Sometimes I think February gets a lot of flack. It's too cold. It's too warm. There's not enough snow. There's too much snow. Is it spring yet? Is it Valentine's Day again? Is he gonna remember? Do I have to hand-make my kids valentines? Do you really want Sponge-Bob valentines? Did I really just eat that entire box of little debbie heart-shaped cakes? (ok...that last one might just be me). Just the number of "ugh it's Valentine's Day - just another greeting card holiday to remind me I'm miserable" posts on FB alone can start make you feel depressed.
Unless you're me...in which case you adore February!
Now before you get all simmer-down-Martha-Stewart on me - I assure you I am not this way about everything. Just holidays. I wish I had the creativity and energy to devote towards planning meals, housework, organization, baking, kids-crafts (see "Having it All" post if you don't believe me). But I do have kind of a *crush* on holidays. I just love them. I think they're sooo cute. And when they come with changing seasons I get really excited (i.e. Halloween brings in the fall, Christmas brings winter, Easter brings spring! Okay - I'm getting distracted). But Valentine's Day is just one of those holidays that has never brought me the drama or dismay it seems to bring others. Now again - for those of you who know I met my husband in high school and we started dating on Valentine's Day at 15 years old - don't judge. That's NOT the reason I love Valentines! Okay....not the whole reason. :) It just flat-out makes me happy for many reasons.
Exhibit A -Pink and Red.
The official colors of Valentine's Day! Seriously. You can't go wrong here in my book. Admittedly, our entire house is slightly "immersed" in red. But I love it. And had I not thought my hubby would have run away screaming - I would have done it pink. As it is we had a bedroom (before the Jet-man came along) that was delicately decorated in pink and floral and everything soft and girly. And yes he hated it. lol. But Valentine's Day, my dear, you allow me that little dose of girly that I miss in my house.
Exhibit B - Chocolate.
I'm sorry - but how can anyone NOT love a holiday that is practically founded on chocolate? If the red and pink didn't win me over - the chocolate certainly would have. I love giving myself an excuse to have a "Chocolate Party" every year - because it's February. And make chocolate covered strawberries on a weekday afternoon- because it's February.
And as if that wasn't enough -
I love what Dunkin has done with the donuts! I never thought a donut could make me happier than it already did...until these. Confession : I don't actually like to eat cream-filled-heart-shaped-donuts-with-sprinkles. I just like to look at them. I'm a "chocolate-with-chocolate-frosting" kinda gal myself. But I married a cream-filled-heart-shaped-donut-with-sprinkles man. So I can look. And he can eat. And we're both happy. It's a match made in donut-heaven.
Exhibit C - Roses.
Is there anything - ANYTHING - that brightens up a house and a day more than flowers? The answer is - no. No people! Flowers make any room look happier. Smell happier. Feel happier. It doesn't matter the season - I wish I could buy flowers on a weekly basis. These roses from my two sweeties are especially lovely. My boys bought me 2 dozen - enough to fill 2 beautiful vases! But when it comes to flowers, I'm really not picky - as long as they're fresh and bright. I love every color and every kind.
I love them when they're red. I love them by the bed.
I love them when they're pink. I love them by the sink.
And I love them when they're red and by the sink. But that just didn't rhyme as nicely. :)
But even if you don't like pink or red or chocolate or flowers (...hold on...I think I just swooned a little at that prospect.........okay...all better...phew!) when you think of what Valentine's Day is all about - or could be about, or SHOULD be about - then you really know why I'm a fan.
It's about love.
To me, Valentine's Day is about celebrating love.
It's your friendly-holiday-reminder to count your blessings.
To say "I love you" a little more and complain a little less.
It's about appreciating those in your life whom you love - who love you - who give love - who need love.
It's not hard to find someone who could use a little love. And believe me - giving love to someone who needs it will fill your heart more than a box of chocolates, 2 dozen roses or 100 valentines.
And I'm not just talking about romantic love - in fact - I'm not talking about that kind of love at all. I'm talking about selfless love. The love we feel for family and friends. The love I feel for the families and children who have touched our lives with their stories of strength and faith. The love that makes you want to help at all times - give freely of yourself - want the best for someone. This is amazing love. But it is the kind of love we can easily feel - easily give.
Even more amazing is the love we can give to strangers.
(This picture made me tear up at how much he has grown!)
The love I felt when I first saw a certain little boy and wanted to help him (and who is now celebrating his first February since being united with his forever family this past summer!) My heart still overflows with experiencing this love. The love I shared with you all as we set out to Save Shea. The love I asked you all to GIVE this time last year. And so, so many of you did.
This kind of love is a choice. It can come upon you suddenly or need time to take root. It can be hard to do and hard to explain. We might feel unsure of ourselves - of our financial position - our relationship to those we are asked to help - our ability to make a difference. But those uncertainties are only excuses. Excuses to confuse us and make us complacent. To keep us comfortable and unaccountable.
But Love is not comfortable. It isn't easy or even simple. Sometimes it's complicated and challenging and convicting. But overall - it is a wonderful thing to have. And an even more wonderful thing to give.
So this year - this February - I have a similar request. Sort of a "Give Love : Part II". I'd like for all of us to challenge ourselves. To not only enjoy and give thanks every day for the loves in our lives - as we should.
Every. Single. Day.
But to also look for ways to share this love we've been given with others. To help others obtain the love they're seeking. To help families find each other. To help children find the love they've never experienced.
You may know a way already that you feel called to give love - but if you don't - here are some people whom I'd especially love to help. All of which are seeking to give their love to a child who awaits them.
Please take a minute to visit these links and read their stories, and if you can find it in your heart to donate just $20, $10, $5 - whatever you can - towards their adoption costs there is a way to do so through the Chipin links on both websites. Ask anyone who has ever adopted a child - there is no gift too small. Every little bit helps. There is a need here, friends. A need that anyone can help to meet. A need that many families in this world are facing that we don't even know about. - but you know about these now. Don't look away. This is an opportunity for you to show love to strangers. An opportunity to give love to a child. And I can't think of a more appropriate time than right now.
After all - it's February. It's the love-month. And honestly -what's not to love?