I was 29 years old when I celebrated February 14th with my very first Valentine. It was spent with my husband in the Swiss Alps about a month and a half after we got married. We were on a three month semester abroad trip for his Bachelor of Arts degree in Worship Arts, traveling Europe, visiting several Christian communities and churches as well as a 6 week stay at L’Abri! I had waited my entire life for my future husband, the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and God blessed me with the sweetest Valentine’s Day. It was worth the wait.
I would be lying though if I painted this beautiful portrait without also sharing the struggles. We had our fair share of mishaps that week as we tried to figure out how we wanted this day to look for us. Oh, newlyweds! I was afraid that my first Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be all that I had thought it should be. It was an inward battle of fighting the culture’s ideals or big business companies’ ideas of what Valentine’s Day should be. I was fighting the temptation to make an idol out of this romantic holiday. But God’s grace met us where we were at. After all these inner struggles were finally resolved, our day ended up being quite a celebration!
We were staying at L’Abri where all our meals were provided with our stay, however, we rarely had real orange juice and Craig knew that was my favorite. We were poor and we couldn’t afford much, but we could afford real orange juice! That morning, I awoke to a half gallon of it sitting on my desk which was like gold! A bouquet of white winter tulips as on our wedding day, and a hand written love note with personal artwork, one of Craig’s romantic trademarks in our relationship, I was delighted.
He took me to the ski village of Villars just up the hill from L’Abri. We walked along winding roads and forest trails. We talked about our dreams, our future. He took me to a chocolatier and we had the most delicious hot chocolate in the world. Melted chocolate in a small pot poured into steamed milk, overlooking the towering Alps that surrounded us. We had dinner at an unassuming Thai restaurant, a small, empty hole in the wall type of place, but the food was delicious as it usually is in those hole in the wall type places!
Its fun to remember these special moments and see how far we’ve come through the past nine years of marriage! Grace upon waves of grace. Years of making heart cookies with icing, making paper cards with the kids, little hands cutting out paper hearts, and icing covering chubby cheeks, remembering the real reason for this holiday which is the story of St Valentine, a man who lived his life for Jesus.
A few years ago, I found a recipe on Sally Clarkson’s blog for Valentine Shortbread Cookies. I love it because it doesn’t have that much sugar and its fast and easy to make. Besides cookie recipes, she has so much wisdom and good mommy food for the soul.
Celebrate your loved ones, read about St Valentine, and take pictures of all the messes made! For some good children’s book ideas to learn about St Valentine, hop on over to my friend, Thea’s, children’s book blog! There are treasures there!
Happy St Valentine’s Day!