Pennsylvania: A Winter Wonderland

Pennsylvania: A Winter Wonderland

There's nothing quite like it.

In Pennsylvania, winter is something to be reckoned with, especially if you're one of the poor, unfortunate souls who lives in Northwestern Pennsylvania aka "The Snow Belt."

Winter here is brutal: Snow up to your knees, eyes and nose frozen by the breeze and; yet, life doesn't cease.

Pennsylvania is a winter wonderland in which many don't get the chance to experience. So, here's what winter is like from one of the snowiest cities in the nation.

1. Watching the weather report regularly

Only 3 inches of snow last night? What a blessing.

Or, 8-12 inches expected within the next 24 hours - bring it on Pennsylvania.

2. Needing layers upon layers upon layers

Forget dressing to be cute or comfortable, when living in Pa. in the winter one dresses for warmth - even if at the expense of looking like the Michelin Man.

3. Never-ending snowfall

"I plowed the driveway this morning, I'll be fine for awhile..."

Yeah, think again.

Winter in Pennsylvania requires consistent plowing and even then there is still excess snow.

4. Extremely cold temperatures

Temperature gauge: 30 Degrees

Real temperature: 15 Degrees (Thank you, wind chill).

5. Being excited to see 40 degrees

Can you say "tropical heat wave?"

6. Snow can't stop you from going anywhere

There may be 8 inches of snow that fell overnight, wind chill that dips the temperature to the low 20s, and roads covered in snow and ice but it doesn't matter, a little winter weather can't stop you.

7. Taking extra time to clear the snow off the vehicle

I could've left 15 minutes ago if it weren't for all this snow and ice to clear off.

8. Hearing "just take your time."

"Just Take Your Time" aka Pennsylvania's version of goodbye.

Winter in Northwestern Pennsylvania's "Snow Belt" isn't for the faint of heart. It takes someone who is slightly crazy and not afraid to turn into the abominable snowman each time they step outdoors. Even though Pennsylvanian's love to complain about the bone-chilling cold, and feet of yearly snowfall, they wouldn't trade their winter wonderland for the world. It may sound crazy to those who don't live in this area as to why someone would voluntarily put up with this miserable weather but it's how we were raised and having survived another Pa. winter is a victory. Plus, we get to the last laugh when the Southerns declare a State of Emergency over their mere dusting of snow.

Cover Image Credit: Gordon Beck

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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Easter Is More Than Just A Day

He is risen, and LIVES today... Not just on Easter.


Every Easter there is always a flood of posts on social media, and every post has a similar caption: "He is risen!" And indeed He is.

Not that there is anything wrong with these posts. It's nice to see everyone in their "Sunday best." However, my question is why do we make Easter a one-day ordeal? We should be celebrating the resurrection and life of our Savior every day, not just one day a year.

Jesus's death on the cross is worth so much more than one day. He is deserving of far greater.

So often, we let ourselves be consumed by life and all our problems that we get distracted. We let ourselves forget the work that Jesus did on the cross.

Yet, this should not be our reality because Jesus won.

Jesus won. He defeated the grave. Let that sink in, because all too frequently I feel like this falls deaf to our ears and hearts.

Understanding that Jesus conquered death and has already won the battle for the world (John 16:33) should give us peace.

Having this knowledge should help us to say, "I see these things that I can't fix. But Jesus has conquered death, and everything else is taken care of."

Celebrate who Jesus is and what He has done every day, not just on Easter.

Lord, thank you that I can celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ every single day. Thank you that Easter is so much bigger and far better than just a holiday. You have defeated death, so now I can rest in that truth--knowing that you will take care of even the most minuscule details of my life. You hold today, tomorrow, and forever. Thank you that I can celebrate who you are and what you've done from now until eternity.

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