How Old Is Your Winter Coat?

I have a cherry tree in my backyard that is so confused. I looked out the other day and saw every branch filled with pink blossoms! Made me want to walk out and have a little chat. ???????????????????????????????

Me: “What’s with this winter weather?”

Tree: “I know. A few days ago, it got so warm, something inside me said I should put forth NOW! And then it snowed! I’m so confused. Is it spring or winter?”

Then I look up to snap another picture and see this clear blue sky that could be fall or spring in Tennessee. After days of grayness and drizzle, but warm temps, we suddenly have clear blue skies. What’s a tree to do, but bloom!???????????????????????????????

Mid-January we had such a warm Friday that we went to a nearby Sonic for ice cream. Notice – no coats are needed, and we’re sitting outside!Icecream

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2.1AMSaturday morning, February 1st, I look out and see this little dusting of snow. My plans were to attend the second day of Women of Hope Conference a few miles away in Murfreesboro, Friends picked me up, and we head south. Traffic slows down to a crawl when we reach I-24. The roads are not slick but we are sitting in a parking lot. As we check the road reports and call husbands back at home, we learn there has been a big accident ahead of us, but still in Nashville. Just as we are considering exiting at the next ramp, we see a line of cars trying to creep up the hill of the ramp. So we stay where we are; the roads get a little icier, and it begins to snow.???????????????????????????????I.24.aI.24.cI.24.d

Once we pass the bottleneck of traffic (accidents were on the OTHER side of the interstate) we find snow-covered lanes. We were back down to creeping along. It was a beautiful snow if you weren’t trying to get somewhere. Took us 3 hours to drive 45 miles. Arrived in one piece. Glad I took my turn at driving on Friday night, but somehow I still got stiff shoulders.

This month has been that crazy swing of warmer temperatures and then back down to freezing at night. We expect this type of weather in March in this part of the country, but it’s been this way all winter. Which brings me to the question in the title.

I bought a nice long winter coat back in 1988 or 1989. It was an investment; it’s hard for me to part with $100 for any one piece of clothing, but I knew it would last a long time. Little did I know that I’d still be wearing it 25 years later! It really is a very nice coat. Over the years I’ve added accessories, so I can go black or red or mix them up. But I’m telling you it has no worn spots on it, no stains, it never wrinkles. It’s a practical gray tweed that also never shows dirt. How smart was I to buy such a coat? I can’t wear it out! And why is that? Middle Tennessee weather.

Black Accessories

Black Accessories

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Red Accessories

Lest you feel sorry for poor me having to wear this 25 year old coat, I am embarrassed to show you how many other coats and jackets I have in my closet. But they are not worn out either! It’s ridiculous! I have a long leather coat, a long heavy all-weather coat, and etc., etc.

This reminds me of Jen Hatmaker’s book, Seven, when she went a month wearing only 7 items of clothing. The first weekend she began this, it snowed in Austin, Texas and a coat was NOT one of the 7 items!

Growing up in Michigan I remember wearing a green wool coat with matching leggings – an absolute must for your legs because we were wearing dresses to school back in the 50’s.

Brother Steve and I, Detroit, Michigan

Brother Steve and I, Detroit, Michigan

But I also remember Mama making me a spring coat because every Easter you could count on cold weather. What’s a spring coat? It was a lightweight wool, often in a pastel or creamy white. That’s probably what I need now instead of this heavy coat. But wait, I had a white coat in college. Wonder what happened to it?

Such ramblings about clothing! But this reminds me of a comment Mama made on one of her visits home from Africa. She was a nurse in Ghana, West Africa so visits home in the winter required some juggling to find warm clothing. Since she did not have a home in the States she alternated staying with one of her kids. Most of her belongings were stored or scattered among the four of us.

She realized that one of the reasons we have so many clothes is that our clothing does not wear out quickly because of the seasons. In Ghana there was very little change in weather temperature throughout the year. She just kept wearing those cotton dresses or skirts and blouses over and over.AfricaMama024 You don’t need a coat or even a raincoat in West Africa. During the “rainy season”, it rains for maybe 15 minutes in the afternoon. The other season was all about dust that blew in from the Sahara Desert.  Dust hovered over everything and gave a the sky a cloudy look.

Do you complain about the weather or do you give thanks? When we don’t live a life that is controlled by weather, it is easy to just complain. The farmer knows drought, flood, freezing temperatures on tender plants, and if the farmer is wise, leaves the results in God’s hand. For who can control the weather? Oh, we’ve made great attempts to minimize the effects of a flood; farmers in Florida coat their fruits with water in anticipation of freezing temperatures. But do we give thanks for stormy days?

I will write my list of thanks at the end of this post, but read this quote about naming gifts. Here is the blessing in paying attention to daily changes in the temperature or finding a blessing in driving on snow and ice.

To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God. To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.

John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy

I thank God for these blessings and count it all joy:

  • safe travel through the snow and slick roads
  • traveling with friends who keep the conversation flowing and ease the tension
  • pink blossoms in February, reminding me Spring is coming
  • warm coats and gloves and hats
  • the beauty of limestone cliffs and trees covered in snow
  • warm days in the middle of winter to enjoy a walk in the park and an ice cream cone
  • cloudless skies of cobalt blue
  • the science of weather God set in motion when He created the world

JoyMartell

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