How Roses Can Teach You What You Need to Know About Love…Getting and Keeping It

roses and a book



I’ve been told this post was the most important one I’ve ever written…it certainly was a critical life lesson for me.  I’m reposting it for you this Valentine’s Day…


FTD must have been the original St. Valentine, or the Saint was a hell of an entrepreneur.


Roses are synonymous with The Big Red Heart day. Thanks to the media, not a man alive escapes the message that your sweetheart will give you ANYTHING if you remember the roses. And, according to Valentine’s Day rules, the ones in buckets at the local grocery store don’t count.

Well, I certainly believed that my husband knew that, but in case he didn’t, as we strolled by the downtown florist I “oooed” and “ahhhed” over those “roses in the window”. Now, I was SURE he got the message!

Enter V Day in rural Maine. The year, 1983. It was the same year we had purchased our first desktop computer and Dell became a household word. I was like a kid playing in the mud about that computer. A burgeoning writer, the idea of never again using carbon paper and easy editing was almost orgasmic.

I woke up to the second day of a Nor’easter. The lake in front of our house was frozen solid, the roads plowed during the night were now piling up with snow once again. My first thought was that those florist delivery trucks would make it no matter what. So, the titillating wait began.

My husband dressed and shoveled his way to the car heading for the hospital where he worked. I guessed he was preoccupied with weather when he didn’t mention Valentine’s Day, so I let it go. The roses would mend everything.

Not only were there no florist delivery vans on the road that day, but it was hard for a snow plow to stay upright. As darkness came and it was time for my husband’s return from work, I put on a little black dress, opened a bottle of wine and put the kids to bed. On the counter was a lovely crystal vase just waiting for those roses.

The door opened and brushing off the snow, he said, “What’s for dinner?” What???  OK, he was going to surprise me. The roses were in the car and I began to worry that they would freeze, but poured us both a glass of wine. Since he hadn’t said those magic words, “Happy Valentine’s Day, darling.” I took the initiative (It was the era of feminism after all).

He then pulled a brown paper bag out of his briefcase and handed it to me with a smile and a toast. I couldn’t believe what I pulled out of that bag…a book! Are you kidding me, I thought. A book! It was an early version of Computers for Dummies.  That is second only to a blender for your anniversary. I was surprised, disappointed and really pissed and it all came rolling out of my mouth. “You got me a BOOK for Valentine’s Day?” I said. And then I saw his face lose all signs of life and joy. As he walked away, I felt so ashamed and yet, I was still filled with disappointment and confusion.  How could he not know I wanted roses for Valentine’s Day? Remember the walk by the florist window?  Any man with a brain should know his sweetheart wants roses.After what seemed like hours, he reappeared and we sat down to a cold dinner, half a candle and a Golden Retriever who had retreated under the table. “Donna, do you know what I went through to get you that book? I wanted you to enjoy the computer because I know how important writing is to you, so I drove in a blizzard all the way to Boston (almost 200 miles) to get this book for you. I thought you would appreciate it, but I can see you don’t.”

My heart sank. I knew that all the apologies in the world could not make up for the words I could never take back.

That day my life changed in ways that were profound and permanent. For the first time I knew that men want to make us happy. That they have their own ways of showing love. That they cannot read our minds. That our expectations of them are based not on their world, but on our preconceived notions of what love looks like.

That Valentine’s Day love came from Barnes and Noble, not from TeleFlora. It came with such beautiful  intention and thought. All I had to do was be open to what HE called love. It changed me forever and though I am still waiting for those roses, I know that one day a new love will bring them my way.

Please post this on your social media sites if you think it will bring a better Valentine’s Day to those you know and love! Thank you.


Happy Valentine’s Day

If you are tired of spending Valentine’s Day alone and ready to find someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life, let’s talk about how to get yon there!

Call 510-817-4242 or email me at donna@donnasbigredchair.love and I’ll send you my Love Readiness Quiz!

Donna Bailey, M.S

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair


Texting, Emailing and God-Forbid, Phone Calls…When, Where and Why???

communication devices



I am a communication junkie. OK, I admit it. I love connecting and when I connect, it makes my day and my life richer. It’s a smorgasbord of choice! I can email, text, add those little emojis, develop my own avatar, FaceTime, Skype, and oh yeah…phone someone. I think my readers are all old enough to remember phones, right?


So, what form of communication do you love most? And, when you’re in the sticky world of finding love and dating, how is that workin’ for you? We are all on a great big learning curve the size of St. Louis’ arch so, here are a few things I have learned about ways that foster respect and keep the lines open…


  1. Communication is a way we connect with another human being. We all need to feel our time is valued and thus, we are valued. Make time available for that in your life. Respect it and the person with whom you are communicating. Don’t multi task while you are talking, call right before you hit a dead zone (my ex-husband used to do that…hmmm, did you notice the “EX”?), and ask the person you are calling if it is a good time for them so that they can do the same.
  2. Find out the other person’s preferred means of communicating and tell them yours. Find a way to use both means to connect with each other so that both feel heard and happy.
  3. Do not communicate emotional issues via text or email, especially in a new relationship. No social cues, facial expressions or voice changes make it impossible to “read” the other person. And one small word interpreted by your reader can make or break what might have been a great relationship.
  4. Do not break up with someone via text or email, no matter how many “good reasons” you come up with. It’s a cop out.
  5. Learn about the gender differences and the need for communication and connection. They are vital in a good relationship. Women need connection…hear that, guys…it is a chemical, hormonal, primitive need that you must learn to honor if you want your sweetie to be happy. Men need less communication, not more, especially when the subject is emotionally charged. Read up on this one ladies if you ever hope to keep a good thing.

From the day you meet someone you think you might like to date again right on through a 50 year marriage, communication is the number one issue to learn and to honor. It is not for the faint of heart. We are not taught about it, so self-educate!


If you are tired of watching sunsets alone, and ready to find a perfectly imperfect person with whom you can share the next amazing chapter of your life, love is out there.

Want me to show you how to Find Love in 90 Days?

Give me a call or email me to set up a Complimentary Intake Session

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big Red Chair

510-817-4242   donna@donnasbigredchair.love


What Hummingbirds and Homing Pigeons Can Teach Us


This morning I walked down the boardwalk where I live, meandering towards the marina. There’s a tree that’s bare now right on my path. I can’t explain it. Every single time of day that I manage to get off my butt and head out into that beautiful walk, there’s a hummingbird sitting on the same branch in that same tree. He/she’s there morning, noon and until it’s too dark for me to really know. That tiny creature has been in that spot 90% of the time over the past four years!  If you are an ornithologist, PLEASE stop my obsessive “WHY IS HE STILL THERE?”. 


Every time I see him, I smile and sometimes stop to chat with the tiny thing. “Why are you always here?”, I ask it. “There’s a beautiful Bay, tons of flowering trees around and yet you just stay in the same tree, and on the same branch for God’s sake!”. He says zippo and I walk on still wondering why he doesn’t venture out.


Truth is, he pushes my buttons. I see myself in that hummer. I feel the same comfort he must feel by staying put. It’s low risk behavior and I happen to love low-risk, familiar, same-old-same-old in many areas of my life. Like right now. I have to find a new place to live and it’s just agonizing, not only because I live in the second most expensive area in the United States, but also I have to move from everything and everyone I have come to love here. Maybe that sweet little hummer feels that way about his tree.


I became aware lately of something I’m kinda embarrassed about but can’t seem to do one thing about it. Whenever I am sad, afraid or want to stay on my familiar “branch” in whatever form that takes, my mind will auto-revert without my intention or permission right back to a man that I loved for a chapter in my life. Most often, it’s the one that was most recently in my life, but not always. I remember how sweet he was, it was, we were. The times we had hiking, eating amazing food, drinking fabulous wine, travelling together…and other things I won’t elaborate about. In an instant, my mind goes from fear of change, the aloneness that is part of something like moving, to the memories of comfort, closeness and yes, being taken care of. It reminds me of a homing pigeon…only one way and that’s back home every time to those memories. It offers some comfort and certainty in the scariness of change. And often I’m tempted to pick up the phone and say, “I miss you.” What’s missing from my memory bank right then is the why. Why didn’t we stay together? What happened that made that relationship impossible? And, truth is when I’m afraid of the unknown, I seem not to recall the “worst of times” but simply “the best of times”.


Thank God before I hit that send button that can open me up to further hurt, I take a deep breath and DO recall the worst of times. It’s that truth that will enable me, and hopefully you to realize we will survive the change. And, if I can’t keep my trigger finger off that “Send” button, I’ll make sure the name of someone I can trust and who loves me is in that Recipient line. 

Are you ready to get off that branch, to find someone to share this amazing chapter of your life…watching sunsets, making great memories together?
Give me a call so we can get to know each other and enjoy a Complimentary Strategy Session that can get you flying toward love again!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big RED Chair

donna@donnasbigredchair.love    510-817-4242


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