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"Love is like a piece of art work, even the smallest bit can be so beautiful." ~Stacie Cunningham



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2THEHEART VALENTINE BOUTIQUE! Shop our own members' products for your sweeties or advertise your own business, crafts, or services here! TWO FREE text ads in our 2TheHeart mailings with your boutique ad purchase of only $10!
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(And check out my new Valentine soaps while you're there! Am I multi-talented, or what?) :)

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They say with age comes wisdom, and I can really relate to Melodie's "Red Jell-O Tears", as I look back on Valentines of the past. May we each know and appreciate red Jell-O love this coming Valentine's Day!



"Red Jell-O Tears"
by Melodie Tilander


Over the years Valentine's Day has held a lot of importance with me, in truth maybe too much for just one day! Funny, now that I am a woman in my forties, I find myself re-processing events of years gone by. Remarkably, with God's grace I am using a different 'lens' to evaluate moments of my past. Dare I admit that many things have been turned upside down and inside out in my memory bank? Admittedly, I now know that I didn't always get it right. In fact, sadly in much of my youth I got it wrong...very wrong. My older and wiser perspective has challenged and corrected a lot of my earlier memories, especially my feelings towards Valentine's Day.

Yes, over the years I have held the expectations and been blessed in receiving the beautiful touching Hallmark cards, the gorgeous flowers, the yummy chocolates, the chilled champagne, and the fancy dinners all on Valentine's Day. I have even had, "I love Mel" painted on a rock on top of Mt. Rainer in the state of Washington. Yes, it certainly gave me chills at the time and I did cry. I took a picture of the rock proclaiming love for me and I still have it in an album somewhere. It strikes me funny now that I didn't take a picture of the person who wrote it for me. A notable perspective change, wouldn't you say? I guess my particular lesson here is that being in love with love instead of the person is like finding love on a rock and not looking to see who put it there. This newfound wisdom is definitely too long to share in a fortune cookie, but nonetheless important.

God certainly blessed me with romance in my youth. I had the candles, the hot tubs, and the romantic fireplaces to celebrate many a Valentine's Day! I remember one hot tub being a very deep pink marble shaped like a heart. It's now funny to me that I remember the hot tub, but I can't recall a word that we said to each other. Now at forty-plus years, suddenly the words are important to me. I want the words now! And more importantly, I should have wanted the words then. My pearl of wisdom here is that the words shared are more important than the activity shared.

There were all kinds of Valentine gifts given to me through the years. I guess the most expensive gift I ever received was a diamond necklace. After the relationship broke off, I gave the necklace away. Now I think of how many paychecks that necklace must have cost and I wish I wouldn't have accepted such an expensive gift from someone I was just dating. How could I have been so selfish to take it? Indeed another perspective change.

At the time, I thought the funniest gift I had ever received on Valentine's Day was bright red molded Jell-O shaped like a heart, with the words "Love You" on it. I was disappointed, as all the other girls received much more expensive and noteworthy gifts. The Jell-O never got eaten. I never even tasted it. Its only purpose to me on that particular Valentine's Day was to create laughter from all my college girlfriends at the dorm, regarding how cheap my boyfriend was. Ultimately their laughs turned to sympathy for me. At the time in my youthful ignorance I did not see the remarkable creativity, individual courage, and sensible appropriateness of his Valentine's Day gift to me. My benefactor of the red Jell-O was in fact from a very large family, working and struggling very hard through school and he absolutely had no extra money. He was not in a position nor did he have the means to lavish an expensive gift on me. I now despise how I acted on that particular Valentine's Day. I now have feelings of guilt due to my past actions of ungratefulness. I can still see his sweet smile as he handed me the red Jell-O heart with the words "Love You" on it. It will be burned into my memory bank forever. I have asked myself many times, why didn't I appreciate his thoughtful gift and the love that came with it? The only answer that comes to mind is that I was really immature when it came to romantic love. My youthful shortcomings on intimacy had caused me to completely miss how precious and truly honest his gift was that he had trustingly given me.

I have often thought if I could only be blessed once again to receive such a gift as the red jell-o heart with the words "Love You" on it, this time, I would treasure it! This time, I would fully recognize its preciousness. And this time, I would eat the bright red Jell-O and savor every bite, learning for the first time what love truly tastes like on Valentine's Day. The tears of gratitude would surely flow knowing God had given me a second chance to get it right.



Copyright 2004, Melodie Lynn Tilander

Melodie Lynn Tilander transitioned from a corporate career, Vice President of Marketing. She resides in Oregon with her family. Melodie enjoys being near the water, writing, and creating stain glass/stone design. Melodie has written several stories you can find in the 2theheart archives, and her story "Grandma's Quarters" is featured in the new 2TheHeart book! See her website at www.2theheart.com/melodietilander



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The Letter Box:



Dear Sooz,
I just had to write with a few comments about Ellie's story, "The Unsuspecting Messenger." You see, over the last couple of years, this delightful lady has sent me several e-mails as a reminder that she was lifting me up in prayer, and even detailed specifically how and what she was praying for in conjunction with my name! We share a bond because both of us have gone through the painful tragedy of losing a young son suddenly. Ellie knew exactly how I was hurting emotionally. It dawned on me that when she told me precisely how she was praying for my situation, it was so I would know when God answered those specific prayers! Thank-you never seemed adequate to express my gratefulness, and since then my e-mail address has changed, but I still smile at the mere sight of her name as well as the gentle thought of her concern for others, even people she only knows through the internet, like me.

Ellie is special and willing to be used of God. That's why she's prompted to be a prayer warrior for so many others. I'm sincerely glad she takes her calling seriously. Love, Sandi



Dear Susan,
I loved The Unsuspecting Messenger by Ellie Braun Haley. It's such a delight when God shows us how He has been instrumental in His use to others. I enjoyed Ellie's insight to type each request and send them on to others. It adds a personal touch! Annettee



2TheHeart, (RE: "His Messengers") Candace's 'Messengers' seems to have touched so many people, including me. It doesn't take much to uplift and encourage us, so those who think their little effort isn't having any effect should realise how important it is to someone in need, like the little bunch of garden flowers brought to my elderly mother when visiting. No cost, except the effort of picking, wrapping and taking a long bus journey to deliver and show that she cared.

Now I am unwell and glad to feel the strength of the prayers being offered on my behalf. The cards arranged on my mantlepiece uplift me. There are some things wrong with my heart and on Friday 6 February, I am to go to hospital for a 'Cardioversion' to stop the erratic beat and restore it to a regular beat (I hope). In the meantime, I can hardly walk and have to keep quiet (!). Hurray, some say ! I would appreciate any prayers my friends here would offer for me.

John called me his 'butterfly' and asked me not to fly away from him. He's a sweetheart, and we still have over 21 years to go to our Silver Wedding, our aim when we married (in our 60s) over 3 years ago. If I can help it, I'm not going anywhere just yet.

Years ago I had an elderly neighbour who used to tell me all her aches and pains and say 'old age never comes alone' and we would laugh together, but now I now what she means and its not funny ! No, seriously ! Although we do laugh. As I have had a long wait to get into hospital, John offered to get the jump leads from the car for me.

I wish health and happiness to all my friends on 2theHeart and thank Susan for all her hard work, bless you all,

Margaret Drysdale
Yorkshire, England


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