A WHOLE LOT OF LOVE GOING ON

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Today’s the 28th of February. Are you ready to flip the page on your calendar?

Although the shortest month of the year, February was always big at our house because of my birthday on the 14th, as was May for Will’s. It still is. As usual, I started celebrating early over lunches, dinners, and coffee dates. I loved being with everyone who wanted to help me celebrate.

Valentine’s Day fell on the second Tuesday, the day my writing group was to meet at my house, so heart-pansI decided to make a cake for the meeting.

What fun to use my mother’s heart-shaped pans and copy a Valentine cake from the February issue of Tea Time, a beautiful little publication devoted to the art of creating memorable tea parties. You can see theirs at Tea Time.

In fact if you want a clue as to what my decorations looked like, you’ll have go there because I FORGOT to take a picture of it. (But the group can vouch for my slightly lop-sided strawberry hearts.)

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Although my hearts weren’t perfect like Tea Time’s, we had a great party–even if I do say so myself.

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My guests surprised me with cards and little gifts.

Several folks read some serious pieces they had written about the love of God that seemed appropriate for the month dedicated to love. After all, writing about Him is the central purpose for our getting together.

But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8

Afterwards we laughed and talked over cake, candy, and coffee. It was a joyful celebration. I wish you could have been here. 

Looking back at the month, I asked myself if I made good use of the time.

Concerning revisions to Thomas’s story, I confess, I didn’t do much on that front. But I spent lots of time with family and friends or thinking about th consider that a high priority.

And I did ponder Thomas’s fate as I crafted Valentine boxes to give as little gifts and bookmark favors for the writing group that were inspired by the February issue of Better Home and Gardens.

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You tuck a little piece of candy inside.

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There’s no doubt about my enjoying all that crafting.crafting

I  also read a blog, Novel Rocket, every day and considered the advice of successful writers. As I cut and pasted pretty papers, I pondered what I might need to cut or add to Tom’s life to fill out the plot. How I could enhance his character so you’d know him better. How to add atmosphere for a greater sense of place.

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Today, the craft supplies are back on the shelf, and I’m returning to Thomas–or Tom. (His mother still calls him Tommy.) The’s jury still out on what I’ll call him in the final version, but at the moment, it’s Tom. Maybe you have an opinion on that.

All in all, I’m happy with the way my February began, progressed, and ended. But I’m also eager for the  next thing, which is March. I know it will be filled with lots of love, too.

And once again, I find myself praying to the One who loves me best.

Lead me, Lord. Help me complete what we’ve begun. Guide me in all I do in the coming days.

That’s my prayer for you, too.

May God lead you in the way you should go today and everyday.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.

Ps. 36:23

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

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One passed me as I entered the grocery store. Head down, clutching a bouquet, he trudged toward the parking lot like a prisoner going before a firing squad. Inside, men of various ages milled around the floral section and frowned over candy displays. One young fellow confidently shifted an armload of pink roses so he could study the Valentine cards, but he was the exception. Most of those guys looked anything but self-assured.

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I watched them, hiding my smile as I remembered my husband’s early attempts to please me on Valentine’s Day. I can still see him clutching a vase of red roses as he strode through a sea of women toward my cubby at work.

His expression was so hopeful that I made over those beautiful flowers. But I’d like to believe I would have raved even if they’d been half dead.

 

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I’d like to believe that the women those men labored to please today will respond like their gifts are absolutely PERFECT.

If they knew how hard their sweethearts worked at choosing them, they would.

 

 

However, if the truth be told, some of those women won’t be able to hide their disappointment.

Expectations can trip us up—even make us behave less admirably than we should.

camiliasMake us forget how loved we really are.

You know. You had your eye on that diamond drop—even hinted at it, but he produced a pearl pendant instead. You forced a smile and hoped he wouldn’t see your disappointment.

Maybe you forgot there wasn’t room in the budget for diamonds.

That actually happened early in our marriage. Afterwards, we discussed how we couldn’t afford diamonds.

It still makes me blush.

But  it was a turning point. I’m happy to say I’ve learned that my husband is the kind of man who’s more comfortable buying me a card and a giant Dove or Hershey bar than shopping for diamonds.

You know something?

I love chocolate. The more, the better.
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These days, I shop for my own diamonds.

That’s because he’s busy renovating my bathroom.

Or building a Little Free Library.

Or enlarging a window in our kitchen.

 

Or the absolutely most romantic thing of all—writing me a love note on the lawn with grass seed. (It made my stoic friend cry.)

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That’s the kind of love I wish for you.

Of course, a bouquet is always nice, too. I’ve been known to buy my own.

Happy Valentines Day!

 

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God

has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:5

 

 

HEARTS EVERYWHERE

I love heart-shaped things.

I see them everywhere, all the time, but especially at this time of year.

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This little red stone is the only thing I brought home from the Crater of Diamonds State Park. (You may have to tilt your head to see its heart shape.)

Just this week, I marveled at how often hearts appear in nature. From the dried pods hanging from a tree, a piece of quartz in a neighbor’s flowerbed, to the African violet leaves in my den.heartcollage

Terry picked up this rock heart on a work site. Do you see it?

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A bit of moss

Hearts are everywhere.

And I love them—probably because my birthday is February 14, the day of hearts.

I’ve written before about how my mother made me heart-shaped birthday cakes. I’m going to use those same pans to bake a cake for my writing group that meets on Valentine’s Day.

Through the years, friends have given me all sorts of heart gifts.

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Thanks to Grace Johnston, I have a wall of framed vintage Valentines.

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Even if Valentines Day wasn’t my birthday, I would love it.

Remember making Valentine boxes for school parties? We colored away with red and pink crayons and adorned them with paper doilies and ribbons.

This week I made a Valentine box.

It started with the last shoes I bought.

Fergalicious Westin Booties.

The box top was so pretty it made me think of the boxes we used to decorate.

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The next thing I knew, I was digging out craft items I picked up on clearance last year. I repurposed cupids and hearts from cupcake kits and added ribbon, gluing and taping to my heart’s content.

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The curves in the crown reminded me of a flower punch I picked up for a pittance at Tuesday Morning. I dug it out and I made a bunch blossoms, stacked them together, fluffed them up and added button centers.

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Here’s the final product.

 

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Prissy.

Perhaps a bit overdone.

But I had a blast.

May I spend as much time working on the condition of my heart–especially when I find it challenging.

For the Lord sees not as man sees:

man looks on the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I Samuel 16:7b