Crackling fires, steaming tea kettles, snowflakes stuck to windows, Cozy blankets, warm socks, brisk walks, crunchy steps, melting ice on the floor, hats and gloves scattered around where children leave them, boots heaped around the door, rosy cheeks, sparkling eyes, quick toboggan rides, firewood gathered, ax ringing, wood split and stacked, soup simmering, bread toasted, butter melted, hot cocoa leaving rings around the mouths of children, books read, pictures colored, games played, cards shuffled, and movies watched.
Popcorn becomes a delightful delicacy and promises of hot cocoa inspire the most reluctant to complete their lessons. Family gathers around to hear Papa read the Bread of Life that is also the Sword of the Spirit and sends prayers to heaven so sweet.
Sugar scrubs soften dry skin and the oil of the Holy Spirit softens dry hearts. The chirps of birds at the feeder cheer as the giggles of children delight.
Mama Kitty purrs in a low rumble expressing supreme contentment and Abundantly Blessed mama would rumble like Mama Kitty, if she could, when sun beams shine warm on the wooden floor.
There is grace in the cold of Winter. It is a grace for all to gratefully receive at will. Will you receive daily blessings as a gift of grace from the hand of a loving Heavenly Papa? Even the puddles of melted ice on the floor? The ones that soak straight through a sock when found? Will you receive it as a gift? Will you? Will you decide that today, this day, instead of seeing mud and ice you will see proof of a warm shelter and evidence of provision instead of a mess of scattered crumbs?
That is the exercise I am focusing on so intently here at the beginning of this new year. I am working out the muscles of gratefulness by choosing to see truth when there is temptation to be deceived.
When I am tempted to be distressed by the messes that seem to abound, I am learning to resist this temptation by training myself to see what really is. Yes, there might be a puddle of dirty water by the door. Such puddles are proof that our home is a warm refuge from the cold outside. When I wipe up those puddles it is proof that I am healthy and physically able to care for those in our home. It is not a burdensome chore to care for those I love.
Those crumbs that sometimes cover the counters bother a mama unless she sees truth. Those crumbs testify that there is food in the house for us to eat. We are not hungry. We have been fed. God has provided for our every need.
And the laundry...the dirty laundry. Dirty laundry shows we are clothed. We are not naked shivering out in the cold without adequate coverings. Not only are we clothed, judging by the size of the laundry pile, we are clothed very well.
Will I see fly away hair, dry skin, wood chips, soaked socks, and muddy footprints and consider them burdens or will I see these things for what the really truly are, evidence of the abundant faithfulness and provision of God?
Counting Winter's gifts of Grace,