Love and Mortality: Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday 

Good evening, readers! I am writing a quick reflection for tonight. 

What a beautiful, meaningful, sad, joyous day. My heart is heavy for the losses my loved ones and our country (and world) are feeling lately. But my heart is full with the love I am blessed to have in my life. 
I’d like to wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day. To me, it is a day to celebrate love, not just a romantic love. It’s why we give each other valentines as kids (I  think adults should do this, too!), practicing kindness and appreciation.

I’d like to share this reflection a chaplain shared with me at work. (She put ceremonial ashes on our forehead—such a humbling, beautiful experience that fills me with grace.) She said she was reflecting on the meaning of Ash Wednesday, a day reminding us of our mortality, coinciding with Valentine’s Day, a day reminding of love. She thinks it is a reminder to celebrate our loved ones as much as we can, as often as we can, because tomorrow is never promised. What a beautiful thought and way to live. ❤️

So…go out and tell your loved ones that you love them—even if they don’t know it. Even if they do. Because tomorrow is never promised. Happy Valentine’s Day; I wish you love. 

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Oreo and Chad

Happy Valentine’s Day from two precious piggies. Who needs cherubs, when you have these cuties?

The valentine I made for Jennifer. Oreo is very affectionate! ❤

Oreo is getting some Valentine’s snuggles in with my mom. 🙂

So much snuggling can make even the most loving piggy snoozy…

Love was often on Chad’s mind; he enjoyed cuddles. (RIP Chad. <3)

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, dear readers! 

Witty Literary Valentines

Hello, dear readers! In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I would like to share with you some witty literary valentines that made me guffaw. Warning: the spicy PG-13 implications are not for the faint of heart. 😉 I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

16 Hilarious Literary Valentine’s Day Cards

The sun’s not the only thing that rises, if you know what I mean.

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4. Click here for one that’s a little more rated R than PG-13.
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And more…(I removed a few repeats from the list):

10 Literary Valentines For The Special Bookworm In Your Life

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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 I hope these gave you a laugh, and I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day! 🙂

My Valentine’s Day Surprises

Hello, dear readers! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and a lovely Valentine’s Day. 🙂

As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to tell you a little bit about my Valentine’s Day this year.

Ever since my TBI, I’ve had a “carpe diem” view of life. This means I get very excited about all celebrations and I plan all details long in advance. Although, to be fair, I’ve always been excited for celebrations. 😉

That’s one side of it. The other side of it is when things don’t go exactly as planned, I can get majorly disappointed at what I see as a missed opportunity. It’s not exactly the best thing, and I’ve been working on this over the years, trying to take a more “jelly-side up” view. I heard a phrase once that really stuck with me: “We plan, and God laughs.” So true! I’ve realized that things aren’t always meant to happen as we plan them, but there is almost always some good that comes out of a situation. Sometimes, when things don’t go as planned, even better things are able to happen.

Needless to say, I certainly hadn’t planned on having bronchitis this Valentine’s Day. Jeremiah and I didn’t have anything enormous planned, although we did consider dinner/dancing/movie/trip options and made a schedule. However, it was apparent early in the week that it was not to be, because I was so sick. I hadn’t even left the house in over a week, so the plan–or so I thought–was a FaceTime date.

I got to start the day with another leading man in my life–my wonderful dad–who was kind enough to make another doctor appointment for me and chauffeur me there. Even though he pretended(?) to be grumpy about spending his whole day doing this, he made me laugh all the while, and he took really good care of me. It was a daddy-daughter date of doctor’s office; Panera for lunch; hospital for X-rays because I wasn’t getting well; and Costco for medicine. At least at Costco, they had an amazing array of samples, and as exhausted as I was, I felt up to the task at making the rounds to every single station. This is a favorite activity for our whole family, although my dad would never admit it. 😉
(Upon hearing I was doing this while sick, Jeremiah said to me, “The world could be ending, and you’d still be at Costco.” My response was, “If the world were ending, I would ESPECIALLY be at Costco. I’d need to stock up!” I mean, right?)

Then, my dad had the pleasure of helping me look through scores of flower planters on the shelves at Costco, so that we could pick the very best one. I’d wanted to get flowers for Jennifer for Valentine’s Day, anyway, and I was really happy to luck upon such a pretty option.

I dressed up the planter with ribbon and a homemade card…all materials I found in Jennifer’s impressive craft station in her room, which of course she immediately recognized, LOL (Happy Valentine’s Day to you…from you). I drew portraits of us as hearts–Jennifer on the left, me on the right–and used our self-appointed Frozen nicknames. Jennifer had made me a valentine, too, and she left it for me to see first thing when I woke up. 🙂

Jennifer and our parents had planned to go to Sweet Tomatoes for Valentine’s Day, and although they wanted to stay home with me, I insisted they keep their plans.

I also insisted that Jeremiah stay away, because I didn’t want to get him sick. Plus, I told him I just wanted to stay in my pajamas all evening. However, he wound up surprising me anyway, bringing me our favorite meals from Noodles & Co., a cookie for dessert, and these:

I was so touched by his thoughtfulness. It was simple enough not to be any fuss for me, and yet it was so many of my favorite things. He even came prepared with advice about a plot point in my novel I’d been struggling with. 🙂 And I got to stay in my pajamas, after all.

And so, dear readers, I keep learning that letting life happen is just as important as planning it out. FYI, I am slowly feeling better, finally! I hope you have a great week, and stay warm. 🙂

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Which Literary Love Story Are You?

Hello, dear readers! This girl certainly had a much more eventful day than expected, and all of it led to a lovely Valentine’s Day after all, despite my having bronchitis (my official diagnosis now! At last…). I shall fill you in on my story tomorrow, but for now, to wind down tonight, here are some fun Valentine’s pieces from the literary community. No matter how we try, we readers can’t hide that we love to imagine ourselves in the books we are reading, perhaps most of all in the storybook (fairy-tale, dystopian, etc….) romances.

First, allow me to share a valentine that Harper Impulse (the romance imprint of HarperCollins) created, based on a quote from an author I’m proud to say has been a dear friend for over 10 years! Her book, The Best Thing I Never Had, just came out a few months ago to eBook, and it is coming out in paperback in April. I’ll talk more about it another time, but for now, enjoy her brilliant quote on a lovely valentine:

Valentines-card-FINAL5

Wow. One of life’s great truths that I’ve never thought about in those terms. Erin Lawless has a knack for poignant insight. 🙂 (Check out her blog here, where you can also buy her books, follow her on Twitter, etc.)

Also, some great bookish candy hearts, posted today by Random House, originally posted here.

And lastly, I will leave you with this great chart, developed by Goodreads, where you can find out which love story your life matches best among some popular novels.

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That’s all for tonight, dear readers! I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day and that the spirit of love fills your life beyond just this day into the rest of the year. 🙂

Join me later this weekend for the story of my interesting and lovely Valentine’s Day. 🙂

Sassy Disney Valentines

Hello, dear readers! Are you feeling the love yet, with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching? No? Maybe these valentines will be more to your taste. Below, please enjoy 31 valentines that will tickle your funny bone more than touch your heart.

Brutally Honest Disney Valentine’s Day Cards

By: Oh My Disney

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The holiday of love. A celebration of the heart. A day when everyone gets to show each other their (hopefully requited) affection, and, whenever possible, there is chocolate involved. However, here at Oh My Disney we like to keep it real – and we think honesty is always the best policy. So, this year we’ve upped your Valentine’s Day game with these brutally honest cards. Share them with everyone for a holiday they’ll never forget.

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Kristoff

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Kuzco

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Sherriff-Woody

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Jack-Sparrow

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Sam-Eagle

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Timon

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Flynn-Rider

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Belle

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Anna

Brutally-Honest-Disney-Valentines---Genie

21 Wicked Disney Valentine’s Day Cards From Your Favorite Villains

Why send out a regular old Valentine’s Day card, when you can send a card that perfectly exemplifies your inner baddie?

By:  (BuzzFeed Staff)
@BriGlndo
posted on January 28, 2014 at 9:09pm EST

1. [This first one is a spoiler if you haven’t seen Frozen yet, so click at your own risk:]

Frozen villaintine

2. Cruella de Vil from One Hundred and One Dalmatians:

Cruella de Vil from One Hundred and One Dalmatians :

3. Hades from Hercules:

Hades from Hercules :

4. Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland:

Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland :

5. John Clayton from Tarzan:

John Clayton from Tarzan :

6. Mother Gothel from Tangled:

Mother Gothel from Tangled :

7. The Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:

The Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs :

8. King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph:

King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph :

9. Jasper and Horace Badun from One Hundred and One Dalmatians:

Jasper and Horace Badun from One Hundred and One Dalmatians :

10. Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove:

Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove :

11. Scar from The Lion King:

Scar from The Lion King :

12. Alameda Slim from Home on the Range:

Alameda Slim from Home on the Range :

13. Lady Tremaine from Cinderella:

Lady Tremaine from Cinderella :

14. Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone:

Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone :

15. Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective:

Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective :

16. Captain Hook from Peter Pan:

Captain Hook from Peter Pan :

17. Jafar from Aladdin:

Jafar from Aladdin :

18. Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame:

Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame :

19. Ursula from The Little Mermaid:

Ursula from The Little Mermaid :

20. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty:

Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty :

21. Gaston from Beauty and the Beast:

Gaston from Beauty and the Beast :

Cards design via Disney-Tasthic.

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I hope you got a chuckle out of those valentines, dear readers! Join me tomorrow for more Valentine’s fun!

Top Ten: Bookish Valentine’s Day Crafts

Hello, dear readers! Tonight’s Valentine’s feature will be of especial interest to people who love books and crafts and love (the perfect trifecta). If the previous two days’ posts of bookish gift ideas and valentines still weren’t quite what you were looking for, you’re in luck. You can put a personal touch on these card and gift creations from BookRiot for your valentine, and you can have a little crafting fun of your own in the process. 🙂

Top Ten: Bookish Valentine’s Day Crafts

5 Valentine’s Day Cards for Your Bookish Love

Posted by: dr b
@mittenstrings
January 29, 2013
Sure, you could go to Hallmark and grab any old random V-day card on this (yeah yeah, manufactured and commercialized, blah blah blah) holiday of love.  But what about finding something truly charming for your Library Lovah?
1. Like, for a start, how about this Flirty Library Card by papertrail over at etsy.com?  The inside says, “I’m checking you out.”  Swoon!
2. Or how about going a little non-traditional by sending a postcard, maybe to a distant love?  This Wuthering Heights postcard from LiteraryEmporium, also at etsy.com, would delight your Bronte baby.
3. The Literary Gift Company suggests poetry instead of a card, with this pamphlet of ten love poems in a perfectly sized envelope with a sweet matching bookmark your love can use everyday.
4. Chris Bishop is an artist you loves you and wants you to be happy. So he made you these Game of Thrones Valentines to print out and distribute as you see fit. You should also visit his website and check out his art. Here’s one of the Valentines.
5. Or, if you want to put some elbow grease into it, tell the story of your love in picture book form with this great DIY project from weddingchicks.com.
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Posted by: Amanda Nelson
@deadwhiteguys
January 31, 2013 

Here are a few Valentine’s Day crafts you can make from old books (think ratty paperbacks with pages already missing, old phonebooks, books your library is about to toss, etc.) or crafts that would make great gifts for bookworms:

bookmarks

1. Valentine’s Day bookmarks for the little bookworm you love (also makes a great craft for young school-age classrooms). Just use a heart-shaped hole punch from the craft store, ribbon/pipe cleaners, and paint swatches from your local big box home improvement store.

 

heart bookmark

2. Martha Stewart’s heart-shaped bookmark. Glue one small paper heart to a larger one made of card stock, then use a utility knife to cut out the bottom half of the small heart. Easy bookmark.

 

Heart Punch V-Day Craft 10

3. Heart-punch wall art. Just use a heart-shaped craft punch on the pages of an old book, stick them to card stock with sticky foam dots in whatever pattern you want, and frame.

 

valentine's craft

4. A variation of above– just cut out a dozen hearts from the pages of an old book, glue them together down the middle fold, and then glue it to the center of a piece of card stock and frame it.

 

valentine's book craft

5. A heart garland– this one requires a bit of ribbon, glue, twine, and folding skills.
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Join me tomorrow for more Valentine’s fun, dear readers!