The tri-cities are not nearly as snow-filled as is my home-town. Jake and I visited my family this week-end, and we had a wonderful time hiking in the woods with the baby and the dog. Unfortunately mom and Graham couldn't come, but Mel, Nate, Vanessa, Karl, Dad, Jake and I (and even sleepy baby Oliver in his wee little covered sled) were all eager to get out and breathe in the fresh air. As Jake put it, God had the weather on 'random shuffle'...first it was mild and gray, then dark and hailing, then sunny and blue skies, all in the span of two hours. I was happy to get some exercise, after being stuffed to the gills with a delicious turkey dinner last night, and waffles and bacon for breakfast. My younger brother, Karl, was eager to go tobogganing, and sister Vanessa wanted to go for a walk. It was a happy medium, as the trails in the woods abounded with hills and valleys. We hiked and tobogganed our way through, and thankfully no one sprained their ankle as we slipped and slid down slush-covered terrains.
Later, as I sipped Coffee Crisp hot chocolate and listened to my mom and sister talking in the kitchen, I felt content to be there with everyone, immersed in the craziness that makes up an expanding family of seven. I'm so grateful for my family and the love that we have for one another, despite the hardships that we have endured in the past few years. Every time I hear Jake talking with my Dad, or overhear the ever-enthralling history conversations he has with my brother, or see him laughing with my youngest brother as they come up with schemes to get me riled up, I thank God. It's hard to get close when we live so far away, but somehow the relationships get better and better by His grace. Week-ends like this help, and we're looking forward to spending more time with them in February.
I'm going to bed tonight with a warm feeling in my heart.