Tag Archives: love

Whether You Have A Valentine or Not

celebrate valentine

I love love.

It’s the basis of the stories I write. There’s nothing I adore more than a swoon-worthy story about a man and woman falling in love.

So, you’d think I’d love Valentine’s Day, right?

Truth is, I don’t. I think it’s a semi-ridiculous holiday that’s commercialized and doesn’t really celebrate anything except spending money. It can be fun, sure, but it seems rather silly to me to feel obligated to celebrate something on one day that should be celebrated every single day.

And another truth is that not everyone has a Valentine.

There are those who are single because they are still waiting for Mister or Miss Right.

There are those who are single because they’ve chosen to be.

There are those who are in relationships that are anything but loving.

Not everyone has someone who loves them the way that God intended love to be.

Yet, we can still focus on love and let it warm our hearts and our souls.

If we’re supposed to celebrate love today, let’s celebrate LOVE. The kind that breaks down barriers and goes beyond cards and teddy bears and chocolates. Let’s celebrate the love that binds people. And let’s celebrate the ultimate Love.

Let’s celebrate the love that allows a man to escort his niece to a father-daughter dance because her father can’t attend.

Let’s celebrate the love that has a little boy deliver flowers to his favorite aunt at work.

Let’s celebrate the love of a woman being there for a friend who is going through a tough time.

Let’s celebrate the love of a solider putting his life on the line to save the life of a fallen comrade.

Let’s celebrate the love of an adult caring for his aging parents.

Let’s celebrate the love of a teacher who goes above and beyond for her students.

Let’s celebrate the love of a grown son who is helping his own father turn his life around.

Let’s celebrate the love of those who are willing to open their homes to children in need of a safe place to sleep.

Let’s celebrate the love of families serving overseas to save lives and bring the Gospel to the lost and hurting.

Let’s celebrate love.

(The above examples all came from people I know.)

Let’s celebrate the ultimate love– the love of God for all of humanity. He loves us so much that he was willing to send his son to die on a cross for our salvation.

hands reachingYou might be in a place where you, too, think Valentine’s Day is ridiculous.

Perhaps you’re waiting for your forever Valentine. This season of waiting can be very challenging and some of you may even question whether or not you’ll ever find someone to love you unconditionally.

Whether or not your true love will ever come in human form, the blessing of your life is that today, right now, you can celebrate a True Love in a form that is greater than can ever be demonstrated by humankind. God’s love for us is overwhelming. It’s unconditional and it’s real. It is a reason to celebrate!

My prayer for all of you, friends, is that you will celebrate today, even on this silly, commercialized holiday, whether you have a Valentine or not. Celebrate demonstrations of love all over the world–celebrate the Ultimate Demonstration of Love.

Celebrate how love changes the world, one life at a time.

Share with me: What act of love have you seen demonstrated lately that really touched your heart?

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Going Beyond Forgiveness

grave hands

There’s a person in my life who makes me feel like I’m on a constant roller coaster.

I never know where I stand with her. Sometimes I think we’re friends and then she’ll let me know in no uncertain terms that we are not. Followed shortly by a bought of close “friendship.” Followed by me finding myself in the dog house. Followed by her friendship. Dog house. Friendship. Dog house. Vicious cycle.

I find the entire thing very difficult to bear, especially because I’m the innocent bystander. This person holds a grudge like I have never seen in my life, and has often complained to me about the wrongs done to her by others– wrongs she’s stated that she will never, ever forgive.

This person is a born-again, God fearing, Bible believing Christian. Who refuses to forgive.

I’m certain I’m on her list of “unforgivables” for at least one thing or two, and I don’t even know what I’ve done.

I’ve been reading through the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow and its brilliance has blinded me.

In the chapter on forgiveness, she points out that unforgiveness breeds the seeds of bitterness. She goes on to say that those who refuse to forgive will suffer, as per the parable Jesus told in Matthew 18:23-35 about the man who refused to forgive the debtor as the king forgave him, and he was sent to the torture chamber.

If we refuse to forgive, we will suffer the torture of our own bitterness, eating us up inside, destroying us from the inside out. Jesus told us so.

As I read through this chapter, I thought of my friend. But I also came to realize that I needed to forgive. I need to make sure I’ve forgiven her for all of the times she’s hurt me with the pendulum swings of her emotions and unforgiveness.

But I have to go beyond making the choice to forgive (and yes it is a choice, because we don’t often want to).

Linda poses this question in her book– what have you done to show that you’ve forgiven?

This question hit me square in the chest. It’s one thing to forgive someone within yourself. It’s an entirely other thing to make the choice to show, through action, that you’ve forgiven.

And this forgiveness should apply to everyone– your spouse, friends, family members, acquaintances, neighbors…

Some people think, “I’ll forgive, but I’m going to cut that person out of my life.”

But what of the example of Christ? How many times did the disciples disappoint him? When they fell asleep in the garden when he needed them. When he was betrayed. When they acted out of fear. Etc., etc., etc.

But Jesus always forgave. And beyond that, he showed them love. He didn’t cut the people who had wronged him from his life–just the opposite. Jesus reached out to those who had wronged him and chose to show love through his actions.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:9-10,14,18

This is what we are commanded to do.

Go beyond the forgiveness. Make a conscious choice to forgive, over and over and over with the same person if necessary, and make a choice to deliberately and intentionally show love through action.

This is how we grow in Christ, and this is how we truly mirror him and reflect the spirit within us.

Share with me: Can you think of a time when someone forgave you and went beyond the forgiveness to show you love?

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Are You Writing to Your Character’s Love Language?

My Sunday school class recently started a new study– The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

Some of you have probably heard of this book/study. It’s been around for awhile and has pretty much become a staple for anyone getting married or working to improve their marriage. (Aren’t we all?)

Although I’ve known about this book for years, I had never read it. So when my Sunday school teacher announced that this would be our study for the quarter, I was really excited.

I really wanted to get into the nitty gritty of what my love language is and what my husband’s is. And once we both took the quiz to discover that information, I was not at all surprised by the results. It pretty much pegged us.

We were discussing the results in class a few Sundays ago when our teacher recommended that we try to discover the love language of our children.

And I had an ah-ha! moment.

Why not use this material and apply it to my characters? I am a romance writer, after all. 

A little light bulb turned on over my head.

I started thinking about my WIP and almost immediately I knew what love language each of my lead characters communicated in. Because of that, I knew how he and she should respond to each other–what needed to happen for them to “feel” loved and how they would communicate their love to one another.

In case you aren’t familiar with The 5 Love Languages, they are as follows:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

According to Dr. Chapman, each of us falls into one of these categories–this is what we need from our spouse or significant other in order to feel loved–this is also most likely how we communicate our love.

In order for a lasting relationship to happen, we need to understand what language our partner needs, learn to speak it, and have our partner return the favor.

I scored a perfect 100% for my primary Love Language to be acts of service. I wasn’t at all surprised by this. I don’t need diamonds or fancy dinners out or lavish vacations (although those things are nice!). What I need is for my hubby to occasionally fold the laundry, run errands for me, bathe our children, etc. Thankfully my husband speaks my Love Language pretty well. 🙂

My husband’s primary Love Language is physical touch. I wasn’t surprised by this, either. He likes to hold hands, hug a lot, put his arm around me. And he needs me to respond to that.

So, how can this information be applied to characters in a romance?

Think about your heroine. Among all the other things you consider about her at creation, how will she respond best and feel most loved and cherished when your hero comes a-callin’? Will it be the moment when he repairs the roof of her house? Will it be his silver tongue, laced with words of love that wins her? Or how about when his lips meet hers? Will she respond best to a box from Tiffany’s to know that she’s loved, or maybe just a walk on a beach at sunset?

What does she need to feel loved?

When considering my heroine, I knew right away that her love language was words of affirmation. She needs to hear them–she needs to be valued verbally. The more Hero praises her, builds her up, encourages her, the more she falls for him. Yeah, she likes the kisses. She likes the time they spend together, but she needs those words.

What does my hero need to feel loved?  

For him it’s physical touch. He needs to feel her respond to him. He needs to know that when his fingers linger on her hand, sparks are flying. He needs her to want to be close to him.

Yeah, I can totally make that happen. 🙂

Let’s look at an example from pop culture. I give you the Love Languages of Bella and Edward.

It is possible for a person to have more than one love language. For Bella, I definitely think she’s a mixture of quality time and physical touch. I mean, for Pete’s sake, she nearly went nuts when Edward vanished in New Moon. In all the books, his proximity to her body is what she needs to feel like he loves her. The more he’s around, the more time they spend together, the more she feels loved. Yeah, this sounds like she’s needy, but it’s just her love language–it’s part of her makeup–what she needs to feel loved.

And Edward. His love language is words of affirmation. This should be glaringly obvious, I think. He needs to be told over and over and over and over and over that he’s not a horrible creature, that he’s not hurting Bella, that she truly does love him, that he’s a good person/vampire/humanesque creature. He needs to hear it–words that affirm.

Who agrees with my analysis of these two? 

Focusing a little attention on your characters and their love language helps develop not only the backstory (why does she need words of affirmation?) but also helps you to create the romance. 

Not every girl falls for the man who buys her fancy things. (Crazy, right?)

Not every guy needs to spend every waking moment with his girl to know that they are in love.

Develop your characters around this concept– that they each speak a Love Language, and you’ll develop a lasting romance.

Share with me: Can you think of characters in a novel that have easily identifiable Love Languages? What about your characters? Can you identify what Love Language they are speaking?


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