In the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan, we know what to do with the 92 inches of snow that fell in January: We’re throwing a party! Actually, Michigan Technological University (MTU) is throwing the party, but we are all invited. MTU’s annual Winter Carnival is a welcome break for the winter-weary.

The detailed snow sculptures are always a highlight. We’ll enjoy a torchlight parade down the ski hill and watch with wonder as fireworks reflect on the snow.  We will all turn out to root for the home team as the MTU Huskies take on Alaska Anchorage in hockey. Our Winter Carnival Queen will be treated to a ride on the Zamboni. The infamous MTU Pep Band will have us on our feet cheering, as well as locking arms with strangers, swaying to “The Blue Skirt Waltz” (Better known as the Copper Country Anthem in these parts).

There will be something for everyone: rousing competitions of broomball, skiing, ice bowling, snowshoe races, basketball, snow volleyball and human dogsled races. The festivities will culminate with a dance called – what else, but…the Snow Ball.

Yes, indeed. When winter hands us 92-inches of snow in one month, we make snowballs, ice rinks, and snow sculptures. We bring on the winter games. Around here, we laugh in the face of minus 20-degrees wind chills. Since winter comes – and stays – every year, we make the best of it. It’s our version of “If life gives you lemons – make lemonade.”

I’d vote for the Serenity Prayer as our official winter petition:

God grant me the serenity

 To accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

November is traditionally the hardest month of the year for me. Bidding farewell to our spectacular autumn foliage and saying hello to the gray skies of winter always triggers sadness in me. That feeling is exacerbated by grief stirred by memories of significant losses I’ve experienced at that time of the year. These are things I can’t change, but I’ve learned to beat those blues back with a stick.

I swing into action with a self-care plan as soon as I turn the calendar page at October’s end: I call friends and plan fun get-togethers. Though many recommend taking Vitamin C during winter months, I load up on large doses of Vitamin L (Laughter). I invite friends over for movie nights. I arrange for walking partners and coffee dates, especially on gloomy afternoons. I schedule a massage. I cozy-up my kitchen with pots of simmering soups.

Before I know it, I’ve successfully weathered another November; it’s time to buy a turkey and ready the guest rooms for my family to come for Thanksgiving. In my world, the day after Thanksgiving is the beginning of the Christmas season – that most wonderful time of the year! December is a month-long celebration, complete with bright lights, my favorite music, delicious smells, and cherished traditions.  I travel to my daughter’s and delight in my grandchildren for two weeks. At that point, I’ve made it through the worst of winter, and my thoughts turn to spring.

The weather isn’t our only problem. Whether we live in northern Michigan or the southern-most tip of Florida, we all have wintry seasons come and go in our lives. We get snowed by people and situations out of our control.  Just as in winter, those days are dark and long, with seemingly no end in sight. How do we make it through? With God’s help we accept what we cannot change, and find the courage to change what we can.

Today’s Challenge: Has life handed you lemons lately? Are you stuck in a wintry season with little hope for spring? Ask God to help you accept what is out of your control. Look to him to provide the strength and courage you need to change the things you can. Make your own action plan for self-care…then implement it! Hang in there – spring is coming!








  1. Destri
    Feb 8, 2013

    Love this Kathy! I walk around in a hoodie at 10 degrees down here in WI and people look at me like I’ve lost my dang mind! Heck… People in MI look at Me that way too! Lol!

  2. .nancy
    Feb 9, 2013


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