Of course there are dark sides to every holiday - the incessant waste of paper in the form of cheesy cards [Seriously, who comes up with these? Some are like bad commercials!], flowers [okay, red roses] that put on who knows how many miles and chemicals to reach us in untouched fasion, spouses / significant others who use avoidance of this holiday as an excuse to not recognize the one they claim to love [a kiss won't give you away people!], an insane consumption of processed, chemical and color-laden, barely real chocolate [and then the stomach ache and guilt that come with it]. I get it.
But I also see the beauty to this holiday - the creative expressions of love [like post-its placed strategically throughout the house], hand-picked / hand-assembled bouquets given the day before just to keep it a surprise, candle-lit dinners, kisses and more kisses. If you refrain from depending on Hallmark and Russell Stover to show how much you care, this wonderful day of joy and love can be pretty, well, wonderful.
Have you ever seen an eighty-year-old couple walking through a park or down the street holding hands and deep in conversation. This to me is hope in flesh. Ask them what it is that has kept them together all these years and they will mostly likely use one word - commitment. In a world addicted to immediate gratification and avoidance of all things difficult, it's no wonder these couples catch our eyes and seem so unique and special. Commitment is becoming a lost art in this country. Unconditional love, endangered. Love isn't solely based on sentimental feelings, passion, and romance although these are all important in the bigger picture of this great word and should be celebrated [like on days like today]. Real love, the life-long, grow old together kind, is intimately connected to waking up each morning and deciding to love the person next to you. It's choosing, through bad and good and really bad and unbearable, to keep your word.
My husband is a great example of this. Good or bad [some days both], he married a red-head full of passion, fight, a firm belief she is always right, and an inability to admit defeat - a tough combination on the best of days. Add pregnancy to the mix and the combination becomes lethal. Yet each morning he wakes me with a kiss, chooses to ignore my inbred moodiness and spunk [or will compliment it to make me feel better], and chooses to love me through the worst of myself. He shows me promise, commitment, unconditional love - essentially who God is - each day. Love is beautiful. It washes over sins, makes people appear better than they are, and gives us the ability to become the best of ourselves and belief that we can.
So, here is to a holiday built around the celebration of love. May you find special ways to show the people you care about how much they mean to you. May this day be a reminder for the rest of the year to do the same. May you look in the mirror and realize how beautiful you are without make-up, without trying to be someone else - just you. You are beautiful. And may you know that there is a God who created you long ago, who spent time making you uniquely you, and who loves you more than you will ever know. May you experience this in tangible, visible expressions and be ready and willing to accept these gifts of unconditional love.
Happy Valentine's Day everyone.
So, Russel Stover and Mr. Cadbury - step aside for there's a new kid in town. And this up-n'-comin hotshot comes without the toxic baggage [ie. preservatives, refined sugars, additives, coloring] that you so deceptively hide - like a beauty with a terrible personality and zero compassion. This is the real deal, inside and out.
For the fudgy, chocolate base visit My New Roots. I used almond butter in lieu of cashew butter [it's what I had in the house] but any nut or seed butter will do.
1 1/2 c. finely ground unsweetened coconut [you can use either the flakes or shredded - grind them using a spice or coffee grinder]
creamed honey [creamed is important, it is not the regular honey]
pinch of sea salt
1 - 2 tbsp. pure water
In a medium size glass mixing bowl, combine ground coconut, creamed honey [start with a small amount and keep adding until a good consistency and flavor is achieved], and sea salt. Mix, starting with a low speed and working up, until well combined. Small balls might form. If this happens add a bit of water, beginning with the smallest amount. It should be just creamy but still thick.
With the coconut topping, they will be reminiscent of a Mounds bar [minus the artificially induced aftertaste]. Without, it will rival the best of chocolates.