Posted in inspiration, Life

Words for Wednesday: sunshine for a January soul

The doldrums. Do you experience them? After all the busyness of holiday celebrations and activities during the previous months, a letdown feeling can infect us in January.

As much as I do enjoy distinct four seasons we experience here at Mama’s Empty Nest, I will have to admit that sometimes winter, especially in the long month of January, causes me to feel blah, unmotivated, and lethargic.

It’s truly not the colder temperatures that bother me so much because I usually find cold weather to be invigorating, honestly. But the lack of sunshine affects me especially when we must contend with days and days turning into weeks of gray skies.

I don’t believe my sluggishness is serious enough to make me a victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), although residing in western Pennsylvania, we’re told that we only receive an average total of nine days of sunshine during the month of January.

Some years it does seem like bleak January is sunless and lasts forever. And even though this is a brand-new year, we’ve had more than our fair share of dreary, overcast days with little to no sunshine so far.

When the sun appears, even briefly, it totally lifts my spirit. Sunshine. Blue skies. Even a blanket of glittering white snow across the landscape with sunshine causing it to sparkle like diamonds causes me to rise out of my January doldrums.

Those things make me smile. And smiling more is what I desire for this new year of 2023.

I want to find an aspect – no matter how small or trivial it may seem – each day that lifts me out of my wintry blue funk and causes my face to brighten with an ear-to-ear smile.

Perhaps I should chronicle those things that produce smiles so I remember them better on those not-so-sunny days.  Occurrences like:

Greeting my fellow believers at our church with a warm hello, a handshake, or a hug.

Accepting an invitation to friends’ home for a pizza dinner and an evening of games.

Noticing the beautiful birds who flock to our outside bird feeder on the backyard deck.

Finally finishing projects that have accumulated and waited for completion way too long.

Clearing out the flotsam and jetsam that are still useable but not needed and donating them to charity.

Hearing that someone we know is recovering from illness or an accident.

And just this past week, a smile-worthy comment randomly spoken by our oldest granddaughter.

While riding in our vehicle, that little voice from the back seat called, “Nana? Papa?”  We answered, “Yes, honey?”

Her response, totally out of the blue: “I love you both!”

How could that not only cause a smile to appear on my face but also touch and warm my heart in the deepest fashion? Like sunshine for my wintry soul.

During the bleakness of winter, what brings sunshine to your face?

“A smile is the same as sunshine; it banishes winter from the human countenance.” ~ Victor Hugo

© 2023



Mama of this empty nest, I’m content to live a quiet, country life with my husband of 40+ years and to view gorgeous sunsets off our own back yard deck. Mama to three adults and Nana to adorable grandchildren, my empty nest fills up again with noise and laughter when they all return 'home'. A former English teacher, reporter/editor, education director for a non-profit organization, and stay at home mom, I retired after a season of substitute teaching at a private academy. Now I enjoy time spent with my grandchildren and family and writing words that seem to pour out of my soul or wandering around the countryside with my camera. Foremost, my faith sustains me as I meander through the empty nest stage of life. My favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

8 thoughts on “Words for Wednesday: sunshine for a January soul

  1. Lots of rain in my area so far this month so there has been very little sun. Hoping you see some sun soon. What sweet grandchildren those words were sure to bring smiles and warm hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My goodness. I can’t imagine only nine days of sunshine in a month. On the other hand, the difference might be that we have the same number of gloomy days, but they’re spaced out. Cold and warm fronts constantly battle in our winter, and that means that after every front we have a couple of days of gorgeous weather before the Gulf sends us fog/rain/clouds again. It’s funny: our gray days are warm days, but that doesn’t help much! I suppose that’s why so many people come down here in winter. You can’t believe the number of cars, RVs, and so on with license plates from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and so on. There aren’t as many this year as there were in the past; we’re past Covid, but I think the economy still is affecting people.

    Here’s to sunshine: soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure that’s why you have so many snowbirds in your area. Winters in the north are dreary and seem so long sometimes. Family friends who are retired go south every single winter in their RV. I think they’re in Louisiana now. Anyway, it’s overcast and gray again today and since we have no snow, the landscape is quite dull with all the brown out there. This year I will be ready for spring soon!

      Liked by 1 person

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