Valentine’s Day is just a month away and serves as the perfect excuse to look for and celebrate acts of love. Here are two that touch my heart.
I am blessed to have a very special aunt who enjoyed over 50 years of marriage to her sweetheart. She is a bibliophile who loves to offer book recommendations and often sends me her favorites. Once when we were talking about her reading habits, she shared one with me that, to me, is the epitome of romance.
She and my uncle acquired four children within six years early in her marriage. After bedtime stories with the children, she curled up with her own book before going to bed herself. One evening, she was just too tired to be able to read. Her husband noticed and offered to read aloud to her instead, which she gratefully accepted. The next night, he offered again. The following night, she read to him. And they continued to read aloud to each other every night for decades, gradually making their way through hundreds of classics, biographies, contemporary novels, you name it.
I love that story: the sweetness of the initial gesture, the slow savoring encouraged by reading aloud, the rich conversations over the years inspired by their shared library, their dedication to caring for each other and their relationship.
It's a wonderful story for Valentine's Day, and it inspired one of our gift boxes made especially for the holiday. The gift is called, of course, A Love Story. Check it out and start your own tradition of sharing reading and chocolate!
Here’s another one that's not about a couple.
The lingering pandemic has tested the mental health of the entire world, and researchers tell us that loneliness has increased exponentially. The Jumbo supermarket chain in the Netherlands, where over half of people over the age of 75 report being lonely, decided to do something about it. They are rolling out designated “chat checkouts” in 200 of their stores, which are checkout lines where the cashier engages the customer in conversation, takes their time, shares a story or a joke. This loving and creative family-owned supermarket chain is also introducing “chat corners” in some of their stores where customers can go for a cup of coffee and a “natter.” Isn’t that just the best thing ever?