Yesterday, I came downstairs at 7:30 a.m. and announced to my husband that I was headed out for my walk “before it got too much hotter.” Or I may have said, “Before it gets any steamier,” or something mildly derogatory about the temperature and air quality. He quickly said, “I really want to work on not being critical and negative. I feel like I’ve been slipping into that lately.”

This is a conversation we’ve had repeatedly over the last 10 or more years. He was not aiming his comments at me, and I knew it. My husband made a promise to himself that he was not going to grow old and grouchy at the same time. He watched several family members on his side become critical, gripey, and just unpleasant to be around. We have no control over our years, as Psalm 139:16b says, “… In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them,” but we do have control over our attitudes and what comes out of our mouth.

I don’t enjoy walking in high humidity and high temperatures. I much prefer the cool of autumn or early spring. But my husband’s reminder was such a good one for me to give thanks in all things. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” We are both committed not to begging for sympathy by talking about our aches and ailments to others. And we are equally committed not to complaining constantly about life and our circumstances. We want to be joyful as we age.

This morning when I went walking early again, I started thinking about the good things that come with our heat and humidity. Right now it is peach season, and nothing is better than southern peaches. I bought my first sack yesterday and plan to go pick a bushel in the next few days. During peach season, we eat peaches every day in a variety of ways, and just having them in bowls and lined up on the window sill to finish ripening makes my kitchen happy. I love the color and smell of them.

A bit later in the summer, we’ll have loads of fresh black-eyed peas, purple hull peas, butter beans, green beans, cornbread, and South Arkansas pink tomatoes. Followed by more peaches. All of this is enjoyed with fresh, cold iced tea, sweetened or not with lemon. To really appreciate cold iced tea, you have to be hot!!! And all these goodies from local farmers have to have lots of sun, heat, moisture, and rain to grow.

So I’m giving thanks for all the good things that come our way in the south in the summer. And I will not complain about the weather but enjoy the bounty that God provides.

And you can be sure I’ll be giving thanks for air conditioning, too!