I always have a hard time in the late autumn/winter months with warmth and light. Maybe it's living in Spokane, which tends to be a rainy, dreary, gray sort of place during this time of year. But probably it's just me. I get cold; a kind of cold that I'll admit might not have much to do with the thermostat. I also tend to get depressed.
One thing that counting my blessings is teaching me is that there is a stark difference between happiness and joy. Happiness comes and goes. As a person that's struggled greatly with seasons of deep depression there is even a comfort in admitting that fact. But joy? Joy is constant. There will always be joy, even after daylight savings and the sun starts setting at 4:00 in the afternoon.
A habit I've gotten into the past few weeks, to fight off the seasonal malaise, is lighting candles. I've never been much of a candle person in the past but lately I've gotten a bit candle crazy. I'm even seriously considering having one of those candle-parties after the holidays, as my stock is withering fast.
I've got scented candles in the livingroom, that I light for just that extra bit of warmth when the afternoon hits and we are all a bit stretched for patience. In another season we would go outside, but it's beginning to get chilly, we've all had a bit of a cold, and did I mention the sun's 4 o clock bed time?
I've also put some small candles on our table for dinner-time lighting.
And even more in my bedroom for lighting during my afternoon prayers.
The immediate calming effect they have on me is a bit amazing. Josh will tease me for saying it, but I swear they make the room noticeably warmer. And the smell...especially the few beeswax candles I have let off the most comforting smell.
I find myself drawn every day during nap time to the small corner of the bedroom where my prayer journal and bible are kept, which I will admit lately hasn't been the case. What was becoming a tedious chore has been revitalized by the simple exercise of lighting a few candles. And as always, I have been revitalized by re-starting this practice of daily time in meditation. Keeping a sharp eye, I've found that the dim light has also allowed me to let Malachi play with a few quiet toys while I try to pray- a situation that has never ended in much but exasperation on other days the boys' naps haven't overlapped.
Even Zeke is beginning to enjoy the routine of lighting the livingroom candles in the early evening and blowing them out before he goes up to bed. And the dinner centerpiece, as simple as it is, helps hide the crumbs and spills and loud-boy voices that tend to accompany a meal around here.
I think with a few candles, a few quilts, some thick socks, and a really big mug of hot chocolate I might even make it thru this winter ;)