January: Not Quite So Bad After All?

January.

What is it about January? Such a hard month. The party’s over. Christmas is a memory. The family has left. After 3 wonderful weeks of glorious chaos in our home, with various families (our kids and grandkids) coming and going, the house is eerily empty. And quiet. Very very quiet. Way too quiet, if you ask me.

And it’s cold.

Really really cold. January is not Wisconsin’s best month. Probably not the best month in most states, even without this year’s record-breaking cold.

And then there’s the news this month. Oh, the heartbreaking stories and images out of Haiti. We all weep with our brothers and sisters there. We all (I hope) pray for them and for all the relief workers pouring in. And we all (I surely hope) give what we can to forward relief efforts in this bleeding, broken country.

But amidst all this, I’m discovering January’s not all bad, either. Here’s my very random list of things that make January not-quite-so-bad-after-all.

January is a good month for:

  1. Memories. How I savor the memories of having everyone home this year for Christmas. Even Lars—YAY HURRAY! I loved have the house chock-a-block full of pack’n plays, high chairs, wall-to-wall toys, and kids singing and dancing (and yes, even fighting, if you can imagine my grandchildren not always being perfect sharers!) I cherish the memories. And thank God!
  2. Restoring order. As much as I hate putting away Christmas stuff, there is something satisfying to this first-born half-German recovering perfectionist in getting the house put back together again.
  3. Throwing things away. Some things it feels good to throw away—like stale Christmas cookies we didn’t quite finish. A few (very few) less calories consumed—and added to my hips?
  4. Working out. It’s good to get back to the gym. Crucial, in fact. Fast walking has a way of re-ordering my thought life.
  5. Music. I find music so restorative. I love the music of Christmas! But as I put away my Christmas CD’s, the old favorites come back. And, thanks to my kids, I have great music on my iPod to listen to when I work out. I especially love listening to music Lars told me encouraged him during the long months in Afghanistan. Hey, if it works in Afghanistan, surely it can work in Wisconsin!
  6. Buying warm slippers. Somehow my house seems colder since the kids and grandkids left. But I just went out and bought warmer slippers. TWO pairs—they were practically giving them away in the January sales.
  7. January sales. The slippers just reminded me. Another good thing about January. It does feel good, doesn’t it, to get 70% off now and then?
  8. Reconnecting with my husband. Now it’s just him and me. The kids are gone, I’m not traveling this month, and it’s just him and me. A good thing, actually, as I have a really great husband. I realized recently that I haven’t written much about Woody in this blog. More to come in 2010…
  9. Listening to God. Wow! Linda? Listening? That’s not a thing easily done. But I find I’m learning to do it better in my quiet house. It will be so interesting to discover HIS plans for 2010 instead of rushing ahead to make my own.
  10. Being reminded that God goes before. 2010 seems like such a blank slate, in a way. Of course my calendar’s not totally blank. But there’s something about a new year that makes me both nervous and excited. I loved being reminded in Streams in the Desert on January 14 that “…God is out in front. He is in our tomorrows, and it is tomorrow that fills people with fear. Yet God is already there. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass through Him before they can get to us.”

Having said all this, I’m still not a huge fan of January. But I’m discovering it’s not quite so bad after all.