“I have no time for those things now,” we say;
“But in the future just a little way,
“I have no time for those things now,” we say;
“But in the future just a little way,
Have you ever noticed that a man holds a bouquet of flowers up and out from his body, kind of like an Olympic torch? Take a good look at the next man you see who has just purchased some Valentine’s flowers and see if you don’t catch a look of triumph and pride on his face.
That look of victory is there for good reason. After surviving the stress of Christmas, here come the Valentine’s Day ads. These ads are targeted at women but the pressure is on men. The message to men is clear, “Men, if you really love her you will buy her something…and that something will be very expensive.”
In the back of every good-hearted man’s mind there lurks that niggling question,
“Will flowers be enough? What if she is thinking jewelry?” Oh help me Lord!
Men have good reason to worry because, let’s be honest ladies, Valentine’s Day is a big deal for women. It’s a big deal for us because, way back in our minds we have this niggling little worry,
“Does he really love me? Is this love that we have ‘it’?”
We want that sweeping, swooning, love like we see in the movies (that’s why most marriage books are read by women and the chick-flick industry is going strong).
We also like foo foo and candy and sweet little nothings written on cards and carved into chalky tasting candy hearts and (if we’re honest with ourselves) we love the envious looks our friends and relations give us when the man in our life makes some crazy, creative, romantic gesture.
Valentine’s Day is fun. It’s romantic. And it puts a lot of pressure on our men.
As a younger woman, I put a lot of pressure on my husband.
I thought I knew what love looked like and the flowers he picked out of the New Mexico State University Agriculture garden for free did not look like love!
While I was busy getting my feelings hurt, I failed to notice all the ways that he showed real love to me.
He’s always defended me. He’s really good at that.
Over the years he’s worked at jobs he hasn’t particularly liked just to provide for us.
He gets angry and blows it…and apologizes.
He’s put his jeans back on in the middle of the night to go hunt up something at the store to make my pregnant stomach feel better and he’s done this more times than I can count.
He’s rented a carpet shampooer to clean baby vomit off the couches and ended up spending his one free weekend doing the entire house because I insisted.
He once brought home a pregnant nanny goat in the back of our mini-van because I got it into my head that our little acreage was The Little House on the Prairie except I forgot we didn’t have a truck or a trailer to transport the brainless mother-to-be. I’ve never forgotten the look on that poor man’s face as he drove up our driveway with the van full of excited children and a bleating goat. He had that what-has-she-gotten-us-into-now look…
He says those magic words to me, “What would you like me to make you to eat?” and then he makes it…better than a restaurant.
He thanks me, often, for giving him eight children. That really makes my heart go pitter pat.
My husband has also gotten really good at giving special gifts and beautiful cards. Those are fun and wonderful and sweet but they don’t really prove his love like all the other things he does.
We have that swooping, swooning, epic kind of love but it looks and feels different than the movies. It is better. Real love means commitment and forgiveness and sacrifice and being there.
So what if he buys you a new set of dish towels for a gift and doesn’t bring you a soppy card or a box of chocolates? I’ll just bet that the man in your life is doing an awful lot of things right.
“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”
― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
Give him a big kiss and tell him that out of all the men in the world, he is your hero.
Choose to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
The roots of Valentine’s Day seem to be obscured by time and a number of stories are told about why it began. This story is one that has enough historical details to be plausible.
In the days of ancient Rome, the fourteenth day of February was a pagan holiday honoring Juno. Juno was the queen of the Roman gods as well as the goddess of women and marriage.
Fertility rituals were held on this day. On the night before the festival started, it was customary for the names of the Roman girls to be written on slips of paper.These slips were then placed in a container and then each boy drew a name of the girl who he would be coupled with for the entire Lupercalia festival.
Rome was under the authority of Emperor Claudius the Second, and he was a vicious warrior (not to mention the fact that he was insane). His armies lacked the sufficient number of soldiers it needed, and Claudius could not figure out why more young men didn’t want to go to battle. Finally, he determined that the young men didn’t want to leave their wives, families and girlfriends. In order to remedy this, the Emperor instituted a new law and canceled all of the marriages and engagements in Rome.
In the meantime, there lived a priest in Rome by the name of Valentine. He did not believe in the Emperor’s new law, and he refused to abide by it. He continued to perform wedding ceremonies in secret. Valentine lived in constant fear that he would be caught by Emperor Claudius’ soldiers, but he persisted in doing what he knew was right.
Finally, the day did come when Bishop Valentine was caught uniting a man and a woman in the bonds of holy matrimony. The soldiers dragged him to stand before Emperor Claudius’ throne. The Emperor condemned the Bishop to be put to death for his violation of the law.
While the priest was imprisoned, waiting for his execution, many young couples threw notes of thanks along with flowers and other gifts into the window of his cell.
Among these young people who admired the priest for doing the right thing, was the prison guard’s own daughter. Her father allowed her to visit Bishop Valentine in his cell.
They became friends.
Finally, the day arrived when Bishop Valentine was scheduled to die.
While he was waiting for the soldiers to come and drag him away, Bishop Valentine composed a note to the girl telling her that he loved her and would pray for her. He signed it simply, “From Your Valentine.” A short time later, Valentine was executed.
In the year 496 AD, Pope Gelasiu finally did away with the pagan festival of Lupercalia, citing that it was pagan and immoral. He then chose Bishop Valentine as the patron saint of lovers, who would be honored at the new festival on the fourteenth of every February.
Over the years, Valentine’s Day has evolved into a holiday when gifts, cards, flowers and candy are given to the ones we love…all because of a brave, righteous man named Valentine.
Grey, cold January. It knocks me for a loop every year.
I look at people and think silently to myself,
“What is wrong with those people?”
(I even think that about these wonderful people seen below. At this time of year, I borrow that line from Jimmy Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life and say, “Why’d we have all these children anyway?”).
Ask me again in June and I will tell you how wonderful everyone is.
When I’m tired of being upset with everyone, I go take my vitamins and get out my Happy Lights. Happy Lights are not really very happy-looking. They have a horrible glow but they are supposed to tell your body,
“Hey! Life’s not so bad…look! There’s light!”
My body says, “Yep, but it’s not warm, loving, natural light and you ain’t foolin’ me.”
Actually my body is saying nothing to my Happy Lights because I can’t find them.
I just moved.
I can’t find anything.
We’re living in my dream home; a beautiful old house built in 1906; full of character and pizazz.
I was going to start the year out with a bang and post beautiful photos of The Grande Old Dame on my first blog post of the year but my photographer (artsy daughter) is busy.
Plus, it’s January.
Photos coming soon.Here’s last years post in a similar vein (but with more practical help) Feeling Sad in a World of Happy.
1. Decorate everything with candy canes and big bows. If they are those big, chunky candy canes even better! Tie them on the tree, lay greens (artificial or natural) down the middle of the table and garnish the greens with candy canes, tie them on the porch railing with greens looped in between…you get the idea.
After the holiday, crunch up the uneaten candy canes to use in cookies, on ice cream and elsewhere.
Biblical mentoring…does it matter? This video from Revive Our Hearts reminded me of the importance of passing on the faith to other women.
Just because it’s that time of year and you’re going to be eating goodies anyway, whip up these easy, peasy coconut balls. They’re gluten free.
Are you the mama of a toddler? Christmas can cause an already active little one to go a little beserk! Keep your little one busy with these creative, low-cost ideas.
Finally (because I don’t want you to be a dumb cluck), consider this; We are the Sorter-Outers of Our Children’s Hearts
Have a blessed week!
And even a lazy cook like me is able to manage to wow the hungry hoards with this one.
Preheat oven to 425 (yes, that’s right, HOT)
You will need:
A thawed turkey (under 20 pounds does very well with this method but the larger turkeys will work, too).
Oil or butter
Salt, pepper, garlic or whatever herbs you enjoy.
1. Take your little friend (the turkey) and make sure all his parts are out of the cavity. Pat dry outside and in.
2. Rub the entire turkey with melted butter or oil (we like olive oil but I’m tempted to try coconut oil one of these days)
My hubby sometimes lifts the skin carefully and rubs oil under it but this isn’t necessary. The oil all over the turkey will seal the juices in and keep it moist as it cooks.
3. Sprinkle salt and herbs over the turkey or (as we do) rub kosher salt and garlic inside.
4. Place the turkey in a pan (that will catch the drippings) in the middle of the oven (make sure that the oven is preheated to 425).
5. Set the timer and let that little friend bake for 20 minutes at the high heat. This is crucial because you are going to reduce the heat to a very low heat and that high heat makes that turkey safe to eat!
6. After 20 minutes reduce the heat to 250.
7. Cook the turkey at 250°F for 20 additional minutes for each pound. That means if you have a 14 pound turkey, you’d cook it for a total of 4 hours and 40 minutes.
That’s it! Easy and delicious.
No basting is necessary. You start counting the 20 minutes per pound immediately when you turn the oven down to 250°. You don’t wait until the oven has cooled down to start the timing for the second phase.
You can either let the turkey cook uncovered or covered for the second slow cooking phase. The skin will get crispier if you uncover it. Yum!
This method produces a tender, juicy turkey full of flavor. It’s our method of choice.
The only drawback to this method is the slow cooking time so be sure to add up the number of pounds and multiply them by 20 minutes to get started on time.
Today I am launching a week-long series of posts on the early settlers of Plymouth Plantation. These messages are taken from a talk I gave two years ago to a wonderful group of home educators (I miss you Whatcom Homeschool Association folks!).
The people we have come to remember as the Pilgrims fled from England to Holland in 1608 and then from Holland to America in 1620.
They went to Holland desperately seeking religious freedom but left because the political climate in Holland was changing and it would soon be less safe for them to be there. They also were alarmed at the growing assimilation of their children into the Dutch culture. They wanted to retain their English language and culture. They were concerned for the next generation.
The Dutch offered them free transportation to the island of Manhattan as well as a cow for each family but they refused. They wanted to remain English citizens wherever they went.
The Pilgrims had a deep faith and confidence that they belonged to God. They believed that their cause was just and walked with an uprightness that only fearless and free people can display. They stand as shining examples of people who were certain of what they believed, were unswerving in their loyalty and passionately dedicated to God whom they trusted.
I believe there are several kernels of wisdom we can draw from their lives which will make a difference for us who are living in a very different time.
The Pilgrims were generationally oriented.They were visionaries who were willing to do hard things for something greater; imparting their faith, their culture and their language to their precious children.
This brings us to our first Kernel of Wisdom; all great people live their lives with an eye toward those who are coming after them. If you are sacrificing for the next generation, you are walking in the footsteps of world changers and this view of the future will change the way you live now!
And so these determined people found financial backing (the original agreement was to work four days a week for seven years to pay off their debt but this was changed to six days a week!). They borrowed the money, promised to pay off the debt with furs and goods from the New World and set sail.
Their boats were leaky. The Speedwell had to return to shore and those who had planned to travel on it either stayed behind or chose to be crammed into the Mayflower.
The crossing was awful. Because of the problems with the Speedwell, they got a late start. A horrible storm blew them off course and their main mast was shattered. They had originally planned on landing in Virginia which had a much milder climate but, because of the storm, ended up much further North.
Yet, in the midst of it all, they gave glory to God for saving them and they praised Him for the little baby born on board who was named Oceanus!
Once they reached land (off the coast of New England) they wisely decided that they should not set foot on land without writing down what they were agreeing to as a colony. The resulting document came to be known as the Mayflower Compact and was heavily influenced by the Magna Carta (the document which limited the power of Kings in England and was a foundational document to our Constituition). These tired, sea-sick Englishmen were not uneducated! Read these words out loud.
“It was thought good that there should be an Association or Agreement, that we should combine together in one body; to submit to such Government and Governors as we should, by common consent, agree to make and choose; and set our hands to this that follows, word for word.”
This brings us to our second Kernel of Wisdom; they knew their history and borrowed wisdom and knowledge from those who had gone on before them!
It’s easy to look back on those who lived centuries before us and presume many things. The Pilgrims of Plymouth had mostly been hatters and weavers in the towns of Holland. To the men who spent drab and colorless years at a loom in Leyden, this rugged existence on the bleak New England hillside was utterly new and strange.
They weren’t well-equipped to deal with strange animals, plants, rocky hillsides and really bad New England coastal weather but in one important area they were well-prepared for hardship.
They were well read.
So, while they chopped wood, dug for clams, and struggled to discover what they could eat in the new land they thought! They thought about what others had written in hard times, they reflected on God’s word and they thought about future generations…
They were visionaries who were willing to do whatever it took while they looked beyond their immediate circumstances to something greater.
Please return to Generational Womanhood for the next part of this series! To learn more about the Pilgrims, look for a beautifully illustrated book for children entitled N.C. Wyeth’s Pilgrims with text by Robert San Souci (published by Chronicle books).