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By Trish West

It's been a long cold winter, one for the records and as much as I try not to complain... I can't help it. I hate the cold. I miss the sun and some days find it difficult to believe that in a few short months we will feel its warmth again... we will... right?! I know eventually spring and summer will be here, but it is difficult to remember anything but this cold weather (even during a sunny day) and it takes a lot of faith to believe it will be warm again.

I have just returned from a trip south to the Florida Keys with a few girlfriends. There, I was able to sit back and soak up the warmth of the sun... enjoying a visit from a long lost friend. Each morning I would wake up early (I know - crazy considering this was a kid-less holiday) and sit by the water to watch the sunrise, marveling at God's creation. To remember what it was like to be outside without the extra layers, mitts and hats... I felt light and free. My first morning home wasn't easy... finding I was already complaining about the cold, easily forgetting how light and free I felt 24hrs before. So today, I woke up early to catch the sunrise (although I have to admit it was from the comfort found inside my home). As I witnessed the sun creep up over the bare trees and casting rays of light over the snow, I was reminded the sun is still there even if I can't feel it.

I admit that sometimes life can bring me down, especially during the winter months, and I find myself complaining wondering when it will get better. How my focus has shifted – wanting to be in the future instead of living in the now... spending time wishing for spring. Watching the sunrise this morning, I thought about my day - reconnecting with God, allowing Him to help me shed those extra layers. I realized how easy it was to forget that that even though I am not always able to feel His presence, God is always there. To have faith during days that are difficult to believe and take those moments to reconnect, even if it isn't on a beach somewhere warm. To remember that even though Jesus no longer walks on earth and I can't feel his touch - I know his presence is still very much alive in my life. Knowing this, I feel light and free.