Valentines Day was made up by Hallmark my father used to say. He would still buy my mother a Lincoln Rose bush or cook her favorite meal, but he was a nay- sayer. Being in the restaurant industry for so many years we used to come to have a love/hate relationship with the day because as one of the single most busiest days, it was also the day when guys who would never darken our doors the other 300 or so we were open would call at 4:30 PM to try to beg a table reservation because they had been neglectful. At the same time the February boost in sales was always very welcome after slow Januaries. Now that we don’t own a restaurant we can choose when we want to celebrate.
Our first gift from God is friends. We invited two couples over for Valentines dinner on Sunday evening. I decorated with pink and red, pulled out the crystal and my mother-in-laws silver and used a runner I bought at the church Haiti closet years ago. I even made little heart shaped butters with pink salt but you can’t distinguish the salt color. For dessert I served molten chocolate cakes made with E. Guitarrd Chocolate and served with homemade vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate dipped dates. This is such a great, easy recipe to make ahead and pop in as you are finishing your meal. It only takes 13 min to cook and 20 to prepare in advance. We had a great time.
The second gift is my husband, John. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last year and I swear he gets sexier every day. A friend recently posted that she and her husband were above giving chocolates and flowers and meaningless gifts to each other Valentine’s Day, they were just exchanging Tamiflu and tissue boxes as they had both come down with the flu, but different strains so they were quarantined to separate areas of their home. Which brings me to this morning at our house because I too am stricken with an illness – tested negative for flu – that has gone to my chest and lungs and nasal passages. So after a rough night of sleep I finally fell back to sleep at 5 AM and woke myself up coughing then gasping for breath which I was unable to inhale. John was out of the room so I started smacking on the headboard and making loud noises with my hands somehow. Oh my! It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. He came running to help but didn’t know what to do. We finally located a rescue inhaler I had snagged out of my kids’ medicine chest left behind by an overnight friend no doubt; I spied it while looking for cough syrup. So after a couple of puffs, breaths and calming down a little, John started a hot steamy shower for me and stayed by my side while I inhaled the steam. He totally abandoned a very important business proposal he had planned to finalize and submit today. After reading our first day of our Lenten devotional while waiting on the doctor to call back we decided to choose Hebrews 12:14 as our verse that we would live by today:
Hebrews 12:14 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
So, if I’ve ever not shown you sympathy for an illness or the scariness of an asthma attack, for example, please forgive me. I offer you peace. It reminds me of the story of Corrie Ten Boom after encountering one of the guards who had been her captor and torturer in a Nazi prison camp. He approached her after a talk she gave years later and she recognized him but he did not recognize her. Still he praised her address and confessed that he had been one of the heinous guards and after his conversion to Christianity he knew God forgave him but he asked for her forgiveness as well and stuck out his hand. Her next thoughts and actions are truthful, revealing and empowering. God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit cannot be disputed. Look up this encounter. I’ve never read her books but I must now because she is a very special person. Though she was a Christian she rescued many Jews. The Jewish faith says that a person who dies on the same date as their birth is very special. I want to learn more about her. So, my husband John, was my strong believer and rescuer this morning and throughout the day as he did not leave my side.
Gift number three from God?
Well, as you may know we have recently moved to a small hobby farm and have acquired a number chickens. Since I love to bake I’m relishing their eggs and every day we thank God for this beautiful piece of land and the bounties it gives us, the joys and the challenges. Once we had our chickens put in jail. Not kidding!
This afternoon after finally falling asleep undisturbed by coughing or strained breathing thanks to a breathing treatment and steroid shot from the Doctor, I woke up to this text from John in the pasture: ” Did you see the eggs? ”
I went out the back door to our table to find that our newest Aracauna chickens had finally laid a single, beautiful , blue egg! It was truly a gift from God! I took it as rainbow or peace offering from him, saying ” You made it through! I’m sorry I scared you! ”
How can anyone not believe in this God that snatches our breath then gives it back in another perfect, beautiful life offering?
That is the best Valentine’s Day I might have had yet! God’s love revealed in a peace offering!