Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When the grass seems whiter....

Growing up in Mississippi, snow was a novelty. Some of my sweetest winter memories are of snow days with my family and friends.

The year, for example, that my Dad happened to be home on a snow day is one of the best ever. We didn't have sleds -- it was Mississippi after all. But we did have a golf course one street over that provided a wonderful hill that was perfect for snow sledding -- or our version of that! Over the years -- on the six or seven days we had snow in my youth -- we had tried various objects for our sledding purposes. This particular day, we were using the metal lids from the garbage cans. Perfect.

For safety reasons (cough, cough), my Dad thought he should go first. He sat down on the "sled" and took off! Not only did he go down the hill, he soared down the embankment, up the side and across the street! Landing in a neighbor's front yard. We were all laughing so hard we had tears running down our faces. He was laughing too....until the next morning when he could hardly walk from the pain of his um, landing.

But living for four years in Chicago, and five in Minnesota, the novelty of snow quickly wore off. I was scarred by one weekend in particular when Wade was out of town and we had a storm  that dumped a ghastly amount of snow. The sidewalks were shoveled for pedestrians but not wide enough for the triplet stroller to go anywhere between the walls of the white and freezing results of the storm. I needed to get out with my kids. We needed some fresh air. But out of frustration, we returned to our little apartment and took off all the layers.  And in an act of utter rebellion, I cranked the heat up to 85 degrees, stripped those three babies and dressed them in Hawaiian luau clothes!

Aloha, Benjamin!



I still smile -- and still prefer Hawaiian clothes to snow boots.

But sometimes the grass seems greener -- or whiter as the case may be. And my Little Red -- a desert-born and bred, flip-flop loving 7-year-old -- thought she needed to see snow. Needed it.

So we took a quick ride up north. Seriously. From Phoenix, we can be in alpine country in an hour and a half! Amazing.

We did our school work Monday in the hotel and proceeded outside to "play" in the white stuff.

There were snow angels to be made. An attempt at a snowman. And some good ole' fashioned snowball tossing.

And then there were tears that fingers were hurting. She couldn't feel her face and her toes were cold.

We had been out there all of 20 minutes.

And though I laugh and make jokes -- I announce on Facebook how thin my blood has become; and I groan about all the layers the current cold-front in Phoenix is forcing me to wear -- there is a level of seriousness that I can not ignore:  My dear Benjamin can not handle the cold.

The snow is a nightmare for his wheelchair. Monday, his hands were so frigid that he could not even use them to drive back to the van after 20 minutes outside. He was beyond chilled and it was not enjoyable for him at all. It hurt.

Mason tries. He maintains his body temperature better than Benjamin, obviously. But put his "power sticks" on snow or ice and well, it is not pretty.

And so as we played, I had this verse echoing through my head:

"...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11

I used the King James version because I particularly love the use of the word "state" rather than circumstances or situations. Oh, those are very important...but I love that we are urged to be content no matter the STATE -- Mississippi, Minnesota or Arizona! And for this girl, who has moved around a lot, I take comfort in the admonition. I take it as a challenge to find my place. To be content.

And I thank God, that HE alone knew the needs of my kids. He alone had a plan. And though at 7, when we left Minnesota, we were still oblivious to the effects the cold would have on Benjamin as he grew. God knew.

When I had no idea what life in the desert would offer. God knew.

When I fear tomorrow. God knows.

And for that, I am so grateful.

A sweet church in Flagstaff that just says Peace to me.

I can rest in the joy of Thanksgiving. Of thanking the one who holds our future in His hands. The one who knows the needs long before we have an inkling of what they will be.

The one who wants us to do more than endure. The one who wants us to find joy. Contentment. Peace.

And an afternoon of fun in the snow after which we can return to the sunshine of our desert home.

We are grateful because we are blessed.


charla said...

Love, love, love!