Small blessings..

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It’s interesting to me how certain topics seem to grasp the collective conscious…all of a sudden it seems everyone is talking about IT. Whatever it may be at any given moment. Today it seems there are three topics on the minds of just about everyone I have spoken to: the weather, Mother’s Day and the Leafs (hockey, not the ones on trees).

In my corner of Southern Ontario, the weather has been a little nuts today. There was snow and sleet on the wind. It is the middle of May, so we are all complaining bitterly about this sudden cold snap.

Mothers, especially, seem to be bummed that the day which celebrates all the hard work and endless love that goes into what they do each day, has turned out pretty rotten, weather-wise. It sucks wen bad weather ruins a good day.

But then – is it really possible for the weather to ruin a day? Probably not, if you asked just about any Leafs fan…given that today the Leafs won against Boston and have forced a 7th game in their first round of play off action for many a year.

Each of these topics is small in a way – but each of them points to blessing. Our Moms are a huge blessing to most of us (I have no problem declaring the fact that I would be lost with out my Mom, whose love and concern, cheering and problem solving, humor and faith continue to help make me into the person I am becoming). And even though some have difficult or even non-existent relationships with their Moms, they still have someone who mothered them without being biologically connected.

The weather doesn’t feel like much of a blessing today, but my goodness, a warm bed certainly does. And this weather makes me thankful for all the good weather we’ve had recently and the good weather that will be ours to enjoy by mid-week (PLEASE do not be wrong about that, weather man!!).

And the Leafs…they have broken the hearts of their fans so many times. But right now, whatever may happen tomorrow, they have brought joy and hope and excitement to this part of the world. And those are very good things.

I can’t help but remember one of my favorite Bible verses:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17 NIV

Be happy, my friends, whenever you recognize a blessing. It is a gift from God who loves you eternally. And His love is the biggest blessing of all.

Autumn and inconsistent…

I often think of Fall as my favorite season. Unless you count Christmas, which I totally do – but that is my favorite because of twinkling lights and sparkly bows and beautiful carols and the birth of the Savior…not because of weather and what is happening out in the natural world.

Today I was running an errand and I saw the first kiss of fall color in a stand of trees. It just made me grin. I do love fall, but I think what I love even more than fall itself is the change of seasons. That shift as Summer morphs into Fall or Winter melts into Spring. That in-between-time when the previous season still makes an occasional appearance even as we are surrounded by signs of the new season.

It’s strange, because often I have such trouble with change. But when it comes to the seasons there seems to be such possibility and mystery in the changes. Sure, sometimes at this time of year you find yourself caught without a jacket on a day when it turns out that you really need one, or wearing too many layers on a day that Summer decided to pop back up. Sometimes the change surprises you. But there is beauty in the unexpected.
And in the midst of a change of season I find myself delighted by the unforeseen changes in the weather.

Now, if only I could translate that attitude to the unexpected things that happen in all avenues of life. Unfortunately, I am more annoyed than overjoyed when life throws me a curve ball. I find in-between-times full of frustration rather than expectation and mystery. I think – and this will come to no surprise to those of you who know me well – I want to be in control when it comes to change in the broad strokes of life.

When it comes to the weather, to the change of seasons, I’m well aware that I have no say in what will happen, so I don’t worry too much about it.

It’s a healthier attitude, especially for a Christian. I know that God is at work in this world. I know that He has a plan and I believe that His plan is for the good of us all. I believe His plan has to do with redemption and deliverance and new life. I can say all of that with confidence and with a still small voice in the center of my being whispering “it’s true, it’s true, it’s true…” So why can’t I have the attitude towards the changes in life that I have towards the change of season?

The answer is quite simple. I’m human. I’m fallen. I’m inconsistent. I’m in need of a savior. Thank God I have one.

The weather?! Really??!

Yeah, really. I’m blogging about the weather. What else do you talk about when you have nothing to talk about?

Actually, I’m writing about the weather because in my little corner of Ontario, we’ve had this unbelievable stretch of sunny days. I can’t remember the last time it rained. In fact, even on the days that weren’t perfectly sunny, there’s been no precipitation. On the one hand, I love that because it makes it super-easy to get out for a walk with the puppy. There’s no prep (her raincoat, my raincoat, rainboots) needed and there’s no clean up afterwards (muddy paws, wet belly to wipe…I AM talking about the dog, people!).

On the other hand, there IS such a thing as too much of a good thing. After a time, the ground becomes hard, the plants suffer, there is danger of fires. I have friends who have been praying for rain because they were not able to get into their church camp due to forest fires.

A day of rain probably means I’ll have to forgo my beloved summer clothes (really, I adore tank tops and shorts and flip flops…I am, apparently, a minimalist when it comes to clothing). It probably means I’ll have to remember to bring Koski’s rain jacket down from my bedroom before our morning walk. It probably means I won’t be eating dinner out on the front porch with my friends in Oshawa tomorrow evening. I could look at it as a bad thing.

But a day of rain means other things, too. It means I will be cozy in my car as I drive to Oshawa (I love driving in the rain). It means that the forests will be less likely to catch fire. It means that the flower and trees will flourish.

Most situations are just like this: they have their good points and their bad points. You could look on them as a blessing or a curse. You could see the positive or the negative in them.

I think God calls us to see the blessing rather than the curse. When we focus on the negative, we rob ourselves (and those around us) of joy. And we are called to live joyfully.

I love that old saying “Life is not about avoiding the storm, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” And that is just what I plan to do tomorrow!

Warm…

So, apparently, when you lose 62.8 pounds (my current loss total), you begin to experience temperature in a whole new way. It makes sense – fat acts as an insulator and once you remove the insulator, that which once was hot can now become quite cold.

All winter I have been freezing. My friends have made fun of me as I sat in their house, wearing 3 layers of clothing (one of which was my winter jacket). This winter has been an unseasonably warm one. It has also been strangely light on snow. I have hated every frigid second of it.

So I simply must take a moment to reflect on the miracle that has been our weather this week. It has been whatever the Spring equivalent of Indian Summer is. Warm. Sunny. Gorgeous.

Since Friday I have been wearing summer shoes and leaving my jacket behind when I head out for a walk. I had to go and buy some summer clothes (thank you, Value Village), because I have nothing in my wardrobe that is for summer. The last time it was summer I was 30 pounds heavier, after all.

I know this weather cannot last straight through to November (oh, how I wish). I know that this could be more than a freak event and could actually point to the damage we are doing to our environment. I know for some people, this is the exact opposite of what they enjoy or what they need to make a living.

But for this week, for this girl, it has been an absolute blessing – a gift. Unexpected, un-looked-for and absolutely undeniable.

Sometimes it just feels like God does this: drops a gift in your lap. You hadn’t even thought of how to ask for it yet, and here it is. Because that is what a loving Father does. He stands waiting and watching and when we are still a long way off he runs to embrace us.

That generous kind of love is what draws me back to my faith whenever I wander. That kind of unexpected gift confirms the goodness of God to me again and again. This is why I give my life to serving God: not for what I can get from Him, but because I cannot imagine my life without Him.