I’ve always been fascinated by what happens where I live when a snowstorm threatens.
Milk, bread, toilet paper, and bottled water are nowhere to be found. The frozen section in the grocery store has been wiped out. And liquor stores enjoy a pre-blizzard bump in business as fears of wine shortages consume our minds. They were so busy, they probably didn’t even check if half their customers were using a fake id (more here). I feel so bad for those who weren’t quick enough and were only left with a choice between ouzo or $50 champagne. I’m so glad I have one of those wine club memberships, I don’t know I could survive the winter period without mulled wine. I also forgot to get my second cousin a Christmas gift so I’ve set one of my bottles of wines from my subscription aside so I can give that to her. This subscription is a lifesaver in more ways than one! I think she’ll love the wine that much that I’m even deciding to look for some personalized wine glasses that I can gift to her next year. Can you think of anything better than drinking some of the best wine in the most beautiful personalized glassware? I can’t. And all of this can be done online, so I don’t have to worry about venturing out into the cold. So, we prepare to hunker down for an indefinite amount of time, not knowing when our cars will be unburied or when the roads will be safe to drive.
But something else happens in the midst of a blizzard.
When Mother Nature decides to dump nearly three feet of snow on us in 24 hours, our chronic busyness, neverending to do lists, and work pressures suddenly become less important.
The weather has a way of causing us to slow down, or, in this case, “snow” down. It gives us time to focus more on what we really want to do and less on what we feel like we have to do.
We take time to think, play, read, explore, unwind, cook, laugh, and spend time with those closest to us. We actually see and talk to our neighbors…and meet new ones.
Over the past 48 hours, I’ve taken time to enjoy the gifts of “snowing” down. I wanted to share them with you to inspire you to make time for the things that matter, even after the threat of snow has subsided and we return to life as it was before.
Play. On Friday night, as Bill and I were preparing to watch what would end up being the complete series of Making a Murderer on Netflix, he asked, “Do you want to pull the mattress out into the living room while we watch TV?” No sooner had he asked then we were dragging our spare mattress, pillows and blankets out onto the living room floor to set up camp for the weekend. A small Nerf gun (yes, they still make them) also made its way into our time together that afternoon. I felt like a kid again doing something so fun and out of the ordinary.
Explore. On Saturday night, once it had stopped snowing, we trekked out into the fluffy white mounds and snow banks, wandering around the streets of Lutherville for over an hour. We walked in the middle of the unplowed road. We made our way to the park near our house, where we trudged knee-deep through the snow to get to the jungle gym and swing set. We slid down the slide into a snow pile, face planted while jumping off the swings, and made snow angels.
I remember staring up at the calm, gray sky, watching the clouds dance over the moon. It was the first time I noticed the beauty of the barren tree branches above my head and the stillness of the night. I thought to myself,
“This is the kind of stuff we’re supposed to notice. These are the moments when we’re fully present and connected to life.”
Read. I love to read and have since I was a kid. Reading gives me the opportunity to grow, learn, think, reflect, and dream. I have a thing for words and am always open to being inspired by them. During the past 48 hours, I finished Ariana Huffington’s Thrive, read most of the The Food-Mood Solution, and breezed through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I recommend checking out all of them! If you’re thinking of decluttering your home, take a look at these storage sheds in va.
As I was reading through Thrive, I was reminded of the importance of slowing down and being present to what my body needs. Often, it’s rest.
Unwind. When we’re caught up in the frenetic pace of our lives and the feeling that there isn’t enough time to get everything done in a day, we tend to lose sight of the importance of rest. I made time to relax this weekend. I slept in. Sipped a half dozen cups of herbal tea. Took a nap on the couch. Decompressed in a lavender-infused epsom salt bath. Journaled in the comfy chair in my office with essential oils diffusing beside me.
It is so necessary to do this. Taking time to rest and relax is refreshing and helps us reset our body and mind.
Connect. It’s funny how we can live near people (several hundred feet from them) and never talk to them. In today’s world, most of us are coming and going in such a hurried way, we often overlook something as simple as getting to know our neighbors. Despite the fact that we have lived in our house for almost three years, we saw and talked to some of our neighbors more in the past 12 hours as we were shoveling than we had in the past six months. I grew up in a close-knit neighborhood where everyone knew and looked out for each other. I realize now as an adult how rare something like that is today and how I want more of it in my life.
I also reconnected with my web designer, the person who designed my logo (below!) and who will be helping me with the redesign of my website this spring. It had been on my mind to follow up with her for months, but having time this weekend was what I needed to make that phone call happen.
Disconnect. Aside from Jimmy Fallon, Top Chef and The Voice, I don’t spend much time watching TV. With everything else that inspires and energizes my life, there isn’t much time left for it, but sometimes I just need to zone out. My husband and I binge-watched Netflix – all 10 episodes of Making a Murderer…in less than 18 hours. Quite a feat. (And, yes, it’s as addictive and fascinating as everyone says it is.)
Cook. It goes without saying that I love food, given what I do for a living and why I write this blog, but being cooped up in my house surrounded by food inspired me to get busy in the kitchen.
We made this savory Sweet Potato and Veggie Casserole and this warm and cozy Love In a Bowl White Bean & Fennel Soup
For something sweet, we whipped up Simple Mills chocolate cake topped with this fudgy peanut butter chocolate frosting and some crunchy cacao nibs and these banana oatmeal cookies from Pinterest (I added 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt and about 1/3 cup chopped walnuts).
Release. All of us have a tendency to accumulate stuff. I’m a pile-stacker and sentimental packrat, but there can be so much freedom in taking time to purge stuff we no longer use. When we are forced to slow down and reflect on the space around us, we often start to notice what we need and what we can release.
As I was reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and reflecting on my own living space, I was inspired to ask myself the book’s core question to guide the decision about which things to keep in my life and which to discard:
Does this spark joy?
What a simple but profound concept.
I had recently done quite a bit of decluttering, but reading this prompted me to take a few additional steps immediately. I now have several more bags filled with “stuff” that doesn’t spark joy to give away, trash, or recycle. The space I’ve cleared out is now open for something else to enter my life. I’m excited to see what that is.
While it may take a snowstorm to slow us down, let’s continue to give ourselves the gifts we experience and enjoy during times like these.
Whether we’re playing, exploring, reading, unwinding, connecting, zoning out, cooking, or releasing what no longer serves us, let’s reconnect with what sparks joy in our lives and commit to doing more of that.
Let’s continue to embrace the gifts of “snowing” down.