Hi! I’m J.M. Maurer, one of the newest members of Authors of Main Street. You may have heard about me through my writing, or our paths have crossed during some previous moment in time, or you might not know me at all. If so, we can use this time to become new friends (yay)! Whatever the case, I’m super excited to be here.
I love February. For me, it’s not just about that one day in the middle of the month. No, for me, it’s all about the chocolate. Sweet. Semi-sweet. Dark. White. In my coffee. On my finger. Spread across my morning toast. And, by the way, have you ever put chocolate in your pot roast?
It is true that cocoa and chocolate have neuroprotective effects on our body. Did I tell you I’m a registered nurse? Well, fair warning to you, my future posts might get rather interesting. But back to chocolate and that wonderful morsel you just slid past your lips.
That yummy bite contains numerous substances, my favorite being the antioxidant molecules (flavonoids) that are so beneficial to our brain. In fact, our brain loves an influx of these suckers. They’ve been known for elevating mood, preserving cognitive function, improving blood flow, and decreasing the risk of stroke. There is also research that suggests the substances in chocolate play a key role in memory.
There’s an added bonus of cardiovascular health as these flavonoids also help prevent clogged arteries and raise the levels of good cholesterol. Chocolate is also full of magnesium, which helps keep our bones strong, our nerves transmitting the appropriate signals, and our energy centers happy.
Chocolate certainly keeps me happy.
So what’s an appropriate serving size? 1.5 ounces will do your body good. Any more than that and you might want to hit the gym.
***One important side note about flavonoids…they act a bit like aspirin. So if you are already taking prescription blood thinners, be cautious with your chocolate intake and follow your doctor’s orders when it comes to consuming it. Though, I doubt a small bite during what’s been referred to as “Sweet & Small, The Greatest Month of All” will harm you.
Here’s an excerpt from one of my books while you eat your bite. This is from Seeking Redemption (Book 2 in the Emerging From Darkness Trilogy). Here, Matthew has the perfect evening planned. He spends the day sending Jess riddles. Each riddle leads her to discovering the next. The evening is nearly ruined by…spoilers…but she eventually figures out where she’s supposed to meet him. They’re on a private rooftop, sitting at a table set for two.
… After returning my attention to the intricately folded napkin on my plate, I stared at the masterpiece and wondered how long it took him to fold it to perfection. Forethought and time had obviously been given to it, folding it into the impressive and complex pattern that sat before me. I didn’t want to dismantle it; it was too beautiful.
But Matthew leaned forward, removed the pink flower from the center, and placed it in my hair, tucking it gently behind my ear. “Unwrap it,” he said, brushing his fingers along my jaw.
I looked at him for a moment, the upward curl of his lips and his eyes glistening under the lights of the cabana charming me. Caught within his smile, I had to force myself to return to the napkin that was folded like a rose on my plate, and coax my trembling fingers to move.
As I reached for a section to pull, Matthew sat patiently at my side, his smile so freaking beautiful. He nodded for me to continue. I pulled the corner sections apart and gasped, the hidden gift now clearly in view, sparkling in contrast against the black cloth.
Unable to move, I stared at it as Matthew stood up and reached over me, lifting the diamond pendant from its resting spot and displaying it for a moment in front of me.
“I love you,” he purred, then secured the white gold clasp around my neck and kissed the top of my head.
Surprised and cognizant of his love, I drew my hand to clasp the pendant, stood up, and pulled him into my arms.
“I love you too,” I whispered, clawing at his back and pressing my cheek against his chest. “Thank you.”
“I’ve said it before, Jess. This is me, showing you how much love your heart can hold, cherishing you like you’ve never been cherished, loving you like you never even knew you could be loved. Forever.” He pulled away, lifted my chin, and kissed me. “Forever,” he repeated, his lips brushing against mine.
We kissed until he broke contact. “Dance with me.”
It was a command, not a request, and I giggled as he stood and took me in his arms, holding me firmly as he led with purpose and style.
I’d been mostly tuning out the soft lyrics in the background, listening to Matthew instead, but as his tight embrace rocked me under the stars with the cool breeze blowing through my hair, I heard it, Savage Garden’s “Truly, Madly, Deeply”—the lyrics enchanting us during our first dance.
Following along with his subtle footwork and mentally absorbing the words, I wiped away a few stray tears as they rolled down my cheek, feeling emotional in the moment and deeply touched by the song. It was our beautiful moment, during a day that had been not so appealing at times but was absolutely perfect now.
“Forever.” The word traveled past my lips, becoming etched on my heart and stored with great meaning in my mind.