Embrace the current season of your life. – Gabrielle Blair

As I was driving home tonight, I was blinded by the light. The sun was glaring in my eyes. I looked at the clock and it is 5:45 and there is still light.  For anyone living in the tundra, this observation is a welcome sign that spring is near. We made it. We have made it through another winter. 

Winter symbolically is a hard season, known for its harsh elements, solitude, darkness, quiet, and lifelessness. Everything seems to be on pause or muttering through until the first signs of light again. When the world was designed, it was done  with beauty, even in those dark moments of winter, as the cycle of the seasons so perfectly match our seasons of life. The new life of spring, the lively days of summer, the death of fall, and the wait of winter. If you are fortunate enough to go around the sun year after year, you can start to appreciate the ways the seasons work and blend into your own life.

Lately I have found myself in a wintery season. Yes, we have new life, which would lead one to think that I am in more of a spring season, but emotionally, I have been feeling vey wintery. Everything is just a bit harsher lately and sometimes I feel very alone in my own thoughts. We are waiting for the days that we can get out and do things, but right now I sometimes feel rather trapped and alone, even though I have three beautiful children who are always close by. My husband and I are spending so much time being present and raising our children or working hard to develop our professional craft, that we have not given our relationship the time and attention it needs. Right now we are surviving and making it through, but we are not growing in our relationship or growing together. We are in a winter.

To take the metaphor a step farther, in winter the roots of strong trees do not disappear, they are just silent. The bulbs that will bring beautiful flowers are just waiting for their chance to sprout. Life and beauty is still there, hidden under the snow, patiently waiting for their chance to show their full potential.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. – proverb

Feeling the light on my face the other night reminded me that this hard time will end. This season will end. They always do. That is how our world works. Spring will come. A new season in our marriage will come. We will have to be intentional about that, but it will come. Winter is the hardest season but it comes every year. My husband and I are in  a winter, but that does not mean we are in trouble, it means we are going through the normal cycles of life, marriage, relationships. It is how we emerge from this winter that will show the strength of our marriage. Literally, we do this with our surroundings at the end of every winter. Once all the snow is melted, we will look around to see what else has survived the winter, or what needs repairing, or replanting. Each year we have this chance to re-evaluate our surroundings, make adjustments, and try again next year.

There is some comfort in knowing the predictability of the harsh season and being able to prepare for it.   We need to be doing that in all our facets of our life: Enjoying the wonderful seasons but also carefully laying the ground work to prepare for the harsh ones. Having lived in Minnesota for 6 years now, I have learned about the summer tasks that must happen to be ready for the long winters, such as taking the hose off the house so you do not have a frozen pipe, or making sure the gutters are cleared so that you do not have an ice dam, or growing a gigantic garden so you can make homemade sauce…eventually. However, I have not been as diligent or intentional when it comes to life’s figurative seasons and preparing for them, even though I should know by now that with all the good, the hard will come too.

Every season has its purpose. My grandma was a woman of her own type of faith, but one thing she really made sure to reiterate time and time again with me, was the importance of understanding that everything has a reason. Everything. She was right.  Winter is this brutal season of struggle. However, there is also the profound feeling of success when you come through the harsh season. I was recently talking with my sister-in-law about struggling and how it is hard to struggle and even harder to watch your child struggle. But, how important it is in both your own life and your child’s to go through the struggle. In the struggle is the learning and the growth. As both parents and educators, we know this. It is harder when it is you or your child dealing with it, but emotions aside, we know that an appropriate level of struggle is actually really good for us. As I felt the glow of the sun, it gave me hope that the growth has happened, this lesson has been learned, and it is time for new life, or a new perspective, moving forward. This winter has served its purpose. 

While I reflect on this current wintery season and rejoice in the coming light, I have these take aways about seasons, change, and growth:

Each season has a time.

Be fully present in each season, as they are intentionally designed.

Be open to the change each season will create.

Prepare for the hard seasons, while embracing the good seasons.

Every season has a purpose.

Make sure you do not leave the season without learning its purpose and be humble enough to grow from it.

So here I am. Reflecting and listening. Waiting and growing. Struggling and pushing forward. I will get through this season and I will love my spring and summer, but I  also know that winter will come again.

Baby Jail. Life from the inside.

Oh my dear girly and little man…

See this sweet face right here. She is your sister. Your beautiful, sleepy, baby sister.


One day she will be one of your best friends. You will have a relationship with her that is unlike any other relationship you have. You will have adventures together and be each other’s “person” to turn to when life gets hard or to celebrate when life is wonderful.

But today is not that day. Today, she is the reason we are stuck inside. She is the reason we are not building a snowman or sledding. She is why we are home today. Yes, I know that you would love to be outside… But I am just one person and Daddy is not home, so I can’t take a 3 year old and a 1 1/2 year old outside, leaving the baby inside alone. I do not trust you outside alone yet, and our sweet baby is way too little and just getting better from being sick.  It is winter. We live in the tundra. When we go outside in the winter, one of you loses a boot and the other one loses a glove. And I spend more time getting your gear on than we actually spend outside. We are not going outside today.

Daddy calls the stage we are in “baby jail.” Our choices are limited. Things are not quite as easy to do as they once were or how easy they will be again when you all are a bit older. We try to be flexible, but frankly, when you little ones do not get enough sleep or when you are sick, you are bears. We have learned it is best to let you do your sleeping and eating thing rather uninterrupted when you are babies. It makes everything smoother. So , for now, we will stay home, hunkered down, and let your little sister sleep and eat. Sleep and eat.

Daddy struggles with “baby jail” because he does not like leaving things early or not being able to do things during the day because we have you three little ones. I wish we could do more too. But, the reality of all that is that once we get wherever we think would be a great time, one of you goes running around banging things or people, the other has some sort of melt-down, and without a doubt someone will poop their pants. So, we have learned, as monotonous as it may seem, we do better at home. (Remember, we tried an outdoor adventure, that led to us driving home from camping at 1 in the morning?)

It is easy for us to get sad about not being able to be outside playing or going on adventures. But then, I decided that we would change our perspective on this… We can have a lot of fun at home:

We can play with play  with play dough and create things!

 Mr. Man will throw play dough and chase after the big sister with his play dough tools…all while having a piece of play dough in his mouth.

We can paint and explore colors!

  We can also eat the paint… and wander around the house with paint covered hands, while mama feeds the baby.

We can build a fort… and climb under it…but really it is more fun to climb on it.

If it looks like Mr. Man is preparing to jump on the fort, you would be correct.


We can play with our trucks and drive into mama.

Shortly after I took this picture, the truck became an airborne plane.

During Mr. Man’s nap time, we can have some mama-girly time, making your Valentines for school. We can build them, write your letter A on them, and get them ready for all your friends.

It was fun for the first 10….But you have 16 people in your class to make them for.

We have a lot of things we can do at home to help us grow and learn and enjoy our time together. We are in the “baby jail” stage right now. I know that our moments are not perfect. They are a mess and at times one of us is crying. However, I love my moments with you. Even the chaotic ones. I love watching you grow and explore. I feel guilty that we have you in “baby jail” with us…as if we are hurting your childhood somehow. I have to remind myself that we are trying to make the most of the moments we have together and that one day soon, when all 3 of you are old enough to walk and explore, we will have plenty of adventures outside and in new places. We just are not in that stage yet. Even though I do not love picking up the kitchen for the 15th time today and have put the same toys away more times then I thought possible, our home, our “baby jail”, is filled with enough love and adventure for our family today.

You keep growing and smiling.

And baby sister will keep sleeping…


(it is better than when she is crying.)

In just a little time, your big, outside adventures will begin. You will be so glad to share the memories with each other and it will be worth the wait.

Mama and Daddy’s adventures began the day your were born.

… A pretty incredible life sentence…

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