A Definition…and a Contest!

IT’S A CONTEST!

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I am hosting a contest, starting today, from February 9 – February 14.  Five lucky winners will receive a FREE autographed copy of Moonlight and Oranges!

THE RULES: There are three ways to enter to win a copy of Moonlight and Oranges – don’t forget, you’re welcome to enter all three!

1. Share the Love on Twitter:  In honor of Valentine’s Day, share your definition of Love in 140 characters or less.  To enter, just follow me (@EliseStephens) on Twitter (if you aren’t already) and fill in the blank of the following Tweet:  “Love is _____ #MoonlightandOranges” (Don’t forget to include #MoonlightandOranges in the tweet to be eligible!) 

2. Spread the Love on Twitter :  Share my Valentine’s Day post “Love is…” on Twitter.  To enter, just follow me @EliseStephens on Twitter and  tweet: “Just entered to win a #FREE copy of #MoonlightandOranges! Follow @EliseStephens and retweet this link http://dld.bz/aP4Mq”   

3. My Blog:  Leave a comment on my “Love is…” post below

CONTEST ELIGIBILITY:  Applicants only accepted from Continental US.  You must be over 13 years old to enter.   Entries will be accepted through February 14, 2012.  Winners will be notified on February 15.  Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!
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LOVE IS…

You might recognize it under a different name.  Concern.  Sacrifice.  Thoughtfulness.  Availability…the list could go on forever.

Many of the things we value in our relationships (romantic or otherwise), stem from the broad-reaching seed of love.  We often just don’t realize it.

A rose is a rose and by any other name shall smell as sweet?

Love is more than just romantic love.  Of course, there are the weak-at-the-knees moments that we treasure: perfect kisses, sunsets enjoyed in the arms of someone who cherishes us, evenings spent drinking deep of the light sparkling from our lover’s eyes.

But I want to talk about the forms of love that aren’t the most obvious.  Love comes in so many shapes and sizes that we have to stop, look hard, think a little, and then squint in order to recognize some of the “disguises.”

Love is…My mother who gave more than a decade of life to her three children to homeschool them, love them, train them, and raise them with more attention and encouragement than they could have received at a public school.  She gave us a huge chunk of her life in order to enrich our own.

Love is…my girl friend from church who looks me right in the face and asks what’s wrong, then has no shame or embarrassment when I burst into tears and spill everything hiding under the surface of myself.

Love is…my writing buddy who brings out her earplugs for me (before I ask) every time the coffee shop gets noisy because she knows I’m horribly distracted by sounds.

Love is…my sister who shows me her art homework because she’s silently saying she values my feedback enough to show me something she’s poured herself into.

Love is…my husband hugging me when I’m exhausted and frustrated by a problem he doesn’t know how to fix, but he knows how to comfort me, so he does that.

Love is…my father traveling a dozen times year to Mexico to organize volunteer charity groups to help build homes for impoverished families, braving scheduling headaches and stresses in order to meaningfully connect one throng of people with another.

Love is…the way my brother is patient and kind to me in the moments when I lose my temper and speak hurtfully without thinking of the consequences.

Love is often also… the overbearing parent, the jealous boyfriend, the fashion-critical sister, the advice-mongering aunt, the pontificating grandpa…

I’m not saying it always come out the right way (or even a way that feel’s good at all!), but so often these things also come from the seed of love.  It’s just really hard to see it.

Love is also…the friend who comes over in the middle of the night, the guy who fixes your brakes for free, the anonymous person who sent you the money when you needed it most, the guy who opens the door for you, the friend who smiles when you’re being ridiculous let it pass without mocking you.

And it’s…the husband who lets you pick the drama film even though he’d rather watch the action, the person who refuses to gossip about you even though she knows it will let off steam, the friend who turns up the radio and sings with you to the radio station you both would never admit in public that you liked…

What’s your definition of love?

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

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