Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Memories of Struggling to Keep Warm

Winter Sunrise






I remember my father cleaning out the fireplace and crumpling up newspaper to start a warm fire. We would sit in the living room and enjoy the cozy warmth. On other days, Mom would stand in the hall, listening for our heater to click on. Then she would adjust the dial to help keep us warm. Most of the time, we wore sweaters or extra layers of clothing. We have always had to bundle up!

It is always a struggle to keep warm during a New England winter. We have to expect large heating bills. The children must all have thermals, gloves and hats. They need boots and warm sweaters and sweatshirts.

Many families are struggling to pay their bills. A few years ago, when the gas crisis was out of control, heating fuel costs were oppressive! I went to the county fair that summer and picked up a little booklet put out by the government. It was full of sad letters from local Vermont residents who could not afford to keep warm. They were going without food just to buy heat. Some had lost their jobs and were facing homelessness. Others talked about what it was like to freeze in their own homes. It was a devastating book, and it was all true!

The little luxuries in life, become warmth and basic food. There is nothing like walking into a warm house on a freezing day to brighten the spirits! Warmth is the ultimate basic need in the winter.

Have you ever read "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder? I cannot even imagine being that cold! But somehow, that family survived. Somehow, through creativity and hard work, they got through that bitterly cold winter.

One of the most depressing things in this world, is sitting in your own home and being so cold you cannot do basic housework. I've had a few winters like that here, before we had our wood stove put in. I cannot believe what a difference a wood stove makes!

We used to live in an enormous beach house. There were so many rooms! But each one had a set of doors. Even the dining room had 2 sets of doors to close it in and keep it warm. We had to close off portions of the house because we could not keep the entire place heated.

One year, when all my children were little, we lost electricity. We had no heat or fireplace or any way to keep warm. We ended up staying with a relative for a few days until our power was restored. What a blessing to have family who can help in such an important time of need! What a blessing to be warm and surrounded by loved ones who want you cozy and happy!

This winter, I am doing my best to keep the house warm. I am planning to bake fresh warm muffins and breads. I want to make soups and stews and have pleasant things to refresh the souls of my family. It is a ministry just to keep everyone warm and well fed this year!

Blessings
Mrs. White

Mother is the one Creating Home Life.

A Little Visit - Resting at our Vermont Estate.

My broken kitchen stove and a visit - Buttermilk Pancakes and Homemaking.


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6 comments:

Nicole said...

I just wanted you to know that I find such warmth and comfort in your blog. I started the "Stepping Heavenward" Bible study this morning. Thank you for that!
Nicole

joyce said...

My heart goes out to those who are struggling to stay warm during the harsh winters. I don't do well at all in cold weather. I'm too accustomed to Florida winters. The least little cold spell here, and I turn into a whining, complaining, wimp. I honestly don't know how those in extremely cold climes survive, especially the elderly, and the very young.

I hope you and your family stay warm, cozy, and comfortable during the winter. I know you enjoy your wood burning heater. How much of the house does it heat? Do you have a supplemental source for other rooms, or does the wood heater supplement another type of heat?

Take care of yourself.

Tami said...

what a wonderful way to think of it- as a ministry!
great post as usual :)

Suzanne said...

By the woodstove is pretty much where we have been this week. We got so much snow the last couple days! But I agree , warmth and food do much for the soul, I baked cookies today, made soup and pizza. HOmemade food makes you feel so good:-)

Diane said...

I can only imagine how many families right now are cold becuase they do not have the funds to heat their home or have alternatives means for heat. For us down here in the South it has been a really cold Winter. Temps have been in the teens at night more than not. This is something new for all of us, plus the 7 inches of snow that has been hanging around this week. We are blessed with to wood stoves and there is just nothing like the heat from a wood stove, much warmer than electric. But we are also really running through the wood. Even with the wood stove our electric bill was still high this last month. I agree with you that it is a ministry to your family to provide warm meals and keeping the house warm with the stove. Breaking up wood and keeping it coming has taken over our lives these past couple of months. Enjoy your blog so much. Looking forward to future posts.
Blessings
diane

Laura Lane said...

Dear Mrs. White, I'm so sorry. I used the wrong account when I commented. The comment about the furnace being broken was from me. I sent you an email. Please forgive me if I caused anxiety.

Here's the comment again:

Dear Mrs. White,

One winter our furnace broke down in the middle of winter. We didn't have the money to get it fixed. We did not get it fixed until late the next winter. Each morning I would get up, put a pot of tea on. Fill the sinks with hot water, and bake something. We used a couple of little space heaters. I would bundle all the children up on the sofa or on my lap with blankets, and I would read. That was the time that I learned about being cold and dangerously cold. I always said that I would find someplace to go if it got dangerously cold. I don't think it ever got below the upper fifties in the house even though it was quite cold outside. I cooked and cooked to keep it warm. Those were times when there wasn't much to eat. I knew that if I didn't bake biscuits or something, we wouldn't eat. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn't know how to make bread very well. I did learn to make biscuits and cornbread and all kinds of soups.

You do what you've got to do. As President Teddy Roosevelt said, "Do what you can with what you've got where you are." The Missouri way of speaking would be, "Do whatcha can with whatcha got where you are."

Lord Jesus, please provide for the Whites so that they are warm this coming fall and winter. I ask it in Jesus Name according to your riches in glory. Amen.

Be blessed friend!
Mrs. Laura Lane

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