“It feels like I just got punched in the face by the cold.” Those were the very accurate and descriptive words of Miss Lady as she and I walked indoors from taking the puppy outside to relieve herself a few weeks back. Boy, do I love my little munchkins and the ways they describe things and the fun things they say! While winter officially arrived about a month ago, but living in Wisconsin, we almost always feel the cold and have snow well before the official start of the season.
Winter is such a hard season for so many people, and I think that the further we get from the days of uninsulated homes and soley heating from wood stoves or coal, the harder winter becomes for them. Personally, I’m a fan of winter. Maybe not all of the time, but most of the time. Winter provides me with time for so many things that I otherwise would struggle to find time to work on. I’ve learned that for me, spring cleaning (at least indoors) is kind of a joke… with gardens to prepare and so many other outdoor chores waiting, I don’t have time to clean the house thoroughly in the spring. But I do have the time for that in the winter. Sure, I can’t really air out the house, but I can do all kinds of deep cleaning that I otherwise would not have time for.
With winter comes a much needed excuse to sit on the couch and snuggle. The kids and I curl up underneath warm blankets and read chapter after chapter, book after book. Sitting still in the evenings, I like to bury myself beneath my latest crocheting project. Crocheting isn’t really a summer activity for me since I usually overheat underneath the heat of the blanket I am making, but in winter, it is welcome, added warmth.
Have you ever noticed the silence of winter? I suppose if you are a city dweller, you might not have ever experienced that sound. Instead you hear the slush of the snow on the roads as cars drive through town. But out in the country, it’s different. Beneath a blanket of new fallen snow, the world has a strange silence. No grass swaying in the wind, no leaves rustling in the trees, and even the animals are quieter.
I feel I should admit that for the last year or so, I don’t think I enjoyed my life as much as I should have. (I wrote a bit about that in a recent post.) Sure, I drank in beautiful moments, sweet smiles, and glorious sunsets. But there was a level of stress that was higher than I had ever experienced before. Somewhere between getting married and moving here, I had let myself slide into a maybe slightly more than bitter place about certain aspects of my life. Why were the kids always so frustrating? How come we just COULD NOT get the house as clean as we wanted? Why did I hate doing dishes or laundry so much? As 2017 was wrapping up, I knew I needed to make some changes in my mindset if I didn’t want to become a very unpleasant person. Yes, getting a puppy that needed to be potty trained right before Christmas was a bit of a crazy idea. It would be weeks (at least) before she would be potty trained since she was so little, but it wasn’t her fault that she couldn’t control her bowel movements just yet. So one night as I got up (somewhat irritated) in the middle of the night to take the puppy out to relieve herself yet again, I knew I had to change my attitude. I could grumble and sulk or even get angry, or I could just stop and be grateful for these moments.
Moments that I would not otherwise have experienced. A puppy who needed some love and compassion as she is being trained. A gorgeous, jaw-dropping starlit night sky. The absolute silence. And when there wasn’t silence, it was the howl of the wind through the pine trees. The beauty of a night sky, glowing pink before a snow storm. The dazzle of snowflakes reflecting the most brilliant full moon I had ever seen.
It’s easy to be grateful when the sun is up, you’re warm, when you’re well rested and your belly is full. It’s easy to be thankful when things are going “your way,” but it’s much more difficult to be thankful when they are not. Like when it’s -30F with windchill and you have to get up in the middle of the night to take the puppy to the bathroom. Again. When you are sick, but so are the kids, and somebody just threw up all over you, and you were supposed to have a night off for the first time in ages. When you are just bone tired, but it’s the middle of the day, and if you take a nap, you know the house will be terrorized. When the kids are fighting or not listening, and you just need them to cooperate.
When you stop to take a moment when you are frustrated or angry to see the beauty in life, it gets a lot easier, and with time, they become more noticable. And I think winter is the perfect time to get some practice in. We all have to slow down this time of year, so let’s use that to our advantage! If you struggle to get up and do much during the cold, can I encourage you to throw on some extra layers, or sip some hot, tasty beverage and get moving? Or put on your favorite dancing music and have a cleaning party? I know grey skies can feel depressing, but they don’t have to be… and when the bright blue skies come, use that sunshine to really get yourself motivated!
What is your favorite thing about winter?
P.S. I might have to write another post just focusing on some of my random projects that have/will get completed this winter… like the planter in the window, or the blanket! Oo! and I’m working on a Sewing Saturday post that’s going to feature a giveaway, so stay tuned for that! I’m hoping to have it up for you on this coming Saturday 🙂