About the Author

Jennifer Dukes Lee is the author of several books, including Growing Slow. She and her husband live on the family farm, raising crops, pigs, and two humans. She’s a fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She wants to live life in such a way...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Jennifer,
    This is beautiful…what a gift God gave you and Ceres in learning to love beyond words. Being a gal whose premier love language is “words”, I realize that there are many other ways of expressing love and stretch myself. I’m a big hugger and I’m sure I’ve invaded people’s private space way too often, but when I care and love, I want to hug. I also like to give small gifts…just a little something that says I was thinking of you…something I know the other person really likes. It’s so fun to give when it’s not an exchange of gifts. Getting a smile back is great reward. Thanks for these tips to tuck away in my heart.
    Bev xx ((that’s me, the hugger sending love)) 🙂

    • Hi Bev, Always a joy to see you here. You love well with words — and it’s a delight to always be on the receiving end of them when you come here to incourage. You’re such a blessing. I’m a words girl, too. I think I’m a time girl as well. I love quality time.

  2. This is such a beautiful story, Jennifer, not just about how to express love, but how to express it transculturally. Oh! I am so happy that the Lord introduced you and your friend, and then reintroduced you. What a precious gift. Love knows no bounds, does it, especially when it’s God that does the uniting? He wants all people to love each other, no matter the country, culture, or race. My precious mother met a Russian woman through WRITING during the Cold War–a time when Russia was our enemy (and looks like now, still is). But they united heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul. Their backgrounds didn’t matter. They still struggle with language. Natasha speaks no English, and Mother’s Russian is nail-rusty (like your Portugese) and it takes her many hours to write and translate the letters, and yet, their beautiful correspondence has spanned nearly forty years and countless miles. Mother has shared Christ w/ Natasha, who is now saved. And now I write to a sweet man, near ninety, who lives in Prague. We met when my daughter and I went on a Christian music missions trip in 2011. He was in the audience and loved the music and our gesture in sharing it so much, that he couldn’t stop hugging me, or I, him. I really felt the warmth of his love, amazingly, even in that initial meeting. It would take too long to tell the story, but suffice it to say, that love also bridged that cultural gap in a country that still suffered from the dark influence on Communism!
    Jennifer, I am so happy for you and for Cere! What a joyful reunion you are having. It really needs no translation. And I hope you will get to go to Brazil someday soon, too. Thank you for yet another encouraging and heartwarming post!

    • Oh, I love your story, Lynn! I love how your mother takes all those hours to love someone so far away. To me, that feels like non-transactional love — number 5 on my list. Her actions say to me, “I don’t care how long this takes, or what I get in return, I’m going to write this letter, and I’m going to love well through it.”

      • So beautiful, Jennifer! Thank you for this generous comment. I’m going to tell Fern (I sometimes call Mother by her name! 🙂 ). You’re so very insightful. You have *no* idea how long it takes to compose and translate these letters. Plus, she writes all by hand–a first, rough draft, and then a finished copy. But what richness she and Natasha share. Remind me sometime to tell you Mother’s strawberry-seed story. She wrote it up, and it’s so sweet (how tiny seeds sent from the other side of the globe, against all odds of survival when transplanted in a blastingly hot St. L. summer grew into fruit–like their friendship!). Oh I’ve done it again–far too long! So sorry to ramble, but rejoicing in these transcultural friendships, especially today, yours and Cere’s!!! xxoo, L.

  3. Oh, I loved your post. The beauty of relationship, and of seeing someone we love fills the heart. Your five tips are spot on. I know the value of listening, and I try to listen with my whole heart and self when others speak. I hadn’t thought of that as a way of loving though. I think you’re right though. When we gift others with our full attention, we are giving them a gift of affirmation and love. And we reflect Jesus to those who are speaking.

    May we all love well today

    • Thank you, Jeanne. I don’t know that I realized until this past week how much the value of listening and presence is so important in relationships. I’ve known it with my kids, but I experienced it profoundly with our Brazilian friends this week. Thanks for being here.

  4. “Grace is the grease that turns the wheels of love.” Mmm, mmm, mmm. Yes ma’am. Such a sweet experience with wonderfully fond memories Jennifer. It’s SO cool that you were reconnected with Ceres! Thank you for sharing the ways that love has no boundaries 🙂

  5. Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for this beautiful and well-written story. I loved reading this, and I am moved by your Five Ways to Love Without Words. I am struggling to achieve most of these yet yearn to model these for my children. I don’t have many words right now due to some very overwhelming life events going on and muddling my brain (ha – you did just give me grace to not have to use words, right :o), but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your blog today. I will print this as a frequent reminder. Consider this comment a hug from me today.

  6. When I first started reading this I thought how nice it was that you can still recall those precious memories. Then, you made an effort to reconnect and make more memories with Ceres! What a wonderful experience and story! Thanks for sharing with us. Showing love across barriers is something I’ve learned to do when I am in the classroom. A younger but wiser teacher friend of mine allowed me to witness this in her classroom. There were a few language barriers, but most obstacles came from disabilities, socioeconomic disadvantages, and emotional trauma scars. As a substitute teacher, I have seven hours to love children through worksheets, read alouds, and activities. The most important thing I can teach them each day is that they are special and loved. Everything else is a bonus! Once I learned that from my teacher/friend, subbing got a lot more intentional and fun! That is how I show love that needs no translation.

  7. I cannot even tell you how much I love this post! I grew up in Venezuela and Colombia and while I DO speak Spanish many of those same principles applied when God graciously granted the opportunity to go back! They will always be “my people” and there will be a heart connection…..NO MATTER WHAT!

  8. I love this. Showing love with no translation. Love is so important for our relationships. We need to show love by becoming more like Jesus, and loving as Jesus loved – unconditionally. There are many times people may do things that are not so lovable, but we need to show our love to them regardless. This alone will show them just how wonderful God is, as God is love.

  9. Loved reading this Jennifer. You brought back my own memories — I was an exchange student to Brazil for a year – in 1976! My Brazilian sister is one of my facebook friends, but she doesn’t get on fb often. I wish the miles weren’t so long and far between us. Tenho saudades para ela (not sure I have it spelled right – it really has been years!) Thanks for this!

  10. Jennifer,
    so beautiful! What a touching story of love that transcends boundaries!!! One way to show love is to just spend time with a person. Each week I go to assisted living 3 days and spend around 1-3 hours each time with my aging dad. I pray this tells him how much he is loved without me saying anything! Another thing I enjoy doing is hugging people.
    Blessings 🙂

  11. Jennifer, thank you for sharing your story, what a sweet retelling of a great example of a relationship that has lasted a life time. I enjoy your writing.

    For me, I found out today that my brother and I have two half-sisters. Facebook brought us together and I cried when I saw one sister had posted a picture of our grandparents with my beautiful mom and brother. We live in different states but there is love being shared tonight across the internet. We’ve spent the day messaging each other.

  12. I just heard this on the radio a week or so ago: “Attention is the rarest form of generosity.” And in this fast-paced, self-centered world, the act of paying attention to the words, needs, and interests of another is a precious gift indeed. Perhaps attention is the one love-language we all speak! Thank you, Jennifer, for the thought-provoking post and your wise ways to love without words.