Baby, it may be up to our knees out there, but you'll feel nice and toasty with these (cold) life hacks.
A cold front is hitting All Things New this week. Here, in the heart of February, the lights of Christmas are too dim to make out and the warmth of summer still out of reach. But God speaks to us in the cold. He has something to give us in it (Psalm 147:16). And much like the book of 2 Corinthians, we have to embrace the paradox and the apparent contradictions to get to the grace of it. Bundle up. It’s Cold Week.
o if the cold is one of God’s ways of speaking to us about comfort
, beauty and death
, then we should be willing to embrace it, right? Intellectually, maybe, but we need some survival tools. As in, how do we go about embracing it?
Well, look no further. A few All Things New contributors and a pair of Summitview pastors are here to equip you for the work of thriving in the cold. From food to a few good flicks, the survival tactics listed below will help you praise the Lord (Psalm 146) in the midst of sub-freezing temperatures.
What are your favorite movies to watch when you're snowbound and/or your nose hairs freeze within one minute of stepping outside?
, something epic.
: Extended versions of The Hobbit
and/or The Lord of the Rings
, of course. Also, good Westerns.
: Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South
(BBC), Jane Austen's Persuasion
(BBC) and Northanger Abbey
(Masterpiece Theatre). Also, The Giant Mechanical Man
—a great movie about identity and purpose in everyday life. I believe they intentionally made the seasonal setting feel bleak and cold. Love this movie.
: Anything Jane Austen or British period-dramas while drinking tea.
: The Peanuts Movie
is delightful, and its plot mostly develops in the winter, so I go with that when I want to laugh and
cry. Otherwise, if I want to feel the brutality
of cold all the way down to my bones, it’s hard to go wrong with Fargo
: I must be a masochist or something, but: the Shackleton
What are your favorite cold-season books?
: Whatever I'm reading at the time. I just enjoy sitting and reading, whatever it may be.
: Charles Spurgeon's Sermons
with strong, black Starbucks Komodo Dragon coffee.
: Anything based in England or Scotland just feels cold, so how about The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
by Joan Aiken. My best summary would be The Secret Garden
meets A Little Princess
meets Jane Eyre. Great for reading aloud. Alternate options: Here Burns My Candle
, followed by Mine Is the Night
by Liz Curtis Higgs. Take the biblical story of Ruth and set it in the highlands of Scotland in the 1700s and that’s what you have with these two wonderful books.
: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
by Edith Pattou and Anne Perry mysteries.
: Attack of the Deranged Killer Monster Snow Goons
by Bill Watterson.
: Not sure I have any special books for cold. I do like the Christmas Guest
by Helen Steiner Rice.
What's your favorite poem about snow, cold, frigidity in general?
: My cheeks are so red / my feet are so blue / if spring's not here quick / I'll freeze soon / "Ah-choo!"
: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, specifically the picture book illustrated by Susan Jeffers.
: The favorite from my childhood is “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service. “A Winter Morning” by Ted Kooser is a masterpiece that I think about often these days. It’s only four lines and it is everything.
: Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."
What music (songs, albums, genres) do you listen to when it gets "cold outside"? (All answers that include "Baby, It's Cold Outside" will be automatically relegated to the trash bin.)
: Anything wistfully bleak and Celtic.
: Classical music perfectly pairs with a good book, cozy blanket and hot drink.
: I listen to music according to seasons. I have playlists for spring, summer, fall, Christmas, winter, Easter and spring that I listen to only in their respective seasons. In winter, I have lots of options. For a single band, I turn to Sleeping at Last. If it’s an entire-album experience I need, there’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
by M83 or All That You Can’t Leave Behind
by U2 or Futures
by Jimmy Eat World. For that one, pure “wintery” song, I turn to “String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11” by Tchaikovsky.
: Anything by the Beach Boys. :-)
What are you favorite recipes to make during cold snaps?
: Hot chocolate and loaded baked potato soup.
: Homemade mushroom soup, onion soup, tomato bisque, chili...pretty much soup every day from November through February.
: Any kind of soup, cinnamon rolls and lemon scones, plus copious amounts of hot tea.
: Potato soup, cheesy chicken chowder, “tastes like lasagna” soup and bread, rolls, biscuits.
: Rump roast or pork shoulder roast simmering all day in the crockpot.
What are your go-to activities when you and/or your family start to feel cabin fever setting in?
: Sledding, snowball fights, snowshoeing.
: Double-date with other couples at the Moot House. Also, craft breweries. (Can I say that?)
: Watching movies or playing Settlers of Catan and Ticket To Ride.
: Reading aloud and playing card games or putting puzzles together.
: Building snow forts is both practical and enjoyable.
: Hmm. I don't get cabin fever because I have to feed animals twice a day.
Gas fireplace or wood-burning?
: If I had one, wood-burning.
: Definitely wood (but all we have is gas). So I use an app on my phone for a woodfire's sound effects.
: Netflix birchwood fireplace.
: Wood-burning (as long as I don't have to build it).
: That this is even a question says a lot about what's wrong with our society.
: We have a gas (propane) stove, but wood-burning smells great. I do like not having to go out in the cold and get wood. I used to live in a house that was heated by a wood-burning stove. I loved it, except for the wood-getting part.
What's your coldest memory/experience, and how did you survive?
: Winter camping with some guys on a snowshoe trip to the top of Quandary Peak. We had a fire going, but then when it came time to get into our tents and sleep, we were frigid. Temperatures were well below zero that night. Before starting our hike the next morning, we got into the car and drove around for a half-hour warming ourselves up.
: Sledding/tobogganing at Waveland Golf Course in Des Moines, Iowa, as a kid. Melting snow got packed into every crevice of my clothing. Hot chocolate with marshmallows always seemed to revive me.
: I grew up in Colorado Springs, and one year there was a blizzard with five- to 10-foot drifts. Snow slushies (with apple juice), boxes of Russell Stover chocolates and dinner rolls thawed over candle flames. We played lots of board games and toasted grilled cheese sandwiches in our wood-burning stove. This makes one wonder why my brother and I were thawing dinner rolls over candle flames, but maybe our parents weren't around at that point and we weren't allowed to touch the stove and needed a snack?
: The time my family decided to go for a “scenic drive” over Mt. Bachelor (central Oregon) in our big old Buick (which drove like a boat) and got stuck in a blizzard. Probably the one time in my childhood when I really thought we might die. I know we got stuck going up a hill and someone came along and helped us out, but the rest of the details are pretty fuzzy.
: I remember living through a couple of white-out blizzards as a paperboy in South Dakota. Then there was the elk hunt a few years ago with my dad and older brother when it snowed several inches and our tent was covered in ice the morning after the snow. We survived that ordeal by packing up and driving an hour south to Rifle, Colorado, where we ate a very large and very warm breakfast.
: Every morning feels like my coldest experience. I've had icky experiences riding out in the mountains and cross-country skiing. I just tough it out and try to imagine myself spending winters in Florida.