10 Valentine’s Day Gifts Women Say They Want

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

It's Valentine's Day.  What's a guy to do?  Standard fall-back on card and roses?  "That will do, pig.  That will do."  But what if she's allergic to pollen?  What if thorns give her nightmares?  What if red only reminds her of the blood drive where she fainted?  That's what I mean.  And that's why I decided to help needy Valentine's Day men everywhere.  

I conducted a totally non-scientific Valentine's Day poll and asked a bunch of women to tell me the best Valentine's Day gift they ever received.   Mind-boggling, eh?  Thus this blog, complete with real wives' testimony in italics.

Men, leave a dime in the till and take the credit.  These are virtually fail-safe.  Virtually.  Because nothing's guaranteed when it comes to women.

1.    Babies.  This one’s a little tricky and definitely requires advance planning so if you're just now doing the shopping for Valentine's Day gifts, you're a little late.

·      I had a baby. 

·      I got my first born Feb 19th so that was my favorite Valentine’s gift.

2.    Dedicated Alone Time.  This Valentine’s Day, give her the gift of focus.  Just you and her.  No texts or tweets.  Please.

·      Turn off the technology, have a nice dinner, and find a quiet place to talk and dream together.

3.    Flowers.  They still seem to work Valentine's Day magic, but are rarely a stand-alone.  For instance try pairing them with breaking and entering.

·      One Valentine’s Day Mike left roses in my car when I was at work. I am not sure how he got off work to get to my school to do it but it was so sweet. It was very early in our relationship and he left flowers for Brenna too. So sweet!!

4.    Handmade crafts.  I know—limited clientele, for you artistic fellows only. My handmade paper Valentine’s Day flowers would look like crumpled meteorites on a stick.

·      Handmade paper flowers in a jar of vintage buttons. Hands down.

5.    Household Chores.  You can give a Valentine's gift of rolling up your own sleeves and getting those dishes done…or pay someone.  Either way seems to work magic.

·      I am an "acts of service" person so I would have to say something like cleaning the house or making dinner or something like that.

·      A quiet evening in a clean house with the man I love – no frills.

·      Molly Maids – deep cleaning of the house! Baseboards, fans, windows…..Yeah!!! All the things I hate doing

·      No dishes to wash.

6.    Heart-shaped flower bed.  This was above and beyond from a guy named Wayne.  Someone put a leash on this man.

·      Wayne dug out a heart shaped flower bed in our front yard. He lined it with stones and planted a tree and some flowers in it. He got a LOT of grief from the other husbands in our neighborhood, but they all ended up pitching in to dig a little up and help out.

7.    Jewelry.  Gold. Pearls.  Rubies.  Emeralds.  Choose your weapon.

·      A pair of Mikimoto pearl earrings and dinner with my sweetie.

8.    Massage Plus.    Nothing says Valentine’s Day romance like massages…and crème brulee or wine or…

·      Foot and shoulder massage, biggest bottle of Lambrusco there is.

·      Spa or massage gift certificate, night out (really out!….dinner. hotel, etc)

·      Couples massage . We get a 2 hours massage and it’s nice knowing my husband is in the same room with me.  Gives us time together and time to relax . After the massage we like to have a quiet dinner.

9.    Momentos.  These received huge “Likes” by ladies on Facebook.  Give this gift this Valentine’s Day and you’re set for at least five years.

·      He gave me a personalized music box.  It played our wedding song with a note written in it for our unborn daughter!  She is now 13 and has the music box for herself. 

·      I had a blue security blanket as a small child. Rob saw a picture of me clinging to it. I loved that blanket. On Valentine's Day 8 yrs ago, Rob gave me a blue blanket just like the one I had as a child. "When you are tired, stressed, or feeling sad, and I am not there to hold you, wrap this blanket around you and know you are loved." I cried. Other than my two girls, this was the best gift he has ever given me.

10. Singing Quartet.   If you can’t carry a tune, let someone else do it for you. (And what’s with this Wayne?  The name must come implanted with Valentine’s DNA.)

·      Wayne has sent me the Houston Tidelanders for about 15 years and I still look forward to them. They are an amazing barbershop quartet and usually sing four songs. We also started sending them to both my mom and mother in law. Whether singing in the middle of the bank lobby to me, or in the middle of the dining room at the ALF/nursing home to the moms…they are a huge hit and if you don't have a specific time, at $60, they are a much more affordable Valentine’s Day gift than roses!

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Do you believe?

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Do you believe Jesus is able?  The suffering we go through, the events that pull us to our knees either to serve or to pray, there divine formation takes place.  There a life that matters is being shaped in us.  That’s the experience Jesus is using in our lives to deepen our dependence on Him, our belief in His abilities.

Do you believe Jesus can bring healing to your broken body, that He can arrest the cancer, reconcile the marriage, restore the sight?  That He has authority to unstop the ears, remove the paralysis, mend your back?  Do you believe the resurrected Jesus continues to walk beside you, that through your baptism His Spirit lives within you, that same spirit that raised the centurion’s servant from his sick bed, raised the young man from his funeral bier, and raised Jesus from 3 days in the tomb?

A life that matters believes in Jesus’ abilities, and so it gives generously, appreciates authority, and serves selflessly, every day, right here, right now.

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No Death, No Resurrection. No Resurrection, Just Death.

Posted by on Mar 29, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Easter arrives in 3 days.  But before you open that package, remember Good Friday.

Good Friday – the day all hell broke loose – is the Tim Lincecum to Easter’s Sergio Romo.  A biblical Yin to the happy Yang.  The carrot cake that demands cream cheese frosting.  A ‘step 1’ that leads to ‘step 2,’ without which ‘step 2’ would be meaningless.

Good Friday makes sense of Easter.  No death, no need for a resurrection.

Good Friday at our congregation  equals somber, joyless, and dark.  No happy.  No clapping.  No laughing.  Just an incredibly vivid depiction of the crucifixion that fuses the ancient shadowy service of Tenebrae with modern imagery and music.  Your entire being experiences the breaking of Jesus’ body, the pouring out of His blood.  And then your same being receives both as you leave in silence.

It is by far the most powerful service you will ever attend.  And it deepens your love for Easter because you now understand how you got to the end of the game and why the frosting needs to be so sweet.

In a divinely ironic way the darkness of Good Friday makes Easter’s brightness even more so.  Death enriches resurrection.

Easter undoes all of the death in the world.  Be sure you worship on Easter.

But I also hope you gather with other Jesus-followers for Good Friday.  It is the reason for the resurrection, the why behind the empty tomb.

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Living Mercy

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

When it comes to living mercy, there are 3 P’s of Mercy that you should put into practice:

Prayer (What should I pray?)
Provision (What can I provide?)
Presence (How can I be present?)

Everyone can pray something. Driving by the homeless man at the green light, driving by the accident on the freeway, driving by your neighbors who have a really great life (so they think). Prayer is a given when it comes to mercy.

Provision is a tad more involved but the flavors number at least 26. Try M’s: Meals from the neighbors, mouthful of compliments, memory book of photos. Or B’s: Babysitting so the folks get a break, bailing water after the busted pipe, broken-window repair (even if it wasn’t your son’s fault). This is not MIT level thinking. More like “see a need, fill a need.”

Presence, though, now there’s when mercy goes all-in. Presence means you’re present. You show up. You sit and wait and worry with the worriers. Or encourage with the courage-less. Presence doesn’t just send money or food or restaurant coupon. Presence provides a person. Presence provides you.

If you can do all 3, score. Fantastic. But you should strive for 2 out of 3 as your 2013 standard.  You and I were not originally designed to live for ourselves. Sin tricks us into thinking that’s where fulfillment is hidden. In reality, living for ourselves only leads to emptiness. Living for others, serving others, doing right by others, is fulfilling and invigorating. It rejuvenates and releases. It’s what we were made for.

When Jesus asks “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” He’s teaching us there is no neutrality when it comes to living mercy. No gray area. Failing to do good is evil. Seeing a need and doing nothing about it—no prayer, no provision, no presence—is not of Jesus.  No living mercy there.

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