My Love Affair

So it’s that time of year again; candy, cards, flowers, + romance.. It’s Valentine’s Day! While most of you whine + roll your eyes on this “commercialized” day, V day happens to be one of my very favorite holidays. And not because of the candy, cards, flowers, + romance, but because of the love I have for my friends, family, husband, + life in general. This deep respect I carry for this holiday came from family traditions + happy memories I had growing up. I remember how my cool aunt Hollee always went above + beyond for V day… She would throw fabulous parties for her girlfriends while she was single + plan extravagant dates for her husband once she was married. Everything was prepared with such attention to detail + exquisite taste- the menu, decorations, invitations, everything. My mom would also get us kids excited by making special meals, buying us gifts, flowers, + cards; + as she grew older, throwing parties for her single girlfriends. Of course as I became an adult I tried to keep the family traditions alive + throw parties while I was single or surprise friends with little gifts (I must note that I was not the best at it + one rough year in particular I decided to go see the movie Safe Haven ALONE instead of celebrating with anyone. Thank GOD for friends + roommates who were better than me at showing their love + appreciation + helped pull me out of that pit of embarrassing loneliness, which I am STILL thankful for!). This year I eagerly told Joe about this detailed, over the top party I had been envisioning + how excited I was to help all the women around me feel loved. He gently reminded me that our things (aka furniture, kitchenware, decorations, etc) would probably not be here in time but that he would be happy to help me buy some things anyways to throw the party. I was immediately bummed, I knew he was right, how could I possibly throw this perfect V day party without our things!? “That’s it!” I said hastily, “I’m either throwing a fabulously fun + perfect party or NO party at all! We’ll see.. maybe our stuff will arrive sooner than we think”. So of course, here we are, without our “things”… so no party this year. To compensate + get into the holiday spirit, I made about a million chocolate covered strawberries for everybody I knew + then some (Joe’s soldiers, Helen- our realtor, our neighbors. I felt like Oprah.. “You get a strawberry, you get a strawberry, EVERYBODY GETS A STRAWBERRY!!!”).

unnamed-12these strawberries plus another 60…

unnamed-13

Another part (+ completely different from the above story) of me getting into the spirit of Valentine’s day was thinking about love, specifically what I love. It’s so easy, I feel, to be surrounded by anger.. or sadness, or hate, or sorrow, or frustration. Flip on the news (or Facebook, or the radio, or ANYTHING) + you mostly hear words/phrases like:

-ISIS
-Ebola
-Terrorist attacks
-Starving children
-50 shades of Grey debates
-Rape
-Genocide
-“leggings: bad or good?”
-Measles
-Abuse

^^All of which evoke negative, passionate feelings.. I get pissed, frustrated, + unbelievably sad when I see stories about any of the above. Yet those things (+ many more like them) often dominate + consume our conversations, social media, and mind. WHY WHY WHY???!!!?! I understand that we need to know about what’s going on in the world, I get it. But why can’t we be equally uplifted by the happy, positive things we love, why only the things we despise? Because of this, I have decided to go through my gratitude journal and share a list of things that I love + that evoke a passion of gratitude and utter joy.

– The obvious things like my husband, family, and friends. I LOVE PEOPLE. I love all you messy, weird, imperfect humans who enrich my life!
Countries + Cultures. I love love love exploring! I love Korea! I love traveling! But most of all I love meeting HAPPY, good people from other countries + cultures!
FOOD! I love delicious food. I love raw fruits + veggies. I love nutella! I love fried pickles + lavender ice cream (not together.. ew). I love couscous + spam musubi. I love banana milk + expensive gourmet dinners. Ultimately, I love enjoying a meal with my favorite humans.
– I love heated floors + natural sun light <— Trust me, those things evoke serious passion!
Divine nature. I love that everyone has a divine quality they are born with + I love watching people (including ME!) continuously find that divine nature + draw strength from it day in + day out.
KIDS! I heart kids + babies guys. They make me laugh.. + smile. Whenever you get angry or sad, find a kid because they will put things in perspective + give you something to love + feel happy about.
The Army.. which leads me to my next one..
America. Must I explain this? (I think there are some bozos who need some explanation, but I’m trying to focus on feelings of love + joy.. not anger + hate haha) I love our country. I love our military. I love freedom. I love our founding fathers. I love what we stand for.
Love. I love love. It will always win. It will always triumph over hate, anger, bitterness. Love is the answer. It sounds cheesy, but stop + take a minute to think of what you are doing here in life. Why are you here? Why is anyone here? You may know the answer to that.. You may be searching for those answers. Or you may not care what the answer is or believe that there are multiple answers to those questions. But no matter what, we are all in this messy, hard, crazy world together. We are all surrounded by heart break, tragedy, hate, + the devastating effects of all three. But we are also surrounded by love + it is our job as human beings to help one another see + feel the love around us. That, to me, is one of the main points of life.

I encourage all of you to make a list of your own this Valentine’s day. Whether you are feeling sorry for yourself + eating Ben + Jerry’s alone on your couch right now or canoodling with your boo over a candle lit dinner, take time to remember what love really is. It can be silly + light hearted or deep + respectful. But in the end, love evokes happy, joyful emotions. Let’s focus on the LOVE y’all!!

XOXOXOX
Peace and love,
Vanessa

 

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