Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sweet hearts, candy hearts: Love is in the air

Love is in the air.

It’s Valentine month, heart health month, and it’s definitely the month for sweethearts and sweet hearts.

While generally writing about health and wellness, I always consider the joyful, fun side of being kind to our hearts. There is a sweet side to friendship, I think, that sparks that feel-good heartlight within.

It tends to show up on special occasions and holidays.  Sometimes you feel you just may as well indulge in a little bit of sweet pleasure during those times.

Enjoy the gift of tradition: a beautiful homemade heart cookie, given by a longtime friend -- thinking of the time spent lovingly cutting out, baking, colorfully frosting it and transporting it to you.

Bite into and savor a luscious piece of chocolate, made with the finest ingredients by your favorite hometown chocolatier – in my case, Sweet Sensations in Fowlerville. I don’t get there often enough.

And, by all means, have some fun with candy hearts.  Do you love candy hearts?  XOXOXO?
A sweetheart of a cookie, a friendship tradition. "The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship." -- Joseph Addison
Time to take a look back at a column I wrote for the Fowlerville News & Views Feb. 15, 1999 issue about candy hearts.  Not a lot has changed since then, re these pastel confection collections, except maybe the sayings or flavors.  We’ll see. Here’s the retro look:

Candy Hearts (1999)
 By Susan Parcheta (from N&V column: Living…Happier, healthier, longer and better)

Candy hearts.

Here we are in the middle of Valentine month. Did you give or get any candy hearts? You know, the ones with all the cute sayings: “Be Mine” – “Kiss Me” –“Hey Dude.”

Necco Confectionary Company started it all back in 1901. Now a few billion each year find their way into our Valentine celebrations.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem like February without a few candy hearts around. While visiting friends last week, I was delighted to spot a dish of candy hearts – in sherbet colors -- on the kitchen counter.

The inscriptions, they say, change with the times. A popular one nowadays is “Fax Me.” This year, I saw “My Love” – “Your Guy” – “Kid You” – “Only Me – “Love Me” – “Good Time” – “Forever” … among others.

Candy hearts are for the young, you say? A Greek proverb affirms: “The heart that loves is always young.”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Friendship Matters: Circles of Life, Circles of Time, Circles of Joy

By  Susan  G Parcheta
(Published Jan. 31, 2012 at The LivingstonPost.com )
Driving down the main road in our neighborhood isn't the same anymore.  I’ve had that feeling before – mostly when gobs of new houses would spring up, adding to the traffic and changing the once very rural character of the landscape.

Now, though, it’s different.  It's the feeling of something definitely missing, something I’d taken for granted.  The awareness feels strange; two of my longtime neighbors and church friends are missing from that landscape -- two, from my revered circles of friends.
In the circle of life, matters of friendship matter.

Friendships: Matters of the Heart (mandala art from Feb. 14 2010 archives of The Daily Mandala by Henry Reed)
Friendship matters are heart matters. Why then, do we so often take friendship for granted?  But then, how often do we treat matters of the heart seriously – until it’s too late? The circle of life, of friendship, of heart comes to mind as it usually does – when we least expect it.

As I drove the road on a snowy, mid-January day, I was coming home from a breakfast with friends. Inside my heart,  an inner dialog was going on regarding that day’s events. The weather played its part, bringing the two events into snow-white focus. Friendships, developed over a forty-year span of time, took center stage in my mind.  Circles of friends, that do matter, and the beauty of these ties of spirit, became my theme for the day.