Last night Donya asked if I remembered what I gave her on that first Valentine’s Day we spent together.

I did, sort of. I remembered I gave her a blouse or a dress or some such. (I am sure the mountainous, volatile, protective Tommy Weir was thrilled that the big-eared kid with the silk shirts and bell-bottom pants was giving his precious firstborn such an intimate gift so soon. Never mind, the persistent kid would get even bolder soon – and he and Donya would be married, with Tommy’s blessing, in a few months.) She reminded me that I did give her a blouse, yes, but I also gave her the perfume called Heaven Sent.

So I did! And, so she was!

How many trials would she face between Valentine’s Days, all because Heaven sent her to me? There would be Valentines in Springfield, Missouri, with one baby in her arms and another in her belly, living in a tiny dorm with cinderblock walls, making the most out of meager means. Her husband plowed through seminary and they lived on the $3.60/hr he earned working the night shift at Vermillion Walnut Company. They took out soon-to-be-burdensome student loans to make ends meet. There was also the frequent kindness and welcome “miracle” of timely money sent from one set of parents or the other or maybe their church back 
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home. There would be a Valentine or two anxiously spent in doctor’s offices or hospital rooms, where she was the strength and beauty that her broken-bodied daughter and her sisters needed. Seven Valentines were spent in California, far from “home,” but always right at home wherever we were.

Thirty-seven years and counting of marriage and more than 38 years together, I look back on our journey and can tell you without fear of contradiction there has been for my Valentine more struggle than triumph, more sacrifice than comfort, more giving – way, way more giving – than receiving.

A couple years ago, she quit coloring her hair. It had become almost completely silver. Leave it to her to look so beautiful that young girls stop her to ask what product she uses to look that way. She is always grateful and humble when complimented like that.

I wish they would ask me. I know my answer:

“This is the product of sacrifice, selflessness, strength, and inner beauty. You will never have this kind of exterior shine until your interior has been forged in the fire of sacrifice, refined in the heat of controversy, and confirmed in the perseverance of faith and faithfulness.”

My Valentine has stuck by my side without thought of doing differently through thick and thin. There has been more thin than thick. She is good with that. She was built for this. She was made for me. She was – as I somehow predicted in my youthful exuberance and ignorance when I visited the long-since closed, abandoned, and bull-dozed Forum mall in Arlington, Texas, and there purchased that bottle containing the sweet scent and secret promise – Heaven Sent.


“This is the product of sacrifice, selflessness, strength, and inner beauty. You will never have this kind of exterior shine until your interior has been forged in the fire of sacrifice, refined in the heat of controversy, and confirmed in the perseverance of faith and faithfulness.”


Her daughters, sons-in-law, grandson, and I rise as one and attribute to her the words of Solomon and proclaim her our excellent version of the Proverbs 31 woman:

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

buy Lyrica online australia Proverbs 31:25-31

Happy Valentine’s Day to Donya Weir Strother and all of the Proverbs 31 women loving and giving and living your life with such sweet abandon.