The Gift of Winter

blog-slm-photosThat’s right. Winter is a gift. It’s all in a matter of how you look at it. I’ve spent most of my adult life bemoaning the challenges of cold, leafless landscapes and slippery drives on icy roads. I still don’t like those parts, but over the years, I have come to appreciate certain aspects to the coldest season that are appealing.

Back in the day, I took great pleasure in doing “donuts” with my car. For anyone unfamiliar with this sport, donuts are the spinouts a car does when the driver jams on the brakes while racing over icy pavement. Most of mine took place in vacant parking lots, thereby reducing the risk of escalating insurance premiums. to my thinking, donuts are still way better than cutting a hole in the ice and hovering over it on an upturned bucket while trying to snag some unsuspecting blue gill with a fishing lure.

That said, I have been known to venture out on frigid afternoons with snowshoes strapped on my boots. It’s a lot like hiking through the wilderness, albeit decked out head to toe in Cuddle Duds. There is something alluring about the stillness that descends with a fresh snowfall. No other season can duplicate its effect. Distractions are stripped away, the quiet encourages personal reflection. Lately, my thoughts have returned to wintertime thoughts of my childhood. My friends and I would play outside, building snowmen and snow forts until our moms forced us indoors to defrost.

I see that same exuberance in my grandson, who giddily positions himself in the path of spray from our snow thrower. He giggles as the melting fingers of snow run down his neck. He laughs when that snowball he just hurled at me lands smack in my face. He reminds me that the gift of winter is a blessing from God to share with our grandchildren, now and through the words we write in their memoirs.

How do you enjoy spending winter days with your grandchildren? I would really like to know. Follow me at and leave a comment.

A New Measure of Time

img_24931One of the items on my Christmas wish list was a digital clock for my bedside table. Nothing fancy, just a simple timepiece that shows the hour of the day or night. My wish was granted beyond expectation. The clock I received is like none I have ever had, far more than a simple readout of time. This 21st Century model packs a lot of information into its 3” by 5” profile.

Once a timezone is chosen from its function setting, my clock displays the exact time without any intervention on my part. It’s lighted display panel automatically changes the level of brightness based on my personal preference; I chose 100 % brilliance for day, 5% for night. Better yet, this clock displays a daily calendar, the day of the week, and date of the year. As an added bonus, it indicates temperature and humidity levels in the room where it sits; this bit of information provides a handy excuse to stay under the covers a bit longer on chilly mornings.

However, the most intriguing feature on my new clock is a small graphic that shows the current phase of the moon. I checked it for accuracy one day, or rather, one night; it works! But, why would this matter to anyone? I considered how people measured the passage of time before clocks were invented. Mariners used the sun, moon, and stars to navigate vast oceans over periods of weeks and months. They seem to have discovered a natural rhythm to life that flows more easily than the manic pace of modern civilized mankind.  

As with everyone else, time is running out for me. And, I may not accomplish everything I’ve set out to do in my lifetime. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I allow time for the most important things in my life. Among those things are time set aside to be with God, time for dreaming, and time for writing. Sometimes the clock ceases to matter while I am writing, and I end up penning precious messages for my grandson and his children yet to come. Indeed, my little clock has done far more than I imagined. It has taught, and continues to teach me to measure my time in a more valuable way.