Happy Valentines Day Everyone!
For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved.
You will meet people who love Valentine’s Day and people who hate it. It is a day focused on showing love to the ones we love. I love Valentines Day, whether I am in a relationship or single, because I use it as an excuse to bake yummy treats and bring happiness to others. But, why do we only have one day focused on deeply showing our love? Shouldn’t this act of love be lived out everyday? Shouldn’t we be life giving and compassionate every day?
We are called to love God, others, and ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Everyone struggles with at least one of these concepts, some people have a hard time loving God, some loving others, and if you’re like me the hardest is loving yourself.
We hold onto bitterness, anger, hatred, and judgement. We let anxiety, self denial and guilt consume us. We judge instead of understand. We hate instead of love. We resent instead of forgive.
In this world, we are going to have people who hurt us and it will be hard to forgive them. We will also make mistakes that hurt ourselves and we may have a hard time forgiving ourselves. Guess what? God will always forgive you. Yes, God forgives you and wants you to forgive others as he would forgive you (Colossians 3:13)! We are all human, always remember that at the end of the day, and we all need forgiveness and compassionate love to grow into the person God is calling us to.
Valentine’s Day always reminds me of New Years Day. Every new years we make “goals” and “resolutions” to help us become healthier and happier. Every Valentine’s day we show our loved ones how much we love them and how thankful we are for them.
Guess what? Both of these days are not the ONLY days we can do these awesome things. We can set goals tomorrow to better our life. We can make cookies, give chocolates, or a hand written card to a loved one on a random day “just because” that person deserves to receive love!
I guess what I am getting at is, this world needs more love and forgiveness and less hatred and judgement. We need to live out Valentine’s day every day!
We need to show others love everyday.
We need to be unconditionally self-giving.
We need to spread joy to the brokenhearted.
We need to forgive others and accept their imperfections.
We need to remind people in times of struggle that they are loved.
We need to be light for this world.
These actions can be hard to do.
But, God gives us grace and strength to live out these actions.
Accept that grace. Be strong. Let your light shine and love flow to all.
Valentine's Day Cookies
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, whole
- 1 egg, white
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 2 ¾ cup flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- heart shaped cookie cutter
- flour for rolling out dough
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 Tbsp milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3-4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
For the Cookies:
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
- Beat in 1 whole egg and 1 egg white until combined.
- Beat in vanilla and almond extract.
- Beat in 2 cups of flour mixture, in portions.
- Once the dough begins to thicken remove the bowl from the stand mixer and stir in remaining flour with a spatula or clean hands.
- Roll dough into ball, cover and chill for 1-2 hours. NOTE: I highly recommend not skipping this step, it helps make the dough firm for rolling.
- Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Begin to flour a clean surface and rolling pin. Roll out the dough in portions, about 1 cm thick.
- Cut out shapes using a heart shaped cookie cutter, and line them along a baking sheet.
- Bake each 13×9 sheet of cookies for 4-5 minutes. Repeat steps 7-9 till all the dough has been used.
- Let the cookies cool before icing.
For the icing:
- Cream the butter, then add in the milk and vanilla. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Keep adding powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency.
- Feel free to use gel food coloring to dye the icing. Decorate the cookies with icing and sprinkles.
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