Growing Up Valentine: Rites of Passage

All around Blogland (and in the “real” world, too) I’ve been seeing Valentines.  You, too?  It’s that time of year!
As I worked this week, I thought about Valentines Day and my own growing up years.  I suppose my earliest memory is of giving Valentines to my friends at school.  The list of friends’ names that the teacher sent home … and addressing a card for everyone in the class.  Decorating a shoe box with a slit in it to serve as a “mail box” for collecting the Valentines.  You, too, perhaps?

Hearts and Cupid became favorite “early” Valentine themes …

And the conversation hearts were always fun! I stopped buying them when I stopped knowing what half of the sayings meant!  (I know. I’m showing my age.)

In my (now called) “tween” and early teen years, the “day of love” coincided with diary entries and puppy love crushes.

Eventually, pretty chocolates …

and pretty flowers … and dating entered the picture.

Dating … that human courtship ritual filled with social activities and relational assessment.  That critical time in young life when choices affect the future.  When conscientious, caring parents pray their children have listened.

But what happens when there were no conscientious, caring parents?  When a young girl is abused … or prostituted … by her parents?  When she’s taught that her only value is as a sexual object?  How can she possibly understand what true love is?

That is the reality for most of the girls at Hope Unlimited for Children. The concept of dating and marriage, love and family, evoke feelings of confusion and guilt and fear.  But their story doesn’t have to end there …

In Brazil, the Day of Love is in early Summer.  On that day, surrounded by godly women who love them, the girls at Hope Unlimited are taught about true love and purity and what it means to be of value as one of God’s highest creations … and loved by their Creator. As part of their celebration, each girl receives Valentines that show them they are special.  Valentines that come from people who took time to make a few extra Valentines for someone they don’t know.  People like you and me.  It’s a very small act that has a huge impact on the way young girls think of themselves … and how they face the future.

If you’d like to join me in making Valentines for the girls of Hope, you can be certain you’ll bring happy smiles and growing confidence into a young girl’s life.  It can be as simple as making a couple of extras when you write Valentines to your loved ones … or you can make an “event” out of it and involve your Sunday School class, ladies Bible study group, mission group, civic organization, Girl Scout troop, sports team … parents of daughters.

Send your Valentines marked “Valentine Project” to
Hope Unlimited for Children
P.O. Box 100
Jefferson City, TN  37760

All Valentines received between now and April will be translated and shared at the 2012 Day of Love celebration.  To read more about the Valentine Project, click HERE.
Thank you in advance for caring!

I’m joining Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch … then I’m headed off to work on this week’s


  1. I read this at Marcia’s place. I think it’s a lovely idea, and I plan to share it with the women in my SS class, too. I was glad to read that we had some time to spare since their special day isn’t until later in the year.

    (And I agree about the heart messages!) Somehow, “text me” just isn’t as romantic as “be mine”.

  2. Just finished making some for friends and now I am devoting my time to making the ones for the girls. I like to pray as I make such cards and tags for others so I wanted to leave the ones for the girls separately for a very special time of specific prayer. I cannot wait to get started.
    Thank you for all that you do, Susan, and to all of the dedicated hearts behind Hope Unlimited. I read through some of the testimonies today and I am beyond grieving at the numbers…500,000 a year. It keeps resounding in my spirit. I am so glad you are following God’s leading and making a difference.

  3. Susan! This has touched my heart so much and I can’t think of a better Valentines to send out! I just simply cannot send out Valentines to my family this year without also including a special one for your program. I am committed to participating but not sure exactly what I am going to do yet. I have also shared this with my Facebook friends. I hope more people will take this opportunity to share a little love! God Bless You!

  4. Wonderful Valenitne memories. This year, my son’s teacher is requesting the mailbox be made at home. It’s sad that school is so busy they can’t even stop long enough to have a fun art project. Of course, I’ll be the one making the box since he probably won’t care too much about it.
    I’ve written down the address and will sure to send some Valentines to this special cause!

  5. This is such a precious project. Thank you for extending the opportunity to participate. Cherry Kay