The other day, someone asked me about "that plant you wrote about last year that you thought was dead."

And it dawned on me - it's February - time for it to start showing again if it has survived those dormant months once more.

When I got home, I brought the pot out from its resting place to the sunny kitchen window it obviously likes - and sure enough, there were seven tiny leaves peeking up out of the soil. So here we go again.

This little white Gloxinia has been a faithful performer for several years now, and I've become very fond of it. Flowers are often given as a symbol of love - and they don't always have to be bouquets of roses. The Gloxinia was not a gift, but a rescue, a sad specimen that was going to be discarded as unsalable, but given to me for the token price of 50 cents.

Next Thursday is Valentine's Day - a day dedicated to love. But what is love? A four-letter word with many definitions.

The most important love of all is that which God shows to us. And when I think of how that little flower makes me happy each year, I have to wonder if we are dependable enough to make God happy.

When all is going well, we so often put our faith on the back burner - until some difficulty crops up that we can't handle, and then we're ready to exercise faith again. I think there are many times that God is probably pretty disappointed in us.

The Easter season, depending on your denomination, may start as early as this coming Wednesday - known as Ash Wednesday - the day before Valentine's Day. Between the two, we have a number of things coming up, starting today.

andbull; The Kabalah class for the Temple Beth Shalom folks will start at 11 a.m., and is being held in the Curry Coastal Pilot meeting room on Chetco Avenue in Brookings. Anyone from Crescent City who needs a ride should call Jill at 464-5337.

andbull; The Portuguese Community Valentine Dinner at the St. Joseph's Parish Hall will begin at 6 p.m. tonight, with the first seating lasting to 7:30, and the second seating from 7:30to 9 p.m.

Tickets have been available at Frank's Refrigeration. Cost is $30 for adults, and $15 for kids under 12. There were limited tickets available, but check - you may still be able to go, and I understand this is a great meal. Proceeds will be used in the construction of ADA-approved restrooms in the Parish Hall.

andbull; Also this evening, at 7 p.m., is the Community Dinner at the Smith River Methodist Church. Lasagna is on the menu, and it is free and open to the public - though donations will be gratefully accepted.

On Wednesday, the Ash Wednesday service (a bilingual service), will take place in the sanctuary at 7 p.m. All are welcome as the Easter season officially begins.

Last week, the church began a midweek bilingual Bible study on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., which will be ongoing.

andbull; Sunday there will be a Valentine Potluck at the New Life Community Church following the 10:30 a.m. service. Bring a dish to share and enjoy good food and fellowship.

Friday night is movie night at the church. The movie "Fireproof" will be shown at 6 p.m. All are welcome.

andbull; At St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Sunday, the Right Rev. Barry Biesner, bishop of the Diocese of Northern California, will be visiting the church.

He will be celebrating the Eucharist and preaching at the 10 a.m. service. All are welcome.

On Wednesday, there will be two services, at noon, and 5:30 p.m. - the traditional beginning of the season of Lent leading to Easter.

On Friday at 7 p.m., there will be a Taize service. Taize is a contemplative, ecumenical service, and features music presented by local singers and musicians from various churches. All are welcome.

andbull; The season of Lent, which precedes Easter, is traditionally a time of reflection and repentance.

There will be a service at the Crescent City United Methodist Church at noon to mark Ash Wednesday. The service will use prayer, meditation and the imposition of ashes to accent the beginning of the penitential season.

Starting Monday at 6:30 p.m., there will be a class in the Fireside room that will be a journey through the beginning of the faith, exploring the Holy Land through the lens of the season. Please use the rear door.

andbull; Thursday the Ladies' Christian Fellowship will meet at 10:30 a.m. in the Trinity Center of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Speaker for the day will be Pastor Larry Read of New Life Community Church, with a message on love,and music will be provided by local soloist Marilyn Pricer.

There will be a mission report by Team Redwood, and those attending are reminded to bring a non-perishable food item for the Reach Out Ministries food pantry.

Lunch will be catered by Northwoods at a cost of $10, or $3 for just coffee. All women are welcome to this interdenominational fellowship. You will find ladies from just about every local church if you come!

For further information, or to make reservations (which are needed to order enough food to be delivered) call Liz at 464-3539.

To reach Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or email