Monday, September 30, 2013

The Shelter of Each Other, Rebuilding Our Families

I've decided to take the TV out of my house, turn the phone off after I know my children are home safe from school and take away my children's devices. I started reading this book "The Shelter of Each Other, Rebuilding Our Families," by Mary Pipher Ph.D. Immediately it felt absolutely imperative to connect with my children and introduce them to the larger community of earth without the aid of internet, TV or video games. These things are a distraction from what is really going on in the world around them. 
We bury ourselves in our phones when we're out with our friends, retreat to the bedroom to surf the internet, while our children play video games and eat dinner separate rooms or in front of the television. 
Nothing terrifies me more than a society that doesn't feel for one another. Empathy has dissipated because of mass desensitization. What's okay is certainly not okay and what's not okay, certainly should be. What have we become? We are lost, transfixed on ever changing colors of square shaped machines that promise us things that can never be delivered by a thing that doesn't breathe. These things are so unimportant, so detrimental actually and I watch people worship them like Gods. Friends eating lunch together, barely having a conversation because they're busy texting someone who isn't there with them. People driving, putting other lives, potentially my family's or your family's lives in danger so that they can look at their phones. People who don't even know their neighbor's name, lost in a conversation with someone they aren't even sure is real, never touched them, that lives thousands of miles away, and calling them a friend. Children killing people in a virtually reality that they are too young to understand isn't real. Husbands and wives who sit right next to each other and stare at a box that is perpetually trying to sell them something. People not talking, not even looking at each other, ordering coffee while surfing the internet on their iPhone, without even the courtesy to look at the person who made it for them. 
This isn't okay, and it's anything but funny. It's disgusting and dangerous in ways we haven't even begun to see. Look around you, right now, is anyone looking back? How many people do you see on their phones, or with headphones on, or staring at a screen of some kind? How many people do you see making eye contact, smiling at each other, engaging with one one another?
Do I believe that phones/TV/computers/etc are bad? No, I don't if they are used appropriately. However, I don't know one single person that uses these things in a way that isn't detrimental to themselves or their family. People aren't connected. Something essential has been lost. It's an old-fashionedness that has been destroyed. We don't know our neighbors, and that's sad enough, but we don't even know our own friends, our mates or our children. It's interesting, because it's what we all want and yet it's what we run from. The connection, the "knowing" of one another. 
What would happen if we had no devices to distract us from the people who we love? What if there was no internet to suck you in on endless searches for meaningless crap? 
It's a lot to ask and I understand a very big sacrifice for a lot of people. It's possible to start small. What if you made the decision right now to turn your phone off when your children were safely home with you? What if you ate at the dinner table with your family with no TV or anything else allowed to be on? What if you took the TV out of the bedroom and that was only a place for sleep, cuddling, sex and getting dressed? What if date night was a time that you turned everything off? 
I wonder what would happen, how much life would change. I know one thing for sure, I refuse to be a part of this technological madness anymore. I will allow myself to blog/vlog for one hour a day, to Skype with my friend who will be moving to Arizona twice a week and to have the phone on between the hours of 8:15 and 3:30. Otherwise, all devices are off. That is my vow, for one year. If at the end of a year I feel that I don't want to do it anymore, I'll give myself the freedom to change my mind. 
I hope for everyone that is reading this that they find a healthy balance. I hope that they can connect with those around them and know what is important. Know that these machines don't care about you, and they never will. The people that you watch on TV, no matter how much you "like them" will not be there for you. If your children are young, they don't know the difference between a video game and reality. They are damaged by violence. Know that you are damaged by the images and news of violence that you see and hear. The world in whatever colorful electronic box you're entranced by is not real. Wake up and notice the real. 
I choose, from this moment forward to take this step in being the change I want to see in the world.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge # 13: Becoming Whole

This is a post that volumes of books could be written about. Becoming whole I believe is the true goal of every other goal that we have in life.
What does it mean to be whole? It means not feeling as if you need anything outside of yourself to complete you. You are happy with who you are and fulfilled by your life. You don't need another person, a relationship, a title, label or anything else to make you feel better about yourself.
The problem when someone who feels incomplete enters into a relationship is that they expect the other to fill needs. They aren't in a relationship for the pleasure of it or to learn to be loving and give love as a person who feels whole is.
Of course, it's much more pleasant to be in a relationship with someone who wants to give love and be loving and who believes relationships should be pleasurable than it is to be with someone who wants to get love from you and expects you to behave certain ways to make them feel good.
There's a lot more to being whole then being a good partner. Actually, when you are complete and whole, you don't feel the need for a relationship. You may want a relationship because you feel that it could add some joy and love to your life, but you feel great about yourself and about your life with or without one.
Wholeness and a loving relationship with yourself is absolutely prerequisite for a healthy, loving, intimate relationship. It's impossible to have this kind of relationship with anyone, no matter how great they are, if you are looking for them to complete you or give something to you that you think you don't have. In other words, relationships don't work in a positive way if you are codependent. I've heard many definitions and explanations of what codependency is, but I feel that codependency can be summed up briefly: 1. Expecting that another will give to you that which you believe you don't have and feeling upset when they don't 2. Blaming another for their bad feelings or undesirable condition 3. Not feeling good enough as you are. There are a lot of other traits that codependent people possess, but I'd like to talk about these as I believe these are fundamental.
When someone who is codependent is in a relationship they feel that the other person is there to meet their needs. They believe that their partner should make them happy and be a certain way to please them. They have rules for the labels that they've assigned to this person that they are in a relationship, they expect them to live up to them and they become upset and reactionary when that person doesn't.
A codependent person blames others for how they feel and for whatever is going on in their lives. This is true for the negative as well as the positive. A codependent will say that a person that they are in a relationship with "saved them" or caused these wonderful things to happen in their life. It's not an awful thing to feel good about someone, but when you believe that someone has rescued you, that you would be diminished in some way if they weren't in your life or that they bring into your life something that you couldn't bring into your own life, this is giving your power away. This is expression of incompleteness.
Very often, the way that you can first tell if someone is codependent is if they blame others for the way that they feel or the conditions they don't like in their life. This is the same as saying: "You have power over me to control the way I feel. You can make me feel bad. I am a victim."
Codependency causes people to feel awful about themselves because they are dependent on others for their self esteem. They place so much value on what others think and feel because it's so important that others like them. They're needy and always reaching out for another to validate them, give them guidance or make them feel better. No one can meet these needs and when they fail, as they inevitably will, the codependent person is crushed. Her very identity is shaken when another disapproves, rejects or ignores her.
I would say that most people do have some issues with codependency at different points in their life. However, I also believe that anyone can be whole, complete and capable of having healthy, loving, intimate interdependent relationships.
Intimacy is impossible in a relationship where one or both of the partners feel incomplete. The person who believes that they are incomplete can't be themselves because they are always trying to be what the other person wants them to be. Authenticity is an important part of becoming whole. Do you speak your truth or do you say what you think the other wants to hear? Do you say things that are on your mind in the present or to try and get something from your mate, or to get them to behave in a certain way?
A whole person takes full responsibility for their moods, their thoughts, their relationships and their lives. They know that their partner is capable of doing the same and doesn't feel responsible for any "issues" that their partner has. They allow their partner to be themselves and do as they do, appreciating them as they are. They understand that what others do is beyond their ability to control and they have a full and happy life no matter what others are doing. They have an internal drummer that they listen for and honor, and they march to that beat regardless of what is going on around them.
A whole person knows that they are the only one who can know exactly what it is that they want and takes action to change their conditions. They know that what they are feeling is a choice that they made, and they aren't afraid to feel whatever it is that they are feeling. If there are conditions that are not changeable, they do what they can do to feel better about it.
Possibly the worst thing about being codependent is the feeling of not being good enough as you are. The healthy person that feels complete knows that while they should never stop growing, they are good enough as they are to be worthy of a loving relationship. There is nothing that they need to do, no course they have to take to be better, no counseling to fix who they are. They know that there is nothing that they need to fix about themselves and they are capable, lovable, desirable beings.

You challenge for today is to one small part of what could become a lifelong journey of becoming whole. Choose one thing to do to become whole. Research something small that you can do today (and everyday if you'd like to become more and more whole) or choose something from the list below:
1. Take an inventory of your life. Do you have things in your life that make you feel good when you do them on your own (without your partner or friends)? If the answer is no, ask yourself what it is that you would like to do that you would enjoy. Do it.
2. Spend some time alone nurturing yourself in some way. Take a bath, read, meditate etc.
3. Stop asking for opinions from others or guidance from any outside source. Stop going to psychics, friends, your mom or anyone else for any advice. Instead, inquire within. 
4. Speak your truth, even if no one else agrees. Do so non-defensively and with love, but do stand by your own truth. 
5. Feel your feelings as they come up. Don't "squish them down", deny them, attempt to escape them or distract yourself. Above all DON'T pretend that you feel something other than what you're feeling. Be your best friend and stand by yourself.   

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge #12: Feeling Competent and Capable

It may be overlooked and underestimated, but feeling competent and capable is actually an emotional need for humans. We all need to feel that we are able to take care of ourselves and the ones we love and manage our life well. When we feel like we're failing, this can cause feelings depression of and helplessness.
To help another feel as if they are competent and capable boosts their self esteem and this is important for all relationships. The benefits of boosting your partner's self esteem are enormous. When there are two whole, happy people in a relationship, there is a whole, happy relationship.
The very first thing that you can do to help another feel competent is actually something that you can stop doing. Coaching, giving advice, setting an "example" or making suggestions, no matter how innocent or helpful you think you are being, sends the message: you don't know what you're doing and I know how to do this better than you. This is not a feel good message for anyone to hear or feel.

Your challenge today is to make your mate feel absolutely competent and capable. Build him up. How can you make another person feel competent? By allowing them to handle things without your input, except to maybe say that it looks nice, smells good etc. By letting them do things their own way without getting involved at all. By encouraging them to do something that you know that they can do.
To get even more specific, in all that he does today, let him do it his own way. Let the only words that come out of your mouth be either "Good job!" "That's wonderful (beautiful/helpful/amazing/etc)" and/or "Thank you". If you catch yourself trying to "encourage" him by telling him what you think he should do, offering advice, suggestions or to do something yourself instead of trusting him to do it, simply stop yourself.
Do this with your children as much as possible as well. It will build up their self esteem and their confidence and help them to learn to do things on their own.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge #11: Affection

Affection is defined as a gently feeling of fondness, liking, warmth, devotion, tenderness, caring, friendship. To be affectionate is to readily show these feelings. Why is it important to be affectionate? Some people would say that they are not that affectionate. I feel that there are several reasons they feel this way. First they are probably assuming that to be affectionate means to be physically affectionate, cuddly and touchy. Some people don't need to be touched that much and don't express love primarily through touch. They should be aware of how the other person feels loved, and if they like to be touched then affectionate touching is a way to give love to them.
Another reason I feel that people say that they aren't affectionate is even simpler: their heart is hardened. If you are hardened in this way, or if your partner is hardened, it's time now to soften yourself or to look beyond the hardened parts of your partner.
I'd like you to, whether you feel inspired to or not, show affection for your mate today. The act of giving love doesn't have to wait for inspiration. You can be affectionate right now, no matter what your relationship has been like recently.

Your challenge today is to do something to show your affection for him that will feel good for him. To get some ideas to give affection in a way that will feel good for him, there are several things that you can do. Remember a time that you demonstrated affection for him that you could tell felt good for him. What did you say or do? Or remember something that he did to give affection to you. Many times people will give what they want for themselves.  If you can't remember anything that you or he has said or done to give affection in the past, you can try something a little different. Find a quiet place and sit or lie down. Breathe deeply and relax as much as you can. Ask yourself "What can I do to show affection to my mate in a way that will make him feel wonderful?". Then simply think some warm thoughts about him. Get into it, really feel warm feelings for him as a man, as your mate and as a person. Spend as much time feeling these warm, loving feelings for him until inspiration hits. If you simply think the warm thoughts and feel the warm feelings an idea will pop into your head about something that you can do to show affection. 

Happy Couple Interview with Emily Carnes

Thank you Emily for allowing me to interview you. You can find Emily on her wonderful, inspiring blog Be Blessed Ya'll (I love that title). 

A little about myself: 
I grew up in a small town in Georgia, and am LOVING being back.  I got my degree in Early Childhood Education, and am currently a kindergarten Teacher's Assistant at a local elementary school.  It's so wonderful, and I'm hoping that I'll have my own classroom this time next year!  When I'm not teaching?  I spend my time blogging (at Be Blessed Y'all) and learning to embroider/sew!

How'd we meet:
Andrew and I actually grew up in the same small town, and went to high school together! Although, we were really just friends of friends until college.  Andrew's best friend went to school in Savannah, and the three of us hung out often!  And, I guess, the rest is history. :)

What our relationship is like:
I love that he and I are able to just goof off and be so funny, but that he and I can have great conversations as well.  The funny thing?  He and I were friends before we started dating, and would always "complain" to each other about there not being any wonderful people out there.  We would both pray that God would just put the person we were supposed to be with right in front of us....and all along, there we were!

Biggest challenge we've overcome?
Andrew and I are complete opposites when it comes to socializing. We've really had to figure out situations to put ourselves in.  Examples? I love to be surrounded by TONS of people.  Always.  Andrew? He'd be content never leaving the house!  Our compromises? Double dates...dinner parties with friends...taking dancing lessons...etc.  Open communication is key!

Most helpful book I've read?
Honestly, there are TONS.  I just recently read "My so-called life as a Proverb's 31 wife" and I LOVED it.  I strive to be the best wife I can in our relationship, and this came me a true, concrete example of what it looks like to TRY and be the perfect wife.  Such a real portrayal!

Best advice about relationships?
I guess this wasn't specifically relationship advice, but I think it can apply to anything.  "Don't compare your Chapter 3 to someone else's Chapter 20."  I just LOVE this so much...because it's so easy to get caught up in who is buying a house/having children/etc., when I should be focusing on us.  The here and now!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge #10: Admiration

There aren't many better feelings that the wonderful feeling of being admired. This is true for all humans, but it is especially true for the male of our species. Since it's our mission if we want a loving relationship, to make the one we are in a relationship with feel good, admiration is a must.
I'm not talking about flattery, seeing anyone with rose colored glasses, worship or anything like that.
As a matter of fact, if admiration is insincere, it comes across as ass kissing and is off putting. This is not what you want. What you want is for the other to feel like someone that is capable, strong, skilled, successful or in possession of desirable qualities.
Let's discover what it is that you genuinely admire about him, no matter how small, so that you can point it out to him and/or others. We all love people who make us feel good about ourselves and our helping him to feel good about himself is a valuable gift we can give to him that won't cost us a penny.
Just as a note: if you have children, this is something great to do for them as well. Building up a child's positive self-image is one of the greatest things a parent can do.

Your challenge today is to admire him. Not to make him feel admired, as that may put the focus on insincere flattery. Instead, answer the following questions in detail:
* What do I truly feel that he is best at?
* What does he know more about than most people?
* What is his greatest success up to this point?
* What quality do I like best about him?
* What quality do other people like best about him?
* What's his greatest strength?
When you are done with this list, go over it and notice which one inspires you the most to share it with him. Your assignment is to do just that, share it with him. Even if it was something that he did a long time ago, tell him you've been thinking about it and wanted to tell him. Whatever it is, let him know in a short, simple sentence or two how much you admire him for it.
For example, if your mate is best at golfing, tell him you were just thinking about the time that he got a hole in one and that you'll never forget the look on his boss's face. If his greatest success until now has been buying the house that you live in, tell him you're happy he had the will power to save up the money because you love this house. The goal is to make him feel good about himself. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge #9: Play Time

Playing with my man is one of my favorite pastimes. I know, it doesn't get the bills paid and most of the time it's not very romantic. It's not like while we're playing we're gazing into each other's eyes or telling each other how we feel. It's even better than this because it's truly bonding in a deep, meaningful way.
Play is how children bond and it's also how most adults bond, even if they don't know it. It's also a lot of fun. Building positive experiences is necessary for a relationship to continue to grow in a positive direction and play is an extremely positive experience.
There is also this rule that basically says that no two things (including intangible things such as thoughts, feelings and actions) can occupy the same space at the same time. It's impossible for you to be positively playful and at the same time be critical, judgmental, controlling or in any way unpleasant to be around. If you are happily playing then at that time you can't possibly be anything but happy and playful.
For me, this means that I get to be playful pretty much all the time in my own relationship with my mate. Which is a good thing, because it's honestly one of my favorite things to do and he seems to enjoy it a lot. A lot of my focus in the relationship is placed on things that he says that are funny, having fun with him, laughing and finding funny things in our mundane lives. It's impossible for me to be feeling angry, resentful, hurt, sad or thinking of the ways that I wished things were different if I'm engaged in play.
Even if you don't consider yourself super playful, like anything else, it can be learned. You don't have to be a comedienne. You don't really have to do anything specifically, just keep your thoughts focused on the fun and funny and your fun and playful side will naturally come out.  

Your challenge for the day, and something that I really hope that you'll do as much as possible everyday, is to play. Play with your mate, with your children and with your pets. Simply be playful. This adds so much value to your own life and the lives of the people that are living with you. Maybe not every situation should be dealt with in a playful way, but I believe that for the most part, we adults are far too serious. I was going to give you a list of ideas to be playful, but then I realized that the nature of play is spontaneous. So, your assignment today is to look for opportunities for fun and play everywhere you go and with everyone you spend time with. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Self Love Challenges

Love and Closeness Challenge #8: Loving Yourself Deeply and Truly

Self love is one of those things that people hear all the time, but perhaps don't know what it really is. The biggest misconception is that it has something to do with being selfish. To clarify, selfishness is concern only for your own well being and doing whatever you believe you need to do to "get yours" regardless of how it effects others. The attitude of selfishness is one based on lack. A selfish person thinks, "There isn't enough stuff so I have to take mine. Who cares about anyone else?"
Self love is striving for your own well being and your own happiness, but without the lack mentality. When a person loves themselves, they love their life and others as well. They are happy and take action to bring more well being and happiness into their own life. They know how to say no to what they don't want, but they cooperate with others well. They are capable of interdependence more so than people who don't love themselves because they are easier to get along with. While they certainly aren't doormats, they have a love for people and want them to be happy. It's just that people who love themselves don't sacrifice their own well being to make others happy. They are the center of their own universe, not to the detriment of others, but for their benefit.
Do you love yourself? Do you want what will help you to be well and happy? Do you actively pursue these things? Do you have boundaries that keep you mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy? Are you the center of your own universe for the benefit of yourself and others?
What does this mean to be the center of your own universe for the benefit of yourself and others? It means that no one's happiness comes before your own. The biggest argument I hear when I say this is about children. When you have children, it's your job to take care of their needs and make sure that they are happy and well. However, if you are emptying all of your love energy onto them and you are forgetting about yourself, you will get burned out and potentially resentful. Even if your children are young, ask for help, take a small break whenever you can and get your love tank full again.
The love tank I refer to is the feeling of love that we have inside. It's my belief that we can't get love from another to fill ourselves up. We must fill ourselves up. If you are looking for someone to fill you up, you may feel better for a short time, but you will soon feel empty again. Instead, how can you fill yourself up? When you are filling yourself up, you are loving yourself and you can be loving. People who love themselves deeply are the best partners. They can be authentically themselves and happy and loving. This makes them a real joy to be around.
Every single human on the planet could love themselves more. We could all be kinder, more compassionate, more respectful and more friendly toward ourselves. We could all do more to be happy and well in every area of our lives.We could all certainly talk to ourselves in a more praising, encouraging and complimentary way. Loving ourselves is something we can never do too much of.

Here are some awesome resources to get you started:
Great video. It says it's about twin flames, but I found it to be an amazing talk about love of self. Awesome site. Adorable, fun to read and informative.
Very good article with excellent ideas to help you love yourself day by day.
Great site, take the 31 day self love challenge.
Amazon's list of 14 self esteem books that will change your life.
A seven step prescription to self love.
Awesome article on self love exercises.
Learn how to make a self love art journal.
Self Love Affirmations

Your challenge today is something that I hope that you will continue everyday for the rest of your life. It's the most important challenge of all. To make it really simple: treat yourself like someone you love more than anyone else in the world; every single day, no matter what. Use the resources above to help get you started. 

Happy Couple Interview With Brianna Clark

  • Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? I am a college undergrad getting my degree in psychology and minoring in Spanish and family studies and human development! I love crafting, cooking, and my handsome man of course!
  • How did the two of you meet? We met when we were kids. Our moms have been friends since before I was born, so when we were little we used to play together. We reconnected about a year ago after losing touch for over ten years.
  • How did you feel about him when you first met him? When we first started talking once we reconnected, I thought he was one of the coolest guys I’d ever met. He had been living in Europe for almost three years and he had so many amazing stories and I just found everything about him to be so intriguing!
  • How is that different from what you feel about him now? I knew I liked him from the start, but I never imagined I would fall head over heels in love with him! He’s such a great person, and he’s done so many amazing things. I just have so much respect and admiration for him.
  • Could you briefly describe what your relationship is like?  Our relationship is definitely very fun and laid back. He’s my best friend! We love to joke around. We’re the type of people who can have fun going out together but can also be just as happy staying home and doing nothing.
  • If you could name two or three things that you do on a regular basis that keeps the two of you close and happy, what would it be? We constantly remind each other how much we mean to one another. We’re in a long distance relationship, so we’re always telling each other how we feel. We also Skype or talk on the phone pretty much every day since we can’t see each other.
  • What's the biggest challenge that you've had to overcome in your relationship? Our biggest challenge is the distance. We go months without seeing each other. It can get really hard sometimes. It’s never made either of us doubt our relationship because we know the distance will be worth it when we are together, but sometimes missing him so much can be overwhelming.
  • Do you feel that the challenge has helped you to become even closer or has it caused more distance? Please explain It has absolutely made us a million times stronger. So many couples that are together every day take the small things for granted. Being apart you realize how much the small things matter, so when were together, we don’t take anything for granted and we definitely appreciate each other much more.
  • How do you deal with conflict? We honestly haven’t had any major conflict in our relationship. But we’re really good at talking about things and listening to what the other person says. We don’t get mad or yell or anything of the nasty stuff!
  • Do you think that there are stages or “phases” in relationships? If so, could you explain how your relationship has evolved? Everyone always talks about the “honeymoon” phase of a relationship. Our relationship has pretty much stayed that way from the start. The only way that it has really changed is that we’re much stronger and more comfortable around each other. We got to live together for two months in Germany so we really grew as a couple after that.
  • ·      Where can we find you and how can we contact you? Come see my blog at and there you can find all of my contact information and social media links!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What About Relationships? Do Twin Flames Exist?

Pain In the Ass People


When we have a difficult time in life, it almost always involves others. It seems like it would be so much easier to be alone. There would be no one to annoy you, piss you off, ruin your plans, slow you down, hurt your feelings or completely drain you emotionally. Everyone has experienced emotions that tear them apart inside because of other humans. If you haven't, if there is anyone who means anything to you, then you will.
When I am overwhelmed by others I get lost in the fantasy of wishing everyone would just go away. Ever feel like that? But - then I think: what would it really be like to be completely alone? Imagine if there was no one else in the world.  See it: everyone in your life has disappeared, the people you wish would disappear as well as the people who mean the world to you. Everyone is gone.
No more noisy, super active neighbors in a curious, exploring little people neighborhood. No more critical family members trying to tell me what to do to get my life in order. No more 50 phone calls a day to see how I'm doing. No more tiny, messy fingers and face to wash. No more force brushing five teeth or dentist bills. No more high-pitched, valley girl twang talking tween girl complaining about brushing her hair before school. No more putting up with crazy mood swings and just because I'm awake crying. No more teenage boy refusing to do homework. No more arguing over spending too much time playing games with virtual friends. No more budding astronomer, don't put up with shit from anyone lady telling me that she knows I could be better. No more challenges to grow. No more having to work through my own stuff with a man who always knows when I'm hiding even the tiniest, most subtle thought or feeling. No more revealing myself when he calls me out on it. No more poking or prodding when I don't get things done that I said I would. They are all gone and I don't have to deal with any of this crap.
In the blink of an eye everyone could be gone. This could be the last day I have the opportunity to tell them that they mean everything to me. My last day to tell them that my life would not be much of a life without them and that I love each of them as they are more than I can express. This could be the last chance I have to tell them how extremely thankful that they are in my life, no matter what. 

Love and Closeness Challenge #7: A Sense of Purpose

What is purpose? The definition of purpose is:  
1. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal.
2. A result or effect that is intended or desired; an intention. 
3. Determination; resolution.
4. The matter at hand; the point at issue.

Purpose is the reason something is done; the reason it existsSynonyms of purpose are: motive, reason, resolve, steadfastness, determination, drive, enthusiasm, intention, plan, aim, mean and goal.
What is the reason that your relationship exists? What is the true purpose? What is the ultimate intention or goal of your relationship? 
Before you answer too quickly, think hard. When I asked this question to a friend, she said, "To bring one another joy and love." This is a beautiful answer, I like it. One of the purposes of a loving relationship is to bring love and joy to the other. However, her answer is incomplete.
The deeper purpose of loving relationships, whatever relationship that may be, is to learn to become more whole and more unconditionally loving. To sum it up and put it in a sentence: The deep purpose of relationship is to grow spiritually and become more whole and unconditionally loving. 
What does this mean? If we weren't challenged by others, if other human beings didn't exist, think of how easy life would be. It would be simple and uncomplicated. You wouldn't be annoyed by careless drivers, hurt by your spouse's harsh words, angry at your rebellious teenager or exhausted by your crying baby. You would be completely free and able to do whatever you want whenever you wanted. There would be nothing to challenge you to grow, nothing to help you to be a better, more whole person. To be more whole means to need nothing outside of yourself to complete you. When you are whole, you don't need anyone to bring something to you because you aren't missing anything. When you are whole you are free to give love generously. 
Although many of us fantasize about people just being as they should be and living up to the roles we designed them for them to play, that would defeat the purpose of relationships. Your mate may not always do what pleases you. Your purpose is to grow and become a more whole being by dealing with the challenge of being unconditionally loving. This is no easy task and requires a great deal of fortitude. 

Your challenge for today is to write down the true purpose of your relationship. Write it in big bold letters, or print the intention written below.

The deeper purpose of my 


is to grow spiritually and become


unconditionally loving, whole and

complete everyday.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tell Us Tuesday

Before we start the standard Tell Us Tuesday post - I wanted to personally say THANK YOU to all of you that have joined our link party - last week was our most successful week with over 100 posts!!  Lauren and I are absolutely thrilled to meet all of you and we hope you come back again and again.  Let's make it to 200!!

Here we go!

Welcome to the Tell Us Tuesday party everyone!  We’re excited to see what you’ve been up to this week!  Stop by every Tuesday to link up your latest blog posts and show off what you’ve been doing, then check out the other links and find new bloggers to follow, inspiration for new projects, parenting tricks, or a new yummy dinner idea.

Since this party is hosted by several bloggers, your links will be on multiple sites!
Much Ado About Somethin

This week's guest host is Rhiannon @ On the Path to Love Enlightenment.  Her mission in life is to be fully alive in every moment, loving, engaged in with whatever is happening and whoever she is with in the present moment.  The information in her blog is is dedicated to the purpose of improving your most intimate relationship and building a soulful, harmoniously united partnership with that person.

*My relationship with Patrick is actually going to be featured on Rhiannon's blog soon! 

Here's what your hosts have been up to this week...

Food Features

I am not one to hang out in the kitchen unless I am eating.  BUT - Val got it right with this seriously simple and amazingly delicious peanut butter pie.  Quick, easy, perfection.  I made it just last week!

Waikiki Meatballs!?  Say no more!  I'm in!  As working Moms, we are always looking for simple and yummy meals that the whole family can enjoy.  Maybe even make a family tradition like The Silberez Life.

DIY Features
I love what Kristin did over at The Home Avengers.  This desk is great for any young lady starting her high school career.  Her own space where she can even be creative with it herself!

Being a new Mom, it's always hard to find time where it's just Pat and I.  Time that is just about us.  Check out what Amy Lynn did with her hubby to spice things up a bit and make their time more memorable.  I love this!

Ladies Tellin' It Like It Is

Dude!  Everybody has been to Starbucks at least once...did you know all of these secrets to make your experience cheaper!?  I didn't - I will definitely start following them now!

This past week was the 12th anniversary since the tragedy that was 9/11.  Jackie wrote an amazing post about her memories of that day, but also she talks about what she does say as a military spouse.  May I say a huge thank you from the Tell Us Tuesday folks for what you and your family go through to serve our country.  

If you were featured, grab a button!
I've Been Featured

Now to PARTY!  Just a few basic rules we’d love for you to follow:

  Tell us about your recipes, parenting tips, DIY projects, or your family vacation – we want to see it all! Follow each of us so you’ll never miss a party.  Follow on GFC, Bloglovin’, or your favorite reader – we’d love to hear from you!
Add a party text link or button to your blog.  This helps us in exchange for letting ‘ya link up!  The more people that know about the party, the better.
Click around – find a few links that interest you below and check them out!  Better yet, leave them a comment and tell them where you came from!
Spread the word – Share the party on Facebook and Twitter so more can join in the fun.  The more people that find out about Tell Us Tuesday, the more it benefits you!  
- We’d also love for you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  We follow back! 
- By linking up, you’re giving permission for us to potentially feature your posts on the blog or social media.

The fifteen A's

appreciation, admiration, abide, acknowledgment. accumulate positive experiences, acceptance, affection, amity, awareness, adventure, available, amusing,attractive, attentive and alluring. 

Love and Closeness Challenge #6: Acknowledgment

Human beings, in varying degrees, all have the need to be seen. We all want to be acknowledged. This is a basic need for everyone from the smallest of children to the oldest of the old. When we don't feel acknowledged, we don't feel loved. I recently wrote a post about learning to speak the other person's love language. While it's true that we all have ways that we prefer to have love shown to us, really what we want is for someone to notice that we are there and we hope that they are happy that we are there. However, we would rather fight and cause discord rather than not be seen. To be invisible, to feel as if you don't matter is an awful feeling. 
Children that are neglected perform significantly lower academically. They also present the highest rate of disciplinary problems according to American Psychological Association. The Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research studied three groups of abused and/or neglected children and a matched group of children that have no history of maltreatment on three tests of language comprehension. Severely neglected children obtained the lowest scores on language comprehension, even lower than children that have been physically abused. This article posted by Ching-Tung Wang, Ph.D. and John Holton, Ph.D. says that neglected children are much more likely to be in poor physical health, experiencing chronic fatigue, altered immune function, hypertension,
 obesity and even sexually transmitted diseases. They are much more likely to be in poor emotional and mental health as well. Children that are neglected have higher rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder. They have social difficulties such as insecure attachments with caregivers, which may lead to difficulties in developing trusting relationships with peers and adults later in life.
Their cognitive functions are not as high as their well-taken-care-of peers either. They engage in high-risk health behaviors such as a more sexual partners, losing their virginity at a younger age, substance abuse, aggression and criminal behaviors. 
Children aren't the only ones effected by neglect. Marriages are effected by neglect as well. iMom lists the top 10 reasons separated couples gave for their divorce. The number one reason that couples gave for getting divorced is growing apart and number five is not getting enough attention.  In other words, they are not being acknowledged. If you don't want to separate from your partner, this is important for you to know. He wants to be acknowledged. 
As I've mentioned in many previous posts, the ultimate intention is to always increase the warm feelings of love and closeness that you feel about your loved ones. I hope that you can keep this in mind as you interact with all of the people in your life. This is the single most important thing that you can do in any relationship because when you feel warmth, closeness and love for another your words and behaviors will reflect that. 
If you want to increase warm love and closeness in your relationship this will require that you acknowledge your mate. You "see" him and notice what he says and does. Some ideas to get you started on the path to acknowledging him every single day:

  1. Communicate with him openly. Let him know in a loving way what's on your mind. Remember to listen fully, as if what he is telling you is the most important secret in the universe. This is the advice of Michael Beckwith. He says this kind of deep listening is healing. He says that many of us have never been listened to in that way. 
  2. I believe in taking 100% responsibility for your own happiness, but sometimes you can ask for help from others. This is loving if what you are asking for will help you to feel good and be more loving in return and is asked in the right way. You can build your mate up first by telling him how good he is at what it is you are asking him to do, or how good it made you feel last time he did it or how it saved you a hassle. This isn't manipulation, it's giving him the some of the fifteen a's: admiration, appreciation and acknowledgment. Ask him when you're both in good moods and feeling good about each other. This is absolutely not manipulation. You aren't schmoozing him to try and get something. You are making a request for love to help you fill up your love cup so that you can give more. The most important thing when making a request: be okay if he refuses. If he says no, do what you can to meet your own need and move on to happiness as quickly as possible. Be courteous, respectful and kind. It's interesting that we sometimes treat strangers and house guests better than we do the people we love. What would happen if you treated your mate better than anyone else in your life? 
  3. Demonstrate your belief in him. If you treat someone as he could be, he will rise up to meet the standards you have. Encouragement is always the way to go. No one ever learns love from punishment, they learn fear and how to avoid the source of pain. The truth is: he is just as capable as anyone else and his hopes and dreams have as much validity as yours. He can achieve anything he sets his mind to. We encourage children every step of the way as they are learning. Then they grow up and suddenly it's as if they aren't worthy of this. Don't fall into the trap of this. He may be a grown man, but when someone believes in you it feels incredible no matter how old you are. Remind him of his gifts, his abilities and his past successes and be there to listen when he shares his dreams with you. If he makes a mistake or messes something up, remind him that it has nothing to do with who he is. Everyone makes mistakes. Failure is the only way we can learn how to succeed. Be his biggest supporter, not only of what he does, but in what he dreams of doing, who he is as a person and in the goodness of him.
  4. Which brings us to the next thing you can do to acknowledge him: see the best in him. Catch him in the act of doing well. This goes beyond positive reinforcement to try and reward the behaviors you'd like to see him repeat. When he deals with a difficult situation at work with calm action, tell him you're proud of him. It doesn't matter if it has nothing to do with you or your relationship.
  5. Be a we. When talking to him or others use the words "we" and "ours". Acknowledge him as your mate when you are with him and when you are not. Put him first and make sure that he knows that is where he will always stay.
  6. Spend some time with him. Make sure that it's a time that he isn't distracted. Take time to talk or do something together. It doesn't matter how busy you are, there is always time. If he asks you if you want to run an errand to the hardware store with him, even if you hate the hardware store, go. Turn it into bonding time. Build positive moments every chance you get.   
  7. Touch him in small, warm and affectionate ways throughout the day, even if you are busy. Remember occasions and give tiny, meaningful gifts. It doesn't matter what it is, and it doesn't even have to be a special occasion. Be playful and make up an occasion. Buy him a blindfold and tell him it's "National Kinky Sex Day". 
  8. Think of something that he has requested that you do for him recently. You may have to really reflect on this, sometimes requests aren't obvious. You may have to think of his complaints if you can't think of something that he has requested of you. Even if it's small or doesn't matter to you at all, DO IT

Your challenge today: do at least one of the above in a way that you know will increase love and closeness and make your mate feel good. It's all about the good feelings.  



Friday, September 13, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge #5: Learning to Speak the Other's Love Language

Right now I am reading "The Five Love Languages," by Gary Chapman. I knew that people have their own ways of feeling loved by another as well as their own way of loving, but I'm learning so much more about it from this book. The information contained withing is put it in beautiful language that is easy to read and understand. I'm on the last chapter and it's been insightful and inspiring.

One of the most common complaints I hear a person in a relationship make is that they feel abandoned, ignored or neglected in some way. Abandonment and neglect are among the most painful feelings. When we don't feel as if our love language is being spoken to us, we don't feel loved. As Gary Chapman puts it: our love tanks will feel empty.
What makes one person feel abandoned or neglected won't bother another person at all. Personally, if my mate hasn't touched me in a loving, non-sexual way for more than a day, I start to feel neglected. If I allow this to go unchecked, resentment might start to creep in. Luckily, I believe in taking complete responsibility for my relationship and I do something about this as soon as I notice it. hat I feel better and he feels better. I know that when I feel good, I have more resources to help him feel good and then we feel good.
There have been days when he barely touched me at all. It's a tendency I have to believe that this means that he doesn't care about me. Intellectually, touch isn't nearly as important to him as it is for me. He doesn't give it to me naturally because it's not the way that he thinks to give love. So, I take responsibility, and ask him to touch me, or when the time is right I snuggle up next to him.
My secondary love language is time. This is a love language that my mate and I have in common, so we understand each other in that way. However, his secondary love language is "acts of service". This is nice for me as well, I like to have things done for me, but it isn't something that I need to feel loved. I have to be conscious that this feels like love for him, because it isn't something that comes naturally for me. I could touch him all day long and it won't mean as much to him as it would if I planned a party with him or asked him to help me with some aspect of my business. He could plan a party with me all day or help me with some aspect of my business for a week straight and it wouldn't mean as much to me as being held at night.
Each person is a unique way that they enjoy feeling loved. Even with our children, we can acknowledge them most effectively by learning their "love language". We can do this with everyone in our lives and we will feel closer to them and more fulfilled in our relationships, just by our giving them love in their language. Although it's nice to have our love language spoken back to us, to expect it only creates resentment. Focus on giving, and when the moment feels right you can make a small, easy to do request of your mate. Be okay with it if he says no. Remember the foundation of closeness is complete acceptance.
The table chart below can give you a great start to figuring out how to love your partner in his language. I definitely recommend that you read "The Five Love Languages" for more information. Think of your mate's past complaints and requests to give you clues to help you specifically love them in the way that they prefer. If he has complained that you are critical and told you that he would love to hear you tell him that you love him or how much you appreciate him, you can guess his love language is "words of affirmation".

Your challenge for today: figure out how he prefers to be loved. Get as specific as you can. Maybe he likes "words of affirmation" but specifically what words? Do what you can to get this information and then give love in his language.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge #4: Giving Freedom to the Other and Yourself

A basic human emotional need is the need for freedom. In a relationship, freedom for both partners (to be themselves, to pursue interests outside of the relationship or even to just have time alone) is extremely important. It's important that you not only give this to your partner, but that you give yourself freedom as well.

According to freedom is: 
  1. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint
  2. Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government
  3. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved
  4. The state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily
  5. The state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing)
  6. The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity
  7. Unrestricted use of something
  8. Familiarity or openness in speech or behavior

Freedom is healthy and needed in any relationship. Giving anything that makes someone feel good and helps them to be well is giving love. Anything else is based on fear. If you aren't able to give freedom it is fear. Are you afraid you will be unhappy if you aren't with that person? Do you not trust them? Are you trying to control what he/she does or who he/she is? 
There are many reasons why it might feel uncomfortable giving complete freedom but understand: any being that feels restricted will avoid the source that causes this restriction. You can attempt to take another's freedom, but all that will do is cause them to feel the need to break free. They will hesitate to come close out of fear of being trapped again.  
On the other hand, if someone can come near you, enjoy your company and be completely free to be himself, pursue another interest etc. whenever he chooses, he will feel free to choose to come near you. They won't feel afraid to come close because they will know that if at any time he/she needs to do something else, he/she can without restrictions. The more free he or she feels, the closer they feel they can come. That freedom is essential to well being. 
It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you can give complete freedom to another, they will want to be with you more. They will feel that they can be themselves. They can be open and honest with you and that they can continue to grow as a person while in a relationship with you. They know that you are okay with whatever it is that they do, they can be an individual. The other feels accepted and approved of as they are, no matter what they are doing. If you've ever experienced this, you know what an amazing feeling it is. Then you can know who they truly are and experience true intimacy with them.
If giving freedom to yourself is the issue, that is also a fear issue. If you've given up your time with your girlfriends, freedom to be yourself, time alone, the freedom to do your hair as you choose, take the job you want etc. this is depriving you of life. There is fear that the other will go away, not approve of you, find someone else etc. It may be that your relationship is the center of your universe right now, and outside interests have become less and less important. 
I'm not suggesting that there is nothing wrong with you. However, if you are giving up your freedom or attempting to restrict your mate's freedom, you are only causing yourself pain. There may or may not be "deeper issues", but it doesn't matter. You don't have to examine the issues for a year, you don't have to go to therapy first or figure anything out. You can choose to give freedom to yourself and the other, in spite of the fact that it may feel uncomfortable at first. Love is a choice and any choice that you make again and again becomes a habit. Make it a habit to give freedom with love.

I know this is probably going to cause adverse reactions in some, however, I think the more freedom in the relationship, the better.  Ask yourself:
  1. Do you give your partner and yourself the power or right to act, speak, or think as he wants without hindrance or restraint?
  2. Do you feel the need to control the other in any way? Do you restrict what you do as if he/she is controlling you?
  3. Does your mate have to do certain things to please you, or not arouse your disapproval? Do you imprison yourself by acting in a way that you think will please or impress others instead of being your authentic self?
  4. Do you allow your mate to come and go as he pleases, without restriction and with your acceptance/approval? 
  5. Do you attempt to convince or manipulate your mate to feel, think or do something? Do you disapprove of him? Do you allow your fear of disapproval to effect your behavior?
  6. Do you feel that you need your partner in order to be happy? Do you attempt to manipulate or convince him that he should want to be with you or that he would be foolish to leave/not marry you/not buy you things etc? 
  7. Do you punish your mate for being himself or pursuing outside interests or are you open and supportive?
  8. Can your partner feel safe to tell you anything and be completely honest with you without fear of being criticized/rejected? Can he trust that you will listen without judgment? Do you share yourself openly?
Choose today to give freedom. After this examination of yourself, now you know where to start. How can you give him and yourself freedom today?

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