fbpx

10 {Meaningful} Valentine Gifts Money Can’t Buy

Gifts Money Can't Buy

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time to gift those you love with something far more meaningful than flowers or candy. Or books. Wait, what?

No doubt the Beatles were onto something with the lyrics “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Love⎯real love⎯cannot be purchased or persuaded. This kind of love cannot be bound by a date circled in red on our daily calendar. It deserves to be wooed year-round and is not limited to spouses. The ideas below can also be gifted to others, including singles and widows in your life who could use a little extra love this Valentine’s Day.

So here are ten no-bow-required ideas for Valentine’s  Any Day.

Priceless Valentine Day Gifts

TEN PRICELESS GIFTS TO GIVE ANOTHER
A Road Trip

Okay, so there’s gas money involved but you get the idea. Take your spouse to a place nearby that holds a special meaning for you both. For us, it’s Applebees and we still celebrate our first date in 1990 by eating dinner there every January 6th. Don’t have such a place? It’s time you create one. Or visit the place where you gave your life to Christ. Once in a blue moon, I still drive by the brick duplex where my condemnation kneeled in the presence of unconditional love.

A Bloody Lip

The gift is biting your lip, not bloodying the lip of another.  One of the best gifts we can give to another is to speak less and listen more. {At least that’s what I’ve been told *wink*}. Seriously, there are times I have to pray to be more aware of what I’m blurting out – like in the car. I’m not a great passenger. Most of us know what pushes the buttons of those closest to us and it’s our responsibility to not only be aware of those buttons but to also be proactive in promoting peace. Even if it means biting your lip once in awhile.

A Skill

Are you a whiz at saving money at the grocery store? Offer these skills to a new wife or mom trying to make ends meet. Mad skills in the kitchen? Offer your help to a new college grad setting up their own place. Like to clean? {You are my hero} Offer a final clean up job for someone moving. Like to piddle with cars? A single mom would love your help. The list goes on.

Forgiveness

People who have trouble forgiving others have yet to grasp the depth of their own sin. There it is. It probably hurts as much to read that statement as it was to write it. But the truth is when I struggle to forgive I need only look in the mirror to be reminded of how much God has forgiven me. And the crusty layer of bitterness attempting to form around my heart is divinely pummeled to pieces. Forgiveness is not only a gift we give to others. It’s also one we give to ourselves.

A Sticky Note

Or a dozen. Nothing says “I love you” like sticky notes proclaiming the specific reasons you {and/or God} love another plastered all over the house. Add a Hershey’s kiss to each one? Boom!

A Prayer

I would rather the prayers of one person who I’m confident will pray than ten dozen people promising to pray. Follow up a time of prayer for a person with a note letting them know how you prayed specifically on their behalf. Or if you’re with the person, pray with them on the spot.

Serve

This is intended to be a tad different from sharing a skill in that you don’t require any skills to simply serve someone else. Deliver a meal. Serve a meal. Welcome someone new at church. Babysit for a single mom. Cut grass for the elderly person down the street. Visit a nursing home. Again, the list goes on.

Your Time

It’s our most precious commodity so to give it away to another is a gift no bow can wrap itself around. Take a walk together, plan a hike, go out for coffee even though you have a Keurig at home (no distractions). Sit around a campfire with a marshmallow in hand (along with a Hershey bar…and graham cracker, of course). Or set aside a specific time each week with the sole purpose of catching up with one another.

Write A Poem

Yes, a poem. You don’t have to be Mary Oliver or Robert Frost to pen your feelings in a melodic way. Need help getting started? Here’s a link on how to write a poem for Valentines Day.

Write A Love Letter

If writing poetry intimidates you, turn to a letter. Spilling your heart onto the pages are priceless gifts that are sure to be tucked away for further reading in the future. Could it possibly serve as a tangible reminder for the generations that may one day plunder through their family’s possessions? We never know. I’ve discovered priceless letters to loved ones in my family homes and they are treasured.

Now let’s go love on others with the indescribable love of Christ!

Do you have another idea to add? Or is there one above you plan to try this year? Please share in the comment section.

 

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing and each weekly post will land in your inbox. No searching. No bookmarking required. You can unsubscribe at any time. Thank you for sharing your time with me!

Silence in the Snow and Why We All Need It

Our Former House on the City Street

Our Former House on the City Street

In our former house on a city street, snow was the only hope for silence.

Every other day was filled with sounds of cars and trucks whizzing by, occasionally hitting the telephone pole that sat only inches away from the road. Across the street was the police department and catty-corner to the old home place was the fire department. No time was sacred — the blaring horn and flashing lights swooped by our house day and night. I’m thankful for their service but having a fire department for a neighbor doesn’t make for a quiet home.

But when the snow fell, there was a glorious mingling of silence and awe.

Craving more silence than a bi-yearly snow event (if we were lucky!) my heart began yearning for a quieter space — not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually. I wanted a place where my words could settle before being dampened by a siren. When our grandchildren moved 45 minutes north of the city that only fueled the desire to move even more.

And move is exactly what we did. In the past, our house was the deciding factor, not the land or lot. But this time we flipped the normal pattern. We wanted a few acres, away from any busy roads, and if possible, a mountain view. God blessed us with all three. The house is slowing becoming a home — our home — thanks to Brian’s mad house-spiffing up skills. {I plan to share some before and after pics in the coming weeks!}

This past weekend, snow fell to the tune of 4+ inches at our “new” home near the mountains. Although silence is now the norm {except for a nearby rooster crowing and hunting dogs howling}, snow is still a welcomed guest. It reminds me how vital silence is to my walk and well-being. Thankfully, we can all experience silence of the significant sort regardless of where we live. But for those like me who are uber sensitive to surrounding sounds, it’s helpful to live somewhere other than a busy city street.

Barn in the Snow

Our Barn on the Hill

So why is it vital that we seek out silence (confident that it won’t go in search of us)?

  • Silence is good for our health. According to this study, children living near the Munich airport had significantly higher blood pressure than children in quieter neighborhoods, putting them at risk for heart problems later in life.
  • Periodic silence breeds creativity. Our minds are bombarded with texts, emails, calls, alerts, etc. Just like paper needs whitespace in order for our words to breathe, so our mind needs silent space.
  • Most importantly, silence invites the voice of God to speak and it inclines our ears to hear. This virtue of silence is prized among all others as it alone has the power to usher in the only voice that brings change from the inside out. You know, the lasting type. Silence offers us the privilege and opportunity of “hearing” from the One who gives hope to the hopeless, joy to those struggling to make it through another day, peace in the midst of chaos. And as we receive it, we also give it — through our lives, the stories we write, and the songs we sing.

So, how do we incorporate more periodic silence into our daily lives? Nothing new here but it bears repeating based on the above:

  • Choose it. No one else can do it for us. If silence doesn’t come easy for you, start out with one-minute intervals throughout your day. Have no agenda other than to remain silent. Speaking of which…
  • Lose it. The ringer, that is. Turn off your phone and shut the laptop when practicing a time of silence.
  • Refuse it. Turn off your radio when you’re in the car. I know, it’s hard for me too as I love music and the voices of Chuck Swindoll, James MacDonald, and Chip Ingram, but refuse to allow the sounds of the world {even the good sounds} to rob us from the best sound of all…silence.
The View From Our Front Porch

The View From Our Front Porch

Before you go, in celebration of the first snow that fell at our new home and maybe yours too, savor these words from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. Her poem, First Snow:

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles, nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a single
answer has been found —
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

How do you incorporate periodic silence into your life? Do you find silence to be a friend or foe? Please share in the comment section!

 

If you like what you read here, please consider subscribing to my weekly post by simply sharing your email address in the sidebar section. You may subscribe at any time. Blessings!

Research Links:
iheartintelligence.com

When Photography and Poetry Mingle

Poetry by Mary Oliver + Photography + Snow = Love.

Okay, not the real kind, but it is a type of joy that causes me to look upwards and thank God for the little things in life.

When snow fell ever so lightly a couple weeks ago I grabbed my camera and headed outdoors to savor my favorite weather event.

{Camera + snow = loving!}

Without a doubt, Mary Oliver is my favorite contemporary poet. Her love of nature is evident in most everything she writes. The fluidity of her words smooths even the most ruffled of feathers.

 

First Snow
 
The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,

whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles, nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creek bed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a single
answer has been found –
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.


–Mary Oliver ©

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s often the simple things in life that brings us tidbits of joy throughout our days? What’s one simple thing you’re thankful for today? 



A Poet’s Nod to Autumn – Mary Oliver’s Fall Song

Poetry done well has a way of meandering its way into one’s soul. It moves us, inviting us to observe life from a fresh perspective. Mary Oliver is my favorite poet. Every time I read her work I want to grab paper and pen. Every. Single. Time. She inspires me—and I believe she will inspire you as well, which is why I’m sharing her Fall Song with you today.
 
Be sure to add your favorite line to the comment section!

 

 

Fall Song

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.
– Mary Oliver

The Fragrance of Love: Poetry, Mary Oliver, and Owls

by Cathy Baker

I LOVE poetry, Mary Oliver, and yes, owls. 

So imagine my delight when all three loves were realized in one particular poem.

Whether you’re a lover of poetry or not, I encourage you to read Mary Oliver’s poem slowly. Simply find one line that you enjoy, one description that makes you smile.

Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchards
by Mary Oliver
His beak could open a bottle,
and his eyes—when he lifts their soft lids—
go on reading something
just beyond your shoulder—
Blake, maybe,
or the Book of Revelation. 
Never mind that he eats only
the black-smocked crickets,
and dragonflies if they happen
to be out late over the ponds, and of course
the occasional festal mouse.
Never mind that he is only a memo
from the offices of fear—
it’s not size but surge that tells us
when we’re in touch with something real,
and when I hear him in the orchard
fluttering
down the little aluminum
ladder of his scream—
when I see his wings open, like two black ferns,
a flurry of palpitations
as cold as sleet
rackets across the marshlands
of my heart,
like a wild spring day. 
Somewhere in the universe,
in the gallery of important things,
the babyish owl, ruffled and rakish,
sits on its pedestal.
Dear, dark dapple of plush!
A message, reads the label,
from the mysterious conglomerate:
Oblivion and Co.
The hooked head stares
from its blouse of dark, feathery lace.
It could be a valentine.
In tomorrow’s post, I’m sharing an opportunity to win a little something that might help you in making your own notes of observation for poetry, prose, and life.
But for now, I’d love to know the word or line that resonated with you most today!
Tiny House on the Hill

Are you a member of the Creative Pauses community?

 

Sign up for the monthly "Letter from The Tiny House on the Hill" to join our community and receive the latest seasonal gift, posts, behind-the-scenes information, creative resources, and a monthly giveaway!

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Welcome to the Creative Pauses community! Make yourself right at home.

Pin It on Pinterest