December 23, 2011

The Smiths met snow

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!!! 

That was our wish this Thanksgiving. We live outside San Antonio, and it just doesn't snow around here. EVER.

My girls have been begging for years to go somewhere to see snow. Well, this was the year.

We packed up and headed north (the only possible direction for us to go to find snow) to visit two families we love who live outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. 
It is a long drive through the desert. And even after our two days of travel, we weren't guaranteed of any snow at all. We were told it seldom snows this early. But our hopes were high.

As we drove through the pass and entered into Albuquerque, we made a stop at a Smith's grocery store. We liked the name so we thought we'd give it a try. NICE store! Starbucks. Lounge chairs. And the best part of all . . . we overheard the manager talking to a customer and pointing up at the mountains saying:
"Those are snow clouds up there.
It's definitely snowing tonight." 
We three girls jumped up and down in the store and verified the accuracy of his forecast. Yes, indeed, there would be snow on those peaks!

We had a couple hour drive from south of Albuquerque up to the area we hoped to see snow and also choose a Christmas tree. 
For quite some time, the mountains looked like this. Red, rugged, and not very snowy - at all. 
But as we climbed, the rocks began to change, the mountains got taller, and the scenery was breathtaking.
We visited The Valles Caldera National Preserve which is surrounded by the volcanic Jemez Mountain Range. It was an absolutely beautiful area. The closer we got, the colder it became.
By the time we got to this elevation, it was blowing snow flurries and quite chilly outside. We were happy to find a warming hut at the welcome center with a nice warm fire to greet us.
We agreed we would brave the wind and the flurries and make a climb to see the snow. Sadly, this was also the area where all the forest fires began. It was unbelievable to see how acres upon acres of beautiful trees just stood naked and crisp and black.

We did reach an area that was green and had just received a small blanket of snow. FINALLY! There it was! The girls raced out of the vehicle and immediately tried to make snowballs. There was just not much snow and it was brutally cold (according to us wimpy Texans), so we didn't spend much time out of the vehicle.

Our youngest would not leave without making her snowman, so she quickly packed a mini-man and then dashed back into the vehicle complaining of cold fingers. (The dollar store magic gloves were not exactly proper gear for this adventure.)

 It was truly a great accomplishment to find the snow. (Thanks Mr. Steve for being the best GPS ever!) It could not have been more fun.

On our way back down it warmed up a little, flurries stopped, and we decided to to a little exploring. We hiked around, did a little cave peeking, and enjoyed scenery we just don't see every day.

This definitely does not look like the River Walk we're used to in San Antonio! It was crazy muddy looking and very red.

We spent a really nice Thanksgiving with great friends and had time to sit back and appreciate all kinds of things we daily take for granted.

I found much to be thankful for this year. My sweet family, new friends and old friends, SNOW!, safe travels, and a new appreciation that my Father has given me more than I need. We have an abundant life, and I'm learning to find the gifts in each day. They are there. And when I'm full of gratitude and thanksgiving, I don't have time to waste complaining.

The Smiths met snow this year. Now we're sending a little snow blessing your way in hopes you will also find the gifts in each day and know the Savior who has an abundance of gifts for you.

Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.
 King Solomon
 Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (NKJV)

I pray that you not be stressed out by busyness this Christmas. 
Dwell on Jesus, who wants to keep you busy with a joyful heart.

Merry Christmas

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