In honour of the half-way point of the her hardest season, Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy is sharing a list of what's saving her this winter - rather than what's killing her - and inviting her readers to do the same. Following her lead from last Monday's post, my list consists mainly of little things: I often find that when one last tiny thing goes wrong, it can mean the difference between coping and crashing. Today, I'm acknowledging some of the small joys that tip the scales in the other direction.
Here's what's making a difference for me this season:
Candles. Candlelight has redeemed my evenings every winter for years now. It keeps the seemingly endless darkness at bay. This year, I also found a way for candles to help me fight the staleness that comes with keeping out the cold. I started placing a fresh-scented tea light on my bathroom sill, and lighting it whenever I wish I could just open the window without kicking the furnace into overdrive. It's not ideal, but neither is doing your business in a frigid draft. My current scent of choice is cotton.
Fruit. Peaches and cherries are long gone, but the citrus is around in troves. I've made a point of stocking up on oranges and grapefruit - and eating them myself too, even if the littles have opted for a less time-consuming snack. I'm still surprised how refreshed I feel after that first tangy mouthful. Yes, says Rachel's immune system, this is exactly what we needed. The vitamins and sugars are well worth the peeling and inevitable stickies.
Prayer. I'm a hopeless perfectionist when it comes to visiting my prayer corner. I want the house to be quiet, the children to be napping or otherwise totally occupied (preferably downstairs with a long movie), and no other chores to be pressing for at least fifteen minutes. Which is just another way of saying I hardly ever get there. I'm trying to change that. Be it a two-minute sneak away while they're happily playing, or just a "Lord have mercy" muttered over the sink, it helps keeps me centred - especially when the combination of colds and flus and sheer can't-keep-warm exhaustion keep us from church for weeks on end.
Dressing well. Three decades of living in a snow-blown climate has taught me to be honest about my cold tolerance. Much as I'd like to think of myself as a tough prairie veteran, I'm miserable when underdressed, even at -15C. So I wear leggings under my jeans from November through March, and don my toque, scarf, and gloves even for 10 minute outings. My choice of new coat was a knee-length down-fill with a faux-fir collar. I usually wear it zipped all the way up, with the hood up to boot. There's no messing around with a prairie winter.
...and not just for the weather. I'm blessed with mother and sister who could each double as my personal stylist. I usually ask them for clothes for Christmas, and am always pleased with what seasonal lovelies they pick out for me. Instead of saving those flattering scarves and sweaters special occasions, this winter I'm aiming for everyday wear. That way I can stay warm and feel ready to face the public instead of wishing I could take my stretched-out tee and sweatpants self back to bed. This is proving true even on days when the only "public" I engage are my husband and offspring. And when the time comes where huddling under the blankets is the best way to beat the winter blues, staying pajama-d will feel like an indulgence rather than everyday blah.
Fake daylight. As I mentioned in my last post, it's not full spectrum, but that lamp still helps fight off all that is cloudy and dim.
Grocery store tulips. It's spring somewhere, and Safeway's greenhouse knows it. Come late January, $5-7 bunches start showing up in corner displays at all the grocery stores. If my African violets aren't blooming or the skies have been white for too long, orange, pink, yellow blooms tend to fall into my grocery cart. For as long as it lasts, that pop of colour at the table can make all the difference. And when they fade, that new coat of mine is still a bright cherry red; it makes me grin every time I catch my shoulder out of the corner of my eye.
In a world of white and grey, I'll take my vibrant wherever I can get it. Spring will get here eventually.
In meantime, pop over here to find out how others are managing the last half of the cold and dark.