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Oooh. I love romance and Valentine’s Day. I’ve only ever had one true Valentine. Our time together totals over 25 years if you add the years of dating to the wedding anniversaries. (Don’t ask, that subject could be a blog post all its own.)
The simple, totally mushy answer to the question above is “Whatever I’m doing with him.”
But, the more in-depth answer is, a home cooked Italian themed dinner, candlelight and something decadent for dessert. Decadence isn’t limited to chocolate, but warm chocolate lava cake is divine. Sighs.
I hate crowds and he loves my cooking. So, we usually do our “on the town” Valentine’s dinner the week before or the week after. But on the special day itself, we’re home with the lights down low, our phones and the television turned off, soft music in the background, and dinner by candlelight served on our fancy dishes.
We treat it as a true date with me with my hair done and full make up in a pretty outfit and him in a nice polo and Dockers. No shoes, unless we opt for dancing–then I want heels since I’m 5’2″.
I’ve prepared stuffed shells in meat sauce or lasagna. This year we’re going more simplistic with spaghetti with meat sauce accompanied by salad, garlic bread, and maybe some other veggie. Then, dessert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A truly rich and sexy dessert I’ve used in place of chocolate is super simple.
Pineapple and warm caramel sauce. The flavors are a smooth mix of sharp and sweet.
hint: if you feed them to each other by hand, the warmed caramel doesn’t always stay on the fruit and a napkin may not be the way you want to capture the excess yumminess.
But really, Valentine’s Day is romantic because you’re with the one you love. So, however you celebrate, do it with a heart full of love for your date and it will be the best time ever. Guaranteed.
Enjoy your evening of romance. Happy Valentine’s Day.
And, who better to help you set the mood if you haven’t finalized your plans for the big hearted day than some awesome romance authors. Here are a few who write in an array of genres that are sure to help you find inspiration. Click on their names to visit their sites.
Paranormal Romance Kay Hudson
Romantic Suspense Sharon Wray
Novels with Romantic Elements Jean Willett
Historical Romance Wendy LaCapra
Diana Belchase (What I Really Want for Valentine’s Day)
Feel free to share some of your ideas or memories of your most romantic Valentine’s Day in the comments.
I was blessed with an amazing early Christmas present. It came the night before Thanksgiving–so Thanksgiving Eve. Heartsong Presents of Love Inspired is going to publish my Golden Heart winning inspirational romance, Love’s Advocate, in September of 2014 as book 1 in a 3 book series.
I am beyond thrilled. Happier than a child receiving their first bicycle. Still Snoopy dancing.
And grateful beyond measure to my amazing agent, Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates, Ltd, and Heartsong Presents, the talented and encouraging Heather Burch, Carol Post, Dixie Taylor, Sabrina Jarema, and Anne-Marie Carroll and Joni Fisher. No one could ask for a better group of ladies to have as their friends, critique partners, and encouragers. You are all the awesome present I was gifted with long before this one.
To Casting Crowns for some of the most inspiring and revealing lyrics to God‘s truth.
And I’m thankful to God, always. He has sustained me, guided me, loved me, and strengthened me when the days were too dark for me to see where I was going. He truly is a light unto my path, shining bright forever.
And my Firebird sisters. All of you ladies rock. Each one of you has inspired me and helped me realize this world is unkind to all of us, not just me. You keep me from being selfish and you help me know that if I keep reaching higher, I will catch that shooting star–one day. And that day was November 27, 2013.
Last but by no means least, I am thankful to and for my hubby, the amazing Typo-detector. We are starting a new journey, leaving sorrows behind and making new traditions with fewer people gathered around our holiday table, but they will always be in our hearts. I love you most.
And all of my family. Never has someone been more blessed than I am with all of you. I hope I can live up to your expectations.
Merry Christmas to all.
June has begun and for those living in the southeastern US, that means hurricanes. They are massive, covering almost the entire land mass of the 48 states as they near land. River-flooding rains, roof-lifting winds, and squall lines before and after. It can been a seven day, ongoing attack with lulls that coax you into a false sense of calm. Only to swing around and catch you off guard.
But as frightening as those behomoths are, I cannot imagine the terror tornados spawn in the hearts of the residents of the midwest. Oklahoma, in particular, has been ravaged numerous times this season. These storms arrive with little or no warning, moving as quick as lightning and just as deadly. They level entire neighborhoods and towns in the blink of an eye.
My thoughts and prayers are for all those who have been affected by these deadly bouts of intense nature. Scientists study them, but still, the warning to run for cover comes only minutes before an imminent attack.
Please be safe and as prepared as you can be whether you face a tornado or hurricane. I pray no more lives are lost to these intense examples of nature at its fiercest.
As you hustle and bustle through your day, attending meetings, running errands, doing laundry, or cooking dinner, do you dwell on encounters you had with other people who crossed your path that day?
I confess, I do, especially if that person made an impression on me. Sometimes, the impression is not a happy, smiley face. It’s best if I’m doing some food prep during those reflections–the onions don’t cry when I slice them into pieces.
But what does a person have to do to make you smile when you’re reflecting?
I think Jack Callahan in “While You Were Sleeping” said it best when his brother, Peter, couldn’t figure out what it was about Lucy that made her special. “Sometimes she makes you so crazy you don’t know whether to hug her or arm wrestle her. She’d go all the way to Italy just to get a stamp in her passport. I don’t know if that makes her crazy or if she’s just really…likeable.”
And I met someone who is a genuine, ‘really’ likeable-type person. There was no arm wrestling involved, but there was a hug. And I count today as special, because I made a new friend.
And that, makes me smile.
Ever wonder where writers get their ideas? Today some of the Golden Heart finalists are telling what inspired them to write their GH manuscripts. Fun read!: http://www.ghfirebirds.com/dear-firebirds-sept-12th/
Yay. I am so excited. Today, the 2012 Golden Heart finalists launched their shiny new website. Come on over and meet everyone at www.ghfirebirds.com
We are going to offer so many fun and exciting things. We’ll be talking about favorite books, favorite heroes, favorite first lines. We’ll offer advice in a “Dear Firebirds” feature, and the one we are all so proud to include is Fiction Fridays where we start a story and let you, our readers, vote on the next turn in the story.
So, come on by and say hello. We can’t wait to see you.
I’m not just saying that because my life appears all rosy and perfect right now–I finaled in another contest at the chapter level with my second manuscript. But that does help keep me smiling. I have issues and crises of faith, and temptations to lose my temper assail me just like you.
But if we can put our trust in Him before we get out of bed each morning, then we will have a day filled with His presence and His assurance. We may still encounter a snag or an unhappy person, but we won’t do it alone. And with God walking beside us into battle, what else do we need?
Be brave. Be strong. But be faithful first and the rest will be easier.
He is always with us. We are most richly blessed.
I was so stunned when I received the call from Maggi Landry on March 26th letting me know I had finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest.
And I was shocked when they called my name as the winner for the category on July 28th. I already counted myself a winner just for finaling. That was a true validation that all my hard work and writing had not been for nothing. That this dream could come true, but some time in the future–way in the future after this year’s winner was annouced because I had read at least one of those stories that was my competition and knew how great it was. Besides all three of the others had sold and I hadn’t. (But I also hadn’t submitted to an editor yet either.) There was no way I would win. It was just insane.
Well, insanity must have ruled the night–at least in the inspirational category for the GH.
Everyone was so kind and warm and wonderful. It was like I was among an entire group of winners, because that is how I see each one of my fellow Firebirds. (Taking flight August 20th– www.ghfirebirds.com)
It is an honor to win my category and it is a privilege to call these fine women my sisters. We have forged a bond over the past four months that distance (all the way down to Australia and over to Hungary and India) nor time can erode. We will survive, we will encourage each other, and we will soar higher than anyone thought we could–straight to the bestseller’s lists all over the world.
Thank you everyone for sharing in this amazing dream come true. It was the most magical night of my writing life. I will treasure it always.
Sorry that I haven’t been posting more frequently. My FIL has been ill for a while now and he’s in the hospital again. Not sure which direction his health will go this time, but trusting God knows what’s best.
I’m thankful for the love and support of my friends and acquaintances within the writing community for their prayers and encouragement. Other people’s kindness is what has kept me and the rest of our family going through this chaotic time.
So my question to you for this post is, “What gets you through a tough time? Does it always work? Do you ever have doubts that the problem/trouble is too big to conquer?”
These are all questions running through my mind as we face Dad’s illness. My mantra for my writing is “using stories of faith to share hope.” I pray my faith is strong enough to lead me through this turmoil and maybe I can give someone else facing the same type of heartache hope because I was faithful.
Hug your loved ones. You don’t know how long God will let you borrow them.