Steadfast Love on Valentine’s Day


I’m still working on the next post in the steadfast love series. The next passage we’ll study is another one from Genesis — featuring God’s steadfast love for Joseph.

But in the meantime, Valentine’s Day is upon us — and if ever there was a time when the world tried to paint a colorful picture of what love is — it’s now. Love is all sparkly diamonds and red roses and pink candy hearts, the world says.


But sometimes these things — or the lack of them — leave our hearts feeling unfulfilled, disappointed or deflated on Valentine’s Day. The ladies over at the Girltalk Blog have these wonderfully encouraging words about redirecting our hopes on Valentine’s Day. Be sure to read it!

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Also, I just had to pass along this great prayer about feasting on the steadfast love of Jesus. The prayer, written by Scott Smith over at the Gospel Coalition, references Psalm 143:8, which says, “Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust.”

Click here to link to the prayer.

Today I am praying God reminds you of His unfailing, never-ceasing, steadfast love for you, a love that endures forever.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Origami Love

While my youngest and I were making lollipops last week, my oldest daughter sat at the kitchen table making origami stuff. Last summer I bought her this easy origami kit and she was completely hooked on it after spending an afternoon playing with the kit and my dear cousin.

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Over the last several months, she has very much folded herself into quite an impressive little origami artist. So for Valentines, origami was a perfect idea for sharing with her friends. She made these cute little origami frogs. They really hop!

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We stumbled upon a new origami book at the library last week — Easy Ocean Origami by Christopher Harbo. The book has directions for origami water lilies. They turned out quite well!

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My little artist was not sure she approved of using scissors with origami, as this book suggests for several of its projects. Even so, she had quite a lot of fun making the goldfish in this book, too. But probably the most fun was racing the windsurfer boats. We give the book two thumbs up!

Cinnamon Heart Lollipops and Candies

A few years ago the girls and I started making cinnamon candy hearts, and now it is a Valentine’s week tradition. We use Wilton’s candy melts (the red ones) and cinnamon oil for flavoring.

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This year my youngest baker helped the most — especially with the stirring. Her dream is to become a French chef someday.

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She loves nearly all projects in the kitchen, except those involving the dishwasher.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Counting to 1,000 (44-64)

Note: I recently read the book One Thousand Gifts, and now I’m making my own list of one thousand gifts. As they accumulate, I’ll post them on Mondays and keep the running list on this tab, titled All is Grace.

44. books scattered near and far — because we are reading

45. warm clothes on a very cold morning

46. friends to share life’s run and jump and race moments

47. the aroma of pot roast in the slow-cooker

48. candles made ready when the electricity unexpectedly goes off

49. the joy of electricity’s quick return on a dark, sub-zero night

50. mother-daughter snuggles in the rocking chair

51. penguin books that teach us how patient love is

52. words of Scripture set to music

53. little girls who notice the details

54. Legos and K’Nex scattered across the carpet — because we are creating

55. clothes just out of the dryer

56. ponytails and hair bows

57. a trip to the ice cream shop in February

58. a tiny glimpse of grass beneath a melting snow bank

59. a marionette puppet, complete with a hat, made by 8-year-old hands

60. teddy bear love

61. red-hot cinnamon lollipops

62. peaceful sleep

63. mailboxes full of love

64. friends sharing a Valentine picnic

A Heart Condition

Oh, you’ve heard it before. You probably read it on a candy heart recently. Or maybe you’ve even said it once or twice.

“Follow your heart.”

“Trust your heart.”

“Listen to your heart.”

Bad news, folks. We have heart problems. Yep. The diagnosis is pretty serious, too. Just look at Jeremiah 17:9, which says, ” The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” And then there’s Hebrews 3:10, which says, “…’Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known My ways.” Hebrews 3 goes on to warn against unbelieving hearts that are hardened by sin’s deceitfulness and turn away from the living God.

God is testing our hearts. Proverbs 17:3 says, ” The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.”

What’s more, the consequences of our heart condition can be eternal. Consider Luke 10:25-28:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

Hebrews 3:7-8 says, “…Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…”

So how do we keep from being hard-hearted, disobedient and sinful? Love God. Listen to His voice, and trust Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

To keep the sinfulness away, it also helps to memorize Scripture and meditate on it. As Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

What’s more, we need to love each other and encourage each other. Hebrews chapter 3 goes on to say, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Today, on Valentine’s Day, let’s pray for soft hearts that love the LORD completely. Let’s pray for hearts that fully trust in the LORD. Let’s pray for hearts with God’s word written all over them.

Let’s thank God for His grace and mercy and goodness. And let’s pray the words from the third verse of one of my favorite hymns, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson:

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

Love is in the Hair

Linnea donated 10 inches of her beautiful, silky smooth blond hair to Locks of Love today. Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides  hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

Long before…

And shortly after…

Love is most definitely in the hair.

Love and Hearts


Happy Valentine’s Day!

What’s more heart-warming than a sweater knitted with love by your great-grandma? When we were in Washington in November, my grandma and I took the girls to pick out yarn. Then Grandma went to work knitting these beautiful sweaters for them. She mailed them shortly after Christmas. Don’t they look precious on my little sweethearts? 

When we picked up these photos at the drugstore this morning, Laurel (age 3) looked around and said quite matter-of-factly, “Well, it looks like they are ready for Valentine’s Day.” She seemed to think they were getting ready for a party rather than capitalizing on the holiday.

Of course it’s all hearts and love every where we go lately, so how fitting that I’ve been memorizing Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV). I am going to type it from memory just to test myself. Please leave a comment if you notice that I’ve left something out!

“Hear O Israel the LORD our God the LORD is One. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-9


The girls and I made dozens of these sugar cookies today. We wore our matching pink aprons (thanks again, Aimee!) and destroyed the kitchen with sprinkles, sugar, flour and icing.

Sugar cookies were not something my mother ever made, so I’ve never been a huge fan of them. However, they happen to be Michael’s all-time favorite cookie. It’s tradition in our nearly 20-year history of Valentine’s together for me to make and decorate the cookies so he can consume most of them.

About six years ago my friend Dani gave me what I believe is the BEST EVER sugar cookie recipe. The dough rolls out better than any other recipe or store-bought dough I’ve tried. And the cookies are pretty tasty. Coming from me, that’s saying a lot since most sweets are incomplete without chocolate! Anyway, here’s the recipe: 


1 cup softened butter

1.5 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 Tblsp. vanilla

3.5 cups flour

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix all together with beater and chill three to four hours. Roll out and cut into shapes. The thicker cookies are better. Bake about 11 minutes at 350 F (longer if you use airbake cookie sheets). Bake until cookies are just slightly brown on the edges.


We also made these heart-shaped lollipops. We got the candy melts and molds at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago. So fun and super easy!


Here, Laurel is get ready to slurp up what we are calling “raspberry floats.” They are perfectly pink for Valentine’s Day or girly parties. You can mix it together in a punch bowl or in individual glasses if you are just serving a few. Here’s what you need:


2-liter of raspberry gingerale

1/2 gallon of raspberry sherbert

a handful of fresh raspberries

Scoop sherbert into individual glasses or punch bowl. Pour in gingerale to finish filling the glass or bowl. Mix with a fork if necessary. Let stand for about 5 minutes so the sherbert melts a little. Garnish with a few fresh raspberries and enjoy!