Friday, December 13, 2019

Light Up Your World

Image from Pixabay

"It is better to light one small candle
than to curse the darkness."

With the shortest day of the year nearly upon us here in the northern hemisphere, the early darkness can certainly weigh heavy on people's spirits. Sometimes, even those of us who love the winter months and take pleasure in these short, grey days and early dusk can also feel the darkness pressing in. 

On such days, many of us push against it by lighting up our homes and yards. I dig out the twinkle lights early in the fall, and as soon as it grows dim in the afternoons -- which gets earlier and earlier -- we switch on a lamp perched on the sofa table in our bay window. Suddenly it all feels cozy. I always hope it creates a moment of gladness in the hearts of anyone out walking their dog or driving past. I love it when I come home of an evening and find that Rick has turned it on for me. Adorable man -- he certainly adds light to my world.

There was a time years ago now, not being well in body or soul, when I found it hard to arrive home to a house shrouded in shadows. I really felt the darkness pressing in during that season, so I used to leave a lamp on, or set a timer to turn on just before I arrived home. I always found walking into an already lit house such a solace. I even uploaded a photo on my computer desk top -- an online pic I found of Jan Karon's writing studio aglow from a lamp on her desk. Of course, it didn't actually add light to my room, but it surely did so to my soul.

My string of golden pine cone lights, bought several years ago now, light up my world at this time of year. Sometimes they nestle in greenery atop a bookshelf or the mantelpiece. This year I set them in a ceramic dish that sits in the middle of the dining table. Every evening, I press the On button and create a bowl of gold. And, then there is my LED pillar candle in the kitchen which basically glows day and night now. I admit to getting a little thrill whenever I see it shimmer as I come down the stairs, especially when I wander in on a sleepless night.

The last couple of days I've been reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Oh my, what a thrilling story she tells of her family surviving -- barely -- one bitterly cold winter with blizzard after intense blizzard following one on the other for months on end. What I found so amazing in this tale was how the little Ingalls family found the grace and grit, not to mention gratitude in the midst of their most trying times wrestling with the elements to keep from starving or freezing to death. I tried to imagine how it must have felt for them the day the kerosene for the lantern ran out and there wasn't a snowball's chance in you-know-where for a train with supplies to get through those prairie snowstorms until spring. So they lived by the light of the fire in the stove, and often went to bed when it grew dark to save the firewood or hay bundles they used as fuel for the next morning.

As I say, I came away from the story amazed ... first that it wasn't blizzarding in my world when I 'came to'. Haha. And second, because I became ever so grateful for my basically easy, cozier world where I can turn on the lights any time to chase away the shadow bears.

I'm pretty certain there are dozens of ways that people keep their own hearts burning with cheer on these dark nights. I'd love to hear what you do during this time of year to add light to your world.

* * *

"A smile is the light in your window that tells
others that there is a caring, sharing person inside."

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful day and a wonderful weekend.



  1. Brenda, your blog posts always light my world! A visit here always brings beauty and peace!

    The Long Winter is usually an annual read for me. I dig it out in late January and savor a chapter a night, while cuddled under a blanket.

    A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I actually enjoy the early darkness. I used to suffer from SAD, but now, thanks to an anti-depressant, I don't. Which means, the diminished hours of light don't bother me like they used to. I kind of cherish them now. It means flickering candles and flickering fireplaces, which are both so cozy and comforting. I actually kind of dread the winter solstice, as I know it means the days will begin to lengthen again.

    Thank you for beautifying my day with your lovely words.


    1. A girl after my heart. I never mind the diminished hours of daylight. I love winter and grey overcast days. And I know the feeling of that kind of dread of winter solstice when the day turns and they start to lengthen. But of course, when they start to lengthen, in about February, I find myself looking forward to the longer days. The day will always arrive when I'm quite ready to put away the twinkle lights and let the sun do its job for us. And I LOVE, LOVE the long twilights of June and July.

      Enjoy The Long Winter when you read it. And thank you so much, Patti, for adding your own lovely words of light here.

  2. Love your pine cones in their golden bowl! All the twinkling lights are such a comfort in these dark days of winter. One week until solstice--it's time for my semi-annual reading of Winter Solstice (Rosamunde Pilcher). Going now to turn on all my twinkle lights:)

    1. Well, I just finished Winter Solstice the other day. It was a joy as usual. Have fun finding your favourite spots in the story. I have quite a few marked lightly with pencil.

      Happy day!

  3. Brenda, such a lovely post. Your writing is truly a light for all your readers. For me, I leave the Christmas tree up as long as hubby can deal with it. One year, I believe it was the middle of February. We have many foggy and gray days here in the mountains and our lights come on early. I really love your posts Bren. I thank you for them and appreciate the time you spend writing.

  4. I can always count on you to share a perfect and wonderful quote!
    Eleanor Roosevelt quote is one of them.

    We like to light up the inside of our home and leave the curtains slightly open (even after Christmas). Plus, add simple white lights around the outside of the window. A Bethlehem star hangs in the middle of the window.

  5. This post is so beautiful Brenda! That Eleanor Roosevelt quote is what we need during these times of gloom esp post election! I remember feeling amazed by the events of the Long Winter- it was sooo difficult and yet they persevered!

  6. What a cozy post to light this early Dec. dark! I love this time of year but understand how it can be quite oppressive to those who need sunshine and daylight in their 'mental diet'. I agree, it's always friendlier to come home to a lamp-lit house and I love driving by homes in the dark and feeling a sense of warmth in my heart in homes where the lights are turned on. I think I'll dig out my copy of The Long Winter. I have not read it as an adult. It will be like reading it for the first time,only this time through the eyes of Ma instead of Laura!

  7. Beautiful post. Now, at the Christmas season, I have my three little trees all lit in the corner of the living room. Right after my husband had passed away,I would walk through the house and turn on a light in every room, whenever I came home.

  8. Love the bowl of light! I may have to invest in some twinkle lights for my place.

    I remember reading the Little House in the Prairie books when I was younger. As Janet mentioned, if I reread the books now, I'll be old enough to be Laura's Ma!

  9. Visiting from Kezzie's blog. What a lovely post you've written. I also enjoy the cosy lights of this time of year. Every night, as it starts to get dark I turn on the lamp in our bedroom and close the curtains, meaning it's feels cosy when we head to bed. Then I turn on the light in the hallway so my husband doesn't have to enter a dark hallway. I haven't been feeling inspired to put up my Christmas decorations, but your post has given me the inclination to get the lights out at least. Thank you.

  10. Lights are very important to me as the days dwindle to dark before four in the afternoon. Then the added minutes to the day will be cheering as in a few short days, the increasing length of light becomes obvious. The only other thing I do is I ignore the parent voice that says no Christmas lights on during the day, especially on dull, dreary or bad weather days. The tree is immensely cheering. Merry on, Brenda.

  11. enjoyed your warm thoughts on these cool wintery days though we have no snow yet...just a little rain!

  12. I love the little battery operated candles and strings of fairy lights to cheer the winter nights. They are so cheering and cozy! I get them out for Christmas, but then I don't put them away until I am good and ready. ;)

    Years ago now, I read the entire Little House series aloud to my younger girls at bedtime. We squeezed into Kati's double bed and read a chapter each night until we had completed every delightful chapter of every book! I have such happy memories of that time! That said, I thought that The Long Winter was the most difficult to read mostly because it was so . . . well . . . "long!" I felt the cold along with the Ingalls family and I felt the discouragement of twisting that slough grass into logs that burned out in a few minutes, and I was so relieved when the winter turned to spring and the train came through with their supplies. Whew!

  13. Another beautiful post, Brenda. I'm the same - I don't like coming home to a dark house. I try to remember to leave the entry light on. I light candles in the winter for the cozy light and for the scent and I love music as well. Our winters are nowhere near as harsh as yours but darkness is still dark :-)

  14. Brenda your post certainly lit up my life today. It was a ray of sunshine on a cloudy cold day. There is something so cozy about candles and a flickering fire. I must read "The Long Winter" and Winter Solstice. Perhaps I can find some time after the holidays :)! Still have shopping and wrapping and baking to do - Hugs! P.S. Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  15. I think its cozy in the winter The candle seem warm, The welcome window light so nice
    Do not like the cold , but summer will be here soon


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo