You Are My
by Mia Cronan
You Are My Valentine: The Stories Behind the Tradition by
Historically speaking, it is probable that there were two
Valentines that lived many years ago, both martyred around
270 A.D. Oftentimes, during that time period, bishops died
at the hands of persecutors because they could not easily
hide, like other Christians of that time could. Sometimes
they died trying to protect other Christians, hoping that
those Christians would not be found out. One of the
Valentines, a priest, allegedly died this way.
The other Valentine was a priest and physician in Rome
during the persecution of Emperor Claudius II c. 269. It is
said, by some, that today's tradition of sending Valentine
cards to loved ones stems from Valeintine's practice of
sending letters of love and encouragement to those
Christians who lived in fear of persecutors. He died on
Another later legend was born of the notion that it is on
the feast day of St. Valentine when birds begin choosing
their mates for springtime. If that were the case, those who
believed this would see it as an ideal day to remind their
sweethearts of their love!
But the historical basis of the custom is the ancient Roman
youth festival on the even of Lupercalia, February 14th. In
centuries before Christ, the beginning of the year was March
1st, so the youth of the Roman Empire chose their
sweethearts for the next year on this day. The youth
festival on February 14th stood under the patronage of the
goddess Juno Februata.
Of course, when Christianity was accepted in the Empire, the
worship of pagan gods ceased, but many of the customs,
including the feast of youth, continued. In place of Juno
Februata, St. Valentine became the accepted patron of the
feast day, as was the case with other Christian saints on
their respective feast days. So, St. Valentine became the
patron saint of youth and young love.
As parents, we can try starting a new Valentine's Day
tradition in our homes. Children love to send Valentine
cards to their friends. As they do so, we can explain that
when we send a message of love, we should also say prayers
of thanks to God for our loved ones and the precious gift of
our loving and affectionate friends, asking for St.
Valentine's intercession and blessing for those to whom we
sent cards. Additionally, we might offer up a prayer of
thanks to God for the love that He gives us to share with
Mia Cronan is the mother of three daughters, ages 4, 2, and
6 months, living in Pennsylvania. She also co-publishes a
Web site for stay-at-home moms, called Main Street Mom. The
site offers support, inspirational stories, comedy,
money-saving tips, a nationwide playgroup listing, and much
more. Visit Main Street Mom at
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Mia Cronan may be contacted at
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Mia Cronan is a happily married at-home mother of four
children, ages 9, 7, 5, 2 (and one more expected in
November, 2004!), living in Ohio. She owns and edits
the magazine for modern mothers with traditional values. Ask
Mia how to make money at home while raising a family in a
safe, healthy environment! Visit
Day — Where Did THAT Come From?
by LeAnn Ralph
Just as soon as the stores put away their Christmas
merchandise, out comes the Valentine’s Day items — even
though Valentine’s is still more than six weeks away.
I don’t know why, but it always takes me by surprise to see
Valentine’s Day merchandise so soon after Christmas.
I’ve always wondered where Valentine’s Day came from, and
under those circumstances, a person could be forgiven for
thinking it was invented to create more business when
Christmas is over.
But no, after a little research, I discovered that
Valentine’s is not a holiday that was “invented” by greeting
card companies to sell more greeting cards or by candy
companies to sell more candy or by florists to sell more
Valentine’s Day actually started more than 1,500 years ago.
According to legend, Valentine was a priest who defied the
orders of the Roman emperor Claudius and continued to
perform marriages. It seems that Claudius realized no young
men wanted to join his army because they didn’t want to
leave their wives and sweethearts. When it was discovered
that Valentine was still performing marriages in secret, he
was sentenced to death. Valentine allegedly cured the
jailer’s daughter of blindness, and on the night before his
execution, sent a note to her signed “from your Valentine.”
He reportedly died on Feb. 14, 269 A.D.
In 496 A.D., February 14 was named by Pope Gelasius to honor
The first Valentines are credited to Charles, Duke of
Orleans, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London during
the 1400s where he wrote romantic verses that he sent to his
A woman named Esther Howland is credited with sending the
first Valentine in the United States.
The United States Postal Service is credited with advancing
the popularity of sending Valentines when the penny postcard
was introduced in the mid 1800s. Before that, sending mail
was too expensive for the average person, because at the
time, the person who RECEIVED the letter paid the postage
and not the person who SENT the letter.
Personally, I’m thankful it’s not that way today. Can you
imagine paying the postage to receive your Valentines?
In days gone by, Valentines were hand-painted cards
decorated with lace and feathers and sequins.
I don’t know about anybody else, but if I were going to hand
paint a Valentine and decorate it with lace and feathers and
sequins, I wouldn’t go to all that work for just anybody.
Nowadays, however, Valentine’s cards are mass produced in
thousands of designs and sizes — large ones and small ones;
serious ones and silly ones; inexpensive ones and expensive
The variety of Valentine’s cards is overwhelming and, as far
as I’m concerned, rather unnecessary. I mean, how many
Valentine’s cards does one person need to buy? Spouse?
Parents? Siblings? Second and third cousins? The teacher you
had in fifth grade? The lady who cuts your hair? The grocery
store clerk who tallied up your last purchase? The man who
stopped his car so you could make it through the crosswalk
without being run over?
And what about the Valentine’s merchandise? The candy, the
posters, the teddy bears sporting a red heart that says ‘Be
Mine,’ socks with little red hearts all over them,
heart-shaped rings, necklaces and earrings, and the list
goes on and on.
I wonder what the real St. Valentine would think of the
cards and the candy and the jewelry and whatever else?
Then again, maybe the real St. Valentine would be delighted
by this turn of events.
After all, it’s been more than 1,700 years since he died,
but every Feb. 14, people are still celebrating Valentine’s
And that puts giving Valentines into a whole new
perspective, doesn’t it.
LeAnn Ralph may be contacted at
email@example.com. Click here to view more of
LeAnn R. Ralph is the author of the books: "Christmas in
Dairyland (True Stories from a Wisconsin Farm)" (trade
paperback; August 2003), "Preserve Your Family History (A
Step-by-Step Guide for Writing Oral Histories)" (e-book,
April 2004), and "Give Me a Home Where the Dairy Cows Roam"
(Oct. 2004). You are invited to sign up for LeAnn's FREE!
monthly e-mail newsletter, Rural Route 2 News & Updates.
Handle Valentine's Day
by Susan Dunn
Love it or hate it, sad you’re single or wish you were …
Valentine’s Day is coming, and with it a host of conflicting
I think of the Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago when I
left a card and gift shop where I’d selected some
Valentines. I’d been pondering the materialism dictated us
by the media that demanded expression of feelings with
store-bought cards and boxes of candy, which I went along
with. I’d been lamenting the fact I had no sweetie pie at
the time. It had crossed my mind some of the really bad
Valentine’s gifts I’d gotten in the past. And I was hoping
my sister would take her daughter to buy a card for me.
As I left the store, the shop owner called out to me, “Be
careful, Susan. There are lots of angry lovers on the road
I burst out laughing and was also reminded to get a hold of
myself before I hit the road. It would be a good idea to
clear my head, which actually means to calm one’s emotions.
Well, Emotional Intelligence says know and understand your
emotions – where they come from and what they mean – and
manage them for the best outcome. It also means doing this
with others. And it means coordinating your thinking brain
with your feelings.
Here are some EQ tips for having, well, whatever Valentine’s
Day you plan to have!
How do you intend your Valentine’s Day to be? Intentionality
means saying what you mean and meaning what you say, and it
also means being responsible and accountable for your
motives as well as your actions.
If your intention is to express your love to someone in a
meaningful way, this might include thinking about what means
love to them. It could be a toaster oven would be greatly
appreciated, a poem you’ve written, a kiss on the cheek, an
addition to their collection, a power tool, something very
gushy or not very gushy, a night of dancing, or not spending
any money because you’re both over budget.
At the same time, how to you intend to manage your emotions?
If you take an honest look at the situation, here are some
intentions you might have:
Do you plan to be upset over what happens?
If you’re single, do you intend to “let it get to you?”
Do you intend to be disappointed in what your lover gives
you, as nothing is good enough?
Do you intend to keep your expectations in line with
Do you intend to express your needs, as no one can read your
mind, no matter how much they love you?
Do you intend to spend more than you can afford to and then
Do you intend to compare yourself, or the gift you receive
Do you intend to agree to choose your boss’ gift for his
wife even though this causes negative emotions for you?
Do you intend to let someone else “do” Valentine’s for you,
or do you plan to be personally involved in your gift
Do you intend to be a perfectionist and feel that whatever
you buy is wrong, and whatever you do isn’t right?
You could intend to love yourself and enjoy your day!
Intentionality is tough stuff and it means business.
On the more pragmatic level, there are things that need
doing. If you intend to observe the day by remembering
Write out your budget
Make a list of people you wish to remember
Start writing down ideas for each person
Remember there’s a whole slew of merchants out there willing
to make this easy for you – use the Internet and the
Start early to avoid pressure
Plan ahead how you will resist all the last-minutes
“specials” coming your way that you know you can’t afford
Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year. That means
sitters will be scarce and restaurants booked. Plan ahead.
Planning is the key to experiencing the joy of Valentine’s
Day. It’s your day and you can have it your way!
Susan Dunn may be contacted at
Click here to view more of their articles.
Susan Dunn, MA, Psychology, Emotional Intelligence Coach,
Coaching, Internet courses and ebooks around emotional
intelligence for career, relationships, transitions,
resilience, personal and professional development.
for free ezine.
Five Minute Fudge
2/3 c. Carnation Evaporated milk
2 tbsp. butter
1-2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 c. miniature marshmallows
1-1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. nuts
Combine 2/3 cup Carnation evaporated milk, 2 tablespoons
butter, 1-2/3 cups sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in saucepan
over medium heat. Boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Remove
from heat. Add 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows, 1 1/2 cups
chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup nuts. Stir 1 to
2 minutes. Pour into buttered 9 inch square pan.
Hershey's Cocoa Fudge
2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
3 cups granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Thoroughly combine dry ingredients in a heavy 4-quart
Stir in milk; bring to a bubbly boil on medium heat,
constantly. Boil without stirring to 234 degrees F (soft
ball stage). The bulb of
the candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of pan.
Remove from heat. Add butter or margarine and vanilla
not stir. Cool at room temperature to 110 degrees F.
Beat until fudge thickens and loses some of its gloss.
spread in a lightly buttered 8- or 9-inch square pan. Cool.
Makes 3 dozen squares.
Increase cocoa to 3/4 cup. Cook fudge as directed in above
recipe. Add 1 cup Marshmallow Crème with butter and vanilla
extract. Do not
stir. Cool to 110 degrees F