Tag Archives: snow

A Lesson from Dad

Today was the first day I had to drive in the snow all season. First, we haven’t had any snow until last week, and traffic was at a stand still in many places. It was actually ridiculous, because everyone knew it was coming for two days. I can never understand that. 

Today we were at a meeting in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, and it lasted until about 3:30 pm. When we came out, our vehicle was completely covered, as were the roads. It wasn’t a white-knuckle drive back to the office, because we took our time. After all, I had my staff with me too. And as we drove north, the snow was less and less, which was a relief! After dropping off my staff at the office, I continued on home. As I was coming through our housing plan, my neighbors were snow blowing and shoveling their driveways — we had less than 1″ of snow! It was almost comical.

My Dad snow blowing the driveway after a big snowfall. Gosh how I miss him!!!

My Dad snow blowing the driveway after a big snowfall. Gosh how I miss him!!!

Then, as I was looking through my photos to update my cover picture, I came across this photo today of my Dad. There he was smiling at me as he ran the snow blower in the driveway at home. I try to think what he may have been saying to me — I don’t remember, but whatever it was, he was making a joke, because he was laughing. I can tell by the look on his face. Memories flooded back! I thought, “wow, what a perfect day for this photo to pop out at me.” We lived in the country with beautiful pine trees everywhere and no neighbors in sight. The snow would stick to the branches — it was diamonds sparkling on the limbs. Now that I live in Cranberry, and I do have neighbors, it’s not quite the same. Okay, it’s nothing like how I grew up. The serenity is gone, and now I live in a fish bowl.

My Dad worked hard to give us the home we grew up in, and he loved the land where he built our home. He taught us to love the outdoors and enjoy the beauty of it. Every year we hiked the entire property, and Dad would spray his land markers with fluorescent paint. He’d show us different mushrooms or where deer traveled by the markings on the trees. We’d hike to this one high spot where you could see over the entire area. It was just amazing. My Dad was so amazing. There was nobody like him. And in the winter, he’d help us make a killer sledding hill, and he even got us these giant inter tubes from someone he knew that had large equipment. Dad made sure we always had fun.

I believe that God gives us these opportunities to see the beauty in life. If I never saw a sunrise or a sunset — wow, how I would have missed out. Or if I had never seen the ocean, or built a snowman — wow, again how I would have missed out. Sometimes we’re in such a rush, we miss all these stunning things around us. All these things that help us find serenity in our lives.

So today, I unexpectedly came across a flood of memories with just one picture. One photograph that I’ll cherish forever. One photograph to remind me to stop every once in a while and enjoy what is all around me. A lesson from Dad.

Always B E L I E V E !

Finding the Beauty

It snowed this entire week — except for maybe Tuesday! By Friday morning, it was snowing again, and I just couldn’t take it — that little bit of added stress on top of everything else was putting me over the edge! If I could have just went back to bed and got up when the sun came out around 10 am, I would have been much more relaxed! To make matters worse, the morning show guys on my radio were joking that we were getting another 3″ on Friday night. I am now officially over the cold, the gray, the sludge, the slop, the ice, the filth and the salt of this winter!!! 

By the time I got home from work, I decided I needed to readjust my attitude on winter, because we still have at least a month to go, including a trip to Ellicottville, NY next weekend! And for me, the next month at work will be packed full of travel and all kinds of new business initiatives — there just was no room for any added stress. Not to mention my CT scan is due and my doctor’s appointment is coming up — all things that typically add to my stress, even when I pretend otherwise — just know they’re looming puts me on edge!

So I told Tom I wanted to go out and find some beauty in this winter. I know it exists as I daydream of a crackling fireplace in a cabin in the woods, while a thick blanket of snow falls outside — having no place to go and nothing to do. Or thinking of pure peacefulness with only the sound of a stream running through a lush green forest after a fresh snowfall. That’s what we needed to find — it’s what I love about winter.

As luck would have it, we got another two inches of snow on Friday night and woke up to a fresh coating on Saturday. We decided to head out to McConnells Mill State Park to practice what we learned in our digital photography class. The class wrapped up this past Thursday, and we were anxious to start practicing the theory. And surely there we could find some unspoiled beauty with McConnells Mill’s covered bridge, running stream and waterfall. Now, believe it or not, neither of us have ever been to McConnells Mill, even though it’s located just 30 minutes north of where we live. We figured this might be the perfect place to actually see the beauty in this relentless winter!

Now, if any of you know my husband, Tom well, you know that he never heads out anywhere without enough gas in the car. As we passed a little two-pump gas station in Harlansburg, he thought maybe he should have stopped — he only had a quarter of a tank of gas. We continued on, and as we got into the park, the roads were snow covered by a few inches. I was following a map on an App I had downloaded, and when we came to a fork in the road, I told him to go right. That way took us to the covered bridge, and we would have to hike to the waterfall. He made the right turn, and there we were facing a very steep slope over the hillside without any guardrails — and we couldn’t even begin to the see how far down it went. But we didn’t have a choice, there was no way to turn around at this point.

McConnells MillAs we crawled over the hillside, I snapped a couple of photos through the windshield with my iPhone. It got really steep, and I was nervous, telling Tom we should have taken my SUV. Tom agreed, but neither of us knew we would encounter these kinds of slopes! I had no idea how far down it went and was really worried about coming out the other side. Tom stopped in the middle and sighed — he was mumbling something about he wished he would have stopped for gas. We decided to get out of the park and get gas so Tom could relax. If we could make it out.

McConnells MillAs we reach the bottom and started climbing up the other side of the slope, Tom was getting worried that the roads were very snow covered on this side — he hoped it didn’t get much steeper. We came up to a Jeep that had stopped in the middle of the hill between two large rocks — rocks the size of small homes. He was really sweating now that we were going to get stuck on the hill. But we didn’t! This view took my breath away — it was amazing. We made it out of the park ten minutes later, and went back to Rt. 19 where Tom found the nearest gas station and bathroom!

We went back again, knowing we could make it in and out now, and actually parked at the covered bridge. Parking was tight as there were quite a few other people had the same idea as we did. It wasn’t as peaceful as we had hoped — I actually couldn’t believe how many people were out there. I tread through some deep snow banks and took some pictures of the stream. I thought it may actually have a lot of ice, but there was none. There was no where to set up the tripod, so we called it a day.

Yes, we found some gorgeous views and the snow was pretty. But I realized that it wasn’t so much about finding the scenic snowscapes, but finding the peace that came with it. For me, finding the beauty this winter means I need find some time to slow down and unwind.

Here I’ve been looking for some reprieve from this winter, realizing it’s peace I’m seeking, and God has been talking to me all week — in the novena that I’ve been praying to St. Francis of Assisi — who is the perfect example of peace. It’s not finding the beauty with my eyes, but finding the beauty within my heart.

Always B E L I E V E .

Cabin Fever

Well, this has been one of the coldest winters I can ever remember. And, while I love the change of seasons, including winter — the single digit temperatures is bone chilling. Mix it with just a little dusting of snow, and we’re talking about a stressful commute to work. Everyone I talked to today commented on how sick they are of winter. I’m tired of the nuisance snow that we get three days of the week.

We’ve been feeling a little winter cabin fever and haven’t done much since new years, so we decided to plan things to get us out of the house a bit. Tom and I are taking a digital photography class and an ancestry class through Butler County Community College. We bought a new digital camera that has all kinds of capabilities, including manual modes. We wanted to get something to take amazing photographs when we travel. And researching our family history has been something Tom and I love to do, but we’ve kind of done all we can on ancestry.com, so we’re looking forward to what else we can do to continue our quest!

We’re also going to the musical Mamma Mia in February for Valentines Day with Paula and Jerry, friends of ours. I love, love, love ABBA — and Mamma Mia — and can’t wait. Tom is a good sport and enjoys musicals too, even though his buddies have been jag gin him. If I can get him dancing in the aisles, you’ll all see a video on here! The following weekend, we have a long weekend trip planned to Ellicottville, NY. We’re hoping it warms up a bit so that we can go tubing at Holiday Valley. If it doesn’t, we’ll still go as long as there are no major snow storms predicted for our trip. We’ll go to the Brewing Company and maybe hit the casino up there. And of course, we’ll take our new camera!

Paint Monkey

Last night, Gert had planned an excursion to Paint Monkey — an art gallery where they give everyone the same picture to paint. It had been more than 20 years since I used acrylic paints — I felt like I was back in art school. It was such a good time — there were seven of us — and we had a lot of laughs. It was amazing to think we could paint a picture in just two hours. If I had another hour, I would have felt better about adding details and shadows! And how appropriate that we painted a beach scene on a night that was 7°! I painted teal water and bright orange flip flops, thinking of my favorite island in the Caribbean. It was truly a bright spot in this cold and gray month of January.

I hope that all of you are finding things to get you out of the house this winter. Or maybe you’re finding more comfort wrapped in a blanket in front of a crackling fireplace. Whatever you’re doing, stay warm, be happy and always believe!

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

Last Blast

Heavy snow coated the trees and branches. It had fallen off by 10 am.

Heavy snow coated the trees and branches. It had fallen off by 10 am. My poor little bird feeder is buried.

Last night, we got one last blast of winter. Now, we didn’t have any “major snowstorms” this year, meaning anything over five or six inches at one time. So, I guess we’ve been very fortunate that way. Today’s snow was the worst by far. But it was absolutely breathtaking this morning! Heavy mounds of snow hung all over the trees. It was gorgeous.

Sid and Ben peeking through the screen door at the snow.

Sid and Ben peeking through the screen door at the snow (it’s hard to see Sid on the right).

Tom and I both worked from home. We were supposed to get 1-3″ in North Pittsburgh, but somehow we ended up with over 6″ — not at all what they predicted. By the time I got out with my camera, the snow was already melted off of the branches. My cats wanted to go outside and play. But then they wouldn’t go out when I opened the door. Scaredy cats!

I’m hopeful to say that this is the last blast of winter for our area! It’s March 6th and the 30-day trend show warming temperatures in the 40–50° zone. Sunday it’s supposed to be 60°! I’m not going to do the happy dance yet, but I’m already getting ready for some serious Spring shopping!!!!