Winter and Life Extremes: A Time to Hunker Down

Do you get any of winter’s deep freeze days where you live? You know, those days that start in the single digits or below and if you’re lucky climb well into the teens? We shiver our way through days like that each winter here in southeast Kansas. And I am not a fan.

In fact, I’m not a fan of winter in general, but I must admit, like everything else, winter has its perks. One of those perks for writers like me unfolds as nature speaks something new to us, something we can share through the written word. And sometimes those words come out as poetry.

So here’s my latest poem, friends—inspired and served up by Old Man Winter himself. I hope it blesses you. Even if you shiver a bit while reading it!

A Time to Hunker Down

We all notice the day
when winter blows in,
when autumn’s refreshing nip
takes a frigid turn.
Jackets and sweaters give way
to gloves and down,
and we all settle in
for Old Man Winter’s stay.

And then one night
the cold becomes colder
and we’re plunged into
deep freeze days,
days when nature itself hunkers down,
when nothing moves or makes a peep,
when frozen silence is all we hear.
Yes, nature holds its breath,
shuts down and waits it out.
The bitter extreme calls for a break.

As ever, we can learn from nature.
Let’s take our cues, follow its lead
when bitter extremes hit our lives.
We too might benefit
by stepping back and taking a breath,
by getting quiet and waiting on God.
We too may need to hunker down,
we too may need to take a break.
And one day the sun will come out,
one day sweet life will go on.

“. . . ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31

*When have you had to hunker down?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

Winter Wedding Cake: Pinecones and Baby’s Breath!

Mother of the Bride, is your darling daughter planning a wedding this winter or next winter? If she’s getting married in the next two or three months and hasn’t decided on a cake design yet, today’s simple style might be the one she’ll love. And if she’s planning for next winter, add this idea to the list of design options she’ll consider in the coming months.

First she’ll need to decide if she wants to incorporate a winter theme in her cake design. She may not want to choose a cake that’s seasonal in design—and that’s fine. A wedding cake doesn’t have to be dictated by the season. But if she’d like her cake to feature a winter touch, be sure to share this post with her.

One classic and perfect option for a winter wedding cake is to adorn it with pinecones and baby’s breath. The baby’s breath tucked into and around the pinecones will give the appearance of snow and will be perfect set against the backdrop of a pure white cake. The cake shown above is a country chic style, but pinecones and baby’s breath will work with other styles of cakes as well.

So MOB, if your winter wedding bride wants to add a touch of winter’s snow to her cake, suggest this design. And then run out and collect a few pine cones!

*You might also want to read Winter Wedding Cake Idea: Snowflakes!, Blogging Break Plus Favor Help for Winter Weddings, and Winter Wedding Favor: Dancing Socks! 

*Have you subscribed yet to Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue? If not, sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, just scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by Graceful Cake Creations, Creative Commons License

Winter Comfort

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Sometimes winter visits our souls at the same time it visits our neighborhoods. If you happen to be feeling the gray of the season in your spirit today, I pray that God will minister some winter comfort to you through the following poem I wrote several years ago. Be blessed, my friends, as you read:

The Wintertime

“O Lord, I need a touch from You
For it’s wintertime in my soul,
I feel so lonely and discouraged,
Extra stress has taken its toll.

Lord, it’s even winter outside
And the gray, cold days mirror my heart,
Father, please speak peace to me
And lovingly give me a fresh new start.”

As I finished my prayer
His voice I longed to hear,
But instead His touch I saw—
Snowflakes started to appear!

Silent snowflakes, pure and white,
Came drifting gently down,
Making the wintertime a wonderland—
God spoke to me without a sound.

“’I, even I, am he who comforts you…’” Isaiah 51:12a

*How has God comforted you during a wintertime of the soul?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of my book to use personally, to give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by [WW], Creative Commons License

Winter Wedding Cake Idea: Snowflakes!

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Mother of the Bride, is your daughter planning a winter wedding? If so, you may just now be discussing some of the details that can come a little later in the wedding planning process. Things like wedding favors, send-off options, and possibly even the design of the wedding cake.

If your darling girl hasn’t already decided on her cake’s design, here’s an option to show her—snowflakes! The cake above (or something similar) would be especially perfect if she’s incorporating winter touches in other aspects of the wedding, too. The cake offers a great opportunity to highlight a theme if she so chooses.

The dark background in the cake above really helps set off the snowflakes, but I bet extra sparkly snowflakes or silver snowflakes could look gorgeous as well if your daughter prefers a more traditional white cake. Your cake baker may be able to provide the snowflakes, but if he or she asks you to do that, you should be able to find them at most craft, party, or discount stores.

So MOB, if your baby is planning a “baby, it’s cold outside” kind of wedding, share this cool (hee, hee) idea with her. A snowflake cake can be the crowning touch!

*You might also like to read Favor Help for Winter Weddings and Wedding Favors That Grow: Tree Seedlings.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. One lucky subscriber, current or new, will win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Eldriva, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Covered

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Anyone anywhere covered by a blanket of snow right now? Here in our corner of the nation’s breadbasket, we got a little snow earlier this week but haven’t really seen much of the white stuff this winter. However, I know some regions of the country have been hit hard with heavy snowfalls in recent days and weeks. And they’ve been the kind of heavy snows that can be hard to dig out of.

Of course, there are those of us who may be covered by other things today. Even weightier than snow. Some are covered by the burdens of grief, debt, pain, fear, or broken relationships while others of us in happier seasons are feeling blanketed with joy, excitement, gratitude, renewed strength, or love.

Whatever our differing situations, whatever we’re covered with today, isn’t it good to know that we can all be covered with the love of God? That because Jesus shed his own blood to pay the price for our sins, we can all be covered with forgiveness and salvation if we’ll only call on him? Isn’t it good to know we can all be covered by his grace, covered with the hope he gives?

Yes, we can all be blanketed with the peace that can only be found in the Lord. And that’s something that weighs light. Something we’ll never want to dig out from under.

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” Psalm 32:1

*When have you felt blanketed by the peace of God?

*My photo from a previous winter.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!