Category Archives: Love

In Defense of Valentine’s Day

Like it or lump it, Valentine’s Day is coming this weekend. That commercialistic, sappy holiday sponsored by Hallmark. It also happens to be my birthday, so clearly this is my favorite holiday and I think it’s worthy of celebration. It doesn’t have to be a commercial mess like a certain December holiday, and it doesn’t have to be solely about romantic love. Let’s take a look at where it all began.

The history of Valentine’s Day is murky and muddled, but it’s clear that it started in Rome as a fertility festival called Lupercalia. It was celebrated as most Romans festivals were with nakedness, drunkeness, and sex. Oh, also the women were whipped by men with the hides of newly slain animals, all in the name of fertility, of course.

Later, St. Valentine was added in to the festival. The church was not, and is not, sure which man named Valentine this saint was named after, apparently there were several that were martyred for their faith in some fashion or other.

St. Valentine was made part of the celebration in an attempt to Christianize the holiday. Pope Gelasius the First did this in order to “put the clothes back on” the festival even though it remained a drunken party. By the way, that is the funniest description of how Christians took something over, isn’t it? Can we please describe all Christian cultural things that way? GodTube is like YouTube but with clothes on. Creation Fest is like Woodstock but with clothes on. (Yeah, those are things.) Terrible Christian movies are like the ones from Hollywood but with clothes on. I could do this all day.

Anyway, by Shakespeare’s time, Valentine’s Day was becoming more about romantic love and continued to do so until Hallmark got ahold of it in 1913. And here we are today. My point in all this is not that we go back to the origins and bring back fertility beatings, but that the holiday really has no set agenda to it, outside of Hallmark’s bottom line. Which means, at least in my figuring, that you can do whatever you want with this day.

wp-1455304679672.jpegIn our house we use Valentine’s Day, and really the whole month, as an opportunity to tell our loved ones they are special to us. Our boys have been making cards for weeks, mailing them, delivering them door to door, and passing out chocolates. We tell them that sometimes we have special sweethearts on Valentine’s Day, and sometimes we don’t, but that’s not really the point. The point is that there are always people in our life who we can show love to, because God’s love never stops for us.

Every Valentine’s Day I make a card for Tim (take that, Hallmark!). It’s usually silly, I’ve usually stolen the idea from someone on the internet, but it’s fun, and it’s us. Here’s last year’s card. And honestly, I love the idea of giving something, anything, on my birthday. You should try it too.

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Full disclosure: I did NOT come up with this. I saw it online and redrew it. You should follow me on Instagram if you want to see this year’s card. It’s going to be awesome!

So I challenge you to look at this day differently. If you’re tempted to complain about it, instead do something about it. Send an encouraging note to a friend. Buy someone flowers. Make something. Bake cookies. If this is a special day to you and your significant other, great! But don’t forget that romantic love is not the only thing worth celebrating. How can the two of you work together to bring joy to someone else?

Take this day back. How will you celebrate your Valentine’s Day? Let me know. And enjoy your chocolates.

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My sweet friend blessed me this week with these beautiful flowers, and now I’m reminded of her friendship and love every time I look at them.

By the way, if you’re wondering about my sources. I used this and this for my history lesson.

 

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50 Shades of What Are We Doing?

My last post made for a very interesting week for me. I wrote about why I won’t be watching 50 Shades of Grey, and appealed to all women to reconsider watching it this weekend. Since I published it, I’ve had conversations all week long both online and off with women who have either defended the position I took or defended the movie. 50ShadesofGreyCoverArt.jpg

Women, I’m saddened. When I wrote the post on Monday, I confess I was a bit angry. I was angry with the thought that our girls, our young girls, are going to grow up thinking this kind of “love” is normal. That we’re just sitting by while society tells us BDSM and abusive relationships are normal and even sexy. I was disgusted.

But now, I’m just deeply saddened.

I’m saddened that our marriages and relationships are broken.

I’m saddened that we think erotic films will fix them.

I’m saddened that pornography is so prevalent that those who don’t view it regularly are in the minority.

I’m saddened that I have already had to talk to my 5 year old about porn. Because it’s everywhere.

I’m saddened that we look at Christian Grey as an example of a real man.

I’m saddened that 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence.

I’m saddened that our feminism has brought us here. We’ve almost come full circle. We told our men they couldn’t dominate us, we are equal. And now we’re telling them it’s okay to dominate us, it’s a turn on. A group called Fight the New Drug did a study which concluded that up to 88% of the most popular porn contains violence against women. That should disturb us. This is what our kids will view by the time they’re 8.

This breaks my heart.

Ladies, let’s take sex back.

Let’s stop romanticizing violence and abuse.

Let’s stop giving money to the machine that perpetuates this garbage.

Stop reading these books. Stop watching these movies. Let’s teach our kids what real love looks like. It’s messy and hard and not always beautiful. But it’s selfless. And it gives life.

Here are a couple articles that I found interesting this week. The co-stars of 50 Shades of Grey were even disgusted by the movie they made. Read about it here.

And this great article  by Jonathan Van Maren which starts out, “It’s pretty depressing when you realize that, in 2014, many people seem to think that destruction of human dignity is a small price to pay for an orgasm.” That’s a great opening line.

And finally, Lisa Wilkinson, co-host of Channel 9’s Today Show gives her review of the movie.

I won’t be seeing the movie this weekend. I will be loving on my husband. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Un-Hidden Mess

Last week I had a couple days of complete chaos around our little apartment. My niece and nephew spent the night, then the next day we had 4 other kids and their mamas here. Our place was a floor to ceiling disaster when everyone was gone at the end of the day. But you know what? I loved every minute of it.

I have six brothers and sisters, and our home was rarely quiet. Growing up, I always wanted that in my own home, not necessarily half a dozen kids, but that house full of noise and life. My greatest joy is being surrounded by people I love and the hubbub that goes with it.

I love it even when it results in a mess. My home is a mess most of the time anyways because I have two preschool-age boys who never stop running, jumping, and climbing. So I’ve quit worrying about the mess. I’m embracing the clutter.

And I think this is a good thing.

You know how you go over to someone’s house and everything is spotless and you’re afraid to touch anything or sit anywhere? You’ll never feel that at my place, hopefully. I’m open with my messes.

My sink will have dirty dishes.

My kids’ toys will be scattered everywhere.

My life won’t be perfect. I won’t have it all together.

I might be struggling. I might be depressed.

I might have scolded my boys a little too much this morning and now be feeling like a terrible mother.

I might need encouragement, because life is hard.

Let’s quit hiding the messes in our homes and our hearts. I’m not always okay. You’re not always okay. And that’s okay.

So come on in, have a warm drink. Put your feet up. Embrace the mess. You’ll be loved here.

 

Bug Guts and Coffee

As I drank my coffee this morning, I thought back to when I started drinking coffee. I was 19 and thought it was gross. But there was this boy I liked, and he wasn’t gross. He drank coffee, he offered me coffee, I was hooked. On the coffee, that is, the boy didn’t last as long. It’s probably a good thing he didn’t offer me drugs or this would have been a different story altogether.

It’s funny the things you do when you are googly-eyed over someone. When I was in middle school I let a boy smash a lightning bug on my finger in the shape of a ring. It glowed. Let me repeat that: I let a boy…smoosh bug guts…on my hand. That is disgusting, even for me, and I grew up with three brothers.

Another time I considered keeping a piece of gum forever because a certain boy gave it to me. My thirteen year old self fortunately realized how creepy that was and decided against it.

Things are different now, thankfully. I love my husband. He’s pretty cool. But nowadays it’s more like this, “Eww, your toothbrush is touching mine, move it back to your spot!” I told Tim early on in our relationship (almost a decade ago?!) that I really couldn’t stand the music he listened to and I couldn’t even pretend to like it. Maybe that’s when you know it’s the real thing, when you can keep ahold of your true self even in the insanity that is love.

Have you ever done anything ridiculous for a crush?

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Aww, weren’t we cute back then?