White is one of my favorite colors. I find it funny that I can love white so much, yet not have a fondness for snow. Blizzards were not unusual during my thirty-five years of living in Colorado. Now, living in North Carolina, a blizzard is very unlikely, which is part of why we moved here! A person might as well believe a blizzard is coming to my new home state the moment one of my fellow North Carolinians spots a snowflake on the weather app. One might think two feet of snow is about to pummel our state with the way people react, compared to how we reacted in the Rocky Mountains. To be fair, ice is more of a threat here than it was in Colorado. Still, I remember our children walking outside on the morning of our first North Carolina ‘snow’. School had been cancelled, and they were excited to spend some time sledding. However, the ¼ in of white stuff on the tips of our still green grass did not provide the snowstorm fun they were anticipating. Generally, I can enjoy snow from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Then, it is time for flip flops again.

December can provide its own kind of blizzard, no matter what state we call home. The flurries are not white and it isn’t cold, but I am often blinded by the swirling storm around me. Of course, the ‘snowflakes’ blinding my vision are actually glimmers of brightness and joy in my life. But, the way they can gather and swarm can sometimes impair my ability to see them as beautiful. These ‘flurries’ are: class parties for four kids, white elephant gifts for schoolmates and teammates, secret santas, four Christmas programs, gifts for children/husband/family/friends/teachers/coaches, wrapping mentioned gifts, swim/hockey/field hockey practices and games, December birthdays, laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. A dizzying whiteout of expectations.

This morning, as I sat to drink coffee by our fireplace and enjoy a moment of stillness before the kids woke up, I remembered this photo. It was twenty-two degrees, under a bright blue Colorado sky. The scene around me portrayed a beauty that I couldn’t find entering into the afternoon photo shoot with my sweet friend Katelyn, who has captured our favorite family photos over the years. The day before, I had flown in to Colorado because I knew Katelyn would be the right person to capture the cover photo for what was about to be my newly released book, Over My Shoulder. I was very sick, and had been in bed all morning until two hours before our meeting time when I mustered enough energy to shower and curl my hair. In no way did I feel ready for photos, or have any hope the image for the cover would be found that day.

Katelyn and I spent two hours in the bitter cold. Our hands and feet felt like icicles. There were outfit changes and timely breaks spent in the car to warm up. We shared wonderful conversation and a lot of laughter, all while I felt sure it would prove to be a waste of time. A week later, Katelyn sent me the file of the hundreds of photos she captured that afternoon. Not only were we able to choose a cover for the book, she snapped many more photos that portrayed my personality and the beauty of winter in Colorado.

Waking up the morning after a Colorado blizzard is incredible. The result of the swirling winds and snowflakes is a landscape blanketed with untouched glimmering snow, under a clear, sunny sky. There is a relaxing calmness that can make one feel excited about snuggling in and enjoying a snow day inside; the same outcome we hope for year after year as we prepare for the holidays. We hustle and bustle to achieve warmth, love, friendship, restored relationships and appreciation for the moments of calm togetherness. And, all of this because of a gift given to us that represents the purest of all whites. Immanuel.

Isaiah 1:18 “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.”