“When I started feeling the drag of winter, I began to treat myself like a favored child: with kindness and love. I assumed my needs were reasonable and that my feelings were signals of something important. I kept myself well fed and made sure I was getting enough sleep. I took myself for walks in the fresh air and spent time doing things that soothed me. I asked myself: What is this winter all about? I asked myself: What change is coming?” (Wintering, Katherine May)
The calendar tells us we’re halfway through winter, but looking out my window to the blanket of snow I’m not sure that’s true. The nights are still long, however, when the sun rises each morning I’m reminded of another story: a story of light, hope on the horizon, and new mercies every day.
Being on the lookout for glimpses of gratitude helps me focus on the beauty in front of me. A couple of times a year, Modern Mrs. Darcy invites readers to share a list of the things that are saving our lives right now. So I grabbed a pen and paper to make my own list and to remind myself that each day is a gift.
It’s cold, but there is warmth.
It’s dark, but candles still burn bright.
It’s uncertain, but hope continues to rise.
I hope reading my list reminds you of the simple, yet meaningful graces that fill your days. I pray that if you’re feeling the darkness, you know that dawn will break.
Here’s my list of everything that is making my life just a bit easier (in no particular order):
Walks around town: Most days after school, if the weather allows, the kids and I bundle up to walk and ride scooters around town. We see what cats are out and about, we wave to our neighbors, we stretch our legs, and we marvel at God’s creation.
Friday family movie night: Last year, when our daughter Charlotte started kindergarten we began the tradition of Friday movie night. After dinner the kids help Stephen make popcorn and we cuddle on the couch for a movie. No surprise, our current favorite: Encanto! Movie night has become a great end to the week and entrance to the weekend.
Cultivate the Word Journal: Over the last few months I’ve noticed my journals filling with words of scripture. During my morning quiet time, if a phrase or verse of scripture speaks to me, I write it in my journal. Now I have an all-in-one journal with space to write scripture (the one I have is all about cultivating hope), prayers, and reflections from the scripture. I don’t use this journal every day but when I do I’m amazed at what insights and prayers emerge.
Handwritten Letters: For me, there’s nothing like writing and receiving a handwritten card. Thanks to 1Canoe2, a local Missouri stationary shop, I receive cards every month through their High Five Subscription service. It’s always a fun surprise to see what designs and cards arrive – and then to write and send notes of love and encouragement to others.
Walk and Talk Newsletter: My Walk and Talk Monthly Newsletter is a place that’s special to me. The newsletter helps me connect with others while continuing to reflect, write, and curate inspiring reads. Coming up on two years since my first newsletter, I pray that my words encourage others to pay attention in their lives.
If you’d like to read more from me, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter, Walk and Talk here. As a gift to my readers and subscribers who sign up, I have a free downloadable resource: Walk and Talk with God: Reflection, Scripture references, and a how-to for your own contemplative walk.
What are the things that are saving your life right now?
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website, follow her work on Facebook, or sign up for her monthly newsletter.Follow us on social media