Gratitude Day 403

Mon., Feb. 10, 202

1 John 4:19: So you see, our love for him comes as a result of his loving us first.

This is the week folks celebrate Valentine’s Day!

I’ll be honest. It’s not completely my favorite holiday. Yet, there are simple ways that we can express how much we love those people who mean the most to us. Today, I’m sharing just a few ways you can creatively remind people that you care for them and love them. Yes, you can do the traditional card/chocolates/flowers ideas. But if you’re looking for something a bit more creative? Read on, my friend!

Make them cookies.

We have a long-standing classic Deaton sugar cookie that my family has made for years. They are EXCELLENT. However, sometimes, I need a gluten-free cookie. Making gluten-free baked goods is HARD. There’s a reason why we use gluten in all those things that taste so yummy.

But these cookies? They are the real deal. They are gluten-free AND taste good. In fact, they taste as good as a regular sugar cookie.

This isn’t a large batch. So, they go quick. If you need more, simply make a double batch.


Cookie:                                                          Icing:

2 ½ c gluten-free flour                              ¼ c softened cream cheese

1 tsp baking powder                                 ¼ c softened butter

½ tsp salt                                                       1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c sugar                                                       1 ½ c confectioners’ sugar

¾ c softened butter                                   2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. (For the gluten-free flour, I often use a mixture of various gluten-free flours. Also, there are gluten-free “mixtures” that you can find in the baking section that are also a good choice.) Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, butter and extract until smooth. Add eggs. After these ingredients are well-mixed, add the dry ingredients at one time. Mix until smooth. Form a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. (I know – waiting seems silly. But with the gluten-free, the extra step really is necessary.)

Roll out dough on floured surface. I like a little thicker cookie, so I roll them about .25” Cut into shapes. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees oven for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes before removing them. (Again, NECESSARY. Gluten-free cookies are picky. Take the extra time.)

Icing: beat cream cheese, butter and extracts together until smooth. Add in sugar and mix until smooth. Add food coloring for the color icing you want. With these cookies, I made the lighter color first. When I was ready for a darker color, I used the same frosting and just added more food coloring for the darker version.

Note: Usually, I use a slightly different icing recipe. But I like the cream cheese version on these cookies. Be generous with the almond. It gives the cookies and icing a wonderful, different flavor. I’m often asked what makes my cookies different. It’s ALWAYS the almond flavoring.

Frost cookies when cooled. And you have a wonderful surprise for someone! Put them on a plate with a handmade card and you have created a little something special for that something special person.

A Meal Out Gift Card

For our grandkids, one thing I like to do is get them a gift card to a favorite eating place and send it along with a handmade card. I do this for a variety of holidays. I call this their “meal out” gift card. It’s a way they can go someplace they like and have a meal on Grandpa and Grandma. Favorite places to get the gift cards: Culver’s and Subway.

Here’s a variety of more ideas. Maybe these ideas will help you think of something else:

  • Get them a journal. Write a favorite bible verse on the first page so they will see it every time they open the journal.
  • Go to the dollar store and pick out some of their favorite things. Put them in a basket or $1 tub you picked up at the store. Things I often include: popcorn, nuts, cereal treats, a small bag of candy, favorite drink, cool pencils, markers or pens.
  • Have a favorite photo enlarged. Put in a frame or just tape to tag board. Include a little note with it.
  • Make a coupon book of things you will do with or for your special person. Ideas include: making a meal of their choice, watching a movie of their choice, spending an afternoon doing whatever they want, cleaning something for them that they don’t like to do, play a game with them, pray with them, etc.  

An Extra-Large Handmade Card

Actually, Rick made and gave this to me many years ago. I was attending seminary at the time and we only saw each other a few days a week. He had this sitting near the door when I walked into the house. It was a WONDERFUL surprise.

Yep, it’s a favorite. If you look closely, it’s beat up because I have moved it several times. It keeps moving with me. And it will for a while!

This Valentine’s Day, challenge yourself to be creative. Come up with something that is special because you put a little time into creating it for the special people in your lives.

The love we have for each other should always be rooted in the love we receive and feel from God. When you are in a good spot with a person, make sure they know that you don’t take them for granted. When the person has disappointed you or challenged you or maybe you are just feeling a little distant from them, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to extend a little something that says, “I care for you. No matter what.”

For opportunities to replicate God’s love for us to those who mean the most to us, I am grateful.

Dear God – Thank you for loving us unconditionally. Sometimes, this is not as easy for us. May we find opportunities this week to express our love to those who mean the most to us. Amen.

Blessings –


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