Embracing the Storm

In anticipation of the snow this past week, in hopes of my husband being home more than usual because of the snow, and with the knowledge that Valentine's dinner was being made at home this year, I made a huge grocery run on Sunday...and then made another one on Tuesday, and maybe a third small one on Wednesday ;)  My plan for meals was based largely on the fact that it was Valentine's Week and that I wanted to show a little extra love to my family.  First up, love for my hubby...I decided to go the pasta route and feed into my husband's Italian roots; Penne with Creamy Sausage Tomato Ragu was a winner.  Next up, love for myself...hey, I didn't say this was all selfless:  Pork Verde Tacos with Ranch Salsa Angel Hair Coleslaw.  The pork was made in the crockpot, and the coleslaw was a cinch, making dinner that night incredibly easy and fun for all involved.  Love for my kids was shown with a special trip to The Children's Museum and to The Porch for hot chocolate with some of our best friends in town, and by making Salmon with Miso Sauce and yummy sides for dinner (that may not sound very kid friendly, but as I really DO NOT like salmon, and my kids love "pink fish" it really was for them.)  And the weekend was wrapped up with love for my marriage and my favorite Valentine's Day dinner to date.  George grilled Filet Mignon, and I made Lemony Shrimp Risotto!

So, enough about the cheesiness of Valentine's Week...you know I had to go there before getting a little more serious ;)

This week, we were saddled with a bunch of snow days.  One of my friends pointed out that this was a fun time to spend with family, hunkered down, literally not able to go anywhere, and just perfect for spending intentional time together.  Well, that's exactly what we did.  We embraced our "storm": we went sledding, we built snowmen, we took naps, we made brownies, we played games, we had great fun with friends, I sat on the floor more last week with my kids than I have in probably the last month.  We had an awesome day and a half with our daddy.  We rode down the driveway in a kayak!  We showed our super powers (mine is x-ray vision,) and we did cartwheels.  We did everything we were supposed to do to make the most of our snow days.  The week literally flew by.

In stark contrast, my friends and family in Augusta/Aiken endured one of the longest weeks that many of them had ever experienced.  Their activities were the same: spending time with family, hunkering down, literally not going anywhere, but all of it was viewed in a different light.  Their intentional time together looked very different than ours.  They were intentional about taking care of each other.  They were in survival mode taking care of their own selves/families, and they were also intentional about helping out their neighbors, friends, families, and strangers.  There was no enjoying being a kid by playing in the snow because there WAS no snow...there was only ice.  I will tell you, though, that the posts and messages that I saw from these friends were inspiring.  They made the most of a bad situation...they invited friends and family to have sleepovers, they made forts, they had movie nights in their cars, they cooked over campfires, they told stories by the fire, they cut trees apart to clear the roads, they delivered meals to the emergency crews, they moved trees with their bare hands to get to the hospitals to take care of people and deliver new babies into the world, they survived an earthquake!  They embraced the simplicity of life when there are no distractions and when comforts have been taken away...they saw that taking care of each other was more important than their own comforts, and I literally got chills reading their stories.  I KNOW it wasn't easy, but these people, my friends, were/are amazing.  So, for all of you in  Augusta and beyond, you are still in my prayers. Thank you for showing us all glimpses of how to truly "embrace the storm." 

Sometimes, embracing our "storm" is something that we choose to do, and we reap the benefits immensely.  Sometimes, it's forced upon us in the most unlikely of circumstances.  This week has been a great reminder to keep things simple, enjoy the comforts of life that I take for granted, and let myself take each day in stride because I really am one lucky gal.

This is a song that has been on my mind all week, so I thought I'd share the lyrics with you:

 "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns 

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away


I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Happy Cooking!!

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