Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cold, Cold Days

It was last week when I experienced the coldest days of this season. Temperature at night dropped down to -36 degrees Celsius  and rose to -25 degrees in the day time.  When I went out for a walk at noon for barely 3 minutes, my face became numb and my feet felt the painful sting of the cold that seeped through my boots. The air was so thick that it was hard for me to breathe. But I kept going out anyway.

I’ve always loved the cold weather. Back in the Philippines, I lived in the mountainous city of Baguio where the weather is cold most of the year, but not nearly as cold as here. There’s no snow, only cold air, cold wind and thick fogs. And yet, I’ve loved to be hugged by these cold weather elements. Seven degrees Celsius was real cold for us there, and I kept shivering even under the thickest jacket that I had then. When I was about to move here, an American friend warned me of the extreme cold weather that I might encounter, but I said it was ok because I loved the cold. “Good for you,” she replied.

And when I came here, the coldest temperature that I used to enjoy in Baguio faded to insignificance as the winter iciness greeted my arrival. The above zero degrees C at that time sent me freezing like I’ve never felt before. Weird as I am, I just let the frosty air hug me (even while my whole body was shaking)   and tried to suck in the sensation of this new experience. After that, I kept looking forward to colder days and hoping for an extremely lower temperature. I wanted to see how far my body can tolerate cold weather. So far, as I’ve already stated, I’ve been through -36 degrees C, and that was a kind of adventure for me.  Sometimes, when it’s only about minus 15, I feel strangely disappointed. While everyone else likes it warmer, I like it colder. But they said that the colder it gets here, the higher we pay for our electricity. And this is what I can’t understand since we never adjust our heaters higher than what we use.

This week, it’s still cold, and the weather forecasts keep warning of more extreme coldness in the days to come. But then, like the saying, “The darkest hour in the night is before the dawn,” the coldest days of winter are before the spring. Of course, I also love spring and I’m eagerly waiting for that too. But while waiting, I want to relish every minute of the extreme coldness and the remaining snowfall in these last days of winter. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Season's Updates

We’re still in the thick of winter and mounds of snows keep expanding as snowplows clear the snows from the roads and sidewalks and pile them up over the snow mounds along the roadsides or parks. And yes, it still snows sometimes.

There were days recently when the atmosphere seemed like spring.  The towering pine and spruce trees shook off their loads of snows and their needles came out fresh and light green. The air was saturated with the sweet breath of spring.

The sun climbs higher in the sky now and daylight is longer. It keeps getting longer each day until summertime. 

 Most days, the sky displays an array of beautifully formed clouds with brilliant colors. 

Some days the sun shines warmly and the sky is clear blue.  

Other days are misty and the trees are either bare or coated thickly with hoar frosts.

These are days perfect for skiing. Many go to some ski trails, ski resorts on a hill or to  "fjällen" (the mountains between Sweden and Norway) and have some fun skiing or learning to ski.

Indeed, this season is filled with surprisingly beautiful things, from the ground to the sky, morning, noon and night. 

I always find myself struck with awe as something new in the atmosphere catches my eyes. There’s always something out there that makes a difference, something delightful to see, some kind of small blessings.



The winter birds too keep flying mirthfully from one tree to another, singing and luxuriating in the splendor of the season. 

Like them, I’m enjoying the season while it lasts, and my heart joins them in singing the glory of winter beauty and praising the Creator who, out of his love for us,  graced our home planet with such wondrous things in order for us enjoy living.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Since we moved to this country, there have been many friends who have shown us extraordinary kindness. Their warm welcome, their wholehearted support, their limitless assistance and their friendship made me feel at home. They have always been around for us - from the moment we arrived at the airport down to this very day, and have proved to be reliable friends and companions. Their kindness makes my heart swell with overwhelming gratitude and moves me to make something to let them know of my appreciation and my thankfulness for what they have done. 

One such caring person is an old friend of my husband, who has joyfully helped us in so many ways. For all that he has done for us, I was inspired to make these gifts for him.

A Thank You card

And a bouquet of paper tulips that I myself made. 
A year ago, I crafted such flowers for our decor, and when he came to our home, he looked at them with admiration and expressed his appreciation. So I figured a similar bouquet might make a good gift for him.

Truly, it feels wonderful to express our appreciation and gratitude to those who have done us something good.  And it's a noble thing to let them know that they are appreciated, for it may make a world of difference to them.

This 3-minute video, Appreciation , shows us the value of expressing gratitude and appreciation. Watching it warmed my heart, and so I recommend that everyone view it too.