The Power of Words and Winter Evenings

I believe that the written word holds a certain power. The power of course to communicate your ideas to others but also to clarify your personal vision and manifest dreams.

art by Christine Mason Miller from the book Ordinary Sparkling Moments

There is a certain non-scientific bent to this way of thinking that kind of freaks me out (ideas I can't understand make me nervous) but having seen this come true in my own life I'm becoming a believer.

Jamie's book touches a bit on this (oh, I do love those tingle-down-your-spine sections where she shares dreams coming into reality). I'd give you more links to check out but I don't typically run with the yoga, meditative crowd of mamas who have probably published oodles and oodles of posts and books on this idea.

I'm not sure exactly how manifesting works, which kind of rubs my S, T & J the wrong way (ESTJ personality type) but I know there's something to it.

I think one of the ways it works is that the process of writing clarifies goals and gives you a fixed point to work towards. This clarity, whether you are conscious of it or not, helps you sift through all the input coming your way. Helping you filter out that which is not helpful to your end cause or goal. 

In the last couple years I have become better with writing my goals and dreams (I'm still not committed to writing a life bucket list - too scary for a high achiever like me to have that hanging over my head). And in that same time I have watched amazing things unfold in my life - both little and big.

One small example.

Last fall I read Caddie Woodlawn to the kids. It's a wonderful read aloud book by the way, I highly recommend it. In the chapter Breeches and Clogs is the following passage:

The long winter evenings in the farm house were very pleasant times. Grouped about the fire and the lamp, the Woodlawns made their own society, nor wanted any better.

I recorded this passage in my Quotes Journal and underneath wrote: my goal for our winter evenings.

Winter is not an easy time historically for me. I've worked hard this winter at exercising, eating well and taking care of my mental health so I really enjoy this season. And so far, it's been a fabulous winter. My best yet for years. 

I think our winter evenings contribute to this. They're not an "ideal" or even completely relaxing (Damien actually works part of the evening). Some evenings I'm dog tired, the kids are bouncing off the walls and it's not the cosy atmosphere I dreamed. But more often than not our evenings are what I had hoped for - making our own society, not wanting for any better. Contentment.

Winter is the time of year for ideas.

When the earth lays dormant our bodies naturally turn inward and reflect for that darkest part of the season (advent) and then, as winter still holds her grip but the days lengthen, our thoughts turn to the future. Summer adventures and gardening. And on a bigger scale - the life dreams we want to live.  

I encourage you to take some time this winter with your ideas and dreams. Apologies if you're in the southern hemisphere.

Thank you Natalia for this fabulous card!

Write them in a journal, create a mind-map. Scribble them on index cards and display them in your kitchen, your bathroom, in the cover of your homemaking binder. Post them where you can see them often. 

From my own experience, a practice like this yields delightfully unexpected and life changing rewards. And that is a bit scary (oh, I do fear the unknown and worry over the details of how it all comes together) but it's also incredibly amazing. 

PS. I will be blogging about the sweet dolls the children are making in these photos. Sewing is one of our "make our own society" winter evening activities.

I'd love to know if you practice this in your life. What dreams have you seen come true?
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  • Jennifer Schmidt

    Jennifer Schmidt on Feb. 22, 2012, 12:16 p.m.

    Thanks for taking the time to point this out. I believe so much in the power of positive thinking and envisioning your goals becoming a reality, but writing them down would take this one step further. I'm sure it only helps in making you even more mindful of what your moving towards. Found your blog recently and I'm enjoying my visits :)


  • Jen @ Anothergranolamom

    Jen @ Anothergranolamom on Feb. 22, 2012, 1:46 p.m.

    Sometimes I have time in the winter evenings to sit and work on my quilting (I hand quilt on a big frame) and this is excellent meditation time. I like to have a notebook at hand to write down my ideas, so they don't slip away. BTW -- the tiny doll is very neat. Are the arms and legs sewn and stuffed, or are they made some other way? All hand sewn, or by machine?


  • Michelle

    Michelle on Feb. 22, 2012, 5:47 p.m.

    I am reading Jamies book too. I must admit that when I read about manifesting your dreams I immediately thought "hocus pocus". And then I read more about it in another blog. Clean. Lusaorganics. And I said to Rachel that this was the second time in as many days as I read about "manifesting". She said "there are no coincicences". Still, I guess I am a skeptic but not enough of one not to write down a thing or two in my journal. :)


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 22, 2012, 5:50 p.m.

      Michelle, I totally hear you. I link to Rachel's post in this post (one of the first links). I am totally a skeptic about many things but I have seen many amazing stuff unfold in my life in the last year from writing down my dreams. I have more to share in the coming months here at FIMBY.  If you want, and believe in prayer, you could think of it as a prayer, rather than "manifesting" something. If that word makes you feel hokey-pokey.


  • Heather

    Heather on Feb. 22, 2012, 6:03 p.m.

    Writing is so amazing, to see your ideas and feelings on a page is magical. I love winter for all the ideas that it brings, and all of the moments by the fire to explore them on paper. Thank you for the reminder.


  • Kika@embracingimperfection

    Kika@embracingimperfection on Feb. 22, 2012, 6:13 p.m.

    I have seen the power of words (spoken and written) at work in my life over the years. Sometimes, dreams are written down and filed away (rarely looked at) and yet we still hit them. Other times, this consists of a list which I constantly check in with (example, my list of "40 in 40" so this is more an act of conscientiously working toward certain goals/dreams). But lately I've also been considering even the power in writing down gratitude lists (ex.1000 things) or smaller, "happy lists" -and just how taking this time can alter our attitudes and perspective on life and circumstances. That is not exactly what you were referring to but I think it is connected.


  • Shelley R.

    Shelley R. on Feb. 22, 2012, 6:54 p.m.

    I do maintain (spontaneously) something like a common place journal which I still have to write everything by hand... even longer quotes and poems. Something about physically writing (instead of typing) helps the ideas to sink more into my mind and heart.

    One idea incarnated yesterday is trying to daily - "do something that doesn't compute". First, the day came with snow. The second or third of the season here in upper MN that appeared to be willing to stay for a day at least. My husband called an hour into his work day to propose the idea of taking the day off and going alpine skiing for the rest of the day with us instead. Yes and why not? Five hours into the stay-cation of skiing, I asked my six year old on the chair lift if she was done. She said, "No, mom. I can still walk okay. I'm not tired enough to go home yet." That didn't compute to me, but I understood her joy in being and doing and breathing fresh air and the desire to not go home until she was so weary it was hard to walk. What fun!


  • Amy K

    Amy K on Feb. 22, 2012, 7:08 p.m.

    As always, you give me a lot to ponder. Looking forward to the post on the dolls as well.

    TOTALLY unrelated, Renee, but I thought your family might enjoy watching this eagle live nest camera. Last year, we watched this same pair of adult eagles protect their eggs and later watched the eggs hatch. The baby eagles were adorable and changed almost daily. My kids loved it.


  • Jacinda

    Jacinda on Feb. 22, 2012, 7:39 p.m.

    I totally resonate with what you are saying about how writing helps us write our own life - we have a chance every day to keep reimagining our lives. Your writing is helping me to keep clear about what i am imagining and manifesting. But I must say over the last few years I have lost a bit of faith in my ability to manifest my dreams. The last few years has been a real testing time in some ways for our family's goals and dreams...and yet we are still strong and happy. I don't understand why people find the concept of manifesting tricky. If Christian, surely they can see it as a form of prayer and conversation with their God. If not, just see it as just getting really about what you are wanting in your life and with that focus comes obvious moves towards making that happen.


  • Jeanine

    Jeanine on Feb. 22, 2012, 8:31 p.m.

    I love the manifestation concept. It's something I feel like I've always known but only juts recently brought to the forefront as a strategy for living. It's so incredibly powerful and really reminds me to be careful about not only what I allow to surround me, but also what I say and think throughout the day. Cheers!


  • Rana

    Rana on Feb. 23, 2012, 5:12 p.m.

    I've had goals not necessarily written down, but in my head since I was younger. What I would do after graduation, getting married, having kids, fulfilling my Christian ministry. They all in time have been achieved. Now with my family we write goals for the future as individuals and a family. We are slowly working on them. I like to keep a journal of our goals it helps to stay focused.

    And as for evenings in winter you are right on. We just finished reading Caddie Woodlawn as a family a couple of weeks ago. We are starting Henry and Beezus now. I love that feeling of being curled up on the couch together quiet and content.


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