Tuesday, February 9, 2021

February: Christmas Memories, Snow and More Snow, and a Few Good Reads


Greetings from a cold, snowy, winter wonderland! As we begin writing this update to our family and friends, the weather app on my (Cherry's) iPhone says it's 3 degrees, with a windchill of -12 degrees. Wow, that is cold. I think it's a good day to be indoors! We're also in a "Winter Weather Advisory", with more snow falling as I write.

Also, as I am writing this, the sounds of a snow blower have just started up out on our driveway. We have the most amazing neighbors, who have been clearing our driveway through each snowfall. On one recent, significant snowfall, they cleared our driveway about four times during the snowfall, keeping it from accumulating too much. One time was at 7 am. How amazing is that? Thank you Todd & Lynn, you are such a blessing!

Well, here we are in the second month of 2021. We'll start with a look back at our Christmas, as we haven't posted here for a number of months.

This past Christmas was a most unusual Christmas for us, as we were not able to host our usual big family gathering. How we missed that, a highlight of the year for us. That just couldn't work with the unusual pandemic season we are living through. But surprisingly, it turned out that we could still be with part of our family. Our daughter Carrie & husband Tyler invited us to join them in McCook the week between Christmas Day and New Years. Two of our other daughters, Amy from Beaver Lake, and Cristy from TX, and some of their family members also joined us there. Though we missed those who couldn't be there, it was such a fun, blessed, memorable time together! We absolute loved it! The two digital scrapbook pages below capture some of this joy! Thank you, Carrie & Tyler, for your amazing hospitality to all of us!

We're entering our 9th month of retirement now in February! How can that be? How can time go by so fast? We have yet to have a day when we are "bored", and both of us do not really know what that word means. Our lives are so full ... keeping up with our big family, spending time with our CityGroup (small group) friends, Citylight Midtown services on Sunday mornings, caring for our home, doctors appointments, taking care of some of Gary's brother's needs, keeping up daily with current news and concerns to pray for, and seeking to find time for multiple projects that are on our hearts and minds. It is a gift and a joy to be experiencing retirement together.

Christmas Eve was a very significant time for us as a couple, as we celebrated 50 years from our engagement! 50 years!! And this also means that this year 2021 we'll be celebrating 50 years since our wedding day in 1971! We are blessed beyond measure to be sharing life together with the one we love for almost 50 years now! Thank You, Lord, for leading us together, and for caring for us all these years.

And thank all of you who sent us Christmas cards, and for all the other multiple ways that you connect with us, and encourage us. It is always a joy to hear from you over social media, email, mail, etc. 

My Pursuing Heart blog has been fairly quiet over the past months, but I do love to put up a few posts each month. My first one of 2021 was focused on "In the Kitchen" - you can click here to read it.

And my other post last month focused on "In the Word", and "In Community". It is so very important to keep these essentials in place, even, and maybe especially during all the concerns going on in our country and around us. Keeping our hearts in the right place is essential. Click here to read the post.

Last of all, we both thought it would be fun to share a list of a few books that we each have read recently. It's a great time of year to curl up on the couch with a good book. Here are a few of our favorite recent readings:

From Gary:

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery -  by Eric Metaxas

Uncle Tom's Cabin - by Harriet Beecher Stowe

If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty - by Eric Metaxas

From Cherry:

Becoming Elisabeth Elliot - by Ellen Vaughn

It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: finding unexpected strength when disappointments leave you shattered - by Lysa Terkeurst

Hidden Among the Stars - by Melanie Dobson

Along with our love of reading, you'll also often find us watching a movie together in the evenings, close by our new electric fireplace stove warming up the room. We've recently had fun watching a few good ones from past years: "The Hiding Place" (1975), "The Sound of Music" (1965), and "The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001). We're also currently enjoying two series airing now from Masterpiece Classic: "All Creatures Great and Small", and "Miss Scarlet and the Duke". 

We'll close off this winter update with a quote from "The Fellowship of the Ring". Gary shared the image below recently on Facebook, with these words:

"I love how Gandalf answers Frodo here. It really blessed me as we were watching The Fellowship of The Ring once again last night. Frodo went through so much and Gandalf was such a wise counselor... J.R.R. Tolkien gave the world such great insights through his stories."