To ‘Love’ or To Be ‘In Love’?

To ‘Love’ or To Be ‘In Love’?

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February is considered by many in pop culture to be the month of love and romance because of the occurrence of Valentine’s Day in mid-February each year. The occasion has been marked since approximately 300 A.D., with the advent of commercially-produced Valentine cards coming along in the 1840’s per www.history.com . I intentionally delayed posting this article until well after the ‘holiday’ because my point of view has less to do with Valentine’s Day and more to do with ‘love’ itself. But, since it is February, before we proceed let’s get clear about the origins of Valentine’s Day.

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History of Valentine’s Day

According to www.history.com the occasion originates from both Christian (St. Valentine) and ancient Roman traditions (Lupercalia).

At least three different St. Valentines (Valentinus) who were martyred are recognized by the Catholic Church. One legend suggests that Valentine was a priest who defied Emperor Claudius II by performing marriages for young lovers in secret. Why? Because Claudius II decided unmarried young men made better soldiers so he outlawed marriage for young men. Upon discovering Valentine’s defiance, Claudius ordered him put to death.

Another legend suggests that a priest named Valentine was imprisoned, and ultimately executed, for helping Christians escape Roman prisons, where they were harshly treated and tortured. During his imprisonment, he became enamored of a young girl who visited him regularly. Before his death, he may have delivered the first ‘Valentine’ in the form of a letter to the young girl which he signed “From your Valentine.” Of course, we all recognized this phrase as it is still in use today.

Regardless of the murky details of the Valentine legends, it remains clear that whoever he was, his appeal as “a sympathetic, heroic and – most importantly – romantic figure” is virtually universal. Thus, St. Valentine has become “one of the most popular saints in England and France.”

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Another possible origin of the occasion is an attempt by the Catholic church to Christianize the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was traditionally celebrated at the ides of February (February 15th) as a “fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders, Romulus and Remus.” Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day to reinforce the ‘un-Christian’ nature of Lupercalia by replacing it with a Saint’s Day at the end of the 5th century. During the Middle Ages, the date was considered the beginning of the mating season for birds which continued to support the idea of romance and instigated the use of Valentine greetings throughout society. Written greetings, however, would not become commonplace until much later.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, France and Australia with celebrations becoming popular around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th century, a commonly accepted practice of friends and lovers exchanging small tokens of affection or handwritten notes was firmly embedded in all social classes. Thanks to improved printing technology and a desire for an easier way for people to express feelings in an era when such behavior was discouraged, printed Valentine cards came on the scene by 1900.

Hand-made valentines were probably exchanged in America in the 1700s. Sometime in the 1840’s, “Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America,” earning her the moniker of “the Mother of the Valentine.” Today, per the Greeting Card Association, about 1 billion valentines are sent each year.

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OK, now that we’re all clear about the meaning of the day, i.e., it’s not a creation of Hallmark or any other greeting card/candy/flower/jewelry company. It has its roots in real events/people/history and has simply been capitalized on by all the different industries that help us celebrate our good fortune in finding love.

Let’s move on to another phenomenon related to ‘love’ that truly perplexes me and is the purpose for this post. I hear so many people speak about being ‘in love’ and ‘loving’ someone so much. Or, the phrase I heard again recently that led me to this article, “I love her/him, but I’m just not ‘in love with’ her/him anymore so I’m leaving her/him.” Again, before we proceed, let’s check out some definitions of the phenomenon of ‘love,’ in general, courtesy of www.dictionary.com/browse/love , the American Psychological Association (APA), the Modern Language Association (MLA), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

 

 

 

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What is Love all About?

‘Love’ is defined both as a noun and a verb. The definition is quite lengthy but can be summarized as the term applies to living beings (I eliminated references to inanimate objects, concepts, etc.) as follows:

As a noun: “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person, a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, a term of endearment, sexual passion or desire;”

As a verb: “to have love or affection for, to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another, to need or require or benefit greatly from, to embrace, kiss and/or have sexual intercourse with;”

In verb phrases/idioms: “for love, for the love of, in love – infused with or feeling deep affection or passion, make love, no love lost.”

Based upon the information above, why in the world would anyone think there was a mutual exclusion between ‘love’ and ‘in love’, in the long run? When one loves someone else, there are stages in the development of the relationship. Certainly, falling ‘in love’ with the person is one stage of the relationship when the feelings may be more intense or urgent but, it is not a stage that is equipped to exist in full force throughout the entire life of the relationship. After all, we all need to earn a living, do chores and care for children/pets, which can get in the way of the lovey-dovey romantic stuff occasionally. Having said that, the feeling of being ‘in love’ doesn’t go away completely either. It tends to go into hiding for a while, only to reappear at random times to surprise and delight us. Relationships have an ebb and flow that supports the personal growth of the individuals involved as well as the growth of the relationship.

Sometimes, that growth leads to a deeper connection between the individuals and sometimes it does not – not meant as a downer, just a simple truth. Another simple truth: it is not required to be ‘in love’ 100% of the time for the relationship to have value and deserve to continue. Sometimes, people need to be adults and understand life is not a fairy tale where every day is about fireworks and glittery unicorns and hearts-and-flowers. That’s okay because, honestly, those are not the things that stimulate growth in a relationship.

Sometimes, life is hard and loving someone is holding their hand (or hair) when they’re sick or cleaning the ice off their windshield or doing the dishes without being asked or pulling together to care for a special-needs child or an aging relative. Life is not always a bouquet of flowers and a fancy dinner – sometimes it’s pulling weeds in the yard and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Love can make those ‘not so great days’ bearable indeed. Being ‘in love’ is a fleeting, momentary stage of the relationship that opens the door to the opportunity to ‘real love’ and stands aside to see what develops. Hopefully, what develops is a real love that lasts a lifetime, endures the tragedies and challenges of life to become the foundation of a life worth living well.

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So, if you start thinking about throwing away a loving relationship because you no longer feel all tingly and thrilled about every moment you spend with that person you love, – think again. Maybe the answer is not ending the relationship but, maybe the answer is re-thinking the mechanics and/or structure of the relationship. Maybe it’s time for:

• One or both parties to the relationship to have more space / time to themselves;
• More time spent together;
• Professional couples counselling;
• A romantic get-a-way with the kids/pets;
• A maid/gardener/nanny/fill-in-the-blank;
• New hobbies/activities separately and/or together;
• Separate but committed living arrangements (this is not a time-out with dating other people allowed – this is about personal space only).

Every relationship is unique; therefore, the needs of every relationship is unique. Sit down, think it out, write it out, cry it out, talk it out, WORK IT OUT!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post today ❤ ❤ ❤ Please feel free to share it ❤ ❤ ❤

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Citations:

History of Valentine’s Day. Author,History.com Staff. Website Name History.com Year Published 2009. Title: History of Valentine’s Day. URL http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day Access Date: February 23, 2017. Publisher A+E Networks.

American Psychological Association (APA):
love. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/love
Chicago Manual Style (CMS): love. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/love (accessed: February 23, 2017).

Modern Language Association (MLA):
“love”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 23 Feb. 2017. .

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):
Dictionary.com “love,” in Dictionary.com Unabridged. Source location: Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/love. Available: http://www.dictionary.com/. Accessed: February 23, 2017.

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Happy New Year 2017!!!

Happy New Year 2017!!!

Where exactly did 2016 go? It feels like I wasted an entire year but that surely can’t be the case, right? Am I the only one feeling like this?

I know, for a fact, that I wasted a ‘blog year.’ Meaning that I did not post a single new post for the entire year – and part of 2015 too. Why? No excuses. I just didn’t do it.

Now, it’s January 2017 and I sit here working hard to re-vamp my blog to reflect my changed outlook and interests.  I’m putting together an editorial calendar for consistent posting on a variety of subjects dear to me – content I hope you’ll find interesting and helpful.

This is just a quick update to let my loyal followers know I am, indeed, still alive in the world.

Make it a marvelous day out there!

Friday Frolic #15 – No-Cook Vegan Oatmeal & Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding

Friday Frolic #15 – No-Cook Vegan Oatmeal & Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding

Good Friday morning, everyone! I hope this post finds each of you well and wending your way successfully through this last day before the long-awaited weekend.

As summer approaches, I find myself bidding a fond farewell to the hot, steamy breakfasts of winter yet needing to maintain my energy level with hearty breakfasts. As I have recently converted to a vegan / nutritarian dietary regimen (February of this year), I must admit to the challenge of remaining ‘full’ between meals sometimes. As I become more accustomed to the regimen, I’m learning different ways to sustain myself without adding steps or the need to ‘graze’ incessantly throughout the day. One of the things I’ve learned is eating a variety of whole grains and protein-laden seeds helps to keep me well-nourished and ‘full’ throughout the day. To that end, I’ve discovered the combination of whole grain oats and chia seeds for breakfast do the trick for me by providing the a long-lasting source of fuel without a complicated preparation process every morning.

This recipe works for non-vegans as well, simply substitute your regular dairy milk for the plant-based milk and you’re good-to-go – you can even add some yogurt if you’d like. I call it a pudding because of the consistency it takes on as it soaks overnight – creamy and delicious!

INGREDIENTS

½ Cup 100% whole grain old-fashioned oats (not quick cook oats)
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
2/3 Cups plant-based milk (soy, almond, cashew – you choose)
Sweetener to taste (honey, agave, raw sugar, maple syrup – you choose, just stay away from refined sugar)
Add-ins (raisins, fresh fruit, nuts, nut butter – you choose)

METHOD

Mix oats, chia seeds and milk in a container with a lid. Place in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, before serving, mix in the sweetener and add-ins of your choice. If you prefer your oatmeal warm, simply pop the opened container into the microwave for a minute before adding the sweetener and add-ins. Enjoy!

This is a terrific breakfast for the whole family because everyone can customize their own breakfast with their personal choice of sweetener and add-ins. It’s never the same breakfast no matter how many times you serve it because of the many variables available depending on what fruit is in season and what kind of milk or sweetener you use. Plus, since you do part of the preparation the night before, it’s quick and easy in the morning. This makes it the perfect weekend or busy weekday breakfast to get the family fueled up and out the door early. In fact, you can even mix in the sweetener and fruit and take it on the road when the need arises. No more excuses for skipping breakfast, the most important meal of the day.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday Treasured Tidbit – Opening Day at the Marketplace

Tuesday Treasured Tidbit – Opening Day at the Marketplace

My treasured tidbit from last week was opening day at our local open air marketplace.

It’s a cross between a craft fair and a farmer’s market. It’s open from the first weekend in May to the first weekend in October each year. The sights, the smells, the sounds – oh my!!! What a joyful way to spend a fine spring day. The vendors at the market have things one cannot find at the “big box stores”: hand-carved jewelry, furniture from recycled pallets, fused glass jewelry, non-GMO starter plants and seeds for the garden, fresh locally-grown produce, hand-made doll furniture, hand-made soaps and lotions, hand-crocheted baby clothes and kitchen items and the list goes on.

It feels so good knowing that every penny spent supports the local growers, artisans and economy. I encourage everyone to check out your local markets whenever possible – buying local supports your community at its core.

Welcome to May – Setting Goals & Reviewing Results

Welcome to May – Setting Goals & Reviewing Results

Good morning, everyone!

Here we are in the first week of May, ready to review another month gone by (April), and ready to set some goals for the next few weeks. On the first Monday of April, I was happy and proud to post that Team EMGN had met all of our goals for March. In a perfect world, we would do that every month but since it’s not a perfect world we had a few glitches in April.

Without a plan, things don’t happen so the goals for this blog for April were set as follows:

  1. Complete the online class, Writing 101 – Building a Blogging Habit.
  2. Develop a Thursday feature.
  3. Increase followers by 10% to 315.
  4. Continue the basics of reading, writing and updating.

Accountability is tougher when things are times are tougher:

  1. I completed part of the online class, Writing 101 – Building a Blogging Habit.
  2. I did not successfully develop a Thursday feature yet.
  3. Our followers increased by 37% to 392!!!
  4. I continued the basics of reading, writing and updating.

New goals for May include:

  1. Complete the assignments from the online class, Writing 101 – Building a Blogging Habit.
  2. Increase followers by 10% to 430.
  3. Continue the basics of reading, writing and updating.

Thank you for sticking with me on this continuing journey of growth and enlightenment.

“Part of success is preparation on purpose.” –Jim Rohn

Friday Frolics – Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Crispies

Friday Frolics – Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Crispies

Happy Friday! Just in time for the warm weather to roll in, here’s a no-bake cookie-like treat the kids can help make.

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups creamy peanut butter
3 Cups crisped rice cereal
3 Cups powdered sugar
¼ Cup melted butter
2-3 12 oz. pkgs chocolate chips (or a variety of flavors if you want to mix it up)
Parchment paper covered cookie sheets

METHOD

Mix together the peanut butter, cereal, powdered sugar and melted butter.
Form the mixture into balls – size of your choice, but I make mine the size of small meatballs.
Melt chocolate chips one package at a time in the microwave.
Dip the crispy balls in the melted chocolate to coat.
Place the coated crispies on parchment paper covered cookie sheets to harden in the refrigerator.

Baking chips come in a variety of flavors such as milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, and mint chocolate so it’s easy to have a variety that everyone will love. Try mixing up what type of nut butter you use – try almond or cashew butter instead of peanut butter to see what happens.

Enjoy your weekend!

Writing101 – Death to Adverbs

Writing101 – Death to Adverbs

This assignment was to write a piece inspired by something I saw in a public place –  without using adverbs.

“What a beautiful family,” I thought, as I glanced at the man, woman and child seated at the next table.

The longer I sat at the table, looking at the menu, enjoying the ambience of springtime outdoor dining, the more I didn’t like what I saw.

The red-rimmed eyes of the woman were tell-tale. The rigid posture of the child was unnatural. All the while, the man was too casual, too jovial in comparison. “Sure, I’ll have another,” he says to the waiter, as he holds the beer bottle in the air. The woman’s eyes and face get redder. The child cowers closer to her mother. The woman reaches for something on the table but the man tries to snatch it away only to knock it on the floor – a ring of keys.

The waiter returns with an apology – there will be no more beer for him tonight. “We can, however, call a cab if your companion can’t drive you home,” he says.

Grumbling, the man slings the keys at the woman and stumbles toward the door leaving her to gather up the child and pay the bill. She scurries after him with the child in tow, her head bowed, shamed – fear showing in every line of her body.

In the pit of my stomach, I fear what awaits them at home and say a prayer for the woman and the child.

Friday Frolic Post #13 – ‘Stained Glass’ Cake Plate

Friday Frolic Post #13 – ‘Stained Glass’ Cake Plate

Welcome to Friday Frolics on a rainy Friday in New Mexico!

This little project is fun and easy with delightful results using things available from the local discount store’s craft department. Cake plates have almost become part of a by-gone era but I challenge you to find uses for this little beauty in your everyday routine.

Supplies

2 Tubs Clear Multi-Color Plastic ‘pony’ beads (1500 per tub)
1 – 12” round cake or pizza pan (with lip)
1 – 3-6” glass candlestick
E6000 glue

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Pour beads into pan – spread out evenly. Make a design with the colors, if desired.
Bake beads for 30-40 minutes until they’re all melted.
Carefully remove the pan to a cooling rack – allow beads to cool in the pan (20-30 minutes).
Turn pan over to pop out the cooled disk.
Glue the candlestick to the center of the disk using the E6000 glue. Allow to ‘set up’ for 24 hours before use.

Enjoy your new cake plate this weekend!

Tuesday Treasured Tidbit #10 – Greenhouse Plenty

Tuesday Treasured Tidbit #10 – Greenhouse Plenty

Last weekend I checked in at my greenhouse to see how the seedlings were doing and the news is great! The greenhouse helps remind me of the joyful renewal of nature every spring – sweet anticipation, even sweeter rewards.

About 75% of the seeds have sprouted so I’m very hopeful for this season’s garden. About 75% of the seeds used in the greenhouse each year are from the previous year’s crops – it’s a great way to save money and increase the sustainability of the garden. Since our seeds come from our harvest, we know these varieties are successful in our area rather than guessing each year what will grow or not.