Wow…ole man “Winter” made a visit early this year and the Dallas/Fort Worth area got struck by a severe ice storm this past week. The first of the week we were in the high 70’s short sleeves and sun was shining and then it hit sleet, ice and below 20 degrees with freezing temperatures. There was absolutely no snow just a solid sheet of ice and it was best for everyone to stay home for three to four full days. We had many folks without electricity, stranded motorists and grocery store shelves were out of many staples and our favorite cold weather food such as ingredients to make chili or chicken and dumplings. Many festivities canceled, school, parties, marathons and even church! It was truly a crazy time. I was so thankful for the warmth my home brings, fire in the fire place with food in my pantry and freezer to tied us over. Something I learned living on the ranch always be prepared and have extra in the freezer as you never know when you might need it. Also, it was an unexpected opportunity for “Takin Time Out”.
December my “To Do List” is always a mile long and I wonder how I am able to get it all done. Especially this year because Thanksgiving was so late in the month it shortened the weeks before Christmas. I was not about to put any Christmas up until we had enjoyed the holiday of Thanksgiving. It is also 4th quarter at work and the first of the year right around the corner such a busy busy time. Weekdays, weeknights and weekends are all full, some events I have to pass on. That is when prioritizing and maximizing my time hits high gear and making a decision on what truly is important and what can wait.
Being at home with the rest of the metroplex being in lock down mode made it much more relaxing than if I had scheduled a day off, the whole community was all in the same boat, emails were light on Friday and it truly was a great time to catch up on a few things. I deep cleaned the entire house, laundry caught up, home cooked meals, Christmas decorations in place, Christmas cards addressed and time together much time together. I even fit in reading a book, watched a couple of old movies, football and things in order for the next couple of weeks. I also relaxed, living in my favorite yoga pants, sweatshirt and fuzzy socks…it was a great unexpected “Takin Time Out!”
What do you do on a lazy “Winter” day or days? I remember as a child there were many times we would be stranded indoors for days on end. My family always had a jig saw puzzle we would lay out on the card table. If the electricity was out we moved it close to the fireplace, even had the kerosene lanterns lit up so we could work on it before going to bed. If you think about it some people might say it is a complete waste of time. You spend hours upon hours putting it together and then you tear it up and put it back into the box. However, I love working a jig saw puzzle and I recently read an article of 42 benefits in doing a jigsaw puzzle it enhances your thinking skills and problem solving. It also is good for your visual, cognitive, character, social, tactile and collaborative skills. Lord knows I need all the help I can get as I am in the second halftime of life. I also think it teaches more patience…so there! Now, how many of you are going to drag out a puzzle and beginning working on one this weekend? You smarty pants I knew it!
“Winter” also brings back memories of my childhood; living in Southeast Colorado we had many times snow was knee deep and a perfect time for sledding. We didn’t have that many hills to go down so we would tie an old hood of a car behind a 4 wheel drive truck and go out into the pastures riding in the hood packed with blankets. It was a lot of fun until the driving got crazy and they started doing donuts or weaving back and forth and you were slinging around the back until the rope broke and you went flying into some unwanted soapweed yucca’s or prickly pear cactus and you would be pulling needles out of your hiny for days, LOL! How we lived through it I will never know, the grace of God I guess but what fun, good times and laughter we had!
I loved watching our neighborhood kids they are so creative this weekend by making their own sleds out of large Rubbermaid container lids, or laundry baskets or dragging out the ice skates they use for indoor hockey and playing on the streets as no cars were in sight. Those three days were magical to me life was just a little simpler. Why is that? What have we done to make our lives so busy, complicated or rushed…we were able to enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation! If you think about Mother Nature caused us to be a bit paralyzed.
Now for the lineman repairing the electrical lines, the emergency crew working the streets and those working in the hospitals or businesses that are open 24 hours, those poor truckers trying to get through to their destination I commend you it was just another working day for you. I know driving in those hazardous conditions added additional stress but I thank you for your service. To those without electricity I know it was a bit uncomfortable and many were forced to go to a hotel or hunker down and add a few more layers of clothes or blankets on them. So it may not be all it was cracked up to be for many…but we still can find something to be thankful for.
What do you think about when you hear the word “Winter”? Cold, dreary, snowflakes, ice or maybe sweatshirts, wool scarfs, hats, coats, boots? Hot cocoa, Hot Cider, Hot Tea (my favorite cinnamon this time of year) or southern soul food…something that sticks to your innards? I love baking especially in the “Winter” months. Homemade cinnamon rolls, cookies, or homemade banana bread? Also, bread pudding taco soup or Grandma Pansy’s famous beef or chicken & noodles…yum getting hungry again just typing out the words!
Don’t let Cabin Fever set in here are other activities you might consider next time you are stuck in a “Winter” time out and depending on the weather conditions here they are go ahead a be a kid again: Nostalgic: Have a snowball fight, build a snowman, go sledding, catch snowflakes on your tongue, make snow angels, lay bird seed out to feed those hungry birds or squirrels, make paper snowflake cut-outs (how fun is that no two ever the same), reread a favorite book from childhood, drag out your undone craft projects, sort and organize your recipe files, sort through your pictures and organize, have grilled cheese and dip in homemade tomato soup (ok Stephen & Heather maybe Campbell’s will do). Kick back in the Hot Tub borrow your neighbors if you don’t have one. Cozy up in front of a roaring fire and watch the flames…take a long hot bubble bath by candle light with Epson salt, lavender mmm soo relaxing! If you are really industrious clean out your closets, drawers and cabinets lighten your load and give to those who are less fortunate than you. OK most important RELAX, ENJOY and EMBRACE this precious time!
Some folks head south for the “Winter” to their second home, like the ducks and geese while others stay put. However, I think we should take a lesson from the bears and find time to hibernate, relax and rejuvenate as it is good for our soul. God’s intent when he created seasons. Winter is a special time if we choose to embrace it!
Reflecting on some scripture in Genesis 8:22, God reminds us “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and “Winter”, and day and night shall not cease. Psalm 74:17 “It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and “Winter.” It is all a part of his perfect plan, a special season! ”Winter” is a time to be enjoyed just as any other in life, even though the world may seem bleak and gray outside we always have the love of Jesus to warm our hearts and homes. It is a perfect for “Takin Time Out!”
As we are in the middle of Advent and preparing for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday a holiday we call Christmas or perhaps you are Jewish and celebrate Hanukah…and the days get shorter and the weather colder…I hope you reflect on this season of “Winter” as a splendid time! Pour you a cup of your favorite Hot Beverage and curl up with a good book, old movie or a journal and write down your hopes, dreams, aspirations or things you are truly grateful for this ”Winter” Season! Until next time my dear friends stay warm, stay safe and stay grateful…