Creating Meaningful Connections: How We Stand In Our Own Way, and What To Do About It

While individual humans are made up of individual qualities, there is one quality that we all share – our desire to connect with other human beings in a real and meaningful way. We desire to be know. To be seen. And to be accepted. We are both made to form meaningful connections with others and made through the forming of meaningful connections with others. Connection is at the core of who we are and who we hope to be.

We all want it. We all crave it. But we aren’t always good at acknowledging and responding to that desire. Some of us struggle to form connections because we don’t think we need to, while others of us struggle because we don’t think we have the ability to.

Both, are fundamentally untrue. Continue reading “Creating Meaningful Connections: How We Stand In Our Own Way, and What To Do About It”

An Interview With The Person Who Has Taught Me The Most About Friendship

I am full of excitement and anticipation for today’s blog post. I just know you will come away with some encouragement and inspiration after reading my dear friend’s thoughts on friendship.

Sheila and I became friends when our oldest two were just babies, and our friendship was forged when our husbands were busy pursuing their respective master’s degree program. Once a month, we would trade off coming over to each other’s homes on Monday nights to share a meal together and be there for each other during an otherwise very dark period in both our lives. Ohhhh. It gives me shivers just thinking about it. Higher education for husbands with wives with little babies to care for at home is straight from the pit of hell. But I digress. This is a happy post! This is a post about friendship. This is a post where you get to meet a person who is not only incredibly special to me, but who has also taught me the most about friendship. I’m honored to know her and be called her friend. And after reading this, you’ll know why. Enjoy.

/// Continue reading “An Interview With The Person Who Has Taught Me The Most About Friendship”

How My Husband And I Are Working To Understand Each Other Better

This past Friday, my husband and I went on a date to one of our favorite little places in town. It’s cozy and quiet and you can get delicious Greek food in a setting that someone from any of the past fifty decades could recognize. It’s kinda my favorite. Oh, and they put so much cheese on their pizza that it’s physically heavy to lift. Also my favorite.

I ordered a pizza for obvious reasons and he ordered a pita. In between big bites of cheesey carby goodness, we worked through a book my friend, Jana, loaned me: The Enneagram Made EasyProcessed with VSCO with a4 preset

The Enneagram is method for understanding personality types. According to the Enneagram, there are nine types of people. The Enneagram is kind of like any other personality finder/test that you might have experienced in the past, with a few major exceptions.

One, it’s super accessible and easy to understand. It doesn’t take long to figure out your personality type and “wings” (how your personality may be influenced by other types).

Two, the Enneagram doesn’t just tell you your personality type, it tells you how this personality type reveals itself in your career, your free time, your relationships (kids, spouse, and friends), and your emotions.

Three, and this is a big one, the Enneagram doesn’t just tell you your strengths, it also tells you how you will struggle based on your personality type. This was huge for me. I couldn’t believe that so many of the things I was good at or struggled with wasn’t because of who I am as an individual, but because of my personality type which millions of other people share. For some reason, this was oddly reassuring. I’m not just crazy, I’m a FIVE! (More on that later.) Continue reading “How My Husband And I Are Working To Understand Each Other Better”

A Little Less Talk

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I read recently that sending your lover flowers for Valentine’s Day derives from an old fashioned tradition of sending flowers to communicate a non-verbal message, something that we still do today.

In this day of fast talking, instant access, always connected but never really connecting, constant stream of conversation that is life in the 21st century, perhaps we would all do well to just STOP TALKING so much.

Sure, we have some important messages to communicate. But maybe, just maybe, those messages would be heard the clearest through means other than our voice. A bouquet of flowers. A simple gift. A touch.

They say “talk is cheap,” and perhaps that’s because anyone can talk. It requires a special sort of someone to notice the non-verbal ways that communicate love to your Valentine. Anyone can say ‘I love you,’ but can just anyone show it?

Maybe we could take this Valentine’s Day, and every day, to talk less, notice more, and think of new ways to communicate our love and affection. Ways that are specific to the receiver. How do the best feel loved?

You know how the song goes. “A little less talk and a lot more action.”

You interpret those lyrics as you wish.

Happy Valentine’s Day, rosebuds.

PS Why yes, that IS a skull and cross bones painted on one of Theo’s handmade Valentine’s Day cards. I’m so glad you noticed. We were reading about pirates that day. Theo is the master of integration. 😉 Continue reading “A Little Less Talk”

Love Is Gentle

The other night, I was in the kitchen working on dinner when I overheard a conversation between Theo and Oliver. Theo was telling Oliver that he loved him.

“I love you because I’m gentle to you,” Theo said.

I smiled to myself, because though they weren’t exactly being gentle to each other, I knew what he was getting at. And his heart was in the right place.

We try to steer clear of abstract terms and principles with the kids. It’s all fine and dandy to encourage your kids to say ‘I love you’ to each other, and we do, but it’s best when followed up with an explanation of what love looks like. Otherwise, it remains an abstract term, and it takes kids years before they start to understand abstract thought (most people say around the age of 9).

“Love is gentle,” I tell the boys. It looks like a soft touch, a kind word, a hug when the other person is crying.

Love does this.

Love is that.

This is what it looks like. Continue reading “Love Is Gentle”

14 Unique Valentine’s Day Gift & Date Ideas

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A Guest Post by Ashley Hicks

Over the last seven and a half years since my husband and I met, we have tried to continually find new ways to show each other our love, devotion, and friendship! We are always up for a new, crazy adventure or just a night in watching sci-fi shows. Since Bekah was so gracious as to lend me her blog for the day, I’ll take the opportunity to share some of the ways my hubby and I have spoiled each other over the years:

  1. Fill a basket with your better-half’s favorite snacks (or drinks or candy or whatever is specific to them). My husband goes crazy for snacks. He can’t get enough! He is easy to please and loves when I randomly bring him home something special to munch on. He loves it even more with it’s a giant basket-worth of things for him to munch on!
  2. Beer connoisseur? Make their brew dreams a reality! You can buy sets of the six most common styles of beer glassware! Here is the same specialty beer glass set we have, and don’t forget to buy six bottles of coordinating beer to go with! I linked to World Market because it’s my favorite spot to find new beer, but a lot of local grocery or liquor stores will have a section for building your own six pack! Also, here’s a handy beer/glass pairing cheat sheet with recommendations for those to need some help figuring out what to fill those glasses with: http://www.craftbeerware.com/beer-glass-types
  3. Are you more of a DIY/kitchen junkie and want to try your hand at a new skillHere is a great recipe for Valentine’s Amaretto Chocolate Truffles and great instructions for chocolate covered strawberries (or, I guess any other fruit or snack item you would like to be covered in chocolate). This one is great for a surprise gift or as a sweet couple’s activity! Bonus points for decorating your own gift  box for the chocolates to go in!

Continue reading “14 Unique Valentine’s Day Gift & Date Ideas”

Five Things

1. Yesterday I had a startling realization. With Theo at school, all of the children still a home with me are NAPPERS! I have my nap time back to do whatevvvver I want! Throw ya hands in the air! Hey! Ho!

2. Are you good at small talk? At meeting new people? I try to push myself to be more outgoing than I really am, because I’ve discovered that most people really are nice. If they appear rude, snobbish, or unfriendly, 9 times out of 10 it’s because they are insecure, shy, or having a hard day! You would not believe the amazing conversations I’ve had just because I got over myself and struck up a conversation with someone. It’s not easy, and I’ve had plenty of misfires, but I’ve also made some new friends that way. I recently read this post about how to improve your small talk skills, and I think it’s spot on! Not only will this help you navigate conversations, it will help both you and who you are speaking to be more authentic. Continue reading “Five Things”

Five Things

1. Today, Mike and I celebrate being married for 11 years. We have known each other for 12. He is my husband, my baby daddy, my honey bunny, my weekend omelet maker, and my best friend.

2. My favorite thing about marriage? Man, that’s a tough one. So many things! But the thing I think I love the most is the unwavering, indisputable, non-negotiable belief that you have a person in your corner. Someone who believes is you. Someone who will fight for you. Someone who will hear you complain about how annoying your weekly grocery shopping trip was, and still think you’re sexy. Someone who shares their most intimate thoughts with you. Someone, who will always be there.

3. My least favorite thing about marriage? The guilt I feel over not sharing the last slice of pie or pizza, or last cup of coffee. Eleven years later, and it should be noted, I still eat the last piece. But that guilt man. It’s annoying! (Just get your own pie already.)

Sharing is hard.  Continue reading “Five Things”

Why I Won’t Put Family First

The point of art is to unsettle, to question, to disturb what is comfortable and safe. And that shouldn’t be anyone’s goal as a parent. -Kim Books

Art is a revolt – Hippocrates

I have something to say.

If art imitates life, and art in it’s truest form is a revolt, then why are most people walking around, living a life of conformity?

Why are we teaching our kids to flock together like a bunch of lemmings, or worse, like ostriches with our heads in the sand; we don’t know what we are doing or why we are doing it, but at least we are all doing the same thing.

Right?

For most of our marriage, my husband and I have been quietly going about the business of subversion. Of revolting against a social norm that frankly, makes us crazy. And now, we are inviting our children into our riot act.

Let me explain.

Since getting married, forming friendships with other married couples, and now, having a family of our own, my husband and I are confounded by the idea that family comes first. Always family. Family, family, family.

No matter how horrible they treat you. No matter how bad the manipulation. No matter how toxic the relationship. No matter how destructive the behavior. Family first.

Wha???

I see people getting beat up and knocked down but still going back for more, because they’re family.

I see people watch their family treat other members with hatred but still they maintain their relationship, because they’re family.

I see people constantly discouraged by bitter attitudes, manipulation, passive aggressiveness, and judgment, but still keep those individuals in their life, because they’re family.

This is crazyContinue reading “Why I Won’t Put Family First”