Happy Valentines Day or Singles Awareness Day…whichever suits

Today is the day of obligatory and goofy demonstrations of proclaimed love. “Be Mine” stuck on all shades of pink and red are all over the place. Flower stores are booming and the chocolate factories? Well, Willy Wonka hits it big time today. No figures are in just yet.

I’m married and have been for a billion years. We’re not romantic. I will not get flowers on this day or chocolates.

What I do get, though, is a man who throughout the year is faithful to me and to his kids. I get a man who has worked two jobs most of our married life, who makes sure my car has oil in it and who leaves the porch light on when I come home later than he.

That trumps chocolates any day of the year.

On this day of smoochy, fluffy love stuff, I do want to make a point, though. If you’re going to tell someone that you love them, say it like you mean it. Say, “I love you.”

Try it.

It means so much more than “Love ya.” Because “Love ya,” if you think about it comes with a bit less commitment.

I just think that if you’re going to make a statement about love, make the complete statement. Be completely invested. Be totally in. All the way.

I love you.

Those words coming from your lips should make a difference to whomever the target may be

So go ahead. Try it.

I. Love. You.

Christmas

It’s been no surprise to  my family and friends in the last years that I turned in to a, well… Scrooge. I began to hate Christmas. It had become a traditional shopping list/pain in the tush.

Part of it is that my kids are older, and either really busy with school stuff or out of our home. I have no little kids in my life around me anymore, and that just makes the Christmas season so much more fun.  When I was primarily at home, homeschooling my kids, we had lots of little traditions that were just plain fun. Making Christmas ornaments, snow ice cream, hot chocolate, and gifts. Preparing and performing Christmas pageants, concerts and get-togethers took so much energy, but they were fun!

Then, as the kids grew and I started working full time outside of the home, I kind of dried up a bit on the inside. Then, a couple of years ago, I asked Abe what he wanted for Christmas and he replied, “I just want to have fun like we used to.” Bam.

I had allowed the yucky part of Christmas to take over, and it certainly was not good. So I started having fun again. Abe and I started our own tradition of hunting our neighborhood for the perfect ditch tree to use for our Christmas tree. I have so much fun with him! We argue over which tree is the perfect one, he concedes after some time of stopping, studying, denying and moving on! Most of the time, he has to traipse through deep snow  (although this year was snowless) and once the tree is chosen, he saws it down. 

This year we brought back our old tradition of having a special night of decorating. We enjoyed a nice supper of cheese & crackers while decorating the tree. Then we sat around enjoying some great company and more laughter. We wound up the evening with the traditional viewing of “A Christmas Story.”

Isn’t that just plain fun??  And a bit ugly? Well, yes.

Throughout the last weeks, we’ve made little gifts to give out to co-workers, friends and family, and I’ve enjoyed this season so much more. It hasn’t been about material things, but about relationship building events. And this is good.

We were also reminded that when we celebrate Christmas is rather relative. Really, Jesus’ birthday is not December 25, after all, and this year, my son was unable to be home for Christmas. So we celebrated a couple of days later. It was a treasured time.

Life is good.

Jumpers, Mountains and Words

Years ago, I borrowed a cute pregnant jumper from my friend Diana. It was the early 90s, and we were both homeschooling moms, so if you guessed that it was a denim jumper, you would be correct. What I especially liked about it was that it had enough room to accommodate a growing belly, but wasn’t one of those tent dresses that was so popular. Seriously. Some of those pregnant dresses were like wearing actual tents! So, anyway, this was an unassuming denim jumper that I just loved and wore a lot while I was pregnant with Jordan.

The jumper found its way to the back of my closet during the last month of my

The Lost Jumper

pregnancy because as accommodating as it was for my growing belly, Jordan grew so much that this sweet jumper just couldn’t keep up and a pretty, soft pink jumper of the tent variety soon took its place. Some months after Jordan was born, Diana found out she was pregnant, so she called asking if I could return the jumper.

Thinking I could just go to my closet and pull it out, I told her I would bring it right over. (She lived across the street.) It wasn’t there. I was mortified!! The only thing that I could think of is that the jumper had been mistakenly placed in my give away box and would have made it to Goodwill. Shoot.

I called Diana, and apologized profusely, telling her I would buy her a new jumper. She stopped me in mid-sentence and said a phrase that has had staying power in my life. “You are more important to me than a silly jumper.”

Talk about a relationship builder! This sounds so cliché, but that phrase was implanted in my mind that day and has often come to the fore front when dealing with broken antique plates, chairs or ruined ceilings. I have to admit, though, I have often fought the urge to throw out the phrase, ” I can’t have anything nice!” (and have on many occasions). The times I have said, “You are more important to me than _______”, were the times that an important  relationship was strengthened. I know that day I heard Diana speak those words to me, I felt loved and important. I need to remember – and practice – saying those words.

Our words are so powerful that they can build or destroy. When I am irritated, it’s especially important that I take pause and choose my words carefully. I really want to build mountains – I don’t want to strip mine my relationships. I recently read the book, The Help, and watched the movie shortly afterwards. (If you get a chance to read the book, please do. It’s awesome. The move? Eh.) Aibee, getting ready to say good-bye to her last charge says:

“I look deep into her rich brown eyes and she look into mine. Law, she got old-soul eyes, like she done lived a thousand years. And I swear I see, down inside, the woman she gone grow up to be. A flash from the future. She is tall and straight. She is proud. She got a better haircut. And she is remembering the words I put in her head. Remembering as a full-grown woman.

“And then she say it, just like I need her to. ‘You is kind,’ she say, ‘you is smart. You is important.'” (The Help, by Kathryn Stockett)

Think about the strength of positive, life-giving words. They really can be eternal.

I did find that blue jumper, by the way. Funny thing. It was in the back of Terry’s closet. Go figure.

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