As far back as I can remember, I didn’t like cloudy days, especially in wintertime. They seem endless and hopeless, chilling both body and soul.

Still, they are a part of life, so I decided to learn to like them, and now they don’t seem so dreary. My secret? Actually I have several.

Sometimes I take advantage of those days to bake a cake, cookies, or something else special to enjoy with coffee. The entire house smells of freshly brewed coffee and homemade goodies, and that creates a warm, satisfied feeling.

I’ve also learned that I can help brighten the day with what I wear, like a favorite brightly colored sweater or a little extra jewelry.

Most of all, I’ve learned to thank God for those days. I’m still not crazy about them, but I’m healthy, in a house without leaks, and I have a nice warm bed, food on the table, and family and friends to enjoy my blessings with.

Not too long ago, I was out on one of those days. Although it was overcast, I didn’t expect it to actually rain, so I was surprised to be caught in a downpour 25 blocks from home. I took shelter and waited for an hour for the rain to stop, but I eventually decided to make my way home. By the time I got home, I was sure I had more water in my clothes and hair than was left in the clouds, but a hot shower and lunch put it all behind me. I felt wonderful.

When I was caught in the cold and rain, I prayed for all the people who are the victims of disasters. Not disasters like burning the chicken dinner or having their hair dye turn out the wrong color—I mean real disasters. Like being left homeless by a tornado, with no hot shower, dry clothes, or warm meal to set things right. Or just as bad, having everything they thought would make them happy, but still feeling empty, lonely, fragile.

When bad weather or some other circumstance has you down, praying for someone who is suffering, alone, or powerless to change some unfortunate circumstance not only sends divine help their way, it also lifts your own spirit and does your soul good.