Friday, December 4, 2015

Frozen Pipes and Star Analogy

Making friends with the neighbors
Do you ever start looking back through old photos and sort of get lost in time.  Our Decembers have often been interesting months.  Most notably, of course, was two years ago when our daughter was born in the midst of an Alaskan snow storm. 
So Tiny!
But both the year before that and just last year, December was the month the temperatures finally dropped low enough and long enough for our pipes to freeze despite our pipes being wrapped with electric heat tape and in frequent use. 
The inside of our windows come December

It was a bother, but really, not that big of a deal.  Especially in the lower 48 here, we can become so used to having things a certain way, anything else becomes shocking and pitiful.  But so many people up there live in dry cabins anyway, our being without running water for those few weeks at a time was generally regarded as a minor inconvenience. 
 There were water stations in town where you simply hauled your tank (be it pickup bed sized or the 7 gallon blue ones like we had) and filled up whenever you were in town.  We were thankfully close enough to the Fox springs to be able to fill up with that pure water without having to drive into town.  Or, if we were really in a pinch, we had all the water we wanted right outside our door.  All we had to do was set pots of snow on the stove to melt and boil. 
He loved this job!  Good science experiment, too!
 Being careful to avoid the yellow or brown patches, of course.  An older, single nurse from the hospital I worked at up there said she felt much more prepared to survive in the winter than in the summer should something happen, because she had all that fresh water all around her and a stove to heat it on!
December 2012
December 2014

Tiny bits for washing dishes.  Showers were obviously out of the question, but washing up with a washcloth was usually sufficient.  We would give the babies shallow baths in the galvanized tub.  Then use that water to spot clean laundry.  An outhouse would have been nice.  And I really understand the relatively high density of outhouses in the area.  One flush takes a lot of water!  You just get used to thinking about things differently and learn not to waste something even so common as water. 
At the plumbing store...again.
And then the electricity would go out every so often, but every house out of town had a stove.  Maybe this sounds crazy, but looking back, I really appreciate how those times grew me and caused me to get creative and see things in a new way.  It’s so rewarding to be thrust into a potentially dangerous situation like that and come through with flying colors.  Like a victory.  I am very grateful for our new home here in Oregon and love that we get to settle here, but I hope I never lose the lessons I’ve learned nor forget the adventures we’ve had in Alaska.

Okay, enough reminiscing.  I guess what I was leading to is gratefulness.  I know Thanksgiving is over, but it really should be a mindset rather than a single holiday, anyway.  Choose to be content, to be grateful for the things you do have, especially during this crazy month of gifting.  Remember all we have been given, the best gift of the offer of Living Water with the birth of Jesus!  Yeah, that’s “Christianeese.”  I’ve got to stop that, but I like the analogy.  Jesus Spirit living with those who love Him is likened to Living Water that is vital for full life and quenches the thirsty soul.  !  I love Christmas as much as the next person, but it’s just the beginning of the story!  The climax will have to wait until Eastertime, though! =)

We haven’t really started celebrating yet, mostly waiting until after our upcoming birthday party, although Christmas tunes are finally playing regularly.  We did do one activity in preparation for Christmas that I thought I would share because I feel like it was a fun learning activity for my littles.  We had an apple that was starting to look like it was dehydrating from the outside after it had sat on the shelf for much too long.  I brought the littles over to watch for the hidden star as I sliced the apple around its girth.  What delight when they found the familiar shape in the middle. 
 As I continued to cut thin slices to (finish) dehydrating for our popcorn/cranberry garland, I told them about the star that shone when Jesus was born, that the shepherd’s saw in the fields and that the wise men followed for their long journey.  The star was there for everyone to see, but the wise men knew what to look for, sort of like how we knew how to look for the star in the apple.  I’m not sure if the analogy played out perfectly, but it was fun to talk about as we worked together.  I’m always up for new Christmas ideas and I know there are tons of amazing traditions and ways to celebrate Christmastime out there.  I’m curious, how do you start off the season? 
Sorry for the dark photos!  Sometimes life doesn't happen in perfect lighting! =)

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