Friday, February 28, 2014

Waiting...Again

I woke up today struggling a bit with something. And it's something over which I have absolutely no control. Zero. Na-da. None what-so-ever.

My worrying or "struggling with God" about it isn't going to influence the outcome one iota. I know this. My head knows this. But my heart...

Yeah...this emotional girl wants to hold onto this one and mull over every What-If scenario I can dream up. So I ponder...wonder...fret...and then find myself feeling frustrated...helpless...and a bit overwhelmed. 

I know in my heart of hearts...deep down in my soul...that God has got this. He's figured it all out. It's already handled. All I have to do is wait. Apparently a really really really long time. 

And the fun part? Our family has been down this exact road before. Just a couple of years ago we had to wait for an answer almost six months past when were told we would get that answer. 

And now here we are in the same boat again. And I am not excited to be in this boat. I'm not even that fond of boats to begin with....

When I woke up this morning with all of this on my mind, I didn't feel too joyful and was struggling to find my Rosie Outlook in all of it. 

But...you know...I'm really trying to stick with my goal that it's not about me, so I decided to focus on others today. I posted on my Facebook page that I would be spending extra time in prayer this afternoon and if anyone would like prayer to please send me a message. I also added that I would pray for anyone that liked my post as well. 

Oh my! What a blessing that turned out to be! I ended up with over 30 people to pray for and the requests are still coming in (and I will pray for each one of them). You know it's hard to feel too sorry for yourself when you are praying over other people and their concerns. It was just the refocus I needed today.

Not only that, but a couple of people even offered to pray for me in response to me saying I would pray for them. It blessed me. I felt loved. It reminded me of something Jesus' brother James wrote in his letter to the believers in Jerusalem. In James 5:16 he wrote:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.  

So I wrote each name and request in my Prayer Book, lifting each name to Jesus as I wrote them down. It is my hope that each person felt peace and the blessing of God upon them today. 

I don't know for sure how long this wait will be...several months as least...maybe more. I'm sure in that amount of time there will be other days of wondering and worrying, but when the emotions take over, I'm going to take the focus off of me and pray for others. 

Praying for one another is one of the most loving acts we can do. It's a special way to Celebrate Love. And really... I can't think of a better way to survive the long wait...or end this month of Celebrating Love, than by praying for someone. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Symbol of Love

I have started and deleted this post several times in the last couple of days. I want to share this story with you but I don't want it to come off too materialistic or too sappy lovey dovey.... I'm going to try my best to tell it in just a Celebrating Love kind of way.

Quite a few years ago, my grandparents decided to go through their house and get rid of items they didn't need or use anymore. Without mentioning it to anyone, they loaded up their truck and set off for a local resale place. One of the items on the truck that day was an old Singer treadle sewing machine.

When I learned that Grandma Teacher and Grandpa Farmer had sold that old pedal operated machine, I was so sad. That old Singer had provided a livelihood for Grandma and her mother, Great Grandma when Great Grandpa passed away. Because it held such sweet sentimental value, it was a beautiful piece of our family's history. And now it was gone.

Many years have come and gone since Grandma and Grandpa sold that old sewing machine...and every once in a while I would see one like it or someone in the family would mention the story of Grandma and Grandpa selling it. Each time...without fail...I would get a little pang of sadness. I don't know why it bothered me so...but it did.

Saturday, Hubby and I decided to spend the afternoon antiquing. We don't do that very often. As a matter of fact it had been years since we had browsed through an antique store together. We don't own a lot of antiques, but we do enjoy searching through dusty old buildings and sharing in the delight of coming across something that sparks a childhood memory or is just unique and interesting.

Much of our Saturday afternoon was doing just that. We pointed out items that looked just like something from years long ago and we shared stories and laughter all afternoon. Hubby picked up an old extension light that he planned to put to good use in the garage and I found an awesome old purse that I carried to church the next day. We also discovered a couple of small items that would bring a smile to a family member's face and we felt quite successful with our handful of small purchases.

And then we spotted this:

When I saw it...I just stopped in my tracks. It looked so much like Great Grandma's sewing machine! It was so beautiful and it was marked way down! It was the lowest price I had ever seen on one of those machines. But really...it's not like we needed it. And let's be honest here...I certainly wasn't going to use it. 

Truthfully, I barely used the modern day sewing machine I owned for years early in our marriage. I'm not sure the two or three pairs of pants I hemmed and the three or four Halloween costumes I sewed on that machine were worth whatever we paid for it.

Could I justify wanting to purchase this sewing machine just for the sentimental value? We continued through that store and then moved on to the next one...but...of course...I kept thinking about that beautiful Singer. And you know...it could actually be my Great Grandma's machine. It's possible. Although there's no way to know for sure...we do currently live just an hour and half north of where my grandparents sold it. 

It is certainly plausible that it made it's way to this little shop in this little town in the years since it was sold. I like to think it did. I like to consider the idea that maybe...just maybe...this machine...this very piece...once belonged to my Great Grandma.

As Hubby and I left the final shop for the day, I mentioned that I was still thinking about that sewing machine. Hubby asked me if I really wanted it, but I said no...I really couldn't justify purchasing it. So we made the turn toward home. When I brought it up one more time...Hubby turned again...this time back toward the store. 

It was still there, so we loaded it up and brought it home. I wiped it down and Hubby helped me put it into place. We looked it over again marveling at all the wonderful details and sharing in the sweetness of the moment. It was home...maybe back in the family...right where it belonged.

Hubby has been very gracious to me over the years. He has given me many beautiful, thoughtful gifts. Some of them are very special. This is one of those very special, beautiful, thoughtful gifts. It was a true gift of the heart. We didn't need. I doubt I will use it. It was really just a very sweet way to Celebrate Love...for me, our family history, and my memories.

There are several reasons why this old Singer is special to me:
It represents a Great Grandma that I never even got to know here on earth.
It honors two women in my family that persevered through a terribly difficult time.
It is a reminder to me that I am never without options even when life might seem a little hopeless.
It is a symbol of my husband's sweet love for me. 

I hope you understand this story isn't so much about the object...it's about all that it symbolizes...it's about the feelings it evokes...and the memories that flash through my mind. 

And I know it's a bit sappy...but it comes straight from my heart...and well...what can I say? My heart...can be a bit sappy at times.

Call me sentimental...I'm okay with that.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Forgiveness Is Such a Gesture of Love

It was the weirdest thing...this morning I was reading my Bible when a painful memory from the past hit me...and it hurt all over again. Has that ever happened to you? Something that happened long ago...and you thought you had let it go...but then out of nowhere there it is again smacking you in the face? UGH.

I hate when that happens.  And when I was reading my Bible no less!

You know...that ugly hurt stopped me for a minute. For just a minute I was right back there in the conversation again. I was hearing the hurtful words all over again and I almost...just almost let them hurt me again!

I really thought I had long forgotten it. I thought I had moved on and let it go. Apparently not.

There I sat with my Bible open and I looked down and saw God's Love laying right there in my hands. I was reminded right then and there that it is HIS words that matter. It is what HE thinks of me..and what He says to me that should be my focus.

So...I pushed that negative thought aside and went right back to reading God's loving words. Within seconds that old hurt was gone and I was once again filling my mind and my heart with the love that can only come from God.

As I sit here thinking about how the wound of that conversation suddenly burst back open this morning, it crosses my mind how thoughtless the person was that said those afflicting words. But then again..as I ponder it some more...I'm sure there are plenty of people that could bring up a conversation with me in which I said something harsh that hurt them.

Thinking about that doesn't make me feel any better than how I felt this morning when I was reminded of that being done to me. It leaves me with an icky feeling I really don't like. And I truly am so sorry for any words I have ever said to anyone who hurt them. I don't want to be that kind of person.

You know forgiveness really is such a gesture of love. All of us have needed it bestowed upon us at least a few times in our lives...and all of us have had to decide if we would offer it many times as well. It's one of those amazing gifts we eagerly hope to receive, and yet at times it can be very difficult to dole out.
Oh the irony...

The funny thing is as I sit here writing this I truly do not even remember the hurtful words that came back to distress me this morning. I honestly can't remember them.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for taking that painful moment in time from my mind. I hope it never returns to my memory.

Today I forgive those words and just want to forget they were ever spoken. I really do believe that a great way to Celebrate Love is to offer forgiveness.
Even when it's for a long ago past event that suddenly came to mind.
Even then.
Maybe especially then.

And don't worry...it wasn't YOU. (wink)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Beach Blessings

The beach. There's just something about the beach that soothes my soul in such a spiritual way.

As a kid growing up in the Midwest, a visit to the ocean was no quick trip.  However, I remember many summer travels to the local lake where we would spend the day soaking up the warm sun, swimming in the cool water, and enjoying a picnic lunch sitting on beach towels spread out on the soft sand.

Even then those trips to the lake were pure summer delight for me. I have always loved the beach.

I was eight years old the first time I stood on an ocean beach. Our family had loaded up our car and took a road trip to Florida during Christmas break. It was a very special family vacation as we took in all kinds of wonderful new sights along the way.

And even though this trip included my very first visit to Walt Disney World...it's our stop at the beach that I remember most.

There I stood watching in awe as the ocean waves rolled toward us. After traveling all that way...and then spending some time at the Happiest Place on Earth...we were taking in the majesty of the Atlantic Ocean. All of the sudden I was no longer watching those peaceful ocean waves...much to my surprise...I was actually swept right up in them!

Quickly my dad ran in after me and pulled me out of the cold salty foam. With shaky legs...in total shock... I sank down onto the safety of the beach...drenched...still watching the ocean...in my dripping wet clothes.

And thus began my uncertainty about the ocean...but oh how it solidified my love for the beach.

I have a couple of friends who love it as much as I do. Two of my dear friends call the beach their "happy place". For me it is a balm for my soul like nothing I can explain in words. I have never been more relaxed or content than when I am sitting under a large umbrella with my toes in the sand. To me that is just pure bliss. I love it so.

After a particularly challenging time with my husband's work where he had to be away much more than any of us liked, we saved our money diligently to take a very special family trip to Hawaii. That trip was on the top of my Bucket List. Hubby and I worked very hard to make it happen. It was everything I hoped it would be...and then some.

Our boys were elementary school age and they reveled in playing in the ocean with their Daddy. I spent the better part of those two weeks under an umbrella...with my toes in the sand...reading great books or watching Hubby chase those giggly little guys into the warm water. It was pure joy.

We took in the local sights and enjoyed learning about the Hawaiian culture. We ate wonderful food and drove completely around the entire island. We danced at a luau and made fresh leis. And we spent hours and hours at the beach. Memories of that trip will bless our family forever.

Years later we would go through a very difficult and extremely stressful summer. It was especially trying for me. One night Hubby and I decided we needed to get away. At that time we were living in the Southwest and the Pacific Ocean was just a few hours away. I made some phone calls, booked a room, and a couple days later we packed up the van and drove toward the coast.

We crossed over the scariest bridge I have ever been on in my entire life...but it was worth it. Our room turned out to be really nice (they gave us an upgrade!), but the highlight for me was four beautiful glorious days under an umbrella with my toes in the sand. It was a very peaceful, healing, renewing time for me as I watched my now almost grown teenagers run and splash in the ocean with their dad.

I just sat there...watching them...taking it in...and praying. That was a great time of chats with God about what was going on in our little family. We had big changes coming...some we had planned for and others we had been waiting to find out about for months and months. It was all so uncertain and we had no idea what we would be facing or what our lives were going to be like in the very near future. We didn't even know where we would be living in just a matter of days.

Yes, it was a very difficult time. And sitting on the beach was so good for me. That trip was so wonderful for all of us and to this day we look back on it with such fond memories of special family time. It renewed us all.

Even though this winter has been extra cold and snowy by Midwestern standards, we were gifted with a week-long, warm, sun-filled trip south in December. We celebrated Dodge and Darol's 50th wedding anniversary and enjoyed some much needed family time. And we got some precious beach time in as well.

I smile now as I think of the afternoon that I watched my big boys delight in the wonder and fun of playing in the ocean with their dad once again. I soaked up the sun under a big blue hat and watched with great joy as I listened to their laughter and "hollers" for me to watch. Yes...it was precious time.

We all thoroughly savored that afternoon beach fun. It renewed us as we returned to what would turn out to be a very harsh winter in the Midwest.

One of my favorite beach photos was taken last summer at a lake far far away. We were there to return our Scientist to college. We would be moving him back into his room on campus the next day. It was one of those days filled with loving family togetherness with tinges of excitement and sadness. We love being together and college move-in day is always an emotion-filled day for all four of us.

The hotel where we were staying sits right next to a beautiful lake. Much of the beach area along the lake had been busy with clusters of families and friends laughing and playing all day long. But as if God knew Hubby and I needed a little quiet beach time...in the early evening...a rain shower kicked up and that little patch of rain sent every single person scurrying for shelter.

As the last drops fell from the sky, Hubby and I grabbed our beach chairs out of our van, and slipped down to the empty little beach on the lake. We set our chairs in the sand and sank into them. Hubby held my hand as we talked softly about the changes coming. Our hearts were a bit heavy that night.
And I found myself quietly praying...just as I had many other times as I sat on the beach.

As the water lapped near our feet...we watched the sun slowly sink in the evening sky. Once again we felt the peace of God.  Truly, the quiet beauty we experienced that night was a blessed gift from our Heavenly Father.


The other day as I was reading in Acts, I discovered I'm not the only one that feels the peacefulness of praying to God on the beach. I read this in Acts 21:5:
When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 

It turns out that Paul was heading back out to sea. He had more ministry to do. And some of the disciples...along with their wives and children...went to the beach to see him off. As they said their good-byes, they knelt in the sand right there on the beach and prayed together.

Reading that verse really touched me. I love that it is in the Bible. It made me smile and I underlined that passage with my pink ink pen. Sometimes I pray on the beach...just like the apostle Paul did.

How about you? Where do you find a prayerful peace like no other? Where do you go to experience renewal and find God's Blessing?

As I focus on Celebrating Love this month...I just wanted to share with you some of my special Beach Blessings from God. For me...each and every visit is special and the beautiful renewing peace that washes over me is something I really really love.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

So It's Not A Perfect Marriage

Here we are on the eve of Valentine's Day and I have committed to Celebrating Love on this blog this month. I woke up this morning with grand intentions to write something lovely and inspiring about true love in honor of February 14th...and then...Hubby and I had an early morning tiff just before he left for work.

Very lovely and inspiring don't you think?

It was a silly fight over nothing...coupons on the counter. Seriously...that's how bad it is around here. This is what we are down to arguing about...coupons on the counter. And honestly, as ridiculous as it sounds as I write it down...I really struggled to get over it.

I just knew I was right...justified...and did I mention right? Ugh. So much for my "It's Not About Me" theme today. Hubby didn't throw that in my face, but he could have. I probably wouldn't have received it very well because minutes (or maybe even seconds...it's all a blur now) after he left, God threw it in my face gently nudged me "uhm...remember...it's not all about you."

No...I didn't want to hear that from the Lord right then.

This is the thing about loving marriages...they are not perfect. True story. I would say mostly because a marriage is made up of two pretty imperfect people...with imperfect motives...and imperfect focus...and imperfect attitudes.

Hubby and I met when we were 16 and 14. Our relationship started out as a friendship...developed into really close friends...who dated...and here we are married to our best friends. We grew up together. We know each other pretty well. Too well sometimes. Shockingly not well enough at other times. Hence the tiff.

This crazy argument has hung over me all day. It made me sad and mopey...and I had no intention of being sad and mopey when I woke up this morning. I had no intention of arguing over something silly this morning either...but we did...and the whole spirit of my day was changed.

Instead of writing about Celebrating Love, I found myself going back over our conversation and declaring to myself that I was right. I was refusing my goal of it not being about me. And it's embarrassing, but true, I allowed this attitude to affect my Bible study time and my prayer time.

Then I got busy with my day's To Do List and I didn't think about it for a while. But the gloomy feeling stayed with me anyway.

As the afternoon wore on and I completed my tasks...I grabbed the offending pile of coupons off the counter and went through them. I threw away the ones that were expired and I sorted the rest of them and put them in our coupon folder. Step One complete.

Then I had a decision to make...what was Step Two going to be? Continue to harbor hurt feelings over something not worth it or was I going to move on...just let it go? And you know what popped into my mind as I mulled this over? So...our marriage isn't perfect. Shrug.

And there you have it. The majority of the time it kind of feels like it is. We go days...weeks...even months really without a tiff, but then our imperfectness creeps out and there we are facing the ugliness of a misunderstanding. I don't like it. Hubby doesn't like it. So why do we do it?

Because it's not a perfect marriage...but it is a real marriage built on friendship, love, and the God who created marriage. And that's why we will be okay. We don't need a perfect marriage. We need to be loving and forgiving. And I know without a doubt that we can be.

Hubby is so much more important to me than coupons. He is so much more important to me than me being right. Our marriage is so much more than a silly little argument. It is filled with love and forgiveness.

So no...our marriage isn't perfect...but on this Valentine's Day Eve...I can truly say: I love my husband and our marriage.

And it really does kind of feel perfect to me. Sigh.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Heart Friends

Today I want to Celebrate Love by introducing you to a very precious family. I am using their real names, because they face a very real battle every day, and I am hoping by sharing their story maybe some of you will want to come along side them and fight with them.

The Inspiring Olimb Family:
Rachel, Asher, Beck, and Jeremy
Meet my friend Rachel. For a long time, Rachel was a friend of a friend. Now I am so blessed I get to call her my friend. We have only met face to face once. We aren't best friends...or even good friends, but we are Jesus loving, Cystic Fibrosis fighting friends. And we are prayer friends. 

When I first heard Rachel's story, I immediately had such a heart for her.  One day, my friend mentioned her friend Rachel and her little boy named Asher who was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Here and there, during quick chats, our mutual friend shared more bits about Rachel, her husband, Jeremy, and little Asher.

Over time, other mutual friends would mention Rachel, her husband, and son as well.  God kept bringing Rachel into my life.  He had a plan that would touch my heart and make us friends.

One of the greatest blessings I had as a teacher in a Christian school was that we had prayer time every day. For a few minutes, right after lunch, my students would gather around, and they each had an opportunity to share one prayer request with the group.

ONE prayer request. That's all they got. (I figured that rule out pretty quickly when I began teaching or prayer time would have lasted the rest of the school day.) Without fail...at least once a week, but usually more often, one of my students would ask for prayer for Rachel & Jeremy's son Asher. 

Then our friend gave me a card with Asher's picture on it.  I hung it on our prayer board in my classroom and Asher became a part of our daily prayer.  Next came the news that Rachel was expecting another baby - another boy! And then very sad news...this little guy would also be born with CF along with some other life-threatening issues. 

Rachel and Jeremy named him Paxon and we all began to pray. Their family prayed, friends prayed, my students prayed, and strangers prayed. Paxon arrived a little early and lived 11 days. Our hearts just broke for Rachel, Jeremy, and Asher. We grieved with them and we continued to pray.

Rachel and Jeremy went forward with their plans for their annual TeamAsher Silent Auction and just a few weeks later held this huge fundraising event that benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. That is where I finally got to meet Rachel face to face! After months of being prayer friends, and Facebook friends, we finally became In Real Life Friends. 

The moment we met, Rachel reached out and hugged me, and I knew without a doubt that she was my kind of people.

That day at their auction, Rachel and Jeremy played a video that gave Hubby and I a tiny glimpse into their lives and what their little family goes through living with this difficult disease.  



Although we had heard of Cystic Fibrosis, we didn't really know much about it.  Since meeting this sweet family, we have come to learn so much more.  While we can't even imagine what daily life is really like for them, seeing this video was an eye opening experience for Hubby and me. That was the day we truly began to support their efforts in working toward finding a cure.


As God would have it, we would move far far away from this sweet family. And they would go on to become the parents of a third little guy they would name Beck. He is beautiful, adorable, and clearly Asher's brother. And sadly...Beck was also born with Cystic Fibrosis.

As I watch Rachel's little guys grow up in pictures and on video...I pray for them...I pray for her and Jeremy. I pray for that cure. I know there are so many worthy causes out there...there are so many children suffering...so many parents hurting. These aren't even the only friends we have whose children are fighting an illness.

But today God has laid it upon my heart...to share their story with you. If you live in the Gilbert, Arizona area, please attend their upcoming annual auction: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2014.

The 2014 teamASHER+BECK Silent Auction will be an event you will not want to miss. They will be offering an abundance of wonderful goods and services to bid on and all of the proceeds go toward the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's fight to finding a cure.

This is no small-time affair. Last year's auction raised $21,543.09 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and another $5,392.59 was added (from t-shirt sales and a 50/50 drawing) to Asher and Beck's medical fund for the boys' on-going medical expenses.

Here's a link to the 2013 video from that auction. It's full of Asher and Beck cuteness and another reminder to me why I'm writing this blog today.

If you would like to support TeamASHER+BECK, but will not be able to attend their awesome auction, then click this link to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of Asher & Beck.

Click this link if you would like to learn more information about The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

No...I don't get to have heart to heart chats with Rachel over coffee...I don't attend a Bible study with her...or go shopping...or do lunch...and we don't chat for hours on the phone. We aren't that kind of friends. We are two mommas...raising our boys...trying to do the best we can with the job God has called us to do. We are heart friends.

And I write this blog today as a Celebration of Love for a friend: Rachel, my heart friend.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Love Never Fails

Well here I am snuggled under two blankets with the furnace blasting and several inches of snow piled up outside on our lawn. It's been a cold snowy winter in the Midwest and according to a well known ground hog we aren't anywhere near done with it yet.

This weather makes Sister happy and I am truly happy it makes her happy. It makes me...cold. I'm not fond of being cold. I am often cold and it's actually painful for me at times. I don't know if I have ever mentioned this...but I'm a fan of sun and heat. Sun and heat does not make me cold.

But today I am in the Midwest and it is cold...so I will layer up...drink lots of hot tea...maybe make some soup...and think on love. That will warm me up.

And that brings me to what I want to write about today. I've been thinking about what love really is.

So in my Quest to Celebrate Love this month, with the help of the apostle Paul, I made a list just in case you were wondering what love really is.

1. Love is waiting...even when you want attention right now...or a response right now...or understanding right now.
Love is waiting for God's perfect timing.

2. Love is kindness...even when your feelings are hurt...or you are tired...or things aren't going your way.
Love is showing a little kindness.

3. Love is contentment...even when this isn't where you want to be at this point in your life...even when others have what you think you want...even when it seems there is no end in sight for your situation.
Love is finding contentment in your life at this moment.

4. Love is humility...even when you know how to do it better....and quicker...and you know it.
Love is being humble.

5. Love is honoring others...even when you don't feel like they have honored you.
Just love them and honor them anyway.

6. Love is others-focused...even when you feel like it's never about you...even when you would really like it to be all about you and your feelings...even when you think it's your turn.
Love is focusing on others.

7. Love is forgiving...even when you want to be really mad...even when you are totally justified for wanting to be really mad...even when you have every right to be really mad.
Love is forgiving anyway.

8. Love is letting it go...even when you want to dwell on it...brood...and think about it some more.
Yes, sometimes love is just letting it go.

9. Love is truth...even when it hurts...even when it's hard...even when you want to avoid it.
Love is truth.

10. Love is protection...because when you provide it or when your receive it, it's comforting.
Love is protection (giving it or getting it).

11. Love is trust...even when you are scared...unsure...or unconvinced.
Love is pushing aside the fear...and trusting.

12. Love is hope...even when it seems insurmountable...or feels impossible...or is just unimaginable.
Love is imagining it anyway.

13. Love is perseverance....even when you have tried so hard for so long...even when you really just want to give up.
Yes, love is when you keep going and don't give up.

Truly, Paul said it better in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

So I encourage you to wait, show kindness, find contentment, offer humility, honor and focus on others, forgive and just let it go, speak truth, protect, trust, have hope, and persevere. If you do...that is love... and you will not fail...because we are promised in I Corinthians 13:8 this very truth:
Love never fails. 


Monday, February 3, 2014

February: Celebrating Love

As crazy as it sounds, it really is true that we have already completed an entire month in 2014!

So on to February we go...and a new month means a new theme for me. Of course, I really felt I had no other choice than to Celebrate Love all month long...because what is better to celebrate than love in February?

Now...now...now...before you start rolling your eyes and clicking on something else...I'm not necessarily just talking about mushy lovey dovey kind of love (although I happen to think that kind is awesome)...no I'm talking about celebrating all the kinds of love this month.

Oh I'm sure I will share a few sappy stories along the way...but I have so much more to say about all the wonderful kinds of love that this life offers us.

As a matter of fact...as you probably know...February 14th is a very special day to celebrate love because it is Arizona Statehood Day. I'm sure you knew that Arizona became the 48th state on February 14, 1912. A little known fact about me is that I once lived in Arizona and I just love that state and quite a few people in it. So naturally it seemed right to Celebrate Love this entire month.

And really why not focus on something that not only do we get from God, but He has equipped us to be able to give as well?

A great description of this love is found in a letter the apostle John wrote to a group of Christians that were caught up in false teaching about who Jesus truly was. John knew Jesus personally. He had lived daily life with this incredible man. He was also a first hand witness to the miracles Jesus performed and the truly sinless life Jesus led on earth.

This is part of that letter written in 1 John 4:7-12:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Whether it's the Valentine mushy kind of love, Arizona Statehood kind of love, or the love of a Heavenly Father offered to his blessed children...there is plenty to celebrate this month...and that is something I just love.

*UPDATED*
Here are my February Celebrating Love posts:
Love Never Fails 
Heart Friends
So It's Not A Perfect Marriage
Beach Blessings
Forgiveness Is Such A Gesture Of Love
A Symbol of Love
Waiting...Again