Winter Wisdom

The same thing occurs almost every year at about this time. I get some version of the “winter blues.” The sparkle of the holiday season wears off and in enters the irksome epiphany that I still have a few more months of nip and early sunsets. The thrill of wearing scarves and boots, drinking far too many Peppermint Mochas is losing luster. I daydream of sunshine and fireflies more often than is beneficial.

I find this wee depression difficult to admit. It’s embarassing to acknowledge because deep down, I understand there isn’t the slightest reason to be living with this mindset. I’ve got the best thing here with me, IN me.

Embrace, embrace, EMBRACE. This lesson of being where you are is endless. More than that, it’s pivotal. God reminds me of this constantly. Plus, winter really isn’t the most terrible thing.

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Here are some delightful gifts helping me dismiss this blueish state of mind. These practical things are inspiring me “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,” remaining joyful.

My Utmost For His Highest. Oswald Chambers’ devotional has been both an encouragement and a kick in the rear. This year is my first reading through the daily gems. I am ecstatic at how closely they coincide with what my soul needs. I recommend the app – I went this route and am able to re-read it multiple times each day, whenever I have a brief moment.

Find a Furry Friend. I’m not kidding. Once each week, three-year-old Mia and I take a field trip to Petco and Barnes & Noble. It hasn’t gotten old yet. Let’s just say, we both leave the kitty area of the pet store overjoyed (and sad we can’t take one home). Consider yourself blessed if you’ve got a pet! Go cuddle.

Pray For Passer-byers. It’s truly humbling to realize how much we can focus on ourselves. Praying is a simple and powerful tool to shift the mind’s focus. It’s incredible, for when I actually choose to do this, the Spirit tells me what to pray. I enter into the prayer unsure and skeptical, but the outcome is always good on all fronts. I’m finding this practice to be increasingly beautiful and hope it is an area in which I can grow.

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“How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it, if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theater in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.” –Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton

P.S. If you haven’t read Orthodoxy, I highly endorse. It has recently been enlightening my view of religion (or lack thereof), emboldening my faith.

Ben Rector. If you didn’t know, he’s bound to brighten anyone’s day. Here’s a free sampler! But my favorite is his newest album, The Walking In Between. Just get it. I’m serious, do it. THIS moment.

Go For a Walk. I haven’t much felt like working out. When I turn in from work, all my energy seems to have been expended. No, I really don’t have an excuse. However, I try to make sure I at least get outside for a brisk, semi-lengthy walk. It may not be grueling, but it’s something. And even if the sun isn’t beaming, fresh air is valuable.

Give. Yes, I’m speaking of money. It sounds rough, but it’s actually the sweetest. It eliminates selfishness and pride. It points the heart toward the greatest Giver. It brings joy. It is love in action. From buying someone’s coffee to sending your missionary friends an unexpected gift, every instance is essential.

Write a Letter. Who doesn’t appreciate a piece of snail mail? I have a special place in my heart for those friends who take the time to write me with ink and paper. Because of them, I want to write to everyone. I’m realizing it doesn’t have to be a special occasion. Maybe I’ll write my Grandma tomorrow.

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Dream. I may daydream too much, but I still adore doing so (before I realize it’s driving me crazy). Dreaming without action can’t do much good. Even still, I think there’s a place for mind-wandering. Just maybe a little more imagination is acceptable this time of year? Journaling, reading novels, planning adventures and Pinteresting (guilty) are ravishing. I’m having a blast gearing up to hike the Carolina Smokies with my siblings in a few months. Almost as invigorating is finally reading the story of Cosette and Jean Valjean.

I’ll cap it off with that.

Happy winter!