valentine s day

Facing Another Dark Valentine’s Day? How ‘bout a little light…

Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day can be really hard. I remember a few years in particular that were gut-wrenching for me.  I got so annoyed with those stupid jewelry commercials. I had to leave the room when they came on.  I went out of my way to avoid the Hallmark store. I remember watching The Notebook and feeling utterly lost in the heart-break of my own story.  The last thing on earth I wanted to see was someone else’s romance.  My happily-ever-after seemed trashed and life was very dark. But, there was a light that shined into my darkness. If you’ve faced another Valentine’s Day alone, or you are in a difficult place in your relationship, allow me to share a little light:

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

Psalm 18:28

Know that God is in the business of turning darkness into light. It’s nice to know that you don’t have to do that yourself. You don’t have to make yourself shine-y. Allow God to shine on you.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God…my Savior…Psalm 42:11

It’s helpful to talk to yourself! The Psalmist did it all the time. Put your hope in God. There is nothing to hard for Him. When life comes crashing in around you – that’s exactly when you need a Savior!

Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord! Psalm 31:24 AMP

Let your heart take courage. Wait. Hope. Expect.  Some relationships end. Sometimes, it just feels like the end.  But this is not the end for you! There is always a new beginning with God!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned… Isaiah 43:2

The key word here is THROUGH.  Whatever you are facing, there is an “other side.” God so sweetly beckoned my wounded heart with this verse.  Just Keep Walkin’ Baby. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will make it THROUGH.

Lynn Marie Cherry has a heart to encourage women towards freedom and plant seeds of hope. She enjoys sharing insight from God’s word and the world around her. She has been married for almost 20 years to the same great guy, they have two amazing boys. You can read more at http://lynnmariecherry.blogspot.com/

Fingerprint: Uniquely Marked for a Purpose

“Heart to heart bilingual communication” might well summarize Yvonne’s book.  Based on real-life events from her life or the life of someone close to her, Fingerprint relates “heart-warming” as well as “gut-wrenching” accounts of life at its best and at its worst.  With English on one page and Spanish on the facing page, Ms. Sánchez provides inspirational reading for many around the world. Based on the principle that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, Fingerprint offers twenty-one days of devotionals to draw the reader’s heart closer to God in a subtle, powerful way. Fingerprint exhibits effective use of both English and Spanish to enable the readers to review a variety of aspects of life and come to a point of feeling the finger of God touch their heart and lives. Each day’s reading includes a brief Bible scripture, a real-life story, an opportunity for a personal reflection, a prayer related to the lesson of the day, and an Old and a New Testament scripture for additional reading.

Overall, Fingerprint is a well-written, powerful, heart-to-heart, daily devotional which can easily lead the reader into a new habit – seeing God in every circumstance of life and experiencing the life-transforming touch of God’s finger touching the heart.  I highly commend this inspired devotional to you! It would make an awesome gift for Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or Mother’s Day.

Fingerprint: Uniquely Marked for a Purpose Author, Yvonne Villareal Sánchez

Come out to meet the author on Saturday, February 26th from Noon to 6:00 p.m. at Che Bella in Austin, TX

Or

To purchase Fingerprint: Uniquely Marked for a Purpose, click here

Book Review by Guest Contributor Dianne Myers Haneke PhD





Professor Emeritus of Literacy Education, Dianne Myers Haneke PhD enjoys writing inspirational and informational materials to encourage individuals in their relationship with God.  Dianne has authored five books to date, taught writing classes at Concordia University-TX as well as at Shoreline Christian Church, edited a variety of manuscripts, and mentored several aspiring authors to get published. She and her husband John have three adult children and eight grandchildren. Hanekes enjoy music, motor-home traveling, and photography in their retirement and are home-based in Manor TX.

Valentine Shmalentine

I have never been much for Valentine's Day. I'm actually not crazy about many holidays but Valentine's Day just seems especially unnecessary. However, when Kristian and I first started dating I can't say I wasn't excited to have someone to celebrate this otherwise lame holiday with.On our first Valentine's Day together, Kristian went all out. He told me to get dressed but there were no specific instructions, just don't wear heels. I waited in anticipation the entire day wondering what he had up his sleeve. I bought him a few gifts that I knew he would enjoy, new shoes and a book about art techniques, since at the time he was very into art. I also gave him a journal full of things I had written that I thought would help him get to know me better. When he finally picked me up I was in a new dress and flats. We drove to a place I had never been before, a park just 15 minutes from my house! He handed me a rose and walked me into the woods where he set up a tent and was making dinner inside. Oh my gosh, how romantic! We ate dinner and exchanged gifts and with this being the first Valentine's Day I ever really cared about, everything seemed perfect.

The next year we moved to Florida and spent Valentine's Day riding around on scooters and discovering our new city. This was its own kind of romantic. We were on a new adventure and so excited to be doing life together. To be honest I can't really remember what we did the year after that. I'm sure it involved flowers and dinner though. And this year, well, we both have to work so our Valentine's Day will probably be spent with a quick chat over the phone.

Now this isn't to depress anyone or to say that we get any less romantic as time passes. In fact, I don't think we need one day to show someone we love them or expect to be spoiled by our significant others. I can only hope that as Kristian and I get older and things continue to change, we still remind each other everyday how much we love each other. As cheesy as it may sound, I hope that we don't ever need Valentine's Day to celebrate each other. Don't get me wrong, its nice to have one day where you can say "Okay, we're going on a date, no work, no wedding planning, no chaos, just a normal dinner", but that day won't be tomorrow... and that's okay! Maybe you have lots going on, wedding plans, work, maybe kids, but whatever the busy circumstance take a minute each day and let the people you love know that. Life is too short to wait for one day a year to make someone feel special. Surprise your husband with a new watch (or new lingerie) any old day! Give your boyfriend that x-box game he's been asking for... I know it'll take away from your "quality time" together, but lets be honest, he stops listening after the first 10 minutes of your story anyway. Splurge on any random day of the week and just see how it changes the mood of the relationship. Even if you are a roses and chocolates kind of girl, the more time you spend figuring out nice things for your man, the more he'll actually think about getting things you like. Not that that's the point... but hey, it doesn't hurt.

Memories=Love ....Valentine's Day Ideas

Valentine's Day is around the corner and  there's still time to plan and make the day spectacular for those you love most. Longtime Love

  1. Pull out those photos that are piled up in your desk or displayed on your frig. Put  them in chronological order in a small photo album. Write a sentence or two about the occasion pictured and you have just documented your relationship.
  2. Do the unexpected and plan a date doing something he loves and you generally avoid. Whether it is a weekend camping, a hockey game or an afternoon of ESPN, he will know you care when you give up your own interests for his.
  3. Create a  coupon book he can redeem with coupons that include things he loves like:
  • an hour long massage from you
  • breakfast in bed
  • take his car or truck to be washed and detailed
  • sitting with him and watching the movies he loves and you don't (for me that would be war movies)

Children

  1. Develop a traditional Valentine Breakfast and prepare it each year. I've made individual Strawberry Shortcakes for my family for over twenty years. It's a treat reserved only for Valentine's Day.
  2. Hide some treats in your home, give your children clues and have a scavenger hunt in your own home. Follow this link for great  clues that are already written    http://www.pepperspollywogs.com/blog/index.php/a-valentine-scavenger-hunt/
  3. Teach your kids about loving others. Make or buy Valentine cards and deliver them to residents of  nursing home in your area.

Lonely Loved One

  1. Frame a photo of the two of you together. Attach a note that includes I remember when....... and you made me feel....
  2. Set aside a little time to spend with Lonely Loved One.  Someone who feels alone would probably love joining you as you grocery shop or sitting in the car with you while you wait for your child in dance class.

No matter what you do to celebrate Valentine's Day or whom you celebrate with, keep this thought in mind:

Love does not dominate: it cultivates.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe