Winter Gifts

Dear Readers,

Mr. UT and I go for many walks. We walk in the beauty of nature, we walk to admire the man-made structures of bridges and tall buildings, we walk for lunch and snacks. While we walk, Mr. UT teaches me sounds I am hearing. He teaches me which bird calls I hear, of the city sounds of sirens, and bikes behind us!

Winter walks are special. We walk in the freezing cold snow, listening to the sounds of snow crunching, of our hard breathing. We walk when the snow is falling, listening to the quiet. We have to wear a lot of extra clothes, be careful not to slip, so when we are done walking we feel victorious!

Winter is dark, cold and hard here in Minnesota. It’s harder to drive, walk, and to get motivated to do anything. I have had a lot of winters in my life. Times of darkness, of deep depression, panic attacks, rejection from a job based on my speech, many health problems, hearing loss, death of loved ones, drinking too much, self-hate, loneliness, the list could go on.

Yet at the same time, there is a deep beauty in winter. I look back on my winters and realize all people have winters in their lives. All people struggle with something, as we are human, and there is no escaping problems. I look back and realize I had support, even if I didn’t see it at the time. Mr. UT has been with me through almost all of my winters! He always stood by my side. I had therapists and good doctors who helped me. I had friends and family.

I look back at these winters and realize how much strength and perseverance it took to carry on in spite of these dark times. I see how many family members have moved forward in life despite their winters. Friends who lost their spouses way too early, people who lost limbs, who lost children. I see how they grieve, how they cope, and how they dig deep inside and still find joy.

I learned from my winters, but I had to first take time to see them in a different light. From a light of gifts. I had to acknowledge the pain, and yet see the growth I had made. They taught me self-compassion and empathy. They taught me to reach out sooner for help. They taught me I am stronger than I think. They taught me beauty really does come from the inside. The greatest gift they taught me, was gratitude.

I know there are more winters to come. This is life. However, I also know I ask for help and support to get me though these times, and I can pass on my hope and strength to other people.

With Snow Gently Falling,

On Day 1924,


40 thoughts on “Winter Gifts

  1. What a completely beautiful post Wendy (though as a Speech and Language Therapist I’m incredibly sad to hear about the job because of your speech!!)
    It was uplifting to read it and I love your photos .. you look so happy and relaxed. ☺️
    May you enjoy many winter walks and not have to endure too many more ‘winters’.
    Claire xx 😘

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I can’t believe you are retired, you look far too young! Speech differences and physical differences are really tough for people. The children I work with often have both (and hearing impairments). Good for you overcoming challenges. You’re an inspiration xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Wendy, for this beautiful post. I, too, have had many tough winters and find gratitude regardless and know that as difficult as those times were, I am stronger for it. Keep up the good work. BTW Mr. UT is a cutie!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful post Wendy🤗. Winters are definitely a time to slow down and take note as you said. I remember as a teen growing up in Upstate New York the winters being intense and lasting long. Depression would definitely slip in, but there were many times my sister would drop me off near the woods and the St. Lawrence river where I’d cross-country ski. Soft, quiet, in the woods and just the swooshing of my skis and the noise of my breath. Complete peace. Thank you for bringing back the memory. Drink some cocoa and keep appreciating every day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, that sounds lovely! We used to cross country ski, until it felt too much like running! LOL We used to downhill ski, and hope to get on the slopes one more time! When it’s warmer! LOL
      I love the silence in the woods, and just listening to my breathing.
      Thank you, Dwight!


  4. This is such an incredible post Wendy! I love a winters day when the sun pops out and gleams against the snow. I also love the back roads around me with a snowy road and snowy trees surrounding each side, oh and Christmas lights against the white snow. Thanks for this beautiful post as I will think of it as the winter continues on.❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally get that! 😂 Come the end of January when we still have minimum a month left of the snow, it’s challenging to love the beauty in it! 😂 I understand why people go on winter vacations somewhere warm and ☀️and come back feeling refreshed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful, Wendy! Getting your email and clicking on the link to your blog is like unwrapping a little gift to myself every week. Happy holidays to you and Mr. UT!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I absolutely love this post. Winter has always been one of my favorite times of the year but also one of my hardest times of the year as well. I have suffered from deep depression, anxiety and panic attacks in the past and suffering from them again now, but something as little as a short walk in the cold frosty air with the snow on the ground reminds me of the beauty in winter. You have captured it so well. I am glad as well that you have someone to share it with and teach you the sounds that you are hearing. He sounds special. I am lucky enough to have someone special as well. I cherish him so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry to hear about your depression and anxiety.
      Getting out and walking really helps, but I am not as motivated without Mr. UT. He is a really great guy, and I am so grateful for him!


  8. Hi again Wendy! Thank you for another beautiful and inspiring post. You look wonderful and happy! We do the same thing except for us it’s walking on the beach at sunset (sorry lol), the hubs had enough of MN temps but I still miss the snow. Don’t forget to get cracking on your book. Merry Christmas to you both!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love you Wendy. And your beautiful words, wisdom and pics!Thank you for always shining a light through the dark. I feel as if last spring and summer were my “winter” but all’s wonderful and peaceful now. I’m actually looking forward to the coziness, and cocooning of this seasonal winter. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We live in North Dakota!!! We know all about the cold cold winters (You’re so close!). The winter does have a deep beauty to it though. Until I moved here I have never in my life seen Sun Dogs! I absolutely love them. Other than the fact that they can only be seen when there is an actual fear of being frozen. LOL. It’s all about finding the beauty in the darkness. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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