HOW TO SURVIVE JANUARY

I think she does it just to piss me off.

Whenever I make a comment about inclement weather–no matter what the season–Gail will invariably respond with something like, “I know. I love it. Nothing you can do about it, so you might as well embrace it.” Her comments about last week’s snow and sub-freezing temperatures were a perfect example. I called her that morning while the temps dipped and the snow flew, and I could hear the upbeat tone in her voice. It was windy as well, and recall that both she and Suzanne love the wind. Ugh.

Normally, I try to keep a positive and sunny disposition, but when it’s not sunny, and especially when it’s cold and windy, I’m not very positive. As if there is anything I can do about it.

So, instead of letting her get to me, I thought I would embrace the issue, just as she embraces any type of weather.

Gail quoted this statement from a Facebook page she reads when I asked for her input on the topic of the title: “I make my bed every morning because it’s a gift that I get to open at the end of every day. A gift that not everyone has. So while I am wrapping my bed in the morning and unwrapping it at night, I’m reminded of what a great blessing my bed really is in my life. When we stop viewing what we have as little, insignificant or not enough, then we get to see what we do have as gifts we get to enjoy, great blessings in our lives and provisions for our needs.” She then added her own thoughts:

“I have always made my bed every morning because I feel it sets the tone for the day. Here is another way of looking at it, a thought for the new year: we take our beds for granted, but think of the ones who don’t have a bed.”

Great advice from Gail, as always. In closing, she added this: “Get rid of shit that needs gone!”

In contrast, Suzanne also offered wise words, albeit a bit more passive: “Stay asleep the entire 31 days. Or drunk. Dealer’s choice.”

Wise words from my wise sisters.

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Crucible: noun: a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new.

I find January to be an annual crucible. Surviving the elements of cold weather, minimal daylight, gray days and months before my beloved summer comes, I struggle to thrive in January, my least favorite month of the year. Gail, in her ever-sunny disposition regarding the weather, even when it is not sunny–and hot–takes it in stride. I am a long way from that attitude; it is quite likely I will never reach that point, but I keep trying. I need those reminders that I do indeed have a warm bed. I make mine every morning as well, and I will now think of it as a gift to unwrap when I get in, thanks to Gail. And, if January is indeed a crucible by definition for me, then I need to use it to make me stronger and renewed.

On top of that, I have a warm home, plenty of warm clothes, money to pay bills and have a little fun, and plenty of food to eat. I have fulfilling work, a loving family–my two sisters are the icing on that cake, and despite a few new pains and aches, I am generally healthy.

So what’s a little bad weather? Get over it, Kathleen.

Gail’s comment about getting rid of stuff–I believe she called it shit–is a good idea for most of us, except Suzanne, who subsists as a minimalist, and I admire that in her. If she gets rid of much more, she may not have the essentials for daily living.

Gail and I, on the other hand, are not minimalists. We could both stand to get rid of a lot of material possessions, which is what we both commit to every January. So far I am moving along with a nice pile to donate, and Gail reports that she has gotten rid of multiple unnecessary kitchen items and clothing she no longer wears. She’s still on a roll, and finding more “shit” as the month goes on. So am I. We both need to continue to take that cue from Suzanne.

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January, with all its darkness, does offer two elements of spectacular light here in Kansas: the sunrises, and the sunsets. The sunrise picture was taken from my porch last week, and the sunset picture with the Kansas grain elevator is courtesy of my friend Stacy, taken not far from our home:

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Spring always follows winter, and summer always follows spring. The cycle has never disappointed us, and it likely will repeat again this year. Like nature, we should all use this time of year to go inward for all the “re-” activities: rest, renewal, rejuvenation, reconsideration and relaxation.

Embrace it like Gail does, or sleep through it like Suzanne–and the animals do. Dealer’s choice.

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Until the warmer temperatures arrive, I am offering a montage of photos from earlier posts with the sisters of The Sister Lode enjoying the sun and warm. We hope they bring back memories of warmer times for you as well.