The first year we were dating, I found a trail of roses covering my day. From brushing teeth to driving to school, locker to homeroom I collected a dozen red roses left for me by my boyfriend. It was wonderful and a little embarrassing and the best Valentine’s Day I’d ever had.
A few years later that same boyfriend gave me the gift of Skittles. But a whole box of just the red and purple ones, because he knew they were my favorite. He hand sorted bags and bags of colored candies – well before you were able to buy single color M&Ms or custom order your favorites online. Just two of the many reasons I married that boyfriend 😉
As we’ve gotten older and our family has grown, love looks a little different than it used to. It’s become less about the extravagant displays and more about intentionally loving one another in all 365 days – not just one day in February. It’s looking for ways to serve the other person – whether it’s our spouse, child, co-worker, mother, sister, friend – in ways that impact their hearts and meet a need. Sometimes it’s sharing a link to something we think they would love, spending a summer weekend landscaping, having friends over for dinner, or putting a card in the mail to tell someone we’re celebrating with them.
This Valentine’s Day? Love looks a lot like carrots.
I sit beside her and watch as her eyes fill with emotion. The story unfolds on the screen – raw and unedited, beautiful in the glorious ordinary of dirt and laughter. It’s her heart on screen and she’s planted the seeds to grow the garden that will leave a legacy.
She’s building more than buildings and gardens and community centers – it’s in these very necessary and valuable projects that roots are forming. A sense of place, belonging, education, joy, hope. It’s her home and she’s inviting us in, making herself a bridge from our homes to her homeland, and it’s terrifying and beautiful and I’ve never been more proud.
There is a little plot of land in Africa that has been reserved for a garden. A place for children to learn, eat, sustain and grow. 250 orphans and vulnerable children who could learn how to grow spinach, beans, tomatoes, corn, soya and … yes … carrots – enough to sustain their community and earn income. It’s the kind of garden that will change lives in the planting.
I’m completely cheating on the Five Minute Friday rules this week because this is so important to share. That garden? It will take $5,000 to fund and it’s only the beginning of an incredible project that Lisa-Jo Baker is launching today. If you’re looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day gift for your sweet grandma who loves to garden, consider making a donation in her honor?
UPDATE: You fully funded a garden today, y’all!! Woot woot!! Now what if we kept giving & built those sweet kiddos a kitchen to go with their garden?
If you’d like to send someone (or..ahem..yourself…) something special that also helps with the Maubane Community Center , you can purchase one of these three beautiful necklaces from Krafty Kash and $12 from each purchase will be donated! This offer will be available until Mother’s Day – woohoo!
Or if this is the kind of day that makes you feel a little left out, a little lonely, a little tired of the commercialism, will you join us in showing the world that love is about doing – not receiving? Let’s join together and send a gift far more valuable than roses. Let’s fall in love with the world next door and show them that this year?
Love just might look like carrots.
Jen Underwood says
love the skittles story. for my BFF’s wedding we had M-n-ms in the candy dishes. except we had to pick out ALL the orange ones. she would not stand for orange at the wedding at all. Thanks for sharing! and yes, love looks like carrots!
Gay Idle says
Love this post Crystal! I loved the way you weaved your story into Lisa-Jo’s heart and ministry goals and just joined in…you are inspiring!
Lovely post, Crystal. And, for the record, purple Skittles are my favorite too.
Roni Delmonico says
I. love. your. heart. And it’s changing mine. And I want a carrot. How weird is that?:)
Kim Hyland says
First, “We Saved You A Seat” . . if there’s a contest for best women’s blog title, YOU win! I already feel welcome. Then this “love looks a little different than it used to. It’s become less about the extravagant displays and more about intentionally loving one another in all 365 days – not just one day in February.” Yes! What a precious and rare gift it is to celebrate love with our spouse every day! And finally, “love looks like carrots”! It opens my mind and heart to all the ways love manifests . . . encouraging words, sacrifice, silence, dinner, forgiveness . . . Such rich, wise words here. Thank you, Crystal 🙂
What a precious love note to receive on Valentine’s Day 🙂
Love it, Crystal. I totally cheated, too. I went WAY over 5 minutes. But, this IS important. I believe we will meet that first goal today!
And we did!!
Kris Camealy says
Beautiful, Crystal. <3 Cant wait to see what God does with this project.
With this..with Refine..with whatever He has next. God is faithful & we are shameless for Jesus and I just love what happens when women do the scary, big things 🙂
You are so right! LOL – living love is more like carrots than 2 dozen roses – if you can’t love in the carrots for 50+ years – roses won’t do it!
Oh I love that so much 🙂
Karrilee Aggett says
Love this Crystal! So excited to plant… to sow… and watch what kind of amazing Harvest comes forth!
Holly Solomon Barrett says
Love is just like carrots! So glad to be part of such a wonderful community.
Me too, Holly…me too!
This is going to be amazing to watch isn’t it? I am just going to plastered to Twitter and Pure Charity from now to Mother’s Day I just know!
It’s been fun already 😉 Can’t wait to join you in throwing a virtual party for LJ when she reaches that goal!
lisa michele says
I love this five minute friday post. such a lovely story of you and your hubby and then what a beautiful way to introduce Lisa-Jo’s project!
Thank you so much, Lisa!
Jessica Hoover says
You. Your prayers are so precious to me. Thanks for teaching me how to tend the garden of community God has given me.
You are so wonderful – bring that kiddo back here soon for another visit!
Lisa-Jo Baker says
Oh man. Crystal. You have held up my arms and my words and my crazy tired heart this week. Love looks like carrots and Crystal Stine to me this week. Beyond indebted. Much much love, LJ
Jacque Watkins says
Love. you. both. MADLY…xoxo Heart with you…
Big smooshy hugs all around 😉
I’ve missed you, friend. I can pretty much look around the internet and see anywhere someone needs serving and there you are. Blessed by your heart and the way you love.
I’ve missed you, too – you inspire & encourage me in ways only God could arrange 🙂
Dawn Paoletta says
Wow, you girls are so fast! Love looks like carrots – love that. This is running through Mother’s Day, right? So we can give until then, I am understanding correctly, I hope.
Yep! There are 5 phases, so the garden starts now and the goal is to raise the entire $150,000 by Mother’s Day 🙂
Dawn Paoletta says
Got it, I read the links…well, still perusing. But, so glad as I have some time to respond financially. A little breathtaking…in a good way. So much to absorb…beautiful, and well the reality- I’m a little speechless. 😉
Lisa-Jo Baker says
I am speechless and terrified about it all the time 🙂 So that sounds about right 🙂