The Beauty in the Beast

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Freezing cold temps, deep snows, driveways to shovel, fierce winds, snowed-in days, long cold nights.  It’s the nature of the beast – a Colorado winter.  How to tame the beast?  Take a deeper look and love it for what it is.  Freezing temps create thick smooth ice for skating on the lake, deep snows mean great skiing and sledding, snowed-in days are perfect for catching up on projects (like writing!), long cold nights spent by a warm fire with a glass of wine and good book – well, it doesn’t get much better than that.  Even shoveling the driveway has its physical benefits.  Fierce winds…this one is a stretch since I hate wind but I have to admit, it makes for interesting snow drifts and beautiful ice-flocked pine trees.

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Our winter season at 8000 feet is a long one but we enjoy dry “champagne” powder and the most intense Colorado blue sky you’ve ever seen.  And we are blessed with lots of sunshine that melts away even the deepest of snows within a matter of days.  I admit, by April, I’m more than ready for my bulbs to pop up their spring greenery, but I know from experience that won’t be until June.  Until then, we continue to pray for snow on the high mountains because we need the water so desperately in the summer.

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I personally love the changing seasons because there is beauty in each one.  Remember the old song “Turn, Turn, Turn” made popular by rock/folk band, The Byrds?   The lyrics are taken directly from the Book of Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8  and the opening line is:

To every thing, turn, turn, turn.

There is a season, turn, turn, turn.

And a time for every purpose under heaven.

God created the seasons, each with a purpose.  Spring is the time for planting – a new beginning, purposeful creativity, fresh expectations.  Summer is the time for growth – watching the “seeds” you sowed beginning to sprout and nurturing them along to mature life. Autumn is the time for harvest – the hard work of gathering in, preserving, and sharing.  Winter is the time for slowing down, rejuvenating, replenishing, and resting.  This is the natural rhythm of the seasons of life.

Whether our lives are full right now with parenting children (or older parents), working at an education or career, traveling the world, or simply enjoying favorite hobbies, it is imperative that we find balance and healthy rhythms.  If we are stuck in a season too long because we either feel “trapped” or just plain comfortable, we will soon find ourselves face to face with the Beast called Discontent whose children are Laziness, Anger, Fear, and Exhaustion.  Think about it…if we planted all the time and never watered, weeded or nurtured, nothing would ever grow.  Or if we harvested everything without a care to replant, we’d eventually have empty storehouses.  Or if we completely ignored the need for rest and rejuvenation, we’d never have the energy to do anything to nurture ourselves or our loved ones.  Procrastination is a disastrous philosphy for healthy growth.

So, how do we learn from the lessons of the seasons?   Looking for the beauty in the beast and living with gratitude for whatever season you are in, is a start.  Making baby-step efforts to create your own seasonal shifts is another.  And above all, remember that we are not created to plant, grow, produce and sleep all at the same time.  Start small. Intentionally carve out time in your busy schedule to relax, alone or with loved ones.  Use this winter season to rest and plan for the busy spring.  I can hear you saying, “I don’t have time for that.”  Yes, you do.  There will be a day when time will be of no importance, so do it now.  There is beauty in every moment.  Don’t miss it.

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HOT COCOA, Thick and Rich (grab a spoon!)

½ C unsweetened baker’s cocoa

¼ C sugar (confectioner’s works best)

1 ½ T. cornstarch

Combine 1 heaping tablespoon cocoa mix per 1/3 C milk in a small sauepan. (If you want thicker cocoa, increase mix to 1 ½ to 2 T.)

Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until steaming. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil and thickens.

Add cinnamon, finely grated orange zest, Irish cream or Kahlua, or even a sprinkle of hot red chile powder!

Serve in small espresso cups. So rich, so good!

Use low-fat milk = only 98 calories!

 

 

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