Have you noticed that winter this year has taken on the characteristics of the laundry? Just like the laundry pile that you wash, dry, and put away no sooner do we get the snow cleared up then there is more for us to take care of. Wash, dry, fold, repeat……. snowfall, endure frigid temperatures, shovel sidewalks/driveways, salt, repeat.
Here in North East Ohio we are dealing with the latest snow storm system to dump through our area, and I discovered this morning that I was unable to muster up the energy or will power to force myself to go out and drive on roads with blurred lines, slush, and white out conditions. So instead, I decided to take a PTO day and stay home with this guy:
And let me tell ya, he is in rare form today! The Disney tunes are blaring while he meows along with them. Yes, you did read that correctly, he is MEOWING along…..gotta love this guy!
The long, dark, cold days of winter are here and they don’t look to be letting spring in anytime soon. I find myself often sinking into dark and depressing thoughts. Why is it that dark and cold lead to these lonely and isolated places in my mind?
Well today I am determined to rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer and I will focus on trying to contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.(Romans 12:13, NSRV). Winter will not hold me a melancholy prisoner in its cold grips! This passage from Romans will be my to do list for today. If I take a look at this verse in the amplified version of the Bible, I have a clearer picture of what my tasks for today are:
constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength]
Recently I have been drawn to studies of the early church in general, and the roles and voices of women in particular. So for this item on my to do list I will spend some time in my daily prayer routine, then dive into reading some more of the books in my pile that are related to the early church. Somewhere in all of this history there is a message for me as I begin to focus on moving forward in my calling.
Getting lost in the ancient stories takes me away to places that are warm and sunny. The stories of intelligence, confidence in God, and courageous faith help to fill me up with purpose.
contributing to the needs of God’s people
This task has brought me full circle back to my own set of God’s people and back to the laundry. What better way to combat the winter blues then to have fresh and clean flannel sheets when we get into our beds tonight! So down to the washer I go with all the sheets and throw them into the washer. I am sure that later today when I have returned to the basement to put the sheets into the dryer, and then again when I go down a third time to take them out of the dryer to put them back on the beds I will be questioning my sanity and wondering why I thought all this extra work today was a good idea. But I will indeed be rejoicing when I lay my head down on my pillow as I snuggle into bed for the night and inhale the comforting smell of fresh from the laundry sheets.
pursuing [the practice of] hospitality
For this one, I again am looking no further than my own household today and the people and animals that live here. Sometimes in the stresses of our day-to-day lives, we forget these souls need our hospitality as much, if not more so, then the ones outside of our homes that we are extending ourselves too. Extra treats and snuggles for these guys!
They are extremely grateful ( I think) for the warmth and comfort they both are enjoying inside on this cold and snowy day. This is the cat’s first winter inside with us, and she seems to have adjusted nicely to her change in circumstances.
For the people – comfort food! While I stayed home from work today, my poor husband braved the elements and drove slowly and carefully to work. So what better way to welcome him back home and in from the harsh cold then with the delicious aroma filling our house that is coming from the crock pot? It’s homemade sauce and meatballs for spaghetti at our house!
All of these things on my to do list for today from Romans 12:12-13 are small things. Don’t be deceived though! These things, little as they may seem, have brought soothing to my own winter weary soul and at the same time brought comfort to my people and animals.
Sometimes I think I get so caught up in focusing on THE BIG PICTURE of life and SERVING IN THE WORLD that I forget that first and foremost I need to be caring for myself and my family. Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women (among other wonderful books) said,
“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.”
Did doing all of these things cure me of my winter blues? For the moment they have. Maybe the biggest lesson for me today is that doing these little things are therapeutic for me and everyone around me. It’s just a matter of taking the time to find the joy in these simple tasks. After all, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy!
So that being said, I am now off to consume a pot of mochaccinos and answer the call of the Hallmark movies that are calling to me from the dvr!
Winter can’t last forever. Eventually, just like the laundry, we get to the end of it.
Until spring arrives, stay cozy and warm!