How does the time go so quickly? The year has barely begun, yet it’s almost Valentine’s Day. Here, in the beautiful northern end of California’s Central Valley, the weather is cooperating. My son, in Oklahoma, is facing five inches of new snow, while our roses are starting to put on new growth.

Within the next two weeks, the almond orchards will be in full blossom. By early March, we’ll have blossoms everywhere. Still, this week we’ll focus on the flowers (and candy and other gifts) we share with our loved ones.

My sweet husband has made plans for a great day and evening together. He has also ordered gifts for our daughter, whose first valentine was her daddy, and for two daughters-in-law who’ve lost their dads. I’m blessed to have him.

As I write that, I wonder: How many people I know will be dreading the coming of February 14? How many will spend that evening hunkered down with a video game or a movie or a pint of Haagen Dazs?

I want to remember them too, the lonely people. I want to reach out to someone who feels they have no one, to remind them of their value. Near where I live is a shelter for homeless veterans. I’m thinking they could use some pretty valentine cookies.

Is there someone near you who could use a cookie, a flower, a smile, a hug? I hope you will think of them, too, as you enjoy the coming celebration with those you love.