|Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash|
However, I've been through periods of my life when no amount of blankets or cups of tea would have brought a smile to my face. The world - my world - felt too dark. But in that darkness, I found the only Comfort that truly matters, and that was the love of my Savior, and His promise to never leave me or forsake me. And when I began to come out of the haze, I remember one of the first things I found enjoyment in again was warming up my tea pot and pouring myself a cup of tea. And I was grateful. Grateful for God's promises and His work in my life, even in the darkest of days.
I've said it before, joining my voice to a chorus of others, that 2020 was a difficult year that seems to have rolled right over into 2021. But as in any bad situation, there's always something to be thankful for (consider Betsie Ten Boom giving thanks for fleas!), and in the last 12 months, I have learned to be thankful for a slower pace of life, and the little things that bring a smile to my face - such as the Advent calendar of tea that I purchased for the Hubs and I to enjoy during the holidays, or the fuzzy blanket that kept us warm while we battled off a bug.
So in no particular order, here are a few of the "creature comforts" that have kept me smiling over the last year, and might be of interest to you as we head into the next year of unknown.
- Scented candles - I always have one burning in our room, or at my desk where I'm working on school stuff for the kids. A recent favorite was the French Baguette candle from Bath & Body Works that smelled exactly like freshly baked bread. Sadly, it is no longer available, but I'd be tempted to give this one a shot if given the chance.
- Meals in the InstaPot, CrockPot, and rice cooker - With so much time at home, I quickly moved through our repertoire of recipes that most of the family could agree on, so I turned to Google to help me out. Two of our new go-to meals came about as a result of those searches: Easy Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Chili (we leave out the corn), and Hearty Sausage 'n' Beans (with a couple of ingredient tweaks, and I toss it all in the rice cooker, making it even easier).
- Mood lighting - This past Christmas, I found myself with a short strand of small, clear, LED lights without a purpose. I was about to toss them back in the box when I realized I could wrap them around our headboard. When the holidays were over, I decided the cozy factor was too good to give up, and since they were white, they worked as a year-round addition.
- The Goodreads app - which reminded me that even though it felt like I was spinning my wheels, I was still making progress on one of my 2020 goals.
- Faux fur throw - While browsing around our local TJ Maxx, I pick up one that was similar to the one seen here. Although not typically my style, I love the way it feels and the fact that it's just a bit heavier than a normal blanket.
- YouTube jazz - whether I'm trying to focus on editing work, or chilling out after all the kids are in their rooms for the night, I love the seasonal jazz channels on YouTube. Check out the Cafe Music BGM Channel for a variety of options, including Rainy Day jazz (one of my favorites).
- Le Creuset Stoneware Tea Mug - this was on my Christmas wish list and my sweet Hubs went for it. I didn't expect for this mug to take the place of my previous favorite (from the Unemployed Philosopher's Guild), but I love the heft of it, the way my hands fit perfectly around it, and its ability to hold heat.
These are just a few of the creature comforts that have made the last year (and specifically this winter) a little more cozy and fun. It doesn't include the variety of teas that I've picked up and enjoyed from TJ Maxx, Fresh Market, and even Kroger. It also leaves out the baked good that my mother had been dropping off for the last year, or the bag of international snacks that I keep in our room, for those late night catch-up sessions with the Hubs. It doesn't mention the spring days spent laying in our outdoor hammock with a good book, or the sound of the kids playing in the cheap above-ground pool held together with Gorilla Glue tape, but those things also make me smile and whisper, "Thank You, God." It truly is a wonderful world...
What would you add to this list?
What makes you smile, brings a sense of warmth to your life (or toes), and helps keep the doldrums away? Leave a note in the comments, because I'd love to hear about it!