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This week we’ve been preparing for a short weekend trip to Branson, Missouri.

It’s 31 degrees here in Casper as I write these words. It is 64 degrees in Branson.

As I look out my window there is snow on the grass and icicles are bending the branches to near breaking. It is warm today in Branson with a hint of fall in the air.

I put on my warm snow boots this morning, a sweatshirt and a down jacket. Tomorrow, when I arrive in Missouri, I will throw on shorts and flip flops.

We’re living in harsh “winter-like” hours today but I’m preparing for a few days, 96 hours, of warm fall weather. I am so excited.

Still. Today, I go about my business; my normal work, my eating, walking around life in Casper, Wyoming. I’ll make some phone calls today and I will hear a story or two. I will talk and laugh with my team, and we will work like crazy.

I’ll eat the banana sitting on my desk, I’ll run and grab lunch in a bit and I’ll lead a group of people I truly love this evening. I’ll pack my suitcase and clean up the house. I’ll go to bed.

All the while, I will be anticipating the moment I will step off the plane into the warm sunshine to celebrate my baby sister’s 50th birthday! We will have a three-day party with family and friends. There will be laughter and silliness, tears and reminiscing, eating and playing. There will be joy!

Again... that begins tomorrow.

Today, I still have a life to live this side of the “party.”

This day, the day before the celebration, in some odd way, is pushing me to think about eternity. About the next chapter of my existence after living in this temporary body is complete.

I’m cautiously anticipating the day I leave this state of “dreary” biting cold and sometimes lonely, stressful days.

Please don’t freak out. I don’t have a death wish nor do I want to go before my purpose here is complete. However, I believe there is something hardwired into our souls to long for the perfect that is to come.

After all, it can be frigid here. People hurt each other in this world. There are sleepless nights of anxiety, surprises that shock and wounds that cannot be fully healed. There are losses that cannot be replaced, dreams that will not be realized.

So we hope for, think of and long for that which is better, lovelier and “warmer.” The scriptures foretell of a time when the old order of things will pass away and the new will come. That God will wipe every tear from our eyes. That there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (or blustery weather).

Now that sounds like a trip I’d like to take; a party to anticipate.

But there is still today. The day, or days, weeks, years, before the trip. These are the days I keep living the life that God has called me to live:

  • Kindly engaging the drive-thru attendants who serve me Dr Pepper.
  • Swapping grand baby stories with my friends.
  • Helping those who need a hand up.
  • Praying with the hopeless, speaking for the voiceless, listening to the inquisitors, cheering on the seekers.

It’s snowing and breezy outside right now, but tomorrow I step into the sunshine.

Larry and Linda Kloster sponsor this column.

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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