of serving my to-do list, or serving what I desire to accomplish. This is really just serving myself.

      Enjoys your nights up, quiet and alone with Paige! As much as we want our babies to sleep through the night, I promise you will look back on these precious days/nights with fondness. Enjoy this baby stage of Praige's life!

    2. This is very true, Katherine. Thank you for sharing this. I pray I would remember this and pray that the Lord would give me strength to serve Him. :)

      I'm trying to enjoy each part of Paige's life right now because I know I will miss these cuddles and getting to rock her to sleep! Thank you for your encouragement during this time. :)


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