Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Holidays, Snow, and Saying Hello to 2017

It's hard to believe but the holidays have come and gone and once again we're saying hello to another new year. Honestly, I'm NOT going to miss 2016! I know I'm not alone when I say the previous year was quite a challenging one. I'm hopeful that this year will be much better!

During Thanksgiving, we had a family get together at my mom and dad's. My sister and her family were able to come up from Nebraska for the festivities. Neither of my brothers were able to make it, but for good reason, as they were both able to return work on the oil rigs. 

Faith celebrating Thanksgiving with her cousins
Me, Tesa, Dawn - sisters!
 Thanksgiving is a great reminder that even in the midst of tough times, there is always something to be thankful for. I continue to give thanks my parents and most of my family lives nearby and that I have enjoyed being in good health. I am also thankful we were finally able to hire respite care, and that we found the perfect person to work with Faith!

Shortly after Thanksgiving, both Rob and Faith took turns having really bad colds. It didn’t help that winter had arrived in full force. It's crazy that on Thanksgiving Day, both my nephews were outside in short-sleeved shirts, and the Monday after, we had our first major snowstorm of the season. 

My nephews, Donnie and Preston on Thanksgiving
A few days after Thanksgiving
The following week, we got hit again, but this time it was with a 3-day blizzard that shut down the entire city. Faith had been scheduled for a doctor's appointment but we couldn't go because the clinic she needed to go to had closed. Even if the clinic had been open, however, we would not have been able to get out of our parking lot.

The worst part of Faith being sick was that she had a really bad cough that was keeping her from getting any rest. We were going to try to get out of our parking lot to get her some medicine, but we heard it was best not to venture out. Thankfully, some friends of ours were able to get out in their 4-wheel drive pickup and get some cough medicine for her!

On Thursday, even though the temperatures were well below zero, we managed to get Faith to her chiropractor appointment, and then a walk-in clinic. Because her throat was so red and sore, they tested her for strep, which turned out negative. 

Faith is getting ready to face the frozen tundra.
The weather continued to be a major challenge all through December with a Christmas blizzard thwarting holiday plans for many people. We got another 12.5 inches of snow, making it the 4th snowiest winter on record in Bismarck. While we didn't have much planned, it did prevent us from going to my mom and dad's on Christmas Day. Instead, Mom had a small gathering on Christmas Eve where we ate our traditional meal of homemade pizza. It was a small but fun gathering and I even learned how to play a new board game - Apples to Apples, which my dad won! 

Part of our small Christmas Eve gathering.
My mom and dad on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Day, Rob made it to church by himself. For a while it looked like the blizzard that had been forecast for days wasn't going to hit after all. It may have arrived later than expected, but it hit a lot harder than people thought it would. At one point while sitting on our couch, I looked out our patio door and couldn't even see past our balcony. The city once again shut down.

Because the snow was so incredibly heavy, even the snow plows were getting stuck. All that could be used to clear the streets were front loaders. My dad told me Bismarck had 350 miles of streets - that's a lot of plowing that needs to get done! Many people were stuck in their homes for 4 or 5 days because their street had not yet been cleared. According to my in-laws, our Christmas blizzard even made the news in Toronto! Earlier this week, Bismarck received another 8.5 inches, putting us over 50 inches, making it the snowiest winter on record. 

Besides all the challenges of the past year, and the harsh winter weather, my husband lost two of his uncles, and a family friend from the church in which I grew up, passed away quite unexpectedly. She was only 47.

Lots of snow!
I'm not sure what my dad would do this winter without his Bobcat!
Faith has the right idea - snuggling under her new blanket!
Despite the difficulties that 2016 held, we can still remember that God is on the throne. With Him, there is always a way - even when it looks impossible. I pray the year 2017 brings much hope and restoration, and that we all find something to rejoice in each and every day.