Monday, February 9, 2015

Between the Valentine's Days

Valentine's Day. Oh, how I love hearts and roses and pinks and reds and love!! I love Love! 

I am such a sucker for romance. I have been known to feel every emotion felt in The Notebook right along with them. That and so many more......

I have always had this notion for Valentine's Day. Being a girl with divorced parents, I really didn't know what a healthy relationship looked like. Needless to say, I ran headfirst into all the wrong ones. In the wrong ways. Valentine's Day didn't mean much to me in those years but, after I got married, I couldn't have known how much emphasis I would place on this one day.

It had to be perfect. Of course perfect meant cards and flowers and candlelit dinners and red. Lots of red! My poor husband never saw it coming. The pressure. The stress, financial and mental. The ugliness when it wasn't "perfect." Wasn't this supposed to be the best day of the year for us? This day was all about us and our love! What could be more important?

Fast forward eleven and a half years and I can tell you what is more important.

More important are the daily sacrifices. More important are the words whispered in dark rooms only to each other on the days between the Valentine's Days. The love that we cultivate everyday when we overlook the socks on the floor or the (huge) shoe that we just tripped over or the missing travel coffee mugs when you really need one! The time we get together and the time we give to each other and the blessing we are to one another. These things are infinitely more important than all of the artificial, material things we think we need or, even worse, deserve. 

Don't get me wrong. I still love those things! I love being surprised and wooed by my husband. I love being thought of in those ways. It means even more now because I know how busy he is and how much pressure our men face everyday. But it isn't expected or required any more. If we decide not to buy each other something and we really don't. That is not going to change how I feel about him. I couldn't say that before. I placed so much value on the things, the outward, that I neglected what was right in front of me. This man, giving his everyday and taking on task after task to care for his family. This man who puts up with this "pita" wife and still plays with my hair at night. Who remembers the chore I forgot and does it. Who fills up my gas tank!! (That's a fave one.) All these things. And I took it for granted and I am so grateful that we made it through to a better place. Only through perseverance and prayer, but that is another story!

Now, my man, he loves Love too. He just isn't as excited about it as I am, you know? Oh, I'm sure he's jumping up and down inside when I give him cut out hearts with sweet nothings scrawled on them. I just can't tell. But, as calm as he looks, for sure he's over the moon. ;0)

So, the conclusion that I have come to about Valentine's Day is that it is really a big hoax. I know that sounds dramatic but hear me out. I am a scientific gal. I have realized that I look for patterns in everything and I allow those patterns to guide my logic and decision making. Case in point: 11 years of Valentine's Days. I have observed that things are abundantly over-priced come V-Day. I have noticed that things are abundantly over-crowded come V-Day. Businesses are so overwhelmed, they are below satisfactory at what they do. Restaurant kitchens are scrambling to keep up, the card you want has no envelope to fit it, the babysitter is charging more and the theater is packed. I love people. I do. But, you know what I'm getting at.

This was my husband and I last Valentine's Day weekend. Strange, no red. Anyway, my sweet man knows that I love me some horses so he set this up for us to do. I was excited! I asked my sister to babysit and it was going to be great!

We set out to the ranch. Our ride was at noon. Did I mention we live in California? It is hot here most of the time but last February was particularly toasty. Twelve o'clock, noon. The rides were scheduled back to back. We had to be right on time. My sister was late to take the kids. Stress. The horses were sweaty from their previous ride. How romantic.

My man's horse looks a little too small for him but that little horse left me and my big ol' slow poke in the dust. Literally. So we spent an hour in the hot sun, on sweaty horses, in a straight line behind a trail guide that would not stop talking. Seriously. She talked my husband's ear off and I did not get to ride with them because my horse couldn't keep up. Lol. We were supposed to relax afterward with a glass of champagne. We opted to go get lunch instead. The best part is that those rides usually cost $40. On Valentine's weekend, they call it the Sweetheart Ride and charge $150! I laugh so hard when I think about it now but, truthfully, that was the nail in the coffin of Valentine's Day outings for us. This was actually the day after Valentine's.

We had the right idea when we spent the night before that, Valentine's Day, at home with our sweet kiddos. (The boy in the black shirt is a sweet church friend.)

Last year my kids went to public school, so after school we made these strawberries and gave some to our neighbor. We had a yummy, festive dinner and enjoyed a quiet night at home together. No crowds, no frantic waitresses, no over-priced venues. Just my sweet family. Talking about the true meaning of love. Remembering that everyday is Valentine's Day.

Everyday is a chance to show love and live it. To love Christ and show Him to others. To remember that love is an action word. It requires doing something and we get to be the ones to do it. We get to live aware of the richness in Christ and we get to share it! We can do that in so many ways but the best one is just sacrificial love. A love that sees and serves in sincerity. A love that mimics Christ's.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

So don't be fooled by the facebook and instagram pictures that look like this one:

That picture was the best thing that came from that ride.

Live in the everyday. Live in the moment. Laugh at the holidays that aren't quite picture perfect and love your man anyway..... for who he is and what he does between the Valentine's Days.


  1. LOVE this... you are so sincere in your writing! Thank you for being such a blessing!

    1. Thank you Monica! I was just thinking yesterday about what a blessing you are as well! I love you, sister.