Valentine’s Cards

We had a lovely Valentine’s Day. We’ve always made it a family day. We’ve tried once or twice going out for dinner, but the restaurants are so crowded it took a long time and wasn’t enjoyable. A few years ago for Valentine’s Day I used the recipe for Li’l Cheddar Meat Loaves but shaped the loaves into hearts, and that has become a tradition. (Note on the recipe: I use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs, only about 1 1/2 Tbs of brown sugar instead of 1/4 cup, and I omit the mustard because it gave it more of a BBQ flavor).

It’s also become a tradition to make heart-shaped cupcakes…

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..and peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s heart candies on top.

img_0083I received flowers and candy from my dear husband and cards from him and Timothy.

img_0084Jason and Mittu and Timothy also gave us these cute magnets from Photo Barn.

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I’ve also been making my own cards the last few years, and I know some of you like to do the same, so I thought I’d show them to you. I collect card ideas on Pinterest – I have one board for cards and one for Valentine’s Day. So when I have occasion to make a card, I’ll scroll through those for ideas plus the Cricut Design Studio. My generous husband gave me a Cricut Explore a few years ago, which can be hooked up to my laptop. They have “make it and take it” designs, which will allow you to cut the needed elements piece by piece and tell you how to layer them (the computer sends the design straight to the Cricut). Or, if you have an idea of your own, you can search for particular things, like “mug,” and it will show you several designs to choose from and then you can cut them out with the Cricut. So I peruse a lot of these ideas beforehand and see which one seems to “fit” the ones I am making a card for. I seldom copy a design exactly. Some times, like last Christmas, I don’t use the Cricut at all; this time I used it for every card. Of course, many things, like a mug, can be cut out without a machine like this. I can wing it with some things, but not so much with others. 🙂

So here’s what I came up with for this year:

For my husband:

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For my oldest son, who lives out of state:

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I had planned to put something like “Sending love your way…” on the front, maybe on one of the clouds. But I thought this looked balanced as is, so I put that on the inside.

For Jason, a coffee aficionado:

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For Mittu (it’s nice to be able to do one girly one. 🙂 ):

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I was particularly excited about this one for Timothy. He likes anything on wheels right now, and I had seen one design with a dump truck with hearts in it that I was planning on using. But when I saw the design for an excavator, I had to use it. He’s very much into excavators right now (and it is so cute to hear him say it) thanks to this guy, and can even name all the parts.

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I was thankful to find stick-on letters (for sale half price!) for that one and the next one at Hobby Lobby.

This was Jesse’s. From the time he was very little, he’s always had a bright, happy spirit, so this seemed perfect for him.

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And this was for Jim’s mom. My machine had some trouble with the small cuttings – I think maybe I need a new blade, but I didn’t have time to run out for one. There were four hearts layered for this one.

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I enjoy making these as my gifts to my family.

All in all we had a great day. 🙂

Growing in Love

From The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond

A man once [read I Corinthians 13 once a week for three months] and it changed his whole life. Will you do it? It is for the greatest thing in the world. You might begin by reading it every day, especially the verses which describe the perfect character. “Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself.” Get these ingredients into your life. Then everything that you do is eternal. It is worth doing. It is worth giving time to. No man can become a saint in his sleep; and to fulfill the condition required demands a certain amount of prayer and meditation and time, just as improvement in any direction, bodily or mental, requites preparation and care. Address yourselves to that one thing; at any cost have this transcendent character exchanged for yours.

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Laudable Linkage

It’s been a little while since I have been able to share some noteworthy reads I’ve discovered the last few weeks online. Here is my latest accumulation:

Good Principle, Wrong Text. From my favorite in-real-life former Sunday School teacher. ” Every time we derive an interpretation and application of a text that is not native to the context — no matter how Biblical the concept itself may be — we are robbing that text, and ourselves in the process, of the meaning and applications that God intended when He gave it. The key is not to read any verse as a devotional island, isolated from its immediate and larger context.”

Getting Women Into the Word.

Love Serves: Showing Christ’s Love on Valentine’s Day. Ways a family can minister to others on that day in particular, but the ideas are good for any time.

4 Ways to Love Someone With Dementia or Alzheimer’s, Like God Loves Us.

To the Grown Daughter Who Has Failed to Love Her Mother Well.

In the Bleak Midwinter: When Your Heart Loses Its Song.

How Caring For Children Changes the World. Interesting consideration of the five women involved in saving the life of Moses.

Five Ways Christian Fiction Builds Faith.

Hillary, Bernie, Donald, and Me. Neat article by John Piper, not about these people’s politics, but about their and other people’s goals and accomplishments in their 60s and 70s. Encouraging as I am in the far side of my 50s.

And to end the day with a smile:

birth weight

Happy Saturday!

Cards

Someone commented recently that they’d like to see the cards I had mentioned working on, and I am happy to oblige. 🙂 When I make cards, I usually peruse my Pinterest board for cards unless I have an idea already. I try not to copy them exactly but rather just get ideas and inspiration.

Before the spate of Valentine’s cards last week, I made this for a lady at church to go with her baby shower gift. I used a cute little elephant punch I had gotten for Christmas, but it could be done with stickers or punches of anything that might look like a baby’s mobile.

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This was my Valentine’s card for my husband:

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This was for my oldest son. I think the brown hearts look like chocolate ones. 🙂

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This was for my middle son:

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The design on the butterfly paper was raised and velvety (flocked). I love the masculine feel of the tans and rich browns.

This was for my daughter-in-law:

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This was for my grandson – I think it is my favorite:

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This was for my youngest son:

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I should have made the jar from a different colored paper or outlined it so it showed up better.

This was for my mother-in-law:

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The monkey, branches, birds, and jar were cut from my Cricut. Most of the hearts were done with various sizes of punches. Everything was done with things I already had on hand. Anything with words I type out on the computer, along with the sentiments inside, then print them off all on one sheet and then cut them out and paste them. The Cricut Explore has various fonts but I haven’t quite figured out adding words with it yet. On the heart on my mother-in-law’s card, I turned my heart punch upside down so I could center the words where I wanted them before punching the heart out.

I’ve made cards off and on for years, but started making them in earnest when they got to be so expensive in stores. I had a lot of papers, cardstock, equipment, etc., accumulated from years of sales, coupons, and gift cards to craft stores, and felt I needed to either use it or get rid of it. Of course, I have to watch out for this kind of thing:

craft humor🙂 But I usually ask for craft store gift cards for my birthday and Christmas, so that supplies my habit. 🙂

So even though I started for economical reasons, I do enjoy being able to give something unique and personal. It’s a bit more pressure Valentine’s Day and Christmas when I am making cards for all the family at once, as opposed to individual birthday cards through the year, but I enjoy it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We had our Valentine celebration last night – mainly because the heart-shaped mini meat loaves I usually make for the day take longer than is feasible for a Sunday dinner after church. So we had a nice dinner at home, heart-shaped cupcakes, and cards. Jason and Mittu brought me flowers, and Jim gave me a card and a box of Lindt Lindor truffles – my favorite. 🙂

I’ve written in the past about things I love in connection with Valentine’s Day, silly and serious, from favorite poems and love songs to quotes and videos. But this year some people are on my heart who are alone, and I came across this the other day and wanted to post it. Or post it again – I shared it a few years ago. It’s true for all of us, whether we have a special Valentine or not:

A Valentine may play a love song for you, but God sings you the sweetest love song in the universe.
The Lord your God…will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~Zephaniah 3:17

A Valentine may give you flowers, but God sent you the most beautiful rose of all, Jesus.
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. ~Song of Solomon 2:1

A Valentine may take you out to dinner,but God has invited you to the most amazing feast ever given.
Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! ~Revelation 19:9

A Valentine may bring you chocolate, but God provides you with something even sweeter, His Word.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! ~Psalm 119:103

A Valentine may be far away, but God is always with you.
I am with you always. ~Matthew 28:20

A Valentine may give you something, but God has given you everything.
God…..gives us richly all things to enjoy. ~1 Timothy 6:17

A Valentine may love you for a lifetime, but God loved you before you were born and will love you for all eternity!
Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love…with lovingkindness I have drawn you. ~Jeremiah 31:3

Happy Valentine’s Day!

(Author unknown)

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Valentine’s Cards

I have an embarrassingly large supply of materials  to make cards. Most have been picked up on sales or with coupons. I have used some over the years to make personal cards or for projects for our ladies’ group and missionaries, but I have quite a lot on hand still. Often by the time I think of making a card for an event. I don’t have enough time. But this year I determined it make Valentine’s Day cards for the family, and I thought I’d show them to you. I perused my Cards and Papercrafts and Valentine’s Ideas Pinterest boards for inspiration and used a few there as springboards but came up with a few others on my own.

This was Jim’s:

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The key is a little 3-d sticker and the only thing I bought especially for these cards: everything else I had on hand. He’s enjoyed joking that keys to my heart can be bought at Hobby Lobby. 🙂

This was Jeremy’s:

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The inside said “…To wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day.” I think the brown hearts look like chocolate, and they’re a great way to get hearts on a man’s card so it’s more masculine looking than the pink ones I gravitate to. 🙂 I usually make heart-shaped chocolate cupcakes decorated with sprinkles or icing for Valentine’s Day, and I thought these were reminiscent of those or of chocolate candies. Most of the hearts of various sizes on the cards were made with punches.

This was Jason’s:

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The inside says “That’s our love for you,” meaning it’s so great it can’t be measured. I just realized last night or some time this morning that I didn’t have a heart on his. Sorry about that, Jason! Here’s one for you: 🙂

This was Mittu’s:

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The inside says “On Valentine’s Day and every day!” The little envelope was made with help from a template I found by searching online for “small envelope templates.” I have a neat punch that rounds off corners and used that for the words here. By the way, the words were all printed out on the computer with the Bradley Hand ITC font except for the letters for “LOVE” here, and those were from a page of punch-out letters. My own handwriting, I’m sorry to say, would not make for a pretty card. The words on the other cards I cut out with a scissors with a torn-paper-looking edge. That one is a little more forgiving than, say, a scalloped edge. I have a hard time cutting in a straight line, so this particular scissors helps. I have a mini paper cutter for longer straight lines.

This was Timothy’s:

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The inside says, “To our favorite snuggle buddy.” It was inspired by this pin, but when I tried to click through to the site to see if the card maker had instructions or a pattern, I couldn’t find the original site, nor could I find it by searching Google using the terms I thought I had originally found it with. So I had to wing it (pun intended. 🙂 ). Then I realized this card was going to be from both my husband and I, so I needed more than just one adult with the baby bird.

This one was Jesse’s:

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I think the inside just said “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

With the last two, I was running out of both time and ideas, so they are somewhat similar. This was Great-Grandma’s (or Mom, to my husband and me):

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Sorry about the shadow on this one. The inside says, “Your example has taught us how to love….May we show you as much love as you have shown us.”

This was for Jesse’s girlfriend, Meaghan:

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All of the borders were from packages of stick-on strips – very handy! And Hobby Lobby has them on sale 1/2 price pretty frequently in the scrapbooking section.

And on the back of each card was this stamp with either Mom, Grandma, or Barbara written in accordingly:

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They were a lot of fun to make, though they did take quite a bit of time. Actually once I decided what to do for each one and chose the decorative papers, it didn’t take long to put them together: the decision-making was the hardest part.

I’m hoping this will jump-start me into making more cards rather than buying them this year. It will probably depend on how much time I have before each occasion and whether I remember to start on then in time. But I think they add a nice touch.

Occasionally I’ve thought about starting an Etsy shop to sell things like this. But I’d also like to do more writing and various other things, so I am not sure of which way the Lord would have me use my time yet. So for now I’ll just do them as I have time for the family and think about the possibility of expanding on them later.

 

Quotes about love beyond Valentine’s Day

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In the past I have written about how much I love Valentine’s Day, how we celebrate it, foods we use, favorite love songs, quotes, etc., and I plan to enjoy some of those things to the hilt today (I hope you can, too!) This year I wanted to do something different. All of those other things are fun, but real love (not just romantic love, but loving our families, our neighbors, and even our enemies) involves more and is often difficult, especially when our different wills, desires, or habits clash. These quotes help me in the everyday life, rubber meeting the road kind of challenges of loving other people. Maybe they’ll be a help to you, too.

The springs of love are in God, not in us. It is absurd to look for the love of God in our hearts naturally; it is only there when it has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

— Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 30

Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.

– G K Chesterton

To love those whom we do not like means that we treat them as if we did like them — to choose to act kindly toward them even though we do not like them….The Bible does not ask us to like the brethren, it asks us to love them, and that means, therefore, something like this: we may not like certain Christians. I mean by that, there is none of this instinctive, elemental attraction; they are not the people whom we naturally like; yet what we are told is that to love them means that we treat them exactly as if we did like them. Now, the men and women of the world do not do that; if they do not like people, they treat them accordingly and have nothing to do with them. But Christian love means that we look beyond that. We see the Christian in them, the brother or sister, and we even go beyond what we do not like, and we help that person. Love your brethren — that is the exhortation with which we are concerned.

— Martyn Lloyd-Jones on I John 3:16-18 in his book Children of God

How many of you will join me in reading this chapter (I Corinthians 13) once a week for the next three months? A man did that once and it changed his whole life. Will you do it? It is for the greatest thing in the world. You might begin by reading it every day, especially the verses which describe the perfect character. “Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself.” Get these ingredients into your life. Then everything that you do is eternal. It is worth doing. It is worth giving time to. No man can become a saint in his sleep; and to fulfill the condition required demands a certain amount of prayer and meditation and time, just as improvement in any direction, bodily or mental, requites preparation and care. Address yourselves to that one thing; at any cost have this transcendent character exchanged for yours.

– Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World

Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also many things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called “being in love” usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending “They lived happily ever after” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably was never was or ever could be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both parents ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.

– C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The labor of self-love is a heavy one indeed. Think whether much of your sorrow has not arisen from someone speaking slightingly of you. As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal, how can you hope to find inward peace? – A.W. Tozer

As we remember the lovingkindness of the Lord, we see how good it was to find our own strength fail us, since it drove us to the strong for strength. – Spurgeon

Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1b-3.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians 13:4-7, ESV.