February 19, 2013

We love because God first loved us!

Most people in our culture could not tell you the history or origin of Valentines.  Most would not know the story of St.Valentine who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers and ministering to Christians being persecuted under the Roman Empire.  Most would not know that the day was also celebrated as a fertility festival with rather risqué elements that I won't go into here. However, to most individuals, Valentines has become a day to celebrate the idea of love.  Weather it's flowers, candy, a nice dinner these things are meant to be shared with those who are special to you.  So, regardless if it's origins are nobel or revolve around pagan rituals, and despite our societies transformation of the day into a "Hallmark holiday," in our house we celebrate Valentines as a day to focus on LOVE.  True love.   Love that comes from the Creator God himself!  Last year, when Addi was one we told her over and over again "God is Love"  (1 John 4:8).  This year our verse was 1 John 4:19, "We love because God first loved us."  We made a point to teach Addilyn that the only reason we can love others is because God has shown us love.    Some other verses we read together and tried to live out included:
  • Deut 6:5- Love the Lord your God with all your heart!
  • 1 Cor 13:4a - Love is patient, love is kind. (This is how we can put love into action)
  • Matthew 22:36-29  Which is the great commandment? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (This is why we sent cards to others and hosted a party)

Here are pictures from our fun week trying to remember God's love for us and striving to love others from the overflow. 

These were cards we sent to grandparents and great grandparents.  On my mom's side of the family we always used the sign for "I love you" when leaving the house so when I saw this idea on Pinterest I couldn't pass it up!

This was the card we sent to Addi's great-great grandmother! Underneath all the pieces there really is a heart, I promise.  ;)

Addilyn made a heart butterfly to give to her Daddy.  So sweet!

Some of our friends who live pretty far away are going through a tremendous life change in their family by taking in a few foster children who desperately need love.  We collected letters, notes, and scriptures from others who knew them before they moved and put it into a Valentines care package. 

This is our Valentines morning breakfast tradition.  We LOVE cinnamon rolls in our house!

Addi and Siah had almost 20 friends coming over for their Valentines party so I thought we needs a few yummy treats to share with everyone.  Here is a homemade heart-shaped cookie cake.  I was so gooey when  took it out of the oven and began to crumble on the left side, but my oh my did it taste good.  

There was at least one friend who could not eat chocolate so of course I had to make another dessert so he could have some too, right?  It gave me a great excuse to make a homemade red velvet cake with homemade cream cheese icing.  I love baking, but feel I need excuse to do it.  This was my chance!

Since the party started around 10:00 I thought it might be good to have a few breakfasty items.  This was my attempt at at tray of raspberry danish bites and heart-shaped wild berry muffins. I think the muffins turned out rather silly looking, but oh well.

We had a fruit bowl full of heart-shaped strawberries and bananas.

Addi was thrilled to decorate for her party. She put decorations on the table...

...and sprinkled silk flower petals and heart garland all along the food counter.

For lunch, I could not pass up the opportunity to provide bagel pizzas with heart-shaped pepperonis.  So fun!

All the children helped make cards for a few ladies in our neighborhood.  They colored and used tons of stickers to really make the cards stand out.  I wish I would have taken pictures of a few of them.  They really were beautiful.  In addition to craft time, we also had game time.  I had made some Valentines busy bags for Addilyn and Josiah to play with and I pulled them out at the party to keep some of the kids entertained.  All in all I think everyone had a good time.

Heart size and color matching. 

Broken heart sticker counting.

Size sorting.

Cookie cutter match.

Candy heart pattern matching.


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