Valentine’s Day ~ You Can Buy Into It, Without Buying Into It $$$

It’s getting close!  Valentine’s Day!!  What to do?  What to buy?  How do I show the special someone in my life how much I care?  And you have to do it, everyone does! Its’ Valentine’s Day and even some who insist Valentine’s Day was invented by Hallmark, have to suck it up and participate because chances are, their spouse or significant other does not agree.  And, I don’t either, for the record.  But I do believe you can spend $0 in showing your love how much you love!  That’s right, you heard me, ZERO DOLLARS…or maybe just a few. 😉 (Sorry retail industry…but not sorry!)

Now, what is the deal with Valentine’s Day?  Why do we separate a day dedicated to love that gives Hallmark, and Walmart, and Target, and every other retail and hospitality giant the perfect opportunity to exploit one of the most basic of human needs; love and companionship?

I’m sure you know that Valentine’s Day was named in honor of St. Valentine who was martyred around A.D. 270.  There is some mystery wrapped around his story however.  One tale says,  that sometime during the third century in Rome, the Emperor outlawed marriage for young men since it was his opinion that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families.  St. Valentine, seeing this decree as unjust and a violation of a God given right, married young couples in secret.  Eventually, St. Valentine’s priestly duties were discovered by the Emperor and thus executed for his treason.  (That one is my favorite!)

The other story tells of Valentine working to help Christians escape the inhumane conditions of Roman prisons, where they were beaten and tortured for their faith. He was eventually imprisoned and put to death for his efforts.  However, while in prison,  it is said that he fell in love; possibly with the prison guard’s daughter.  Shortly before his death he wrote his sweetheart a farewell poem and signed the note, “From your Valentine.” (I actually like this one too!)

Both accounts are incredibly heroic and romantic, so it’s easy to see how the day loveycouplededicated to him is also dedicated to celebrating love.  In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14th, St. Valentine’s Day in honor of his sacrifice.  It is believed that hand written notes or cards for Valentine’s Day started in the 1400’s, as the oldest Valentine’s Day love poem ever found is dated 1415.  From that time until the early 1900’s, Valentine’s Day was expressed with “small tokens” and hand written notes or letters.  In the 1900’s the advancements in printing gave way to printed and mass produced Valentine’s Day cards.

It seems pretty impossible…however true, that in a mere 100-ish years, Valentine’s Day has morphed from a day representing tenderness and care, expressed with a “small token” or “hand written card,” to a day drenched in consumerism and pressure and big money!  Those BIG retailers tell you through bombarding advertisements and commercials and store displays that in order to impress  or adequately show the depth of your love, you need to go to an unusual financial depth as well.  Financial depth = depth of love.  True?  Not a chance!  So I beg you, turn away from the trend of spending big bucks in an effort to show your love on Valentine’s Day!

couple in the park

Photo by Amaree Davis (Picture Made Photography)

God says in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  This world tells us we need more, we want more stuff to be happy.  On Valentine’s Day, the world then tells us we need and want to give more stuff to make our loved ones happy!  If I’m asked to sit and really take inventory of the ways in which my husband can “make” me happy, its all about time and effort and consideration.  Nothing puts in me in a better mood than when Josh, without me asking, does the laundry or empties the dishwasher or decides to take the kids out for a boys outing!  For me, when Josh expresses his love through acts of service or spending quality time with me, that is where the the giving is perfect and good.

I think many of us, if we’re really honest, feel the same.  Would I want a new, shiny, fancy watch or would I want Josh to plan for us to get a coffee and go for a walk, just the two of us, and get some time alone to talk and to focus of each other? Personally, I would 100% prefer the second option!  No contest!  Now, full disclosure, I do love flowers and dark chocolate…which do cost some, and Josh could never go wrong with a heartfelt card, dark chocolate, and flowers!!  I really truly feel that spending any more than a modest amount of money on Valentine’s Day, almost cheapens the sentiment.  I would rather Josh put a tremendous amount of thought and effort in thinking and planning something that would really speak to me, as his wife.  Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.”  No day is more appropriate to take the good doctors vital advice than on Valentine’s Day.  Avoid focusing on the things and focus fully on your person!  What would speak to them in a meaningful way?

Here are some little to no cost ideas you can use on Valentine’s Day!

  • Leave a trail of Hershey kisses to _____. (you, flowers, candlelit dinner, music, etc.)
  • Heart shaped sticky notes on the mirror in the morning, each expressing a specific thing you love about your love. (I did this one for Josh a couple years ago!)
  • A handmade coupon book, filled with coupons your partner would for real use and appreciate!  (Josh did this for me a couple years ago and they included coupons like, a device/media free day, clean the kitchen, a 15 minute massage)
  • Time together, alone, to talk and to listen.  Even for a long walk.  (This one is HUGE if you have small children together!)
  • Some kind of lingering to-do list thing that your love would be blown away by getting done.  (For instance, Josh knew I wanted a kitchen banquet in our NC house…so he got it done for one Valentine’s gift.  I was floored and amazed and totally in love!! 😉  )
  • A love letter detailing your road together and the aspects and qualities you love most about your sweetheart.

envelope_hearts

Anyway, I think you get the picture.  Be careful of the messages being sent from the world around us; the ones trying to convince you that you need to do more, give more, spend more to convince your significant other of your love for them.  Focus on the person, not the thing and it will be good and perfect.  Let me know how it goes!!

Til’ next time, be blessed! #DStrong
(Re-post this!!  I truly appreciate you reading!)

Dethrone Your Mom Guilt Forever!!

Well, here it is.  In all of its despicable glory…my mom guilt.  Oh, its real folks, and its a powerful enemy I and many, many other mom’s allow to stir in our brains, robbing us of feeling confident and satisfied in this journey of motherhood.

Here is a short list of some of my mom guilt.  I feel guilty that:

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  • I don’t spend enough individual one-on-one time with each of my 3.
  • I don’t play enough with them.
  • I’m too impatient, too often.
  • I put too much pressure on my oldest.
  • I don’t spend enough time with my 4 year old in preparation for school.
  • I don’t read enough with them.
  • They watch too much tv and play too much game time (even though we have time limits)
  • I don’t integrate enough biblical principles into every day life.
  • I don’t talk about God enough.
  • I don’t spend enough time with my husband.
  • One kid might feel left out or not as loved as the other ones.
  • They eat too many snacks.
  • I’m selfish too often and do my own thing too much. (ie. this blog!)

This is just a sampling of the guilt that mingles in my noggin all day long.  My mom guilt has an outright party in my brain!  One guilty thought is like, “This is great!  Open 24/7!  I’m going to invite some of my other guilty friends to this party!  Hey, guilt, pass the chips!”  Some of these feelings may be valid, some may not be.  Some can be addressed, some are a useless expenditure of mental energy.  And maybe I’m just crazy!  Am I the only one that has this much of that mom guilt guiding my thoughts?

I decided yesterday that I put all this guilt on a throne in my life.  It takes a ton of energy to think and think and think about all the mistakes and all the ways you’re falling short as a mom.   I’ve made my guilt an idol!  I worship my guilt!  I make lists in my head about how I fail, or my fears of failing my children more often than I think of anything else.  Is that ridiculous or what?

What I really want is God to take the place of my mom guilt.  I want His wishes and guidance and principles to be the main stage of my thoughts.  I want to feel confident in my role as parent and I know if I make some changes about the way I allow my mom guilt to rule, it is possible.

Step 1:  Admit it.  When the thought occurred to me, I validated it, mentally.  I didn’t brush it off, or hide it with another guilty thought.  I truly owned up to it, myself.

Step 2:  Say it out loud!  When I realized that I do a tremendous amount of guilty thinking and feeling about how I’m raising my kid’s, and worrying about how they’ll turn out as teenagers or adults, I said it out loud.  I told my husband, who at first looked at me like a 3 headed monster. One for each kid ;).  But I truly believe that admitting it, out loud, is tremendously important in taking away its’ power and imminent domain over me, alone.  I wasn’t in it alone anymore.

Step 3:  Make a list.  Making an actual, physical list that you write down in key.  No mental lists!!  Those are the lists that invade healthy, productive thought and keep us up at night.  I wrote down a list of all the things that encompassed my mom guilt.  Going through it, I crossed off the items that were a waist of energy and in doing so, hopefully, in a symbolic way also crossed it off my mental list of mom guilt.  The things I felt that I could address, I prayed about them and came up with some solutions and ways to integrate them into our current routine. (ie.  When Jaxon has homework time, so can Preston; giving him a little bit more school prep and develop a healthy habit of school work for when he starts kindergarten in the fall.)

Step 4: Rinse and Repeat 😉 Mom guilt is not ever going to disappear from my psyche totally.  I think it will temporarily move out, since the lights came on at the party.  My true self says, “Ok guilt, time to leave!  You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”  And guilt is like, “Aaawww maaaan!…that was a great party,” and grabs a bowl of chips on its’ way out, leaving a strategic trail of the broken pieces to find its’ way back at some point.  And when that mom guilt tries to climb its’ way back up on that throne, we must begin step 1 again!  In time, it will take that guilt longer and longer to find its’ way back and will arrive with a much smaller list of guilty guests.

If you can see that mom guilt as a ruling force in your mind, make the actionable step of saying it, posting it, confiding in spouse or friend about it.  Dethroning the mom guilt, will make room for your true self to take the throne instead.  For me, its my self as God sees me.

Til’ next time, be blessed!! #DStrong
(Re-post me!…I truly appreciate you reading, Thanks y’all!)