Sunday, February 19, 2012

the red & pink dinner: what selfishness steals

 This year on the fourteenth, I was remembering two things in a big way with a very full heart:

1)  How much God has brought us through in the past year.  So much darkness and pain and fear.  He carried.  Last year when I wrote about love being more than red tissue paper my world was literally crumbling around me as I watched my husband's struggle to cope with his own grief and his own inability to save the world.   Someday. . . I'll be brave enough to spill it all out here.  But for now. . . my heart overflows with gratefulness to a God that is real and cares and rescues.  I have lived some of the darkest moments I could have imagined and at the end of that tunnel as well as the middle He is faithful and true.

2) Last year on the fourteenth, I went to Walgreens and bought one of those pink little $7.99 boxes that tell you that  life is going to change and another little person is on the way.  I cannot even begin to describe all of the emotion and anguish that went into those moments. . .  I did get pulled over on my way home from the drugstore by a nice officer from the MPD.  Good grief, I have so many unfortunate incidents with speed limits and my husband's colleagues.  They're so nice to me.  (Or maybe nice to Daniel.) 

February 2011 was a surreal mixture of hope and despair for me.

And this year I remember and ache with thankfulness that the despair didn't stay, that God is continuing to give hope and purpose to our days.
We tried to get a sitter for the red and pink holiday but our fave was under the weather with the flu and *call it old-married-itis* but we just didn't care that much.  Both of us are neurotically paranoid about leaving Eli right now and let's face it, romantic dinner out on the town + carseat, burp cloths, nursing, and baby giggles is just not a great combo.

And it doesn't matter.  

Maybe I am finally growing up?  I cringe to remember the hoops my poor man jumped through to dazzle his new bride and the unreal expectations I had.  Oh the selfishness our society promotes.  Oh how the poor guys can never measure up. 

At any rate, this was one of my brighter less selfish years and it turned out to be pretty amazing.

I sent the kids & Daniel brown paper bag invitations tied up with pink crepe paper:
Valentine Dinner 
our house
must wear red or pink
and did my best to transform our dining room into Restaurant H.  I stole Cambria's shell chandelier out of her room and managed to hang it over the table (very very cool effect:  now I want one in every room). 
And there were red construction paper place mats and real goblets and conversation candy hearts and menus:

Welcome to Restaurant H

Triple Layer Pizzeria Pepperoni
(in a heart shape)

Breadsticks Parmesan & Marinara

Choice of Drinks:

Cherry Soda or Sweetest Tea 

Dessert Menu:

Leave-it-to-Beaver Chocolate Chip Cookies & Milk

I didn't have time to run errands so I just made dinner out of what I had in the fridge.  It worked. No salad or greens was a little weird, but I think it only bothered me.  

Jacob, ever aware of trends:  "Dad, did you know that Happy Joes is even delivering heart shaped pizzas tonight?"

Cambria came to the table in a pink turtleneck dress with pink bracelets and a pink necklace and an awful lot of pink eyeshadow from a play make-up kit. 

I grabbed my standby black dress and tied a pink ribbon on my boring hairdo - voila waitress/hostess Hayley.  {I told the kids I wished I would have remembered my nametag from my receptionist days at the CPC Pregnancy Resources center; would have looked more official.  JD:  "We can imagine it on you, Mom."}

Oh such a fun dinner.  Something is very magical about changing up the ordinary.

And we even had a jukebox, something that intrigues the kids every.single.time we eat at the Texas Roadhouse.  *If you ever need a jukebox, Spotify is a fabulous stand-in.  The kids got to make requests and we had a pretty sweet playlist.

Oh How He Loves Us
(David Crowder)

O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus
(2nd Chapter)

What Love Really Means
(JJ Heller)

I Will Be Here
(Steven Curtis Chapman)

Still the One
(Shania Twain)

I told Cambria and Jacob that the very first time Daniel twirled me all the way around in a circle, we were seeing each other after months apart and

looks like we made it

look how far we've come my baby

they said we'd never make it

but just look at us holding on

still together

still going strong

 still the one i run to

the one that I belong to

still the one i want for life

was blaring over the airport sound system.

(Poor TSA agents.)

I happened to glance at Cambria's face and her eyes were shining.  I was caught off guard by her interest.  Oh. . . what a feeling to know that your mommy and daddy love each other.  I think of all of the yuckiness and the mundane that she hears out of my mouth and I resolve that she will hear more of this, more of the love stuff.

In the joy of preparing beauty for my children and my man I actually forgot about myself

and lo and behold I got surprised too.

They had little packages for me, lovingly wrapped in brown paper sacks.

50 tea light candles (from Jacob)

Triple Berry (think pink) candle (from Cambria)

gorgeous roses from my man

a card that they all signed 


and Jacob Daniel

and Cambria 

and Gabe

and Eli

and seeing all of those precious names and knowing my husband knows my heart so well. . . yep, the tears overflowed.

Tears because they love me so much;

Tears because God is so good;

Tears because of all the years my selfishness ruined and stole moments like these;

Tears because I have been given so so so much;

Tears because he loves me so much.

Best February 14th ever. 

*And FYI, you don't have to go out on the town to love your man.  You knew that, though.


  1. Beautiful, beautiful post, Hayley...

  2. oh, this was a wonderful read. so very, very true.

  3. in much darkness now and was SO encouraged to hear how the Lord carried you through.

    if He carried you, you'll carry me.

    you helped me to see light at the end of the tunnel. thank you.

    i'm so thankful you had a wonderful celebration of LOVE on Valentine's Day.