Love Yourself and Others On Valentine’s Day!

From my column the week of February 8 in the Albert Lea Tribune and The Courier Sentinel.

img011I love Valentine’s Day. It is my favorite holiday over Christmas and Thanksgiving. I don’t love Valentine’s Day because I get so many valentines, although my husband usually remembers the day. It wasn’t always that way in the early days of our marriage. He did pretty good the first year. He welded me a Valentine sign that said he loved me. It is awesome, and I still have it 45 years later. It is my favorite Valentine’s Day gift from him over the 45 years.

There were a couple of missed years because he didn’t realize how much the sentiment of love meant to me, but he does now and never fails to remember the day. I too, over the years have not always been thoughtful on the day either so we evened each other out.

In thinking about the day I have examined why this day is so wonderful in my mind and of course the answer is love. We all want love in our life. We all want to feel remembered and cared about. I also like the color red and love hearts, so that adds to my joy of the day. I also like the day because it is a great time to do special things for special people in our lives all in the name of love.

There is a downside to Valentine’s Day if we let it happen to us. On the years I didn’t receive any valentines from my family, kids or husband I felt let down, left out and unloved. They didn’t intentionally mean to make me feel left out; I made myself feel that way. In my heart I knew I was loved, but my head had the poor me sentiment. And I let it ruin my day. I finally realized my family is not into Valentine’s Day, and it was silly to have the attitude I did. They show me they love me all through the year.

My mom loved Valentine’s Day. I could always count on a card from my mom. I always gave her a card and something on the day. I think I got my love of holidays from my mom because she loved holidays. It seemed out of character for her, but she always wanted to celebrate the holidays. In fact, I know she loved Valentine’s Day because she kept all the old-fashioned valentines from the ’20s and ’30s and all the cards she got from me and my dad. When I realized she kept the memories, it made me feel loved.

Once I changed my attitude about the day I began to love Valentine’s Day. I enjoy the decorations, playing love music and sending valentines, and sometimes I even buy myself some candy or flowers — although I know I will receive a valentine from my valentine.

A few years ago a woman told me how she missed Valentine ’s Day. Her husband had died and now she didn’t get any valentines anymore. I guess this is what this column is about, sharing the love.

If you are lucky enough to have someone in your life to remember you on the love day, take time to remember and perhaps put a little love into someone else’s life who may not be remembered on the day of love. And if you are that person who is not remembered, love yourself on this special day. Go out to eat, call a friend, buy yourself some flowers or some candy or indulge in something silly and fun to make your day. Love yourself. It is not selfish or indulgent; it is a healthy pick-me up.

Happy Valentine’s Day.
“Don’t forget to love yourself.” — Soren Kierkegaard

Love Them All, But Differently

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf published Valentine Week 2015 in The Albert Lea Tribune and The Courier Sentinel

valentineLove is amazing. I imagine it is not surprising for me to make that statement during this Valentine’s week of love. However, this week is an afterthought that coincides with the reason I decided to write about love.

It was an amazing week of relaxation, writing, catching up with old friends and family and meeting new friends. I spent the week in the Cities visiting with my grandchildren. While they were at school and their parents were at work I had the house to myself for quiet time to create.

One evening we treated the kids to dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. Our conversation turned to love. The conversation centered on valentines for school but quickly, with silly children, turned to the subject of love and who their parents loved best.

Erma Bombeck wrote a story titled “I’ve Always Loved You Best Because…” It is a favorite story from one of my favorite authors. The gist of the story is Erma loved all her children best, but in different ways because they have different personalities, and were born at different times in her life. As each child came into this world, Erma was at a different stage of her life. She didn’t love each child more, and she didn’t love each child less; she loved them equally but differently. I cry when I read Erma’s story because it touches a place deep in my heart in the way I feel for my children and grandchildren.

One day I was being silly and wanted to see what kind of reaction I would get from my children when I sent this message in a group message on my phone to all of them: “I always loved you best.” One panicked and didn’t realize it was a group message and immediately texted me back and said, “You can’t say that. That’s not fair to my brother and sister.”

I was happy to get that response because he didn’t want his brother and sister to feel bad. One of my children knew I loved Erma and was familiar with the story. She knew where the sentiment was coming from and what it meant. The other recipient saw that it was a group message and thanked me on behalf of him and his siblings. It was a good experiment, but so true. I love all of them best.

My grandchildren at the table were bantering back and forth. My grandson decided his dad loved him best and his mom loved his sister best. His sister agreed with him. Their mom and I explained that she and their dad, along with their grandmother, loved them both the same, but differently. My grandson piped up, “Grandma we need to split your heart in two but I get the bigger half.”

The word love encompasses a variety of different feelings and emotions such as attraction, compassion, kindness and affection. We have those feelings in different forms and different ways for different people. We love in many different ways. We feel romantic love for a spouse or a mate; we feel friendship love for a friend. Our love for our children is a love that is so huge it is hard to describe. That is what I mean when I say, isn’t love amazing? Isn’t it amazing we can feel so many kinds of love in our hearts? It is overwhelming if you take the time to think about it. We don’t love more or better, just differently, and somehow, we know the difference in the feeling.

However, to be totally unromantic and sensible, we all know the emotion of love comes from the brain not the heart. I wondered why and how the heart became the symbol of love. The heart has been a symbol of love since Greek mythology. I only found theories as to the reason love and the heart became connected.

My sprinkled mind was off and running wondering who came up with the word love. Who came up with the word happy? Who came up with the words that we use day in day out and take for granted in our conversations? I guess that is a column for another day.

During this week of love, show your love in different ways to different people that matter in your life. Let them know, like Erma, you always loved them best. While you are at it show a little love and kindness to a stranger. Love makes the world go round and we certainly don’t want it to stop spinning.

“Love wasn’t put in your heart to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away.” —Michael W. Smith


Imagine Love Over The Course of 98 Years.

Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf in the Albert Lea Tribune February 10, 2014

“Image what these 98-year-old eyes have seen.” holding hands photo: gero hands hands.jpg

Those words, spoken in a sermon during a funeral for a friend’s mother, gave me pause to reflect on what this woman had seen during her lifetime. It isn’t often we think of that when someone we love has died. Of course we reminisce about the person’s past, their accomplishments, what they loved, and how they lived, but for some reason when I heard this sentence the thought that came to my mind was love. Pretending to look through her eyes as I looked at family pictures, I saw love.

This is February and the week of Valentine’s Day. You might wonder what a funeral and someone’s death has to do with a day that is filled with hearts, flowers, declarations of love and clever advertising. The day is commercially about all of the glitzy, outer trappings, but what a better day to think about the love that we receive through our lifetime.

What better day to reminisce about those who have shown us love and that we have loved, that are here today and that we have known in the past.

Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday, not because I get so many Valentines, but because the day seems to bring out the best in people.

Recently I interviewed someone about the day and they said every day should be Valentine’s Day in the way we show love to people in our lives.

Back to this wonderful 98-year-old woman by the name of Sophia whose funeral I was attending. Looking back through her life I could see that it was her love of God, her love of family and her love of friends, and giving and receiving that love that carried her through her life all those 98 years.

Sophia married young, a man, older than she. Looking at the pictures and talking to her daughters and listening to the stories, you knew that she felt loved. Her life wasn’t always hearts and flowers. She lost two children, her husband, family members and yet her attitude was always encouraging. The love that her husband and those two children gave to her before they died stayed with her even when they were gone.

She helped raise a granddaughter after her daughter died. She had grandchildren. Later when she was no longer able to take care of herself, when she was in her 90s, she entered an assisted-living home. Still her family showed her love and caring by visiting her often and watching out so that she was happy until the final days. They did not forget her. Her sense of humor carried through to the staff and those she met. Pictures told a story of love and you could see the love she showed others even in her later years with sense of humor and the kindness she showed to those who took care of her.

What did those 98-year-old eyes see? They saw many changes in the world. They saw sorrow, heartache and happiness.

Sophia is not unlike many of us today. What do our eyes see each day? At the end of our lives what will our eyes have seen? Will we remember special Valentines Days? Maybe. Will we remember the glitz and the glam and the show? Will we remember what meal we ate when we were wined and dined by our sweetheart? Will we remember disappointment because no one remembered us on Valentine’s Day? Or will we remember the feeling of love throughout moments of our lives?

We get hyped up about this one day, Valentine’s Day, the day we take to show someone how special they are. Some people get romantic and some people get forgotten all together. It is good we do have a day like this to remind us to treat someone we love with a little special care because perhaps some people don’t think about it the rest of the year.

There are people, and I used to be one of those, that are very hurt and sad if this special day passes and they feel alone. If that is the case I want you to think about that statement; imagine what these 98-year-old eyes have seen. What will your eyes have seen over your lifetime? Think about the love that you have shown or been shown by others on a normal day throughout the year. Find the “love moments” in your life and remember them. Think about the love moments, or hours, or days that you have had.

Those 98-year-old eyes saw a lot of sorrow. Our eyes do, too. But in sad times, find the Valentine moments of love that you can cherish and remember your entire life. Love isn’t pinned to a specific day; it is pinned to the shadows of your heart for you to pull out when needed to make those dark days feel better.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Lao Tzu