Continuing our conversation from last week...if you missed it, you can read it here or scroll down the blog feed.
Let's Talk About Romance, Tips, and Ways to Love Well. It's a loooonnnnggg wordy blog post because it has a few lists in here a mile long of ideas, so don't freak out! You're good. You can save it, print it or screen shot it!
Where are all my Romantics at?! I admit being a Super Romantic thanks to growing up with Cinderella and all the Disney Princesses. So for me, growing up Valentine's has always been a day celebrating Romance and Love. As I grown up and fallen more and more in love with my Greatest Love, Jesus, Valentine's has become more about ALL the Love in our life, not just about finding a Prince and making love.
The world we live in needs MORE LOVE, and those of us who are Christ Followers have access to the greatest Love, and this is a PERFECT season to share it. We can express the Love of God through intimacy and community.
Let's Talk About it.
Sure, within marriage, Valentine's may involve sexual experiences, but as a whole, for everyone, Valentine's can be, and should be, all about LOVE! (Check out the history of Valentine's-very interesting!) Valentines does not mean Sex.
Love is not selfish or self-seeking and God was the perfect example, giving us His Only Son because He loved us so much. So what ought we show in loving-kindness towards others?
Love is not simply sexual encounters. Love is an expression of adoration, connection and honor to be shared between all people.
Who is Love for? Love is for everyone, "for God so loved the world, he gave His Son."
What will your focus be on this Day about Love? If it has only been about sexual intimacy for you, I am here to challenge you to think about God's Love regardless of coupling up, coming together as a family or if you are buying yourself some chocolates this year...
God gave us eros love for husband and wife, so there is a special and sacred love shared between the two who have become one in covenant. Singles (unmarrieds) face the greatest temptations as their spiritual honor is challenged by physically charged movies, conversations and social shares during the Month of Love. Purity is a precious gift to guard. It is a sacrificial gift to Our Creator, holding dear the marital bed.
So, you may be asking HOW can I celebrate Love beyond sexual encounters in my relationships?.
Whether you are young person, single, married, divorced, widow, separated, in a happy place or rocky place in your relationship, we should all celebrate the gift of love human to human, from the Heart of God to others.
Love God. Love Others.
Over the years I have found some fun ways and wanted to share them with you too! These are some ideas how you might celebrate Love as a family OR an individual and a few ideas at the end for the Mr and Mrs of the crowd.
Showing Love to another doesn't have to be expensive. It doesn't have to be roses, flowers and diamonds. It doesn't have to be from anyone....Love is something you GIVE, not get. So, let's share some Love....
Let's think of all the Whos. WHO can we show love to?
ANYONE and EVERYONE needs to be LOVED!!! Besides the ones we easily think of like family members, children, teachers and dating partners, here are some others to consider: those who serve you all year long: postman, FEDEX/UPS delivery drivers, local hospital staff, nurses, Pastors and their families, your local fire and police departments, neighbors, cashiers, doctor's offices, DMV, garbage truck men, local businesses you frequent, women's or children's shelters, nursing home residents and staff, bankers, children's homes, tax office, military recruit centers, homeless, non-profits in your area, cleaning staff in the stores/malls/restaurants, drive thru windows at the pharmacy/fast food/bank/toll booth, wait staff and bus boys...
WHAT can we do?
ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! Let's say money was no object, okay, well have fun and spoil and bless away with all your gifts and treats, but let's say you only have some money. Here are some ideas to do as a family or individual.
- Make or Send meals, crafts or cookies with a sweet note or bought card (Dollar Tree Valentine's are vintage treats!)
- Buy flowers, $5-$10 gift cards, donate to a local charity
- Host a lunch or coffee date
- Pay for the groceries, coffee, gas, bills, or a family meal without recognition
- Send Valentine's Cards to...who does God put on your heart? Look up their address online if it's been too many years to remember, or shoot and email or voice text.
- Buy clothes, school supplies or event tickets for a family or friend you know would appreciate it.
- Take a roadtrip to see friends/family/new city, buy an experience, take a (free) community sponsored class
- Clean someone's room/house/yard/car/church
- Pick up trash at your favorite park/beach/visitor's center/library
- Take over a chore or run an errand for someone
- Attend a local (free) concert or event in your city or nearby with friends/family/group
- Invite a widow, single Mom, military Wife, College Kid another family over for dinner and games
- Pick flowers from your yard or from the side of the road and place in a tin can/mason jar/spaghetti jar/coffee cup and gift (check for bugs first! I learn that the hard way!)
- Make ANY dinner and serve it up with a candle on the table or Dollar Tree decor (they have lots of cute things) Consider taking it outside to a romantic or quiet spot.
- Gather leftover craft supplies and create a new thing
- Lay a blanket out and snuggle under the stars or next to the fireplace or ocean shore.
- Nail holes into empty soup cans and set candle inside for unique candle holder
- Offer to watch a friend's kids while Mom or Mom and Dad go out, especially single Moms and Military Wives who's hubby are not home or maybe they have no family and no money to hire a sitter for 4 hours
- Swap date night times/days watching each other's kids so each couple can go out without worrying about paying for a sitter or have no guilt over someone else watching their kids cuz they will be paying the favor back
- Make a poster that says YOU ARE LOVED! Jesus Loves You!! and post it or personally stand where God leads you out on a road/corner somewhere. I did this in Houston and stood on the corner of a busy road and felt so "radical" but God used it as a teaching moment for me to get out of my comfort/shy zone and be a voice for Him. I loved the responses. Most people honked and waved at me smiling. Many just drove by as if the pasteboard was blank.
- Write "love letters" or appreciation letters on regular notebook paper and deliver. You can go to the Dollar Tree and get 6 blank cards in a pack for $1.00 along with so many other goodies. You can also use index cards.
- Offer to mow someone's lawn, bring in their trash cans or newspapers, ask them if you can walk with them as they walk with their dog
- Volunteer anywhere
- Cut hearts out of newspaper or construction paper and write to give
- Cut and prepare all foods into heart shapes (pancakes/fruit/pizza/cinnamon rolls/sandwiches)
- Give the kids extra bubbles and play time in the bath
- Send messages by voice or text or email or online to....anyone for free.
- Take the grocery cart back in for someone
- Take your neighbors trash cans in for them
- Make red jello and drink cranberry juice for kids (your own family or invite some over) or make a creative snack
- Freeze strawberry smoothies into popsicles
- Knock out a Honey-Do
- Choose your battles everyday but especially today-choose peace
- Volunteer at the school/charity center or church or pet shelter.
- Cut out heart shapes and write a Scripture on one side and pin to a string/line and every day turn one heart around to reveal The Word (much like an advent idea)
- Imagine what skills, talents, gifts, opportunities you have to bless someone else
And now what about YOU? It's not your bday but you want to celebrate being Loved by such a wonderful Heavenly Father and delight yourself in it. FYI: The chocolate choices are abundant, and often 50-75% off the day of if you are counting dollars!!
We give so much and we'd love a little something tangible to celebrate Love and express being loved too. So what can we do for ourselves, regardless of marital status? Of course, know your temptation triggers that sin is not creeping into your day.Again, the goal is Love, not lust
- If you have money to spend, enjoy a night out with a friend or order take out and take it home alone (as a married woman, I treasure my nights in my pj's, with my favorite food and movie even if my hubby is out of town!)
- Buy yourself something within your own budget...it may be a $500 pair of earrings or a spa day or a $5.00 Hershey's chocolate kiss or Recesses Peanut Butter Heart, with your salad of course, lol
- Wash the sheets and blankets. Add a drop of essential oil to the dryer ball.
- Take an extra long bath with your favorite book and a candle in the corner.
- Consider replacing an undergarment with something cute vs practical.
- Get a mani or pedi or buy yourself a new polish color, or new lipstick/gloss.
- Try a new updo for the day
- Enjoy your favorite music and dance it out
- Join a gym or a class and start that journey, or find one online to start
- Knock out the one nagging project you've been avoiding and relish in the doneness.
- Turn up your favorite worship music and soak yourself in His Love, maybe even dance!
- Dance, watch a movie, dust off your hobby
- Play games with the kids and set aside the work and phone for the night, the gift is love and laughter
- Call someone you love/adore and say Hi
- Light candles in every room (Dollar Tree sells LED 2 packs for $1.00 or actual candles for $1/each)
- Take a walk around a nearby water or cityscape at sunset
- Camp in your backyard
- Make your favorite meal and picnic it
- Find what makes you feel loved (out of God's love for you) and delight yourself in it through worship to express Love back to Him, your first True Love- journaling, cooking, serving, dancing, writing, photography, organizing, music, arts, cleaning, singing, learning, teaching...
- Speak Truths about God's Love for you! Sometimes that's the hardest gift to give ourselves, permission to accept the truths of His love for us in all our mess, stress and grief.
If You Are Married:
- For the Mr & Mrs: Do something that makes your spouse feel adored and precious (trade foot rubs, help cook and clean dinner, serve breakfast in bed even if it's Cheerios, exchange cards, buy their favorite flower/card/food/candy/book).
- Don't make it all about "connecting physically." Save your Anniversary for that tradition of Get To Do. Bring back the romance of being Loved just as you are, for who you are from the heart. Whatever happens after that, well, that's up to you. Candles, strawberries, music, jello, whip cream, sunsets, new colognes and apparel, couple's massages (have to be booked in advance), weekend or night away, someone else to keep your kids so you can stay home, we even went to the gym when the kids were younger and enjoyed the steam room in the locker rooms and met up at the hot tub and relaxed by the pool the remainder of the time we had and every one was happy! Best 2 hours ever!!
No one is perfect. No marriage is perfect. No family is perfect. Only GOD is perfect and in His sweet, gracious, fun Love, we get to Live in it! His Love is unconditional. You cannot earn it or afford it. It is a Gift that cost Him greatly but He counted that cost and said You were worth it.
YOU ARE LOVED!
This Valentine's Day, may you realize how greatly YOU are LOVED and know you are not alone. He is near, He sees and He knows what you need as Your Great Love. Open your eyes and your heart to see this amazing grace and receive His Love, that you may also GIVE it!!
If you'd like some extra To Do and Not To Do's specific to Couple's, I've got you covered!
Don't Worry, it's PG Rated because not all couple's are married so these tips are for all of us!
My Valentine's Wish every year is the same: toss me some chocolate, take care of dinner for me and make me laugh. That's it. Okay, if he had to buy me something, I like anything from James Avery or experiences, but really, a hug will do!
Happy Love Month Friends,
"and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,
so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints." 1 Thess 3:12-13
"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul," Deut 10:12
If today's encouragement hugged your HEART today, let me know in the comments or drop a Hello in the socials!! Feel free to share with a friend who needs a heart hug too!
This is how YOU get to hug my HEART back!
While it could be a whole Encyclopedia, here's a little Guide with things I have
implemented since 2009 to help me live a life of greater Peace and Joy..
Heart Hugs and Blessings,