"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." NIV version
On The Nightstand
American Christian Fiction Writers
Valentine's memory contest!
February 1, 2009
Patti's Favorite Valentine's Memory
Mother loved Valentine’s Day. For that matter, Mother loved Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Groundhog Day…any occasion to decorate the table and front door with cut-out animals, dressed in holiday colors.
Near the first of February, Cupids appeared in our windows and waved coyly from our front door. Two weeks later, chocolate bunnies smiled from our breakfast table. Homemade cards fancified with doilies and foil hearts were tucked into our school bags. As soon as we returned home from school on Valentine's Day, the baked-sugar smell of cookies sent us to salivating—and running—toward the kitchen. Of course Mother had used a heart-shaped cookie cutter!
It took a bit of time, but God taught my husband Alan to be romantic and thoughtful like Mother. On February 14, the door opened to harried florists who delivered bouquets of roses, heart-shaped ivy topiaries, and boxes of imported chocolates.
For years, Valentine’s Day served as an opportunity to stock up on chocolate, sweet-smelling plants, and send silly and serious “love” cards. Getting love mainly by the act of consumerism. Giving love in the same way.
I’m grateful for every cupid that expressed love through these gifts. But my favorite Valentine memory has nothing to do with what we got in the Lacy house, everything to do with what we gave in the Lacy house.
It was 2002. Alan and I facilitated a small group of newlyweds, who added vibrancy and friendship and the joy of babies into our middle-aged lives. As Valentine’s Day approached, we longed to do something “different.” Something Christlike.
The idea popped into my head when one of our groupies lamented their tight budget as February 14th edged closer. The price of an elegant dinner plus the cost of a sitter trumped any chance for our three young couples to enjoy candlelit, prime rib dates.
“Why don’t we cook for them?” I asked Alan. “Rather I’ll cook for them,” tumbled out as his face went white. “Thomas could be a waiter. You could be the maitre d’.”
Alan shook his head vehemently in his Eeyore way, then mused for a few hours. “I think it might work,” he said, as we ate dinner later that night.
“What might work?”
“That Valentine idea of yours. Just do me one favor.” He put his hand on mine.
Tigger-like, I bounced up and down in my chair. “What?”
“Don’t go overboard.”
“No problem,” I quickly agreed, my mind whirling with the possibilities. Two entrees, red meat and chicken. Tablecloths. A romantic room in our house for each couple. Personalized questions to discuss during dinner. Chocolate dessert. Candles. French love songs. Intimacy. Privacy. Romance.
By the afternoon of February 14th, even our son had been infected with the Valentine mood. He checked with friends who worked at restaurants and dug through his closet to create the perfect waiter ensemble. My cookaphobic Alan actually stirred a few pots, warmed a few rolls.
A wonderful Spirit settled over our home, as did the scent of home-cooked food, narcissus candles, and the soothing notes of French love songs. The couples dressed in their silk and satin and wool suits and played perfectly their roles. They sipped sparkling grape juice. Savored appetizers. Lingered over their entrees. Gobbled down the chocolate.
When we hugged the last couple good-bye, we Lacys sank into our easy chairs and savored the smells and sights and sounds of Valentine’s. Then three able-bodied adults tackled the trashed-out kitchen and private “dining rooms.” That one year, Valentine was about aching feet, dishwater-rough hands. About giving. About living.
May the Spirit of our Lord permeate Valentine’s Day and help you to make it special for someone. Can’t wait to hear YOUR special Valentine’s memories!
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Pull out old love cards, faded corsages, and empty chocolate boxes. For a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card, share your favorite Valentine's memory by February 29. Top entries will be posted under Headline News » read story/enter contest
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