Friday, January 23, 2015

Valentine's Mantle {& Why We Celebrate}

Confession: I just took down our Christmas decor yesterday. 

That's totally out of character for our house. I like it down before New Year's but my husband prefers to keep it up until New Year's Day. It all has to do with the way we were raised and 'how it was done when we were kids.' 

This year, though, is a weird year for us. We are living temporarily in an apartment while our house is being built. This apartment happens to have one overhead light and it's hanging over the fireplace. And it's florescent. {read: horrible lighting choice} Our lamps are mostly still packed in boxes from our move 5 months ago. We really have no idea where they are. I guess we are mostly hoping they made it here to northern KY with the rest of our unpacked stuff. 

That said, our Christmas tree provided a lot of nice lighting for this dark, tiny space. That's the main reason I left it so long. The other reason? We were busy with a lot of things like homeschooling, traveling and trying to stay warm next to the space heater. 

It's down now and all the fake tree needles have been vacuumed up; the few decorations have been packed away.

 I knew before taking down the wreath over the mantle that I was going to decorate it for Valentine's Day. Nobody likes a naked mantle! And seeing how that's really the only place in the apartment to decorate seasonally, I started gathering things from around the house. 

Last week, I bought the cute red heart garland from Dollar Tree. I love red and I love hearts so it was a no-brainer. 

The metal arrow marquis sign was a Christmas gift from my sister. I love it. And I'll be using it often. Because again, I love red. Red goes with everything. 

The chalkboard I've had for a long time. I {heart} chalkboards. I know I'm not alone in that. So, I cleaned it off really good and decided to write something simple, but meaningful. Love. That one word sums up a lot of my life - past & present. It has more meaning than I could even describe here {without using up a year's supply of Kleenex and bringing everyone to tears - maybe some other time}. 

The pretty flowers are from a bouquet that my sweet husband bought me for our 13th anniversary on the 5th. I just cut the good ones that were still living down to fit into smaller vases. 

My friendship sign fits perfectly in this little happy place. It was given to me by a dear friend the day before I moved away. It holds a lot of meaning and makes me miss my people SO much but is a great reminder of the abundant love in my life.

The polka dotted covered books I put there because my sister does it all the time. Just cover books in various sizes in your favorite wrapping paper.

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? We celebrate in this house. My husband and I get each other a small gift and we give the girls small gifts with hearts and X's and O's and other symbols of love. Love is a big deal in our house. I hope it always is. But the main love we celebrate and want our girls to know beyond a shadow of a doubt is this:

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:10, 19 KJV)

I've had this on my mind so much in these last few days. I'm so thankful for love. I've been blessed with so much love in my life, but the greatest love is God's love. 

Unconditional. Perfect love. Love that cannot be earned. Freely given. 

God loves me {and YOU!} not because we loved Him first. Because we didn't. Only because He loved us first and proved it by sending His only son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins. A price we could never pay. To give us eternal life in Christ! That's love. 

And that's why we celebrate love. We celebrate in tangible ways and express love the best we know how in our silly ways.

How do you celebrate love?

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