Valentine's Day.  A special day for love.  Tomorrow we will all give gifts, flowers, chocolates, cards and more to people to show them we love them.  Such a special day……..



Now hang in here with me for a few minutes…before you call me the Scrooge of the LUUUUUHHHHVE day!  

I do think it is important to spend at least 37 minutes in a Walgreens aisle searching for just the right greeting card.
I do think it is important to think about what kind of flower makes someone smile and buy it for them.
I do think it is important to choose the right kind of chocolate (Is there a wrong kind???!!!  Really?) and bring it to a loved one.
I do think it is important to dream up just the right gift for a special person and enjoy the giving.

These things are VERY important.

But do they have to happen on one designated day?  Not in my book.  
Love should be shown in little ways EVERY day.  


I have been painting a sign this past week on reclaimed barn wood.  It is one that has been ordered by a bride.  She and her fiancé plan on getting married in front of a huge stone fireplace.  And perched on its mantel she wants a sign that says it all.  What an honor for me...


As I have worked on this sign I have been thinking a lot about marriage…and love.

There are good sides and bad sides of a marriage.
There are easy times and difficult times in a marriage.
There are effortless joys and tough struggles in a marriage.
There is never one without the other.  NEVER.  


I used to think that it should be easy.  It should be fun.  It should be effortless. What was I thinking?!?  

When Craig and I have THE most trying times in our lives our commitment to each other and God is what gets us through.  When we fight and are rude to each other it hurts.  But the covenant we hold allows us to move past with forgiveness and healing always happens.  When our marriage has felt a bit broken, we stand in faith and in the promises we made, and it becomes more beautiful than before.  Beauty comes from the broken.


Much like the sign.


These 2 planks came from an old barn in Wisconsin.  It was at least 120 years old and was falling down.  It was broken.  When I think about these planks of wood and what they have been through I am deeply moved.  {I know, I know...I am strange that I get choked up thinking of a barn. Whatever. Deal with it!}  

Wisconsin winters are brutal.  This barn had endured hot sun, pouring rain, thunderstorms, tornado-like winds, sleet, hail, snow, and freezing temperatures for over a century.  The wood shows the wear and tear.  It is discolored and raw. The knots have been blown right out of it.  It is in rough shape.



To me THIS is beautiful.  This is the back side of a sign.  The warm rich color that has been changed throughout the years by the sun and elements is amazing. Each knot seems to speak to me of a time that it endured some high winds and only allowed for one small portion of the entire plank to fall out to let the wind have a path.  The scraps and gashes that cover these boards are proof of its strength of character and willingness to get beaten up a bit and not look "pretty" anymore to protect what is inside of the barn.  


It is the same in our marriage. We have weathered some rough times in our {almost} 25 years together….

Some storms were brought on by others, events and situations.  Some of them were self-induced ones.  Each of those hard times show up like a knot in our plank of our marriage now.  

We have seen sunny days and freezing cold days.  We can be very loving and kind to each other and then be selfish, disrespectful and downright mean as well. Those different kind of days show up like the beautiful contrast of color in the patina on the plank of our marriage now. 

We have always been 2 very different people in many ways.  We dream differently and sometimes trying to live out those dreams together is hard.  It is like our passions scrape up against each other as they both are trying to make room for themselves.  But we have tried like crazy {and not always successfully} to allow the scraping to happen till we find the right groove that honors both of our hearts' desires.  Those times show up like the scratches and dents in the plank of our marriage now.

Craig and I….together….work on these signs.  He spends hours in the garage planing just one side these planks.  Over and over he feeds the board through the planer, patiently, until it has been brought back to its original state.  Smooth, rich, gorgeous wood.  Then I spend time picking just the right planks to pair up, stain them by hand, and then hand paint the lettering's message.  

We make a good team.

In sign-making…and marriage.  


Together we can weather the storms of life and come out on the other side with something incredibly beautiful….

because LOVE is ALL you need.  



So because I feel that we should show others our love and appreciation on regular days…normal days…non-Valentine's Day days…  I want to take this moment to say….

I am grateful for the exquisite patina & protection of the promises that have come of our years loving each other.
I love you Craig…..honest and true. 



May all your relationships have the qualities of barn wood planks.
May you welcome the storms.
May you feel the protection of promises made.
May you find all the love you ever need. 





February 13, 2014 — Sarah Stevens


Judi Fox

Judi Fox said:

Very beautiful! Thanks for sharing :)

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