Thankful for Snow

It snowed!

And there’s still piles of it on the ground.

This is a new experience for a small town Southern girl.

Life has continued as usual. School is still in session and businesses are still open. I’ve seen the snowplow riding through our neighborhood every day. Winter is officially here. I cannot leave my house without a heavy winter coat and gloves.

The other day, I shovelled snow for the first time in my life!

It’s a lot harder than it looks in the movies. My dad told me that shovelling snow is the leading cause of heart attacks for older people in the North. I can believe it. That was a hard job.

Hopefully, you’re not too bored with this conversation. I’m just so excited about the possibility of a white Christmas. That will be a first for me. And maybe a last. Who knows? I won’t live in this region forever.

If I’ve learned anything while living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s been that life is something to be enjoyed, treasured even.

Every day is such a gift and somewhere along the way I had forgotten. I needed to be reminded.

If I can’t get excited about the weather—hot or cold—how can I appreciate my family, my job, or my hobbies? It’s likely that I won’t recognize those blessings if I can’t get excited about the little things.

A picture from my sister, a penny on the sidewalk, a compliment from a friend…these are the small things that can potentially produce thankful thoughts.

A grateful attitude, I’m convinced, is more important than a college degree, job status, or the clothes you wear.

Those who are content have more opportunities and lead more fulfilling lives.

The power of contentment requires no complex formulas to understand. It only requires a choice.

Will I be thankful or will I be unthankful for the blessings around me?

The Differences

I have slacked on the observational side of the differences between the Pacific Northwest and the South. Here’s the two biggies that come up in conversation: the weather and health care.

Many conversations start out by mentioning my accent—the first cue I’m “different”—and end by talking about those two subjects.

First off, I wouldn’t want to lose my accent—ever! It’s the greatest conversational piece an extrovert could ask for. 

 The weather is also much different from the South. And it’s actually quite a picture of how vast the climate can be from one area to the next—even when the areas are only miles apart!

I live in a microclimate; imagine a snow globe but substitute the snow with rain.

The summers are relatively short with weather that’s often too beautiful for words. The winters are cold and wet with one or two snow days in between. Compared to the region surrounding me, I live in one of the “warmest” places. I only put quotation marks around warmest because I think of warm in Southern terms. However, it is a true statement that it’s the warmest place.

 That leaves health care…a sore subject that has ruined many a conversation.

I realize that this is the hot topic buzzing around the country, but many citizens are woefully uninformed. And that’s why this health care “reform” was passed in the first place. The number of individuals who think critically are few and far between.

I do not want to do this topic an injustice, so be looking for my thoughts on health care to appear next week.

Here’s a question to think on this weekend:

What are some of the differences you can think of between the Pacific Northwest and the South? 

Embrace Quiet Times

It’s a rainy day in the Pacific Northwest. I’m enjoying the peace and quiet upstairs. There’s nothing big planned for the afternoon and no one is coming over for dinner. I’d call this a perfect moment, a time of reflection that isn’t taking place in distress or chaos.

These times are the best for making decisions and casting vision for the future.

I’m not bashing in-the-moment choices because these are necessary too. However, there’s something special about the quiet moments that occur before big life events.

For example, I now live in a subtropic region. Come late September the weather will be easy to predict. It’s going to be cold, wet, and overcast until late May or early June. That’s why this summer has been so busy for me. Some things have to be done while it’s sunny, so priorities shift during the brief summer months.

And it’s another reason why this rainy day was needed.

I’ve been living at such a fast pace trying to accomplish my summer to-do list that it’s taken a rainy day to finally slow me down. One thing I’ve learned recently is that there’s no point in whining about the snail paced times of your life.

Human beings live in a constant state of transition. You’re either coming out of a time of transition or you’re entering one.

It’s that simple.

The only people who do not live by this model can be found in the cemetery.

Why not take the seemingly “boring” times of minimal change to plan?

Quiet moments don’t come around very often. Try making some decisions when the world isn’t moving like a race car in the Indy 500.

Things look a lot different when they aren’t blurring all around you.