Wishing, Widowhood, Wesley and the Weather

January 17, 2016 | My Jottings

I realize that when it snows I mention it and when it’s bitterly cold I mention it and when the trees are ablaze I mention it and when it’s too hot and humid for my delicate constitution I mention it, but I reside in Northeastern Minnesota and life can be dominated by the seasons here. I’ve said before that growing up in Southern California made me completely weather oblivious, and then I moved here in 1981 and I’ve been obsessed with paid attention to the weather ever since.

I looked at the thermometer on the front deck when I got up this morning, and it read a solid -20°.  After Edith and Millie had their respectively slowly-sampled and frantically-inhaled breakfasts, I let them outside to go potty and then moved to the living room so I could keep an eye on them from the window that looks out onto the side yard. Within 45 seconds, Millie was stuck from the intense cold, crouching and vibrating and unable to move, and lifting one paw in pain. I was in slippers and nightgown and knew I didn’t have time to run and get dressed so I could dash out into the snow and cold to rescue her. (Note: the word “dash” is quite optimistic and perhaps even humorous in describing any movement I might make these days, no matter how desperate the need.) I felt a bit of panic as I quickly unlocked the living room window and raised it a couple of inches, bent down and yelled outside in the dark, “Millie come! Come on, come inside!” and clapped my hands over and over. She heard me and started moving, but it was alarming to see. She was hunched over and pitifully hobbling on three paws, moving at a snail’s pace, and I could see it was everything she could do to climb the deck stairs and get into the house. I almost cried in relief. Edith mounted the steps right after Millie, but she didn’t look quite as impaired by the cold. They both trotted around the house for a few minutes and then curled up for their morning naps. A few hours later the temperature had risen a full twenty degrees, to a balmy 1°, and when the dogs had to go out again, they were able to take care of business and return inside without incident. I keep telling Sara we have such high-maintenance little hounds, and they’re so emotionally costly!

As I was doing my CBS lesson this morning, pondering Isaiah chapter 41, I glanced up and looked again at the beautiful little stained glass window of a cardinal I have in my room. My friend Penelope Wilcock’s daughter Alice made it for me over four years ago, and I have gotten so much enjoyment from it. I had originally intended to hang it from a window with chains and solid fasteners, but we use all our windows and I’ve never been able to decide on where to put it. So instead I have it sitting in a sturdy stand on top of one of my dressers:

cphoto (1)

The back of the stand sort of obscures some of the details of the window, but you can still appreciate its beauty, I hope. Click the photo twice to enlarge if you like. Isn’t it exquisitely done? I love it.

I’m rereading portions of a book I picked up soon after Michael died. It’s called The Undistracted Widow by Carol W. Cornish and has been very helpful and inspiring. In the chapter I read today she quotes a Charles Wesley hymn I’d never heard before, “Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose” and the lyrics touched my heart:

1. Thou hidden source of calm repose,
thou all-sufficient love divine,
my help and refuge from my foes,
secure I am if thou art mine;
and lo! from sin and grief and shame
I hide me, Jesus, in thy name.

2. Thy mighty name salvation is,
and keeps my happy soul above,
comfort it brings, and power and peace,
and joy and everlasting love;
to me with thy dear name are given
pardon and holiness and heaven.

3. Jesus, my all in all thou art,
my rest in toil, my ease in pain,
the healing of my broken heart,
in war my peace, in loss my gain,
my smile beneath the tyrant’s frown,
in shame my glory and my crown.

4. In want my plentiful supply,
in weakness my almighty power,
in bonds my perfect liberty,
my light in Satan’s darkest hour,
in grief my joy unspeakable,
my life in death, my heaven in hell.

Have you heard or sung this before? Such rich lyrics, and so wonderful to thrill to something written almost three hundred years ago!

Along with the three or four books I’m reading right now, I picked up C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian today. Last month I decided to read through The Chronicles of Narnia again, soaking them in during these cold months that keep me inside more. Since December I’ve read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Horse and His Boy, all new and fresh in different ways even though dear old friends. I always manage to sob in different parts of each book. In Lion, I cry when I read almost anything about Lucy Pevensie and her interactions with Aslan. In fact, many years ago I told the Lord I wanted to be more like Lucy Pevensie. She is in awe of Aslan, yet loves Him so deeply she buries her face in His mane, and trusts Him completely when He tells her to climb on his back and hold on before they fly.

I started occasionally writing down the fictional characters and real-life people I am so inspired by and would love to be more like. In the back of one of my journals I started my list, which isn’t terribly long, and here are a few of the names:

-Lucy Pevensie (from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books)
-Matthew Cuthbert (from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables)
Betsie ten Boom (a real Dutch person written about in the book The Hiding Place)
-Matty Jenkyns (a fictional character played by Judi Dench in the British DVD series Cranford)
Anna, the prophetess in Luke, chapter 2, who was a widow so focused on meeting Jesus she did practically nothing else but fast and pray and watch for Him.

There are other names on my “wish” list too. Mostly I think they all remind me of the traits I long to have…gentleness, mercy, humility, devotion, such inner strength from utter dependence on God, and more. I am not much like any of them, yet as long as there’s life, there’s hope. In some way, all of the people on my list are Christlike to me.

Can you think of anyone you might put on a similar list of your own?

Well, it’s getting close to the time when I need to start thinking about what to make for dinner. If I had my druthers, I’d serve Qdoba burritos with pico de gallo, cilantro lime rice, black beans and homemade guacamole, but the likelihood of me going out in this cold is close to nil. I might whip up some omelets instead, butter some whole grain toast, slice some Honeycrisp apples, and then read a chapter or two of Prince Caspian while I wait for Downton Abbey to come on.

Have a wonderful week, dear friends and family…I’m thankful to know you stop by here.


  1. Ganeida says:

    I don’t like the cold so I am glad we don’t even get snow here. My cats complain if the wet is wetter than they like. I’m afraid my reading is all along spiritual warfare lines @ present ~ intercession, standing in the gap, binding & loosing. *sigh* I’d rather anything but. However this is where the struggle is @ present so….

  2. Just Julie says:

    You are a faithful pastor/teacher, Ganeida. God bless you with success and peace and His good will done! xoxo

  3. Ember says:

    I like the idea of that list!
    For fictional characters, my absolute favourite is Ogion the Silent from Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea series, and for real life ones I think I’d go for Thich Nhat Hanh, Vandana Shiva and Daniel Suelo. xx

  4. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Ember. I know Daniel Suelo and Thich Nhat Hanh, but Ogion and Vandana Shiva I must now look up! You always make me think. God bless you and yours… xoxo

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.