Thursday, December 15, 2016


Now, in December, is a time of uncertainty.

Here in northeastern Indiana we are sliding toward winter . . . we watch the forecast each evening, then again in the morning. (Do we think there was a radical change in eight or ten hours? Could be.)

We make plans, always with the disclaimer, “Weather permitting.”

Early morning finds us with the radio, TV, or Internet tuned to Closings and Delays.

Despite our inability to make definite, iron-clad, positively firm decisions about times, dates, and events, we still rub along rather well.

Yes, something may be cancelled at the last minute. We’ll get a text, tweet, or email on our phone. Or if we’re truly dinosaurs with no technological skills beyond the old-fashioned telephone, we’ll get a telephone call. Or we can turn on the radio. We can watch for the streamer along the bottom of the TV screen that lists dozens of closings.

What do you do with your suddenly “free” time? Are you shoved into that niche between a rock and a hard place, trying to juggle child care with your job?

Or do you do a little Snoopy dance and make a list of all the fun things you can do in this day that comes as a gift? 

Do you heave a sigh of relief, knowing you will, after all, have the leisure to finish that knitting/sewing/painting/carving you’ve been working on for months? (This year I may actually get the Christmas quilts, afghans, and pillow covers finished before our family gatherings. May is the operative word.)

Another uncertainty, besides weather, is car trouble. Can I depend on my car to make the hour-long trip to Ohio for our Christmas together? And then for the trip home?

(At this very moment, my car is at the automotive center where I get things fixed. Like me, the car is aging: little creaks and twinges, engine noises and other signs of potential trouble. Prevention is preferable to a cure.)

If you’re currently in a “time out,” consider cooking. Look in your pantry, freezer, and fridge—use what you have. Missing an ingredient? Improvise! Invent something new.

And if you’re plumb out of ideas, or nothing looks good, browse through the online recipe sites. always has great ideas, including pictures that look good enough to eat. (I'm fixated on soups, as you may recall from older posts. But cookies are tempting me lately; Liz Flaherty posted a Texas Sheet Cake Cookie recipe recently. But don't even look at it unless you want to gain weight reading the ingredients.)

The Uncertain Season, sadly, isn’t limited to winter weather (whatever hemisphere you live in) or elderly vehicles with "health issues."

Life itself is often--or should I say mostly--uncertain. So how do we cope with that?

I came across an article in an old issue of Woman’s Day by contributing editor Heather Lende, called “Finding Gratitude.” Gratitude, Lende says, “is not the same as giving thanks. It comes from a deeper place that knows the story could have ended differently, and often does.”

Maybe that’s the point—we have to find gratitude. It may be as small as discovering the noise in my car isn’t a death rattle, only a loose bolt. Or as large as knowing the local regional hospital will be keeping preemie babies warm in the 80-some blankets we gave them in December (all made possible because we had two or three extra stitchers working this year).

One sure way to find gratitude is to, well, look for it. Did your friend survive her cancer surgery? Are your new neighbors settling in? Did a family who lost their home get food, clothing, furniture, and a place to stay, all because the community pulled together?

Large or small, personal or global, reasons for gratitude are everywhere. Take a look.

May you find gratitude, and may it help you through The Uncertain Season of your life.


  1. Have you read any of Heather Lende's books? They are her columns in book form, I guess, but fun to read. I don't remember knowing a season of uncertainty such as this one has been, and I've had to scrabble for gratitude some days, but that's not necessarily all bad! Great post, my friend.

  2. Yes, gratitude doesn't always strut right's more of a shy violet.
    Haven't read any of Lende's books. Something to look forward to. Thanks, Liz.

  3. Nice post! I am grateful for lots of snow and frigid temperatures in Minneapolis that allow me to delay my flight home from Arizona until Sunday night!!

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