Winter Inspiration

Patchwork Barn

Patchwork Barn

Red Barn

Brown and Red Barn

Our God manifests Himself in our mangers and muck, our mundane and mess. Ours is the God manifesting Himself in the unlikely and unbearable, in the surprise and the second-chance. The God Who bears the burdens and brings the hope. ~Ann Voskamp


“Listen to your life.
See it for the fathomless mystery it is.
In the boredom and pain of it,
no less than in the excitement and gladness:
touch, taste, smell your way
to the holy and hidden heart of it,
because in the last analysis
all moments are key moments,
and life itself is grace.”
~Frederich Buechner


I prefer winter and fall, 
when you feel the bone structure of the landscape–
the loneliness of it, 
the dead feeling of winter.  
Something waits beneath it, 
the whole story doesn’t show.
~Andrew Wyeth

Bare Trees in Winter

Weeds in unison
Move with the sun
Balancing the snow

Green and Orange Barn

Green and Orange Barn

I’m loving the blue sky and sunshine! This morning, Don and I took a drive along the back roads in our small town. I took this photo from the passenger window while driving by. Lovely are the bright colors of the green and orange barns against the brilliant blue sky and fields of unblemished snow.

(This post is also published on my photo blog, Remember the YearCheck it out sometime!)

A Snow Globe Winter: Turning a SAD day into a GLAD day

snow globe

Has the winter taken a toll on you? Feel like you’re trapped inside a snow globe? There is no escape from the harsh bitter cold winds. Is your life interrupted by the ice-covered roads, slushy parking lots and steady snow showers while you’re waiting for the warmth of bright sunshine to melt through the thick grey colored sky?

Makes me think of a snow globe, being turned upside down and back again over and over. In the beginning, it may look pretty and fun to play with, but after a while, it soon becomes boring, old and wearisome.  Let’s put it on the shelf…let the snow settle and forget about winter.


For some of my friends, the winter season is taking its toll on their emotions and physical health. They feel SAD. It’s true that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be a culprit of ill-health for many. I can understand why they feel as they do. As a gal born and raised in the deep South, I truly dislike going days without feeling the warmth of sun on my face and because of the bitter cold and wind chill, I miss the enjoyment of long outdoor walks or jogging on sidewalks through my neighborhood. There’s also the hazard of slipping on ice. I look forward to the simple joy of walking with a normal gait down the driveway to collect the mail.

So, in my personal goal of learning to enjoy living life in a snow globe (so to speak) I’m making a choice to wear joy like makeup…and it is turning a SAD day into a GLAD day.

What do I mean by ‘wearing joy like makeup?’ Try this on for size–make an acrostic out of the word, GLAD. For example:

G: Go stand in front of a mirror. Relax your shoulders, check your posture and smile back at your reflection. Hold that smile for a little longer and concentrate on the wonderful feeling of those joy muscles around your lips and eyes, working in unison to reverse the tired frown lines. While looking at your reflection, say out loud ten things that you are GLAD for. Do this several times throughout the day.

L: Load your refrigerator with fresh fruit and vegetables and refrain from eating sugary desserts and processed foods. For me, fighting the sugar craving during the cold months is harder to beat than hot days of summer. Because I know this about myself, I purposefully choose to have fresh produce or fruit to munch on.

fresh fruit vegetables

Load your freezer with protein rich meals, prepared ahead of time. One of the best decisions I made this winter was adjusting my Saturday routine to include cooking several meals that would last us for more than a week. Because the days are shorter and the weather is brutal during the winter, I am more tired than other seasons and coming home from work to prepare a meal can be exhausting. It was easier to throw a frozen pizza in the oven than to prepare a healthy meal. Taking a few hours on a Saturday to make meals such as soup, beef stew, or white bean turkey chili keeps my family feeling quite glad and wearing joy on their faces!

A: Ask a friend to meet you for coffee or to visit a museum, go see a movie together or out to lunch. We need people around us for mutual encouragement and for a joy boost. Hire a baby-sitter for a few hours to get away with your spouse or a friend. Ask another family over to share a meal with your family and spread some joy from those meals you cooked ahead of time. And don’t be surprised when you discover that the people or person you reach out too is dealing with that same “snow-globe” winter effect.

D: Decide to make lifestyle changes, beginning with your attitude towards exercise. Zig Ziglar says it this way, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” Surrendering to the winter blahs is an effect of having a grumpy attitude about a situation (winter) that you have no power over to change. What you do have power over is yourself. For me, my altitude is usually correlated to my exercise habits. I feel better when I exercise and the better I feel, the more apt I am to have a positive attitude. Make a decision to exercise on a regular basis. Many gyms offer winter memberships at a reduced rate, community organizations always offer group exercise classes, and finding an exercise coach via a DVD or internet is not hard to do.

So that’s it…my simple acrostic for turning a SAD day into a GLAD day through this “snow-globe winter.” It has helped me to be intentional about wearing joy and to be glad for this beautiful season of winter.

What are some ways you overcome the blahs of winter or choices you make to be glad?

Winterberry Tree

Your Song to Sing!

Your Song to Sing!

The best medicine for taking care of the winter doldrums is to sing a song. If I can’t find the words to a melody or lack the enthusiasm to raise my voice, I choose to look out my window to see creation sing its praise. The whole world is singing a song to the Lord and we can join the chorus. Look and see …

The wind is blowing the leaves into a swirling dance. Fluffy clouds are molded with images that seem to have been designed for my eyes only.  Snow covers the dead dry grass, making all things new.

It’s a choice to look for something good. To listen for the song to fill your soul. Have you heard it?  “God loves you. He made you. He is pleased with you.”

It’s easy to forget that song when we focus on the wrong things that want to rob our joy. God is good. His unfailing love endures forever.

This is your song to sing!

Psalm 100: 1-5 (NLT)

1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!

2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.

3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

I took this photo from my kitchen window. I loved seeing robins on a cold winter day in January.

I took this photo from my kitchen window. I loved seeing robins on a cold winter day in January.


A poem to remember December 12, 2012

12 balls of yarn tucked neatly in a basket

12 knitted mittens for precious little hands

12 little hands lifted up toward heaven

12 songs of praise shining brightly as the stars

12 young smiles giving aged hearts laughter

12 Christmas carols of joy and jubilee

                                                                                                                                             by Donna Harris