An Extraordinary Season

      
     This has been an extraordinary fall and early winter for us.  We enjoyed what was, for us, some very
unusual weather in early December; but we are now “enjoying” our normal winter weather of almost constant, dense fog (which accounts for my dark, blurry inside pictures).  We have been plagued by virus after virus after virus, and yet none of us has really felt terrible for more than two or three days at a time.  Then there was that “incident” with Aaron’s finger and a hydraulic wood splitter, and the resulting Emergency Room visit.  (Note his bandaged left index finger in the picture.)  Even in that, after the first few hours, there was joy in the retelling and good-natured ribbing of the boy as the stitches have dissolved and his finger heals.  We enjoyed a very quiet, smallish Christmas and it was sweet.  Nothing has been quite the norm for us this season, but it has been lovely in its own way.

 

     Truth be told, I’ve had difficult times in January and February for the last seventeen years or so.  I lost my own mother seventeen years ago last Friday.  We are fast approaching the fifth anniversary of the loss of my beloved mother-in-love, Lola, in early February.  In between the losses of our mothers, Copper and I lost a baby in a very early miscarriage one February.  Combine those January and February losses with weather that is quite often foggy – grey, dreary, damp, cold – with no sight of the warm, bright sun for days and sometimes weeks at a time, and it’s easy to understand how this can be a blue season. 


     
     It’s never the Lord deserting me during these times, of course, but rather my own selfish nature turning my thoughts and cares inward rather than outward.  (Please hear me.  I’m not talking about clinical depression that requires medical treatment, but the winter “blues” that so many of us are susceptible to.)  Lord willing, this will be a better early winter!  I am saturating myself in His Word – daily, and spending time in the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs daily.  One of my goals this year is to commit large portions of Scripture to memory.  Oh, it’s a tough trick for this fifty-three year old brain to learn, but learn it I will!  I’ve begun with Psalm 1 and am making slow, yet sure, progress. 

    
     I’ve been asked about the goals I set for the year, and I will share them…..most of them….bit by bit as time passes.  The goals were set using the priority system I’ve set before myself for my days for the last twenty years or more, adding a few goal categories to round thing out a bit.  Not resolutions, but goals for the coming year.  Without set goals the days, weeks and months pass quickly by, and all of those many things I’d so wanted to do remain undone.  My goals will likely not all be met this year, but I’ve set them nonetheless.  Setting high goals keeps us motivated and moving forward! 

     There are several goals set under each of the following broad categories, some of which were divided into sub-categories:  Spiritual; Marriage, Children, Grandchildren; Homemaking; Church/Ministry; Personal; Creativity.  The Scripture memory goals fall under my Spiritual goals heading.  I’ve also set some reading goals for the year, based on these categories (plus several more).  The first books for each category have been chosen.  You can check them out in the Reading Basket box in the right hand side bar, if you’d like. 


     One of the first “creativity” goals I set was to finish the Valentine’s Day garland I started in 2008.  It’s languished for more than two years, the poor thing.  I unashamedly stole the idea for setting “creativity” goals from my favorite quilter.  She didn’t even holler!  She’s sweet like that.  Breaking goals down into manageable chunks is important for success.  With that in mind, I set a goal to finish the garland by February 1.  Then I jotted a note into my planner for every Sunday in January to schedule some time in the following week to work on the garland.  As I shared previously, this has been a wonderful way for me to combine the crafting goal with another of my spiritual goals.  Doesn’t multi-tasking make you feel extra productive?  It does that for me!


    

    There will be eleven of these pairs of hands holding hearts when I am done.  All of the layers of hands and hearts are glued together, and the hearts have all been matched to a pair of hands.  All that is left is the fun part of embellishing the hearts and hands and then attaching them to ribbon to hang.  My garland was inspired by a Christmas version (that also included mittens) in an older Gooseberry Patch book.  Yep, you have the freedom of adapting a Christmas craft for other holidays.  Did you know that?   If you’re looking for some fun crafts to occupy your hands this winter, check back through those Christmas craft books you just reshelved, but look through them with an eye towards Valentine’s Day, Easter, spring, summer or 4th of July.  You might be surprised what you can do with just a bit of imagination! 


    
     I also hope to finish a simple reversible, quilted table runner for my dining table by Valentine’s Day.  The fabric has been purchased and washed and I hope to get it cut this coming week.  Both fabrics are Alexander Henry fabrics, which Dani and I have come to love over the last two or three years.  The large print is  “Tattoo Hearts” and the other is “Kyoto Hollyhock”.  I am thankful for the Jo-Ann’s sale and the gift cards I received for Christmas that allowed me to indulge in these luscious fabrics.


    

     Homeschooling has been rough since Thanksgiving with all of the sickness we’ve had.  Still, we persevere and get as much as we can done on the good days and don’t fret about laying low on our sick days.



“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7


    
     Gals, I know that it’s hard not to worry and be anxious when we feel like we’re “behind” with homeschooling, or household chores, or what have you.  Don’t put that guilt on yourselves!  The Lord is not laying that burden on your shoulders, you are!  His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  The burdens and yokes that weigh us down are of our own making.  Let it go.  Lay it all at the feet of Jesus and then ask for His wisdom for how to move forward in the future.  He is faithful!


God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 

Be Sociable, Share!

10 comments to An Extraordinary Season

  •  So much loss… more as we grow older. Jay Adams recently wrote that old age is a series of losses.  Yet, so much to look forward to in heaven where we will always be with our loved ones.

    I know a vitamin won’t take away the pain from the loss you have endure but I wonder if it might help on those foggy days to brighten your spirit a tad? A doctor recently told me that ‘women in our valley’ suffer from a
    Vitamin D deficiency which can contribute to the ‘blues’ and joint
    aches. I keep meaning to take that vitamin to see if it helps.

  • A friend at church sent a message home with Dani for me yesterday saying “D3”.  Looking into it!  It certainly makes sense.  No sun, no Vitamin D absorption.  I’d rather have the sun than a pill, though. 😛

  • I love your blog.  You are such an inspiration! I read it everyday. Thank you!!!

  • I love that Philippians verse!

    I’d much rather be in California…oh well.

    Be blessed friend.

  • I think of the fact now that we were THREE YEARS behind in math at one time.

    I think of it when Christopher got the B+ in Calculus 2 last semester.  🙂

    I read a book by an unschooling family when C. was around age twelve or thirteen.  The father of the family wrote that all of his kids who decided to go to college actually got all caught up by attending one year of a junior college.  I admit being skeptical at the time.

    It ended up being true for us, too.  Except we chose for Christopher to attend his senior year of high school AND an additional year of college at the junior college only because getting into the University nearby can be very difficult.  As it was he had to go through some hoops to get admitted into Computer Science but he has shown them those junior college classes really did get him “all caught up” for one of the hardest science curriculum in the country.

    One year would have been more than enough if he had not decided to study to be a scientist.

    How happy I am now that I didn’t push our way through the high school years.  Instead we kept going a little at a time (one cannot push an ADHD student too hard and get away with it).   I find him to be better educated in the classical sense than many of his college friends because there is a depth of literature and history that will go with him his entire life.  Math and science was just added on top of all that.  🙂

    I’m always happy to find “you” in my Google Reader (which I switched to at your recommendation).

  • Loved the pic of your boys on Christmas morning!

    Ditto on the “winter blues” situation, working on it here too (while trying to stay WARM – ack!  silly Florida weather!)

    Absolutely LOVE the Valentine’s material!  Ooo-la-la – so pretty!!!

    Thanks for this post – SO encouraging!

    Alesha
    Obtaining Mercy

  • “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

    Thank you for sharing your sufferings, Cheryl, and how the Lord helps you to overcome them. I know from experience one way to cause those dark shadows to flee is to shine the light of God’s Word on them. It’s so important for us to be in His life-giving Word each day.

    Have a blessed day in the Lord! – Emily

    http://www.strainingonward.blogspot.com

  • I understand how you feel.  The first winter I was married (first one living up here) I think I got outside 2 times in the month of February.  It was so cold and snowy.  My grandfather always had a hard time in February too. In fact we lost him in a February.  I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers as we head into the hardest part of winter.  Just remember, spring is only the 20th of March  🙂

  • Thanks, everyone!  I’m really doing fine – like I said, soaking myself in His Word, and looking forward to the sunshine when it finally breaks through.  My hope was to encourage others who get the “winter blues” to do likewise.  

  • Thank you so much for your blog entry.  I can identify with your post on several levels right now–fighting guilt about lessons undone, grief over my Mom’s life-threatening illness, and the longing to saturate myself with Scripture.