Monday, January 26, 2015

5 Absolute Must-Haves For When You're Craving Warmth

Everyone's all abuzz over the coming blizzard.  I stop by the little hamlet store to pick up some ice cream {really}.  And as I pull open the freezer case to grab my Mint Chocolate Chip Light, an elderly woman catches my eye.
 
And my heart.
 
For she is truly distraught because there's not a drop of milk in the place.  Bewildered would best define the look on her worn face as she says to no one in particular, 'but I live on it ... I drink it all the time.'

All I could do was give her an understanding smile.  A warm one that let her know I heard her astonished disappointment, the frustration-laced fear.
 
This is winter in New York.
 
I guess if you pushed me to come up with a word for January it would be this.
 
Warm.
 
We're trying to get our bodies, our homes, our cars to a toasty temperature. 
 
I've gathered 5 must-haves that keep this ol' body and soul warmly alive during these gray frigid weeks.  And I can't wait to hear what works for YOU ... 
 
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1.  the boots
I found these gray babies in a great big pile at one of those discount stores. {Their motto and mine?  Good stuff cheap!}.  I chose my color {black, brown, or gray?}, slipped my eager feet into them, and to my delight, they were soft, cushy, and yes, warm.  At $14.99, I couldn't get them in the cart fast enough. 
 
Since then, they have seldom left my body ... I slide them on to run errands, to head off to work or church, to trot out to the mailbox.  And yes, they've kept me company in the house when the heat gave out and we had to wait hours for the repairman to drop in. 

Twice. 

In one month.
 
What's your favorite warm-up gear?
 
 
2.  the kitchen 
In the winter, this room evolves from a pass-through between family room and home office into a place of focused action.  I've whipped up a great big pot of yummy ham and bean soup and another pot of oh-so-good chicken and rice soup, gleaned from frozen carcasses gathered from the freezer.  A sausage and 4 bean chili, not too spicy.  And a favorite comfort food, my mom's spaghetti sauce

Chocolate chip cookies have made several rare appearances from the oven, much to my husband's disbelief / delight, even though some were a bit too crispy burnt.  Chocolate cupcakes {thank you, Betty} with minty homemade icing were a labor of love.  Bottom line?  In recent days, there's been plenty of warm comfort food created within these four walls, happily shared with loved ones.

I feel so domestic.

Martha and Rachael would be proud.
 
What's happening in your kitchen?
 
 
3.  the books
I love tucking myself under a warm, old quilt with a book or two.  And a big mug of hot decaf tea right by my side. 
 
I've been making my way through Philip Yancey's Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?.  Slowly savoring deepest truths made simple.  I've already begun Ruth Haley Barton's brand new Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community.  If she writes it, I'm there.  And I finally bought Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces.  These little morning visits with her start my day well. 
 
I've made my way through two John Grisham books in recent days.  And for the introvert in me that needs tending, I checked out two volumes from the library, The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World and Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After by Sophia Dembling. 
 
I like when someone gets where I'm coming from, you know?
 
What are you paging through?
 
 
4.  the excursions
What's a weekend without a drive somewhere, anywhere?  Sometimes you've just gotta get out of the house ... and I've discovered over time that for me and my man, some of our most profitable talks have evolved when one person {not me} is behind a wheel, looking straight ahead. 
 
What fun to discover that DQ has opened its windows a whole month early.  Yes, there's something rather odd about devouring something sweet and frosty while trying to stay warm.  But that's ok.  I can't complain when I'm digging into a small Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard and he's balancing a decent size chocolate ice cream cone while steering the car 'round turns and through traffic. 
 
No worries.  I'll work that extra pound or two off when spring comes.

What's your favorite winter ice cream?

 
5.  the conversations
Frigid air outside lends itself to warm, lingering conversations inside by the glow of fireside or candlelight.  Precious time curled up on comfy chairs with dear friends.  Deep, searching musings at book club or Friday night small group.  Chatting over coffee as a Saturday night house church meeting wends its way to a close. 
 
After all, who wants to head back to that outdoor chill when there's cozy companionship to be had ... and encouraging exchanges that spark connection and insight are filling our souls?
 
The conversations as we gather around the table online, in this place, have been rich and full this month as we've bantered back and forth about our words ... or lack of them.  Brainstormed creative ways to breathe fresh life into our homes.  Grappled with the impact of social media on our lives.  And shared quiet sabbath oasis moments together.
 
I'm so grateful.  This kind of connection is what blogging's all about.
 
Your presence here, your willingness to get a bit out of your comfort zone and engage with other kindred spirits?  A warm grace, indeed, as Creekside launches our 8th year.
 
The celebration begins this weekend ... with giveaways right and left and some writings that I think are truly shareworthy.  I just can't wait for you to party with us!
 
I'm glancing out the window.  That cold, flaky white stuff is spinning quickly downward to a waiting earth.  And my heart is warmed by the Spirit's presence ... and your rewarding friendship.
 
 
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From Hither & Yon : : Shareworthy Reads
 
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dropping in at Mary's  .  Holley's  .  Emily's  .  Leigh's  .  Anne's

56 comments:

  1. I'll answer them by number. #1- sweats and warm socks (means I am inside my ManCave. #2- I don't cook and my wife's not crazy about it. I have lots of Progresso soups (Minestrone, Vegetable, Tomato). I don't do ham and beans. LOL #3- reading books on Titanic. Reading Martha Jane Orlando's Glade series at home. Reading more serious fare at the office. #4- any kind that says chocolate except I am not fond of nuts in mine. I will eat ice cream no matter the temps. #5- I'm an extrovert. 'Nuff said. :)

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    1. A great big yes to sweats. Wool socks AND slipper socks at the same time. And yes, ice cream ---> must . have . chocolate . in . it.

      ;-}

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  2. Had a comment typed but it went away. :( But it did say that my favorite place to find some warmth was HERE!! There was more, but I will be back to add. Running out the door soon. xoxo

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    1. If you're catching the warmth, then my prayers have been answered, Beth! It can be hard to experience that welcoming grace online ... and I want every reader to experience God's warm affection for them in this little space.

      I'm so grateful ...

      ;-}

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    2. I hope you are physically staying warm in your corner of the world! My original comment yesterday did include saying I needed to check out two of the books you mentioned. I am still working my way through You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan. Reading moves at slow, slow pace for me. :) Congrats on eight years! That is so wonderful. Love you, friend. xoxo

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    3. I hear you about the reading, Beth ... so much else seems to pull me away from one of my most favorite activities! I'm not in a hurry, either. I'd rather go slow and savor all that's coming to me. Philip Yancey's book is taking a long time because it's so deep and rich. There's no rushing through it ...

      Yep, let's take it slow! Those volumes will still be there next week.

      ;-}

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  3. AH Linda---nothing like ice cream on a frigid day--WELL there is nothing like ice cream at ANY TIME!
    Keep WARM and SAFE, Friend!

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  4. Thanks, lovely lady!! We're hunkered down, ready for the big one! Bet it's alot more pleasant in Texas right about now ...

    ;*)

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  5. If I told you it was a beautiful blue sky day with temps in the 70's, would that sound like gloating? Remind me in July & August and we are all sweltering!

    SINCE YOU ARE READY--LET IT SNOW!

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    1. Please, pretty please take a few extra deep breaths of that warm sunny 70 degree air for all of us up north!

      ;-}

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  6. Hi Linda looks like you are prepared for the winter. Well, we are warm here in Jo'burg.
    Blessings to you.

    http://purposefulandmeaningful.blogspot.com/

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    1. Oh, South Africa must be so beautiful right about now ... gorgeous, gorgeous!

      But I love that you're here, too, Ifeoma ...

      ;-}

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  7. I love winter in New York! We are getting snow here too Linda, and my favorites for a warm Wisconsin winter are my tall brown furry boots, gluten free chocolate granola bars (I just made a huge batch last night), I've been reading my way through the bible, so that's been my book companion lately. My fave ice cream is also mint choc chip, though we can't keep it in the house, it's too dangerous! :)

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    1. You're my kinda girl with those tall furry boots and a dish of mint chocolate chip in your hand, Nicki.

      And God's Word tucked deep in your heart ... after reading your post today, it's easy to see how your love for Jesus is simply contagious! Your words blessed me so ...

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  8. I'm usually freezing, but as I am quickly approaching 50, I embrace the fact that for awhile I am extremely warm now!! ;-) Nevertheless, on snowy days I search out my comfort things. A pile of kid's books, crayons and play doh to snuggle up with Jake and spend some time. Triple chocolate brownies to lure a studious 17 year old out of his room. Lots of candles, incense and music. Right now I'm snuggled up on the couch with hot coffee watching the birds out my front window attacking the bird feeder. Maybe I'll tackle an organizing project later............maybe not................

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    1. I love the way you wrote that, Val, searching out your 'comfort things.' We all have those treasures, yet sometimes we just haven't taken the time to grasp what they are. The things and experiences that make us smile or relax are often simple pleasures that we enjoyed as little kids.

      You've brought smiles here today and I'm sure you're doing that the same with your kids. Enjoy the time off!

      ;-}

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  9. One of the great things about living in North Carolina is that I was walking around outside this afternoon with shorts on. (It was a little chilly but still...)
    But warming up? Coffee is pretty much about all I need, haha.
    We've had our occasional blizzard and those are normally very relaxing times. Get the family around a fire, watch a movie, read some books, and enjoy each other's company. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't mind a little blizzard action here.

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    1. Well the blizzard missed us entirely. Totally.

      That's ok. No complaints around here!

      And yes, North Carolina is beautiful in the winter, Loren. I wouldn't mind trading in my big ol' boots right about now if you gave me some warm weather.

      Enjoy ...

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  10. Warmth comes where your friends are-online or in real life. I'm blessed to have both. I also love comfort food and made a batch of spaghetti and meat sauce which lasts me al week since I'm alone! :) I just finished reading Atlas Girl by Emily Wierenga. Wow! This book is a memoir and there was so much packed into these pages. I loved it! I also love to bake but that is not happening now because I am trying to stay away from the sugar-hard to do some times. Finally comfort means my yoga pants and fuzzy slippers at home! Love them! Stay warm friend! Can't wait for the 8 year celebration fun! Hugs!

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    1. You're busy, girl! When you retire, your days will be filled with all kinds of meaningful activity ... I I can't wait to watch you transition!

      Hope this week's being kind to you ...

      ;-}

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  11. Found you at Coffee for the Heart. Winter in New York sounds so cold compared to Florida where I live, but I still find myself trying to keep warm in the cooler temperatures. My favorite way to stay warm is snuggling under a blanket on the couch reading a good book. My current book is "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp - been on my to-read for much too long : )

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    1. Oh, Crystal ... Florida's looking really fine right about now! It's been bitter cold here forever. But today, the sun's bright and that I love.

      I'm glad you found us this morning. It means alot that you'd take the time to leave these kind words, and I hope you'll come back to visit again soon.

      Blessings ...

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  12. You really know how to warm your heart and body, Linda. And with that, you are warming our hearts as well. I just love that I've been in that warm and beautiful house of yours. Because of that, I can now imagine you curling up under a quilt with your favorite book of the moment in your friendly family room--with an excellent view of the snow falling outside to boot! So imagine me sitting there with you, my friend, and we're chatting about all the things that make us feel warm inside. :) Hugs to you!

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    1. I could use a good conversation with you right about now, Beth! And yes, the books and quilts are scattered 'round and I'm about to finish up online and head over to the sofa and dig in.

      I'd love to share a cup of tea together.

      I hope you're having some quiet moments, yourself, friend! I know life is busy in your neck of the woods ...

      ;-}

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  13. My favorite item for staying warm: American Apparel cotton leggings. They are super-comfortable, come in beautiful colors, last very well (I've had some for 6 years), and are made in USA. I wear them under my skirt or jeans every day in the winter.

    What's going on in my kitchen is making meals we can share with the baby, while eating frugally and sort of seasonally: lots of mushrooms, carrots, baked foods, and soups!

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    1. Oh leggings ... how cute! And all kinds of colors? Too fun!

      What a great idea to have one menu for the whole family, Becca, instead of an endless buffet with 50 different dishes. You're one smart mama!

      And I'm glad you're here.

      mmm ... now about those leggings!

      ;-}

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  14. Hi Linda! A friend of mine made me a scarf that she 'arm knitted'. I guess there are a bunch of youtube instructionals for it. Nothing like a scarf to keep me warm. Not sure why? But hey, it works!
    I am reading Anne Lamott's new book 'Small Victories', but I've only just started it. I also am pawing through "Finding Spiritual Whitespace" by Bonnie Gray, and "Making Manifest" by Dave Harrity. I do a little from each one a day, they are all very rich reading for me!

    I hope you didn't get a ton of snow? My sister in Boston got hammered, my brother in Ithaca said only 4" so I guess it matters where you live! But even if you did, sounds like you were ready for it.
    Love those boots! I love cush in my footwear :)
    Hugs,
    Ceil

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    1. Arm knitting sounds kind of cool. Maybe I could even learn! Those needles make life a bit too confusing. And a woman doing handwork always seems so relaxed and calm, doesn't she?

      ;-}

      It's been years since I did the whole counted cross-stitch thing. Remember when it was all the rage?

      Ah, you're too young!

      May the hours reading soothe your spirit as you while away the weeks as your leg continues to mend. I pray for you often. And I'm happy you stopped by to visit this afternoon.

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  15. Oh how I crave warmth! A fleece jacket I wear most of the time, slippers, hot chocolate, a blanket and a good book.
    Oh and my girls and I are about to get ice cream ;)

    Stay safe and warm Linda!

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    1. I knew I was in good company, Sarah! I'm always wearing a fleece vest at home. Always!

      Enjoy that ice cream ... Would you mind if I tagged along?

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  16. Linda,
    I wish I could share my warm-up favorites, but I'm usually trying to cool off here in Florida! :) I just read Yancey's book on Prayer too and I found it quite thought-provoking. I think I'm going to reread it since it was so rich and I know I need to let it all sink down into my soul. Loved reading how you stay warm in NY -- I'm cheering you on as you dig out of the snow, friend! :) P.S. I lived for a very short time in Marathon, NY -- yikes the snow there! :)

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    1. Florida. Yum right about now!!!

      It's so frigid here. Praising God for whatever blue skies and sunshine He sends our way!

      Thanks for stopping in and warming things up around here, Valerie!

      ;-}

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  17. Replies
    1. Yep ... and we've got books coming up in the next few weeks around here!

      Can't wait to give some away!

      YAY!

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  18. Oh that poor sweet woman looking for milk! That makes my heart ache, Linda. Two trips from a heat repair man is not good this time of year. Praying for you, my friend! At least you have some fabulous cozy boots to wear :).
    My favorite thing to do right now is cuddle in front of the fire and read. I absolutely love to read. It's the most relaxing thing I do. Right now I'm into The Daniel Plan. It's a great book. I'm a non-fiction girl.
    Stay warm!!

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    1. The great thing about the heat giving up was the roaring fire the man built in the fireplace. We don't use it often enough ... I could sit right by fireside night after night if I could.

      With a book. And some hot cocoa!

      And maybe I wouldn't even need those boots!!

      Glad you're here today, Candace ...

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  19. I've never experienced a run on the grocery store such as I've seen posted all over Facebook these last few days (and I lived in Montana on the snowy side of the state, and in the Portland, OR area where ice storms often take out the power for days). But I can definitely relate to the joy of warmth--especially wood stove warmth! I was cold all winter for three years in Montana, until we put a wood stove in. What a difference!

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    1. I love a wood stove! We used one for many years in our first house ... steady, warm, wonderful heat. Day and night. Lots of work for the man cutting and chopping and hauling, though.

      Thanks for bringing back some toasty memories, Anita ...

      ;-}

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  20. I've been wishing I had better boots with me the past two weeks here in Denver. I don't need them much in Alabama. :) How awesome that you found the two books on introverts! I'm sure I would relate to those.

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    1. I'll let you know how they are, my book-lovin' buddy! Thanks for all the volumes you've sent my way the past few years. You're a goldmine, dear!

      ;-}

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  21. For warmth--- I acquired an electric throw that I love!! Cookin in the kitchen: Tapoica and zucchini muffins. What a coincidence -- I am reading Prayer too LOL. I just read A Thousand Splendid Suns by K. Hosseini about 2 Afghan women who had no choices in life. So sad.
    Ice cream: not my ultimate fav but enjoy soft ice cream in the summer ---Cheesecake is far better than ice cream.

    My tablet is very instrumental for connecting by txt with my boys. Boys don't chat over tea so you connect whenever.
    Friends and family are my greatest delight!!!!! You, Linda, being one of them.

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    1. Yes, you're a delight, a gift from heaven. How would I have made it through these decades without you by my side, cheering me on, leading me to Jesus ... and giving me a good nudge from time to time.

      I thank God for you. A faithful friend is a rare, beautiful treasure.

      I'm glad you're here tonight, Carol. Really.

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  22. Isn't Philip Yancey the best? It's been a few years since I read his work -- I need to go back and re-read them. The community book sounds right up my alley!

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    1. Yancey's one of the few authors I love enough to save all his books. Always so deep ... yet filled with insights that you can begin to live out. Grateful for his wisdom!

      And I'm thankful, too, for the Friday night group I get to gather with as we wrestle through the tough, no-easy-answer questions. Another grace gift ...

      Thanks for joining us here, Kathleen!

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  23. Oh, this sounds so warm and cozy! It's not super cold here today but my husband has the flu. We're washing hands like crazy, knocking back vitamin C and watching kids movies together. :)

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    1. I hear you, Mary. Once one gets it, it gets shared with everyone else! May the coziness give you comfort, and may your healing be speedy!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  24. Thick soft fuzzy blanket on my couch. Candles, we don't have a fireplace. Coffee, comfy clothes and my charged up ipad for Kindle reading. It is cold here in central PA, some snow expected. We didn't get alot earlier. It is icy; I know I fell on black ice. So I am watching TV on my couch wiht PJ's and blanket. Have a warm weekend! Blessings, Linda

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    1. Oh that black ice is a killer, Linda! May you be safe and warm and encouraged by the words you're reading by glow of candlelight.

      And I'm glad that we've gotten to share a bit of time together here.

      ;-}

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  25. You've got me craving chocolate chip cookies now!

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    1. The 30 year old oven finally gave up the ghost this morning. May it rest in peace.

      Now ... the hunt for a new one begins.

      ;-}

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  26. The way you write about conversations just makes me itch for a warm cozy night in with a group. And I'm thinking about spaghetti for supper tonight now.

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    1. With a name like Goat Gal, you KNOW I'm going to be coming by for a visit! Thanks for taking the time to share a bit with us. And welcome to Creekside!

      ;-}

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  27. This is a great list! My favorite winter ice cream is cinnamon, and I'll be working off those pounds right along with you. :)

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    1. Won't be long til we can grab our sneakers and GO!

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Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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