On a cold winter morning, my daughter and her cousin tried to play outside in their Little House outfits.
It did not go so well.
The dresses are calico cotton, and because the girls were trying to look authentic, they skipped snow pants and warm hats. Instead, they wore my Grampa Ericson's old coat (the brown suede one) and my black wool coat. They topped their braids with wraps.
They looked pretty cute, and Malachi was all for joining them, but they were back inside within minutes.
What grows, when the weather is this cold?
Inside our warm house, the ivy from Grampa Murphy's casket spray is growing beautifully.
This December, my daughters decided that the old mantel display had to go.
I was in complete agreement, but somehow, lethargy had set in.
I could not figure out what to do with the big urns on either end of the mantel.
My girls decided to start fresh, and the urns, with the horribly dusty ivy inside them, went bye-bye.
In their place we now have this vintage barn block, a mirrored metal piece from Junk Market, an antler, and Grampa's ivy.
On the other end of the mantel is a potted tree from my friend Vicki. She found it at IKEA for fifty cents, and gave it to me with apologies for its near-death appearance.
It's one of the best gifts I've ever been given.
Every spring, this little tree is covered with pink blossoms.
Next up: painting the mantel.
I'll show you the reveal as soon as Nate allows us to paint.
Apparently, it's quite a project.
The stark contrast between my warm house, where children and plants are growing,
and the dangerously cold outdoors, where nothing at all appears to thrive,
astounds me every year.
The truth is that at all times, something is growing.
Whether we see it or not, change is taking place.
Thank you Jesus, for the way you make something beautiful
out of what looks like death and loss.
(Watching Anna Kate and Naomi struggle through the deep snow reminded me of these verses from Isaiah).
This is what the Lord says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise."