Feb 14


This evening I decided to shovel the driveway for the first time this year.  (Our super neighbors have done 95% of our shoveling for us this year.  And it’s been a LOT of shoveling!  We love our neighbors.)  It was still snowing as I started shoveling, but I felt compelled to take a moment and put down my shovel and twirl in the snow.  I had my arms wide and I let the snow hit my face while trying to catch flakes in my mouth.  I noticed how the world grows quiet when it snows.  Nature simultaneously trumpets its power and its peace.

It’s funny, but twirling in the snow reminded me of another time I’d done that…

The last time Valentine’s Day was on a Friday it was 2003, and Brad and I had been dating for a little less than two months.

The Thanksgiving prior, the Anderson family (Brad, his parents, and his brother and sister-in-law) had decided to meet in New York City for President’s weekend.  They planned to see several Broadway shows and take in the Big Apple.  At some point in January, Brad decided to buy me a plane ticket and bring me with him on the trip.  Not only were we spending Valentine’s Day in New York, but it was my first time meeting his family.  Whoa!  What a weekend!

(For the record, I’d had a boyfriend worthy of celebrating V-Day for only one of the Valentine’s Days prior to 2003.  In fact, my favorite thing about Valentine’s Day was always that my dad got my sisters and I something special–such a wonderful tradition for a little girl.)

The six of us had a great time skating in Rockefeller Center, taking ferry/taxi rides, seeing Mamma Mia and Thoroughly Modern Millie, eating at decadent restaurants, and generally having good family time.  I remember what a gentleman Brad was that weekend: he opened every door, held my hand, and bought me a scarf.  Also during that weekend in 2003, NYC got more than two feet of snow.  Our flights on Monday were cancelled, and we were forced to stay until Wednesday.  (It was my first year of teaching, and the canceled flights meant that I missed two days of school as a teacher, and I was so nervous I was going to get fired.)  However, the snow really made the weekend all the more magical.  One night we emerged from a restaurant to find a blizzard outside.  I stepped out into the snow, arms wide, and twirled because it was just so beautiful.  Someone, probably Brad’s mom, snapped a picture of me and my twirling on the sidewalk in the city:


I had completely forgotten about that memory until I was outside twirling today, and I think it was meant to be for me to have a little walk down memory lane to our first Valentine’s Day together eleven years ago.

In another eleven years, I hope I’ll still be twirling as the flakes fall.  And eleven years after that… and so on.

You’re never too old to twirl.


  1. Lisa Smith /

    BEST STORY EVER. xoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxo

  2. Great story. Beautiful memory.

  3. Bonnie J /

    This special memory totally touches my♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡… Greg and I got engaged in a raging snowstorm 38 years ago . I love fluttering big flake snow – reminds me of what manna from heaven must have looked like. A great reason to twirl and twirl 🙂

  4. What a fun story…love the picture! It reminds me of the twirling scene from one of my favorite movies, “You’ve Got Mail”. You have a lot of wonderful memories stored away, Jen. Better make room for more…there’s still a lot of living to do! ♥p

  5. Marlayne Skeens /

    Keep twirling Jen 🙂

  6. May the snow fall on your life and the twirls make it worthwhile for decades to come. Snow has a way of making it all so pretty for a while, esp at night.

  7. Gorgeous ! You have such a knack for creating poetry in life

  8. Tiffany Green /

    What a sweet memory and so glad you shared it!

  9. love 🙂

    good luck tomorrow!

  10. Terri K /

    I think its great that you were compelled to shovel snow. I was in your shoes 4 years ago & you’re right, its a blessing to have neighbors and friends who “do” for you, but there’s a lot to be said for “doing for yourself”. There’s something miraculous about how all of those tiny flakes can add up to tons of snow, and something amazingly empowering about moving them out of your way. Most people grumble about snow shoveling but for me it feels like a privilege. Keep shoveling girl!

    • Mackenzie Rice /

      Jen- how crazy is it that C.J. and I were there the very same time? We also get stuck a couple extra days– and were out of money so started eating pizza in our room! This was our first Valentine’s together as well! Crazy! Prayers for you today and every day!!!!!