Romance is in the Air!

I always like February and the celebration of Valentine’s Day. I know there are criticisms of it becoming too commercialized, but I still like it. I know it helps that I’m married to a wonderful man (for 48 years, I might add) and through the years we’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day in any manner of ways. After all is said and done, however, it seems the cards we give each other are the highpoint of the celebration for us. It’s never one card, mind you. Always a bunch – it’s a tradition we established in the early years of our marriage. I guess it’s safe to say Hallmark loves us!

A couple who I admire for their 51 years of marriage is our feature story–Susan and Tim Strader. They feel that Divine Providence brought them together, and that is very much how my husband Doug and I feel as well. You know when it’s right, and we both had similar experiences when we met. The Strader’s journey has blessed a community with their giving, and they are so proud of their children, their spouses and 11 grandchildren for their accomplishments and contributions. Through it all, their love sustains them. For, as Tim says, “We were in love when we met and we’re still in love.”

If you want some fresh ideas about how to spend Valentine’s Day, check out “Romantic Rendezvous” in Parting Thoughts, or, if baking for your Valentine is to your liking, look at the recipe in Culinary Creations for Chocolate Filled Red Velvet Buttermilk Cupcakes. Yum! There’s even a story on the 100th anniversary of Girl Scout Cookies. Who wouldn’t want Thin Mints for Valentine’s? You will also see in Hot Spot suggestions where you might enjoy a romantic dinner with your sweetheart.

You will be inspired with stories about people in the community who are passionate about giving back. Chef Pascal Olhats surprised his wife Chris with a visit to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand and came away committed to raise funds and awareness to protect the gentle giants through Save the Elephants Foundation. Lauri Burns of The Teen Project and Joan McKinney of Vocational Visions continue to give their all to help foster youth who have aged out of the system to drug addiction, prostitution and homelessness for Burns and to develop the talents of adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities for McKinney. Both women are extraordinary!

Lastly, our story of Integrity Media Corp’s Erich Meltvedt following in his father’s footsteps proves that parents are our greatest influencers.

In closing, however you spend Valentine’s Day, enjoy it!

Until next time,

Donna Bunce, Editor