Gratitude Day 562

Sat., Jan. 30, 2021

Psalm 147:17 – Sleet and hail fall from the sky, causing waters to freeze before winter’s icy blast.

It’s the end of January in Wisconsin, which means we’re in the middle of winter. Some love the snow and cold and such which allows them to ski, skate, build snowmen and take in a whole bunch of winter activities.

For others?

Not so much. Usually, these folks are combing air fare to southern locations, dreaming of sand and beaches and wearing shorts.

Hubby Rick and I fall more in the later category than the first category. Historically, we’re taken a vacation in January or February that involves going getting on a plane wearing a winter coat and exciting ready to put on shorts and short-sleeved shirts. Rick loves to wear swimming trunks and flip-flops for the entire week we are vacationing.

This year? We’re staying in Wisconsin. And dreaming of a vacation where the whiteness is reflective of sand on a beach and not snow in the yard.

While our winter has been relatively mild, I’m still yearning for more sunshine and less scarfs and mittens. I know this isn’t really going to happen. And so, here are a few ways Hubby Rick and I are making the most of our winter staycation at home during Winter 2021.

We now own snowshoes.

Convinced that we needed a winter outside hobby, Rick has talked of snowshoes for a while. With an artificial hip that serves him well and he wants to keep it this way, Rick knows that he is past the days of skiing. I treated him to a new set of snowshoes for his birthday. After his original outing, Rick was hooked. The next day, he insisted that I try his snowshoes, adamant that I would also fall in love with them. I squeezed in a little outing in-between ZOOM calls. We quickly decided to order me a pair as well.

Yes, Rick has been out snowshoeing more than I have. Just before sunset on Friday afternoon, we walked down to a trailhead and strapped on our shoes. The photos reflect the no-sun day and the blueness that creeped in just before sunset.  With new powder snow on top, we easily wove our way through bare hardwood trees and evergreens still bearing their needles. If you are looking for a new outdoor way to encourage you to love the various seasons of the year as well as get you out of the house, then snowshoes maybe on your horizon.

I’m Eat a Little Bit of Wonderful Citrus Every Day

Before Christmas, a friend shared with us several oranges and grapefruit. She had bought them as part of a fundraiser from a high school club. While I have historically purchased FFA fruit as well, I didn’t get it done this winter.

Maybe it’s because we haven’t had something super citrussy for months before the oranges and grapefruit arrive, but this fruit always tastes SO. GOOD. They quickly disappeared. While at the store, I bought some more oranges because, well, I just wanted more.

Now, I’m eating a piece of citrus every day. As I peel off the skin, the aroma wafts into my nose and my tummy begins to anticipate that first bite. I’m not disappointed. Immediately, I close my eyes and pretend I’m in Florida watching the palm branches wave in the breeze. Yep, I’m still standing in my Wisconsin kitchen. But isn’t it nice to daydream, if only for a minute?

We Dodge the Refrigerator Bullet

Speaking of standing in the kitchen, we had a few days this week when we weren’t sure if we would soon be refrigerator shopping. At the beginning of the week, there was a loud noise when the frigd’s fan came on. Hubby Rick called the provided service number. He was told that possibly there was build up with the ice maker. We should let the refrigerator’s ice maker completely thaw and clean out for a minimum of 48-hours and see if this made a difference.

This experiment required that the refrigerator would have to be completely cleaned up for a few days. Had this been in the summer, we would have been more hesitant about leaving everything out for multiple days. With the cooler weather, we decided that the non-frozen items would hang out in our entry way for days. So, Rick unloaded the refrigerator and unplugged it. Several days later, we decided to try plug it back in and see what happens. I’m happy to report, so far so good!

Here’s the deal. Because it was winter, we could put the refrigerated items in our back entry way which was cool enough for a few days. We put the frozen items in a place where they could stay cold. Bonus side of it being winter right now!  Plus … my refrigerator is now sparking clean, inside and outside.

This American Master’s episode took me back to my childhood.

Growing up, I devoured the Laura Ingalls Wilders books. I used to have all of her books and loved to read her stories of growing up in the later half of the 1800’s. The Ingalls family lived in Wisconsin for a while. Maybe this is what lured me to her books. When a television series drew upon her stories for their storyline, of course, I watched every episode on our 1960’s style black and white television.

Public television aired an episode about Laura in late December. I recorded it and recently watched the episode. If you are a member of Wisconsin Public Television, you can log in and watch the entire episode here. If you aren’t, you can watch short vignettes from the episode here. It was interesting to discover and learn more about one of my childhood heroes.

Hubby Rick and I are enjoying re-watching this series.

Several years ago, we watched the television series, Underground. It portrays a group of slaves who escape from the south and try to make their way to freedom. It’s filled with interesting twists and weaves together a unique, yet believable, set of characters. Most importantly, it provides a look into slavery and how it affected people’s lives.

Recently, we discovered that our DVR started recording the series again as they are airing on the OWN channel. It looks like the series is also on Netflix. Amazon Prime has it as well, although it’s not free.

One night while Rick and I were watching an episode, I hit the paused button on the remote and asked my husband if he would have had the guts to stand up for the slaves. I was that drawn into the storyline. I know it’s a rhetorical question … but a captivating one to ponder.

What are YOU doing this winter to enjoy?

What’s something new that you’ve tried and/or am embracing? Maybe we’re not able to take a winter vacation/get-away this year. Yet, with a little creativity, we can create special moments even during a winter staycation.

For seasons of life this winter, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – Sometimes, the winter can feel long and cold. Maybe this is the year that we encourage ourselves to discover something new. Explore a new opportunity. Drink in the smells that take us back to a previous place that is filled with wonderful vacation memories. I pray we celebrate we day and the gift it is to us. Amen.

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