I was in western Pennsylvania this past week leading a retreat for seminarians. The temperature was minus 11 degrees! I had two great insights as I shivered in the chilly retreat house chapel. First, I am grateful that I am not a priest of Duluth, Minnesota, where even the moose wear down jackets. I know the people are wonderful there, but I don't think I would be very effective since I am not sure I would ever be able to get out from under my covers in the morning. Second, I realized I am a big baby when it comes to temperature extremes.

To toughen myself up, I have developed these five ways to avoid being a big baby about the cold.

1. Shut up. - Complaining about the cold does not make it warm, it just annoys the people around you.

2. Say Thanks. - As cold as I was in that retreat house, I had heat, blankets, and warm drinks. There are many people who have none of these. I need to be grateful for what I have.

3. Give. - The next step is to realize that a great way to warm up is to run around the house and gather all the loose change (including small bills!). You don't have to find the poor, Catholic Charities knows just where they are and how best to help them.

4. Son Bathe. - One of the reasons we can be big babies about the cold is that we are thinking of ourselves. Take some time to read slowly a little part of the Gospel. See what jumps out at you, roll it around in you mind and your heart, and experience Jesus speaking to you. In essence, bathe in the light of the Son. He will definitely warm you.

5. Distract. - Parents tell me that when a baby becomes upset, it's usually best to distract them into good behavior. Anger just makes them cry, a book or toy may make them try. Try this yourself. When your inner baby gets upset, distract it. Clean a closet, run an errand for a friend, say a rosary or just put yourself down for a nap. Sometimes your inner baby just needs a rest under a warm blanket.