Today, in my journal, I was thinking about that over-used and under-employed word, L-O-V-E. It's so often rinsed out and used-up of its real potency. Nevertheless, in its truest description, its potency is undeniable. When we remember to harness its energy, our impatience melts. Our fears subside. Our angst dissipates.
Love is really not something we give or get. But rather, it's something we nurture and grow. It's a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them. We can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Posters and Products is a new collection I've begun which offers wall posters paired with inspirational text. There's also tote bags, pillows and t-shirts available in many of the designs.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! It's a day that conjures up images of pink and red hearts, chocolate decadence and romanticized perfection. We have lots of happy associations with it, such as the construction paper hearts that were tucked in our school desks or the packets of miniature confections stamped with messages such as “Be Mine”. But Valentine’s Day also elicits unpleasant associations.
The day can be met with some unpleasant associations - both in men and women. Guys usually dread it. It makes them feel awkwardly obliged to fulfill Hallmark’s fantastical imagery. For women, it evokes expectations that, if looked at objectively, are unfair and unrealistic. Truthfully told, Valentine’s Day invites feelings of dissatisfaction, resentment, and isolation.
But the holiday holds so much potential if we strip away the commercialized hype and look at what l-o-v-e really spells out for us. It could offer a lot more positive possibilities - for everyone.
When we examine the fullness of the word “love”, we see that it stretches far beyond the limitations of Rom-Com movies and Hallmark greeting cards. It implies weightier ingredients that encompass every human relationship - regardless of their “relationship status”.
One ancient Biblical text helps magnify its broader application:
"Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up..."
( Excerpt from I Corinthians 13 TPT)
I wish we could reinvent Valentine’s Day! Can’t you just imagine how much better it could be if we took a day to celebrate a fuller definition of what love is? Because, in the words of the poet, Rumi,
“Love is the bridge between you and everything.”
How different would your Valentine's Day look if we magnified the meaning of "love"?
Restful Reflections: A Guided Journal for Tending the Heart
Years come and go with such a steady rhythm, don't they? And they gather themselves in bundles of decades in the blink of an eye! Then, as our quota of “bundles” increases, it can get challenging to sort through any lessons they may be hiding.
Some years feel silent and innocuous while others scream for attention. We would do well to pause and listen. That's what I've done this past year. I slowed my pace, quieted my heart and used the tool of reflective journaling to listen, sort and assess.
I fell head-over-heels in love with what I call reflective journaling - responses to strategically applied questions. Its a power-packed device for appraising and analyzing thoughts and situations.
Armed with an understanding of the potency of this type of journaling, I pivoted my mission away from Art Parties and began developing a line of journals and workshops, convinced of its power.
If you, too, are feeling the nudge to pause and reflect, I encourage you to consider the compelling capabilities of reflective journaling. It will be my topic here in subsequent notes. Below, you’ll find one of my newest books, Restful Reflections: A Guided Journal for Tending the Heart.
I invite you to allow yourself the gift of self-reflection.
Thanks for visiting.
Here's wishing grace and peace for your day!
This sweet-faced woman was inspired, like most of my pieces, by a noisy little thought rolling and bumping around inside my heart. Thoughts like these get tacked down and captured in my journal. Often, they later appear on canvas. This small serene lady, clutching a glowing heart, grew out of a particularly personal reflective thought:
“As I grow in years, I want to grow in grace. Though my body may sag and droop, I want my heart to be stout and filled with kindness and mercy. I don’t want to be crotchety, cranky and full of unresolved angst. God, help me...”
That was etched in my notebook. It's still there. And the thought still returns to roll around my head. Because I know it to be absolute truth that with the accumulation of years, there comes a proportionate accumulation of potential offenses and disappointments.
Aging is inevitable but aging with grace involves choices. But each time we choose to extend mercy or practice humility we take steps toward keeping the warm glow of life and hope in our heart.
"Spreading Love" by Eleatta
From The Love and Longings Series
I think Mother Teresa said it most elegantly, "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."
Did you know January 24 is National Compliment Day? Yep. It's a real thing! The power of a compliment is sadly underestimated. At a time in our culture with so many people feeling disconnected and alone, a simple compliment has amazing potential. We're all longing to be seen and heard. It's the basic yearning of the human heart.
The simple fact is this. When we receive kind words we're more likely to give them. Then, in giving them, we create possibilities for continued ripples.
When I heard about National Compliment Day, I thought, "Wow! That's an occasion more folks should know about!" So do you want to join me? Let's think of someone we could offer some heartfelt words to bolster them. Who knows what sparks of hope might be kindled from an encouraging text, appreciative email, warm voice message, or note of gratitude?
I remember a compliment I was given a while ago. It came at a time I felt particularly weak and alone because I'd been listening to little "gremlin voices." You know, they're those pesky whispers that try to convince us that we're not enough. They suggest thoughts like, "Who do you think you are, anyway?" or "You don't have what it takes." Someone sent a simple two-sentence email to me;
"I just want to thank you for the art you make - for your heart that you put into it. The small painting I purchased from you a few months ago has been helping me as I recover from some deep sadness after the loss of my Mom."
Needless to say, that short message silenced those gremlins. When they reappear, as they tend to do, I still pull up that email and let my heart feel it's words.
What's been your experience with compliments? Have you seen your own words revitalize someone or have you been on the receiving end of a jolt of positivity? I'd love to hear.