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Q:  With these cold winter temps predicted, how does a young mom keep from everyone going crazy while kept inside for days?

A:  Imagination is the key.  It’s easy for everyone to get caught up in a routine, and routines are wonderful, especially if you’re homeschooling, but it’s also nice to break the routine sometimes.  Having a board game day or movie afternoon with homemade popcorn could help break the monotony. Kids generally get excited about what you’re excited for, so make it fun and special, and they’ll love it.  Kids have great imaginations, so encourage them to help come up with a special activity or even make up a game, complete with rules. Baking is always a fun activity for the whole family. And where imagination struggles, Pinterest can help!  Just don’t spend the whole time scrolling through Pinterest and forget there was a purpose in it.

Q:  During the winter months I struggle with sadness and gloomy feelings.  How can I have right thoughts?

A:  After day #72 of gloomy winter weather, any person might begin to feel a bit “Eeyore-ish”. For those who particularly struggle with depression, this season is a real challenge. An encouragement is found in the Psalms, though, especially Psalms 42 and 43. King David goes to the Lord and recalls the good old days while comparing them to his current bleak circumstances. He was honest. Be honest–find a friend to share your struggles with and ask her to pray for you and keep in touch frequently. The psalmist also stopped in the midst of his “self-talk” for some “God talk”. He turned his eyes off of himself and his woes and turned his eyes upward towards God and spoke truth about Him. “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him.” King David reminds himself that there is hope in God, keep pressing on in that truth, things will change and be different. Praise is coming!

Q:  I want to be hospitable, but in the winter it seems impossible.  I can’t keep my floors clean from everyone tracking in snow, and sickness is a constant reality.  How do I overcome these challenges?

A:  Hospitality can be so much simpler than we sometimes think.  Winter presents ready-made opportunities for showing hospitality.  Nothing is more inviting than a big pot of stew simmering on the stovetop, and while having people in your home is a fantastic way to demonstrate hospitality, so is taking a pot of soup to someone you know isn’t feeling well.  Chicken soup in particular cures all illnesses (or so my mom told me). Don’t stress the details. Just be faithful in showing love through hospitality, and God will give you the sight to see the people more than the icy puddle on the floor.