January generally means implementing warmer socks, warmer drinks and warmer meals on our farm. The days require additional layers of work clothes while we load our stored grain into trucks headed to feed yards, mills or ethanol plants. Breakfast at our table is now enjoyed with the addition of warm mugs of hot cocoa before the kids have to bundle up to catch their bus for school. Meals are planned to intentionally utilize the oven to warm the kitchen while also making food that will warm bellies.

It’s no secret I’m not a fan of winter. The colder and darker days do not make me favor this season in the slightest. In fact, if I had a choice, I’d spend my winter days as far south as possible.

The extra layers, constant chill and seemingly dreary days do not bode well with me. They never have, and I suspect they never will. Perhaps it’s because I was a beach and desert dweller in my childhood. Perhaps it’s the many memories from the early days of my marriage of cold, newborn calves being brought inside the house to get warmed up and healthy. Perhaps it’s the idea that my children can’t enjoy recess outside due to the windchill. Whatever the reason, winter will always rank last for me.

Yes, the chill of winter has set in. And with that, I’m constantly on the lookout for reminders to help me adjust my attitude and warm my spirit during this time of the year. 

During my daily walk to check the mail, I look forward to opening the box to discover a new catalog highlighting seeds and gardening essentials. It’s a reminder that spring planting is near, and I have the opportunity to plan for a future harvest of homegrown goodies during these cold days.

The beautifully made quilts and blankets I have been gifted over time have now been brought out of storage and added to the backs of our sitting chairs or spread over beds. All too often these handmade treasures seem too heavy or too hot during the rest of the year, but now are a perfect addition. These items not only offer warmth while I read in the evenings or snuggle in at night; they also warm my heart as I remember those who made these precious gifts.

Since the winter’s cold pushes my kids and husband into the house sooner in the evenings, I have the opportunity to enjoy more of their company. Whether it’s to play a game together, facilitate a science experiment or crafting session, or simply sitting together to enjoy a movie, I know once the days get longer and warmer this time will become less frequent. Having my little family together is something I cherish during the cold, dark winter months. 

Yes, even in the depths of winter, there are reminders of warmth all around. You just have to recognize them when you experience them.