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The Unexpected Life: Valentine's Day: Keeping the cup half full

Years ago as I was applying to a Master's program for marriage and family counseling, at San Diego State University, I was told by the professor who was interviewing me for acceptance that I was "Pollyanna". He told me "you look at life as though the cup is half full instead of half empty." He explained to me that he could not accept me in to the program because my Pollyanna ways might stand in the way from me being empathetic and a good counselor to others who were going through so much hardship.

I left his office, and the dream of getting my Masters degree, a little perplexed. He was right, I was Pollyanna, which quality had served me well up to that point, and since then it has been one of the most important tools to survival on this unexpected route which I have traveled.

I have seen a lot of cups in my life. I have seen the cup of motherhood, marriage, date night, ward temple night, holidays, wedding receptions, dinner time, an empty house, birthdays, Sunday dinners, baby blessings, baptisms, missionary farewells and homecomings, Mothers Day and Valentine's Day, just to mention a few.

In some cases the cup is naturally half full for me. For example on Mother's Day, my gratitude for my mom exceeds any sad feelings of not having children of my own. Without hesitation I am able to bask in the beauty of that holiday. Baby blessings, baptisms and missionary sacrament meetings have such a wonderful Spirit, that though I would have loved the child to be mine, the Spirit warms my heart to the extent that it doesn't matter whose relative it is.

In other cases I have had to decide or choose to see the cup half full; Valentine's Day is one of those times. Each and every year it comes around, I find myself staring at a new glass. I see the wonderful Hallmark cards intended for a significant other. My married friends go out with their husbands. Flowers and candy are everywhere. For a moment the glass starts to appear to be half empty.

Then my survival skills kick in. Maybe it's pride, or ego, or divine intervention, but before I know it, it hits me, and I think "there is no way that my Heavenly Father would serve me a cup that is half empty." He just wouldn't do that. He loves me too much. I quickly think,"it must be half full'."

Then my mind starts to wrap itself around another Valentine's Day, and a cup that is certain to be half full.

I quickly think of all the love that I have received over the years.

Just last year my parents sent me tulips on Valentine's Day; since they are my favorite flower and I had just written a column about living in "Holland." A few years ago my nephew Riley took me out to dinner for Valentine's Day treated by his parents. A few years before that, one of my 3-year-old swimmers brought me a dozen roses, dressed in a handsome Sunday suit, and took me to dinner with his parents. Then of course I have had many friends who have baked cookies, sent cards and remembered me over the years.

My life has been full of people who have loved me, and whom I love too. In fact, to be perfectly honest, my cup has not only been half full, but has been filled to the brim with so much love in my life. To ignore their love, and focus only on the love of a spouse would be wrong, and highly ungrateful.

I have a special love for and from my friends, my employees, my kids in my Sunday School class, my leaders, my home teachers, my family, and mostly my Heavenly Father.

I love them all. That love is what we celebrate and show on Valentine's Day.

I may not have a Master degree because I am Pollyanna, but I will have a wonderful Valentine's Day. Some might argue that the graduate degree would have gotten me further in life, but I would have to disagree; I really enjoy seeing the cup half full.