"Cold Barn Warms Me To My Bones…
Can Blessings Really Warm More Than Your Heart?!"
by Sonja Solaro
Jan. 10, 2011
Most of us believe a special blessing can warm our hearts. But do you think savoring a blessing, really capturing it, can actually warm our bodies? At least for a little while?!
Read about my experience and then let me know what you think. Leave a comment or share a moment of your own…I'd love to hear what you think or read about your 'toasty' time?
I was just tweeting about getting myself all 'psyched up' to get 'bundled' up to head outside into the freezing cold.
It was chore time…a.k.a. dinner time. Our barnful of big, furry and feathery pets needed hay, grain and water…again. More feeding times and harder work now that winter was here and the pastures were all covered with snow.
Because I was so snuggled up and because it was colder tonight, I knew it was going to be tougher to get going this time. But I knew I had to go. I started lifting my blanket, sighed, and covered myself up again.
Then began the coaxing. I thought to myself, "Sonja, why not treat yourself to some hot chocolate when you get back inside? What a treat that would be. You know Sonja, not just any hot chocolate, but your favorite kind. The steaming, dark hot chocolate served in a big heavy mug, all heaped up and overflowing with mini marshmallows that start melting as you watch them. Oh, Sonja, you know those yummy melting marshmallows, and you certainly can't forget about the peppermint candy stir stick!"
That sounded sooo good. O.K. I would definitely have a cup when I got back inside. I started thinking about the hot chocolate and could already taste it. It would help rewarm my bones that would certainly get chilled from this freezing cold weather by then. I planned to run out, get the 'job' done and run back in as quick as I could go. I'd be sipping on that yummy stuff soon.
So I toughened up, bundled up and proudly tweeted, "1,2,3…ready or not… Here I go… Brrrrr!" Then out the door I shot, running as fast as I could, taking giant leaps as I blazed a new trail to the barn through the deep snow.
I really was thinking about the hot chocolate and I really was going to have a glass when I got back inside, but that wasn't the only thing that got me out the door tonight. If it was, then I shouldn't be living where I'm living. And certainly not with all the animals that we have.
The main reason I went out the door tonight was because I knew I was needed. I had to go. And when you have a barnful of animals that loves you and depends on you, your heart is warmed and you go no matter what you have to do for them or how hard the work is…it's one of the genuine joys of living in the country.
So, I wasn't complaining, it was just colder this time and it did help thinking about the warmth I'd feel when I got back inside the house all tucked in with my cup of hot chocolate. Besides, I figured I'd be back within fifteen to twenty minutes savoring the taste.
But do you want to know what happened this time?! I was outside much, much longer than I expected I would be. And yes, it was much colder outside. But the miracle of this message is…it never felt as cold as I thought for sure it would feel. In fact, it actually warmed me up.
Isn't it interesting how a blessing doesn't just warm your heart. I believe a blessing can warm your entire body, if you'll truly capture it!
Well, I'm back inside now. I want to share what happened…
Can you believe my heart is so warmed up that I actually feel hot? Maybe it's the layers of extra clothing? Maybe it's from throwing the bales of hay? Maybe it's the warmth of the gratitude that I feel?
Maybe, just maybe, it's because I just realized that so many of my dreams have come true and I just got a real hot-blast of genuinely enjoying my dreams. I truly captured, lived in, and savored my moment of blessing.
I have always dreamed of having my own barnful of animals…and I mean always...since I was a little girl. And I was just out feeding them! They are real! This moment of blessing is real! And believe me, it's warm!
As I've been thinking and enjoying these thoughts, I realize I have peeled off several layers of my clothing and I have actually turned on the ceiling fan. Can you believe it? It's the middle of January. It almost sounds crazy! But it truly is real…this is such a big part of my dream… and I'm really here living it!
I can never describe the genuine warmth and blessing I received in our winter barn tonight. But I'm going to try my hardest…
Watching as the animals rounded the corner and made their grand entrance with snow blanketed coats. Heads hanging low to break the wind. Whiskers and eyelashes covered with snow. Feeling their fuzzy fur, the wooly wool and warm breath. Seeing all those grateful eyes. Then hearing the crunching and munching and smelling the hay.
How wonderful it was… So tonight I decided not to run back inside. Instead, I slowed myself down and stayed for dinner…
I watched them eat. I watched them have their little squabbles about 'whose pile is whose,' I watched the glistening snow flakes slowly melt from their coats. I listened to the bells hanging from some of their collars. I soaked it all in.
Then I took my mittens off. I groomed them and ran my hands over their fur. I put my cheek to my horse's velvety muzzle, hugged them and looked them all in the eye.
I had to loosen my scarf… I was warming up. Even though it was still cold outside, I really was warming up…from the inside out. And my mind wasn't dwelling on the cold chill anymore. I wasn't even thinking about it. I was lost in my moment of blessing. Getting back to the house and my hot chocolate was the last thing on my mind.
When dinner was over, I reached into my jar of peppermint candies. Heads weren't hanging anymore. Heads were held high, ears were pricked and all eyes were on me. They knew they were going to get dessert tonight. Each animal got a treat from my outstretched hand. I had a peppermint candy too. They chewed theirs right down. Peppermint breath surrounded me and filled the air.
Then, I turned and walked toward the door. I looked up and saw our sign, "Secret Shoe Stables." This was our barn. We named it. I saw the old bridle from my first horse hanging on the wall. It serves as a decoration and a remembrance. The soft gospel music we always leave on in the barn 24 hours a day played in the background. This has always been my dream and I'm right here in the middle of it. It's a part of my life.
Before turning out the light, I peeked back. They were all still watching me. Maybe they were hoping for another peppermint? But maybe, just maybe, they were telling me thanks for being there. That's what I like to believe.
All I know for sure is when I looked back at my barnful of beauties before closing the door, I told them good night and I told them all thank you. Then I closed my eyes and lifted up a prayer of gratitude and wonder. Wow, what a blessing! I will never forget it.
I returned to the house via the same trail of snow as when I ran to the barn tonight. Looking down in the moonlight, I noticed my footprints were about 4 feet apart on the way out here… I had been running and leaping through the snow, as fast as I could. And I had planned to make a mad dash back to the house as fast as I could when my 'job' was done.
Now I realized I was walking slow, step by step, being sure to take it all in. I stretched out my arms and spun around, my scarf twirled with me in my outstretched hand. Then I stuck out my tongue to catch the fresh snow flakes fluttering from the sky, taking it all in. I laid down, stared up at the star-filled sky and made a snow angel. My wings fluttered gracefully up and down.
Then it happened…my horse gave a nicker from the barn… it kind of woke me up. I realized I was on the ground, covered in snow and truly happy. Our two bunnies hopped by, watching in a curious way.
This wasn't a 'job,' I wasn't even cold, and I had forgotten about the hot chocolate! As I began to rise, I paused on my knees and thanked the Lord for all He provides. I knew then that the snow falling from the sky wasn't just snow. It was glitter being gently tossed from heaven.
Trust me when I say, I'll never have to get "psyched up" again…no matter how cold or how windy it is. I'll just smile and go. And I know I will stay warm beyond imagination…it's tough to beat the glowing warmth of a winter barn! Ours is full of horses, sheep, goats, donkeys,bunnies, turkeys, chickens, a cow and an injured raccoon. And I truly love them all.
So I got back inside, excited to write this and share it with you, because you are important to me. Your dreams are important to me. And you living your dreams and savoring your blessings is what life is all about.
My heart and body feels so toasty and warm! I'm definitely too hot for the hot chocolate. So I'm writing this while drinking a cool glass of refreshing lemonade. Snow is falling past my window, my dogs are laying by my side, my cat's in my lap and my birds are chatting in the background. Norah Jones is playing from my compiter speakers, a candle is burning and things feel so right.
Go for your dreams and savor your blessings. Forget about the chilly times and just bask in the warmth around you. When you think about all the things you really have to be thankful for, you will probably need a cool glass of lemonade too…with a big splash of gratitude.
Cheers to lemonade in winter and cheers to all the fabulous reasons we have to have a glass!! Enjoy!
P.S. If you have any pets, no matter how big or small, reach out and give them an extra squeeze…Your heart will be warmed.