Gifts of love

I still remember the first Valentine’s Day with my husband — my then boyfriend. Or not even “official” boyfriend yet (we had only been dating a couple of months). I knew I was going to marry him, but we had not defined labels yet.

We were on our way to a movie the week before when he asked me casually: “So, what are you doing for Valentine’s Day?”

I was so excited I could barely wait to duck into the bathroom at the movie theater and call my friend Stephanie, “He asked me to go out with him on Valentine’s Day!” After all, that meant something. I was going to be his Valentine.

Fast forward almost a decade later to today — an unseasonably warm 70 degrees, blue-skied February day in Texas. I asked my husband, “Isn’t it like this every day of the year in San Diego? Why doesn’t everyone in the world live there?”

We spent all day outside, working on the garden fence and the plant beds. With dirt under my nails and children at my feet, I dug up and moved some azaleas and spider plants from here to there. I pulled weeds that held firm to thick clay soil and dug my hands into the cold earth below to make room for transferred plants with dangling roots. Our wildflowers have been blooming early (they are as eager for Spring as I am!) and I pulled a handful yesterday and piled them into a water-filled mason jar turned farmhouse vase. It sat in the middle of our diningroom table last night as friends poured wine and piled pasta and listened to music over the speakers.

There’s a part of the mass where the priest says the words “…Through Christ our Lord, from whom all good things come.” Those words always stand out to me. For these simplest of joys — the dirt, the earth, the plants, the pasta — these are daily gifts from God reminding me: you are loved.

Every time I dig my hands into the earth or wrap my arms around my babies. Every time I cut into a juicy pear or pick a wildflower. Every time I kiss my forever Valentine or share a meal with loved ones — I am reminded, once again, that these are gifts of love from Him who is Love Himself. Him from whom all good things come.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” – James 1:17

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