From Sorrow, Joy

IMG_5884It’s snowing outside, and at last check, the temperature was 26 degrees and dropping. Yet, as I pass by the dining room, I have a reminder that the world will not remain dreary and cold. Outside, the snow lays on the ground, but inside, flowers are blooming on my table. Though we are entrenched in the shadows of winter, in time, spring will return as my father reminds me every day with his Facebook countdown (he reports that we have 62 days to go).

And so it is with life. We have cold and dreary seasons and then warm and sunny seasons. Without the cold or the snow or the rain, we would have no new life, nothing to look forward to, no buds blooming or fruit trees blossoming. Without sorrow, we cannot know joy. Without pain here on earth, we cannot begin to fathom the true joy of Heaven that is to come.

As our family finds itself entrenched in the shadows of woe, I remind myself that there will be a spring. Even in the darkest moments, there is light. 

I’d like to share a short story. On Monday morning, Ken’s mother, his brother and sister, and our families met at Mom and Dad’s farmhouse for breakfast. Dressed in black, steeling ourselves for a day that would be shrouded in grief, we met to enjoy a family breakfast provided by the mother of Morgan’s boyfriend. We feasted on an egg and sausage casserole, fruit salad, coffee cake, and danishes. We drank coffee, apple and orange juice, and hot tea. We sat for a solid hour, relishing not only the food but the love and thoughtfulness that brought it to us and that surrounded us. And as we ate, we shared stories and memories. We laughed until we cried, and then, joining well over a hundred people who filled the little country church across the road and the reception afterward, we cried until we laughed. 

I am reminded of Ecclesiastes, 3:1-8:

There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven:

A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted.

A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building.

A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing.

A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing.

A time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for discarding.

A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking.

A time for loving, a time for hating; a time for war, a time for peace.

For where there is snow, there is a flower underneath, waiting to bloom. Or a tomato plant.

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In loving memory of David Schisler, 1946-2018

What I was writing about this time last year:  Hidden Figures and Orbiting the Stars

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet 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 and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles, which has outsold all of her other books worldwide and ranked as high 600 on Amazon. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, is now on sale online and in stores.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

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)

 

 

It’s the Little Things

DSC04547We had another snow day today.  Ok, it has basically turned out to be a barely-any-snow-with-small-patches-of-ice day, but we got to sleep in on a 20 degree morning, so it’s hard to complain!  As I lay in my bed this morning with my three-year-old Golden Retriever lazily snuggled up next to me, her head on my chest, I starting thinking about my own snow days many years ago.  I’m sure you remember those – the days before crazy, aggressive drivers, and lawsuits against school systems, and all of the other ridiculous reasons we now cancel school at the sign of the first flake.  In those days, snow days were truly SNOW days, when you woke up and jumped out of bed, ran to the window, and the entire world was blanketed in white all the way up to the window ledge. I remember one time, the winter I was eight, when my father had to dig tunnels through the snow so that our dog, Snoopy, could go out for a run. Once the sun was high in the sky, all of our neighbors came outside and worked together to uncover cars and dig everyone out while we children made ice blocks and built igloos!  Many snow days were spent baking with mom or doing puzzles on the big card table in the basement. Those are the things I remember about winters when I was a child.

In the spring, we often took a trip into DC to visit the Botanical Gardens.  Easter was spent at my grandparents’ house and usually ended with a giant game of cousin football.  What I recall the most about those times was that we somehow always ended up caked with mud and having a wonderful time. Summer meant lots of time outside.  Once every couple of weeks, we would go to the Smithsonian for the day.  If we were very lucky, we might pay to swim in the pool at a local motel or be invited to the one house in the neighborhood that had a pool in their backyard.

My absolute favorite times were the weeks I spent at my grandparents’ house in the country where I picked blackberries that grew along the path behind the barn, spent many mornings on Granddad’s boat catching fish and pulling up bountiful baskets of Maryland Blue Crabs, helping Grandma take the clothes off the line (I can still smell the fresh, clean scent) or simply playing Canasta with my friend, Lynn, who lived on the farm across the road.  Back home, we spent our days playing street hockey at Cindy’s or night tag at Laura’s.

Sometimes I wonder how many children will grow up with these types of childhood memories.  Will they have no recollection at all of time spent with friends and family because all of their retention powers were eroded by video games and tiny screens of text?  I wish I could take my children back in time and share with them my childhood.  We didn’t travel or have a lot of useless gadgets and gizmos.  We never, ever made the trip to Disney (we took my parents there after I had three children of my own) or flew anywhere on a plane; but I wouldn’t trade a single day of my childhood for anything in the world.  It’s all of those little things that we did that made me who I am.

Those are the memories I cherish.  So I’ll sign off now and get the girls out of bed.  I think we’ll go outside and take some pictures, maybe try to find a big enough patch of white to make a snow angel, and then we’ll come in and bake something completely unhealthy and eat the whole batch.  I hope that someday they’ll look back and count this as a day to remember.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com