The facts vary as to how many Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually. The estimate ranges from 150 million to 1 billion! And that’s second to Christmas cards!
Either way, that’s a lot of well-intentioned love-thoughts sent out.
So how did all this Valentine’s Day hoopla begin? Much to our surprise, it turns out Valentine’s Day is tied to wolves! But how?
Lupicinus was a wolf charmer who lived among the ancient Greeks and Romans. He was gifted with the ability to communicate with wolves. I suppose we could call him a wolf-whisperer!
This became a needed skill to keep the wolves from attacking people and livestock as villages began to grow and infiltrate the areas where wolves lived.
A group of Roman priests, who called themselves “Luperci,” held an annual pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia from February 13th-15th. The rituals performed at this festival were believed to have sprung from Lupa, (keep in mind that the Latin word lupus means wolf) who supposedly was the she-wolf who nourished the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, in a cave when they were infants.
The fertility festival requirements were that two goats and two dogs be sacrificed. The skins from those animals were worn by the Luperci while thongs or cords were made from the remaining animal skins. Those cords were then soaked in the animal blood, and the Luperci would run though the city, hitting young girls with the blood-soaked thongs; they believed that this ritual would increase fertility as well as stop childbirth pains.
The Lupercalia also held a lottery at the onset of this festival where men would select from a jar the name of a young maiden who had entered the lottery. They would then pair up, and off they would go for days of sexual relations. In fact, their coition would last the entire time of the festival.
By the 5th century, pagan rites, which included this fertility festival, were against the law. They were considered “un-Christian.” During that time the reigning Pope Gelasius declared the 14th of February St. Valentine’s Day in hopes of distracting the populace from celebrating the pagan rituals such as Lupercalia and turning their attention to something more Christian-like.
It is believed that Pope Gelasius chose that name based upon St. Valentine, originally a priest who declared Emperor Claudius of Rome blasphemous when he issued a decree that there should be no more marriages because he believed married men did not make for good soldiers.
When Claudius heard what Valentine said about him, he had Valentine executed on February 14th. This act martyred Valentine, and he then became a saint. Eventually, a holiday was named after him that we know today as Valentine’s Day.
Other stories exist as well, suggesting how Valentine’s Day was born, such as when the Normans from Normandy, France, celebrated Galatin’s Day, another fertility celebration that meant “lover of women.” And then there is the story of that the medieval poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, who, based upon his poem, “The Parliament of Fowls,” was believed to be the first to associate romance with the present Valentine tradition.
In his poem, Chaucer refers to birds, who, during their mating season, choose their partner, symbolizing choosing one’s Valentine.
From goats and dogs, she-wolves, and birds mating, to romance and what is now a billion-dollar business, Valentine’s Day has certainly evolved! And that is a good thing.
But I ask: Has it evolved enough?
The idea that love can be squeezed into one day and meet the demands of the heart is a stretch at best.
Love—romantic, brotherly, or parental—needs to be employed and entertained daily. After all, love needs to be the reason that we do what we do. Love should be the motive of the heart as well as the soul.
But love seems to take a back seat, and sometimes ends up being thrown into the trunk very quickly, when challenges arise in relationships.
In that one moment, that one person whom you believed was your Valentine can, in an instant, become your foe.
So, what is it that happens? How can something so beautiful turn into something so ugly?
I suppose that depends upon what hands you placed your heart in.
In the book of Psalms 28:7, it is written, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts,…”
We can hope that the love we feel for someone will endure and bear much fruit. We can anticipate that the love we have for that special one will last a lifetime. After all, we are just human beings, doing what we believe is our highest understanding to express and reflect love. But how is love supposed to look and act?
In I Corinthians 13:4-7, the apostle Paul wrote, “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.” (ESV)
That’s a high standard to uphold! And yet though we may fall short of, and sometimes very short of, that profound directive from Paul, love remains the one commodity that we all pay dear prices for. To live without love is like not living at all.
I will confess that I have placed my heart in many hands that returned it to me shattered, shocked, and darkened. However, after it regained its health, I commenced on the journey of love and to be loved. And along the way, I found many Valentines.
To give of your heart may seem risky, but to not give of your heart seems lonely.
Mother Teresa said, “I have found the paradox: that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. “
From my heart to yours, Happy Valentine’s Day!
ESV-English Standard Version
Paying Attention Or Paying the Price?
“Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.”1 Distractions while driving include eating, daydreaming, taking your hands off the wheel, and, one that has been buzzing since its invention, using a cell phone.
Distractions occur not only when you are driving. Even being distracted while walking, such as texting or having a conversation on the phone, has become dangerous A video on YouTube shows a man dressed in a gorilla suit being completely overlooked by individuals who are texting on their phones. However, other people were not texting and noticed him. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm2lfv3_ELc.
In his article, “Texting While Walking Isn’t Funny Anymore”, Geoffrey A. Fowler explains that there is a guard at the entrance of a parking structure next to his office who intervenes when pedestrians who are texting while walking do not notice the traffic around them.2
Recently, while driving home, I was slowing down as I approached a stop sign. I saw a woman walking and texting and noticed that she was wearing earphones. Not only was she oblivious to watching her steps, but also she was unable to hear a car approaching.
I was at a complete stop as she walked towards me. I had my hand on the horn and was just about to beep when she noticed she was about to walk into my car. To my surprise, that did not make her look up or cause her to take out the earphones or stop texting while walking. She narrowly avoided my car, and as I looked in my rearview mirror, I saw she was drifting side to side in the middle of the street.
Technology is constantly changing, and I trust that most of us would agree that it has improved our lifestyles on many levels, with cell phones being just one of the many useful gadgets birthed from advances, but the abuse of the cell phone does not make the cell phone the evil culprit. To claim that is like proclaiming that because a hammer was used to kill someone, that all hammers should be labeled “lethal weapons.”
The problem of irresponsible cell phone usage has inspired people to find solutions. Some have developed apps to send signals to pedestrians to look up from time to time if they are using their phones while walking and especially while entering an intersection or crossing a street. Another company developed shoe sensors to warn “users” within two steps that they have stepped into the street.3
Designers Jacob Sempler and Emil Tiismann in Stockholm devised signs that show people walking and texting as an actual street sign to warn drivers to be on the watch for walking texters, and in 2015, in Hayward, California, “seven snarky signs” have been installed. One reads “Heads up! Cross the street, then update Facebook.”4
I find it interesting that the term applied to those inseparable from their cell phones is “users,” a word associated with addicts, and like any other form of addiction, this too has become yet another mode of distraction, directing one’s attention to a self-serving purpose.
Multitasking, theoretically, suggests that we humans can do many things at once, efficiently but with statistics proving otherwise, multitasking is really shifting your attention from one task to another, swiftly. But not for everyone!
Paying attention to our surroundings while driving, walking or using the cell phone may reduce the chances of or paying the price of accidents and pedestrian injuries.
Paying attention is most important. Not only just for one’s self-preservation, but for the preservation of others.
Love includes the safety for all!
1 “Distracted Driving.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Distracted_Driving/index.html.
2 Fowler, Geoffrey A. “Texting While Walking Isn't Funny Anymore.” WSJ. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://www.wsj.com/articles/texting-while-walking-isnt-funny-anymore-1455734501.
4 Garfield, Leanna. “7 Innovations to Get People to Stop Texting While Walking.” Business Insider. 2016. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/apps-and-street-signs-to-get-people-to-stop-texting-and-walking-2016-2.
Faith, Hope, and Love
The Wonders of the World
The seven man-made Wonders of the World are:
The seven ancient Wonders of the World are:
Of these seven ancient wonders, only the Great Pyramids in Egypt still exists.
The seven natural Wonders of the World are:
It must have been spectacular to view The Colossus of Rhodes and the massive gold statue of Zeus at Olympia.4 And the newer wonders like Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which stands 105 feet tall as well as the ruined city in Peru of the Inca civilization dating back to the 15th century. Without doubt, these magnificent structures along with the other wonders are fascinating. They are examples of man’s ability to express remarkable talent. It is no wonder (no pun intended) why we are so impressed by them.
Unfortunately, these grand wonders will not last forever as we have already witnessed with six of the seven ancient Wonders of the World. However, that is to be expected of things on Earth. There is, nonetheless, another wonder that will remain forever intact, indecomposable, and unaffected by earthly elements, and that is the wonder of love.
In 1 Corinthians 13:13, the apostle Paul wrote “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (NLT). The faith that Paul is referring to here is peithó, the Greek word which means “to persuade; be persuaded of what is trustworthy.”5 The word “hope” derives from the Greek word elipzo or “hope for, expect, trust.”6 And in this case, the word “love” refers to agapaó or “esteem.”7
Paul claims that even after one has been faithful and hopeful, love will be the last to remain. But why is that?
There is no place in the Bible that says God is faith or hope. Those qualities are required of man, not God, to demonstrate in order for man to reach the zenith of divinity.
This does not mean that faith and hope are unimportant. What it does mean is that when one elevates to pure heavenly mindedness, faith is no longer needed. It dissipates in the sight of God because it has been completely fulfilled. And the same applies to the concept of hope. When one hopes for something, the hope refers to a future expectation of something. However, since there is no future in heaven and all times have ceased, all hopes have been fulfilled. That is why in the book of Revelation 21:4, it is written “4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (KJV)
That leaves love.
It is important to note that in the book of Corinthians, the apostle Paul was writing to the Corinthians about what it would be like in the day when one sees the Lord or is face-to-face with Him. Love will be in its purist form, undefiled by human filtering and conditions. And since according to 1 John 4:8, who wrote that “God is love,” we too become completely one with divine Love. I trust this is a wonder to behold!
Below is a list of seven of the many prodigious wonders of Love divine, of God, that have been recorded in the Bible:
There are still wonders, miracles and signs going on today that prove the omnipresence of agapaó, and I am certain that if each of us looks deeply into our own lives, we may find some that we may have overlooked.15
In the book of Joel, 2:26, it is written, “…You will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has performed wonders specifically for you…” (ISV)
I believe that the wonders of this world, ancient, modern, natural, and man-made, are just some of God’s ways of expressing Himself. But I also believe His greatest and only indestructible wonder, one that cannot be seen by the human eye or built with human hands, is love which when embraced can be reflected by each one of us.
This kind of structure, the structure of love divine, is most amazing and impressive. That may just make love the greatest wonder of them all!
NLT-New Living Translation
KJV-King Kames Version
ISV-International Standard Version
1 Dawes, Matt. “The Current 7 Man-Made Wonders of the World.” Owlcation. 2016. Accessed December 11, 2016. https://owlcation.com/humanities/The-Current-7-Man-Made-Wonders-of-The-World.
2 “Photo Gallery: New 7 Wonders vs. Ancient 7 Wonders.” National Geographic. Accessed December 11, 2016. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/photogalleries/seven-wonders/photo5.html.
3 “The Seven Natural Wonders Of The World.” The Seven Natural Wonders Of The World. Accessed December 11, 2016. http://www.bobspixels.com/kaibab.org/misc/gc_7wond.htm.
14 O’Neil, Tyler, CP. “Modern Miracles: 5 Stories For Bible Skeptics From ‘It’s a God Thing’” Christian News, The Christian Post. Accessed December 11, 2016. http://www.christianpost.com/news/modern-miracles-5-stories-for-bible-skeptics-from-its-a-god-thing-104832/.
Here in the United States, some gather together on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate thanks to God for all the gifts He so generously bestows upon us.
This American tradition all began when a group of Separatists felt the need to leave England to seek out opportunities for civil and religious freedom. They went from England to the Dutch Netherlands then to America.
On September 6th a ship called the Mayflower carrying 102 Pilgrims traveled over harsh waters for over two months before seeing land on the shores of Massachusetts early in November. Before docking, they searched for a suitable place to begin their new life, so in early December, before disembarking the Mayflower, they signed what is known as the Mayflower Compact. This was the first document to lay the groundwork for civil government and for these people to be self-governed.
The Pilgrims began building their community, but many of them became sick and only “52 people survived the first year.”
After several months in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans from the Wampanoag Tribe befriended one another. A treaty was signed between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans to ensure peace remained between them.
Squanto, who had been taken as a prisoner by Englishmen, had lived in England and ended up joining the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and taught them how to hunt beaver and grow Indian corn.
In the autumn of 1621, during harvest time, the Pilgrims, who were now American colonists, prepared a feast that lasted three days where they were joined by the Native Americans. We have come to know that day as Thanksgiving Day.
Read more about the Pilgrims departure from England at https://www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids/homework-help/who-were-pilgrims
These Pilgrims were certainly a brave group of individuals, but I trust that their desire to practice their faith without repercussions inspired them and led them to America.
The freedom to practice one’s faith so long as it does not harm another was worth traveling over threatening seas and uncertain conclusions, and many suffered as they paved the way for us to be able to celebrate this holiday, so let us observe it with overflowing hearts of gratitude for the Pilgrims and Native Americans who participated in making America great.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from us at Foundation of Love!
Giving Thanks Before Thanksgiving Day
I was taught by my mentor that the best way to get through the feeling of lack is to make a gratitude list. One day when I was challenged with the feeling of despair that I would not be able to overcome my financial struggles, I decided to take the counsel of this wise individual and make a gratitude list.
I purchased a pretty journal, turned on some meditation and spa music, and got to work.
Page after page I found myself writing down the many gifts that God had bestowed upon me which included individuals I dearly loved who had passed, others who left my experience for various reasons, family members, pets, friends, good health, and overall experiences including the ones that were not harmonious because those tried, tested, and refined me.
I continued writing down how grateful I was for all the things that I had like a home, furnishings, a bathtub, a shower, food, clothing, hot water, air conditioning, heat, a vehicle, my body, my everlasting relationship with God through Christ, all the healings I had experienced and the many other gifts I had been given over the years. By the time I was finished, my journal was almost halfway full of thanks!
Since that day, I have filled many journals, and still to this day, when despair seems to sway me away from my path, I count my blessings by turning my focus on the abundance I have already.
This practice reminded me of the song “Count Your Blessings,” from the classic movie White Christmas, written by Diana Krall and sung by Bing Crosby.
“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
So if you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings”
I believe that we have many reasons to be thankful and many people to thank whom may have been overlooked, underappreciated, and forgotten because we became distracted with what we have yet to achieve. There is no need to wait for Thanksgiving Day to express gratitude for all the good in your life or to those individuals whom would love to hear a thank you from you.
In Ephesians 1:16, the apostle Paul wrote, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (ESV).
Before, during, and after Thanksgiving Day, let us be grateful every day for all that we have even as we wait for our heart’s desire to be fulfilled.
Thank you for visiting with us at Foundation of Love!
Happy Thanksgiving, every day!
O, hear the voice of angels
speaking through the wind.
Love’s illuminating all,
even man who sinned.
Never far away is He,
though distance may seem real.
Within you dwells your living God,
whose presence always heals.
For God is all,
and nothing less will He ever do
But guide you, love you, protect you, and lift your thoughts anew.
Wipe the salty water from your tender, supple cheek
and lift your voice to answer back:
I am strong,
I am whole,
I am never weak.
Shout it out, “I hear you God!
You’ve called my name.
I lift my thoughts to you!”
For I believe there’s only one
I need to answer to.
I’m prepared and ready now,
I have what I need to win.
I am the victor and the light
Guided by the angel voice within.
Woman Compass Not Command.
A compass does not peck or prompt; it points out direction.
As my womanhood continues to unfold, I see that there is more refinement that must happen.
I used to think that men were mostly incapable of thinking on their own, that they needed uxorial prompting, but I have come to understand that was an unfair perception, so where did those beliefs come from?
From other women!
Moms, aunts, friends, books, and gossip have all been contributing culprits, sponsoring the claim that men don’t listen to women.
I recall as a child that most of the women in my family, with the exception of my mom, acted imperiously over their husbands, and I still see that behavior today.
What I find most common is the postulate that men have to be “told over and over again” what to do and that this repetition is necessary in order to get them to do it. There seems to be an inference that, somehow, they hear things differently than woman.
In the book, Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, the author, John Gray Ph.D., claims that men and women are different and basically like they are from two different planets. He suggests that they are “motivated” differently. “Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished.”1
Motivating or inspiring others may seem to require constant prodding, but I believe that when we women are asking something of a man, we must first check our disposition.
I am not intimating that this problem is the responsibility of women, but in this article, I prefer to address the issues of how what a woman says most definitely affects a man’s response.
At NewsHealth.com in an article by Amanda MacMillan, I read that “Men are five and a half times more likely to lose their hearing than women, according to a 2008 study from Johns Hopkins University.”2
I wonder if this is because men begin to shut off their hearing when women nag them too much!
There have been many times when I have clearly made requests to my husband and they’ve gone unnoticed and unaccomplished.
I was told by a friend that her husband was diligently working on their lawn, which had some dirt patches, and she watched him every day for about a week. He tried fertilizer, pest control products, and other such things to get those patches to grow green grass, but to no avail.
She said that he would stomp on the grass in frustration and at times verbally express displeasure at the lawn. She decided it was time to intervene.
She gently interrupted her husband’s huff and said, “Dear, you keep yelling and stomping on the grass, so I ask you, if you were the grass, would you want to come out and grow?”
I love that story, and it led me to ask myself if I would rather be a hector or a helpmate.
I had to confess that too many times I nagged and berated my spouse in order to get him moving in the direction I needed, but it was scorching the marriage. The mere stress of repeating myself along with gearing myself up from utter frustration began to wear on me as well as the relationship, so a change was needed.
As I usually turn to prayer for answers, I asked God what I needed to know about communicating with my husband and men in general. I came across this most profound suggestion in the book of Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (ESV).
That picture was beautiful to me, and that is how I wanted to sound, so I continued in prayer about this, asking that, when I speak, I sound sincere and welcoming, and it worked!
God reworked my thoughts about my spouse and men in general, and soon my husband and I were more in alignment. I focused on speaking graciously, and he focused on listening to me. Do we get it exactly right every time? No, but we stay with it until we do.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes that, “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action.”
She is referring to divine Love in her statement. The love that God is, which breaks down all barriers of communication and sends forth a message with wings of love so that the idea takes flight and is accomplished.
How we speak, how we ask, will determine the outcome.
In John Gray’s book, Chapter 5, he explains why men and women often misunderstand each other. He proposes that it is because “the languages they speak are different.”3 I agree with that, but I also believe that when all of us, male and female, speak the language of love, every ear bends to listen.
In 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul wrote that love “is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.” (AMP)
So the next time you want your man to hear you, try flavoring your words with love. I trust that it will get the job done!
ESV-English Standard Version
1 Gray, John. “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” Genius. 2014. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://genius.com/John-gray-men-are-from-mars-women-are-from-venus-annotated.
2 “5 Surprising Ways Men and Women Sense Things Differently.” Health News / Tips & Trends / Celebrity Health. 2015. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://news.health.com/2015/03/26/5-surprising-ways-men-and-women-sense-things-differently/.
3 Gray, John.