I slept better than average after listening to a podcast in bed of women gleefully talking about snow.

Moments before, I’d noticed there was more snow in the forecast. The women talked about “wintering” and how snow makes everything pretty — even the neighborhood where the guest speaker grew up.

Church and spirituality for her as a kid were considered too “fancy,” but she later loved the rituals and the singing.

Before I started a yearlong assignment at the judicial center in St. Paul a few years back, to help coordinate signing up thousands of users for electronic access to documents (think spreadsheets of usernames), I indulged in a solo retreat at a nearby center.

The frost on one of the big east facing windows lit up enchantingly at sunrise.

About this time of year the word “hygge” has often shown up in publications with pictures of cozy things. Seems to me the first time I encountered it I was eating pie at a quaint little diner (think Stockholm, but not Scandinavia). I can imagine it causing me to look at my Irish knit stocking cap all the more fondly — perhaps as it set dangerously close to the slice of pudding pie with the real whipped cream. No mittens.

The interim pastor at the church where I worked back in the day had a trip planned to Scandinavia. It required some extra work on my part. Instead of billing my time to the church I bartered with him to bring me back a souvenir from Sweden, something for my husband in keeping with his heritage. Post ancestry DNA, we find out he’s way more Finnish than Swedish. And, what, I’m over 50% Scandinavian? No. I’m half German. But ah yes, my mother and I were there, far north, near the border to Denmark. Alrighty then.

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The pastor was very obliging. I was thinking grab me something at the airport on the way back. But he got a nice heavy votive candle holder early on and carried it with him the whole time. We haven’t used it for awhile, more into the battery operated ones now. It’s kind of fancy in a simple way. I’m going to find it again and see what sort of repurposing might occur. Ooh, my niece sent me a tea blend for Christmas that she suggested might almost make better potpourri. Perhaps I’ll put that bedside for sweet dreams.

My only regret from my wintry retreat in my cozy little room in the fancy old building with the lovely chapel was not realizing until my way out that there was a pillow I would’ve liked better on the shelf in the closet, which I could’ve been enjoying all along if only I’d looked harder and reached up to help myself.