Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Wonder

As you can see, I changed the background for the blog to a winter scene. Summer greenery just wasn’t working for me. I like this scene because it looks still and quiet, and that’s how I’m feeling these days. After the major changes and events of this year – retiring, watching grandbabies being born, leading a retreat, and getting my black belt – I’m ready for some down time.

The last of the big events of the year was my black belt test in early November. After months of intense training, during which these other events took place, it was over. I woke up the next morning and the world felt different to me. I didn’t have any more major happenings on the horizon (at least any that I knew about). It was a cold, crisp morning with winter in the air. As I walked to church, I looked around and realized that it seemed like the first day of my retirement, even though I had been officially retired since May.

I felt tired, tired in a good way. Tired like after a hard day’s work, running across the finish line, reaching the top of the mountain. Exhausted and exhilarated. Happy and content. Ready for a rest. The increasing darkness, the chill in the air, the new supply of firewood in the garage, all made me think of bears shuffling towards their dens for a long winter’s sleep. Yawn, sounded good.

Nature moves through seasons, and so do we. I’m entering a new season of my life – not working after a fulfilling decades-long career, welcoming a new generation in my family. It’s okay, I think, to pause and take stock. To listen to the stillness, to curl up in the long night blanketing the northern half of the earth.

“Winter is when the earth is pregnant,” a friend of mine once said. A fitting metaphor for my life right now, feeling the first stirrings of new life deep in the darkness, quietly and eagerly waiting to see what will emerge. (And a fitting metaphor for a year that began last winter with two announcements of pregnancies!)

So I’m waiting. And resting. And enjoying. Yes, and blogging, too, but at a more relaxed pace. It’s all good.

May the peace of winter fill your soul with promise.

[To my readers in the southern hemisphere, you can save this post for June!]


  1. May peace and the promise of goodness and joy be yours throughout the holidays....and how special it will be this year with little ones to share it all with! I really do like this back gives me a feeling of freshness!

  2. I love that idea of winter being when the earth is pregnant. Pregnant with new growth and possibility! I'm hanging on to that and when the snow gets here, I will remind myself often. Thanks for that great life-affirming thought.

  3. Just Love your new background, after Menopause Winter became MY SEASON! :) Black Belt wow wonderful .... Karate CHOP sound on my desk...did you hear it ....oh wait that was the breaking of my hand bones! :) I love your friend's comment about Winter life stiring within me deep in the cool...I really like that I will use it for my Sunday school class in one of my lessons....sooooo cool !!!! Such insight! Congrats on your retirement in May and the joy of it all year long...Tired the good kind of tired! You have brought forth many thoughts for me this Tuesday...I shall calling it Thinking Tuesday! :0) Merry Christmas

  4. Your blog is all decked out for the holidays and beyond! :)

    I hope you and the family have a wonderful Christmas! Can't wait to hear stories about the babies' first Christmas!

  5. All ready for the Winter! That is great. This time of the year is really a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of our efforts all along the year.
    May you have a peaceful time and a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

  6. Karen--Glad you like it, and thanks for the lovely good wishes.

    Teresa--Yes, it's a good reminder in the dark, cold days. Thanks for your comment.

    Rhonda--You're funny! Let me know what you do with your Sunday school lesson. And thanks for commenting.

    Chrissy--Thanks and I hope the same for you and your family.

    Marie--Thank you. You, too!

  7. Hi Galen, I love the winter. The snow (which hasn't happened to Missouri yet but it's only a matter of time), the trees, the white sky, and the warm clothes. It's a great time of year to reflect and relax. A time to plan for warmer climates and a time to dream of the future! Hope your Christmas is going wonderfully!

  8. and your friends down here in Central America just have to use their imaginations!

    I do get the imagery and it is a beautiful and comforting thought to see winter like a pregnancy...I am eager to see what will be born from it.

  9. Galen: I love the new background. You are a very special person. I wish you a terrific holiday season, and may the new year bring you nothing but happiness!

  10. Bryan--Yes, it is, thanks. A very low key Christmas this year, thank goodness. Thanks for your comment.

    Alida--So true. I lived in the tropics for five years, and it was very disorienting not to have the four distinct seasons I was familiar with. Thanks for commenting.

    JJ--Humble thanks. And good wishes back to you, my friend.

  11. I like the background also... I've been traveling and am heading home and want to read your blog from start to finish! on those cold ol nights... ;)

  12. Carolyn--Reading from the start would certainly get you through the winter! Ha! Thanks for commenting.

  13. Beautifully said Galen and as I read this I felt emotions of JOY, BLISS, and the stillness of a soul. You are at a great place my friend and I so love your new background! I love winter - for this is truly when the earth is pregnant. Storing food, life for the Springs arrival....

    Wishing you well and enjoy this beautiful season...


  14. Lovely post and I am glad to have discovered your blog. I enjoy your reflections and thoughts. Have a merry holiday season.

  15. 'tis Summer here Galen,
    wishing you a very merry Christmas and a great 2012 ahead
    be good to yourself

  16. Hi Galen,
    I like the new winter look of your blog. I hope you are enjoying this new phase in your life and congratulations on getting your black belt.

  17. Walking Happy and Content a good image to enjoy
    Thank you
    Thank you too for all your good words over 2011 - I have enjoyed my reading here very much.

  18. Nancy--Yes, I am very blessed to be in such a good place now. Thanks for your kind words and good wishes. Happy Holidays to you, too.

    Cynthia--Thanks. I enjoy your blog, too! 2011 was a year for making lots of new blog friends! Thanks for commenting.

    David--Yes, I know for many readers the winter scene is incongruous right now. It just occurred to me that your calendars would have scenes of summer for December--right? Isn't the world an interesting place?!

    Justin--Thanks. It was hard work...and worth it! I am enjoying this new phase and I'm very curious about what the new year will bring. Thanks for commenting.

    Patricia--Thanks for the kind words. Happy holidays to you and yours.

  19. Galen what a beautiful place to be. I can feel your contentment from here via your word choices. You inspire me immensely, for this I thank you. And wow, a black belt? Good for you!

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, from my home to yours.

  20. darlin--You inspire me, too, with your courageous decision to go back to school and work to help others, paying forward what you have gained in your own life changes. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thanks for commenting.


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