“Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2
If I had a signature color it would be yellow. I have always loved the color of sunshine, sparking joy and happiness in my life. It was always the most used crayon in my Crayola box. Daffodils, daisies with bright yellow centers, and yellow tulips were my favorite flowers. At the start of the school year, I gravitated towards yellow notebooks and even brought a yellow Trapper Keeper! My final project for Mrs. Thomas’ Home Economics class, was to sew a shirt. I chose a yellow fabric with white polka dots and gave the finished product to my sister. My favorite piece of clothing in Junior high was my yellow V-necked sweater that I even tried to rock in spring by wearing it backwards with a pair of khaki shorts and a yellow headband in my hair. The picture of me in that outfit will never be seen on social media!
I can distinctly remember being disturbed that I did not like mustard, the only yellow condiment. I convinced my Aunt Debbie to put it on my hamburger. Artistically, she made a smiley face out of the mustard, which made it even more appealing. Unfortunately, the sour, tangy taste of mustard ruined my burger!
Even as an adult, I am still drawn to yellow. This sunny color is an accent throughout my home, splashing itself on pillows, furniture, tablecloths, and flowerpots. My wardrobe includes all shades of yellow to fit every season from bright marigold yellow for summer to mustard yellow in fall. Just in the last week, I was not only inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poem at the presidential inauguration, but I also fell in love with her yellow Prada coat, googling the coat to see if I could find a knock-off somewhere.
Winter can be a hard season for a lot of people. The cold weather coupled with dark, cloudy days can put some of us in a funk. For some people, the funk is a stronger mood change diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Light therapy and some medications are used to treat people afflicted with it. Whether or not you have a diagnosis, our bodies were created to need sunlight. A good source of vitamin D, our bodies absorb it through the skin from sunlight, which is good for our bones, blood cells and immune health. Recently, I have read some articles that claim exposure to early morning sunlight even helps us sleep better in the evening!
I, too, find myself in a winter funk. I have set a goal of walking 320 days this year, averaging around 2.6 miles a day. Due to my schedule, this walk often takes place in the dark hours of the early morning, when the sun is not even attempting to awake from its slumber. Instead, the moon and the stars light my path. The darkness comes on so fast in the evening, that my natural melatonin kicks in early, and by 7:45 pm, I am ready to get into my pajamas and curl up with a book. The trees are bare, the grass is brown and the only bright spot in my yard is the occasional blue jay or cardinal visiting my bird feeder. Despite the fact I have chosen to embrace Hygge, I do miss the splendor of color that fills my world during spring, summer and fall!
The other day, I was lamenting in my mind about the bleakness of winter as I was cutting up a navel orange. With a burst of citrus juice filling my senses through sight, smell, and taste, my whole perspective changed. I began to thank God for His good gift! What an amazing time we live in that this southern-grown fruit peaks during the middle of the winter doldrums, and, due to modern transportation, is available to us. Now, living in south central Pennsylvania, or when I lived in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, I can go to the grocery store in the middle of winter and buy fruit that has the essence of summer in all its layers! The oils of the rind, the freshness of the juice, and even the colors scream joy, happiness, and sunshine! The different shades of the citrus are amazing to me, from the bright yellow of a Meyer lemon to the vivid orange of a navel to the crimson red in blood oranges.
The properties of citrus are endless. Just a little citrus brightens up savory dishes, giving the dish a more complete flavor profile. They add just the right amount of acid to salad dressings and other sauces. Citrus also keeps skin looking healthy, is a high source of potassium and fiber, and helps reduce heart disease, digestive cancers, and neurological disorders. In addition, citrus oils are even good for cleaning!
I promise you I am not getting a kickback from any of the groves in Florida for this blog. Of course, if a Florida citrus farmer wanted to send me a box of oranges in support of my writing, I would not be opposed to the free swag! I am also not suggesting that a simple orange will chase away the winter blues. But I do think God uses objects or moments displaying His majestic creation to help change our perspective in any situation. Whether it is a glimpse of the beautiful sunset at the end of a long day, watching a squirrel attempt to get food from your bird feeder after a stressful conversation, or slicing into an orange while lamenting about winter, if we pay attention, these brief moments can help us see the goodness of God. God is a good Father who loves us and wants to help us see things from His perspective!
Mark Hart, author and podcaster known as the “Bible Geek”, said, “Gray and overcast from earthly perspective, but it’s sunny above these storm clouds. Grace lets us see life from God’s point of view.” Even though I have a few more months of winter before the spring thaw, I am going to choose to delight in both citrus and the pops of yellow in my home to help maintain my perspective on God’s goodness!