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The art of love… is largely the art of persistence. ~Albert Ellis

Is it possible to fail at love? After day 23, I feel like I gave up on our 28 Days of Free Love challenge. Maybe I just got tired. Maybe I just felt like my way of showing love was not enough. Before the month of February began, I made a list of all the things I wanted to do. Writing letters of reconciliation, meeting a new neighbor, helping a stranger, hosting a dinner party, calling long lost girlfriends, standing in the middle of a shopping mall offering free hugs. Sounds like great ways to spread some love! Did I do any of these? Does the thought count?

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February is a short month, and so I find myself quite surprised to be already composing my final post for our “28 Days of Free Love.”

Without further ado, here’s how I finished out my 28 Days!

DAY 23 (WEDNESDAY): My grandfather remarried late in life, to a gracious lady named Sue.  Some time after he passed away, she was married again – to the grandfather of one of my best friends!  I’m not sure exactly what label to put on our relationship, but I am sure that Sue is family.  She lives in Sacramento, and as life marches on, I’ve been terrible about keeping in touch.  So I called her to share some news, and we had a chance to catch up.  I’m so glad I called.

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This last week had me in a tailspin! Things sure get more complicated with a sick kiddo in the house. Emma received a flu shot for her 6-month birthday (fun, right?!), and the poor little lady started feeling pretty yucky a few days later. It was the first time Jeremy and I experienced real sickness with her, so we were pretty exhausted to say the least. As we foresee all of the sick days ahead with little ones, it definitely has us questioning our capacity to be parents!

So, with all the “excitement”, I neglected to update my free love status. I do have to admit that my ideas were far more adventurous when the month began. As each day passes, I find myself asking, “Does that really qualify as love? Was I daring enough? Creative enough?” Yet, isn’t it the people around us that we have the most impact on? Small, simple gestures can often mean the world to a loved one just trying to survive the daily grind.

So, here’s where I shined some free love (meaning, no expectations were attached):

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{Free Love} Jessica’s Third Week

It has been a challenging week.  Both Laura and I have had sick kiddos – and no, they didn’t catch it from each other!

In some ways, it’s harder to make time to show love when you’re already feeling stretched thin.  But at times, the love just comes pouring out anyway.

Here’s what I did this past week!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day yesterday!  Many people have become cynical about this “Hallmark holiday,” but the way I see it, it’s not about spending way too much money on roses and candy.  It’s just one more little nudge to show true love to the people who matter most to you.

Here’s what I did this week to spread the Free Love!

DAY 8 (TUESDAY): I wasn’t sure what I was going to do on Tuesday.  Then, right before I left the office, I got an email from one of my co-workers.  She was urging the team to pitch in and do our own dishes so Shannon, our wonderful receptionist, wouldn’t have to clean up after us.  She actually used the phrase, “show her some love.”  As I read that, I couldn’t help but smile.  Then I marched into the kitchen and washed all the dirty dishes in the sink.

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As I look over this past week, I see gratitude and presence in my expressions of love. Family time rose to the top of my priority list as Jeremy prepared for a long distant business trip. Here’s what the last seven days looked like for me:

Day Four: Prior to Emma’s arrival, Jessica created a beautiful gift for the baby shower. For the first 18 years of Emma’s life, Jessica made a birthday card. Family and friends were invited to choose one and write a special note. It’s such a great idea! Before she was born in August, she had a box full of birthday cards waiting for her to open, covering nearly two decades! It was time that I added to the bundle of future love. When I discovered that “Age One” was still available, I snatched it up. Sitting down to write Emma’s first birthday card was a really sweet moment. Though she won’t understand the words I wrote, she can look back and see how very much she was loved and celebrated by our family.

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We are now one week into the 28 Days of Free Love.  Some days, I know exactly what I’m going to do from the moment I wake up.  Other days, I have to improvise.

Some days, I’m scrambling to come up with something at the last minute.  Other days, situations magically present themselves…or maybe I discover them because I’m looking!

Either way, I’m enjoying the challenge of performing these little acts of love.  Here’s the breakdown of what I did, day by day:

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