Concerning the Times and the Seasons: Winter 2019-20

They say adventure is what keeps us young.
And going boldly into the unknown is the stuff family vacations are made of–as if life on the regular isn’t full of enough risk to take your breath away on the average Tuesday.

The Gold Camp Road winds its snow-covered way through the Front Range of the Rockies, yielding breathtaking views, unencumbered by pesky guardrails. As the only pessimist in a carload of optimists, I held my breath the first time we met an oncoming vehicle.
“Is there really room for us to pass?” I asked, and was assured that there was, even though the passing took us closer to the edge of the road than I would have preferred.

Snow crunched under the mini-van’s tires, and mule deer eyed us blandly from rocky outcroppings above us as another vehicle approached. In that moment, it dawned on me–these oncoming cars are bearers of good news! The road is open and the way ahead is clear and passable. They have been there and have survived to wind their way in our direction, to meet us in the road, and to travel on where we have been before.

And this is the gift of God’s written Word. Faithful men and women in its pages bear witness to the way ahead. It is also the service we render to one another as we share our own stories about God’s faithfulness to us. We are fellow passengers on a winding road with almost no idea of what’s ahead. There are long stretches with no guardrails, and yet we continue to travel forward, carried by the good news that God’s promises to us are solid. We are invited to “consider the outcome” of a life committed to trusting those promises and to imitate the faith of those who have made the journey. (Hebrews 13:7)

Winter Vacation

Since we’ve just barely returned from a trip to Colorado to visit our son, the “times and the seasons” here on this country hill are just beginning to find their way back to “normal,” and our hearts are full of great memories set against a backdrop of rugged beauty completely foreign to us.

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We savored the daily routines of meals together and spent our evenings unwinding with games of Catan The Board Game and Unexploded Cow (Really. It’s a thing.) We hit the road to visit Focus on the Family’s headquarters; to take a blustery walk through the Garden of the Gods, tracking pinkish dust onto the frozen white pathways under our feet; and to explore the frontier towns around the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the San Isabel National Forest. Breathtaking!

Winter Here at Home

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I met “Fishstick” this winter in an elementary school classroom. Who’d have thought this homeschooling mum would be teaching fractions and social studies in the public schools? Substitute teachers parachute into the unknown, and, some days I feel like a human bookmark, just there to hold the place until the teacher returns, but this is a season of transition in our family; these are days of comings and goings. I am learning that God’s assignments are sometimes seasonal, but always secure.
“Lord, you have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure.” (Psalm 16:5)

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Tucker and I have been walking the snowy paths here on the hill. Breathing in the frosty air and hearing the snow squeak under my feet, I’m grateful for the beauty that’s unique to each season.

Winter Reading, Writing, and Other Gifts

My calling is a support role, a faithful truth-giving so that a growing relationship with God will be based upon knowledge of his ways.

I shared here that I’m learning to love the slow watering that happens when I meet with my Sunday school class of four and five year olds each week. On the other end of the generational spectrum, the dear ladies from the church I call home meet monthly to pray for our missionaries and to open God’s Word together. Sometimes, I get to visit other women’s groups here in Mid-Coast Maine, and it was especially fun at Christmas time to gather with the women of Tenant’s Harbor Baptist Church and delight in the reality that we can live every day, extending grace and telling truth, because Jesus landed on this planet “full of grace and truth.” Studying and preparing and then sharing this message was a highlight of the Christmas season for me.

I’m also grateful for the warm hospitality of blogging friends who have invited me into their space this winter. I”ll share links to the articles below:

The Humility of the Given Self for Kindred Mom
To the Woman Who Feels Crowded by Christmas for (in)courage
Diversity and the Church:  A Culture of No Excuse for Patheos
Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth for Wield the Word
Obedience:  The Christian’s Clear Assignment for Living By Design
EnneaWhat??? My Life as the Achiever for Mary Geisen’s #TellHisStory gathering.

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December through February has been a busy quarter, but I managed to review eight books. Click here to scan all my book reviews.

I’m sticking with my resolve to read more older books, and right now that means slowly re-reading C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain. It’s always fun to find the parts I’ve underlined in previous reads–and to find new word treasures I’ve missed before like this:

We try, when we wake, to lay the new day at God’s feet; before we have finished shaving [or have put our mascara on] it becomes our day and God’s share in it is felt as a tribute which we must pay out of “our own” pocket, a deduction from the time which ought, we feel, to be “our own.”

What a terrific reminder that our time is a like a feather on the breath of God. Thank you for using some of your precious minutes to read here at Living Our Days. I’m grateful for your interest and your encouragement.

Grace and peace to you,

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61 thoughts on “Concerning the Times and the Seasons: Winter 2019-20”

  1. Michele,
    I love reading your words. You weave them together so beautifully. I have to admit, reading all that you’ve done and accomplished leaves me feeling tired. I don’t know how you do it? It must be your “energizer bunny battery” in being an Achiever. I love the name “Fishstick” lol and so true that our testimony tells those who follow us that the road ahead is clear and passable. Oh, that we would keep telling our stories. Loved visiting with you here on this post.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. It’s so funny to receive reader responses to my recap posts. My life feels very sheltered and ordinary here on the hill. And I end every day feeling as if I could have done more. It’s good to get the perspective of those outside my bubble!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your writing is delicious, Michele! I especially liked the analogy about the snowy road, and having the sudden revelation that if folks were coming down, that the way must be clear ahead. That’s exactly how we can turn to those people in the Bible for hope and blessings.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. I was SO grateful when the Lord gave me that thought. It truly saved the day for me, as I was dreading every single encounter with another vehicle. When I realized that as long as we were still meeting vehicles it meant the road was good and clear ahead, it helped me to breathe. And of course, God does that for us all the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the beauty of your words as well as your photos. What an amazing winter. Your winter looks the opposite of mine but I know that God has us each exactly where He wants us. I love that you are substitute teaching. I am sure that it feels like a good fit after all of your homeschooling years. Here’s to winter and the gentle slide into spring.

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    1. I’m curious about what you mean by “opposite,” and hoping all is well with you.
      Ironically, in some ways homeschooling “unfits” me for public school, because I find myself lamenting all the “wasted” time on behalf of the students–waiting in line, waiting for buses to arrive and then buses to leave, bright students waiting for the slower ones to catch up, slower students feeling rushed.
      My hat is OFF to the women and men who teach our kids every single day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All is well. It’s been a hard winter. Lots has been going on in the lives of my kids. This is where I need to ask myself as a Two if this is my burden to carry?

        I didn’t think about all the wasted time within school day. And yes you should lament the dysfunction that is present in the Public school system.

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      2. The chemistry of a two (who feels all the feelings in the room!) parenting two fours (who have ALL the big feels!) must be absolutely mind boggling.
        Bless your heart and every other part!
        I think we all have to come to every day (especially if we have adult children) asking ourselves the question, “Is this mine to do?”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, wow, wow! Michele, I cannot believe you are a substitute teacher. Knowing your propensity for planning and doing (I think), the students in your care are in good hands.

    I also have a son in Colorado (Steamboat Springs) and I know exactly what you mean about precipitous drop-offs and no guard rails. You are brave. We usually visit in fall, spring, and summer but not in winter.

    And I love the name of the fish too!

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  5. Michele
    Beautiful words on this winter day as us New England states as mine n NY are awaiting this coming storm
    the wind is blowing now and sun trying to shine just got back from a brutal walk with my daughters little old
    dog. Trying to convince myself that its fine to be in a restful mode since isn’t that the reason for winter a time for
    all to rest? You go girl teaching again guess we are never to old to learn!! It is very hard not being near grandchildren my littles are in Atlanta a hour and forty minutes away by plane.Thank goodness for face time
    obliviously we look better that way on a visit my Nolan Emy wanted to know grammie why are your hands so
    old? We just have to cherish these precious moments in these seasons each day is a gift and a blessing
    from God.

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  6. When we first were looking to move to TN from SC and made several house-hunting trips, we had to traverse some scary passes in the Blue Ridge mountains. Part of I-40 was closed for months due to rockslides, adding another hour to work around the detour. Not only are the too-narrow-for-me shoulders scary, but glimpses up the side of the mountains with netting over the rocks makes me wonder if they’ll really do any good if the rocks start falling. What a comforting thought that oncoming traffic assures the way is clear ahead. I’m not a hiker, but I have read hiker’s accounts of similar things–stopping to converse a moment with those coming the other way about the trail ahead. I am grateful God has always had a woman in my life just ahead of where I was in life that I could observe and get to know.

    I’ve heard horror stories about subbing in public schools. Glad your experiences have been better. You’ve had some adventures this season!

    I’m wondering if Catan: The Board Game is the same as Settlers of Catan. We used to play the latter a lot as a family until my grandson got old enough not to want to sit in laps or entertain himself during a long game. I got an app called Catan to sharpen my skills against my sons, who used to always beat me. I have not heard of Unexploded Cow, but we have played a zombie-fighting board game called Last Night on Earth. 🙂

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    1. Crazy board games these days!
      Yes, it’s Settlers of Catan, and theres also a game called Carcassone that’s similar, but just different enough that I get confused when we go back and forth…
      Needless to say, I never win these games!

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  7. It makes me happy to see your words and wisdom sprinkled all around the interwebs, Michele. And I felt not a trace of envy when I saw your pics from Colorado. (OK, maybe that’s not exactly true. I LOVE Colorado Springs!) Reading this was a breath of fresh air this afternoon, my friend. 🙂

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  8. Beautifully written, Michele, and very inspirational! I’m glad you had a chance to visit your son, and I always like to see Colorado through other blogger’s eyes. Our February has the coldest and snowiest one that I’ve encountered in the 7 years I’ve lived in Colorado, but I’m enjoying it as the past few years have been very dry. It’s wonderful that you can substitute teach from time to time–it’s always good for students to have a good teacher in their class when their regular teacher is out.

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    1. Thank you, Pat.
      Yes, I was COLD every. single. minute. that I was in your beautiful state. But it was well worth it to see the glorious mountains in winter. I think our next trip will be in spring. Another gorgeous season, I’m sure.

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  9. I read your comment/response about your life being ordinary and I kind of doubt that! You seem full of life and faith that make it all the more precious. Thank you for linking up and I love the name, Fishsticks.

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  10. You’ve been rather busy here, there and everywhere, Michele! And I bet you’re much more than a bookmark for all those missing teachers! 😉 You seem to have boundless energy and insight that impresses all of us, my friend! Thanks for giving of yourself in word and deed so sacrificially!

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  11. The times and seasons have become such a new and exciting part of my walk with the Lord over the past few years. I enjoyed reading about yours. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina

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  12. Colorado is a beautiful place, Michele! We are headed, in May, to Utah for a visit with our daughter and son-in-law. Another beautiful place. I can hardly wait!

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

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  13. thank you for sharing your winter with us, such lovely scenery. Hope the weather warms up for you soon. Thanks for linking up with #pocolo hope to see you back tomorrow.

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  14. Looks like a full winter, Michele. I grew up in CO (my parents, sister, nephews, etc. are there), so we always love getting to visit and enjoying the scenery (which is extremely different from where we are in TX).
    We’re in a season of transition here, so I appreciate your reminder that God has “made my lot secure.”

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    1. We had been to TX before, and I agree that the difference is quite remarkable. This was our first trip to Colorado, and I quite literally could not tear my eyes away from the beauty everywhere. Mountains in the background transform even the most commonplace view.

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  15. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

    Liked by 1 person

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