My first impulse whenever sitting down to my computer this time of year is to whine about how winter is NEVER ENDING. And I hate to whine. It annoys me even as the words come out of my mouth. I honestly don't mind the cold and the snow (I actually love it). I just start to mind the length of its visit. It's like a guest that wore out its welcome after all of the fun holiday parties and now we're trying to get back to business as usual and the party animal just won't leave.
Based on this inclination to whine, I tend to withdraw and wait for more inspired thoughts to hit my frozen little head before sharing with the world. Perhaps a good spring thaw.
But today I decided to follow Ann Voscamp's good advice in One Thousand Gifts. Looking around my life right now, my first glance might take in only the house being shredded by children who are going STIR CRAZY by lack of outdoor activity. My first thought might be that of complaining because of my season of life combined with the seasonal activity keeping us inside. But recently I was reminded of Ann's excellent advice to fight an emotion with an emotion-- to replace a complaining thought with a grateful one.
So here goes. A thankful list.
I am thankful for
1. The way the air smells when I step out into the cold and the cool freshness fills me with a quiet happiness from the top of my knit hat down to the wool socks hugging my toes.
2. The satisfying sound of my boots crunching in the snow.
3. The rosy glow on my babies' cheeks when they are outside. Their smiles of glee as their eyes explore the winter landscapes.
4. The warmth of our little house even on the coldest, windiest days.
5. That soft, warm spot on Eli's neck that is the perfect place to press with gentle kisses.
6. Giggles. So many children's giggles. All around me. Up high. Down low. Hiding in the closets. Running away from me holding my phone. The giggles surround me and bathe my soul in a sort of peace that erases approximately 10 frustrating things that they just did.
7. The smell of freshly baked bread. The steam rising off each slice as I slather it in butter, drizzle in honey, and place on a plate in front of a tiny person.
8. Music that demands that we stop EVERYTHING to get up and dance.
9. Addison really getting into her dance...eyes widening...feet stomping...arms flailing...and then gracefully waving...sweet voice shouting along...
10. Carter's little hand holding mine as we read the digger story yet AGAIN. His long, lean body folding against me for a reluctant hug.
11. The sweet hour of reading before bedtime when I curl beautiful words around my tongue before sharing them with my children.
12. The even sweeter hour after reading when 3 heads that haven't stopped moving all day lay down on soft pillows, eyes close, and breathing evens out into that glorious anthem of silence.
13. That first little "Mommy?" in the morning. The tiniest voice caressing my name with an eagerness o see me.
14. That first cup of steaming hot coffee that slides warmth down my throat with every sip.
15. Freshly washed sleepers folded neatly in a pile.
16. Children rooms picked up and shiny clean.
17. A really good book that I can get lost in. Words spinning around my head and claiming me as their own.
18. A solid dinner plan that fills the house with delicious smells one dish at a time.
19. Little children who actually eat the dinner I spent all afternoon on. Delicious, chewy chocolate chip cookies just waiting for those children who successfully cleaned their plates (and mommy too)
20. Snow softly falling in sheets outside our cozy home, setting the stage for storybook type magic right outside our very door.
Now that I think of it...maybe this time of year can bring its own type of inspiration...
Take that, Timehop. I am breaking the trend. I am replacing an emotion with an emotion.
Gratitude. I feel better already.