The LOVE Holiday

On this my third Valentine’s Day as a Scriblerian bloggist, I want to celebrate a very chocolate hearts
special group of people. But first a revisit of my past posts celebrating the “love” holiday.

My 2014 post “Celebrating Life and February 14” shared fun facts concerning the mid-February holiday as well as my family’s simple, yet meaningful Valentine traditions.

The more important focus in that 2014 post centered on the observance of National
Organ Donor Day and the recent heart-lungs-kidney transplant my daughter’s friend Ashley had undergone at Stanford.

I’m more than thrilled to report that after experiencing numerous, frustrating setbacks in the months following the surgery, Ashley made an amazing recovery. As a healthy, extremely grateful young woman she recently gathered with family and friends to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the “gift of life” that saved her. Congratulations, Ashley! May you celebrate for many years to come.

In 2015 “The Tale of Two Movies this Valentine’s Day Weekend” post compared two very different movie premiers on Valentine’s Day weekend—“Old Fashioned” and “50 Shades of Grey.”

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the “anti 50 Shades”-dubbed “Old Fashioned” as part of our Valentine’s Day celebration last year. You can read my review here. I cheered when the little-movie-that-could garnered the biggest opening ever for a faith-based film, released on less than 300 screens.

I wish I could say that “50 Shades” drew little attention and was a bust at the box office. But neither is true. I did take a bit of comfort from reports that interest in the erotica themed movie waned quickly. Oh, that our society’s moral compass would be jolted toward—rather than away from—the Creator’s design for love and romance and sex and marriage.

Now, on to the special people I want to celebrate on this Valentine’s Day.

By the camaraderie and connectedness these folks share, one could dare believe these hardy souls have never been physically together in one location at the same time. Theirs is an uncommon bond born of similar beliefs and interests that time has only sweetened. An attachment that distance, though it might try, cannot destroy.

Their genuine connection, though not fully understood—especially by those who can only view the bond from outside the circle—is a tower of comfort and strength in times of sorrow and distress. A huge festival of high-fives and heart-felt rejoicing when blessings flow.

Who could this inspiring group be?

Why of course, it is none other than the Texas Trio, the Canadian Cousins, the Hoosier Honeys, the Grand Canyon Gal, and the Man from Minnesota. The hosts of this blog who write for “non-adults of all ages”. The Scriblerians.

groupNapoli

Loraine

It’s a rare occasion that finds two or three or more of us together in the same place at the same time, but how amazing it is when schedules and commitments allow us a chance to be together for even a short time. Moments we are sure to catch on film.

 

Every few months we launch an initiative to get everyone together in the same physical location. We plot and pursue, scheme and scavenge to fabricate a feasible time and place to meet. You see, some of us have never met face-to-face with others of us. A sad but true fact we long to remedy in the near future.

We’re enjoyed the opportunity to see and hear each other “live” via Google Hangouts. But man, do we long for an up-close and personal, everyone in the same room at the same time kind of gathering. At this point in time, 2016 does not appear to be the year a grand reunion will take place. But we will continue to “be there” for each other, in writing pursuits as well as in life adventures.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my fellow Scriblerians! And to you our faithful readers as well!

 

 

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Celebrating Life and February 14

I started to research the history and origin of Valentine’s Day for this blog, but that got really boring really quick. I chocolate heartslasted about twenty-four seconds. So I moseyed onto recent trends related to Valentine’s Day which proved to be a lot more interesting. Did you know…

  • Hallmark began offering Valentine’s Day cards in 1913. Okay, yes, this qualifies as history but it’s a quirky, interesting tidbit of history so I’m going to include it.
  • Somewhere between 142 and 151 million (figures vary) Valentine’s cards are exchanged each year, not including the packaged kids’ valentines for classroom exchange. Valentine’s Day falls behind Christmas and in front of Mother’s Day in the number of cards exchanged for a holiday.
  • According to the National Retail Federation, the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day spent $130 in 2013. Ho-ly cow!

I guess we’re not “average”. Not even close. Oh, we like Valentine’s Day. We’re definitely not part of the it’s-a-totally-manufactured-holiday-that-I-refuse-to-participate-in camp. In fact Valentine candy shows up in our candy dishes right about February 1. We have a thing about holiday candy—any holiday candy. The special shapes, colors, flavor combos are a big hit at our house. And we LOVE homemade sugar cookies with buttercream frosting—heart shaped, of course—complete with red, pink, and purple sprinkles. Yum…

But I got really excited when my research led to the discovery that Valentine’s Day shares February 14 with another very important event: National Organ Donor Day. This nationwide awareness campaign focuses on five points of life: organs, tissues, marrow, platelets, and blood. Many non-profit health organizations choose this day to sponsor blood and marrow drives and encourage people to sign-up as organ and tissue donors. National Donor Day began in 1998 with the Saturn Corporation and its United Auto Workers partners in conjunction with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other non-profit health organizations.

organ donor dayWe’ve long supported organ donation, but our interest in this life-saving procedure took a personal turn when one of my daughter’s friends was listed for a transplant. At first Ashley Pearce, 26, of Eureka, California, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of 5, needed a double-lung transplant. Then it was determined she needed a new heart as well. And finally, the announcement came that she would also need a kidney.

What began as basically a “routine” hospital admission for Ashley who had lost count of how many times she’s been admitted over the years, turned into more than sixty days at Stanford University Medical Center, some six hours from home. Her husband, Marcus, and her mother, Lisa, kept vigil at her bedside, filling the roles of advocate, supporter and encourager. As prayers poured in from family and friends across the country, fundraising efforts, already underway for some time in anticipation of the need for transplant, were stepped up.

Ashley’s condition worsened rapidly, and it appeared time was running out. But thanks to the generous nature of an unknown young woman, Ashley received her triple organ transplant at Stanford on January 28. Even as her family celebrated Ashley’s chance for a new life, they prayed for a family mourning the loss of their precious daughter.

Ashley’s fierce determination and amazing strength had pushed her to overcome so many obstacles just to make it to the point of transplant. Due to the criticalness of her condition at the time of surgery and the extensive nature of a triple-organ transplant, Ashley’s recovery will be a lengthy process. The road to recovery has already been paved with numerous bumps, but every positive step is celebrated by a legion of family and friends.

I’ve dubbed Ashley’s husband Marcus “the warrior by her side”. His commitment, devotion and sacrifice toward his bigger heartsyoung wife—they married in the summer of 2013—is nothing short of breathtaking. With a positive attitude that never seems to wane, he journeys beside her. Theirs is a true love story. One that should be celebrated on Valentine’s Days and every other day of the year.

For more about Ashley’s journey to transplant visit http://www.cotaforashleyp.com/. You may follow her recovery at https://www.facebook.com/AshleyPearceKingPowellsTransplantJourney.

I hope you have a great February 14. After you indulge in that mega box of chocolates from your honey, gaze with appreciation at the bouquet of flowers from your sweetheart or savor the romantic dinner-for-two at your favorite restaurant, take a moment to visit http://www.organdonor.gov/index.html to learn more about giving the gift of life.

What’s the best Valentine’s Day gift you ever received? The best you ever gave?