About the Author

Now graduated from her role as a homeschooling mom of 8, Dawn Camp devotes her time and love of stories to writing her first novel. She enjoys movie nights, cups of Earl Grey, and cheering on the Braves. She and her husband navigate an ever-emptying nest in the Atlanta suburbs.

(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. Dawn,
    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, “Great Expectations”. I have found that rather than set my husband up for disaster, I have voiced to him that I really don’t want to go out to eat on Valentine’s Day because every one and their brother is doing the same and restaurants are overcrowded. I’ve said that I don’t want roses because they are usually overpriced at Valentine’s Day. I’d rather get flowers on a random day and go out to eat to celebrate an anniversary or just because we haven’t had a date night in awhile. Words are my love language, so a nice card with a heartfelt message is all I really care for. I’ll make a nice dinner and being together on the couch, watching a movie is my ideal Valentine’s Day. But why just on Valentine’s Day? I am kind of “over” Hallmark holidays and the pressure they put on all of us. Instead of one day a year, why don’t we try to “out love” each other – be that spouse, friend, family member every day of the year? If we followed the greatest commandment it would be called Valentine’s Year.
    Bev xx

    • Bev, it sounds like you have a very healthy attitude and have expressed your expectations—what you would like and what isn’t necessary—very well! And “out loving” each other is always a good idea.

  2. “A marriage is more than just one day.” This is great wisdom! Our obsession with the fluffy brand of romance reduces relationships to one more means of honoring our obsessive need to receive. There are so many ways to show love, and life circumstances don’t always lend themselves to heroic displays.
    Wonderful that you can be out of the house while the floors are being laid! Hope it’s fun!

    • Yes! The circumstances don’t always work towards making Valentine’s a BIG day; sometimes it’s a matter of finances too. Think of what our marriages would look like if we put this much thought into the every day?

  3. Dawn, thank you, THANK YOU, really—thank YOU for finally writing what we ALL have been thinking for years. I also love the comments from people! I shared your amazing wisdom on my social media feed because you have so many wonderful ideas, helpful links, and disaster avoiding remedies! You covered it all. You nailed this one—right on time. And it is tastefully written in love. Bless you! This ones a keeper! Truly, May ALL that we do be done in ♥️.

    • Diane, thank you for a comment that made my day! 🙂 I hope this helps some of us remember to communicate and avoid total mismatched expectations with our men.

  4. This year Valentine’s Day is actually on Ash Wednesday! I think I would like to attend church to receive the cross of ashes on my forehead and remember and contemplate the love that God has for me and everyone! My husband and I can exchange cards and celebrate our love and our 35 years of our relationship on another day with a dinner out!

    • Pam, I’ll be at church also. My pastor has joked that if anyone would like their ashes in the shape of a heart he can do that!

  5. Thank you for these ideas and the reminder that the vitality of a marriage is more than just what happens on one day!
    Always encouraged by your words, Friend!


    • Thank you, Angie! The expectation for Valentine’s is insane, and the ads on TV and the radio don’t make it any better. You’ve gotta feel sorry for a guy who doesn’t know what his wife or girlfriend really wants (or doesn’t want).

  6. Thanks for that!
    Those stinkin’ expectations ruin many a perfectly good day! That took me several years to learn when a new wife, and there was no such thing as social media back in those days, other than the printed page. I like simplicity, a Walk down by the river, if it’s a nice day or fast food and Netflix is my kinda V-Day. (I’m all in favor of the five love languages-clearly helpful, but sometimes that even causes pressure to get it right!)

    • Teresa, your words are good! If we focused more on each other—instead of what we were supposed to give or do for each other—it would be a lot easier.

  7. Dawn, this sentence nails it: “A marriage is more than just one day.” Amen to that. Do we show our love for each other day in, day out? I just had a fun thought: How many days have we been married? We celebrated our 42nd anniversary last November, so the grand total would be a fun figure to consider! 🙂 Mostly, I think what is special is being remembered. Michael usually has a card at my teacup, waiting for me to emerge from slumber, and maybe a lovely dinner out. This year, we are considering moving Valentine’s Day to Tuesday, since Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday, which is far more somber in mood (though Jesus dying for us is the greatest love gift ever conceived); but still, that day will be solemn because of what it cost Him to show His love. Turning a sharp corner, I think hands down the greatest gift a husband can give a wife (and vice versa) is an actual letter telling why he loves her. I had begged Michael for such a letter for years. When I went to Iona in March of last year, I’d asked him, my family, and friends to write me letters of encouragement for a hugely challenging solo trip to Scotland. I read the letters on the plane or else in moments of quiet on the island. When I read Michael’s letter–the one for which I had begged him for so long, I wept. It is my most cherished treasure, and one I may read and re-read for years to come. Seeing one’s love expressed in the most tender words is unimaginably beautiful. I usually give Mike a Valentine’s Day card, a letter, or write a poem for him. As for my friends, Mother, and sister, I always mail them a Valentine’s card with a note, expressing my love.

    May I also say that Valentine’s Day would be a great time to give your lovely story collection.The Heart of Marriage: Stories that Celebrate the Adventure of Life Together, as a gift. I can’t recommend it enough!!
    Happy Valentine’s Day, dear Dawn!

    • Thank you, Lynn, for your words here! I can only imagine how special that letter is to you. My dad wrote me a letter when I was in high school (and obviously having a rough time). I know I would have never gotten rid of it, but I don’t know where it is. Some day I will find it! My mom passed away 14 years ago in March. Valentine’s was her last holiday and I still remember how she brought little gifts to each of my children. Yes, The Heart of Marriage would make a great gift!

      • Oh! I pray you will find it. I begged Daddy to write me such a letter for years, and he finally did!!! I wasn’t shy about asking. It was hard for him, b/c men of his generation were taught to behave unemotionally. But how overjoyed I am to have that… now that he is gone. I pray truly you will unearth that letter!

  8. I read the love languages book a long time ago. Truly, I still haven’t figured some people out. People have different definitions of things, I have discovered, my perfect may not be your perfect. I do like Valentine’s Day, roses, truffles, poetry or even pizza.

    • Rebecca, there’s so much truth in these words: “my perfect may not be your perfect.” I’m a quality time girl, so I like dinner and a movie. I’m not worried about gifts. But some women would be very upset without them. Your suggestions are wonderful (I wouldn’t mind the pizza and truffles NOW!). 🙂

  9. When my kids were little I was very much into making heart shaped food for the family. I’m not sure they really cared, but I loved doing it. We had heart shaped pancakes, meatloaf, and cakes. My heart shaped stuffed French toast was such a hit I started a tradition of making it in the teacher’s break room at school on the morning of Valentine’s as a treat for the faculty and staff. I also love pickled beets, and made lots of them for fellow beet fans with a “My Heart Beets for You” label. Just cut the beets with small canape cutters and pickle as usual. Not expensive, just requires some time and thought, which are the most valuable gift we can give.

  10. Dawn,

    The first few years of marriage I made a big deal of Valentine’s day. I’m not a big v-day fan. Life has gotten a little crazy. My in-laws are not doing well & have been in hospital. Wasn’t eve aware that V-day was coming so soon.
    Hallmark holidays are not for me. I just try to show love daily. It’s in the little things you do. Hubby helping with dishes & laundry. For me I would be fine with take out & a movie or just a walk. I’m a simple person with simple tastes. I want to do what Jesus would do & show my love daily. I’ve asked my hubby for a letter or a nice song of his choosing. Something that comes from the heart.

    Blessings 🙂

  11. It really is just another day. It took me many years to learn that. March will be my 30th anniversary. My husband is wonderful, kind, giving; he is also forgetful and preoccupied with work. I have had elaborate special days AND birthdays, etc that he has forgotten.
    My motto is “blessed are they who expect nothing, they shall not be disappointed “. And I am very thankful for all the little and big surprises thru out the year.

  12. Your point about communicating clear expectations is perfect. (Not just for Valentine’s day but for everything!) Years ago hubby and I took the pressure off each other and romance and declared it a family day. I make a family favorite dinner, my girls create dessert, and then we each tell something we really love about everyone else. It has to be specific, not “I love daddy because he is nice.” It is special to hear what we all say about one another. Then we watch a movie. I want the big night out or the grand gesture some other time, but this day we make about family.

  13. Yes, I agree with Bev (though I’ve only been married a year), great advice! and it also helps to have that attitude when you’re low on money.
    Thank-you Dawn. It was a great message that targeted more than one type of people. I really enjoyed the idea of single people being the “Valentine’s Hero” and loving on kids. I used to do that.

    Coming from Down Under,