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Archive for September, 2009

fogSome dear ones, having read my Missing Newfoundland blog, suggested that I write a Not Missing Newfoundland blog. You see, they lived in Newfoundland with me, and while they too miss the ideal Newfoundland, they remember the not-so-lovely aspects of an island that history considered uninhabitable for nine months of the year. Newfoundland began as a seasonal fishing community, and when the brief summer waned, it was forsaken until the following spring. With the advent of man-made comforts such as electric heat and snowplows, Newfoundland became inhabited year-round by the most hardy of individuals (or by those who had no choice – it was also a penal colony). So, why? Why would you not want to live in a place with such gorgeous scenery, such pristine habitats? Well, here are the things I think about when I’m feeling glad to be in Tennessee….

1. Newfoundland has more overcast days/ days with precipitation than almost anywhere on Earth. The Cullens could live here year round and never have to hide. If your mood is tied in any way to barometric pressure, this is NOT the place for you….

2. Cold water. Yes, hypothermia sets in after three minutes, so the beautiful ocean can only be enjoyed from a distance, or with the comfort (?) of a Neoprene wetsuit. The beaches – great for bonfires, not much good for anything else. Too rocky. Water’s tooooo cold. Even on the hottest summer day (which, FYI, is only about 30 degrees Celsius and happens only once per year) you still can’t stand the water for more than a few minutes.

3.  The economy is very poor. I remember a 20% unemployment rate.  Jobs can be scarce, difficult to keep, and short-lived. Add this factor to the barometric pressure issue previously mentioned and you have a location where depression may be simply a fact of life, especially for those who are “come-from-aways” and know that the sun is shining somewhere else.

4. It’s expensive to get there, expensive to leave. Flying to Newfoundland is so expensive that it is about prohibitive. Unfortunately, there’s just about no other good way to get to the island – you can take a ferry for six hours and then drive for twelve more to get to the major city, or you can take a ferry for thirteen hours and then drive for three to get to the same city. Either way, motion sickness will likely ensue.

5. Shocking lack of diverse seasons. As one expatriot says, “There are only two seasons in Newfoundland – winter and not winter.”  Spring is late in coming, is mostly muddy, cold, and foggy. The icebergs that are so picturesque keep the island chilled well into June. The summers are brief, windy, and very few things grow well since the season is so short. Winter can range from warm and rainy to cold and snowy. Shovelling can be the bane of existence if the winter proves to be a snowy one. Either way, there is more “slush” than you’ve ever seen in your life, and no boots can keep your feet warm or dry.

6. Yes, the rugged cliffs are wonderful to hike, and very photogenic. Did I mention the wind? I always get a chuckle when a meteorologist from Tennessee warns people about the wind. They really have no idea what a “wind warning” means. I used to think that rain fell sideways everywhere. Umbrellas work in Tennessee – if you use an umbrella, you stay dry. If you use an umbrella in Newfoundland, only the very top of your head will stay dry, and you will struggle to maintain control of your umbrella since it will be trying to fly away in the gale.

7. Ugly trees. Okay – they’re not ALL ugly, but all the ones along the coastline are ugly because the branches only grow on one side, and the tops are completely bent – this is due to the constantly windy weather mentioned above.

8. Newfoundland has a horrifically short growing season – while the wild berries can be wonderful, all other fruit and most vegetable come from the far-flung corners of the planet – I remember once seeing tomatoes from Israel at the grocery store. It’s very difficult to grow anything more than the hardiest of flowers – I am so delighted at the ease with which plants grow here in Tennessee.

  All this aside, on a beautiful day, there is no place like Newfoundland. However, realistically, there may only be 50 days out of 365 that qualify. For some of us, it’s not enough.

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Every year, about this time, I go through a period of really missing Newfoundland. I’ll let the photos speak for me…

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Watching my Dad go through something really hard – finding himself alone at the age of 56. Watching him realize that the “common denominator in three failed relationships” is himself. Seeing his fear of waking up in the middle of the night and having nothing but his own mind for company, and knowing that every night thereafter will be just the same…Wanting to tell him that he doesn’t have to be alone, but not wanting to sound trite, you know? What my dad really needs is an experience with the Lord.  Seeing him go though this hard time, and wishing I could be guaranteed that it would have an eternal purpose, rather than simply be a miserable consequence of the past.  Wanting to see his past as a winding journey that brought him to life’s ultimate destination – the walk with God. Seeing changes in him – a humility that  has never been glimpsed before – a maturity that sits so well upon him….Thinking about and praying for him, and feeling like I’d really like to ask the Lord to save him, just because He can. Pondering the idea of asking the Lord to save him rather than simply saying “Your will be done.” Remembering that He is unwilling that any should  perish, and that I may have not because I ask not. Thinking about the weight of the prayers of five believers united in faith about Dad. Hearing my God say to me “You never ask me for anything big – go ahead, ask me.” Realizing that I don’t ask the Lord for big things – just little ones – not because He’s incapable, or unwilling, but because I try and be a “good” wife and not ask too much of Someone who’s already done more than  I could ever repay. Asking (as a wife would ask her husband for something within his reach that he would love to grant) if the Lord would grant my Dad salvation, because he needs it…and because, if possible, I would love Him more for it…

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Well, folks, I’m back on night shift (this time, for good), so the blog entries will start showing up again!

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Calm My Anxious Heart – Linda Dillow

This is a wonderful book about not worrying. I find the need to read it about twice a year!
 

Hinds Feet on High Places  – Hannah Hurnard

This is a Christian classic chronicling the journey of Much-Afraid to the High Places – it is a beautiful picture of many phases of the Christian walk….the visions of her walking with Sorrow and Suffering, her God-given companions, have stuck with me for years.
 

Magnificent Obsession/ Dr.Hudson’s Secret Journal –  Lloyd Douglas

EVERYONE should read these books.  I think of Lloyd Douglas as the originator of the “pay it forward” movement, and the theme of these books comes straight from Matthew 6. There is a great secret here.
 

Intimate Issues – Linda Dillow

You’ll notice more than one Linda Dillow book on this list. I cannot speak highly enough of this woman’s books – a missionary’s wife, she is a rock of common sense who never departs from scripture. She doesn’t make things up from the top of her head, and her books are sound. This one is about the Christian woman in the bedroom, and I HIGHLY recommend it. If you read no other book on the issue, read this one.

Creative Counterpart –  Linda Dillow

Yet another prizewinner from Linda Dillow, this book is about being the right kind of wife. Read these books, ladies! They will change your lives!
 

101 Devotions for Homeschooling Moms – Jackie Wellwood

Okay, this one mainly applies to homeschooling moms, but  it has gotten me through some tough times. Just knowing that another mom has been right where you are  is very helpful. These devotions are very short, but extremely worthwhile.

Created to be His Helpmeet – Debi Pearl

I recommend this book with a caveat. Debi Pearl is definitely an extremist, but there is a whole lot in this book that we all need to hear. So, read it. Pray over it. Make your husband a happy man.

 

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