How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.…”

I love you, J, because you have shown me grace, compassion, and patience!   You have accepted me for who I am and encouraged me to follow my dreams.  You treat me with care and show our children what real love looks like.  
I love you, S, because you still want my hugs despite your “maturing years”.  You have taught me to adapt and be accepting.  You have shown me we must always look at the heart of a person to truly know them.
I love you, J, because you are sensitive and sweet.  You have renewed my love of learning.  You have taught me that everyone is different and we have to be creative in finding ways to relate to those who are not the same as us.
I love you, L, because you are so valuable.  You have such an uncertain heart and I love to show you every minute that you are perfect because God made you.  You have taught me to love all things girly and to embrace the disappearing moments when you’re happy just to be ours.
I love you, A, because you bring me such immense joy.  Your sweet, unburdened spirit continues to bring laughter and excitement to our house.  I love that you embrace life and are to be who you are.

“…I love thee with the breath, 
Smiles, tears, of all my life!…” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Last year I shared my renewed appreciation for this particular day of the year.  You can read that post here “Valentines 2012“.  The funny thing is that while I definitely had a change of heart, I kind of forgot about the whole day altogether until last weekend when the younger three were preparing their Valentines for school!

In an effort to maintain the joy we experienced last year I thought I’d make sure that I had a gift ready for each one of them when they awoke this morning.  It’s not like I spent hours shopping and brainstorming and researching…I really don’t want this to become an ordeal.  Quite honestly I think giving from your heart should be easy.  Not easy in a careless way, but easy, simple, quick because you know the person so well.  I think I managed to keep it simple but thoughtful, a few small chocolate treats and a little gift specific to them…it wasn’t expensive (basically $10 each) but it meant a lot to them.  I wrote them each a Valentine:
And on the back of each were words of love and encouragement.  While they may not think much of them now I do hope that the words took root and will be saved for a day when they aren’t feeling the love so much…a day when the world is just pushing down on them and they can look back and know they’ll always have a safe, loving place in our home.
I laid it out on the kitchen counter knowing they’d discover them in the morning when they got up for breakfast.
We got up a few minutes later than usual and while I was getting ready for the day the kids were wandering about, but none of them happened upon the kitchen counter.  Instead I found them all on the couch (hanging out like Charlie’s four grandparents in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”):
It was so sweet to see them snuggled up, waking up together and just hanging out.  Obviously it didn’t last all morning (for those who think it’s all sunbeams and roses, they still fight and bug each other) but it started out their day in a way that displayed LOVE!

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