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Hearts and Flowers and Lenten Checklists

Hearts and Flowers and Lenten Checklists

Since it’s Valentine’s Day – and the second day of Lent – today’s post combines the best of both worlds with insights from other writers.

Last week I shared some advice for single people on Valentine’s Day, so today the focus is on couples. First, fellow Patheos blogger Pat Gohn offers an idea for the man who STILL hasn’t gotten his wife or girlfriend a Valentine’s gift: a genuine, from-the-heart love letter.

For Valentine’s Day, or really, for any special occasion—her birthday, your anniversary, you name it—you want to do the uncommon thing, the heroic thing, the thing that sets you apart from anyone else in the world, the thing that she will carry in her heart, or in her top dresser drawer, or purse, until next Valentine’s Day and beyond.

She wants to hear and know the words that only you can give her: words from you that describe how you cherish her and value your love together.

How do you accomplish that?

You’ll have to read the rest of Pat’s post for the step-by-step guide.

For the woman who doesn’t know what to get her man, Frank Weathers suggests (wait for it)… Bacon Roses! Yes, roses made out of bacon. This may not be an ideal gift for those whose arteries are already sufficiently hardened, but as a once in a lifetime treat, it might be fun.


The fact that Valentine’s Day falls during Lent, which has its own obligations, can make your life seem even more overwhelming. Kerry Weber reminds herself not to approach the season as something you just need to get through:

Lent itself can sometimes seem to be little more than a checklist of things to do or not do, to say or to avoid saying. “Alleluia” is out. And “atonement” is in. Add to that my everyday to-do list, and the entire season can be completely overwhelming.

I find myself wondering: How am I supposed to live a normal life while doing all of these “extra” things for Lent?

The short answer is: I’m not. Lent is meant to be a bit disruptive, to push us outside of our comfort zones. Lent is a time of preparation, of purification. But while all my lists are well-intended, it’s all too easy to lose sight of their larger purpose, and to forget what, exactly, I’m trying to prepare for.

Lent is meant to help us recognize and identify with the suffering of others, to consider others’ needs before our own— and one doesn’t do that simply by crossing items off a list.

Participating in the Lenten traditions of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not meant to distract from, but be enhancements to our everyday life. They open us up to be more loving, more giving; they help us strip away those things in our life that are extraneous.

As Kerry spells out (her full article is here), Lent is meant to move us towards love, to teach us to put the needs of others ahead of our own. In that sense, it’s similar to Valentine’s Day – or at least what Valentine’s Day should be.

Ultimately, the word that sums up both Valentine’s Day and Lent is “love.” It’s also the only word that sums up God.

RELATED: What to Give Up for Lent

Tom McDonald: 9 Ways to Keep Lent

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