The world is filled with wonder. I love this time of year. I enjoy taking walks and seeing how the once green leaves are changing colors to bright yellow and orange. The weather is cooler; the leaves are falling off the trees. All around you can see children raking leaves into piles and jumping into the crunching mounds…only to rake them up and do it again. I found myself quietly laughing as I watched parents trying to get the kids to bag the leaves instead of playing in them.

   Everything definitely has its season. My season would most definitely be autumn. I love autumn, not only because I was born this time of year, but for various other reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I can finally escape the harsh heat of summer. This time of year brings aromas of pumpkin pie, and cinnamon coated candy apples. Smells of pine and sage throughout the house, when blended gives a definite feeling of warmth and family. This is the season of cooking and eating. A time for gathering friends and family…showing the ones we love how important they are to us. You can actually see the anticipation in the eyes of young ones…knowing that soon it will turn colder…and the snow will make everything new.

   I guess I have always been partial to cooler temperatures. Since I moved away from home I have missed the days of winter. I loved the feel of the crisp clean air, after God has released the first substantial snow. Not like it snows here…where when we get a report of snow flurries the entire town shuts down…for 3-6 inches of snow. And this snow will only last a few days…but in that few days the grocery stores are bombarded with people buying all the milk, bread and bottled water that they have on their shelves. But real snow…which lasts for months. However unlike our counter parts, we are prepared for the weather, which is a way of life for us.

   I remember the importance, as a child, of having the first footprints in the newly fallen snow. And watching as new snow would even cover those footprints, eventually. You would breathe in the clean air and it would make your lungs feel cold; always trying to remember to breathe with your mouth closed so we wouldn’t be in danger of getting frostbite in our lungs. Of course, I think the adults were more conscious of that than we were, as children.

   We had more pressing matters on our minds, like who could run the fastest in the snow…without falling. Often we could see just where nature was going, as snow shoe hare and moose tracks were easier to spy in the fresh blanket of snow dust. All of a sudden we were big game hunters. Warriors tracking our enemies…armed with our armory of snow ball munitions. Our main objective being to infiltrate each others forts; we learned long ago that our forts of snow and ice would serve many purposes. The main purpose of our fortresses being that it kept the cold wind off of us, so we would be able to play longer.

  My favorite thing was to fall backwards into several feet of snow to make snow angels. But the snow would be so deep that I would need some one to help me get up…careful as to not disturb the beauty of my angel. I can not remember a time where I laughed so much. We would make huge balls from snow. The balls would start off slow and then we would roll them in a field covered with untouched snow. I have seen the huge snow balls created taller than we were…they would be so heavy that we could no longer move them. I actually think that they started out as the beginning of a snowman…but, as usual, we made it into something different. I remember once pretending that the giant mounds were boulders and we hid behind them to escape giant man eating dinosaurs. If life could always have been that easy, I often wondered if anyone else could have been having as much fun as we were.

   There was nothing more peaceful than listening to the snow crunch underneath my boots. If you listen patiently, God would speak to us. Of course, His voice is not always words…sometimes it is a sound that stands out for some reason; or a feeling within. His verbiage, while unique…was clearly heard resounding deep within the hearts of us all. There were times when I heard Him speaking as an icicle broke off of the eaves of a house…like glass shattering. And I have seen Him when a pine tree bough gives way to the freshly packed snow…which falls to the ground. I have seen the beauty of my Creator in the soaring wings of a bald eagle…looking over His creation.

   We would finally be called into the warm house; our fingers and toes tingling as they began to thaw out. We would have hot chocolate waiting for us, with a giant marshmallow dropped in the middle of the steam. It used to make the drink frothy and foamy, as it melted from the hot beverage. While we were waiting for the Hot Chocolate to cool we would feast on fresh snow cream. We would crush peppermint sticks and mix it into the sweet concoction, and the taste would be sweet and cool. I can recall the smell of the wood burning in the fireplace…crackling and giving off a beautiful light. It can be mesmerizing to stare into the hot embers, just recollecting about our busy day. I was often told that nothing but TRUTH can survive the flames of fire…and I somehow felt safe in that knowledge. We would all break into laughter when we had finally calmed down, as we noticed that our noses were completely red. For some reason, that felt like the funniest thing, at that time.

  Later in the evening we would go outside and watch the Aurora Borealis dance across the sky. I know that when I watched that spectacular festival of lights move across the heavens…that I had proof that with God all things are possible. And even at an early age, I realized that was all I needed to know in this world.

   It is that thought which has given me strength my entire life. I have always felt that even if there are things that do not make sense to me at the time…they would become clear soon enough. Of course, we all want things in our time…and we can be impatient. We tend to want what we want…when we want it. I know there are some that will say that God gives and God takes away. I suppose that is one way to look at it, although it isn’t necessarily what I believe to be true. It can feel like certain things have been taken from us. We lose jobs…and even though it may take a while, we may learn that what we considered a loss actually opened up a door for a better opportunity.

   We have friends that move away and that certainly will feel like a loss. However, people come into our lives for a greater purpose. We may not see the divine reasoning behind each encounter, but if we seek it, it will become clear. Sometimes people come into our lives to bring us information or awareness of ourselves or others. Sometimes they are placed in our path to help us through a terrible pain we have. Occasionally, people are brought into our path simply to remind us that even though life is very serious…it’s still okay to laugh at ourselves.

   I know, first hand, what it is like to feel the loss of some one due to death. I must say that I have lost many people in my life this way, as I am sure we all have. The death of my sister this year, however, would be one of the hardest things that I have ever had to endure, thus far. Although I wasn’t angry with God, I did feel hurt. IN one moment…a wrinkle in time…I lost my sister…my very best friend. I felt like she had been ripped from my life. I felt isolated, even though all the people who loved me surrounded me with their unwavering love. I was broken hearted. I was just plain broken. I couldn’t imagine a day, one more minute without her. I couldn’t speak without tears forming in my eyes, and I cried a lot. It hurt to breathe in and out…and yet I kept breathing in and out. I would hear good news, or talk to a friend that she and I knew…and I would pick up my phone to call her, then the reality of the situation would hit home. It hit hard. For a while I actually thought that I was doing okay, and then I checked my voicemail. I accidentally played an old voicemail, one that I had just overlooked…forgotten to delete. My sister left a message joking around about how I never answer her calls…she laughed and then said that she would talk to me later and that she loves me. I must have cried for hours. I would never hear that sweet voice ever again. My phone would never ring with her on the other end. I couldn’t breathe. Then someone that I have grown to love more than anything on this earth…whispered the kindest truth into my ear; she said God didn’t do this to you. She said it affects you, yes, but it wasn’t done to you. And as the usual case with this angel…she was right. God did not take my sister from me…she was never mine…she was His. He allowed me to borrow her for a while and during that time; I learned more about love and life than I had ever known. God merely took her from my sight…not my life.

   I will be honest and say that I still miss her. I miss her phone calls and her visits. I miss hearing her crazy stories about her children, but mostly I miss her laugh. There probably hasn’t been a day since that cold day in January that I haven’t missed her. And I know one day, I will be able to think about her and not have to blink past my tears. One day I will be able to think about her million dollar smile and I, too, will smile. In the passing of my sister I learned a way to share her with the world…so they too can rejoice in her inner beauty. I can write about how she saw…beyond this…and helped me move forward. God placed this blue eyed angel in my life and when I received the message she was sent to give me…she had to go home.

   God loves us all in this way. He loves us in spite of our faults and indiscretions. He loves us when things seem to be falling apart or when they are coming together. And even though most of us never reach for Him until we are in despair…He will still be there…loving us. God’s love has no boundaries, no limitations. The only limits that we are bound by are the limits we set for ourselves.

   Our world is full of wonder. Our Creator has delivered a huge bouquet of beauty. The beauty of God is all around us…from the Giant Red Wood Sequoia to a simple green blade of grass. We are the Creator’s canvas in which he paints those things that He loves best. He made roses of every color imaginable…and created thorns to remind us that divine beauty does not have to be tainted to be appreciated.

   He created the Mirabilis tardiflora a perennial flower that blooms at 5o’clock everyday, which is pollinated by hummingbirds and moths. He also created a mountain that disperses red flowing lava, which is too hot to even touch…yet wondrous to the eye.

   He created animals whose outer coats change color to protect them from their enemies. He created aquatic animals whose coloring is specifically designed to keep them safe, as well. He created mammals that walk the earth and others that swim within the great oceans.

  He created man/woman with the love that He created all of His creatures…great and small. We are created from love…it is the core of our existence. We are supposed to not only love one another…but love all that God has created. We should love our world, all of its environments, all of its habitats and all of it inhabitants. This is the easy part because loving each other is natural to us. We make things hard, we create wars and conflicts. We create weapons intended to destroy entire towns and countries. We train men and women to kill each other, without teaching them coping skills. We instill negativity into our children. We place emphasis on the monetary value of people, places and things. We made others think that it is okay to lie, cheat and steal. We are responsible for the destruction of this beautiful earth…and now we are being held accountable for those actions.

  God loves us all, no matter which name we refer to Him as. He loves us regardless of race, religion, creed, socio-economic background, or placement of our family genealogical tree. And in return He only asks one thing of us in return…we must love one another. The only question is…are we doing are part??