7 Ways To Get Through Winter

Winter

Winter is tough.  The sun doesn’t shine much and temperatures are pretty darn chilly.

After Coeur d’Alene’s first snowfall, I quickly discovered that Northern Idaho winters were worse than the Missouri winters of my college years.  Maybe that’s because I knew I’d be flying off to sunny SoCal for a month during Christmas break.  Now, the six month trek through cold weather is more of a daily reality.

Since Southwest hasn’t given me free flights for life, I’ve been forced to face this arctic reality with a different strategy.

Here are my top 7 ways to get through Winter:

1. Bright Nail Polish – My first response to hearing that my Gramma had passed away was to purchase and eat a double chocolate muffin and paint my nails neon pink. (Not the most healthy coping mechanisms, I realize…) There’s something just happy about cheery colors smiling back at you from such an oft used body part.

My favorites: Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro Nail Lacquer in Cherry Fashion – AMAZING applicator. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Sonic Bloom – a vibrant coral color that actually does dry fast.

2. Car Snacks – Cold AND hungry? No good. I keep a couple Clif Bars in my center console for when I shiver too many calories away.

3. Flowery/Fresh Scent – I’ve read enough InStyle to know perfume should change with the season.  Winter lends itself to warm scents like vanilla, musk, and sandalwood.  The other day I picked up my summer scent instead of the Warm Vanilla Sugar I wear on a regular basis.  One spritz and I was in a meadow of wildflowers in May, despite what my window was showing me. From now on I’ll be letting my olfactory system tell me I’m enjoying a sunny day in Spring regardless of the temperature.

My favorite: Crabtree & Evelyn Lily of The Valley – If you don’t want to wear it, this scent comes in a room spray.

4. Electric Mattress Pad – Cold sheets are brutal.  Sliding into a warm, cozy bed at night is a simple pleasure.  Electric blankets freak me out (something about being wrapped in a blanket that could electrocute me…), but a heated mattress pad? Yes.  Turn it on 30 minutes before bedtime and you are guaranteed a toasty evening retreat.

5. Alpaca Socks – Staying inside does nothing to banish the winter blues, but going for a walk/hike/triptocostco only to have toesicles when you get home doesn’t encourage outdoor expeditions.  Wool is great; alpaca is the best!  It’s soft and stays warm even when  snow melts in your boots.

6. Take A Bath – I’ll be the first to admit that my winter showers are far from eco-friendly in length, but showers by nature seem a bit hurried.  If I’ve been outside, a bath is sometimes the only way for me to get warm.  Add some scented bath salts, light a candle, and let the heat transport you to Fiji. or Bali. or Hawaii. or… forgive me. I’m getting carried away.

7. A GOOD Jacket – Until two weeks ago, I was under the impression that layers were a non-negotiable and unless I was wearing four or five of them (not kidding) under my jacket, I wouldn’t feel anything resembling warmth.  My poor down jacket, acquired in 2005, was the warmest outerwear I owned and was losing feathers fast.

I believe my mom was appalled at my inability to get warm when she visited in November, so when we were visiting SoCal in the beginning of January, she graciously offered to help fund (as in pay for) the purchase of a better jacket.

There is hope for you, cold ones! I can now go out in the snow with my Columbia Parallel Peak Interchange 3-in-1 Insulated Jacket and be warm even if I’m only wearing a t-shirt underneath.  Spend the money and get a good jacket.  It’s worth it.

Did I mention that it’s a pretty blue color?  I would opt for a cheery color (see Nail Polish explanation above) instead of neutral.

How do you keep your spirits up and stay warm in the Winter? Inquiring minds want to know…

Eucharisteo

It’s no coincidence that as rain turned into slush that turned into big flakes of our first snow in Coeur d’Alene, I was stranded in a coffee shop with only a book to keep me occupied.  The book – One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

Tim and I had waited until the last minute to get our little car fixed up with snow worthy tires. So, it seemed, had most other people.  We were 31st in line and had a projected wait of four hours.  We resigned ourselves to making the coffee shop across the street our home for the evening.

Aside from an hour and a half interlude with some friends who graciously picked us up and fed us dinner, I spent over two hours immersed in Ann’s “list of naming God’s gifts.”  I read how eucharisteo is the fullness of life.  Thanksgiving. Gratitude.  They are inextricable from joy.

“I would never experience the fullness of my salvation until I expressed the fullness of my thanks every day, and eucharisteo is elemental to living the saved life,” Ann whispers in my ear.

The snow begins to fall when we leave our friends’ house and falls faster when we reenter our second home.  Walls shield me from the swiftly swirling snow as I hunker down for another hour of waiting, but coldness still penetrates my heart.

I have been dreading this blanket of white.  Snow means winter.  Winter means cold.  Cold means something dreary in my soul.  I so desperately want sun and warmth and sandals.

Even as I read and agree with Ann’s words that rejecting joy doesn’t rescue suffering, I am obstinate about my current displeasure.  I reject the beauty and the purity and the silence of snow.   It falls and my spirit falls with it.

I do not begin to melt until I hear the simple metaphor in my yearnings for heat and sunshine.  All I want is the sun and I am struck that the only thing that will get me through this season is the Son.  My innards stubbornly refuse to resign their sinking until eucharisteo reminds me again of the Son.

I cannot dwell low when the Son is shining high.

First with intentionality and then in a flood of thanks, I feel rays of His warmth kissing my skin in…

A bouquet of flowers and an ice scraper clutched tightly in my husbands hands.

The flicker of a candle flame reflected in our TV screen filled with fake fire.

Heat-filled cheeks from the steam of a hot bath.

Elegant green boughs heavy with white powder.

The oven timer signaling fresh-baked cookies are ready and warm.

My own list of naming God’s gifts has begun.  It is what propels me out of the cold, into the warmth of the Son.  With thousands of unique pieces of icy lace floating from the heavens, my heart echoes Ann’s prayer, “in the posture of euchariseo, I want to slow down and taste life, give thanks, and see God.”