Val’s Day ( by Carley Evans )

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

Valentine’s Day approaches. In Japan, per my daughter who lived there for a total of four years, Valentine’s Day is for the woman to give gifts to her man. Later in the year — as I recall, it’s a day in March — the man returns the favor on White Day, a day for the man to give gifts to his woman.

Romance twice in the same year? What an idea!

Odd to me how men and women court one another so well during the initial months of a relationship — little notes, cards, flowers, candlelight dinners, wine, chocolates — then fail to maintain this air of romance through the subsequent years.

Do yourself a favor! Give your spouse or your intended something special on Valentine’s Day. Take his or her hands, look deep in the eyes, and say softly “I love you.” Your tone of voice, the softness of your touch, and your eyes will tell the truth.


Better to Dream

Back in the same city as last week; no outrage on the road yesterday. Today, sitting in a beautiful hotel room on the 18th floor overlooking the city skyline.; there’s not a cloud in the sky, just some haze from cars and trucks. My daughter has walked to the Japanese consulate to take an English test, then a Japanese test, then a little time for lunch, and finally an interview. She is seeking with much anticipation and hope and longing and dread a scholarship so that she may return to Japan next year in order to study film-making in a Tokyo university and gain her dream.

She was speaking to me yesterday in the car of the lack of dreams that children have in Japan. She said that the dreams of her students (she was teaching English in elementary and middle school in Japan) were pretty much confined to: going to high school or home to sleep.

I don’t have any experience teaching in the United States or any other country for that matter, but somehow I’ve got a feeling that many children around the world are also without dreams.

My daughter is blessed — she has a dream. Now, dreams can be crushed but better to have one than not to have one.

Kim’s test is starting right now. May God bless her with the realization of her dream. In Jesus’ Name, amen!

Speaking of Directions

This morning, I’m exhausted from driving 5.5 hrs. to meet my daughter arriving from Japan, then driving back home for 7.5 hrs. Longer coming back because we stopped more times than I did going; and I got us lost once. Interstates that run east and west but are marked west in one location and north in another; east in one location and south in another are — well, let’s just say, yucky! However, getting lost was actually my fault. I took the wrong interstate towards the wrong city! My only explanation — I used to live in that direction.

Getting lost is not hard to achieve. Directions are confusing, especially when you are backtracking. GPS is grand if you have it, and if you’ve set it up properly.

Speaking of directions and GPS, directions for living well are easily found. These are located on a great map in the pages of the Bible. GPS is less easily acquired. GPS is essentially equivalent to God, the Holy Spirit. He is my global positioning system. He always knows where I am, and He knows the direction in which I am heading. He sends me brightly colored, clear messages — even big alerts — to show me the best route for reaching the perfect destination — that’s the destination He has in mind for me, not the one I have in mind for me.

The problem is not the satellite connection, of course, between myself and God. Rather, the problem comes when I ignore or occasionally misunderstand the directing messages; or fail to check those messages against the map — the map being the written Word of God. I say this because, of course, there are many competing messages. Messages from myself, from friends, from family, from media, from FB — that’s Facebook–, from the adversary and the agents of that adversary. Sometimes, as in my illustration of heading in the wrong direction just because I once lived in that direction, I just go backwards or frankly in the wrong direction on the worst path for me.

Then, the solution — yes, you guessed it — is to turn around!