Friday, March 30, 2012

The Five Love Languages

I remember reading Gary Chapman's book 'The Five Love Languages' early in my marriage and not only enjoyed the contents, but I also learned a little more about myself and hubby.  For those not familiar with Mr. Chapman, the idea surrounding the five love languages is that all people show love in five basic ways - see below.  Also, each individual will exhibit a primary 'love language' a majority of the time and possibly a secondary 'language'. . . . though at times we may show someone a blending/combination of all five. 

For example, when taking the assessment quiz - my primary love language is Quality Time with Words of Affirmation as my secondary. S-Money$'s primary love language is Touch and Quality Time as his secondary (though Words of Affirmation was close for 2nd place).  The assessment quiz coined us to a 'T' as we both fit the results 100%. 

Those five Love Languages are (excerpts from the website):

Words of Affirmation - If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

Quality Time -Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. 

Gifts - Don’t mistake this love language for materialism. . . . If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

Acts of Service - Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

Touch - This language isn’t all about the bedroom. . . . Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

Recently pondering the concept again, I put Mr. Chapman's book on hold at our library, 'The Five Love Languages of Children'.  I was familiar with what the five languages are so surely it shouldn't be too hard to guess which 'languages' my kids speak.  But it's funny how years later I'm learning all over again!  This time I'm learning the love languages of my children; more specifically - The Bigs aka Spillz & C-Funk; who are 13 yrs. old and almost 9 yrs. old respectively.  I must say that I was even surprised by the results . . . . well not completely surprised but there was one that threw me for a loop!

Spillz's primary love language turned out to be Quality Time.  Now that didn't surprise me since even from a young age, she's always been ready to hang out, get in the car and go somewhere with me or anyone!  She likes her friend time and definitely recharges being around other people. ♥

C-Funk's primary love language was Gifts.  I don't know why it wasn't more clear to me - I guess because he is usually so much more reserved and tends to recharge by having time to himself either reading, building, creating.  He's much more 'internally' focused and deep - meaning, you never know what could be rumbling under the surface.  So gifts?  Wow - it all started to make sense!  Each time he is into a new 'thing' - be it Beyblades, Lego building sets, Ninjago's, Nerf dart guns, etc. - it is all he talks about even to the point of minor obsession.  But beneath the surface I now see a much deeper gratitude from an individual that when he receives a gift, it is the best prize in the world and his outpouring of 'Thanks' towards the giver is clearly heard/expressed.  He's such a sweet little man and S-Money$ reminded me of his 'language' when I was quick to point out about not being greedy/making our stuff or desires our idols when he kept going on about which Nerf gun may be best for his birthday. . . . . Maybe that's why I missed this ever so obvious language in him.  I've been so focused on teaching that I forgot Jesus' biggest command we are to live out. . . . that is LOVE.


*Parental lesson in humility learned thanks to Dr. Chapman's book, the Holy Spirit & the hubby working on my heart!*

If you'd like to take the quiz and find out your Love Language - here's the link!
Love Language Assessment

p.s. if you take it, feel free to share - I love seeing the diff. mix of love languages!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Honest About Motherhood

  • Mommy 1: "OMG!  My kids are driving me CRAZY! What about you? What's the WORST part about being a mom?" 
  • Mommy 2: "Oh, there's nothing that bad.  It's all a blessing!"
  • Mommy 1: "What?  C'mon, really?"
  • Mommy 2: *pauses to think*  "Well, I don't know.  Nothing that I can really think of off-hand.  I just rely on God to get me through"
  • Mommy 1*internally screaming to self - "What do you mean, there's nothing you can think     of?"*  . . . . . finally says out loud to Mommy 2, "Oh, well that's good."

Ever have a similar conversation with a mom like this where it seemed everyday was filled with butterflies, rainbows, homeschooling, bible stories, organic food, hugs/kisses, singing, etc. . . . . and dare I say - unicorns??  I came across a great blog posting titled, "It Doesn't Help Anyone To Not Be Honest About Motherhood" by blogger Sarah Mae.  Her beginning paragraph struck a chord with me:

"I remember a few years ago when I was having a really hard time with the day to day of life. I had two little ones and was pregnant. I felt very lonely, I was overwhelmed, and I suffered from tremendous guilt that I wasn’t doing enough or being a good enough wife, mother, or homemaker."
It struck a chord because after having our oldest three kids approximately 4.5 - 5 years apart, I too find myself in the "Two Littles and One On the Way" phase as I persevere through the last trimester with baby #5.   Do I feel lonely?  At times.  Am I overwhelmed?  Yes - more often than I'd like to admit.  Do I carry a baggage of guilt through my day?  Undoubtedly - YES!  There is always something I didn't get to, a request I delay, A bible that collects dust, playtime that is missed, time that it lost.  All things that, when I'm honest, make me uncomfortable.

It can become far too easy in searching for answers from other moms to become even more discouraged.  Please don't misunderstand my above Mommy conversation example.  Relying on God, homeschooling, organic, etc. are not bad.  But I believe when we take those aspects through our day, sugarcoat a bit then dispense to other moms without the reality of being sinful, human and making mistakes, it can be damaging as well as discouraging.  Though there are many great 'mommy' blogs and no shortage of moms willing to offer advice - we must be careful to filter what is truly helpful vs. adding their judgement/condescending suggestion in with our already hot mess of a moment.  Because that's what it is - a moment.  It's only a season and will pass. . . . or at least that's what I keep telling myself as I squint my eyes through the storm and repeat mantra, repeat mantra, repeat mantra!! 

During Jesus' ministry, he knew what fate lay ahead and when talking to his disciples he made sure to be honest about what was to come.

*Matthew 16:21*
From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.

*Matthew 17:22-23*
After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

*Matthew 20:17-18* 
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die.

See, Jesus didn't sugarcoat the truth!  He didn't tell his disciples, "Hey dudes - look, see I have somewhere to go and, um, I'll be back to hang out in like 3 days.  OK?"  NO!  He knew his mission.  He knew how it would affect others, how they needed to prepare and he layed it out there.  No questions, no guilt, no lies.  You know how I think he did it?  First, submission to the Father - that's a given!  But also because he was first honest with himself.  He didn't have to sugarcoat because he was confident in the mission set before him.  He knew what he had to do and the importance of it.  There was no need to lie to himself or others. 

But what about me??  Or what about you??  Here's some more for thought . . . . Do we even know our mission in motherhood? If so, do we accept it?  If we embellish, is it because we don't want someone else to feel uncomfortable by our raw feelings or is it our own discomfort/feelings of inadequacy that we dislike and try to hide through walls of a smile or 'I'm doing great!' answers??   

We have to be honest with ourselves first.  Does motherhood suck sometimes.  Yes!  But do the bad days diminish the good days/moments that God has placed before us?  Definitely NO!  And hopefully through that honesty, intimacy can lead others struggling with the same plight to reach out and help pull us out of the drowning pool we know as 24/7 Everyday life. . . . .
. . . . or better yet, we can be the encourager that another mother needs to get through those tough seasons of life.  :)

**Linked To: Raising Arrows, The Straightened Path, The Better Mom

Monday, March 12, 2012

UNPLUGGED . . . . Sort Of!

This past weekend S-Money$ and I decided to experiment with our family going somewhat unplugged from Friday at 5:30pm to Sunday at 5:30pm.   The operative word of ‘somewhat’ meant that we had no access to a computer or Ipod (our main ‘techie’ gadgets du jour) and we utilized minimal TV time.  Now we did watch a couple of family movies/short episodes of the kid’s fav. cartoon and we let the kids play some rounds of Mario Kart together. . . . didn’t want to miss out on any family battles! 

When first hearing of the change, the older two kids – who tend to be more tied to their ‘gadgets’ – were a bit distraught and made sure to voice their discontent.  We are all allowed an opinion, but us parent-folk stuck to our guns.  Here’s a bit of what we learned going somewhat gadget free:

  • First and foremost – we won’t DIE from lack of a computer/I-pod
  • Creativity can flourish in the absence of needless distractions
  • Siblings can form new bonds of playtime, hanging out, etc.
  • New hobbies found or old ones rediscovered
  • Meaningful conversations can take place in person or voice/voice. . . not text!
  • The home can be a haven
  • And most importantly รจ  When we limit doing everything WE want, we can open ourselves up to better reflect on what God truly wants for us.

1 Corinthians 10:23 states, “You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.”

This little experiment, which will now become more of a norm in our house, was not to condemn technology or shun our family from that part of everyday life.  The point was that I could sense something deemed ‘beneficial’ was becoming more of an idol in all of our lives.  Time together and time in the Word was being overlooked/ignored over the desire for internet surfing, internet games, texting friends, updating Facebook, pinning on Pinterest (my guilty pleasure), etc.  Anything can be beneficial until it begins to consume our hearts, thoughts and time.  As Mark Driscoll has noted regarding worldly things – we can either Receive it, Reject it or Redeem it.  As I mentioned previously, receiving our gadgets ‘as-is’ was idolatry for us – pure and simple.  Rejecting it would probably do more harm.  We chose instead to redeem our technology by minimizing its use and centering what use we had around family oriented activities where relationship was preserved/highlighted.  

**Linked to: 


Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Musings with Monsters, Midwives and Menus - Oh My!

Wow, I guess it's been awhile since I've posted.  I'd like to say I'm super busy, etc. but truth be told, with all the hectic-ness going on I really just took a little break.  It was a time to get re-centered, rest as much as possible with a teething/fussy little Nattie Bear and then get back to the balancing act.

'M' is for Monsters!
I found a neat blog by a lady named Alison called "Oopsey Daisy".  On her site she had great free 'mom school' lesson plans that she designed and tailored for her little guy.  I downloaded several and this week, God willing, we dive into this weeks lesson of: 'M' is for Monster!   Needless to say, Wookeese's attention span allowed for a quick coloring of the letter 'M' and an action packed lunch with meatballs & mac-n-cheese. . . . I slipped in some non-'M' veggies also . . . for good measure of course!  *wink*

Again, this is totally new to me and my Brood so we'll keep trucking away as we try to come up with a routine that works.  This 'weeks' lesson may actually last a couple of weeks just so I can get Wookeese and myself used to the 'school' thing.  Wish me luck!!

So my next prenatal appt. is tomorrow (Tues) and I must say that I'm loving the set-up this pregnancy.  I love that I found a midwife that comes out to my place and handles all my prenatal check-ups in my own home where I can be relaxed, don't have to worry about childcare plus enjoy the company of two caring ladies (Kate & Connie)!  It's great!  I don't think I'll EVER be able to go the OB/Hospital route ever again. 
As my due date gets closer (mid-June, actually) I can feel myself getting very anxious for this new chapter of having a home birth.  Will surely be blogging more on this as the months go by.  :)

Menu Plans!
Trying to stick to a new budgeted amt. per pay of $240 (up $40 from our original budget amt) still has me working hard to make and stick to a menu plan.  With pregnancy cravings and sometimes feeling tired, it can be hard to stick with a more elaborate recipe one day.  But hopefully, switching days around to make easier stuff one day in place of another will pose helpful.  So here are this week's thoughts on menu. . . . trying to incorporate more 'meatless' or 'less meat' options. . . .

  • Monday - Meatless Monday with baked veggie egg rolls, brown rice and side of fruit
  • Tuesday - Ckn Tetrazzini with side of veggie, bread and maybe fruit
  • Wednesday - Leftovers
  • Thursday - Cheese tortellini w/mushroom & walnut cream sauce and side of green beans
  • Friday - Smoke sausage & potato skillet along with fresh veggies & dip
  • Saturday - Leftovers
  • Sunday - not sure yet. . . . but probably some sort of pasta dish w/veggies and minimal meat  :)

*Breakfast is any combo of: fruit and nut snack bars, fresh fruit, cheerios, toast/eggs, blueberry muffins.

*Lunch is any combo of: quesadilla, sandwiches w/sides, lunch meat/crackers/cheese stix medley, dinner leftovers, tuna w/crackers & fruit.

What's on your menu this week??  :)