Greatest Valentine’s Day Gift

Valentine’s Day was always our favorite holiday of the year. My husband loved pampering me with gifts, flowers, romantic candle-lit dinners and always – cards. Some of my most cherished poems are written inside my Valentine’s Day cards. In one of our more penny-wise years, he hand-made a card out of a brown lunch bag – “love in a plain brown wrapper”.

I still have the first Valentine’s Day gifts and card he gave me – a coffee mug adorned with red hearts and “I Love You Today, Tomorrow, Forever” and a little cow that plays a lullaby. Some years he gave me tulips which we planted in our garden to enjoy each following spring. Some years I received roses or chocolates, and one year he surprised me with diamond earrings! But for every Valentine’s Day, he put so much thought into the cards, poems and gifts because he wanted to absolutely delight me.

Last March as we sat on our patio enjoying time together, he looked at me dismayed and very apologetically he said, “I’m sorry we didn’t have a romantic Valentine’s Day.” I told him it was the best ever, and I proceeded with the story.

I said, “I wore red, your favorite color for me, and the Three-Hearts brooch you gave me years ago. I sat at your bedside clinging to your hand and kept talking to let you know I was there. Around 11:00 a.m., Jeri stepped into the room, and your face lit up. At noon, two more visitors arrived. Despite the two-visitor limit for ICU, the nurses were compassionate and let all four of us stay in the room.”

I continued, “The other visitors were Pastor Dan and Elder Bob. Pastor Dan pastor pulled out a bottle of Zephyrhills pure spring water and proceeded to baptize you. Bob anointed you with frankincense oil, and we all joined hands and prayed for God’s merciful healing.”

At that point, tears were streaming down John’s face. He looked at me with his hands raised towards heaven and said, “Finally, I am a Child of the Most-high God!” You see, in all our years together, he had expressed his desire to be baptized. But like so many of us busy with life, we didn’t make it a priority.

Finally, last year on Valentine’s Day, John received the baptism he had always wanted. And even after our many romantic dinners, kisses, thoughtful presents, and cards, this turned  out to be the greatest gift either of us could have asked for – a gift that joined our souls even more completely than before.

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This Gift I Give To You From Me

In this season where many spend countless hours trying to find that “perfect gift” for friends and loved ones, I want to share a beautiful gift that my dear husband shared with me. It wasn’t wrapped in pretty paper or a beautiful gift bag, but it was written from his heart and soul. It’s the reason for the season, love . . . true love. It’s the greatest gift you can give.

I hope you enjoy, and I hope you share.

The presents are all opened from under the tree,

But there is still one more to you from me.

It can’t be wrapped with paper and bow

To hide its beauty so it won’t show.

For it shines brightly for all to see,

This gift I give to you from me.

I guess I should tell you in case you don’t know

That this gift is forever and each day it grows.

It grows bigger and stronger for all to see,

This gift I give to you from me.

It’s like the bright sun at the breaking of day.

It guides my path as I search my way.

The direction it shows is plain to see,

This gift I give to you from me.

It guides me to happiness, to love I’d never known.

It takes me to worlds I’d never before been shown.

What is this gift? I know you easily see,

This gift I give to you from me.

This gift is my LOVE, every ounce I have to give.

I pray that you will take it so that I may live.

My most precious possession, I hope you can see

Is this gift I give to you from me.

Please take my heart, my soul and my love.

Wrap them in your arms as gently as a dove.

Merry Christmas, my LADY, with true love from me.

This is the gift I give to you from me.

Spaghetti & Meatballs ?!?!?! Really?

Do you ever wonder why God places certain people in your path? I believe they are there when you need a sign that you are not alone. I believe they are they to provide a necessary connection to a loved one when you are too emotional to feel the tie you so desperately need.

Mary and Brian are two such people that have been placed in my life. John and I started attending Horizon Christian Church on Easter Sunday this year. We never met Mary and Brian, but they knew our beautiful story before they knew us. Since August, they are providing a much-needed connection between me and John without ever having met John themselves.

Over the last couple of months, I have been writing the beautiful love story between me and John. Mary is one of my “editors”. She is supposed to read as I write and provide feedback and input. However, as of last weekend, she hadn’t read a word that I sent her! She and Brian invited me over for dinner last Saturday, and I reluctantly accepted. She texted me that “they were going easy and having spaghetti and meatballs”.

We had dinner around 6:00 p.m. with their son and “Aunt” Connie. Mary had cooked spaghetti and meatballs and dinner included salad and bread. We enjoyed our meal and nice conversation. At some point, Mary asked me what I liked to eat? I said, “if you read our book, you would know the answer.” She rolled her eyes at me. Then she asked if I liked to drink wine. I said “yes” to which she asked, “what is your favorite?” Again, I said, “if you read our book, you would know the answer.  I’m not going to tell you.” At that point, she said, “ok, ok, I get it, I need to read your book!”

I don’t like driving in the dark by myself, so I left around 7:30 p.m. to go home. I thanked them for their kindness and meal. She packed me some pumpkin bread that she had bought for something sweet.

It was Sunday afternoon when I received a text message from Mary.  All it said was “started reading your book . . . spaghetti and meatballs?!?!?! Really? That blew my mind.”

You see, it blew her mind because she read it in our book after I left her house Saturday night.  Had she read the book ahead of time, she would have known that spaghetti and meatballs was one of John’s favorites.  The first Valentine’s lunch with John was at Olive Garden, and he ordered spaghetti and meatballs. On our day trip to Ybor City, we ate at Spaghetti Warehouse, and he ordered spaghetti and meatballs.  It was a meal he would order many more times over the years.

What Mary doesn’t know, because it’s not part of the book yet, is that pumpkin bread was our favorite that we enjoyed with our morning coffee. John always loaded up on canned pumpkin when it was in season, so that I could bake pumpkin bread and pumpkin bars throughout the year. I made sure I had a fresh loaf whenever Jeri came for Superbowl every year. How would she know that if John didn’t nudge her gently, speaking to her heart and soul, knowing I would be there with her?

So, why did God choose Mary and Brian to be my link to John?  I don’t know . . . I just share the story because it really happened.  I hope to provide inspiration to you, too.  Hopefully, I can help you Bea Positive that God’s ways are mysterious and inexplicable . . .you just have to Bea-lieve.

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