Monday, January 19, 2015

Creating Hygge

What is 'hygge'? First of all, it's not a Czech word, but Danish!

Pronounced HYU-gah, it's a brand new word to me, and one that I think ought to be in my vocabulary this year.

It doesn't have a direct translation in English but words like "coziness," togetherness" and "well-being" will get you started. (For my Czech friends, it translates as "útulnost")

As best as I can understand, the point of hygge is to help you get through the winter months, if you happen to live somewhere where it can be dark and dreary at times.

They say "hygge" is to help you endure cold, solitude, and the stress of winter. Like at 1:30 in the afternoon when it's already getting dark outside!

Seriously, there's no editing on this photo. It was that dark in our living room at 1:30 today.

Denmark is rated as the happiest country on earth (according to the United Nations), so there must be something to the concept of "hygge" as they endure long, cold winter months up north, and yet are happy as a nation.

So today while working on various projects, I decided to create "hygge" at our house.

By 4 this afternoon, I had candles lit everywhere and it really did lift my spirits!

I put on a pot of Gloria Jean's decaf "Holiday Cheer" coffee and popped a tray into the oven with some cookie dough I'd made up earlier.

Since I knew I'd be working most of the day, I'd put this incredible stroganoff into the crockpot earlier (trust me, you REALLY want to make it) and let it cook all day. That definitely created some "hygge" for me as I thought about having a wonderful meal with Dave later on.

I sat down for a few minutes and just enjoyed the cookies when they came out of the oven, along with a cup of that yummy decaf coffee, praying for a friend that I was thinking about today. That's part of of my "hygge" - thinking about those I love and carrying their burdens and cares to the Lord.

Even Kaylee had her own version of "hygge" as she curled up in her soft bed while I worked in the kitchen, content to watch me out of one eye and sleep with the other one closed!

From a spiritual perspective, "hygge" could be defined in a number of different ways. But for today, this is the verse that came to mind:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Prayer, thanksgiving, peace. That's the place I want to be in every day, winter or not.

But here's to figuring out how to live with more "hygge" during these winter months!

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