Tag Archives: winter

#blizzardof2015 is Proof that Snow is a Junior High Girl

I grew up in North Dakota and have spent most of my life in the “winter world” of the United States.

I know SNOW. I know winter storms. I know storm watches, warnings, and waitings.

For me, snow is like that junior high/middle friend that is both exciting and annoying. 

Some people love her, want to play with her, and cannot wait for her to show up. For these people, snow is the life of the party – maybe even the reason for the party. These people will actually travel hundreds of miles in search of the better her so that they can have even more fun in her.  They buy expensive SUVs to hang out with her, and they have great toys to play with her.

Others cannot stand her, hope she never shows up, and wonder why she doesn’t just go away.  Any sign of her coming sends these people running, hiding, and stocking up in hopes that she leaves – or better – just does not show up at all. These people will also travel hundreds of miles – to get away from her – and they leave for several months waiting out her departure.

I have a love/hate relationship with snow.

I love all the fun she brings – skiing, snowmobiling, and ice skating; however, I’m not so thrilled about travel bans and shoveling sidewalks.

Four years ago, Minneapolis had an unusual amount of snow over the winter.  Before the first week in December, we could see the writing on the wall, and it was time for this girl to take action.  The huz and I headed out to the outlet malls west of Minneapolis, and I bought my first pair of truly awesome boots as well as a coat that says, “I know snow on a very personal level.”


A month later, the huz and I took a very needed vacation to the Duluth, MN, area, and my then-recent purchases allowed me to enjoy snow like I had never done so before.  That winter, and the winters that have followed, have been less painful because I had done some growing up, had given snow the respect she deserved, and could enjoy the fun of snow because of a great pair of boots and a winter coat.

Being prepared really makes a difference.

Today’s news shows that snow is having a temper tantrum in the Northeast. Although the reports also show that she decided to leave some states out of her blasts of mean (hurricane strength wind, thundersnow, and big dump of lots), many people are preparing to battle #blizzardof2015 as I write this post.

I read a tweet (from @ChrisCuomo) this morning as I prepared for this post: #blizzardof2015 is all about extremes. 6-8 inches in NYC but 18 on LongIsland and full day of snow and wind ahead for millions in New England.

Snow is that crazy friend – she is extreme, and people respond to her extremely.

Some are thrilled that snow has come their way while most are holed up and waiting for someone else to deal with the mess she leaves behind.

In the case of #blizzardof2015, I would rather be on the slopes than in the city.

It seems like it is all about perspective.  I think we can all agree that snow has her good days and her bad days.  Most of the time it has less to do with her than it does with us. When snow gets in the way of basic functions (will that nursing home get the supplies it needs or will the woman in labor get to the hospital?), she is a real pain.

And this is why snow is that junior high friend of ours.

When she is fun, wow – is she ever fun!

But – ruin our day with her extremes…well, then we have to run home and hide from her until she decides to play a bit more nicely with all of us.


Filed under Parenting, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel

Being Thankful

For those of us in the Midwest, specifically North Dakota and Minnesota, this week has been hard.  After a few weeks of mild temperatures that lulled us into thinking that winter had finally left us, our temperature plummeted into the Alberta Clipper, January-like freezing cold part of the thermometer.

The week started off with yet another snow storm that closed schools, made travel difficult, and wasted our time as we cleaned off our sidewalks and driveways.  Some of us had considered putting our snow boots away, but we pulled them out again to keep our toes from falling off as we shoveled in near zero (fahrenheit) temperatures.  Our nights felt like January again as the wind howled around our homes.

It was a hard week.

However, it was also a week to remember things for which we are thankful.

On Tuesday morning, I awoke to the sound of scrape-lift-tap, scrap-lift-tap – the best reenactment I can do in writing of the sound of shoveling.  When I looked out my bedroom window, I saw my daughter, who despises the cold, shoveling the sidewalks so that she and her brother could do something fun that evening rather than shovel.

It was five o’clock in the morning, and the temperature – with wind chill factored in – was far below zero.

I am thankful for my hardworking children.

There was much to complain about this week beyond the weather.

For the second week in a row, my school’s website – remember, it is an online school…the website is important – has had issues which have made it difficult for students to log in and do their work.  As part of the leadership team at the school, I have had to assist in problem-solving, decision making, and communicating with students.  This makes for a long week as parents and students are important stakeholders, and our school needs to retain them.

I am thankful for a job.

The huz took a trip this week to renew and refresh while visiting some good friends.  I can’t imagine how those of you who parent alone do it!  Even though he left behind a car for the kids to us, the roads on Monday made it so that I still took the kids to and from school.  As teenagers, they need us as parents to talk through their day and problem-solve some of their issues.  I love doing this.  I also love sharing the load with my husband who also happens to be my best friend.

I am thankful for my huz.

With every hardship that comes our way, it is easy to see the difficulty and complain.  This makes for great girl-talk and Facebook statuses.  It also helps us to slip into and to dwell  in mire rather than seeing so much for which we should give thanks.

I know that many of us have struggles, but I wonder sometimes if we keep ourselves hostage to these struggles by focusing on them for too long rather than asking, “For what can I be thankful in this situation?”

I know that when my focus is on the struggle, I have blinders on that block out the thankful side of the situation.  However, when I look at all that I have for which to give thanks, I struggle a bit less and find that my contentment level increases even in the midst of chaos, confusion, and hardship.

What is your struggle today?  Can you see the “thankful” side in it?  I would love to hear about it in the comment section.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Happy Friday!


Filed under faith, Thoughts

We are Like the Weather

Blogger’s note: I started this post several weeks ago and am back to it because this week has been much like that day…and I had the same thoughts but had not completed the post then.  I hope you enjoy the two days’ thoughts combined into one post.

As I drove to court this morning in Duluth, MN, I listened to the news which included the weather.  I did not need them to tell me that it was cold; that was quite clear to me as I sat in my car which was not quite warmed up.  As they shared the forecast for the weekend and beyond, a thought occurred to me.

The weather always changes.

As I sat outside the courtroom (waiting is the best part of a court day), I scrolled through the Facebook posts since last night when I went to bed.  I learned about my friend who is sick at home today, read some blog posts by people who are actually on top of their blogging efforts, and felt with my friend who struggles with depression and anxiety as he lamented his current mental state.

My response to him: Weather teaches us that things do not stay the same. Ever. The same is true with our own psyche.

As Minnesota opens its arms to welcome March, April, and May after a rather frigid winter, we are reminded that things rarely stay the same for long.  Three months seems like a pretty long time when we are in the middle of it, but in the grand scheme of things that is just not true.

Seasons in our psyche are very similar to weather and often even follow the weather patterns themselves.

This is where I left off and am going to continue on from here…


I took this picture yesterday evening as I brainstormed about this post.  Most of us had thought winter was over.  In fact, today is the first day of spring.  Apparently, someone did not notify the weather or the state of Minnesota that it should show off its greenery and stop with the snow.  After it snowed overnight Sunday and continued into Monday, many of us clamored through a horrible commute to work.  Schools to our west closed as blizzard conditions raged.

And today is the first day of spring?

Seasons in our psyche can do the same thing, right?

Just when we think some dark time in our lives has been cleared out for good, it comes raging back at us like a March blizzard in Minnesota (or North Dakota…or South Dakota, for that matter).  We know in our hearts that the dark time should be gone. We have dealt with it, prayed it away, and have experienced forgiveness. And then something brings it back – a low front from the Rockies with a comma effect snow.

But – like my (real weather) blizzard on Monday – the dark time can be dispelled by a little sunlight.  Following the low front of a weather system comes a high – bringing sunshine and warmth (although someone forgot to notify the weather of that as well – sunshine all day yesterday did not bring much warmth).

And what better light than the truth that God loves us?

I do not mean this is the “cheer up, pal, God loves you and everything will be alright” or “let the sunshine in; face it with a grin; smilers always win; and frowners never win” kind of rose-colored glasses sense.  It is simply truth.

God loves us; that is light in our lives.

With Easter right around the corner, it is time for us to start to focus on re-birth – our re-birth. For though we were sinners and lost to that, but – because of what Christ did on the cross – we are freed from the guilt of our sins and have the right to be called children of God – heirs to heaven…and with the ability to have the gift of heaven here on Earth.

This is truth…regardless of today’s weather or circumstance.  Whatever I experience inside my mind or outside in my day, the truth is truth.

Let’s hold to that today.

What is your experience with the weather inside of you?

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Filed under faith, health, Thoughts, Travel

A Coat, Boots, and a Grown Up


Two years ago, I made the decision that it was time to grow up.  I had been living my life as a pretend grown up by doing all of the grown up things that other grown ups were doing:

I held a job.

I was married (not that this is a requirement).

I had children (again – not a requirement…seriously – I don’t think I was much of a grown up when my kids were born, and there are plenty of non-grown ups having children).

What I was missing was the true signs of being a grown up: sensible winter items.

Let’s be clear for a minute – I had what I needed if I wanted to spend time in the snow – those essentials for sledding and such.  But these were not the “daily use” smart clothes of a grown up.  In fact, they looked a lot like kid stuff – hats, gloves, ski coat, and snow pants. These were meant for snow fun but did not define me as a grown up because none of those items went with me on a regular basis as I drove the 40 miles to work in snowy winter Minnesota.

As if I need to illustrate further how un-grown-up I have acted, I will allude to a year-long sandal wearing contest that I had with another teacher back in 2004-2005.  That is another post, but the short version is that we went the whole school year…even through the snowy winter…wearing sandals from our car, into the school building, during carpool duty, and back out to our car.  He won because I changed schools at the end of the year, but neither of us backed down on the sandals.

Fast forward a few years to December 10, 2010…the night I became a grown-up.

The forecast was for a big winter storm, and I had decided that I needed better winter gear.  The huz and I headed to the Columbia outlet store and purchased a styling but sensible down coat complete with a hood and a pair of cute but extremely winter smart boots (I think they will keep my feet warm to –30 F).

The next day, as the entire family shoveled and then walked a few blocks to have a celebratory meal (one of many that winter), I felt so grown up.  I could have jumped on a sled and enjoyed that, or I could have been walking the downtown skyway system with other professionals.  My grown-up clothes were perfect for either occasion.

Today, as my hometown – Grand Forks, ND – has a snow day (some are celebrating; some are not), I will be heading to work in my grown up boots and coat.  We had snow but not enough to cancel much of anything except my trip “up north” and west (where their conditions were bad enough to cancel school) for a meeting.

When did you decide that you were a grown up?  Are you there yet?


Filed under Thoughts