Skip to main content

{For the Love} of Love

I know. I do this every year. But the fact remains that Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday - not because of the sparkly, flowery, chocolate-coated-ness of it (I mean, I like that too...) but because of the sudden inspiration and availability of notes and cards and fun things for expressing love.

See what I mean about availability? February is the only time I'm going to find that washi tape!

Though she hadn't ever heard of The Five Love Languages (that's Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch), my Mum did an excellent job of teaching me how speak all of those languages. If you love someone, you tell them what they mean to you, get (or make) them little treats, spend time with them, cook them a nice meal, and give them a hug. There wasn't really a distinction between them - all went under the header of demonstrated love.

She was great to leave notes - for me, on my chair at breakfast or in the little mailbox on my bedroom door, and for my dad, in his lunchbox - and she passed on that passion. Now, throughout the year I collect cute "love" themed cards and stash them away in a heart-shaped chocolate tin, so that when the impulse strikes, I have the perfect card at hand. That's augmented with a couple of pads of sticky-notes with cute/sweet/sappy sentiments already on them. (It's my plan to leave some sort of note somewhere for Adam to find every day leading up to Valentine's Day - shh, don't tell him!)

And, something you can do right now from the comfort of wherever-you're-reading-this-at is to send a little love to a patient at Arkansas Children's Hospital, here! You can choose from several designs and personalize your message (or choose a pre-written message, if you have no idea what to say), and they'll print it out and make sure it brightens a child's day.

adorable Fair Trade gift set from Mercy House
[image via Mercy House]

A few goodies from one of my favorite local artisans...
[image via Bella Vita Jewelry]

For a minimalist, I also love all that glitters and smells nice and tastes good! But over the past few years, I've also come to realize that my wants shouldn't come at the expense of someone else's needs (or humanity). Enter fair trade and local! There are an increasing number of unique, amazing, beautiful options (above are a couple of my favorites). I've finally talked/written/Instagrammed enough about this particular passion that it's becoming a defining trait - and I'm more than okay with that!

My favorite incarnation of Gifts, growing up, was doorknob surprises (think "may basket," but not just on May Day). After we moved away from Fayetteville, that's become treats in the mail. Notes, books, magazines, stationery, oddments, snacks, accessories, a picnic-in-a-box... for occasions ranging from Birthday to Butterfly Day (made-up family holiday) to I Saw This and Thought of You. I'm still waiting for a good reason to send a Frisbee (did you know that you can do that? As is, no envelope... also records and flip flops).

Quality time was another thing my family did well - game nights, hikes, roadtripping adventures. I still love walks and zoos and museums and drives, not so much for the sake of the thing itself, but because of what it represents - an opportunity to talk, to learn more about each other, to share a common experience and common joy, or to simply share the same silence. Ultimately, quality time requires little in the way of props or effort, and only a willingness to fully engage with another person (or people).

Acts of service is my weakest point, and Adam's strongest. I will gladly write you a poem, go for a walk, snuggle on the couch (my personal favorite), or buy you a new pair of earbuds after you accidentally run yours through the washer - but he is so good to cook amazing meals, clean and vacuum if he's home while I'm not, and get up with Brooklyn when she wakes up at night (to name a few). I was sick over the weekend, so he sweetly tucked me into bed and took both Littles to church - so that he could take notes on the sermon for me, and so that I would be able to rest in greater peace. 

All of that to say, there are so many wonderful ways to tell the person you love that you love them! And not just on Valentine's Day (or Valentine's month ;), or their birthday, or your anniversary - sometimes we most need to know we're loved when we least expect to hear it. I'd love to hear a few of your favorite ways, as well. :)

2363. Mum coming to pick us up and bring we-three to Fayetteville for a last-minute overnight trip
2364. Brooklyn and Tobin hanging out with my parents for over four hours (a record for Tobin) while I helped a friend with the final stages of moving
2365. Her inviting me into that process, instead of pretending to be okay and trying to deal with it alone
2366. Relationships with local business owners
2367. Quiet time on the corner of the Square on a beautiful sunny morning
2368. Walking and cookies and talking and tea
2369. Waking up (without an alarm) in time to get everyone ready for an appointment
2370. Brooklyn and Tobin's patience at the not-very-kid-friendly tax office (especially since Brooklyn wasn't feeling well)
2371. A gorgeous evening for a walk at the park
2372. Adam looking after Brooklyn and Tobin and taking them to church while I stayed home
2373. Leftover anti-nausea medicine
2374. Going to bed early
2375. A day with nowhere to be
2376. Tobin escaping whatever bug the rest of us passed around
2377. Feeling noticeably better by day's end


Popular posts from this blog

31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…