FEBRUARY 14--A Day for Love, Romance & Chocolate
Love, Relationships, Chocolate, & Happiness
How do you define Love ... Is it an emotion that makes you happy, a feeling you have for a person, or a word you use to describe food?
According to Wikipedia--Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. Love is also a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection; and "the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another".
Love is prominent in Christianity where the phrase "God is love" is used to describe God's very being.
The English language offers various definitions for love referring to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure ("I love chocolate.") to interpersonal attraction ("I love my husband" or "I love my wife."), to the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love. It also describes platonic love that defines friendship. In addition, love relates the profound oneness and devotion of loving one's creator, God, and His Son Jesus Christ.
With this wide range of definitions, love becomes a feeling difficult to consistently define making it more ambiguous compared to other emotional states. However though, love in its various forms becomes a common presence in all positive interpersonal relationships. And love in all its forms is celebrated every year on February 14-a day to give honor, tribute, and love to important relationships in your life.
Chocolate and Relationships
We say, we love chocolate--yes, I do admit that chocolate can be sweet and comforting. However, it cannot be supportive and loving in return. Chocolate cannot hug you, give understanding, or share in our feelings and emotions. So really love can only be experienced with another human being--someone capable of feeling life with us in a genuine connected relationship, someone capable of reciprocating love back to us. In reality, chocolate is only a sweet token of love to share with the people you love and share your feelings and life with. So maybe what we really mean when we say that we love chocolate is that we love the person who gave us a sweet taste of life.
I enjoy sharing chocolate with people I love because it makes them happy. And hopefully they "love" the chocolate because it links warm fuzzy memories of our relationship to a tangible sweet taste they enjoy.
Love is about connected relationships. Part of building those relationships is by doing for others through giving what you can to make life sweeter.
The Source of Love
God is where love begins. Then, that love grows in one's life in relationships with God and others. At age ten, when I met Jesus Christ, I found the most significant relationship of true, unconditional love and the most relevant experience of love. There is no greater story of love than the one of Jesus which is relayed throughout the Bible. Through love, Jesus gave His life so that every person ever born would have the opportunity to escape hell and live eternally in heaven with God.
"A functional home is built upon love, which virtue is best portrayed in the thirteenth chapter of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians: 'Love is patient and kind, love is not jealous, or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered, or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs, love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up: so faith, hope, love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love' [a rendition of 1 Cor. 13:4-7 and 13]."
In a personal relationship with God, and living in a Godly home is where real love begins and dwells. This definition of love in Corinthians is a description of the meaning and source of love, possible for all relationships a person experiences.
What to Wear? - A Beautiful Red Dress, Some Romance Perfume & You're Set . . .
A Day of Romance for Couples
... and a Day to Remember Others you Love
Valentine's Day is traditionally a day for lovers, for those shot by Cupid's arrow and ending up forever in love. This special day is mainly for couples in love--boyfriend & girlfriend or husband & wife. Thirty-five Valentine Day's ago, my husband Doug and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day together. Doug bought me a card with kisses all over it and the words, "The passionate kisser strikes again." Doug believes this Valentine's night is when he fell in love. It definitely was a romantic date of dinner and a movie. After this special date, things continued to move in the right direction and Doug soon got a better paying job. Then our wedding day came only eight months and fifteen days later.
Even though Valentine's Day is traditionally thought of as a celebration for those in love, it can also be a day set aside to honor any loving relationship in your life. Although my husband and I have always acknowledged and celebrated Valentine's Day together, we also have included our children and remembered them too when buying gifts or cards. One year when all our children were still at home, Doug went to the local florist and in addition to the flowers and candy he bought for me, he also had a special Valentine's basket delivered to each of our children which was filled with toys and candy. We were all home when the gifts were delivered and it was a very memorable family occasion.
Chocolate has always been a family favorite and I have two very easy and delicious recipes that add chocolate and love to any day.
This is a recipe my aunt made often when I was a teenager. It has been a family favorite for years. Nut Goody Bar was the first food I made for my husband back when we had just begun our dating period.
You can be creative with this recipe and use a gelatin mold to create various shapes. We used to make it at Christmas time molding it into Christmas bells or trees. A heart-shape appropriate for Valentine's Day is shown here.
- 1 twelve oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 six oz bag or 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1 cup walnuts
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows
- Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips over double-boiler. Add peanut butter and stir. Remove from heat. Add walnuts. Then stir in marshmallows. Mix well. Pour into a medium-sized pan (I use a CorningWare 9 3/4 x 9 3/4 pan.) Refrigerate a minimum of three hours or overnight.
- Hint: It makes it easier to have all ingredients measured and ready before you begin.
Chocolate Cherry Cake
Chocolate cherry cake with fudge icing is a taste my children relate to a loving relationship and annual birthday memories throughout their childhood.
- 1 Devil's Food Cake Mix
- One 21oz can Cherry Pie Filling
- 2 eggs slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prep one 9 x 13 oblong cake pan with Pam no-stick cooking spray by lightly spraying sides and bottom of pan.
- Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Stir by hand until completely moistened.
- Turn into prepared pan and spread evenly & completely.
- Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick placed in center of cake is clean when removed.
Fudge Icing - To Top the Chocolate Cherry Cake
This fudge icing is delicious and also is easy to prepare.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 Tablespoons Butter
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a medium saucepan, combine the first 3 ingredients. Continue to stir as you bring the mixture to a boil. Boil at a full, rolling boil for only ONE MINUTE (This time must be exact, too long and the icing will not be the correct consistency.) Remove from heat after 1 minute and add the chocolate chips, stirring by hand until all chips are melted. Pour over warm cake.
- At this point, you can eat immediately; let it cool a bit ... or decorate it up for a holiday or birthday.
- Hint: If you plan to decorate, be sure the cake is cool so your candles, decorations, icing, etc. do not melt.
Unless otherwise noted, photos were taken by the author of this lens and reprints must accompany permission.
A Favorite Romantic Movie
A very favorite movie of my husband's and mine is The Notebook. This movie portrays true, committed love of a couple who overcame trials and hardships. And were committed to the end, staying together through better and worse, sickness and health, til death us do part. When death came for them both, they were in each other's arms. This loving connection between a husband and wife is a tangible portrayal of what marriage vows really mean.
The Notebook - Portraying a Committed Love
Will you have chocolate for Valentine's Day?