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Cold, colder, coldest

Snow. It's the only thing anyone is talking about around here. In fact, we here in Michigan officially are the snowiest state right now. The kids are now on snow day #4 and everyone is a little stir-crazy. Even if you do venture out, you have to drive at a creeping pace, since the roads that are plowed are simply sheet ice - the salt doesn't work when it gets this cold.

I happen to love winter, so none of this bothers me too much. I think the snow is beautiful, and I'm happy to stay home, and never have a loss for things to do. This is one good thing about being an introvert.

I've been working on knitting, and just finished reading The Monuments Men, which I highly recommend.

I can't say the house is a whole lot cleaner, but I have been taking care of a thing here and there.

I've also been working my way through Testimony of Hope. Since it's a book of spiritual exercises, it is meant to be read slowly and thoughtfully. The author, Archbishop Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, was a prisoner for 13 years in Vietnam, and he draws on his experience as he writes. (His case is up for sainthood, by the way.)

Imagine: imprisonment for 13 years for no crime whatsoever. Yet, his gentle spirit and genuine hope shines through every word. He truly relied on God. We whine when we can't get out of the comfort of our own home for a day or two, and yet Archbishop Van Thuan writes about his time (much of it in solitary confinement) with so much faith.

I used to dismiss the idea that I would ever have to suffer for my faith. After all, I live in America - the land of freedom. And yet, with times as they are, I see so much suffering for the faith every day. And perhaps most important, God gives each of us the opportunity to suffer (yes, the opportunity!) - to offer up our day-to-day pains, discomforts, sorrows, hardships. Whether they are large or small, we can return them all back to God in joy and supplication:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. 1 Col. 1:24-26

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