Monday, February 2, 2015


OK, so…

Do you think that I'm talking about being worn out, run down, overly tired?

Well, if you are – GOTCHA!

I'm talking about something else entirely, but you're gonna have to keep reading to find out what!  (I know, kinda unfair – but I love a captive audience…)

Winter has hit our mountains!

Cold, cold temperatures.

How cold?  Well, think about daytime highs around 30.  Now, before my Midwest or Eastern visitors scoff at these balmy temperatures (you Polar Vortex survivors, you) – you gotta remember something.  I am a Southern California girl who's lived here all of her life – and I've lived rather close to the beach.

So, I am used to wearing shorts and flip-flops during the winter on occasion.  I am used to high 80's, low 90's heat-waves in January.  I have been known to go to the beach and get a sunburn before March.  A winter coat for me might be a sweater.

From my perspective, mountain California is COLD!

And therefore arises a problem.

How to keep warm?

A challenge indeed.

Propane is very expensive – and it's the only way that forced heating works up here.  Gone are the days of relatively inexpensive natural gas heating.  (I actually miss my old Gas Company bill…).  And so, "The Hub" and I have tried to find the most cost-effective ways to keep warm.

We're getting better at it.  It's our third winter up here, after all.

Last year, we heard horror stories about propane bills that cost more than a small mortgage (hyperbole…).  So, we didn't want to use our central heating too much.

We tried a space heater one month.  Big mistake.  As in HUGE big mistake. As in, $$$ mistake!

Yes, we keep a fire going all day.  But that can add to another bill – the electric bill.  Why?  Because we have this firebox thing – it's not really a fireplace.  Let me explain.  Our firebox has glass doors on it.  So, we put the logs into the firebox, light the logs, and then close the doors.

After awhile, when the temperature rises to a certain degree of heat, an automatic fan goes on which then blows out the heated air through a decorative brass grate.  Nice, but the fan always remains on (using up electricity).

Oh sure, we tried leaving the doors open.  But, for some reason, a firebox doesn't quite work like a fireplace.  Can you say – smoke inhalation?  I knew you could.  So, the doors must remain shut.

Sure, we might replace it someday with a good old-fashioned rock fireplace.  Sometime when we have a few spare thousand dollars lying around.  Maybe after we pay the electric bill – or have the propane tank filled up.

Therefore, in an effort to maintain warmth, and while also trying to be frugal, we have come up with other solutions.

Last winter, we bought an electric blanket, just to take the chill off the sheets before bedtime.

And, we curl up in blankets, and bundle up in warm clothing.

Like my down jacket.

Now do you get it??  I'm wearing "down" – HA!  (Punsters join in with a united groan…)

Yup, wearing my down jacket inside the house might sound foolish to you guys.  But I kinda like it.  Especially on those days when I'm just reading or writing.

Like now.

So, what's my spiritual lesson in this?

Well, first of all, that it's cold outside!

This tired old broken world can be pretty stark sometimes.  Unfriendly, hostile, daunting.  The natural elements themselves can be hard to manage. But sometimes the coldness of people is even worse.

And you know that empty, lonely, hopeless place that our hearts can go to.

We can find ourselves freezing in the separation from that warm fuzzy feeling that we all long for.

Many people turn to many things to fill that cold hole – other people, other pleasures, other places – and sometimes those choices can be very expensive to the soul.

God doesn't want us turning to anything else besides Himself.

But God does understand how we feel.

After all, He made us in His image – and His image is all about connection, intimacy, love.

And, I'm thinking that He's actually given us a pretty good *down jacket* in the form of the Holy Spirit.

The actual Presence of Himself wrapping His arms around us, warming us with His comfort, enveloping us in His peace.

Baby, it might be cold outside – but I am not.

I'm wearing *down*…

…and looking UP!

Button up your overcoat
When the wind is free,
Take good care of yourself
You belong to

- GOD -

"You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter." (Psalm 74:17, ESV)

"God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend.  For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth,' likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour...From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds.  By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast....stop and consider the wondrous works of God...God is clothed with awesome majesty.  The Almighty...he is great in power..." (Job 37:5-6, 9-10, 14, 22, 23, ESV)

"See!  The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.  Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come..." (Song of Solomon 2:11-12, NIV)

"Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew.  Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants."(Deuteronomy 32:2, NLT)

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace...'" (Isaiah 55:8-12, ESV)

"Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters." (Proverbs 25:13, ESV)

What keeps your faith *warm* in the cold and wintry seasons of life?

Linked with:


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. I love the picture of you in down, Sharon, and the picture of God wrapping us in his embrace of peace. Good visual imagery on that one indeed! That would be a dilemma on how to stay warm, especially if one is trying to be as cost effective as one can be, and the majority of options are costly. I bet you look forward with glee to when it starts warming up a bit more!


  2. Your opening sentence held me captive!
    Good way to to turn it around...That is how we apply biblical lessons from everyday experiences!
    I love love love my down comforter!
    And I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Holy Spirit comforter even more!
    And I love you too, my warm friend!
    ((warm hugs)) ~Lisa

  3. Oh my Sharon, I love your photo "wearing down" with a gorgeous smile up! (and that sweet ole song caption! Are you actually in snow? WOW! I'm kinda thinking that your title was true in the other sense also but I enjoyed being intrigued right through the spiritual lesson. I haven't needed much "down", down here where I've been for years, but on occasion, I do get cold and my bones notice the temperature change more now, so I have a fuzzy wuzzy sweat outfit or two now. I have no idea how I will ever adjust to my MN sub zero weather again. I'd like to be able to cozy up to a fireplace but our 'new' remake of our home did not include one. I think you should do that before you 2 get any older. When it's cold outside or inside, I always warm up with some good music, hot chocolate (or tea) and I agree that there ain't nothing like a Holy Spirit Comforter to warmly wrap His arms and envelop us with His Presence. "ain't nothing like the REAL thing" ... Mountain living has brought you "up" closer to Him and so many other "wonder" full moments but I never thought how much you'd need to be wearing 'down' to wrap yourself in His loving warmth!

    Sending some warm hugs, much love and prayers as you encounter more 'up' than 'down', filled with Holy Spirit fire and power to strengthen you when you are the other kind of wearing down and need a spiritual lift. May you be filled with Him! (that's where I go and cuddle up)

    as always,

  4. Hi Sharon! I send greetings from the Midwest, where it is a balmy 12 degrees this morning, and we have a foot and a half of snow. (At least I'm not used to Southern Cali weather!) I wear my fleece hoodie or zip-up most of the winter myself.

    Love those spiritual lessons from the cold my friend. It can be awfully frigid out there! But living as we do, in the light of the Spirit, we can be safe with our faith. And I think the Lord brings us warming friendships and tea and heating blankets to keep us in sight of him.

    Sorry about all those heating bills. Yuck! I remember when propane was so cheap too. Sit tight and enjoy your quiet days of writing and relishing the presence of the Holy Spirit. Sending warm thoughts to you always,

  5. Great post Sharon and the photo of you is the perfect ending...I love it! We have had 30 degree highs this winter...even here in the sunny south! The thermometer has been all over the snow as of yet...I'm still waiting. Oh, and about that Holy Spirit thing...I love it when I feel Him giving me a "hug" other kind of warmth can compare! Stay warm, my sweet friend!

  6. Job 27-27-28 is my down's jacket when things get wild and the wind is blowing. We were in upper Minnesota for two week at Christmas and I never got warm. The thing that kept me going was we would return to warm southern California at the end of our visit. One must at all cost learn how to keep warm at a different level up there. Proper clothing is a must, emergency things in car in case of breakdown, doing fun things while shut in, and reminds oneself that this too shall pass. Great post the picture of you in the snow, only way to do snow is to enjoy it, occasionally and bake lots of cookies and make fragrant soups...

  7. Here in our Oak Woods, it doesn't get as cold as where you are. We also heat with propane and the heater needs electricity for the blowers. During the day we layer with extra shirts and sweater vests with long sleeved heavy shirt on top. Our bed does have a down comforter, and we also warm up the sheets with the electric blanket. My but we are blessed. Thank you for your exciting story that we needed to read to the end to find out about the down - - shared here at "Tell me a True Story."

  8. This is such a sweet post! Thanks for the reminder to wrap myself up in God! I will say though that I am slightly envious of your mountain home. It sounds completely peaceful!

  9. You always come up with the best spiritual analogies from life!

  10. One year ago our temp was -15 here in Indiana. Today it is to reach 30-40. We have had no measurable snow this year after a hundred thousand inches (slight exaggeration) last year. Unfortunately, knee issues and coughing issues has kept me riding my bike inside. You may want to try a pellet stove. A friend from the church has one. he buys bags of pellets (pressed wood I think) and stays nice and toasty. Just a thought. :)

  11. Loved this. Single digits in Jersey today and I'm just mending from the first cold/flu I've had in over three years. Now, the relentless post nasal drip sets in. I'm wearing down, too--the other side of that pun.

    Needed the chuckle of you in that hat and snow. Were you falling back into a snow angel? No snow here, just ice and cold--though a blue sky today for the first time in days. Still, after falling off the Grid and retreating to frivolous reading (Lucy's autobiography and enjoyed every word), I am having a terrible time getting back in the saddle staring at a mountain of "needs doing."

    And--marketing the book.

    I need another week off. Oh-wait-my son and that grand girl are coming in a week and a half for a week. Gah! I will never recover from DOWN time.

    Looking up and thanking God we still have our natural gas and a cozy house without all the hoops you mountain folk have to jump through. Stay warm, friend. Your heart has much to pour out that this sad little sack hopes to hear . . .

    Blech! Just remembered my word for the year--"unbridled joy"--yeah--not feelin' it . . . ;)

  12. Love your "punny" humor. I'm sure it is quite a challenge to keep warm, but I bet it is stunningly beautiful there too! Blessings today from Testimony Tuesday.

  13. We put in a wood stove this winter and it's both a lot of work and a lot of fun. With oil as our alternative, we're also saving a bundle. Even with the wood stove going, though, I'm usually wearing two-to-three shirts AND a sweater. A down coat sounds perfect! Thanks for linking with #SmallWonder. I'm happy to hear the joy in your post this week.

  14. You so make me smile, Sharon. I need to get myself an electric blanket. I'm always bundled up in multiple layers and blankets throughout the winter. It's never warm enough. I really think God intended for me to live in a different climate. LOL
    Love, love, love that picture of you. Makes me oh so excited to meet you in person SOON! Thanks for how you always bring a smile to my faith.

  15. I loved the post even more when I saw your picture. it's about 3 degrees here, but I'll cut a beach girl slack about the cold!

  16. Very cute post. Jesus is the everything. We use a wood burning stove along with electric heater. We can relate to keeping the home warm! We have cut costs considerably by replacing our gas water heater to electric with a timer.

  17. Cute picture. I don't like being cold. I grew up in Illinois and moved to Southern California when I was 38. I love wearing Birkenstock sandals and capri pants all year long. Been wearing more jeans and sweaters this winter.....

  18. Whenever I read your words, I'm always a captive audience. You have a way of hooking me from the very beginning. I live in Nebraska, so I was definitely chuckling a little when you said the highs were in the 30s. It's supposed to be a high of 17 here today. So you had me laughing even more when you addressed my laughing. : ) One of my best friends is from Southern California, and she still wears a gigantic, puffy, long coat on days when I am wearing a sweatshirt outside. So I kind of "get" it that way. Don't you think some of us need a thicker coat of the Holy Spirit to protect our tender hearts from this cold world? I think I do. Thanks for your insight. I truly love your writing.

  19. Such great verses to be reminded of! Thanks for linking up with us for Tuesday Talk! :)

  20. Spring IS coming, says the Southerner. :) Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

  21. I gotta give you that one, you got me! The only Light of this world is our from our Father, and the hand that sustains it… protects us and warms us. Good analogy, Sharon.

    I guess you can "put a feather in your cap"! (I'm trying to get in on your act…)

  22. Sharon, I love your humor! You certainly make me laugh. I am in the Midwest (Detroit area)...we just got about 17 inches of snow. Yuck! Stay warm, my friend.

  23. Great post and I love that picture....

  24. Looks like you have tried and found great warmth solutions! God provides!

  25. So so punny! :-) Love this... And adore your fun picture at the end. Makes me want to meet you IRL even more.

    Let's skype soon-- email me!

  26. Yeah! He is the comforter. And great pun indeed, Sharon. :) Thanks for the enouragement.

  27. I really enjoyed reading this Sharon, your sense of humour is contagious. Thanks for sharing about this at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

  28. Thanks for the giggle. :) I can relate, even here in Georgia. I bundle up in the house too....

  29. So very "punny!" I live in the desert and reading this post made me remember exactly why I choose to do so!

    Thank you for sharing this post on the SHINE Blog Hop!

    Welcome to My Circus
    Co-host #SHINEbloghop 2/5

  30. I love the image of the Holy Spirit being like a down jacket wrapped around us. Appreciate your pun as well : )

  31. Love the pun and the lesson that God is all the warmth we need. Blessed you joined The Weekend Brew.

  32. You look totally cozy!!! We certainly must allow God to be the one to wrap us up in the world!!! :-) Thanks for linking up with the Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop!

  33. I love the picture! You look so pretty. I grew up in the snow in Ohio...sometimes, I still miss it!! I am sure it is quite a change for you after being used to the beach for so long. I loved this post, as I love every, single one of yours. I always leave here blessed. :) It has been a while since I've been here, so I am trying to catch up!! Love you, dear friend. :)

  34. My husband called to order oil (our standard method of heating) and because it's been so cold and unrelenting this winter in Upstate NY (62" of snow (about 2' worth on the ground right now and more sub-zero days than I have been able to keep track of, the oil company said it would be a WEEK before they could deliver to us. So we are officially in 'lock down mode' (as the hubby likes to call it) with about a quarter tank as of a few days ago. In this mode, we have to conserve heat by keeping it below what we normally would, hence everyone is freezing, and I feel guilty turning it up a degree like I would normally do when I start feeling chilly. And of course with impeccable timing, we're now heading into another 'bitter cold' snap, and I've been fighting a cold/sinus infection for three weeks so I'm sure the extra chill will be helpful in fully recovering sometime before July.

    Fun times around here these days and no I do not heart NY right now!!! ;-)


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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