I remember when my sons were in grade school and Valentine’s Day came around. We would spend time picking out cards that would be distributed to classmates and friends, and, of course, there were always candy hearts and boxes of chocolates.
Valentine Day is, of course, about your loved one and a romantic dinner out, usually with roses delivered that day. But as I get older, it has become something more. Don’t get me wrong; I still like the night out with dinner. But just as Valentine’s Day is about love, choosing a life geared toward good health and prevention is also about love.
According to the American Heart Association (and its division, the American Stroke Association) heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of women in America. With this in mind, if we really want to show love for that special person, we need to take care of our heart.
Following my 21-day Daniel’s fast at the first of this year, I made a promise to myself to work at staying healthy, not only for myself but also for my family. I got back on My Fitness Pal and started watching what I eat. Since December I also have had my physical, a mammogram, a Lifeline scan for clogged veins that cause strokes, a field vision test and the dreaded colonoscopy. I was amazed when the nurse at my colonoscopy told me that the average person gets 14 grams of fiber a day; we need 32 grams, something else for My Fitness Pal. I still have one more appointment with a dermatologist. I know I will not live forever; but I am making every effort to spend as much time as possible with my Valentine.
So ladies, what will you do for your Valentine? Sure, go ahead have a great dinner and enjoy that box of chocolates, but remember: it’s not what we say in the card on this, Valentine’s Day; it’s what we do for our heart that shows we mean what we say.
The bottom line: roses are red and violets are blue, please stay healthy for the one who loves you!
Patti Austin, of Decatur, Georgia, is president of Women of the ELCA for the 2014-2017 triennium.
Photo by Elizabeth Rutz. Used with permission.