On Loving and Longing

it’s Valentine’s Day next week, and the aisles at Target are working overtime to make sure we know that love is in the air, am I right? 

And does it seem like we are all collectively trying to feel light, flirty, and happy…yet know that life is truly often heavy, burdensome, and even our best days are as the Psalmist says: “but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)

I’m not trying to be a downer; I’m just telling the truth from where I’m seeing it: Love is sweet and fragrant and fun, but it also requires labor, sacrifice, and diligence. I can’t look at pink hearts without considering all the purple ones too in the trenches of life. Love and loss, love and longing…seems to always go hand in hand.

After almost 19 years of marriage and loving a husband plus six kiddos…love (the verb) and the celebration of it feels much different than it used to:

Less fluff and more foundation. Less stuff and more substance. Less heartburn, but more heartache.

Life is full of opportunities to love, feel longing or loss, and to love anyway.

I’ve been thinking on these things as Valentine’s Day approaches and GraceLaced Shoppe launched the Be Still Series this week (with a sale!) The series is about fighting chaos and the discouragement of waiting for change, with the steadying truth of God’s Word. It’s His Word that reminds us that:

He is good when He blesses and takes away. He is not through with us yet and will indeed wipe away every tear and make all things new. We can be still because He is still on the throne, even when everything is not perfectly lovely or loving.

Love and longing can sometimes feel like the same thing: Both make the heart ache and both teach us to trust what we can’t always see with our eyes. 

So maybe these verses meet you at the intersection of loving and loss, maybe they find you yearning and waiting, and maybe these verses remind you that you must just keep pressing on in love and praise because Christ is love and your life is in Him.

I hope so.


*And if these (or anything else in the shoppe) speaks to you this week, we are having a shoppe-wide sale, so enjoy the discount and free print promo through Wednesday 2/15. 


Cheering you on, friends.

Because of grace,

 

(Family portrait by my friend, Joy Prouty of Wildflowers Photography)

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Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

I will readily admit that I do not enjoy baking, due in part, no doubt, to an unimpassioned sweet tooth. I’d much rather fix a rack of lamb than bake cookies any day. However, my boys understand the language of love spoken through the efforts of sweet treats that emerge from the kitchen more than they do from a well-crafted Greek salad.

Pity, as I do make a mean Greek salad.

For those of you who can’t resist baking on Valentine’s Day, here’s a confection sure to bring a smile to your little loves underfoot, and perhaps to your Valentine. Don’t bother offering me one, thank you. I’ll take a rosy piece of seared Ahi if you’ve got any. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Cookies
1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tablespoons red food color
1 box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix

Filling
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups marshmallow creme
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly spray with cooking spray.
In large bowl, beat cookie ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until moistened; beat 1 minute longer on high speed.

Fill large ziploc bag with batter, and snip corner of bag for piping. Pipe 1 1/2 inch “hershey’s kiss” drops, or heart shapes, 2 inches apart.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until set (do not overbake). Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

In large bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. For each cookie pie, spread about a teaspoon of filling in between two layers. Sandwiched cookies can be stored in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper for a week.

That’s the recipe for makin’ whoopie (pies).

What To Wear {Valentine’s Day}

We’re planning on having a quiet night at home with the boys on Valentine’s Day. I’m so looking forward to expressing to my boys that they exist and love life because their mom and dad exist, love God, and love each other. I think I will express that to my family by grilling up some steaks. That’ll do it, don’t you think?

Were I and the Preacher going out to dinner, this would be an ideal ensemble:

Valentine's Date Night

And, for any of you ladies who may be spending the evening having dinner with your best friends, perhaps this outfit can ward off any unwanted attention:

Valentine's Night Out With The Girls

Whatever your plans and whatever you wear this weekend, be mindful of the fleeting allure of what the world tells us is love, and treasure what loving relationships in your life truly lead you further to the Him who IS LOVE. Be blessed!