Valentine’s Day

Home is Where the Heart Is

Forgive my tardiness. Yesterday seemed to get away from me. It is with great excitement that I post another guest contribution from reader Melody. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on love and responding to the “Where Your Heart is Challenge.”

Here is her response.

Home is where the heart is.  It’s cliche, but it’s so true.  Today is Valentine’s Day and I love Valentine’s Day.  As a little girl Dad always made sure that Mom had roses and a big box of chocolates, while my sister and I were gifted a single red rose and a tiny heart box of chocolates,  It wasn’t the flowers and candy that made me love Valentine’s Day though.  It was the town I grew up in.

Loveland, CO is the Sweetheart City, and it lives up to it’s name. I’ve lived all over the United States and small towns everywhere put up Christmas decor on their streetlights; declaring to the community there is a reason to celebrate. And while that happens in Loveland at Christmas, what truly made it special to me were the February streetlights, happily decked out with giant red hearts. You could pay to have a special Valentine’s message placed on one for all the world to see.   My memories are crowded with images from childhood.  Sitting in the back seat of the car driving down Eisenhower next to Lake Loveland, I would dream of the day I’d see my name on one of those beautiful ruby hearts.
I haven’t lived in Loveland for 18 years now. My parents moved to Oregon 11 years ago.  And every February my heart grows a little bit heavy with the missing of my hometown.  Last March I returned to Loveland for a funeral.  I stayed with family friends and saw lots of friends and I was reminded that there is no place on earth my heart feels more at home than in my beloved sweetheart city.  The friends I have there are extensions of my family, the mountains sing to my soul of freedom and peace, and the streetlights proclaim loudly that love is here and love is good.
With memories and relationships rekindled this has been as year filled with Loveland stories for my friends here in NM and my husband.  And so as this Valentine’s Day approached I was excited to once again try to make my kid’s memories as special as my childhood ones but also filled with wistful dreams of streetlight hearts.  We gave the kids their gifts and cards this morning and faced the usual morning rush to get to school.  I left 15 minutes later than I wanted to but that was ok.  As I rounded a corner a couple blocks from my home I did a double take.  There on the streetlight was a red, hand painted, cardboard heart reading “Moose loves Moosette”  I took a deep breath and choked back the tears.  My Valentine fulfilled my childhood dream.  And it doesn’t matter that I’m not in Loveland this Valentine’s Day.  Home is where the heart is; and today I found that my heart could be home wherever I am because the love I carry from the people and places I have loved is always with me.
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Happy Valentine’s Day from New Mexico!
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When Your Heart is in Loveland

My good friend Beth chose to share her response to the “Where Your Heart Is Challengeand I’m so tickled. Thanks for sharing the love!

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“Loveland, Colorado sure knows how to celebrate Valentine’s Day! I moved to Loveland just over a year ago and I’ve enjoyed experiencing all of the unique traditions the city has related to the holiday, including the ubiquitous hearts posted on street signs across town and of course all of the “love-themed” beers on tap at the breweries. But my favorite tradition is sending hand-written Valentines to my family through Loveland’s Valentine re-mailing program. I’ve made it a tradition to personally deliver my letters to the special red mailbox located at the downtown post office branch (appropriately called the “Valentine” branch!) where the letters are stamped with a special message from the Sweetheart City before being mailed.

The part that I find most beautiful about this tradition is the process and the time it requires. As I wrote each Valentine, I took a moment to think about the recipient and to appreciate how much joy and love they give me! Even as I walked over to the post office, my heart was full of love as I took the time to reflect on the various ways these people have shown me so much love over the past year. Life moves so fast and it’s easy to let “love” be just a passing thought or a common phrase that we add to our daily speech. For me, “love” becomes truly special when I slow down to appreciate, reflect on and share in sending the love.”

 

 

If you are interested in sharing your thoughts on love, or responding to the “Where Your Heart is Challenge”, send me an email at 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com. Accepting entries until 2.14.17

“Where Your Heart Is”

I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. About our need for it, our hesitance towards it, how freeing it can be, and how scary it is to love all at the same time.

About how we say to love our neighbors, love our enemies, love ourselves. Why, oh why, does loving seem to be so challenging when at our core it is what we are designed to experience?

As protesters hold signs with phrases about its power and aisles at Target fill up with pink, chocolate, and candy hearts, our world inundates us with the perplexing notion of what it means to love and be loved.

As I got lost in my own thoughts this week, I kept drifting back to these questions. I spent a few hours searching for quotes or profound statements, phrases, poems that have catchy truths about that little four letter word.

Like the poem read aloud at the end of “10 Things I Hate About You” or the bible verses read at weddings as we commit to love one another for our entire lives.

As I scrolled and scrolled, I stopped on this quote.

“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you´ll find your treasure.”

– The Alchemist, Paulo Cohelo –

And so, in the next ten days leading up to the United States’ most commercialized day of expressed love, I’m asking you to do something.

Help me to understand just how beneficial love is. Why we need it, why we choose it, why we believe in it. Help me to understand how you find your heart treasure.

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I invite you to participate in the “Where Your Heart is Challenge” by completing one of the following tasks and sending me your thoughts. The world needs more love right now, and I’m asking you to help spread it.

Here are your choices:

  1. Write a love letter to your favorite person of choice. Stick it in the mail or deliver it in person.
  2. Write a love poem. It can be about a person, a season of life, the good and beautiful things that enrich you right now.
  3. Make a list of your treasures.  What treasures are dwelling within a space of love that enrich and enhance your life.

At the foundation of this little challenge, I believe time spent on this exercise will make you feel better about your own situation. If you choose to keep this to yourself, honor the time you spend reflecting on love.

I hope, ever so much, that you will want to be brave and share what you have come up with and I can repost it here. Send me a picture of the list, type up a reflection, let me know how you have been inspired to pay it forward and bask in the force that connects all of us.

Email me the details at (52beautifulthings at gmail dot com) of your experience and I will be honored to share your story.

Ten days of spreading the love. I hope you will join me.

xoxo

Turn that Tone Upside Down

I have a side job helping write monthly newsletters for a doctor’s office here in town. I love creating content, and deciphering notes and pulling together a multitude of sources into one space that serves as an educational resource for those seeking to improve their health.

A couple of weeks ago, feeling rushed to meet a deadline, I ticked off a quick couple lines of introduction copy for this month’s newsletter and sent it to my colleague. “How is this for an introduction?” I typed in the notes, and waited for her feedback. My tone had been pessimistic – February is a drag – something to get through – too much snow – and every once in awhile – we need a boost.

No sooner had I clicked send did the doctor call me, with kindness and laughter in her voice. “That intro was a drag Katie!” she exclaimed. “Let’s turn that tone upside down.” At first I was a little offended, but as I sat and listened to her vision for her correspondence with clients, my defense softened. The doctor went on to encourage me to encourage others – to find the joy and beauty in this month of February. Her redirection inspired me in remembering that our words are what create our reality – our intentions and tone are powerful. When we choose to share that writing, we have the power to influence other’s moods, attitudes, and perceptions. This conversation changed my month, and it changed my heart.

I’ve sense rewritten the introduction, and while it felt a little cheesy to try to find the positive, the doctor’s words continue to reverberate through my mind. We can find beauty and optimism when we go looking for it, and maybe, even more powerfully, when we create it.

IMG_3470This week I attempted to create beauty in several situations. Call it simple, but for Valentine’s Day I made my very own cheese danish pastry. While the holiday was on a Sunday, and we chose not to over indulge in any romantic dates, I did want to create a little festivity in my own house. I rolled out of bed, and followed this recipe to bring a little bit of celebration to our lazy Sunday morning routine. Routine? Does sleeping ’til 10 am count as a routine?

Cream cheese and sugar, vanilla and raspberries – when these ingredients blend together they create beautiful flavors and a sense of fancy that just made me smile.

Sunday also presented us with the choice to run errands, and use up gift cards lingering in our junk drawers  from Christmas. I went to Nordstrom Rack and got a pair of pants for nine dollars. NINE DOLLARS. I love a beautiful bargain. I tried Maintenance Moment at my favorite brewery – which perfectly pairs the light flavors of coffee with beer. Their full description is so much more delightful. Hello Colorado! You’ve achieved a combination of my favorite things. Is it bad to proclaim craft beer as one of your favorite things on the internet? Not sure, let’s take a beautiful risk.

So this week I give a nod to the universe as several loved ones have lifted my chin, and reminded me to look for the beautiful with optimism and hope in my heart. May you find and create beauty at every turn, even if it involves a roll of crescent dough.