Winter Decorating: Keeping the darkness at bay

We have snow on the ground. Again. If we lived somewhere like Colorado or Idaho this would not be surprising, but here in Arkansas we are shocked to have just experienced our third winter storm in as many months. According to the weathermen this last front was supposed to be bring “a dusting to an inch or two” of snow. Yet here we are, with nearly six inches covering everything. Thankfully today dawned bright and clear. The blue sky and sunshine contrasting with the blanket of white is nearly too dazzling to look at (it may surprise you to know that I developed my dependency on sunglasses thanks to Colorado’s winters, not summers).
I’m so thankful for the sunshine, unexpected during this dark and dreary time of year. I have no love for winter. The cold and gray always seems to start seeping into my soul at the beginning of February, when spring is still such a distant hope. I crave warmth and light like a marathoner craves water and carbs (ok, maybe I crave carbs too).
Yet I’m praying for awareness, for a reason to be thankful, even during this hardest season. And I think a tiny beam of awareness is starting to light up my depressed and weary outlook. I can be thankful for gray skies and early nightfall because they point me to the light, just as the acknowledgement of my own dark heart points me to The Light. My Savior.
Thank you for bearing with me for this rambling introspective introduction. I promise this does have something to do with decorating. As I packed away my Christmas decorations and thought forlornly of the bleak winter months ahead, I found myself wanting to surround myself with light.

I chose warm, light textures, some whimsical, glittery owls (though you can’t really see how they sparkle in this picture), and a verse that reminds me every time I glance at it how the darkness is conquered.

I took the red berries off my Christmas wreath and added some snowflake ornaments to remind me of God’s beauty and creativity even in the cold snow I dislike so much (in large quantities anyway).

Some sparkly snowman skates remind me that snow can be fun (they were a gift from my roommate back when I was teaching and longing for snow days).

My mantle is simple, lots of white, candles and lanterns complete with battery operated “candles” that come on automatically every evening as the sun goes down.

I love the delicate lace against the rough, bare wreath, a reminder that starkness has its own kind of beauty, and there is a time for everything (though part of me still longs for buds and flowers and spring!).

We recently replaced the bench that sat in front of the fireplace with these two comfy chairs. I love the texture of the throw pillows I recovered last fall, but I think I need to add a cozy throw to complete the picture.
What about you? Do you search for ways to cope with the dead of winter, or do you embrace the ice and snow with open arms? Do you say with Elsa, “The cold never bothered me anyway!” (Oh great, now I have “Let It Go” stuck in my head again.)

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