Friday, February 14, 2014

How to Be Loved Today



It's not a secret that I love Valentine's day.
There's no reason for it at all, just the hazy idea that it's okay to set aside a day in honor of the thing that makes the whole earth turn.

Haters say it's fabricated, a ploy to sell imported, genetically altered roses and those crappy chocolates in the cardboard hearts.

I say, "Be gone, cynics!"

Yet for all my Valentinian fervor, the painful truth is that all my paper hearts met an early demise this year and I have nothing planned for my kids except cinnamon rolls from that lonely cart at the back of  Kroger.

It's like this more and more.

Back when I lived in La-La Land, I would write for seven nights running about important and significant things like my rainbow/heart patterned dish towels from Target. I once spent an entire evening attempting to snip dehydrated pink grapefruit slices into hearts.

I'm still weird and frivolous, full of hair-brained ideas and silliness. But life was so much simpler, back then.

Back then, I didn't know actual people in jail or poverty or impossible situations. I didn't know teenagers whose love had been abused until it was unrecognizable, then altogether lost. I had never thought about 6-year olds in families too poor or distracted to grab a $2 box of valentines for the class party. My phone didn't buzz with text messages from young moms asking for help through their shame. I hadn't known the face of suicide, back then, or the soul-decaying invisibility of the condemned.

I also didn't know the hopeful beauty of a criminal and a police officer kneeling side-by-side for communion. I hadn't yet seen the vibrancy of  an Ethiopian mama providing for her young with her dignity intact. I wasn't aware that sometimes being a good neighbor means nothing more than opening the door and other times it means nothing less than giving the last cash until payday. I wasn't fully aware that sisterhood can be born in the birth of a brown-eyed baby. I had no measure of my capacity to love and be loved by a big kid tethered with an ankle bracelet. I couldn't have guessed that my husband would grow a ridiculous beard and rise up to shepherd child molesters and common theieves.

My eyes were still closed to the particular bonding powers of shared suffering and easy celebration.

Though I'm still an unwavering advocate of heart garlands and small gestures, I'm maybe just slightly less so. I have peeled back the lid of the heart-shaped box and found actual beating hearts, hearts that are wild and pulsing and wounded, they might say, beyond repair.

I've sat quiet with my own bruises and been rescued over and over by a hand reaching out for mine, holding on until I trust I'm in good company.

I know that hand is the very body of Christ, outstretched by someone willing to shelve her own burdens so she can shoulder mine. I know now the only reason I walk this earth is to help cast His love about, and that sometimes the best I can do is receive.

Today, I want us all to be loved. I know some of you aren't feeling it today, or yesterday, not ever, really.

Or maybe life is mostly good except for the parts that aren't, the parts that torture your nights and cause you to cry at the kitchen sink.

Maybe we're all in some kind of pain, you know? Maybe we compartmentalize it differently, some carrying it in a vest pocket, some wheeling it around behind them in a tall stack of precarious emotion.

We're let down and we're letting down, a bunch of distracted humans sure to get things wrong.

But what if today, we did things differently? What if, in the midst of our celebrating or not celebrating or rueing St. Valentine himself, we held out a hand to one more person, intentionally, because it matters for each of us to be loved today?

If you're in, just leave a comment. Say whatever needs to be said, without pressure to say much of anything at all. Just make sure we know your name.

I can't say enough that I love you guys. You're my people. What we have here is community. We've done this sort of thing before . We've passed proverbial loaves of banana bread around the stratosphere. It just feels like it's time again.

Aim all your love to the person directly above you in the comments, then draw back and let it fly.

You can pray, if you happen to be a Jesus person. But I know not everyone is, and I happen to like it that friends outside my faith are comfortable hanging out here. So just send love, in its best and simplest form. You can comment to each other or send your virtual love through brainwaves and shallow breaths. There's no wrong way. We each have certain love to give and we need to know we're not alone. I want every single one of you to believe you've got a Valentine here among us, someone rooting for you today, cheering you on from a different corner of a wold that's ribboned with glitter and laced with drear.

Just know that you are loved, friends. Know today that despite every botched weekday and every closing door, you are cherished and special and so necessary to the lives around you.

Your Valentine,
Shannan


133 comments:

  1. My name is Shannan and I would love a little extra love today. :)

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    1. Sending you a little extra love today pretty girl!

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    2. Shannan~ Thanks for sharing your love. Sending you love this February 15th! <3

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  2. My name is Dianna and Melissa, I just want you to know that you have such a sweet smile. It lights up your entire face. :)

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    1. (Alert! Alert! You guys are already making me cry. Carry on!)

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  3. Oh Shannan, you are the swooniest girl in the blogisphere. For serious. I have had a rough start to the year, but I always find that doing a kind gesture makes me feel better. You are my favorite. As are all of your readers. Oh. My name is Tia!

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  4. My name is Annet. Dianna, I like how your name in Persian means "supplier/messenger of beneficence and wellness" and how you displayed that in your comment above. I also love Wiki for supplying me with that tidbit, which was just perfect. :)

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    1. And I didn't mean to leave out Tia, she just wasn't there until after I refreshed. Tia, we obviously have awesome timing :)

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    2. Annet...thank you for sharing that piece of information because I had no idea. It put a smile on my face. :)

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  5. "You can pray, if you happen to be a Jesus person. But I know not everyone is, and I happen to like it that way. So just send love, in its best and simplest form. You can comment to each other or send your virtual love through brainwaves and shallow breaths. There's no wrong way. We each have certain love to give and we need to know we're not alone. I want every single one of you to believe you've got a Valentine here among us, someone rooting for you today, cheering you on from a different corner of a wold that's ribboned with glitter and laced with drear."
    THIS.
    This is what I needed to hear/read.
    Send love. Know you're (I'm) not alone. We all have love to give.
    I have been brought to tears by your words. Thank you for your love.

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    1. Girlfriend, I just changed the wording of that exact section up a bit, after Cory texted me that it was confusing. haha. Story of my life. And now I'm reading your comment! Thank you for loving even my confusing places. My sentiment still rings true. Love you.

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  6. Katie- I'm praying that you have a wonderful day.

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  7. First, Shannan, thank you for always peeling back the layers and showing what is true, real and forever! I love that about you!! And now, Dianna, I pray that you feel the never ending and boundless love of Christ Jesus today! That where ever you are feeling weak and work, His love would permeate through those spaces and you would Know that you are loved more than you could ever imagine!! <3 Happy Valentine's Day <3 Lorraine

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    1. Lorraine, thank you so much for sharing your prayer for me. It brought tears to my eyes, as I am reading this on February 15...and if there was ever a day when I needed His love permeate through my weak spaces it was yesterday. I tried all day to make a special treat for my Sweetie and kept getting interrupted by one phone call after another. The thing is that each call was a necessary one, but it didn't take away the frustration that I was feeling. And then when I did get to make the treat it turned out a TOTAL flop! When my hubby got home he'd had the same kind of day. We ended up having to go in to town (about 30 minute drive for us) to do an errand for a family member and on the spur of the moment we ended up eating out at our favorite Mexican restaurant and enjoying sweet fellowship! Your prayer was definitely one that was Holy Spirit breathed. Hugs to you! And thank you.

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    2. Oh Dianna, I'm just seeing your rsponse today ~16th. What a blessing to know that He used me to bless your day!!! How awesome that after all the struggling you got something that you didn't even plan or expect!! God is so very good to us!!!!! Be blessed friend !

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  8. Katie - you are in good company - as I always seem to be brought to tears here - although most are of the happy kind! Great post Shannan - and LOVE coming your way - saying a little prayer for everyone today and sending it up from my little place here in snowy Ontario Canada today - Hugs for all - Melissa, Dianna, Annet and Kirk and Katie - and for Shannan and the different perspective you bring to my inbox everyday - I truly look forward to finding you there!

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    1. Cheryl Girl, thank you for this. I felt all the love! So much.
      I always look forward to hearing from your sweet self.
      Mwah!!

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  9. Oh my girl- Shannan- you are my happy place- even though you make me cry the ugly cry more often than not.

    I seriously love the community here and the way you ladies love your people and your place. You all make me wanna do better here in my own neighborhood.

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    1. Lori, I'm so with you. I come for the happy photos and stories about Korean camp, girlfriend dressing herself with all the colors of the rainbow...and I end up doing the ugly cry...and loving it. We start by meeting Robert, then seeing him go away, then come back, get an early morning job then move out. So few words for so many emotions. My husband doesn't understand having a good "good cry." But, I understand the importance. And, I know I'm not alone reading with tears over Shannan's words each day. Such a blessing.

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    2. You girls! You're too much for me!
      I'm so loved. So thankful for this community.
      And the two of you are such a special part of it.
      xo

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  10. Steph, I hope your day is filled with the gut knowledge that Jesus died for you because he loved you and wanted to be in relationship with you. Best. Valentine. Ever!

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  11. This read was such a fantastic way to start my day as I sit down to my desk and clock in. I will see people differently today. Thank you, Shannan. Sending love to you, Cheryl, from another snowy place down south! <3

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  12. I send you and your family a little love every time I read your blog. <3

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    1. This is the sort of thing that can make a girl tear up...on Feb. 15th!
      Much love back to you, Audrey.

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  13. And a hushed prayer in the early, dark hours, from the snow laden prairies of Alberta - for you today, Jessica Flores. This morning where strangers are family, and our hearts let love in and let love out - it feels good to wrap up in this. Thanks, Shannan, sending you banana bread for you and your brood.

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  14. To Cheyenne in Alberta - may your day be filled with beauty and love and warmth and hot chocolate! xo

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  15. What a post. Yesterday, I had posted on FaceBook that it had been a week of news where it seemed Evil was winning. This reminds me it is not. Renee, peace and heartfelt joy this day.

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  16. Shannan,
    Your words are beautiful as ever. You inspire me to be a better person with every post. Your unconventional ways of loving God's people are truly an example of what we should all be doing. Thank you! Much love to you. xoxo

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  17. regalt62 - the world is a better place because you're in it. thinking of you with love! and shannan - oh, boy, this blog of yours!! you are love! xo

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  18. and mary - your post popped up while i was hitting publish. what would this world be without you in it? happy valentines day with love!

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  19. I hope you love and feel loved today Mippie! You are special and a gift to all those who know you. xxx000

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  20. Shannan this is so beautiful. Jessica Flores... way up there. "I will see people differently today." I think I need to paint this on a sign! Thank you for that statement. Stephanie: May you find love in unexpected places and people today. I pray your burdens are light today and that you are refreshed!

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  21. You are so beautiful, Shannan! Thanks for the Love Day inspiration! And Kelly G. - I just have a feeling your light is going to shine so brightly on the people along your path today! We can't always change *what* we see, but we can change *how* we see -- praying you see with the eyes of Jesus today, friend!

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  22. Leslie - Totally! The eyes of Jesus... May you be able to slow down and see the moments as special. To soak them in. Find the grace and love in all the small things this day gives you!

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    1. Jessie Girl, I like you all the way from here. Your heart is radiant.
      Thanks for loving us so well!

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  23. Hi Shannan, my name is Siggie, first time commenter. Thank you for this post, your perspective of Valentine’s Day and for giving us your heart! I’m giving you a big virtual hug!
    Dear regalt62, please know that you are loved!
    To all that have posted, wishing you all a wonderful day full of peace, love and laughter!

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    1. Hooray for first time commenter!
      You picked the BEST day for it, Siggie.
      Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement.
      Here is is, the night of the 15th, and I'm back reading through all these again. I can't get enough!
      So much love to you, pretty lady.

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  24. Kelly G, I like the idea of painting "I will see people differently" on a sign. Maybe hanging it directly in front of my face all day so that I'm constantly reminded. Thank you for this and I hope your day is filled with little signs of how much you are loved and cherished.
    Thank you Shannan for this post. My feelings about Valentines Day have shifted since my son was small. We made our share of construction paper hearts and heart shaped cookies. I cherish those memories. Matthew died last May of a drug overdose so I'm missing him and could definitely use some love.

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    1. I'm so sorry, Mary Beth. Your sweet words find me here so often and yet I couldn't have guessed the pain you're feeling. Praying some extra-special love and grace down on you today. Thank you for sharing. This is what it's all about. XO

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    2. Mary, so sorry... (((Hugs)))) to you

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    3. Prayers for you Mary Beth. "I hope your day is filled with little signs of how much you are loved and cherished..." hoping these things for you today as well.

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    4. Oh Mary Beth. Hugs to you today. I pray God will send you someone to love you well today and that you will find people to love well today.

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    5. I can't imagine the pain you feel. God bless and keep you.

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    6. Praying for comfort for you

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    7. Mary Beth~ Sending you love. I am so sorry, I pray your special memories with Matthew and the love of Jesus will comfort you.

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    8. Mary Beth, I am so sorry for your loss...and your hurting heart. May Jesus just send you so many special "I love you's" over this next week that you will know that each of them are from Him. Hugs sweet spirit.

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  25. Hey Kate Spears, you look lovely wearing yellow and your beautiful smile! I hope your day is blessed and I will leave you with a poem from my 6 year old: Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, I like Legos.

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    1. So, Lori. Your daughter's poem cracked me up so bad yesterday and I'm back for more. :)
      We went to see the movie today - our first all-family movie! (Can you believe it??)
      And we got the times wrong (naturally!) so we ended up in the front row. I'm still dizzy!
      Mad Lego love to you tonight, and all the normal kinds, too.

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  26. Mary Beth, I'm so sorry to read about Matthew. Please know you have someone thinking about you and wiping away a tear for you today in Illinois. I pray that you find comfort and peace today in the smallest and purest of places. If we were closer, I'd bring you heart shaped cookies. Keep your eyes up; He's got you. Hugs, Brittany

    Shannan, thank you so much for this post! THIS is what today is all about and what everyday should be about.

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    1. Brittany, you are just full of compassion and love. I can tell from your post above. And after visiting your blog, I would like to wish you a Congratulations!

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    2. Thank you, Lisa! You just made me smile from ear to ear:)

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  27. I love your blog and your faith. Everything about you is infectious. Bless you for your sweet messages. and Happy Valentine's Day!

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  28. HAppy Valentine's Day, Lisa! Lots of love to you!

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  29. Leslie W...Shout out from Kentucky :) I am sending up a special prayer for you today that your heart is at peace and that LOVE will fill you to overflowing on this Valentines Day!

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    1. Hey, Kentucky Lady!
      Thanks for being a rad part of our community.
      You guys are my PEOPLE!
      Hope you were loved yesterday...and today...and go ahead and rock tomorrow, too!
      xo

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  30. Lisa, I am Nancy. I am praying God holds you tight in his grip of grace today and all year. I am also praying that you will feel, really feel his love for you today. The world needs more beautiful people like you.

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  31. I love you darling girl and all your family, you are always in my prayers. I stand amazed at your works.
    xo

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    1. Deb, do you know how much I love you? Feel it extra tonight, please.

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  32. I comment as a Valentine's Day cynic. I believe love can/should be expressed year-around and not obligated based on a date.
    However, your post was beautiful and as a Jesus Person who is striving to love more and judge less, I couldn't agree more.
    Thank you for your thoughts. I enjoy them as often as I have time and I know others that feel the same way. Keep on doing what you're doing!

    Nancy,
    -- Know that whatever you're facing right now, God sees. He has not fallen off the throne and He understands you and whatever you may be dealing with better than anyone. Talk to Him about it and let Him be your comforter.
    He loves you more than you could ever understand.

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    1. Just wanted you to know, you got to send your love to my personal mama.
      Lucky you! :)

      I hope your inner V-day cynic was shot through by cupid. :)

      I love you, Jesus Person. I can tell how rad you are all the way from here!

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  33. Shannan, I hope you feel the love today from all those who, like me, can't always find the right words to express how we feel. Thank you for doing that for me, for us, and for doing it so beautifully...you give me some thankful tears, girl. You are loved and prayed for, my sweet friend.

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    1. AnnaM - I think you expressed yourself beautifully. I hope that you know how much you are loved today!

      Shannan - thank you for sharing your heart. Your words are challenging and encouraging in the best way. I thank God for the heart behind those words. Hope you and your beautiful family have a lovely Valentines Day!

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    2. Kate, I like your cool name AND your gingham.
      Thanks for being apart of this radness. My V-day was lovely and tonight's been pretty great, too.
      So much Saturday love to you!

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  34. Deb, I'm following Shannan's instructions and sending you some love & prayers today. I don't know you, but God does and he knows exactly what you need right now. I'm Julie from Indiana.

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  36. 1 John 4..THANK YOU Shannan you bless me. Today started with joy. Pink daisies and chocolate to teachers then a breakfast out which came the phone call. My daughter age 20 is having serious medical issues. I being recently diagnosed ovarian cancer at age 47 and my sister age 37 breast cancer now my child has suspicious cyst. Praying they are cyst however she will be looking at a hystehysterectomy and no child bearing. Praying Gods peace and love. Thank you for loving me like Jesus loves.

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    1. Lolly~ Lifting you, your daughter and sister in prayer. This time last year I began chemo treatment for Stage 3b inflammatory breast cancer. Reading through the Psalms each day, clinging to Jesus, reading of His steadfast love was a comfort to my soul, I pray you will have His peace as you press into Him. Love~ Roberta

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    2. Thank you Roberta appreciated and prayers to you.

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  37. Lolly, I will be lifting your family up in prayer today. How scary it is to have a young daughter facing such serious medical issues, find your peace and comfort in Him. Sending love your way.

    Shannan, thank you for always bringing me back down to what it's really all about. SERIOUS chills reading your perfect words for today.

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  38. Hi Kayley!!! Reaching out through this comment with a big hug! Know you are loved so perfectly by Him - you are worthly and precious! Honored to love you today - we are one through Him!!

    Shannan - this slayed me today! Thank you! Sending you love - so much love!! You are amazing!!

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  39. Lolly, I immediately thought of 1John 4! Talk about comfort! It's the BEST valentine ever. And today verse 12 is calling all our names. "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us." No one sees God here on earth except thru how we love one another! I think He's proud of you today Shannon! Tiffany you too!:)

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  40. What a lovely post, as usual, Shannan!

    And Miss Pam, thank you for sharing that verse - a wonderful reminder today and every day. I have no doubt that God looks at you with joy and love as well. : )

    I wish all of you ladies a wonderful Valentine's Day. You are LOVED!

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  41. Cathy C be lifted up in love today. Happy Valentine's Day..

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  42. Beautiful, beautiful post. I'm squeezing back the tears. "Be gone, cynics!"...LOL.

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  43. Shannan, you have a with words. Thank you always for your honesty and openness.

    Kimberly, today and everyday may you feel loved. I pray that you know the unfailing love that is like no other.

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    1. Bethany, in my excitement, I forgot to give you a Woop! Woop! Let love shine through your heart today! xo

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  44. I AM going to do it differently. I'm bucking the system tonight. I am going to be a missionary of missionaries. {happy dance} I am FINALLY going to use that voice God has been growing in me. Pray that His words and His love open hearts. Pray that what they "know" to be true grows outside the box they've put it in. Pray that the love they want to share is not buried in fear. This is going to be BIG. Oh man...I am so excited.

    Thank you for encouraging and inspiring and sharing! Much love to you, Shannan!

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  45. Meghan~ You go girl!!! Praying for you as you "buck the system". I know God will use you greatly for His glory!

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  46. Thank you Shannon for the push. My mother and I have struggled for years with our relationship. It has come to my attention this past year that I have been withholding love to her as punishment. I have been slowly releasing that stranglehold and today after reading your post - I drove to her house looked her in the eye and told her that I loved her with all my heart and that I need her support and wisdom every day. I told her how lucky I was to have her.
    I am free.
    Thank you.
    To Michele: You are a great cheerleader, I can tell. Everyone needs one of those in their lives. Sending you love today.

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    1. Wow! What a special day for you! I know it takes courage to do what you did! but it is so worth it. Thank you for your encouraging words to me too!

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    2. Teresa. I love that you are free! I know that took a great deal of courage.

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    3. YES! YES! YES!!!!!!
      Love breaks the chains, right?

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  47. Teresa! What a BRAVE BRAVE girl you are!!!! That is an amazing thing you did today!! I know this because I don't talk to my mom and I know how hard it would be for me to do that. Lots and lots of love on this Valentine's Day. I hope all you wished to accomplish today was accomplished and you will feel that burden lightened.:)
    xo,
    marci

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    1. Marci, please accept the hardest hug I've got :)

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  48. This is a safe, warm, welcoming space. I love coming here. I feel happier just for having visited - no matter what deeper ends we find ourselves swimming in. Marci, your encouragement and acknowledgement is so sincere it comes right through the screen. My mom and I walk on uneven ground ourselves sometimes. I wish you the comfort and love of all around you - including me! hugs ... barb

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  49. Barbara! Happy Valentines to you! You are loved and special and precious! Bless you today! What an encouragement you are!

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  50. Happy, Happy day of love to you Vicki! Whatever you are doing, wherever you are going in your life..let it be known that I am praying for you even though you don't know me! May God hold you close and guide your every step and may you feel love, sweet love all about you...so much so that it makes you want to show love to all those around you. Let every day be love day for you!!

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    1. ...dear sweet marmee...this is indeed a God thing...for i too am a marmee...the only one i know among many nannys...and mimis...and nanas...i am late to the party...but my prayers for you are not...may Jesus keep you close this day and every day...and may He keep all those you love who call you marmee even closer...let us pray together for all those above...those dear young mothers...and the older ones too...all God's precous-in- His-sight children..."suffer the little children to come unto me"..that would indeed be all of us blessings laney

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    2. Thank you sweet Laney marmee!!! My kids have called me Marmee since watching Little Women years ago! Let's be friends..i am late to the game but nonetheless love my Marmee title and love what Shannon has prompted each of to do..love more...show it more..share it more..to all those with whom we may come in contact! Indeed, we will join our prayers together for all of those whom have expressed love ..to all mothers, to all want to be mothers, for mothers who are stretching every day with their little ones and for mothers whose babes have left the nest.. Let's be friends, Laney! I love you and am praying for you..may your love tank be filled to overflowing and splash all over those especially in need of some extra love!

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  51. The support structure for love is hope - and not being afraid. As you said so well, Shannan, we need to know we're not alone. I, too, am glad for conversation with people of many persuasions. May we keep well that day after Valentine's Day, and all the other "day afters." May we all seek to be in touch with the One who makes love possible. - Linda

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    1. Linda, I was JUST thinking about you not 10 minutes ago! Thinking about what an inspired and talented artist you are. So glad God saw fit to cross our paths. It seems so meaningful to me. xo

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  52. Thank you Shannan for again reminding me what's important. I want to be more loving and more giving and less wrapped up in my blanket of 'poor me'. I love your heart. :-)

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  53. Rebecca, May God be with you today.

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  54. hi heidi, your name will be in my heart today as i pray for you :)
    and shannie girl, "Know today that despite every botched weekday and every closing door, you are cherished and special and so necessary to the lives around you."--i love to copy paste your words and i copy paste them into my heart as well.
    you're a good woman and you are changing the world sister.xo

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  55. Paige, God bless you today! And thank you Shannan for this absolutely beautiful post! Like so many others, I love your heart.

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  56. Hi Tina! You're so pretty! I can tell just from your small thumbnail picture. You have a lovely face. :) Hope you had a wonderful day of love and that today will also be that, full of love.
    Love to you too, Shannon!

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    1. Lara girl, your comment shows YOUR beauty so clearly. I'm just all swoon-a-roony over this love-fest happening here. Thanks for being part of it. And BE LOVED today!!

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    2. Oh, I am so embarrassed - I misspelled your name! I know the pain of this - as Lara, I have lived through a lifetime of "Laura" - aghhh! Can't believe I did that. Never again. :)

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  57. I'm so glad there are still some posting even though it is the 15th! Lara, special prayers for you that God will touch your whole week with a special blessing. I'm basking in all this love, as only Shannon can get rolling in us! We buried my father-in-law to a lost eternity this week.

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  58. Peggy - praying for you and the wee one you are holding in your photo. Always praying for your husband and family as you deal with the death of your father-in-law. I have no words of wisdom, only the assurance that our Father loves us beyond ourselves. He is also grieved by this death.

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  59. Cynda, praying God's blessings upon you and the little one in your photo! May God bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you!

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  61. Okay, I am cracking up here after reading your heartfelt post that reaches into my heart and causes it to want to reach out. There has been something I feel prompted to do but haven't taken action. I need to. But I am seriously cracking up because I get to direct all my love to the person above me. lol Even spammers need the love of Jesus! So Syed Ali, I pray the love of Jesus would minister to your heart today, draw you to Him, and fill you with His overflowing peace.

    Jeanine, Happy Day after Valentines Day! I pray that you would feel and know God's steadfast love. God bless you! Roberta

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    1. OMW> BEST EVER!!! Hahaha. I love this and you. Just read this out loud to Cory.
      Thanks for being so awesome.

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  62. Roberta you are the best! I loved your comment and was laughing so hard. Of course Syed Ali needs the know how much Jesus loves him! I am praying right now that God will hold you securely in his loving arms and give you peace through all of your days! Shannan, as always, your words are so beautiful.

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  63. I stumbled upon your blog the other day (not even sure how I arrived here) but am sure glad I found it. When you write I feel your words in my heart. The first time I visited your blog I read and read wiping away tears. What an amazing person your are, I wish I had half the courage you do. Sending some late Valentine love your way!

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    1. Elysa, I'm with you on the Shannan love fest. I'll take her over a box of fancy chocolates any day.

      And I have a feeling you're more courageous than you think, Elysa. It seems always easier to recognize those qualities in others rather than see them in ourselves. But, you reached out to give some love today, and I'm betting that's just the tip of your kindness iceberg. Much love to you this Valentine's weekend!

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    2. Thank you Kristin you made my evening :)

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  64. In conclusion I will leave you all with the song of the day..."Everything is awesome...everything is cool when you're part of a team..." ;)

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    1. My kids WON'T stop singing this.
      And now YOU?????!

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    2. The real question is...why would you Want to stop singing it!

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  65. I'm late to the love party, but better late than never. I've enjoyed all of the encouraging going on here and since Shannan asked that we direct our comments to the person above us, this is to Alex and Riann. I clicked over to see if you had a blog and discovered those beautiful sisters who "match." What a precious gift to the world, and each other. May God bless you both as you raise your family and follow His path.

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    1. I wanted to join in too because I love LOVE!!! :)) And how fun that it was your name above mine, Dayle!!! I remember you from xanga days and how your sweet words breathed life and encouragement often~ may you feel His joy singing over you today!! xox

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    2. Thank you, Amber, and hugs to you. Hope you're well. By the way, I still miss the Xanga days.

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  66. I think I'm catching the LOVE train as it's pulling out of town, but I'm leaping aboard anyway..

    Amber, I just hopped on your blog and you are as amazing as I knew you'd be from your comment to Dayle! Loved what you said a few days ago:

    ask Him to give you a love for Him that surpasses anything in human experience.

    a supernatural capacity.
    and ask Him for it every day until He does it.
    and then, ask Him to do it some more

    Thank you for saying it just like that. I will be asking Him. And, thank you that I found a new blog to read...

    xoxo,
    Joanne

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  67. Love Love Love makes people happy. Love Love. Love makes people free! All we need is Gods love! Kayley and Roberta thought of you today and said a prayer or 2. Joanne I dont want you to feel like the caboose. Sending much love to you today.

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  68. Lolly, know that I prayed and sent good thoughts your way. I love to celebrate Valentines Day with my family. I do not need flowers, nor a fancy night out, I want nothing more than to sit around the table with my kids and husband and maybe a few close friends and use the "funny cups" (the wine goblets from Ikea) filled with red soda. I love to sit around the table and open hand made notes from my kids. This is what makes Valentines Day great.

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    1. Qwendykay...YES..thats the best Valentine. I l8ke to make cards with quirky sayinga..like im nuts about ypu with a package of nuts..I am the queen of. clearance rack or bargain bin shopping. My other took me to Walmart at 4am to pick out my chocolates and then out for pancakes. Made me sohappy! Much love to you and yours.

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  69. I truly hope that everyone here, guided by the beautiful, giving and completely inspiring Shannon - has the most wonderful of days...doing nothing more than what they always do...sometimes the nothing things are the most important...
    My youngest, Miss.Audrey {who is all of 8} regularly asks me on the way to school- "Mum do you wish you were me? Because I really have the best life"...we're doing the same car trip, to the same school, the same way as we always do and she feels blessed with it.
    There's something in that that makes me smile...
    HAppy Vlentines day xx

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    1. Melissa, I love that your daughter sees her life as the best! She will take that gift of delighted contentedness with her for life. May God bless your sacred role as mother. Know that you are dearly loved and treasured!

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    2. This is BEAUTY!

      Melissa - Thanks for a peek into your little girl's heart! May we all be so in tune with our blessings that we soak in the joy of it every day.
      Jody - Praying peace and so much joy from Jesus in your life today!

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  70. Good Morning!! Hello all of you Lovelies!! It is early squirrely here on a Sunday morning and I have been a weapy mess reading over everyone's prayers, wishes and thoughts for others!! You are all so beautiful, radiant and simply AWESOME!! Shannan.. golly, what a ministry you have here!! YOUR.VERY.OWN prison ministry.. so many hearts being held captive by life as we know it..we are being quenched by the overflowing of the love you share/give/show/need!! Thank you so much for being so dang real!! (( and having an awesome friend who would send you much coveted curtains!! )) And YOU.. Miss Abby Dumont... It has been nearly 6 days since you commented.. what have your days been like?? I pray as you go out today and all the days that follow.. that you are met with an ABUNDANCE of love.. that you feel my Sweet Jesus going before you...leaving you with a complete knowledge of HIS presence wherever you may roam!!! only love.. only love..Joyfully His...

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