I was feeding hay the other morning and noticed the tiny buds on the basswood tree near the ewe pen. It has always amazed me how nature is never static, never pausing, even when we tend to think it is. The heartbeat of life does not give out. The pulse is strong enough to hear through the blanket of snow and ice. The unfurling of vernal exultation would not happen unless life was undeniable all winter long. Maybe it's my Scandinavian heritage, but I really could hibernate with the rest of the sensible omnivores of northern Minnesota. If I'm not sleeping by 9pm there is no getting up the next morning. Light therapy would help, but I haven't had time to get to town to check into light bulbs. So I try not to fight it...If I go to bed very early and use the dimmer switch on my bedroom light to wake up gradually, I can get through the day without being too grouchy. I can go to work, get the chores done, eat supper with the kids, connect with Clancy for a few minutes each day, and go back to bed again. As far as drugs go, I'm already on two anti-depressants that are often prescribed for SAD. Light helps...exercise is the best remedy. The other day I danced for two hours to the music of Hairspray. I couldn't sleep for 24 hours afterwards. I think 30 minutes a day would be about right...but I haven't been disciplined enough to start that routine. What a vicious cycle SAD can be! But I wanted to write about the blessings in my life... The best thing about this year is that, even though I sleep a lot, I'm not feeling depressed in my mind. I don't have that "all is for naught" feeling. I don't wish I could not exist. I don't want to cry all day long. This is amazing for me. I don't take it for granted. I'm also really proud of my family. The boys are so fun to be around. They are such great kids. It makes me happy just knowing I get to be their Mom. And I love my husband. He's such an incredible person to spend my life with. I've made a lot of mistakes in life, and yet God has blessed this marriage and held it together when I didn't have the strength to. I am truly fortunate to feel in my heart that my husband is my favorite person. There are other people in my life that are truly fantastic too...My immediate family is so wonderful to me. Clancy's mom is always there for us. I have extended family that really cares about me...neighbors that are always watching out...co-workers that consider me part of their family...and true friends that pray for me and enrich my life beyond description. I am not alone. All the love and friendship in my life is a direct blessing, straight from God. He never gives up on me. He understands that spending time in the dark cocoon of an early bedtime is actually a monumental improvement upon the despair I used to wallow in. He's taking care of me, and I know it. There are lots of little good things going on right now too. Our five hens give us about 4 eggs a day! We can eat all the eggs we want to now without getting sick...The Christmas tree is up already. It's the first time in probably 5 years that it got put up before Christmas Eve. Our friend, Gail, made another kitchen cabinet this weekend. I now have a cabinet around the dishwasher...and one of these days that dishwasher will get hooked up and one of my housekeeping dreams will come true. And now I'm running out of time...a busy day is ahead and I haven't even finished my list of blessings. But that is the joy of having faith in God, I think. Once we focus on our blessings, we realize the list is endless. We know we are cared for. We know we are loved. God is looking out for us. It makes me shake my head in wonder, actually. It's hard to fathom a concept so immense. But I think of it in the most natural sense-like the march of the seasons, or walking across a frozen lake...like instinct...like the line from the last song in Hairspray... "You can't stop the motion of the ocean or the sun in the sky. You can wonder if you want to but I'll never ask why. So if you try to hold me down I'm gonna spit in your eye and say...You can't stop the BEAT!"