February 24, 2015

He Knows What He's Doing

I was sitting in adoration, reading the first chapter of Genesis and attempting to find some sort of meditation in it.  I'm not the best at meditating and meaningful reflections, and it's tough when it's a story you've heard over and over again.  The Creation of the World - so much has already been said on it, what else could I draw from that story?

I sat there, asking myself "what does this mean?"  The answer was silence, and then, "Well... it means God created the world, duh."  I sighed and decided to ask myself a different question.

"What can I learn from this?"

What could I learn from this? It's one of those stories that you can pretty much take at face value, aside from the theological debate as to whether it was actually a literal seven days or merely just figurative.  That was all fine and dandy, but it really had no pertinence to my life as to whether it was literal or figurative. The world was created, I'm here, that's good enough for me.

At this moment, I can't quite recall how the thought came into my mind, but somehow I made it from the time it took God to create the world, to the fact that it took God time to create the world.

He could have made it all in one day.  He had everything He was going to do planned out from all eternity; He didn't take His time creating the world because He was making it up as He went and had to keep stopping to figure out what He was going to create next. He could have said "Here's the world" and bam, there it would have been.

But He didn't do it like that... and I think I know a possible reason why.

He took His time creating the world, even when He knew exactly what He was going to do ahead of time, to teach us that He doesn't reveal His plans all at once.  Say for a moment God had created Adam first, and he was floating around somewhere watching God to create the planet that would be his home.  I can imagine their conversation something like this...

Adam: So, God... I noticed that we have night and day, and that's nice, but where am I going to live?
God: Just wait, you'll see.
Adam: Okay... so now there's that big globe thing, but it looks kind of - well - how am I going to live on that? It's, like, all water.
God: Does it look like I'm finished yet?
Adam: No....
God: Okay then.
Adam: Now there's land at least.
God: ....
Adam: This make a little more sense.  Some of those plants look good to eat, and I like those star things at night.  Are you done yet?
God: Be patient, there is still more.
Adam: Really?
God: Now I am finished.

At that point, Adam would stand back and look around in silence, realizing that God had thought of everything he could possibly need.  When God had started creation, Adam really had no clue how this was going to turn out to be anything, but seeing everything completed would make Adam realize that it was a good thing God was coming up with these plans, and not him.

I think the message of Genesis Chapter 1 is that we need to trust.  Trust that God has a plan, and He knows exactly what it is,  It's not going to make sense to us at the time, and we won't be able to see how any of this weird stuff is going to make sense in the end.  But that's okay, because when God knows what He is doing, and when we get to the seventh day, when it's all been revealed, we will be amazed at what He has done, and thankful that we have a God who loves us enough to plan such wonderful things.


As long as I have you here, I just wanted to give my great readers and update on the Voice!

I went, I auditioned, and I came home.  Even though I didn't get to move on, I am happy with how I sang and it was sooo much fun.  Thank you all so much for your lovely words of support!

February 21, 2015

There's This Show Called The Voice...

You may have heard of it.  And I might be auditioning for it.

Well, I am auditioning for it.  In fact, as you are reading this (as long as it is still Saturday) I am either waiting to audition, auditioning or done auditioning.

Before you get super excited and start programming your TV to record the show, let me clarify that this is the Open Call Auditions... and you have to make it through that to get a call back, and if you make it through the call back then you get to go to LA and be on the show itself.

I'm realistically not expecting to get past the open calls. Yeah, I think I have a pretty good voice, but I know that I'm no where near the level of some of the incredibly talented performers I've listened to on the show.  But I'm giving it a shot anyhow, because why not?

I've brushed off singing most of my life as something that I really enjoy doing, but something I'm not good enough at to ever do more with than sing in the church choir.  Sure I have this dream of  performing and maybe have a small concert or two someday, or a nice following on YouTube, but that's all it would ever be is a dream, because I'm not good enough for that.

Then in class one day, my teacher said something that struck a chord.  She said one thing that she thinks when she looks back at her life, is that she wishes she'd given herself a lot more credit.

And that made me think how I tend to downplay what I'm good at, and what I'm capable of.  I don't give myself much credit for anything.  You might get me to admit that I'm good at something, but I'll always follow it up with "but I'm not as good as that person".

So it made me think, "well, how do I know I'm not good enough to perform?  No one has ever told me that I'm a bad singer, or that maybe I should write poetry instead of singing." (Which I do write poetry, and I am pretty good at that.)  Who am I to say that I'm not a good enough singer? Who am I to decide before I've even tried that I'm not good enough to get on the Voice?

And that's why I'm going into Chicago today, to give it a shot.  I'm not expecting great things, but I'm leaving myself open to the hope that something crazy might happen. And if it doesn't, I'm okay with that too.  There is always the next time.

February 20, 2015

Let Me Be Loved: Quality Time

Today is the last day of the blog series! I hope you have enjoyed reading all the wonderful insights these lovely people have shared, and that it has helped you figure out your own love language and learn more about the rest! We are going last to Quality Time, a love language that has certainly become overlooked in this age of technology where everyone seems to be on their phones all the time and not giving their time to the people they are with. Andy, Rachel Rastelli and Jansina have joined me today to share their love language.

“Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can't make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back.” – Rick Warren

As a Quality Time person, what makes you feel loved?

Rachel Rattistelli: I feel loved when people spend time with me. It doesn’t have to be a time when we are both physically present. Letters, texts, emails and messages over facebook do the trick too, although not quite in the same way. It warms the cockles of my heart to know people are thinking of me and want to spend their irreplaceable time with me in some way.

Jansina: To me, every interaction counts as quality time. A text, a Facebook message, a request to hang out—I value all of it. Gifts, especially handmade or thoughtful ones, mean the giver thought of me, specifically, and took time out of their day to make me smile. Acts of service, words of affirmation, touch—those don’t happen without investing quality time. Through the lens of my love language, I can appreciate each one.

What are some challenges to feeling loved?

Rachel: Because Quality Time is my love language, I am very conscious of other people’s time. I find myself feeling surprised and/or guilty when they choose to spend their time with/on me. It is the only thing I want and I am not about to inconvenience other people with my needs. I see time as a precious resource and I will be the last person to tell you how you should spend yours. I will only hint at wanting you to spend it on me and sometimes, not even do that. For that reason, it is also very easy for me to feel forgotten or passed over. I have a hard time coming out and just telling people what I want because I don’t want to be a bother.

Jansina: People fade out of touch. Messages are read but not responded to. Invitations to spend time together aren’t followed through. People are busy, messages are easy to forget when you can’t reply right away, and good intentions don’t always end in results. None of it is a reflection of the person’s love for me. In my head, I understand this. But it can still hurt.

Andy: Quality time runs into the challenge of scheduling, which is an amusingly mundane problem for it to have. You can't really reliably use quality time as a love language if you rely on improvised hanging-out. Valuing quality time means that you have to plan ahead, block out time in your day to do things with people, and learn how to prioritize activities

What do you do to show love through Quality Time?

Rachel: I. Will. Do. Anything. For. You. Time to me is so slippery, so easily lost and wasted on meaningless pastimes. If I am taking the time to talk to you or offering to give you a ride/meet up with you somewhere or just hang out...you mean something to me. You mean time well spent. If I start texting you a lot or trying to hang out with you, congratulations. You are worth my time. And I love spending it on you.

Jansina: I regularly send notes to people I care about and pursue spending time with them. If seeing each other in person isn't feasible, I’ll spend time chatting, emailing, texting, or calling them. The gifts I give are often handmade and are always chosen specifically for each person. I’ll help with tasks I don’t enjoy (painting, cleaning, cooking) since it means seeing friends. Although I like my phone a little more than I probably should, when I’m with others I make a point to keep it out of sight. My time with them is more important than texts and emails I may be missing.

Andy: I use quality time as a more passive love language. Spending time with people, doing things that both interest us, means a lot to me. While it's true that it works best when I'm doing something mutually enjoyed with others, like gaming or watching a favorite movie, I'm also willing to spend time with someone while doing something I'm far less-invested in.

What advice do you have to give for loving someone who speaks Quality Time? 

Rachel: Ooo, this is where it gets tough. I am not a huge fan of that love language that’s all about being touched. My boyfriend is the only person I actually LIKE that from. (And it took me a few months to warm up to him!) Hugs or handshakes or what have you from anyone else are tolerated. Come too close and I will bite without barking first. My problem? Most people read ‘Quality Time’ as “Cuddle Time” and then I’m stuck trying to explain myself and fend off hugs at the same time. Take the time to text me. Take the time to like my status on Facebook or my picture on Instagram. Take the time to talk to me. Don’t act rushed or I will end the conversation convinced there is someone/something more important for you to be spending your time on. Since your time is more sacred to me than my own, I will be the last person to waste it for you. Make plans to do something with me. We don’t have to be doing anything for me to enjoy my time with you. We could be doing nothing. It’s not about what we are doing for me, it is who I am with. I love going places and doing things, but the great thing about me is that I don’t need to be entertained. You wanting to spend time with me is enough. I won’t ask for more.

Jansina: Let them know you’re thinking of them. Even just a quick note is enough. Even better: initiate specific times to hang out (and follow through). It’s not what you’re doing that matters but that you’re doing it together. If you’re busy packing, cleaning, or cooking, ask if they’d like to help. You might be surprised at their response, and even if they can’t (or, okay, just don’t want to), they’ll be thrilled you wanted them there.

We are all given only 24 hours each day. Choosing to spend some of it with another person is the greatest gift I can think of.
Read the whole series:
Let Me Be Loved: Introduction
Let Me Be Loved: Acts of Service
Let Me Be Loved: Words of Affirmation
Let Me Be Loved: Physical Touch
Let Me Be Loved: Gift Giving

February 19, 2015

Let Me Be Loved: Gift Giving

In case you were wondering… Gift Giving is my love language! Today I’m joined again by Allison DeWolf, who has Gift Giving as her secondary love language (yes, that’s a thing). Gift Givers can be one of the harder ones to pick out of a crowd, since we can’t feasibly give physical gifts every time we see you, but we love to shower gifts on our family and friends any time the opportunity presents itself. I think you’ll find that Christmas and birthdays are highly beloved by Gift Givers everywhere ;-) 

A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver. ~Thomas á Kempis

How does Gift Giving make you feel loved? 

There are so many ways that I feel loved through gifts. I feel loved every time someone gives me a little something – it doesn't have to be something they bought, just anything – that says they took the time to pick something out or make something for me, or they happened to see something and thought “Hey, I bet Amanda would really like this.” Any time I’ll be out for food or coffee with a friend and they say “Don’t worry about it, I’m paying for you”, that to me is a wonderful gift. Handmade things are always awesome, but really little thing. Handwritten letters, or e-mails, or even a random text message to say that someone was thinking about me, and took the time to give me that little something. For me personally, Gift Giving overlaps a lot with Quality Time – but where for Quality Time, the awesome thing is not so much what they do as that they are doing it together, for a Gift Giver, the awesome part about hanging out is that you thought of a place that you knew they would enjoy and took them there. I can usually look at any kind gesture or action as a gift - but actual, physical presents mean the most to me.

Allison: Gifts are my secondary language, I also really appreciate when someone gives me something “just because”, whether it’s an ice cream cone on the first day of school (a tradition from elementary school that I still keep in college), cute earrings from my roommate, or a care package from my family.

What are some of the struggles Gift Givers face in order to feel love?

It is very easy to fall into the trap of being ashamed of your love language, and worrying that other people will think you are materialistic. After I first figured out that my love language was Gift Giving, I felt guilty for a really long time because I thought telling people my love language would make it seem like I was asking for people to buy me gifts. Plus, it’s not like people can be giving you gifts all the time, so it is a little bit of a struggle to feel loved through other methods such as words of affirmation or quality time or physical touch. Those are all wonderful and nice, of course, but to a Gift Giver they don’t mean the same thing as a little something. A priest I talked to once about my struggle to feel loved helped me out a lot with this. He told me that if Gift Giving is how I feel loved, there is absolutely nothing wrong, or selfish, about it. He also advised me to try and look at every act and deed as a gift, not just the physical objects given to me. I've worked on that, and it does help!

Allison: I resisted my love language of gifts for a long time, because it made me feel greedy. I didn't want to seem like people had to buy my love. But I have come to realize that it’s so much more than the cost, but rather the thought and meaning behind the gift. A flower my niece picked for me in the yard is just as nice as a bouquet from the store, when they’re both given from the heart.

How does a Gift Giver show love?

I love to buy and make little gifts for my loved ones just as much as I love to receive gifts. From time to time you may receive something from me “just because”. Unfortunately, budgets are real, and I have to face the fact that I can’t buy things for everyone all the time, but if I can, I will, and if I can’t afford it then I will make sure you know that I are thinking of you on your birthday or Christmas or other special occasion with a card or letter or text or Facebook message.

What is the best way to love a Gift Giver?

I would say never, but even I forget to do this sometimes, and we’re none of us perfect, so I will merely strongly advise you, do NOT forget to give a Gift Giver a present for their birthday or Christmas, or any other special event (if you are very close with the person. If you aren't as close of friends – make sure you send them at least a card, or write on their Facebook Wall). Most people do grow out of gifts, in a way, as they get older and can just go and buy things whenever they want them, but trust me – Gift Givers never outgrow gifts. I keep a little list of things that I’m not going to buy myself so that my family and boyfriend have ideas for Christmas and birthdays. Handmade, or purchased items don’t make much of a difference – it’s all in the thought that you put into the gift. (and yes… it’s easy to tell when someone truly picked out something for me, or when they were just “Oh hey, I need something for Amanda.) If you want to make a gift giver feel really loved and special, random surprises when there is no special occasion are the best thing in the whole world. Days when someone surprises me with a cup of coffee or a little treat are the best days. 

Allison: The small things are noticed and appreciated. I don’t need big, expensive gifts, but even a little note in the mail can make a miserable day brighter.

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. ~Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur

Read the whole series:
Let Me Be Loved: Introduction
Let Me Be Loved: Acts of Service
Let Me Be Loved: Words of Affirmation
Let Me Be Loved: Physical Touch

February 17, 2015

Let Me Be Loved: Physical Touch

Physical Touch is perhaps the most common, and easiest of the love languages to understand. It’s been scientifically shown that human beings need physical touch for health and happiness, and this most likely why many people initially assume that Physical Touch must be their language. Of course, like Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service, it has its own set of challenges as well and three wonderful ladies and one great guy have offered a few thoughts on this language.

Every day you should reach out and touch someone.  People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.  ~Maya Angelou

How do you feel loved through Physical Touch?
Allison DeWolf:  Hugs are a big one for me. A touch on the back or comforting pat on the arm goes a long way, as well.

Victoria Rose: A simple pat on the back, quick hug (even side hugs), or brief touch on the arm/shoulder is enough for me to feel acknowledged and appreciated.

Elaine J Dalton: It’s easy to feel loved with a simple touch, a meaningful kiss, a well-timed hug. Sometimes just holding hands can make me feel loved. When my husband and I were courting, we would often take long walks with our arms around each other; we felt secure and loved when we did this. In church we would hold hands and trace lines with our thumbs. Whenever he is upset, I give him a hug and if he’s too busy for a hug, I’ll rub his shoulder. This use of touch to communicate love has continued with our baby daughter; I’ll rub her head to calm her down or coax her to sleep. I often find myself hold her hands when she’s sleeping or kissing and cuddling her spontaneously. I don’t know what her love language will be as she grows older, but she seems pretty content to communicate through touch right now.

Andy: People talk about physical touch a lot, and I'm guessing it's the best-known of love languages. To me, that makes a lot of sense--hugging, holding hands, cuddling, you name it, it's a very direct way to be present to the other. For me in particular, I like to express this language by dancing. Some people might be puzzled by that, other people will understand completely. For me, dancing is a way to do something with someone and to be physically present at the same time, and it's fun as well.

What do you see as some challenges to feeling loved this way?

Allison DeWolf: It can be difficult to let people know that physical touch is my love language without seeming desperate. As someone who naturally comes across as distant, people don’t assume that I like touch, which leads to not feeling loved. I’ve found it helpful to express this to those closest to me, and they’ve responded positively.

Victoria Rose: In my experience, most people do not have or understand the love language of physical touch. It can also be challenging because physical touch is not exactly acceptable in some places (like work). This can be very trying in any kind of relationship from acquaintanceship to romantic. In addition, while I have not yet been in a serious romantic relationship, I know that it will be a difficult challenge to not get too physically involved.

Elaine J Dalton: Surrounded by a loving husband and baby, I don’t feel too many struggles to feel loved anymore. But when I was growing up, it was a different story. My mother isn’t a very touchy person at all, though she’d make an effort in the form of a goodnight kiss and an occasional hug if we seemed like we needed it. Due to not knowing what my love language was growing up and being raised germaphobic/wary of getting too close to people, I found it hard to express my emotions toward relatives and friends, as well as feeling loved myself. I relied on the other love languages, but it wasn’t my primary one. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday because there was always a round of hugs between everybody when we arrived and when we left. My dad isn’t a very touchy person either, so the only times I remember getting hugs from him were when I was very upset or when my mom made him hug me. In our teens, my sister and I would give him goodnight kisses, which he seemed to really enjoy. Since I got married and moved out, my dad has gotten more comfortable with hugs and sometimes he’ll nonverbally ask for kisses, which is very cute.

Andy: Obviously, they both come with challenges and problems. Physical touch is a love language that, for many reasons, is difficult to negotiate. Not only do different cultures have differing ideas of what is appropriate in everyday situations, but different individuals within those cultures have diverging preferences and boundaries. Making sure you don't transgress those involves a lot of patience, attentiveness, and communication.

When you want to let your loved ones know how you feel, what do you do?

Allison DeWolf: I actually tend to show love however I know the person best receives it. If I don’t know that they prefer touch, I don’t use it.

Victoria Rose: I generally give hugs when greeting and saying goodbye to someone I know. This may sound disturbing, but I like long hugs that leave you with a happy sigh. Creepy I know….

Elaine J Dalton: One of the most common ways this language shows love is through a hug or a kiss. Some people will show love by putting their hand on your shoulder or arm, linking arms when walking or touching you for brief moments throughout the day. Massages are another wonderful way to demonstrate this language; I love massages partly because I have a bad back paired with a heavy baby, and partly because they make me feel so loved. It’s touching that my husband will take the time to rub all my sore spots. I do the same for him, and I’ll rub our baby’s little bumps or her back and feet to express my love for her.

What advice can you give for showing Physical Touch speakers love?

Allison DeWolf: Hugs hello. Hugs goodbye. And not creepy hugs, or too-long hugs, but meaningful hugs that say “I care”.

Victoria Rose: As previously stated, a simple pat on the back, holding of hands, and hugs lets me know that I am loved and appreciated. I also love massages and having my hair brushed (yeah, I know that one is odd, but it feel so good!).

Elaine J Dalton: The best way to love this language is to embrace it. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to be touched very often, you’ll probably have to endure a few extra hugs sometimes and check to make sure your loved ones actually feel loved. A hug or a kiss is so simple, yet so powerful to someone whose language is physical touch. A hug won’t kill you, remember. And if you’re like me, with physical touch as your language, and were raised to deny it, you’ll have an interesting experience learning how to communicate with it. That first tentative hug or kiss will steal your breath and leave you wanting more, like a desert thirsty for water. At the same time though, it’ll be uncertain ground. You’ll want to explore your new territory but the boundary lines will be unclear. Do you hug your co-workers now or just shake hands? What do you do when a stranger is upset and you want to comfort them? Everyone has their own limits; it’ll take a bit of a hit-and-miss strategy to figure out what yours are. I’m still figuring out mine!

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Allison DeWolf: Learning my own love language and those of my friends has been really helpful. For example, I was having a hard day, and my friend who really dislikes physical touch gave me a big hug. It meant so much more coming from her, because I knew that she was loving me as she knew I received it best. At the same time, I know that her love language is words of affirmation, so I make sure to thank her when she gives me a hug, or verbally express my appreciation for her.

Elaine J Dalton: One of the most powerful experiences I’ve had with physical touch was my pregnancy. Once the awful morning sickness wore off, I had this amazing adventure going on. There was a tiny precious little baby growing inside me! Those first few movements were breathtaking. My husband felt her move before I did {he cheated by putting his hand on my belly and concentrating while I just figured all that funny movement was gas or cramps}, and his reaction was incredible. His eyes lit up and he looked so happy. As the baby grew and my belly popped out, I would sit for hours stroking my belly and picturing the little acrobat inside. Even when the kicks became painful, I wasn’t in a hurry to deliver the baby. I wanted to savor this unique experience of having life inside me. It was amazing to carry her, empowering to deliver her and a little confusing about what to do with this tiny baby girl afterwards. For a hour or two after delivering the baby, I tentatively held her, wondering if I would hurt her if I held too tight or in the wrong position, yet not really wanting to put her down. I figured it out eventually. That pregnancy was an experience I’ll never forget and one I look forward to repeating with more babies over the years.

Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you.  ~Jacques Prévert
Want to read more?
Let Me Be Loved: Introduction
Let Me Be Loved: Acts of Service
Let Me Be Loved: Words of Affirmation

February 16, 2015

Let Me Be Loved: Words of Affirmation

Words of Affirmation is another difficult love language - it is at the same time one of the easiest to give and one of the hardest.  We speak so many words throughout the day, it is easy to overlook the fact that to some of us, words have an incredible power that can make or break our hearts.  To help understand this love language, Claire B. and Rachel Harrell graciously offered to share their thoughts on their love language, Words of Affirmation.

“I'm telling you this for one reason and one reason only: No matter how sure you are of someone's love, it's always nice to hear it.”― Mike Gayle, Turning Thirty

What are some of the ways that you personally feel loved?

Claire B:  When people praise my good qualities, when people notice that I make effort in my relationship with them, when people tell me they love me, when people acknowledge/return the words of affirmation that I give them.

Rachel H: When Alex [my boyfriend] writes me a letter, I lose it. I love handwritten letters. I love those subtweets that he makes. I love those mushy instagram posts, and facebook statuses when he proclaims to the rest of the world how lucky he is to have me. I love that. I love when he tells me that I am beautiful even when my hair is frizzy. I love it when he tells me about the time he first saw me at our friend’s graduation party because he describes it perfectly and helps me relive that night in my memory.

What are some challenges you face, and ways you struggle to feel loved?

Claire B: That not all of my loved ones understand how important communication is to me. That some people feel uncomfortable with being praised, or with sharing their genuine feelings with others and about others.

Rachel H: Sometimes not all men have a way with words. So when they do try praising you, you grit your teeth and smile because to you it just sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. Like that one nickname you absolutely cannot BEAR to hear. {for me it’s “baby girl”}

As a speaker of this love language, how do you show love through Words of Affirmation?

Claire B: For me, I love to send people random messages expressing my gratitude for them. It might be a novella of warm-fuzzies to a best friend, or a simple, “I am so grateful to have you in my life,” to a newfound companion. And don’t forget the random “I love you”s!

Rachel H: We love words. We will write you letters, songs, poems, blog posts, facebook messages, tweets, ANYTHING. We will most certainly

Do you have any advice on how to make a Words person feel loved?

Claire B: A one line exclamation of your appreciation is enough! It doesn’t have to be long and sappy (of course, those are great too). Sharing with a person that you notice how hard they try or how much work they put into something is so important. We all have people we love - be it friends, family, or a significant other - let’s appreciate them!

Rachel H: The obvious answer is to use your words...but there is so much more to it than that. You have to use the RIGHT words. You can’t just say anything to make us feel better. But you also don’t have to tell us what we want to hear. You just have to tell us that. Remember as well, you can’t just tell us something and then not follow through with it. You have to tell us we are gorgeous in the way we want to hear and then follow up with those cute gazes.

“Here is little habit that can make a big difference. Send sunbeams. Intentionally send a word of encouragement or appreciation every day to one person.” ― Steve Goodier

Want to read more?
Let Me Be Loved: Introduction
Let Me Be Loved: Acts of Service

February 15, 2015

Let Me Be Loved: Acts of Service

To begin this blog series, I have a guest post from my mom Laura, who frequently blogs at Homeschooling with Joy.  From my own personal observations, it seems as though Acts of Service is one of the less common love languages, and one of the easier ones to overlook.  The people who speak Acts of Service tend to be the ones who are the first to jump up and help, especially in organizations and groups that they care about... which can lead to them being taken for granted.  It's a beautiful language to speak, and I hope you enjoy reading what my mom has to share about it!

My love language is Acts of Service.   As a mom, I have a lot of responsibilities.  Anyone helping out in a tangible way is great on a practical level, as well as making me feel loved.  If someone does something for me without me having to ask, well...that speaks love louder than anything.
On the other hand, when people don't voluntarily do anything to help me out, especially when I'm tired or stressed or not feeling good, I get grumpy and, after awhile, makes me feel unloved (or at least taken advantage of).  When friends don't make an effort with the friendship and it appears to me as if I have to do all of the work, I really have to take a step back and tell myself that they aren't doing this because they don't love me but probably because they are just as tired, stressed or not feeling good so they didn't think to do it.  People who don't have this love language tend to misunderstand what it means.  They tend to think that the person with this love language likes to do things for others.  Wrong :)
As a mom, and the only one out of a family of nine with this love language, it sure is hard!  I'm already expected by everyone to do so much, but it makes it more difficult to remain content when people don't speak my language.  Believe it or not, it also has an impact on my relationship with God.  When people do things for me that I haven't asked them to do, I feel loved.  I think that's why I like the little (and big) surprises that God can give.  Those mean so much to me, but unfortunately, they tend to not come as often as I would like. It sometimes takes a conscious effort to remember that someone loves you (God included), even if they don't show it by acts of service.

If someone in your life has this love language and you want to “fill up their tank” then random acts of kindness are huge.  Do something, even if it is small, that will help that person out.  For example, walking past something on the floor that you know doesn't belong there and just stooping down to pick it up and put it where it needs to be.  Time taken:  about 5 seconds.  Payoff:  huge amount of gratitude from me!  If you don't know what to do, even just asking what you could do to help is a great start.
They say that people tend to show love in the same language they have, so when I want to make a statement of love to someone I try to do something nice for them; it might be a small thing or it might be a big thing.  I might put something away for them or do a chore for them or tidy things up a bit for them.  I don't know if they take much notice, but to me it says “I love you”.

February 14, 2015

Let Me Be Loved: Introduction

Love is at the center of human existence.  We were created out of love, and we were created to be loved and to love in return.  You would think that something  so central to our nature and desires would come easily... but somehow love is one of the aspects of life that we hurt over, cry about and struggle with the most.
“I want to be in a relationship where you telling me you love me is just a ceremonious validation of what you already show me.” Steve Maraboli

I discovered the Five Love Languages several years ago, I'm sure through a Facebook link or post or something of the sort.  I've always loved psychology, knowing why people do what they do, how they think, how they respond and react to certain things, and so this was right up my ally. If you've never encountered this before, The Five Love Languages is the title of a series of books written by Gary Chapman centered around the theory that there are five ways that people give, and receive, love.

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." David Viscott

It's fascinating, and I am a firm believer in it because it makes sense and, from my experience, it works.  No two people are exactly the same and just as there are different temperaments and personality types, of course there are going to be different ways that people best experience love. Each person speaks a certain "language", and while that doesn't mean that they don't feel love at all when it's given to them in a different language, it does mean that there are certain ways of expressing love that they connect with the most.  Once you learn the languages, you quickly start to recognize them in your loved ones - and once you begin to love them in their language, and they are able to love you in yours, amazing things can happen.

“What a grand thing, to be loved! What a grander thing still, to love!” Victor Hugo

I think everyone should figure out what their love language is and gather a basic enough knowledge of all five languages so they are able to start seeing them in the people around them, and speak the languages effectively.  That's why I've enlisted the aid of a few friends and family to help me write a blog series featuring each of the 5 Love Languages. I am very excited about it, and I hope the wonderful insights these ladies and gentlemen have shared will be as interesting and exciting to you, my lovely readers, as they were to me!

Read the whole series:
Let Me Be Loved: Introduction
Let Me Be Loved: Acts of Service
Let Me Be Loved: Words of Affirmation
Let Me Be Loved: Physical Touch
Let Me Be Loved: Gift Giving

February 2, 2015

Super Bowl, Snow and Lent

So I watched the last minute of the Super Bowl last night. That was exciting.  I was working at le hotel and we had a little Super Bowl party, but you can't see the TVs from the front desk (lame!) so I didn't really watch the game myself.  Which is alright. I only decided after the game that I'd been rooting for the Patriots because Patriots = New England = My Knight. Yay Patriots!

And that's that topic.

In more exciting news, we got dumped with 19 inches of snow yesterday and high winds, which means that when you have three miles of country roads to drive through in order to get home from work, and said roads are pretty much impassible until the snow stops because what is even the point of plowing when it all just blows back into place behind you, that it's a darn good thing to work at a hotel where you can just grab a room and crash at 11:30 at night when you get off work.

Life is just so tough sometimes.  I mean, a whole king size bed to myself?  WiFi that I can watch Netflix on without having o worry about bogging down the internet and having people grouse over how slow it is?  Oh the trials.

Moving on to Lent.

Can it be true that Ash Wednesday is already just a few weeks away? I somehow missed that yesterday was the first day of February, so now I'm trying to adjust my brain to it being February 2nd.  The time is going by just so fast.  

Lent is always a bit of a struggle for me.  Finding something to give up or do that I know I can stick with, without going overboard, while still finding something that's actually a challenge to give up.  

Luckily LifeTeen is to the rescue again 102 Things You Should Really Give Up For Lent.  It hasn't helped me decide on anything, but it did help me rule out a few things that I know are way out of my capabilities as a fallen human being.

#5 is not happening any time soon... definitely not #9. I must hide my true feelings behind all the emjois!  (haha, and you thought I was going to highlight #8 didn't you, oh sisters of mine reading this blog!)

And while we all know that #52 is pretty much impossible, #45 is taking it way too far.  I mean really? Who even comes up with stuff like this!  

So what are(n't) you giving up for Lent?  I still need ideas!