Category Archives: Love

When I say, “I Love You.”


“I love you” comes so easy for some…for others?  Not so much.  For me?  It can.

Last night, one of my amazing friends asked me, “What does it mean when you say that?” after I said I love you to him.  Be open to what I am saying.  This particular friendship/relationship is quite complicated, multifaceted and certainly not cookie cutter.  It has morphed and seen many different roles and grown exponentially.

This is where the conversation was interrupted.  I never got to answer.  Instead, I sat and began to contemplate the meaning behind my words.

Why do I say I love you?  Why did I just say it to him and what did it really mean?

I have said it to him for probably 22 years.  I thought back around when I would have first said it to him.  Well, my reasons for saying it last night were certainly different than my reasons for saying it 22 years ago.  Or even 2 years ago.  2 months ago. I mean, if you think about it, in any given moment, love can explode.  So, what did it mean in that moment?  What did it mean to me?  What did it mean to him?  What does it mean when I say it to anyone?

VIDEO: Brilliant version of a beautiful song…

Sometimes I have an instant connection with someone and feel an immediate sense of love towards them and my, “I love you” is a promise to care for them and love them in that very moment.  Sometimes, my, “I love you” is a deep and spiritual prayer with or for someone.  Sometimes, people just need to hear the words, “I love you” to renew their spirits.  Sometimes my, “I love you” is just a silent presence.

When I first said it to each of my children, it meant, “my heart is yours and yours is mine forever and ever, Amen.”  (Yes, I typed that just like Randy Travis would have!)  This kind of ILY requires commitment.  It is not just a feeling, it is a commitment.  It is the rare and beautiful love that our souls all long for.  It is the kind of love you have for a spouse, parent, child, best friend.  Trust is also intertwined through the complexities of this love.

When I am holding the hand of an individual (even a stranger) in tears, whose life has overwhelmed them into submission, and whose soul is yearning for the light of hope…my ILY is the love of God shining through me and offering a part of my soul in that moment.  A deep and immediate impact.  Like using a small flame to light a candle bringing a small glimmer of hope and love.  The world needs more of this kind of love!

Then I have an ILY that says, “I really care about you; I’ve connected with you at some point and I respect and love that moment.”  I say this to a lot of people in my life.  In fact, just this week, I began exchanging ILYs with a female coworker.  She and I had a heart to heart conversation about something very difficult she is facing.  She opened her heart and her life’s truths to me and I was present with and for her.  The result, “I love you” on Friday afternoon as we are leaving for the weekend.  A connection was made.  I have mad respect for people who are able to trust their truth and I am humbled that they would trust me enough to share it with me and let me into their hearts and truths.  There is always Gratitude lingering in this love.

Then there is me.  Love is who I am.  I can remember contemplating life at around age 11.  I was wondering why we were here…what we were supposed to do with life…what was our purpose for surviving?  Those types of questions.  At that young age, I drew my conclusions to the end and came up with: LOVE.  It was the only thing that made sense to me.  We are here for love, because of love, and to love.  That passion to love has only grown within me.  I even have it tattooed on my wrist.  Because it is who I am.  I truly believe Love was the gift God gave me to share.  So, you best believe that if I am telling you that “I” love you, it is really God saying that He loves you.  It is His light and love shining through me.

That being said, I should probably answer his question…

 

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Humbled…


humble-heartHumbled seems to be the word of the year.  In every way, humbled.

I must humble myself to write this now, after taking so long away.  And this entire year has been…well, horrifying and amazing.  No other way to describe it.

But I won’t make this a summary.  I am just humbled to God for his care, guidance and love.  I praise and thank him for his answered prayers; and for the pure love and joy lifting my soul…a sensation only God can provide.  In a year full of uncertainty, hardship, and mental chaos, God did provide.  He provided for me, and for Ashton.  He provided for us in so many ways…even when I had nothing to give back but my heart.

My soul is on fire for the Spirit.  I know I am not worthy, but I also know that God is working through me and for me and for those I love.  It is an amazing place to be…particularly when your world has been turned upside down over and over.  I am so grateful for all of the opportunities this year to come to God and surrender.  Surrender is humbling, but also can be mind blowing.  It is amazing the plans God has for us compared to our own attempts of imagining and dreaming.  Make no mistake: You must be open to the blessings and God’s guidance.  But when you are, it is powerful and life changing…no words to describe.

This is one of those moments of thankfulness.  A privileged moment of insight and clarity.

I have been having troubles with Ashton.  He has hit puberty and turned into a monster almost overnight.  He is making a hobby out of testing boundaries and joyfully expressing defiance.  I literally found myself on my knees two weeks ago.  On my knees to God, praying for some sort of help.  Some sort of guidance.  I am so ill equipped for dealing with a 12 year old son hitting puberty.  I don’t even know what is normal…I prayed fiercely for an answer.

Then in less than two weeks, my prayers are answered in multiple ways by multiple people from across the United States.  Now, I don’t mean that Ashton is fixed, and the problem is gone.  That is not what God is all about.  God is about helping us get through the difficult times in life.  He has sent some Angels to interfere and guide.  Some of the people have been part of my life forever.  Some are brand new popping into our lives like magic…out of thin air.  Some are helping and guiding me.  Some are helping and guiding Ashton.  It is like we are all of a sudden surrounded by God’s Angels.  I know there is no magic potion that will help Ashton, but I do know that God is helping.  If God is helping, I know Ashton is going to be okay, and so will I.  I know our Great Father will provide for us, both directly and indirectly through others.  God’s presence strengthens me in the present and helps me vision tomorrow with peace.

For this, I am completely humbled, amazed, and in awe.

A Counselor’s Prayer


This prayer (I believe was written by Lea Ann; found at http://leaannsgarden.blogspot.com/2011/01/counselors-prayer.html) is AMAZING!  As a person on the journey to becoming a Pastoral Counselor, with dreams of working with “aging out” foster care youth, I can see myself praying this daily. 

We are so fortunate that God IS.

Oh God, remind me why I’m doing this.

Why me? What do I know about anything?

They sit across from me, broken dolls whose dull eyes beg me to offer hope that they no longer believe exists. Hope is a four-letter word that belongs to someone else. They’ve given up because they are out of options. They can see nothing in the future but more pain.

And I’m IT? I’m all that stands between desperation and hope? Sometimes, life and death? What were you thinking, Lord?

Who am I to tell a young rape victim that God loves her?

Who am I to advise a wronged wife to stay with the man who tore her heart out?

Who am I to offer understanding in situations I have no ability to understand?

How can I make a woman believe in a loving Heavenly Father when all she knows is fatherly abuse?

How do I gather the scraps of a shattered life and put them together again?

How do I convince a woman consumed by rage that it is safe to leave that anger with You? She’s mad at You too.

How do I pretend to believe that this round of sobriety will be different for the lifetime drug addict? The last eight times didn’t work, but this one will? Because now he faces ME? I’m not sure I believe that myself.

I feel so inadequate. So unworthy. Who am I to be trusted with this great responsibility? Who am I to meddle deep inside the private recesses of a human heart, to hold it in my hands, twist it, turn it, hurt it so that it can finally struggle free from its prison.

It’s scary, Lord. Sometimes, right in the middle of a session, I don’t want to do this anymore. Why am I doing this?

But now I’m remembering something.

I’m doing this because You asked me to. You promised that you would do it through me if I would just stay out of the way.

And now that I think about it, You have every time.

You put a smile on the lips of that rape victim.

The young couple is holding hands again.

The ones who knew only hate are experiencing love for the first time. It’s hard for them. They don’t know what to do with it, but You’re showing them a little at a time.

And as I watch, I know it isn’t me at all. It never was.

You always seem to enjoy choosing as your tools the least likely people: the frightened Gideon, the obstinate Jonah, the renegade Moses. And look at that ragtag band of disciples Jesus chose. What an unlikely group to be entrusted with Your plan of salvation for the entire world! Frankly, I would have chosen some better candidates, if I’d been given the opportunity.

So I guess I’m in good company, huh? Is that what You’re telling me? My inadequacy fits the profile?

Is this what you meant by “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness”?

I’m glad to know that, because if I wasn’t sure You were doing this through me, I would quit. The burden is too great. The price of failure too high.

But You’re right. I have seen You work. I’ve sat there and watched Your Spirit open a closed heart, purify a perverted soul, cleanse a dirty conscience, heal a damaged spirit. And I just sit there. You’re doing all the work.

If You called me, You will enable me. I’m just a warm body for Your Spirit to flow through. Healing is not my job, it’s Yours.

I panic when I forget that. Help me never to forget again.

Making Myself Pray


It is not that I won’t…or that I don’t want to.  But my brain is always in so many other places.  The only successful way I have been able to pray is in sporatic little spurt bursts throughout my day, literally as the moment hits.

IMG_20130605_210510When someone asks me to pray for them, or when they are stuggling and I offer prayer, I have made it a habit to stop and pray right then for them.  (Because I used to forget altogether!)  And there is nothing worse then saying that you will pray for someone, and then not taking a moment to connect your heart with theirs and offer the energy and love only God can provide.

I have been struggling to try and strengthen my prayer life.  I have always admired people who could sit in silence and contemplation.  I am simply not that person…but I want a piece of that inaction!

I think I have found a solution!

My son gave me a journal with our family’s favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11 on it.  I already have a journal and wanted to find a unique and special way to use this one.  Then one day, God whispered an idea…use it as a prayer book.  Instead of just making a list of people or causes to pray for, write out my prayers.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you…plans to give you hope and a future.” 
~Jeremiah 29:11

Each night, I sit and take a few deep contemplative breaths to calm my body and soul.  And I begin praying.  I write my prayers in the journal and am very specific.  I call by name my brothers and sisters and ask God to walk with them, heal them, or soften their hearts…whatever His will to be done.  The simple act of writing keeps my focus on His grace.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
~James 5:16

My youngest son made me a bookmark for Mother’s Day.  I have decided to use this special artistic creation to keep track of what day I am on in my prayer journal.  Each night when I open the journal, I pray for my oldest son.  When I remove the bookmark, I pray for my youngest son.  What blessings they both are in my life.

TIMG_20130605_210519he bookmark says:

My Mom is better than your Mom because she lets me have so much fun my head almost explodes.  My Mom is so nice when we go to Shoppers she lets me buy all the cookies they have.  She’s so cool she can bust out a rap anywhere anytime.  My Mom can produce a TV show faster than you can say onomatopoeia. My Mom’s so nice she bakes cakes every day for charity.  When my Mom walks outside the sun starts to shine and the birds start to chirp.  My Mom’s so smart she knows everything in the world.

Do you have an empty journal book sitting at home?  An old spiral notebook?  Make it a habit to spend time each day with God…I am sure there are people in your life who need your prayers.  ❤

Love is never free


Oh no, no, no.  Love is never free.  There is a premium.  But who controls the cost?

I was just sitting around on facebook and was not expecting the attack.  And when I say attack, I don’t mean one of warfare.  I mean one of love and affection.

My darling sweet son, one of the loves of my life, decided to rub my back.  “For no reason.”

Who am I to pass up a “free” backrub?  (Especially since I seem to have pulled a muscle in my shoulder from carrying around school books…unfortunately I am not joking).

So, he rubbed and he rubbed, and then he karate chopped and scratched, and all the little things that our family does to one anothers’ backs.  Then, I became enlightened…so far the backrub has more than 30 seconds…that means he wants something.  And I think, in some ways, he suspects that I know this and he is actually waiting for me to ask what he wants.  But I stay quiet.  Heck, he IS rubbing my back.

This went on for nearly 15 minutes before he was able to finally ask.  And guess what?  The answer was STILL NO!  HA…Mama wins again.  Kids think they are so smart. 🙂

The Study of Happiness


The Happy Movie is awesome!

I just watched the most eye-opening documentary – “Happy” – on the study of happiness (aka positive psychology for those who care). There were some amazingly simple and fundamental points made within the nearly two hours of information. Sounds boring, but really, it was awesome.  Just understanding that happiness is something that exists within each of us and that bonds us, is truly compelling.

It kind of reminds me of the simplicity of togetherness that we all seek.  Good movie, check it out!

I know the full movie is available on netflix, and there is a clip of it available below (and no, I am not getting paid to promote it or anything…it just added a new perspective through my journey!)

Film – The Happy Movie | The Happy Movie.

Unreachable


Wow.  I survived.  By the sweet grace of God, I survived Thursday night.  I cannot even begin to explain.

I know that I woke up on Friday morning still grumpy, bags under my eyes, hating life in general.  I felt as if I had survived an exorcism.  I had just faced my life’s issues…my demons, if you will.  All of the parts of me that hide away, as well as how my decisions do effect and have effected my family, everyone around me, and myself.  How I truly feel like I had let everyone down.  Then couple that with a family counseling class that has forced me to look at my family on paper and notice patterns and blah blah blah.

Point is…I came to direct terms with the very real fact: I am broken.  We all are.  We are all victims of the behaviors of others, and we all take turns victimizing one another, whether we know it or not.  It is human nature.  It is inevitable.

God had given me all of these miraculous blessings in my life and I had hurt them all and was not as grateful as I could have been.  I took a lot of true blessings for granted.  I felt such shame and unworthiness.

Then, this song played…

The words spoke everything I was thinking and feeling.  The overwhelming sense of peace began to bring reassurance and comfort, love and protection.  All of my human fears vanished and once again I felt the truest of truth, I felt God within my soul.  I knew we would be okay if I just stayed focused on His guidance.  When I am weak, He will give me strength.

Not only did the blessings continue to pour down on us, but the awareness of God’s great and abundant love became ever so clear again.  I had been missing that sense of fullness and faith.

Yes, Uncle T., I heard your message, Let go and Let God.  It is easier said than done, AND it is necessary.  When you turn your life over to God and allow Him to work through you, He will provide for you.

It is simply amazing.

It ain’t easy being green


Sometimes, it really isn’t easy being green.  I love this song and it shaped part of my youth.  It is all about acceptance and love and beauty.  Truly, that is central in our existence.

Green can be a strange color.  It’s associations range from good to bad; from a loveable Muppet that accepts differences; earthliness and healthiness to greediness,  or affinity to money.  One of My Angels reminds me of green (although they’d be shocked to know I didn’t think of them as blue).  And they are struggling.  Spiritually, financially, and just with life itself: within “themself” with demons that “they” are afraid to face.  From my perspective, I see somebody who is beautiful inside and out, who is struggling with their own identify in some ways; someone who is trying to become something more in the future…to be happy and experience love.  I think their greenness is beautiful.

What are some of your own personal struggles?  Sometimes, when you are in the midst of strife, it is very hard to see the big picture.  But somebody else might also be watching your struggles and learn from them.  Their perspective might be totally different from yours.  This is one of the ways that God loves us, nurtures us, and works through us to offer love and support for others.

My Prayer for YOU Today


Let our inner beauty shine through.

This morning, the spirit moved me to pray with someone (One of My Angels).  I was very nervous to do so, because I always seem to be so nervous at public or personal speaking.  Writing is definitely an easier medium to use.  I wanted to pray with her in person (or rather, via phone, because she is in transit), but I was too afraid to call her and ask to say a quick prayer with her.

So, I closed my eyes and prayed, typing out the words as I felt them.  My intent was to just send a quick email.  Problem solved, mission accomplished, and I didn’t have to leave my own personal comfort zone.

However…as I finished the prayer, and went to click send, the very person about to receive my prayer email, called me!  Evidently, God had other plans for me and wanted me to face that inner challenge…to face the real reason of why I was afraid to pray it with her in person.  Together, we prayed over the phone.  I hope my nervous words carried their heartfelt intent through the lines of communication.  🙂

In that spirit, I prayed the prayer again with YOU in mind.  All of you who are reading my blog, or are supporting my life decisions, molding my future and nurturing my soul.  Thank you for being who you are in my life.  I am praying that God send Angels to each of you for guidance and love and encouragement and hope.  I would like to share my prayer (i.e. Spiritual wishes from a Baptist Monk)  with YOU also…

Dear Heavenly Father,
May Your light shine from within deep in our souls;
from the place You reside within our earthly bodies.  
May it spring forth hope along our journeys and struggles
and mold our human tendencies and capabilities;
May it be seen by others so that we may be an example
of Your beautiful grace and unconditional love;
and share the message of being good help to all in need
just as did Jesus.  AMEN.

The Harmonious Monks


This morning is a very musical morning for my family.  As I sit here typing, James is in the kitchen cooking breakfast whistling and singing O Come All Ye Faithful and Ashton is in his room practicing his rendition of Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain on Edelle’s karaoke machine.  There is peace in the household this morning, and togetherness was the catalyst.

It is all of us, who have had moments of togetherness this morning, in harmony.  It actually all began at about 3 am this morning.  James and I were awake and sitting together in the dining room, working on a 720 piece mailing for my workplace.  We were halted in our progress because we ran out of one of the papers.  By then, we had sucked down enough caffeine that there was no immediate sleep in sight.

Ashton had fallen asleep on the living room floor much earlier.  Around this time, he woke up to go to the bathroom, and realized we were still awake.  Immediately to a 9 year old, that means you are royally missing out on something.  He perked up and wanted to participate, even though he was still pretending to be tired.

A thought had come into mind a bit earlier, where the three of us would each play two board games simultaneously, in the form of a triangle.  Each of us have very low levels of focus and patience.  Waiting for two other people to take turns can sometimes be torture.  Especially when you already have your strategies and are smart enough to adapt and thrive once it is your turn.  In other words, we are all to smart and impatient to wait.  So, I played Ashton in Word Yahtzee, Ashton played James in regular Yahtzee and James played me in Rummy 500.

Rarely did any of us have to wait, nor were we rushed for time.  Each game could go as slow or fast as we needed it to go.  If you got a break, and actually had to wait for a turn, you got to drink your drink or eat a snack.  If one of the games ended, you would just start a new one of the same type with the same person, though I suppose you could play something new altogether.

This morning, everyone is singing and has music in their hearts.  There has been no yelling, no fussing.  Everyone has been treating one another with respect…can I get this for you?  Here, I thought you would like this.  I am sorry, I didn’t mean it that way.  Very harmonious.

Indeed, today, with God’s grace and gift of togetherness, our family can truly be called “Harmonious Monks.

I will post some pics later.