Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Oregon Winter

There comes a small sadness when taking down the Christmas decor. Part of me wishes we could have a tree in our house all year long. I love the smell of the fresh pine and the cheery glow of the lights. However, I definitely won't miss having to squeeze between the tree and the kitchen doorway. There is also a beautiful chest freezer waiting to occupy the tree's imminent vacancy. That's pretty exciting!

While we've been missing the Wisconsin snow this winter, we've had the opportunity and blessing to enjoy God's creation in moderate, though icy (fun) weather. We decided on a whim last Saturday to drive out into the hills east of the valley to see what December had brought to Silver Falls State Park, one of our favorite easy hiking spots. We stopped at the Silverton Reservoir on the way since we had never checked that out before. I think we found the perfect place to kayak! As we gained elevation, we saw heavy frost and then snow for the first time! There are very few things as beautiful as a winter waterfall. Though it's not as comfortable as a West Coast summer, the winter has beauty to rival the sunniest summer days. See for yourself:

Silverton Reservoir

Leaning Tree - Silverton Reservoir

Upper North Falls - Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Upper North Falls B/W, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Silver Creek - Silver Creek State Park, Oregon

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 2009

As usual, it's been awhile. Steve and I have been getting our house and hearts ready for Christmas, and have our family and friends at the forefront of our minds during this holiday season. There have been a few unique challenges posed to us this year by the limitations of distance, finances, and patience. God has used these trials as a time to impress upon us once again the importance of praying together as a couple, quickly forgiving offenses, and living constantly in His grace, moment by moment.

Steve and I aren't able to make it back to Wisconsin to spend time with my family this Christmas, so we've chosen to focus on what we have and what we're thankful for rather than what we cannot have.

These are a few things God has blessed us with:

A warm, safe home on these cold, wet winter nights.

Delicious, healthy food and comfortable clothing during a poor economy.

A beautiful, free Christmas tree adorned by many memories and colorful lights.

Family that loves us and makes time for us, whether in person, online, or phone.

Friends who send us their greetings and blessings in fun cards and messages.

A gorgeous, little niece who is celebrating her first Christmas & growing so fast!

A sweet nephew who is becoming an amazing boy who can read and create cool things!

Steve's reliable job and the mercy God gives him each morning to endure another day.

The money and time to get away from the chaos for a weekend - can't wait!!

God's only Son, Jesus Christ, who gives us the freedom and joy of eternal life NOW through his birth, perfect life, selfless death for our sins, and His glorious ressurection! Praise God!

We hope you all have an incredible time celebrating Christ & all the things that are close to your heart, whatever date your Christmas may fall upon.

Hunt for the perfect Christmas tree:

Steve found the perfect tree. Then he changed his mind.

After running around in the cold, wet weather, we found it!

Steve was freezing by the time we picked it out and found the guy who cut it down for us.

Isaiah 9:2,6,7 (NKJV)

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.