Tag Archive | Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day

16707425_10158230254290156_4180565611012105938_oHappy Valentine’s  Day from snow bound Nova Scotia! More people may be shovelling than having romantic dinners  today,  but we can  still choose to focus on  love and friendship. As my husband and I shovelled, we laughed with our neighbours, making the task much easier, more like an occasion than a chore.

Sometimes life is just hard. Relationships shatter, often for no apparent reason. People hurt each other and find it hard to forgive. Dreams fall apart or do not play out as we had hoped. Loved ones die. Life’s problems and heartaches sometimes make it necessary to live one day, one moment at a time.

However, we were never meant to live our days in sadness or despair. The Psalms are full  of action words such as: sing, rejoice, praise and worship. There is a time for grief but also a time for dancing. God loves us. He will never let us down. Situations will change and we will walk with a lightness of heart again. Keep smiling. I have heard it said more than once that smiling confuses the devil.

Today might not be the perfect Valentine’s Day. However, you can laugh while you are shovelling, dance in the snow, think of those you love, and remember that spring is not that far away.

Happy Shovelling….I mean, Valentine’s Day!

 

Another kind of love

Recently, I looked through my tote box, where I keep wrapping paper, gift bags and ribbon, and found a box of children’s Valentine’s Day cards  featuring cats and dogs. Perfect, I thought, for my little friend. Sam has two cats, Daisy and Oscar, plus several dogs in his extended family.

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate much more than romantic love. We are reminded of the beauty of friendship and the love we have for our families. For many people, pets are both companions and family members. Animals often serve  utilitarian purposes  but a lazy cat, curled up in the sun, dreaming of its next meal, lives in our home for no other reason than mutual affection.

Although I don’t mind dogs, and can become attached to a dog I know, I am definitely a cat person. When my husband and I were first married, he didn’t especially like animals. Shortly after we moved into our house, a neighbour told us that her cat had a litter of kittens. My husband knew exactly what was about to happen. Soon we had a little black ball of fur whom we named Habakkuk, after an Old Testament prophet. Habakkuk complained to the Lord and our Habakkuk complained when his dish was empty. When meal time came, he would start chewing telephone cords. I had to move at top speed to get the food in his dish before the telephone wire was chewed right through. I didn’t always manage to move fast enough because we had to get our phone repaired on several occasions.

About a year later, between church services on my husband’s two-point pastoral charge, a little kitten wandered across the road and headed straight for me. I phoned the farmer she belonged to  and he said if I was pleased with her, she was all mine. Prissy was not the glutton that Habakkuk was. In fact, we had to feed them separately so that Habakkuk would not devour Prissy’s food along with his own.

That summer, we moved to Saskatchewan with Habakkuk and Prissy in tow. Habakkuk did not like travelling and made his displeasure obvious with howls of protest. What was even more disconcerting, though, was the baby girl who joined us the following August. Neither cat could quite understand why we had brought such a small but incredibly loud creature home, and why such a fuss was made over her. This scenario would be repeated four more times. The cats and the children learned to live together amiably but Prissy was always a little jealous when a new baby arrived.

Prissy and Habakkuk and the cats that came after them gave us love, affection and many moments of amusement. Once, in the middle of the night,  my husband said to me, “That cat has to lAscensioneave the room. She is ringing the wind chimes!” Naturally, being cats, they rule the house, covet the warmest spots to sleep, and make their wishes well known. It is a win-win situation, though, with the humans and cats giving each other love and attention. Several even managed to get themselves into print in the story,”The Cat We Didn’t Need,” published in Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon, edited by N.J. Lindquist.

This Valentine’s Day, give thanks for the blessings your pets bring into your life. Proverbs says, “The righteous care for the needs of their animals” (12:10, NIV). Look after your pets well and they will return abundant love to you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Friendship on Valentine’s Day

A few months ago, I was idling away some time on Facebook and almost on a whim typed in the search section the name of a friend who had attended university with me. We had shared many happy hours talking about our studies, hopes, boyfriends, faith, life goals and the many topics that two young women,in their early twenties, might discuss. For a while, we kept in touch, but as the years went by, lost contact. Now, thanks to Facebook, there she was again, just a click away. I sent her a friend request and she accepted immediately. I found out that she had 17-year-old twins, in their final year of high school. She was surprised that I had five children, and that one of them was married. Since then we have been exchanging notes and pictures, and I feel blessed that even though I just recently found out about her twins, I will now have the pleasure of seeing their prom and graduation pictures, finding out what universities they choose to attend, and feeling a small part of their lives.

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate not only romantic love but friendship. In the Bible, this type of relationship is referred to as philia love, the feeling of connectedness two friends have for each other. Friendship offers support, nurture, caring, shared interests, laughter and fun. We aren’t meant to walk alone. We are meant to be in relationships with other people. Joy is heightened by friendship and sorrow is lessened. Even if our contact is restricted to an occasional letter or a note at Christmas, we know our friends are there and savour our past history.

Since I tend to find change difficult, during my childhood I envisioned living my life near my family in Southern Ontario. However, I fell in love with a young man who chose the ministry as his calling. Our first child was born in Saskatchewan. The next four were born in Ottawa, during a lengthy period in Eastern Ontario. Then in 2000, we moved to Nova Scotia, where we plan to remain. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to live in the same house or the same location, for most of a lifetime. There are certainly positive aspects to this, including a sense of security, stability and continuity. However, in spite of the drawbacks of our frequent moves, I would not change the past. Everywhere we have lived, we have met people who have deeply enriched our lives. I would not exchange such a precious gift.

In September 2014, we suffered the terrible loss of my sister and brother-in-law’s 31-year-old daughter. There were many people at the visitation, in Ontario, that I had not seen for some time. One of these was my best friend from elementary school. To me, she looked unchanged since we had parted, when her family moved in the middle of our Grade 8 year. We talked about old memories. She said, “Do you remember Mr. White making you stand on the top of your desk? You stood there and tapped your foot!” I had blocked out this memory, but her retelling the story brought some levity into a very sad evening. Later, a woman came up to me and said how glad she was when she heard I was coming. My friend recognized the panic in my expression, which clearly conveyed that I was desperately trying to recall who the woman was. Like the good friend she has always been, she came to my rescue.

On Valentine’s Day, and all through the year, remember your friends with appreciation and love. To all my friends: I am deeply grateful for you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Note: Mr. White: name changed.

Friendship and Marriage

Over Valentine’s Day weekend,  New Covenant Ministries Church, our place of worship, invited guest speakers to conduct special services on the subject of marriage. The husband/wife team provided Scriptural insights and helpful examples of what a marriage should be. The sessions were informative and fun, and we shared a lot of laughter, as we explored the roles of husbands and wives and how spouses can serve and complement each other. I thought of how important it is to never take your partner for granted,  whether you have been married one year or thirty. Every day we need to pay attention to our spouses and show them appreciation and respect. Acts of kindness should begin at home.

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate both romantic love and friendship. There are few things more precious than friendship in life. In the Bible, Jesus refers to us not only as his children but his friends: “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends,  for everything that I learned from the Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15, NIV). Jesus puts a high value on friendship. The strongest marriages have not only a romantic component, but a foundation of of friendship, as well.

When our children were small, we would occasionally arrange a date night for just the two of us. One one of these evenings, a lady observed us in a restaurant and said she could hardly believe we were married, because we were having such a great time talking. to each other. We have always had  a common bond, because of our faith in God, and our many shared interests such as history, music and literature. Of course, we have our differences, as well.  I prefer to shop with my female friends because the whole process bores my husband. He sees only the dollar signs, while I think of shopping as a social activity. On the other hand, I have to remind myself to at least ask my husband how his favourite baseball or hockey team is doing!

A few years ago, during a particularly painful time in our marriage, which involved job loss, extreme financial stress and greatly altered  circumstances, I believe that one of the things that held us together was the solid friendship we had developed early in our relationship. The best of friends are there for each other, during good times and bad, even when circumstances are doing their utmost to unravel their lives. Our faith in God convinced us that better days were ahead and our friendship and love  gave us a a point of contact and endurance.

Throughout the rest of 2014, let Valentine’s Day live in your everyday lives. Be a friend to your spouse and others. Perform acts of kindness in your home and outside of it. Many blessings await you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!