I’ve talked a lot in the past few weeks about renewal and new beginnings. We often think of springtime as the signature time of year for these new beginnings. Spring brings Easter and flowers and warmer days with shorter nights. Yet I have come to learn that we can witness renewals and new beginnings at any time of year, even in the cold days of winter.
For about sixteen years, our family has had a cabin in Colorado that we share with some family and friends. For about that long, Ken has wanted to visit the cabin in the winter, and I have said, absolutely not, no way, no how, I’m not interested. Well, this year, he somehow convinced me to make the trip, and here I sit, typing in my makeshift office–our kitchen table–with the warm, morning sun on my back.
Over the past few days, I’ve seen this beautiful part of the country in a whole new light…
As we flew in on Saturday, I saw more snow-capped mountains than I have ever seen before. There are plenty of views of mountains still topped with snow during the summer and fall, but nothing like the majestic views we saw as we made our descent into Gunnison in Southwest Colorado.
The drive to our cabin provided beautiful vista after beautiful vista, and I kept asking Ken to stop so that I could capture it on my camera and in my mind.
I felt like I was seeing the San Juan Range for the very first time. Everything looked new and spectacular, draped with a blanket of white. The road to our cabin, though plowed, was still covered with snow, and it brought a thrill to see our green roof, matching the evergreens, peeking out from the white that surrounded it. It felt like coming home but in a new and exciting way.
After we went to Church on Sunday (a Communion service at the closest church in Lake City), we drove up a little ways on Cinnamon Pass until the plowing stopped and the road was closed. We discovered ice climbing and decided that next year, when Ken isn’t recovering from shoulder surgery, we would definitely give it a try! We saw frozen waterfalls and snowy peaks glistening in the bright sun, and the glory of God shown around us.
The morning sky at sunrise on Monday was what I think Heaven might look like every day. The vibrant colors that streaked across the sky, contrasted by the dark green trees and white sheet of snow on the earth, made for a spectacular sight.
No matter how times I watch the sun rise over the mountains, it always feels like the first time. It’s such a beautiful reminder that it’s the start of a new day, a new chance, an opportunity for renewal. Seeing the sunrise over the snowy mountains made it even more special.
This morning, we awoke to a fresh coat of snow. The newly fallen two inches made everything appear whiter, cleaner, fresher. Out here, it feels like God is continuously making things new, building upon the foundation and creating a fresh look and a new point of view.
I did not want to be here this week. I did not want to spend my birthday weekend closed up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere surrounded by snow. I fought hard against coming. I dug in my heels for two months until I finally relented because it meant so much to Ken to see this land at this time of year. Yesterday, as we drove into Gunnison to have some maintenance done on the SUV, Ken said, “It just never gets old, does it?” And I agreed.
This sight that I didn’t care to see, this world covered in white that I was happy to avoid, this trip that I did not want to make has awoken in me something new, something special. I allowed myself to be open to sharing this new experience with my husband, and it has renewed me and renewed my soul. I never would have thought that the snowy winter could be seen as a time of renewal or as a new beginning, but that’s exactly what I have witnessed these past few days.
I’ve come to realize that renewal doesn’t have to happen in a certain way or at a certain time. God can renew the world, renew our view, renew our hearts at any given time and in some surprising ways. I look forward to next winter and what new things we will discover when we venture out here. Maybe my new view will be from the top of a waterfall I have climbed.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020).