Tag Archives: snow

This one’s worth clicking for the sweet picture of baby Emma ;) (also roasting hot dogs)

Chilly, chilly, bo-billy! Temps kind of nose-dived right after spring hit and da-dang am I feeling it! Still enjoying the out-of-doors, though! Curls and I have been heading to the Hamus Wildlife Preserve every night after work for a brief walk with the retractable leash and no sling… fun fun fun! Seriously, we’re talking about a very very happy pup!!

“A wisdom still abides in the natural rhythms of the earth, if we are still and open ourselves to it.” –Kimberly Greene Angle

Natural rhythms of the earth… to be in nature…

“There is a wisdom in natural rhythm but we long ago abandoned it to technology and electricity. Now there is not stopping, no ending. Only quitting. I long ago fell prey to it and forgot how to stop and wondered how to quit. So now two unnatural rhythms try for the marrow of my soul: fatigue that is chronic and frustration that is terminal. I am determined to defeat them both.

“My God is definitely a God of the seasons. I prefer that God in spring and fall – when things emerge and mellow – but I have learned more from the God who is the heat of my day and the icy obstacles of my life. From that God I have learned the depths of the self.” — Joan Chittister

I forget sometimes, in the frigid depths of deepest darkest winter and the boiling highs and sticky humidity of summer, how nice it can be to get outside, to feel the air on your face… even stinging cold or blasting hot. To be outside, to enjoy nature, to slow down, is to feel God.

And if I ever had any doubt… here’s my niece Emma as a little bitty baby, enjoying the wind blowing across her little body on a warm fall day:

Emma Wind

This simple pleasure of a soft wind, a blowing leaf… feeling God in the season. Even at a mere 6 months old.

That never really goes away, I don’t think, but it is harder to notice it amongst the hustle and the bustle and they everything else of every day. The phone calls and the emails. The music or books I generally feed into my ears, into my brain, even as I head outside for a jog.

But not always. And in those instances, even when it’s very, very hot or very, very cold or just very, very foreign– that’s when I feel God in nature.

At the end of this winter, for example, on one cold day in January, my friend Suma managed to coax me and Sister Doctor off the couch and onto skis (yikes!) for some cross country skiing in the school forest.


Reluctant doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt– but then, once I was out there, on that beautiful, bright blue, super crisp day, I had the time of my life. The highlight of my whole winter, despite the falls. It was an absolute blast. Quiet and calm and invigorating. Even in the dead of winter.

xc skiing

God was there.

And there was that super crazy boiling hot day on the Rappahanock when the water was a touch too low and the rocks were a bit too high that Jess, Stephanie, Ellen, and I kayaked 11 miles back to our camp site where we slept off our sun burn before traveling home the next day.


We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire, we laughed about my massive wipeout on the water (a strainer got me! can’t say I hadn’t been warned…), and we warmed ourselves over poor Ellen’s deep fried skin during the night, and again, had an absolute blast.

camping rappahannock

God was there.

And then, what was probably one of the very best days of my entire life, when Seth and I spent a day in Volcano National Park in Hawaii… we hiked in the hot hot heat around the top of a volcanic crater and back through the exceptionally chilly middle of it, going from steamy jungle to what might as well have been the surface of the moon (thank goodness for ponchos!).


Then we drove past the massive plumes of sulfuric acid down to the water where we hiked and hiked and hiked on the lava to see the amazing sea arches and ancient petroglyphs. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

sea arch

God was there too.


God is always there, I suppose. But as Joan suggests, it’s in the extremes that we tend to take notice. But maybe with just a bit more awareness, I’ll notice even on a snowy evening walk through Hamus with Curls.

Hamus with Curls

Lots of turkeys calling and deer tracks to sniff. A perfect walk for this sweet girl and her chilly mom.

And finally, as if to underscore the point, this was the message on my ridiculously inspiring page-a-day desk calendar today:


Over and over, nature has been my teacher. When I’ve let it. Silly of me not to realize that in nature, there is God. Snowshoeing to a frozen waterfall in the Keewenaw. Hiking to the top of the Multnomah Falls in Oregon. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and throwing snowballs in the Rockies in August.

Then again, even in the more mundane– picking rock at the farm in the spring, raking and bagging leaves in the fall. God is there. Always.

Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow…

Snow on March 25

Perhaps a bit inappropriate on this day of springtime snow, nevertheless…

“Springtime God… we need your persistent love to disturb… our heart’s rigidity.” –Kate Compston

My heart is feeling rigid on account of it’s FREEZING and we had a mess of precipitation last night, but besides that, Joan’s thoughts are a bit deeper. (Le sigh… such is early Spring in Wisconsin.)

“I love the image of a ‘springtime God.’ Isn’t God always in the growing season in us? Isn’t everything that happens in life simply seeding something to come — and isn’t all of it God? But if that’s true, the question is, then, Are all our thoughts new seeds of life to be pursued? Because if so, then I am being called on and I am, as usual, reluctant to go.” –Joan Chittister

I suppose that everything, every seed, every thought, no matter how big or small requires a bit of coaxing on its way to growth. I’d like to thank chemistry for that basic concept– activation energy.

And as in chemistry, some things have a higher activation energy than others. Keeping with the spring theme, crocuses seem to have a relatively low activation energy… sometimes managing to peek their lovely purple, white, and yellow blooms out from beneath the still standing snow.

Don't get excited-- these were last year's little lovelies.
Don’t get excited– these were last year’s little lovelies.

I actually don’t have any yellow ones, though. That’s a little sad. The daffodils the spring up right afterward make up for it.

And then there’s the late bloomers, the ones who need the earth to be not just pre-heated, but consistently warm with no chance of cool before opening up. Like my beautiful pink and white hydrangeas. Just as lovely either way!

The colors at the end of the season-- absolutely blushing!
The colors at the end of the season– absolutely blushing!

Maybe this year I’ll work on turning some of them blue… although I do love the pink.

Flowers are nice and everything, definitely a good example. Bacillus anthracis (aka anthrax, it sporulates, and what sporulates must also germinate) would make a great example too (shout out to all you toxin folks!). But I think what Joan is really getting at is the way we let God work to activate the thoughts we have and the things we feel most deeply. Reluctance, a barrier to activation, is definitely the norm though. It’s easier to live with the status quo, isn’t it?

I think, however, that Joan is calling us to germinate! To let the sunshine in and to bloom bloom bloom like the beautiful flowers we can be. To really let God work in our lives, springtime or otherwise. To be willing to grow.


Maybe I’ll feel it better in my bones once the white stuff is gone for the season. I’m sure we’re almost there!


My freshmen year of college, some friends and I went taert-ro-kcirt-ing in the dorms on Halloween. Taert-ro-kcirt-ing is trick-or-treating backwards. Obviously.

We dressed up (just barely– some cat ears and butterfly wings or something of the sort) and went from door to door with a plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy that we handed out. Maybe we collected for UNICEF or something while we were at it? I can’t really remember… but I do remember it being an absolute blast.

I’m normally pretty scared to interact with people, especially people I don’t know. And people I do know. So all people, actually. But when we taert-ro-kcirt-ed, I don’t really remember minding at all. I felt silly and confident and fun as we knocked on each door and handed out candy and a smile– people didn’t expect it, they were so happy. Like I said, an absolute blast.

And maybe it is that simple. When you want to do the opposite of something, just turn the word around and do it. That easy.

I hope anyway. And here’s why.

Remember that chocolate I told you about earlier this week? All of that delicious and amazing chocolate?

Do you also remember about that little binge eating thing that tends to haunt me from time to time?

Welllll…. this:

A trash can full of shame...
A trash can full of shame…

Sigh. It was not the best afternoon of my life.

Delicious, of course, but so very out of control.

But why? When I have so much to look forward to!

I mean, first thing tomorrow morning, I’m getting on a plane and heading to Miami, one of the only places in the country currently untouched by this mess:

So much cold, so much snow.
So much cold, so much snow.

… where I will meet my husband for a lovely long weekend and to attend his work Christmas party where all of his co-workers and their spouses will be waiting to meet me and look at me and talk to me and realize how ugly and stupid and weird and lame I am…

Ah ha!!

I’m stressed. Stressed backward is desserts. So I’m eating desserts. Doing the opposite.

It’s science, don’t think too hard about it.

And the reason I’m stressed?

Really… it’s because I’m terrified. And even worse, I am certain that all of Seth’s coworkers and their spouses and basically all of the people of Miami are going to hate me.

What’s not to hate?! My jaw is so square. My hair is going to be so frizzy (Miami?! of all places!! with this HAIR?!). I haven’t lost any weight (I wanted to lose weight first!) and my clothes come from Target. I’m almost thirty-ONE and I have ZERO kids and I’m a NERD. A huge nerd. I really wish my right eye would open up as far as my left. Oh god oh god oh god. What am I even going to WEAR? What in my closet is the least make-you-hate-me-able of all???


Cheese and rice.

I have got to stop.


I assume that everyone who meets me down in Miami is going to hate me.

All evidence points to the contrary, of course– Seth loves these people and they love him back. Seth is awesome and Seth chose me so of course they’ll love me too. And if they don’t? B… F… D…

Not everybody clicks, and that’s ok. A truffle for everyone, you know?

But maybe it would be better to head to Miami with my jack-o-lantern full of candy before I start knocking on doors, if you know what I mean. To ditch the assumptions and just emussa instead that everyone is going to love me. That’s the opposite, of course.

Think it could be that simple?


Probably. And here’s why.


… I assumed that Theresa wouldn’t want to be in my book club because she was pretty and wearing fancy jewelry and drinking a fancy drink and married to a doctor and just seemed so cool. She overheard me telling someone else about it, though, and begged me to let her in. We’ve been texting ever since. I really, really like her.

… I assumed that Kristen wouldn’t want to be my friend because she’s pretty and thin and a pediatrician and therefore a “class A” doctor (not kidding about the classification system at my place of employment, that’s real), but today, after we ate lunch together, which we do pretty regularly, that Grumpy Gus told me I had “lifted her spirits” and wished me well  on my trip to Miami. We’re hanging out for my birthday next week.

… I assumed that my very young friend Emily (like younger than my sister AND brother) wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore after our mutual slightly-closer-to-both-our-ages-friend moved away over the summer, but Emily’s coming to my birthday dinner next week too. And also we do yoga and crafts and watch trash tv together. Traaaaaaash.


I wonder how much time, stress, and probably desserts, I could have saved myself from wasting, experiencing, and eating, respectively, had I gone in emussa-ing instead??? Not to mention how much cooler I could have played it if I hadn’t been busy trying to keep them from hating me instead of letting them like me like they were always going to do. (That’s a super confusing sentence. Leaving it.)

Eventually, this afternoon, I went to a little mini holiday party and ate some cocktail weenies (oy, so good) and got over it just a bit. I chatted with some people from another department (who I originally assumed hated me… but totally don’t– another excellent example of that assuming crap) and stopped the spiral. I’m going to face the day tomorrow essuma-ing instead of assume-ing and everyone is going to love me in Miami.

Or not. But it honestly doesn’t matter.

Regardless, the weather will certainly be warmer and I’ll get to spend a bit of time with my long lost husband (it’s really only two weeks, I’m being dramatic) and (you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around) that’s what it’s all about!



Coincidentally, I’ve talked about assuming before. But unfortunately, Tim Haight never taught me what happens when you assume something about yourself. Like that you’re super hate-worthy. Lessons are so much more difficult to learn on your own. I wish Tim were here.

He’d probably hate me anyway 😉


I’m so neurotic. You knew that already. Don’t hate me, k?

A nerdy girl’s happy accident.

Kind of a crazy night last night. Definitely not what I expected. Fortunately for a “nerdy girl” like me, expectations aren’t always meant to be met.

We’ve gotten our fair share of snow here in central Wisconsin over the last couple of weeks and my husband and I had a shoveling date (su-per romantic) planned for after work. In retrospect, I should have eaten a snack before hand. But I didn’t. So an hour and a half and goodness knows how many shovel-fulls of snow later, I was much more hungry than I generally like to be. (Seriously, I do not handle hunger well– it makes me panicky. You’d think I’d have experienced food insecurity or something in my life the way I behave. But nope. Just food neuroses.) I was also sweaty and had cra-a-a-zy hair from sweating while wearing a hat and being constantly bombarded with snow blower snow dust. To complete the look: yoga pants tucked into snow boots. I believe this is what the kids call a “hot mess.”

I dragged my starving butt back to the truck and the husb (because “hubs” really doesn’t make sense to me– that’s not the order the letters go in!) and I decided we’d get Culvers (mmmm… butter burger…) and soon! But two quick errands first!

We went to Fleet Farm first. I was starving, so it was unpleasant. But my ridiculous looking self fit right in. In fact, there’s probably no better place in all of Marshfield to show off the kind of look I was rocking right then, to be honest. It was a quick trip, in and out, and back to the car and one more stop to go!

But that’s where my expectations went awry.

I had never actually been to a book signing, I’d only seen them on tv, really, and I expected the author to be sitting at a table, surrounded by stacks of her books and a personal assistant or security guard or something. I expected to walk in, wait in a line, have my book signed, and go.

What I forgot was that I live in Marshfield, Wisconsin, population 19,000-ish, yoga pants tucked into snow boots pretty much a-o-k November through February. (Fine, March. Whatever.) And the author was too. So this was not a made-for-tv book signing.

It was actually quite a bit better than that!

The Marshfield Public Library was hosting author Lisa Boero, who wrote the book Murderers and Nerdy Girls Work Late. (Oh, and also FIVE more in the series! Woot!) It was the first book we read as a book club and it was awesome. And different. So different.

Nerdy Girls
{Available on Amazon!}

You see, Liz Howe, Nerdy Girl heroine, has prosopagnosia, or face blindness. She cannot recognize faces. Interestingly, Lisa Boero, Nerdy Girl author, also has face blindness. So she’s actually writing her super clever fiction from a place of personal experience– and that made for a really interesting talk last night! (Because that’s what it was, a reading, a talk, a Q&A, PLUS a book signing… there’s my happy accident!) It was fascinating to hear not only what Lisa had to say about her condition and her fictional character with her real condition, but also to hear all of the questions people asked her. Most interesting of all, and very Under-the-Tapestry-relevant was her reason for writing about it.

Lisa knew she had a really hard time recognizing people– she thought she was stupid. Although she acquired prosopagnosia sometime around the age of 12 (coinciding with removal of a brain tumor), Lisa had no idea that her issues were even a legitimate medical concern until she started dating her husband, who happens to be a neurologist, in her 20s. She never even thought to ask. Instead, the number one driver in her life was the desire to be “normal” at any cost.

But now Lisa Boero has a 10-year-old daughter and what she wants for her is to know that when you experience a hardship, you can use it as a springboard for growth. (Her example: another rejection letter about her book? at least it’s not a brain tumor!) And that no matter what, you should never hide who you are. But how could she ask that of her daughter if she couldn’t do that for herself? So she did do it for herself. She came out about her condition to her friends and family (her husband knew, of course, but her kids had no idea) and “nerdy girl” Liz was born.

And Liz is fascinating. Lisa is too.

Sound familiar?

Probably not, because what Lisa Boero went through was pretty extreme. But I just kept thinking that it was such a good lesson. An extreme example of something crazy common. That middle school desire to be normal, no matter what. To fit in in any way that you can and hide your true self away if you can’t. Lisa seems to recognize now that having prosopagnosia is something that makes her extraordinarily unique… and exceptionally interesting to a lot of people, not just neurologists. Myself included.

As I sat in the next to last row with my crazy hair and dripping snow boots, I was absolutely mesmerized. I loved listening to Lisa talk and despite my ridiculously loud stomach screaming “Feed me, Seymour!” every 30 seconds or so, the hour and a half long “book signing” just flew by. Not only that, but I took the opportunity to get signed up for the Marshfield Public Library Adult Winter Reading Program and earned NINE entries into the prize drawings for registering and attending the book signing. Double bonus, much? This is way better than BookIt! (Unless what I end up winning is a pizza gift certificate… then it’s exactly like BookIt…)

A little while ago, my friend Adriane who co-shares (not a real thing) my Kindle account (shhhhh) forced me to read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks… it’s essentially a series of case reports about people with strange neurological disorders. While I technically read it, I didn’t really internalize it, probably because I couldn’t really imagine the people described in the real world. But now I can. And I’m fascinated. I think I’m going to give that man and his wife/hat another shot… there may be more nerdy girls in there and I need to re-visit that possibility!

When snowflakes fall…

A rough couple of days around these parts.  My sweet puppy girl had surgery on her knee again today (her first knee surgery was back in October) and we’re in for another 4 weeks of recovery.  She’s a very high energy, snow loving puppy… so keeping her calm for four more weeks with snow on the ground is going to be a huge challenge.  And my heart breaks for the pain I know she’s going to have to endure all over again. I just feel so bummed out for her.

Snowy Pup

But while I was out shoveling four fresh inches of snow off our driveway, Frank Sinatra’s I Wish You Love kept running through my head:

I wish you shelter from the storm, a cozy fire to keep you warm,

But, most of all, when snowflakes fall, I wish you love.

My Curly girl is going to be bummed about all the snow and her inability to run, frolic, and burrow in it like she loves to do, but she will have all the love in the world, that’s for sure! Hopefully some snuggling, a sedative or two (this time around, we’re getting smart about this!), and a couple weeks of R&R will have Curly all fixed up.  And I suppose we can take her out for a snowy little snack every once in a while– the world is Curly’s snow cone!