14 Valentine Gifts From The Heart

valentine gift him her unique love

valentine gift him her

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away.  Love is in the air.  Guys are starting to panic.

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate being together with the people you love.  Yes, I said people.  Because Valentine’s Day shouldn’t exclude those without a “significant other.”  However, if you do have a spouse or lover, by all means, take advantage of this special day of togetherness. (wink, wink)

When it comes to getting a Valentine gift, it should to be something that celebrates the uniqueness of your relationship.  Anyone can buy jewelry or a bouquet of flowers.  Come on.  Think a little harder.  Put some heart into it.  (Puns are so easy sometimes.)


1. Something homemade.

Are you handy at something?  What’s your special talent?  Can you build a trinket box?  How about knitting a scarf?  Something that you made with your own hands shows that you’re willing to use your talents and time for your partner.  They know that all the time you spent working on the gift was time you spent thinking of them.  Awwwe!

Valentine's Dinner

2. Home-cooked dinner and clean-up.

This is especially an awesome gift for a busy mom. Pick a day that you know is particularly stressful for her, offer to make dinner for her and the kids AND do all the clean up afterwards.  It takes a load off her mind and allows her to relax.  That is, of course, if you don’t burn the food or the kitchen.  If you can’t cook, you could give her a gift card to a family restaurant.

3. A c.d. of love songs.

Not any love songs.  The songs that are special to you.  You’re first dance song.  The song that was “your song” when you were dating.  The songs from your wedding.  Love songs from your favorite artists.  Songs from your favorite genres.  This is not a c.d. that you could buy.  This is special just for the two of you.

4.  Book of poetry.

Now if you can write your own poetry, that’s boss.  But if you’re not the poet, pick up a book of sonnets.  Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, W.B. Yeats, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  And here’s a hint.  Something pocket sized is very endearing.

First Date

5. Reenact your first date.

Go back to the same restaurant.  Watch the same movie.  Remember how nervous you were?  See how much of the date you can remember together.  One memory leads to another.  You’ll find lots to laugh about.

6.  Find a photo booth at the mall.

Be silly together.  Do duck lips.  Go glamour.  Show some ‘tude.  You already now how awesome you are.  Show it off.

7. Custom photo cell phone cases.

You can order cell phone cases with a picture of you together on it.  Or get one for him with her picture and one for her with his picture.  These are available just about anywhere that prints photos.

Jazz Band

8.  Tickets to an event.

Do you like the theater?  Orchestral music? The ballet?  Basketball?  Bare Naked Ladies? (The band. Obviously.)  Go together and make some special memories.  Don’t forget to take lots of selfies and post them all over FB and Instagram.

Prinstagram, photo, album

9.  Photo album or book.

Put together an album of pictures of just the two of you.  In a day of digital media, people just don’t have very many physical pictures.  This is an awesome keepsake.  You could also go to Printstagram and order a bound book with your special pictures from your Instagram account.

10.  A unique craft.

You can find all kinds of unique gifts at a craft fair or on etsy.  Find a one-of-a-kind necklace.  Have a wall hanging customized for the two of you.  How about an ostrich egg with your names painted on it?  Seriously.  I have one.  I love it!


11.  An antique.

Some china or crystal or even a first edition book.  Something that has stood the test of time and is still just as beautiful.  Let it be a symbol of your relationship getting stronger and more beautiful through the years.

12.  Special desert of treat.

Does she love coffee?  Does he like cheesecake?  Make it extra special.  Go gourmet.  I love whoopie pies.  The best I’ve ever had are the little gourmet whoopie pies dipped in chocolate.  Mmm-mmm.  Taste the love.

52 Things I Love About You Book (made with playing cards)  - DIY Valentines Day Projects

13.  “Why I Love You” list.

Create the playing card book above.  52 cards and 52 reasons.  Or fill a mason jar with little rolls of paper.  Write a reason for your affection on each one.  Remember to include all the little things you find so lovely.  Like, “that little noise you make when you sleep.”

flower bouquet him

14. Flowers, card, and chocolate.

Don’t think I’m letting you off on this one.  Sure it’s typical.  But you can make it special.  Make your own card or find one on etsy.  Pick out the most unique or exotic bouquet of flowers. The best chocolates.  Or maybe a tiny jar of chocolate sauce and a spoon.  Make it personal.   And besides, what girl doesn’t like flowers and chocolate?


I hope you can spend your Valentine’s Day with the people you love the most!  That’s the best gift.


What was the best Valentine’s gift you’ve ever received?  Share in the comments.


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Simple Ways To Invest In Others

community, help, invest, talent, ability, work, together

invest, friends, work, together, ability, talent


We need each other.

It’s pretty easy to get focused on ourselves in life.  We’re intent on getting the best out of everything.  We’re going to live the high life and do what it takes to take care of me and mine.  And that’s okay.  But don’t forget that to get the best requires tapping into the abilities and talents of others.

I can’t take care of everything by myself.  I can’t fix my car, I’m not a mechanic.  I can’t rewire my house, I’m not an electrician.  I can’t plow the snow out of my own yard, I don’t have a snowplow.

I don’t have the knowledge, tools, or the motivation to do any of those things.  However, there are other people that can do those things.  They have the knowledge.  They obtained the knowledge for the purpose of helping others.  Some may have the right tools and are waiting for someone to ask for their help.


We all have different talents and abilities.

I, personally, don’t have a talent for making small talk in a crowd of strangers.  I feel awkward, stumble on my words, look for a place to hide, and generally make it uncomfortable for everyone involved.

I have a friend that lives for talking.  We make a good team.  She makes the small talk, learns everyone’s name and makes the introductions.  Once past that initial breaking of the ice, I’m ready to join the conversation.  When the topic turns philosophical, my friend finds someone else to chat with while I’m in my glory.


Be an encouraging friend.  

It’s so important that we encourage those around us to tap into their natural talents and abilities.  To work on them, practice them, and grow.  We all make up a community and have the same goal, individually and collectively.  To win.  I want helpful people in my corner.

Take time to foster relationships with a variety of people.  You never know when you might need the very talent they have.  And they may just be waiting for someone to ask them for some help.

Think about it.  It’s a pretty awesome feeling to win a race.  But it’s more exciting to play as a team and your team wins.  Then you have others to celebrate with.

Investing in others around you doesn’t have to be hard.  It only takes a little time and an honest effort.

1. Compliment them on their talent.  

We often discredit our own talents.  Complimenting someone on their talent helps them to see that it is an area where they excel.  It’s also something that is unique to them and is needed by others.  Everyone wants to be needed.

2. Ask them to help you with a project that needs their talent.

By putting their talent to use, you are showing them how much it’s needed.  It gives them a chance to practice what they know and help someone in the process.

3. Always believe they are more capable with their talent then they think. 

We all need a little push now and then.  It’s not easy to move beyond our comfort zone.  But when there is someone who truly believes in our capabilities we are more willing to stretch.  That’s how we grow.

4. Offer a book or website that deals in developing their talent.

A talent that doesn’t grow is a talent that stagnates and atrophies.  Ever hear someone say they’re “a little rusty” in an area.  It’s time to sand the rust off and hone those skills.

5. If they lack in an area, offer the name of someone who is a natural to help them.

As a community, we are all here to help each other.  It’s about give and take.  We don’t have to be good at everything.  We just need to know where the resources are.

6. Don’t be stingy with your talent.  Offer it to them in some way.  

Show someone that you’re willing to use your talent to help others.  Be an example of encouragement and support.  Let others know that your talents are available to those around you.  Everyone’s a winner when everyone shares.


Create a community around you that can help you win.  Contribute your talents and your encouragement.  An investment in others is an investment in yourself.

How have you invested in someone else? I’d love to hear your comment.


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Benefits of Saying Thank-You

Benefits of Saying Thank-You

I’ve often thought about sending out more thank-you notes.  Just to show some appreciation for others around me.  To say, “Hey, I want you to know your hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.  I appreciate you!”

For some reason though, I’ve never really got around to it?  I think I’ve finally figured out why.  I’m scared.

  • It’s humbling.  I’m admitting that I was lacking in some area and the help I received from this person was needful.  That’s okay.  Come down off your pedestal.  We all need help now and then.
  • It makes me vulnerable. Because it brings out real human emotion.  Opening up to someone else in authentic human interaction also opens you up to criticism.  Which is, of course, an irrational fear.  I mean, really?  Who is going to criticize you for appreciating them?  I’m an introvert.  It’s a constant fear.  Irrational and constant. But not impossible to overcome.
  • My motivation will be questioned.  Won’t they think I’m trying to butter them up so I can ask for some huge favor?  Not entirely.  Although that isn’t my main motivation, it does play a part.  I want to be surrounded by helpful people.  I want wisdom and talent on my side.  Even if it comes from others.

Looking my fears in the face makes them seem so much smaller.  I’ve laid out some of the benefits that I would gain by simply saying “thank-you” to people that have been there for me in some way.


 5 Benefits of Saying Thank-You

1.  It draws people in.

By opening yourself up to others, you widen your personal sphere.  You allow others access to a piece of your life.  That can be a very good thing because you may need to draw on the strength and talents of others sometime in the future.  It’s easier to ask for help from someone who is in your personal sphere of influence.

2.  You gain credibility in others’ lives.

If you can show appreciation for good work, than you must know what good work looks like.  That also means you have more room to offer insight to help someone improve their skills.  Criticism should always be sandwiched between compliments.

3.  It boosts others’ confidence.

Think about it.  By saying thank-you, you just gave a compliment.  You’re saying that whatever the other person did was worthy of appreciation.

I don’t keep birthday cards, but I do keep thank you notes.  Not “thanks for the gift cards,” but thanks for your hard work, thanks for your help, thanks for your support, thanks for being a friend, type cards.  It’s a reminder that something I did made a difference to someone else.

4.  It makes others feel worthwhile.

Maybe the motivation behind what they did was only obligation or expectation.  You just took a meaningless activity (to them), and turned it into a feather in their cap.  They didn’t expect recognition, but receiving it is a blue ribbon.

5.  It builds a support team.

By saying thank-you, you’re putting helpful people in your corner.  You become a person who is easy to help because everyone wants to be appreciated.


Do you know who it’s easy to do things for?  Thankful people.  Become one.  Say thank-you to someone who has done something small for you.  Reap the benefits.

BTW/ I sent out 3 thank you cards this week.  Guess what I got back?  “Thanks for the card! It meant so much to me.”

High five, Me!


What’s you’re favorite way to say thank-you?  Text? E-mail? Card?  Leave a comment!



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6 Reasons Why Introverts Should Lead

Introvert, leadership, lead, listen, delegate, organize, research

Introvert, leadership, lead, listen, delegate, organize, research


You might not know their names but you know who they are.  The quiet ones who sit alone.  The ones who rarely speak up in a meeting.  The people who want to be given a task and then left to complete it without interruption.

These are the introverts around you.

Here’s a tip.  You want to learn their names.

Not only do you want to know their names, but you want to call on them to lead.  Here’s why.


6 Reasons Why Introverts Should Lead

1.  Introverts are constant observers.

Introverts notice small details around them.  They can put the pieces together much faster than most because they see patterns in events.

Since introverts spend very little energy talking in groups of people, they are awesome at people watching.  Introverts can pick up very quickly on facial expressions.  Who is uncomfortable in the group?  Who is trying to get attention?  Who doesn’t want to be there?

Introverts also know more details about people (including you) than you think.  They probably know the little things that make you happy or upset.  They are constantly picking up on new information just by watching.

2.  Introverts are a wealth of information.

Not only do introverts gather information by observing, but they are deeply interested in finding out what makes the world go ’round.  Whatever tidbit peaks their interest can quickly become a research project.

Introverts want to dig up as much information as possible about a topic, so if there is ever a time when they are forced to talk about it, they sound intelligent.  Since they tend to be uncomfortable conversing, research is a security blanket.  Trust me.

Introverts know a lot of seemingly random information.

3.  Introverts have high standards.

And it begins with them.  Introverts know what kind of pitfalls to watch out for in any given situation.  They’ve seen others fall into them.  Introverts realize that it’s easier to put the work into doing a project right than to deal with the consequences of taking a shortcut.

Introverts will hold those around them to a higher standard as well.  Especially if you are privileged to receive advice from an introvert.  Introverts don’t give advice lightly.  Their comments are based on years of observation.  It’s not opinion to them.  It’s fact.  And if you don’t listen to their sage advice, then you are on your own.

4.  Introverts are good listeners.

Introverts listen for the sake of gathering new information.  They breathe information.  If you listen long enough, you’ll gather most of the information you need.  Questions (i.e. talking) become almost unnecessary.

Introverts are not opposed to new ideas.  In fact, they welcome them.  They will take the store of knowledge that they have and see how these new ideas fit in.

Introverts will gladly change their mind about something if a better idea is presented because they’ve already played out the scenario in their head before they speak.

5.  Introverts are naturals at delegating.

They already know who would be best suited for the job or that piece of the project.  They know who is trustworthy and organized.  They know where the talents are.

Introverts don’t want to be in the lime light, so they’ll find someone else to do the talking.  Introverts know that information is power.  Not notoriety.  They will gladly lead from the back and let someone else get the credit.

6.  Introverts are organized.

At least when it comes to information.  Introverts put every bit of information gathered into compartments in their brain.  They know which bits are relevant to the present situation.  They can take this information and put it on paper in an organized fashion that makes it easy for others to understand.

Introverts can see a situation from all sides.  The people, energy, time, resources involved.  They aren’t going to waste time with trial and error.  If we know what we have to work with, let’s work with what we got.


Are introverts some sort of super human than never makes mistakes? In my dreams.  But, no.

Introverts have as many cons as pros.  They often underestimate themselves.  Sometimes they can come across as stiff and uncaring.  They’re not great at conveying ideas in a speech.  They can be perfectionists.   They can quickly back down if someone with a stronger personality decides to take over.  They are non-confrontational.

Just remember, that the quietest person in your office, classroom, church, or organization has a lot to offer.  Tap into it.

Are you an introvert?  Do you know someone who is?  What are some qualities of introversion you’ve noticed?  Leave a comment.

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10 Unsightly Places In My House

cleaning, organize, declutter

cleaning, organize, declutter

I really wanted to start this post by telling everyone how organized and OCD I am.  I mean, don’t I have to have a spotless home to post beautiful pictures on social media sites?  Isn’t that a mandatory part of being a blogger?

Then I decided that listing ten embarrassing places in my house is just too much information.  Talk about opening myself up to be judged. No one needs to know.  I could list five places, sympathize with other slackers and vow to be perfect by the end of next week.

Then I thought… Haters gonna hate.  So what.  Judge away.

10 Unsightly Places in my House

1.  My bedroom.  I can’t seem to keep things put away.  It’s behind closed doors so maybe I don’t care as much.  There are too many blankets, papers to be filed, and clothes.  Just too much stuff.  There isn’t a place for it all.  I really need to get rid of some stuff in there.

2.  Hallway.  Our house is tiny.  There is one hallway.  It serves too many purposes.  Our coat racks and shoe racks are there.  The microwave.  A tote with our winter gear, hats, mittens, scarves, etc…  A shelf unit with pantry items. An overhead shelf with small appliances and extra paper goods.  My cleaning supplies.  The only thing it’s not good for is walking through… hmmm.

3.  Attic.  Who’s attic isn’t a wreck?  Really?  It tends to be a catch all for us.  If something isn’t currently needed or in use, it goes into the attic.  Some of it we find and use as needed, but a lot of it gets shoved to the back and never seen again.  I’m sure there is stuff there that could disappear and we’d never know it.

4.  Garage.  Ugh! It really seems like we clean out the garage every spring and fall.  And every time it fills up again.  We have never parked a car in the garage in the nearly five years we’ve lived here.

5. The kids’ bedrooms.  There are two of them but I’ll list them here as one.  My 13 yr old son just doesn’t take care of his clothes.  Clean or dirty.  They just hang around.  My 10 year old daughter collects things.  And most of them end up on the floor.  If anyone has any tips on motivating your kids to clean their rooms, PLEASE let me know.  I’m out of ideas.

6.  The screen porch.  This is probably most embarrassing because it’s the first impression to my house.  And it’s winter right now.  Shovels, patio furniture, returnables, and Goodwill fodder.

7.  The freezer.  It seems like we put things in the freezer, but very little ever comes out of it.  The last few times we emptied the freezer was because someone left the door open and ruined everything inside.  I’m so ashamed.

8.  Basement.  Okay.  So there’s probably not much I can do about this.  One wall is field stone and the basement is damp.  When it rains hard we get little streams of water running through to the drain.  Everything down there is up on pallets.  It’s not really a pleasant place to be.

9.  Under the couch.  It eats things like pencils, candy wrappers, and socks.  Actually, I’m pretty sure the kids feed it.

10.  Top of bookshelves.  We have a lot of books.  So we have a lot of bookshelves.  The tall ones that have five shelves. It’s pretty rare that I think about dusting off the top.  Anything that’s up there has a layer of dust and cobwebs.


Yuck! That list makes us sound like slobs.  I really wish I was OCD.  Maybe I will be by the end of next week.  Right.

What areas do you find embarrassing in your house?  What do you wish you were OCD about?  Comment below. 🙂

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