V:  Voices lifted in laughter
A:  Awe that was sweet….whatever the gesture!
L:  Loving one another
E:  Enjoying our time together
N: Niceness….kindness…..are they both the same?
T:  Thoughtfulness brings smiles
I:  Include others because someone feels lonely
N:  Never wait to tell someone how much they’re appreciated
E:  Everyday is an opportunity to make someone feel special

Valentine’s Day is coming up and of course it’s a day to show a loved one how much they mean to you.  We tend to think ‘couples,’ on Valentine’s day, but love comes in so many forms.  I’m closing my eyes to just the ‘twosome’ of couples on the 14th.  

Oh yes, I’d love to be a part of the ‘duo’ that receives flowers, dines, dances, gaze adoringly at one another, and ends the evening with a cozy kiss.  However for me, there’s slightly less than a 1% chance of that outcome.

 Being a teacher, I receive valentines from my students.  I was gifted with homemade cookies from one of my sweet girls.  They smelled lovely!    There’s the chocolate roses and the Hershey Kisses and the valentines full of super heroes smacked across the front of tiny cards proclaiming, “You’re Super, Valentine!”  My favorite valentines are hand written notes from my students.  They remind me why I wanted to teach and are full of sincere love.

Love from one person to another;  It doesn’t matter if it’s from friendship or family.  Genuine kindness shown to another makes our heart smile.  From adults to adults, adults to children, or children to children, or even to pets.

My apartment complex is showering the residents and pets this week with sweetness.  Each day they are doing or giving a gesture of appreciation.  There’s been breakfast and pizza at the gate, pet treats, and people treats in the form of candy hanging on the door knob.

A couple of weeks ago, I was treated to a Barry Manilow concert ticket from my friend, Karen.  The evening made me smile.  All those old songs brought back fond memories from 1974 through the 1990’s.  Songs like Mandy, I Write the Songs, and Copacabana… toe tapping and light!  Love shared from friend to friend.

In bible study this week, we read Philippians 2:1-5          (HCSB)

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal.  Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves.  Everyone should look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others.    

If we lived with an attitude like Christ Jesus our world would certainly be different.  My Christ like attitude was lost a few times this week.  Sometimes the thoughts only echoed in my mind and other times they escaped my lips.  I need an ‘anchor chart’ of that verse posted on my classroom wall, in my car, standing in the grocery line, and everywhere else I go.  Do you think the verse is too long for a tattoo going down the length of my inner arm?  Then I could read it whenever I need reminded to consider others more valuable and important than myself.

I’m sure the ultimate valentine is Jesus.  He’s there to love me, listen to my words, hold me when I am weak, and bring joy when I feel low.  He provides all I need, fights for me when my soul is weary, and forgives me when I fail.  He’s always with me.  He sends flowers to bloom in the field, sunshine to warm me, and blue sky to brighten my days and make me smile.  I’m showered with diamonds in the form of twinkling stars.  I dance to the music of insects and breezes blowing through the trees.  Each day I’m reminded that I’m loved.

His only requirement is that I believe in Him, worship Him above all, and tell about His amazing attributes, and about the gift of salvation He offers.  He truly is our amazing God.  To love others above myself should be easy because He set such a beautiful example, but being human I struggle with the ‘me’ centered part of this world.  Occasionally, I’ll catch myself being the person I want to be permanently.  He believes that I could be THAT person through Him.

So back to Valentine’s Day;  That one day when someone brings chocolate, sends flowers, goes on a ‘date’ and makes the other person feel special.  I am feeling a bit jealous now that I actually typed those words!  However, I’m going to repress that thought!

Whichever way love is shown, glory in the specialness of it.  If it’s by a word or a deed, know that it is a compliment towards you.  I’m remembering the acts of service John would do for me or Cam or other people.  He gave his heart in service.  His tongue would sometimes rule, but overall, he did love through deeds.  In the busyness of life, it is so easy to get caught up in the small piddling moments and forget to treasure people.

Our school recently participated in a ‘kindness’ awareness month where acts of kindness was spotlighted.  Students made posters and they are hanging in our hallways.  Walking down the halls, we are lifted up with messages of promoting kindness. They make me smile and I think others too.

One day to show love to someone is pinpointed on the calendar as February 14th; Valentine’s Day.  We do special things for one another and we name it ‘Happy!’  We’re blessed that there are 364 more days to do the same thing with friends, family, students, and whoever else we touch in our lives.

1 John 4:7

Have a wonderfully, lovely Valentine’s Day!  Love to all….