Today is Friday.  We start slowly in the deep dark Alaskan winter morning.  We have received about five more inches of fresh snow.  It’s warmed up – it’s close to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

We dress for the day knowing that as a family, we’ll be skiing after school.  So we put an extra layer on.  I am planning on a Yoga class which is before a cross-country ski date with my husband and friends, and that is before our downhill skiing coach clinic with our friends and family tonight. It’s a perfect Patagonia (clothes) day!  I put on my “Patagucci” (Patagonia-made clothes) first. Yes, it’s a true visions day in Alaska (who needs a clean house?)!

After our family breakfast devotion around our battered, antique apple-wood, kitchen table we pile on all our layers of ski clothes – for getting to school.  With extra hot crepes in our hands that my awesome husband lovingly made, we tread through the fresh powdery snow, in the dark, to the bus stop.  The kids and I cling to the side of the road because in the dark, we are hardly visible to cars driving by us (even though there are reflectors on the kid’s backpacks).  The Christmas lights reflect the most light on the street.

Holding my 7-year-old’s sweet hand and I ask her, “have I told you how much I love you today?”  She says, “no.” Then I tell her, “I love you and I am grateful God brought you to us, sweet daughter.”  She smiles and I feel those heart-strings pull us closer in the most precious way that makes time feel like it’s standing still.  The mindful inspiration is to send her off to school with deep love, especially after having had to chase them into their clothes this morning (well our two youngest – our oldest was quick to point out that she did not need reminding this morning to be on time).  Then my youngest said her hands were cold and she must put them in her pockets. It is after all, snowing and 8 degrees or so outside!

At the bus stop, the moon is shining brightly over us.  The plowed snow bank is almost three feet high.  The kids begin to dig into the snow and climb on top of it as we wait for the bus.  There are diamonds floating in the sky, or so it seems, as light from passing cars is reflected onto the falling snow.  I look at all of this, and am amazed at how normal this unusual experience has quickly become.  I am thankful the children are happily going to a school which supports them well, and gives them plenty of opportunity to exercise on these cold days.  I am thankful my husband and I have some time to claim our own and to cross country ski together.

The sunrise is officially at 10AM this morning.  Yet, as the kids climb into their snow-covered, yellow school bus at 8:42AM, I notice that light is slowly creeping into our lives once again.  As I write now it’s 9:34AM and there’s a gorgeous shade of powder blue hue blanketing everything.  From my perfect writer’s spot, I look onto Bear Mountain to see shadows of pale pink creep up from behind.  I am so very excited I get to play outside with my friends and family – in fresh snow!

My best days are “Patagucci” days of adventure. I am so very thankful for the opportunity to fully enjoy this exquisite land.  I am equally filled with gratitude for our children’s joy in the adventure of so many new things.  This Alaskan school morning in record-breaking amounts of snow is beautiful beyond belief.  Thank you God for this glimpse of heaven.