How Not to Hate Winter

I’ve always dreaded Januaries.

Maybe it’s because the post-Christmas solitude often feels empty and uncomfortable.

And it’s cold outside.

Instead of counting the days until Spring, I’ve decided this year to find ways to enjoy the long, dreary winter and live in the moment. I’m baking. I’m watching old movies. I’m visiting people. These are all things that you can do any time of year, of course, but somehow they seem like they belong to the winter.

And of course, celebrating post-Christmas winter traditions helps too. For example, we did out first ever Epiphany house blessing where we chalked the door.

20+C+M+B+17 stands for the names of the three magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, and it also stands for Christ Bless this House in Latin.

The changes in the liturgical calendar really help to keep us centered. Ever since I started going to daily Mass, being aware of the different feast days and their associated traditions has really made my life feel more full. (Actually, if you’re interested in a really cool blog on liturgical living, check out Carrots for Michaelmas. I’m a big fan).

But of course, as with most things, there’s a deeper level of this “living in the moment” thing. I’ve been trying (for the last year) to step away from all my plans and dreams, and just exist. I’ve been trying to stop thinking about what I should be or what I would like to be and just be, well, me.

Specifically, I’m trying to just be God’s daughter.

Many years ago as I was talking to a priest at my high school, I told him, “You have no idea how much fun it is to be someone’s daughter.”

I was speaking in reference to my human parents, but I meant it in respect to God as well.

Being able to love someone as their daughter is a unique gift. I really believe this, and I think that is also why it hurts so much for people when their human parents are unable to allow their sons and daughters to love them.

And even if our earthly parents aren’t perfect, we have this opportunity to be in a love-filled relationship with our heavenly father.

What does this look like?

Jumping into his arms to hug him at the end of the day. Crawling into his lap when we’re sleepy or scared. Pouring out our hearts to him and listening as he does the same with us. Stopping by his house to say “hi” in the middle of a busy day.

It’s pretty simple, really. He’s Dad. I’m Connie Ann. And this is where I am right now – trying not to worry about the future, or whether or not there is anything else that I’m supposed to do or to be. If he wants me to do something for him he’ll let me know. For now, I’m just going to sit right here and be his little girl.

On the 11th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me…

On the 11th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me…

…enough wonderful memories to last a lifetime, and I’m only 26.

Starting with our movie party the day after Thanksgiving, we had a party at our house every other week. James’s birthday, Christmas, and a very happy New Year’s day with my brother and sister-in-law and their 3 kiddos.

Christmas at our house, 2013
Christmas at our house, 2013

Oh and we went to Williamsburg, VA the weekend after Christmas to celebrate my birthday. Oh and we saw The King and I at the Olney Theater on New Year’s eve, staring Paolo Montalban (who was also the prince in ABC’s Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Brandy, Whitney Houston, Jason Alexander, and Whoopie Goldberg).

Today was my first real day to myself in over a month, and oh what a beautiful day it was. The bright sun shining down on the 5 inches of snow on our deck made everything look so cheerful. First I made eggnog bread pudding (and eggnog ice cream later in the evening). Then I went to Home Goods and got this lovely table runner to update my kitchen from Christmas to Winter:

January 2014 Table

I love it. It reminds me of Williamsburg, and the way the world looks today: nothing but sky and snow. With the sky as bright as it was today, the stage was set for daydreams. I started thinking, if we’re not going to adopt just yet, what is it that I would like to do? What are some things I have always wanted to do, but never got around to? Maybe 2014 is the year I will do some archaeology work, or finally take that 2 week road trip around Merry Old England, or fly to Florence with my love. Dreams are what this new year is made of, and the only limit is that big bright beautiful blue sky.