Let true love be the victor on V-day!

heart leaf valentine

heart leaf valentineDo you believe in love? Not just romantic love but love-your-neighbor love. If you do, then Valentine’s Day was made for you.

Even before I was married (when I was a “single Pringle” as my son would say), I delighted in the holiday. People in couples smiled chocolaty smiles with rosy-colored eyes. Single people seemed flirtier. I loved having a day to celebrate love.

I was always of the inkling to celebrate the way we did in grade school, passing out chocolate kisses and Valentines to the whole class. We decorated shoeboxes with too much white glue and paper doilies to act as our special mailboxes. (I have always relished getting notes which is why I so thoroughly enjoy your comments, texts and emails about this blog—thank you, treasured readers! Reading your messages is just as much fun as passing folded paper notes between class.)

We analyzed the various cards we collected. Did the Six Million Dollar Man beat Wonder Woman? Hello Kitty and Snoopy duked it out, fighting like cats and dogs.

Ways to celebrate

Not much is known about the real St. Valentine.  Whether he’s legend or fact, let’s be champions of love together on February 14.

Road rage to road sage: when you’re on the road in the frenzied moment of commute and someone does something rude (you know they will), say out loud, “I forgive you” in place of your normal curse. You still get credit even if you yell it.

Invisible love arrows of blessing: look for someone who seems worn out, discouraged or irritable, and envision them surrounded by God’s love. Think a little secret blessing for the person.

Gift of three: pick a friend (or a few!) and send them three things you appreciate about them. Make the reasons as detailed as you can. It could be something unique and quirky about their personality, or a way they make your life sweeter, such as, I appreciate your generosity in letting me sleep in a few minutes later in the morning while you go out in 10 degree weather to feed the horse and pony. Then you come in and wake me up with a cup of hot tea. (Now that is true romance to me!!)

I plan to spend the day with extra smiles for all those I see. Love is a wonderful reason for a holiday and it shouldn’t be restricted to only couples, canned romance and bought gifts. Let’s take it back for everyone, get out our glue and doilies, and get to work!

Won’t you be my Valentine?

Blessing

God, the source of all love, lift up the lonely who
feel pain especially on holidays like this.
In all our relationships, help us be quick in our affections
and slow in our irritations.
Heal our hearts with your holy hand of comfort so
we walk through the world as your very own,
obvious to all by our loving actions and steadfast presence.

Tell me your thoughts!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Is it a day you cherish or dread?

Give that horse a banana!

Devon sees the bananaWhat’s the typical thing to give a horse as a treat? Apples and carrots, right? But I know a horse named Devon who is different. Devon loves bananas.

When he sees that I have a banana, his eyes brighten, his ears perk up and he’s quick to the door. He even licks my hand afterward to get every taste of banana he can. Bananas are from heaven for Devon.

Do you give what you expect your loved ones to want (apples and carrots) without knowing for sure if it is their heart’s desire (bananas)?

Time to play games

I used to get my husband books, candy and clothes. Those were things he liked and they were easy to buy. Then I realized the sweetest treat I could give him wasn’t anything sugary. It would be playing games with him. Now I make time to play card games like Blitz and bluffing games like liar’s dice.

A friend told me listening and kind words are her banana. She appreciates when someone pays close attention to her feelings and responds by saying the things she needs to hear in that moment.

A pack of gum

After I graduated from college, I went overseas for an internship. There I met Rachel from Oklahoma. As the only young Americans working in a small town in Belgium, we were drawn together. Over a dinner of pasta as we got to know each other, she told me her dreams about how her future husband would be. What she said has stayed with me for two decades.

“He wouldn’t bring me roses on Valentine’s Day. I don’t want flowers when everyone else gets them. I’d love a pack of gum on an ordinary day if he brought it home to me and said, ‘I thought of you at the gas station and got this gum for you.’ Just knowing my husband had thought of me would be better than Valentine roses,” she said.

Since our time overseas, Rachel married and has been with her husband for 14 years now. While away on business, her husband recently posted a photo on Facebook of a beer on a Friday night. Now a cold glass of beer might be enough to make most guys happy, but for the photo caption he wrote, “Just wish my favorite lady was here to share it.” Her husband’s thoughtfulness makes her feel like the most important person in the world. Even thousands of miles away, he always has her on his mind.

Ask, understand, give

Devon enjoys his banana.Often we give what we like to get, or we give the typical choice. Horses eat carrots, right? Instead, ask your loved ones, “What is special to you?” Take time to understand them and their deepest values. Let them surprise you. Work to delight them.

Give that husband a game partner, give that wife a pack of gum and give that horse a banana!

What makes your heart sing? Do you know someone who gives affection in an unexpected way? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!