I welcome you to the comfort of my kitchen. I’m warming the oven – and myself – after a long, dark, cold January. I’m baking today. Seven cabinet doors flung wide from the gathering of ingredients and tools and bowls. Evidence I was here. Cookie dough spins in the mixer and the sun just arrived … at 6:58 … same time as last year on this day. (I checked.)
I smile to think of who I am this February compared to last. At 6:58 or any other time. And then I think, how nice it is to smile about such as that, about me as I am. Yes, February, I’ve added the right ingredients: plenty of rest, drinking my water, moving my body, reading lovely books, loving my people as best I can, and of course, hope.
Hope was a little harder to find last February. Maybe sometimes hope is tucked away in the back of the cabinet, behind the molasses, just waiting for me to pull it out, dust it off, and share it with others. Hope, like the cookies I’m baking today, is meant to be shared. And February, you with your earlier sunrises and later sunsets – give hope. Just when we need it most, I think.
So today I’ll be sharing cookies, February. And if you’d be so kind, please share some hope. In your month of love, remind me to love my neighbors, to offer warmth, to welcome … and accept … everyone.
Open my heart wide, February.
French Love Cakes
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped, roasted pecans
Sifted powdered sugar (about 1/2 cup)
In large mixing bowl beat together butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until fluffy. Stir in flour and pecans until combined. Shape into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 325 ° oven 20 to 23 minutes until golden. Remove from sheet to cooling rack over parchment paper. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes about 30.
-adapted from Country Home Magazine, February 1999
I’ve felt rushed, but I promise to slow down. Greet you properly as you guide me to the end of this year and the beginning of the next. December, hello, thank you for warming me even on the coldest of days.
In all my busyness, bustling about, and bow tying, I must not forget to breathe you in. Your warm teas, spicy simmer pots, our tiny tree.
I must not forget to sing you out. Your glorias, hymns, and heralds. Your faith found even on the longest and darkest night of the year.
I must not forget to listen for your silent nights, your holy nights, and your peppermint winds. I will listen for your laughter and the making of merry. For the good cheer of bells, the crackle of a fire, and the knock of a neighbor at the door.
I will remember to delight in the foraging of berries, and greens, and cones. Each week, lighting a fresh candle of hope, joy, peace, and love – praying the warmth and glow of each lights my way for months to come. I’ll look for your candles in each window, the impossible pink of a cactus flower, and the I’m Home relief of a wreath at my door.
Dear December, you’re long-awaited and much-anticipated. You’re prayerful, hopeful, wistful, and filled to the minute with celebrations, surprises, and traditions. Sometimes, you’re lonely and grieving. I know this too. I live this too. We’ll remember and honor and pray through it together.
Your lists are long, and your days are short, and I have so very much to be grateful for. In all my busyness, I must not forget to give in any way I can, whenever I can, and whatever I can.