What Does Love Have to do with a Fence?

I have so much to learn and relearn about LOVEmy word for 2017.

Monday, I hurried into Target with my list, but my mind wasn’t on shopping. I wanted to figure out what Real Love means.

I wanted to tuck Love into a box. Tie a bow on it.  Move on.

I stopped at the front of the store where they put seasonal things on sale and came home with three Valentine’s Day items that weren’t on my list:

Heart-shaped lights to go over the kitchen table–

A pack of Valentines.

A notepad decorated with conversation candy.

After I hung the lights, I lit three red candles in the kitchen.

But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t satisfied.

Love is more than Valentine’s Day. It’s more than red hearts and white, lacy doilies.

What is Real Love? 

Does Real Love always mean giving, giving, giving and saying yes? 

Maybe it would help to define what Real Love isn’t. 

I usually think better in the woods, so I took the dogs for a walk. The trees were bare, and I noticed something.

The fence. 

It runs horizontally, and you can only see it in the winter. 

But it’s always there. 

I crunched my way through the dead leaves and stood beside it.

It’s just a fence. A useless fence. 

But for some reason, I was drawn to it.

The fence doesn’t even keep the dogs in the backyard. 

It marks our property line

What difference does the property line make? 

With the dogs standing quietly at my side, I stood there praying, thinking, wondering. 

The fence matters. 

The thought came softly, but it startled me.

I remembered a book I’d studied in a ladies’ small group, Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John TownsendWe even did the workbook. 🙂

Back in my office, I found my copy of Boundaries. 

Chapter One–What Does a Boundary Look Like?

In small group, we talked about how fences are physical boundaries, and how physical and emotional boundaries are necessary.

I skimmed my notes:

1. Boundaries (fences) define our personal property. Our space.

2. Boundaries show where one person ends and another person begins.

3. Boundaries protect us. They keep the good in and the bad out.

4. Boundaries aren’t selfish. They’re loving and kind.

We discussed the power of the word NO–

The importance of keeping emotional and geographical distance when appropriate.

How to back up our boundaries with consequences.

Whew…

Real love includes fences. 

Real love doesn’t always mean, YES. Of course. Let me do that for you. 

Real love isn’t about red and pink hearts. Sometimes it means loving yourself enough to say, “No.” Click to tweet.

Does this side of love stir your emotions?

It does mine. I’m reading Boundaries again. 

Love,

Julie

 

 

Staying in Love–A Valentine Porch Party

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I decided to interview my husband of 37 years. I wanted to find out how he felt about one of my favorite days of the year.

The Day of Love. 

What better time to talk than during a porch partyEvery morning we get up with the roosters, drink coffee, read Jesus Calling, and pray.

Friday afternoon, I set the stage.

I spruced up the table with ivy, fluffed our red blankets, and put out a new candle.

I made a cake and bought  heart-shaped candy.

I chose a valentine card for him covered in conversation hearts. 

Saturday morning.

7:15. 

I sipped my coffee and carefully posed my question.

“When you were a little boy, didn’t you just love Valentine’s Day?”

He didn’t say a word.

Maybe he didn’t understand the question. 

“After school, I hurried home and dumped out the cards in my Valentine box on my bed.”

No comment.

“I analyzed each one very carefully. I could tell if the sender really liked me by the words on the card. And I loved choosing just the right card for my friends. Didn’t you do that?”

“No. I threw away all the cards that said ‘Be mine’ or ‘I love you’.”

“You never tried to figure out which girls liked you by their cards?”

“No. Never.”

You are the strangest person I’ve ever met.

“Okay. Forget the cards. How did you feel about Valentine’s Day?”

“I hated it. All the pink and white lacy stuff.”

I can’t believe it. 

My husband hates Valentine’s Day. 

Poor Charlie Brown. I could identify with him. If you can’t see the video, click here.

I had one more question, but I was afraid I knew the answer.

“Do you still hate it…now that you’re grown?”

He looked at me and sorta smiled. “Nah. It’s not too bad anymore. I have fun picking out those big, tacky cards for you.” Reaching into the pink dish, he chose a chocolate covered heart.

Then he opened it and handed it to me. 

It was just as good as if he’d said–

BE MINE.

I’M YOURS.

ALWAYS.

Staying in love means you give your heart away–over and over. Click to Tweet.

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?

Did you look forward to it as a child? Did you analyze your cards like I did?

Any memories or thoughts you want to share?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

Porch Party…Valentine’s Day Style and a GF Recipe

Every morning, my husband Rick and I start the day together on the front porch. Sunday morning at our Porch Party, I did a trial run for Valentine’s Day. I fluffed the red blankets in our rocking chairs, lit a red candle, poured our coffee in (almost) red mugs, and put out heart-shaped chocolate. I had a lovey-dovey question all ready for him.

(The blueberry muffins are gluten-free. Recipe at the bottom.)

“Let’s tell why we love each other,” I said.

He didn’t comment. Just petted Clyde, our yellow Lab.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll go first. I love that you aren’t a whiner. You fixed the light in the well-house when it was 22 degrees outside without complaining. You’re honest. You’re funny. You’re a good father. I have lots more to say, but you go ahead. Name a few things you love about me.”

He rocked. Sipped his coffee. “All that stuff you said.”

“That doesn’t count. We’re opposites.”

“Help me out, Clyde. Why do we love her?”

I felt like Sally–doing all the talking.  Guess who was acting like Snoopy.

“Why do you love me?” I said.

“Lots of reasons.”

“Tell me one.”

“Well…you listen to people. You care.”

“Ohhh, that’s sweet. What else?”

He got quiet–finally said something. “Look in that tree. There’s a mourning dove.”

Um-hmm.”

“Hear that? She’s calling her mate.”

“Maybe he’s calling her,” I said.

“Could be.”

“They belong together. Like us. That’s what you meant, wasn’t it?” 🙂

“Something like that.”

I smiled. His feelings are there all right. He just speaks in a different love language.

Readers, how about you? What’s your love language?

Incredible Gluten-free Bluberry Muffins and strawberry ones would be even more Valentine’s Day-ish!

(I found out I have Celiac five years ago.)

2 cups Pamela’s GF Pancake and Baking Mix  (There are other GF flours and flour mixtures.)

2 eggs

1/3 cup melted butter or veg oil

2/3 cup milk or yogurt (I used vanilla yogurt)

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (keep frozen until ready to use)

1. Preheat oven to 375 and get pan ready.

2. Mix eggs, butter or oil, milk or yogurt, and sugar.

3. Add flour.

4. Fold in blueberries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12-16 muffins.

Love,

Julie