February 14, 2013

A Dozen Reasons to Love Today

1. Today was not only Valentine's Day, it was Thursday, arguably my favorite day of the week. And things got started off just right when I turned on the radio and heard Louis Armstrong singing "I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby."

2. One of my most special Valentines got me one of these. (And I've always always wanted one!!!) Right now, I can only play a shaky (and usually flat) version of "When the Saints Go Marchin' In," but I'm hoping to have a good repertoire established by summer for lots of bluesing on the porch in the eveningtimes. 

3. My mother sent me a package! With lots and lots of delicious chocolate! And I ate it for breakfast!

4. The professor for whom I am a TA got me even more chocolate! And I ate it for lunch!

5. But when I decided I wanted a little bit more of a balanced lunch, I made the obvious choice and went to Wendy's. As the boy at the window handed me my food, I wished him a "Happy Valentine's Day!" Before I could drive away, he said (a bit softly), "No one's said that to me yet today." (Okay, that's heartbreaking, but I'm glad I left him with a smile.)

6. Speaking of falling in love with strangers, I came across this tidbit from an old message to a friend:

Maybe I'm a freak, Philip, but I fall in love easily. Not like, the I-could-marry-you kind of love (that's harder to come by), but just these little moments of being in love with strangers.
Like, thank you for existing and for doing everything it took to be in this moment, looking at this painting.
This kind of disbelief and wonder at how things come together and at how people populate my life.

7. I found this note on the soap dispenser in a JFSB bathroom.

8. And as I left the office, I found myself walking behind this girl with balloons tied to her backpack.

9. I read some Mary Oliver (glorious!). And took a nap (glorious!).

10. Megan, Hilary, Tanner, and I went to visit our dear friends at the Orem Rehab Center. We had made them homemade Valentines. Some of them became teary-eyed as we gave them the cards and sang hymns. It was a sweet occasion.

11. More chocolate! Namely, a chocolate milkshake at Smash Burger, the Valentine tradition with the gang. (Doing something twice makes it a tradition, right?) 

12. Bonus! This sweet little song that's playing on repeat as my day of love winds down.

I hope all you lovers and dreamers had just as good a day as mine, or even half as good. But if you didn't, bear in mind that now I'm going to be up all night editing the first chapter of my thesis. None of my Valentines, sweet as they are, opted to give me a completed master's thesis for the occasion.

February 11, 2013

Star Wars Love

Valentine Week is way cooler when Star Wars comes into the mix.

This one speaks for itself.

I think Yoda is too smart for E.T., but whatevs.

C-3PO is fluent in over six million forms of communication, including the language of love.

images taken from thechive.com

February 10, 2013

God is Love

Often in the midst of all this loving that we talk about, we forget the greatest lovethe life-source and energy and inspiration for all other love we have.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

... If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

—1 John 4:7-12

I have long loved Maurice Duruflés arrangement of Ubi caritas, whose first line is translated as Where charity and love are, God is there.

I believe that to be true.

February 9, 2013

Loving Slowly

Today I was reading Mary Oliver poems, which I'm beginning to think I should do every day. And in the spirit of this Week of Love, I wanted to post an excerpt I read that seemed apropos:

Also I wanted
to be able to love. And we all know
how that one goes, don’t we?


from “Dogfish”

We've likely all had the experience of falling head-over-heels for someone in more or less a matter of minutes. Or maybe days, if you're being conservative. I'm pretty sure a good chunk of my teenage existence was characterized by such carefree indulgences. But more and more, I'm beginning to see the virtue of the slow accumulation of light that warms and expands and maybe even aches at times, but somehow comes out the other side as a deep and abiding love. Maybe that's the best kind of love, or in a sense the only kind of real love. Slowly, but surely.

February 7, 2013

Love & Jazz (which are basically the same thing)

Confession: I guess I'm kind of way into Valentine's Day now.

So if you're feeling anything like I am and you want to spend this coming week in a chocolate-induced coma, covered in glitter, reading love poems and doing the foxtrot with Cupid through the hall and into the kitchen every morning as you wake, you might find a wonderful companion in Verve's For Lovers series (all available on Spotify for free or at Amazon if you want to give one as a Valentine, awwwww!).

Look at all that delicious jazz music! My most highly-recommended for this Valentiney week (and all the weeks, really) would be the following:

1. Astrud Gilberto

2. Bill Evans
3. Ella & Louis
4. Paris
5. Oscar Peterson

And probably the Stan Getz and bossa nova thrown in there for good measure because, let's face it, every day is a bossa nova day.

February 6, 2013

Valentine's Day

To me, it seems as though there are two general reactions to the approach of Valentine's Day, both of which liberally invade our Facebook newsfeeds at this time of the year:

1. OMG I LUVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV MY BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND/HUSBAND/WIFE/CONCUBINE, ETC. ETC. BECAUSE S/HE IS THE BEST THING EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (unless s/he forgets to buy me roses, in which case s/he is dead to me)

2. Who needs Singles' Awareness Day... I mean, Valentine's Day... anyway? Stupid commercialism. IT'S NOT LIKE WHO I AM IS DEFINED BY MY RELATIONSHIP STATUS, OK?!?!?! Give me a break. I don't need a lover to make me whole! I don't need flowers and chocolate to feel special! Besides, I can buy those myself on February 15th when they're way cheaper and, oh yeah, I'ma gonna cuddle with my dog because that's the best companion anyway, lol. So all you fools in love better stop foolin' yourselves because WHAT DOES HALLMARK KNOW ABOUT THE NUANCES OF OUR DEEPEST EMOTIONS? and like, whatever.

For some reason, people in that second category always seem to think that they have made a groundbreaking discovery or come to a clever counter-cultural conclusion by acting indifferent (which is just another way of saying jaded in this case). But when it comes down to it, they'll be a #1 next year or the year after or whenever they are finally in a relationship that survives the holidays and makes it to Valentine's Day to begin with. (Likewise, a lot of this year's #1s will be #2s for V-Day 2014. Sorry, folks. Circle of life.)

This is not to say there aren't exceptions. Take my friend Brynn, for example. She loves Valentine's Day because it's about love, and she loves love. Good enough for me. I have seen a few good examples of people who value early February as a time of showing an added measure of love and attentiveness to everyone they care about. That's sweet. I approve of that.

My approach this year is largely inspired by that whole idea, with a heart-y dash of oops, actually, maybe I'm desperately in love with the whole world and have no choice but to realize that my heart is going to shatter into a million pieces because everything is so beautiful. I'm not asking that you understand that whatsoever. Maybe the poet Mary Oliver will do a better job of summarizing my feelings, this poem being one of my favorite literary discoveries from the past year:

So every day  
I was surrounded by the beautiful crying forth
of the ideas of God, 

one of which was you.

If I can make someone—anyone—feel like that on Valentine's Day, I will consider it a success. If I can convince one person my little heart just wouldn't be the same without them, it will be a sweet occasion.