The Contentment of Mid-Winter Cocooning

It's desolate and chilly outside on this arm-shaped island draped into the Atlantic.  For months on end.

The sky, the ocean, the roadways, the trees, and many houses look abandoned ... and wear the color of slate, bleached or darkened.  We nestle inside, burrowing in for a seemingly endless winter season.

Hours are spent tucked under a faded quilt, stacks of unread books, newspapers, and magazines awaiting my attention.  Devotional times are often leisurely events.  Coloring books and gel pens stay handy.

Blogging is a steady, welcome companion ... writing up a storm has become part of the breath I breathe.  And yes, there's far too much screen time.  Quiet music may play or we revel in the pleasure of an afternoon nap.  The TV drones most evenings.

My uniform of choice day in and out?  Faded sweatshirt atop turtleneck, stretchy, forgiving leggings, fuzzy vests and well-worn slipper socks.

He often escapes to the basement to tinker and design, to think and dream and putter the hours away.  We'll hop in the car at a moment's notice to go exploring, to check out the tides, an abandoned road, a beach previously unnoticed.  Occasionally go out to supper or a movie.  Many evenings, we're surprised if we see one other car on the road.

Yes, we have work we love that is meaningful and productive ... counseling for me, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for him.  And there are visits and long phone calls with family, gatherings and Bible Studies and get-togethers with new found friends.

As we head into our third year living near the sea's mysterious majesty, together we agree that we share a lingering expectancy for something else, an unknown opportunity, a door or two not yet opened, a missing, illusive piece of the puzzle.

We're no strangers to the waiting room.  God's got the future all in hand.  Especially the unknowns that are a bit scary, uncertain.  That we know for sure.

This is winter at home in early semi-retirement.

Meanwhile, there's the dailyness of tasks and activities that come with homekeeping ... those well-worn rhythms bring a bit of order to my sometimes random days.  Creating, puttering, arranging, tending, and keeping the home fires burning is a role I've always embraced, that's always given a warm sense of purpose, that speaks life and love and welcome.

It's yet another place where I feel His pleasure.

Five little choices I'm making these days ...

~   opening windows  ~ 

Yep, even if it's only 15 degrees out and the wind is blowing mightily.  I open a window wide when I change the linens, clean the bathrooms, or when some heavy-duty cooking threatens to make the house smell like a cheap diner. 

We definitely sleep better at night when a window is cracked just a bit, balancing out the cozy flannel sheets, electric blanket, and ever present quilt.  And sometimes we may even get to hear a lone bird chirping a solitary winter song ... or sadly, a pack of coyotes howling as they chase their prey through the moonlit woods.

~   letting lights twinkle everywhere   ~

Lights burn bright on window sills, at the doorways.  Tiny ones twinkle 'round the mantel's collections.  Candles are lit on the farmhouse table, on Grandma's old trunk in the living room, and upstairs in the loft right next to my seat of choice.

They create wisps of romantic mystery.  Their ambiance chases away the darkness and illuminates shadowy corners.  And their warm glow speaks welcome to the neighbors, letting them know that we are here.

~   surrounding ourselves with quilts & throws   ~

Quilts recovered from his mom's old cedar chest, hand knit throws set free from my childhood maple dresser, a fuzzy lambs wool throw covering the threadbare rocker, an old baby blanket at the ready.  On beds, sofas, chairs, and walls ... upstairs, downstairs, over at the counseling office.

These favorite warmers travel with ease around our home.  The quilt in the open window snapshot had just emerged from the washer and dryer after its annual stint as a Christmas tree skirt.  It's also made appearances as a tablecloth {when we weren't dining}, and found a home tossed over sofas and chairs.  Tattered and worn these days, that $39 tag sale vintage baby's been a real good friend.

~   always having a mug or glass in hand   ~ 

I do love a big mug of tea early morning and some mulled cider with a cinnamon stick on some afternoons.  And don't even get me going on hot chocolate in the evening with a whole lot of whipped cream.

But just like summertime, it's the tall icy glasses of water that keep me feeling healthy and alert, cleansed and full ... and much less likely to launch into some random out-of-control eating binge.

~   puttering in the kitchen when absolutely necessary   ~ 

I'll be the first to admit that the kitchen is not my favorite room in the house, that more often than not, I'm standing mid-afternoon gazing into the freezer wondering what's for dinner.

But I love making soup.

The holiday turkey carcass covered with broth and veggies, steaming away in a huge pot.  Chicken soup pulled together from assorted frozen leftovers now bubbling away ... with couscous or tiny pasta added during the final minutes.

Fragrant ham and bean soup, simmering goodness from that big ol' bulky bone.  And the always forgiving hamburger vegetable soup that tastes even better when you replace and substitute and make do with ingredients not printed on the recipe card.

And anything baked calls my name.

Blueberry scones and Mom's biscuits and brownies.  A fabulous pie or chocolate cupcakes.  You know what I'm talking about.

The key is to make plenty to share with awaiting family members or friends needing a bit of a pick-me-up so that you don't get greedy and eat far too much and end up bummed when you stand on the scale the next morning.


How do you cocoon in the bleak mid-winter?  Do tell!


sharing warm times with