My husband always jokes that ours is a marriage of caveman and surfer girl. He grew up in Vermont, where there are more cows than people, and would spend his days hiding out in the fields, reading. I, on the other hand, grew up in Los Angeles, and spent as many hours as possible at the beach.

And now we live in Philadelphia.

I cannot begin to describe how much I miss the ocean, the sand and the sun. While I have grown to appreciate the changing of the leaves, and for about three days of the year I enjoy sledding with my kids, I have a ways to go before I can say I really appreciate the East Coast winter.

I am convinced that warmer people are happier peopleLife is just so much easier when it is warmer. No layers; no bundling up kids who inevitably then need the bathroom; no wet, sludgy, muddy mess each and every time you go anywhere. But it is more than that. I am convinced that warmer people are happier people. When the sun is shining people smile more, take their time, greet one another. When it is cold, we are so busy trying to get wherever we need to go as fast as we need to go that we barely even look up (after all, your face is warmer when your head is down . . . ).

It doesn’t help that the cold begins to really hit around the time we change our clocks. So now I am not only dealing with lowering temperatures, but I am simultaneously losing my beloved sunlight. It was just a mere few weeks ago that we had the shortest day of the year, which is, of course, the day that winter officially begins.

Yet, as I rushed like a mad woman to prepare Shabbat in time for the ridiculously early start of 4:18, I noticed something. For the past few months, Shabbat was beginning earlier and earlier each week. But then, the very week it was at its earliest, it meant that we were now on our way back up.

Every week now, we are gaining a few more precious minutes to prepare for Shabbat. And while they may seem inconsequential when you look just at the numbers, when you need them you definitely know how every second counts. Just when we got to the least amount of light of the entire year, it all turned around and started moving upwards. And all those small changes soon enough add up to significant changes.

Isn’t that true of everything in life? Small steps to eating healthier, parenting better, communicating more successfully, etc. Each one on its own can seem like nothing, but as the time passes, we realize it is really making quite a difference.

Just when we got to the least amount of light of the entire year, it all turned around and started moving upwardsAnd while I am thrilled to be gaining more light each and every day, I can’t say the same for the weather. While the temperature will still be dropping for some time, it will no doubt also eventually start going back up. Perhaps little by little, but it won’t be that long before the sun returns and warms Philadelphia once again.

In the meantime, I am trying to learn how to take advantage of what each situation offers. After all, an early Shabbat means being able to get to sleep earlier and catch up on those much needed zzzz’s. An early end to Shabbat means the opportunity to have a family outing, which would never happen on a Friday afternoon, no matter how late Shabbat would begin. And the cold weather? Well, maybe this year I will actually try to learn how to ski or snowboard or something snow-related. My husband is from Vermont, after all . . . So since I can be pretty sure the snow isn’t going anywhere, I guess it’s about time I figure out how to have some fun with it!