I find myself sorely missing the sunshine by the time February rolls around. Sometimes it’s necessary to combat the blueness of the season by making a little sunshine of our own in our hearts. These are the things that top my gratitude list this month:
I like to make a lot of soups and stews during this time of year, and the best way to do that is in a crock pot. I’m grateful for my crock pot all year long, because I use it so much that it seldom gets put back into the cabinet. I’m especially grateful for it, however, in February, because there is nothing better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter’s night.
WATCHING GOD WORK
I was chatting with three of my friends, a few weeks ago, about wanting to stay focused on reading through the entire Bible this year. We made an off-the-cuff decision to start a private group page on Facebook so that we could work together to accomplish this task. Word got out about our plan and, within a few short days, we had 30 people in our group! We’re all reading the same chapter assignments each week and discussing what we’re reading, learning and growing together in God’s word. I’m so grateful for this group. It always amazes me to see how God works when we least expect it. The awesome thing about reading the Bible is that you learn something new every time you read it. I’m grateful for that, and for my friends who are on this journey with me.
February is, of course, the month to celebrate love. Most people think of Valentine’s Day as the day to celebrate romantic love with our spouses or significant others. This can be a sad and lonely day for those who do not have someone special in their lives. But love is all around us, if we just stop and look, and we can find many ways to celebrate it! I like to bake some sweet treats to deliver to a few friends who may be struggling with loneliness this time of year. Small expressions of love can mean a lot to others when they’re feeling down. I remember, years ago, when I was young and single, dreading Valentine’s Day. One of my co-workers received a dozen red roses from her husband. She pulled three of them out of her arrangement, wrapped them in fancy tissue paper, and brought them to work to give to me. That was 38 years ago and, yet, I still remember that kind gesture. I think, perhaps, the best way to celebrate love is by doing something totally unexpected for a complete stranger. Giving a Dairy Queen gift card to the mother in the store, who is juggling three small kids while trying to shop on an extremely tight budget, is an awesome way to share some love. Delivering a home-cooked meal to a senior citizen who doesn’t get out much during the winter time would definitely brighten his or her day. Regardless of whether we have someone to spoil us on Valentine’s Day, or not, we can always find ways to share love. I’m grateful that, as we mature in life, we start to realize that giving to others often brings us more joy than when others give to us.
LIKE MY OWN
Another thing about February for which I am grateful is the fact that we will celebrate my daughter-in-law’s birthday! I am constantly thanking God for bringing her into my son’s life and, as a result, into our family. She loves and supports my son in every way possible. She has given us four of the most beautiful grandchildren, who light up our lives with joy and laughter and adventure. She juggles the tasks of raising her family, managing her home, and assisting her husband in his ministry with a Christ-like spirit and complete devotion. I always wanted a third child, and she is it! We are grateful and blessed to have her as part of our family. I love her “like my own.”
One of the ways I battle the Winters Blues is to make plans to get out of town for a few days each February. It’s not always possible, but I am extremely grateful when the opportunity presents itself. We usually head south, looking for that sunshine! I come home recharged with the energy to get through the last few weeks of winter, anticipating the first buds of spring.
If you’re battling Cabin Fever or the Winter Blues, hang on; Spring is coming!
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go make a big pot of homemade soup.