The Heart of our Artisan Chocolatier, Nancy Bontrager Yoder

It's February, officially the month of love.  And you know our motto, "Love people. Give chocolate."  Of course you know that at Stella Leona, we LOVE artisan chocolate. But we want you to know that we love PEOPLE more.  We do what we do because people and relationships are what matter.  Offering gourmet chocolate is simply one way to speak the language of love. 

Valentine's Day is known as the day to declare your love for that special someone in your life--you know, the one who makes you crazy and crazy happy all at the same time.  I want to encourage you to remember and honor that person in whatever way makes them feel most loved.  But this Valentine's Day, I also hope you will consider someone you know who might need to feel a different sort of love.  Who do you know that might be feeling lonely?  Maybe you can reach out to someone who has experienced a recent or even long ago loss of the love of their life, or someone whose marriage is hurting or has fallen apart, someone who may be celebrating a final Valentine’s Day, or someone who often goes unnoticed.  People were made to be in relationship. 

I know from personal experience that days meant to celebrate the beauty in relationships, can be especially difficult when we have to live through them in the company of our broken dreams instead of the ones we love. I also know from experience that those days are a little less painful when the burden is shared because someone acknowledged the hurt and reminded me of the promise the future holds.  This Valentine’s Day, I want to be that someone.  And I want to challenge you to reach out to one person this Valentine’s Day who could use a little love of the nontraditional sort.  Valentine’s Day could take on a greater meaning if it is an occasion to inspire each other to love well and more fully and in unexpected ways.  Sometimes it’s the most unexpected gestures that mean the most.  We can hurt or we can heal with our words and our actions.  We pour love into every chocolate we make.  I really do “love people” by “giving chocolate”.  You may have a different way of showing love and appreciation.  But whatever way is yours, give it away freely to those who need it most.  And if chocolate helps you share the love, well, you know where to find it. 

                                                                                                                     Happy Valentine’s Day!

                                                                                                                     Nancy