Finding new gems among the old

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Just dead leaves, right? The fall leftovers of a clematis vine that I haven’t managed to trim away yet. Nothing special to look at. But look closer…
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Frosted Leaf.

Maybe look even closer…

(Consider clicking on photos for a more detailed look)

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Frosted Wood

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It’s nothing more than frost. But among the old, brown and curling leaves there are glimpses of something new and beautiful. You won’t see it if you aren’t looking carefully.

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In writing, I discard a lot of words — words I’ve struggled to create in sentences sometimes days in the writing. My method of discarding is to copy and paste them into a new blank document before deleting the originals. I may never use them, or perhaps I will, but in a different part of the story, or in an altogether different manuscript when I suddenly see them in a fresh way. Sometimes they might end up being the perfect gem in a new setting.

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In Advent, the old crumbles away as we look toward the newness of a hope reborn and of a peace that is ours because of God’s promise. There is to be a precious remaking of life itself, revealed in the stripping away of the past. If we look closely, we will see a new creation!

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So if anyone is in Christ,
there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away;
see, everything has become new!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NRSV)
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Transitioning from Autumn to Winter and Pre-Christmas

Fall’s wardrobe is dusty with a hint of winter to come — a sharp, crisp morning turned fuzzy with frost.

Frosted Rhoddie

Neglected garden flowers are iced and finished, reminding me there is still work to be done before winter takes hold… before I turn resolutely away from summer memories and embrace Christmas preparations.

Frosted Flower

Except for baking my Christmas cakes six weeks ahead, I don’t begin thinking seriously of Christmas until Advent begins. This morning I realized that’s barely a week away! I won’t begin digging out the bins of memory-drenched decorations quite yet, but it’s not too soon to start planning how I want to celebrate this year.

Yesterday I watched a webcast with Ann Voskamp and Liz Curtis Higgs, Christmas at the Farm: Unwrapping the full love story of Christmas. It was the perfect precursor, reminding me that having “a sane, sacred and simplified Christmas” is not a matter of circumstances — but a matter of focus. “Simplify Christmas? Celebrate Christ.” The webcast video will continue to be available online, so if you missed its debut, do please consider pouring yourself a steaming cup of coffee or fragrant tea (or perhaps a spicy eggnog if you’re already that far into the season) and settling in to watch it now.

Frosted Leaf

Frost is in our forecast for the next week or so, with freezing nights and sun-filled days. I’ll need to take advantage of this last opportunity to finish up some of the fall chores and get set for the about-turn into winter. Then, except for meeting my NaNoWriMo goal, I’ll be more than ready to welcome December! How about you?

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(Consider a click or two on the photos to enlarge for a closer look.)

Seasonal Transitions

The morning sky is hazed to Wedgewood blue and throughout the neighbourhood rooftops glisten with frost. I’ve been visiting family in the east Kootenay city of Cranbrook. Last week each day began with a snow flurry and ended with sunshine. This week began with sunshine and despite the freezing temperature this morning I saw my first robin.

 

Cranbrook is rimmed with the start of the Rocky Mountain range and snow laden peaks flaunt their daily reminder that here the transition from winter to spring isn’t complete yet.

 

Snow won’t have melted from the woods surrounding our Cariboo cabin either, and the lake there will still be frozen, but here in the Kootenays spring is hovering in the wings. It’s interesting how one season melds into the next across the province. There’s a slow progression with disappointing setbacks that become less frequent until suddenly you realize the changeover occurred when you weren’t paying attention.

 

Since robins have returned here it has to mean spring greening is near. I’ll be anxiously watching for those first buds.