Tuesday, February 25, 2014

25 on 25 - Romance is NOT Dead!

After 25 years, anything can get stale and romance is no exception.  As young newlyweds we could NOT be a part from each other - it was the farthest thing from either of our minds.

There was a time when we were visiting an aunt, and we were sitting so close to each other on the sofa you would've thought the other part was dirty.  Even she made a cute comment.

Any how life happens. Frequencies change. Bodies morph in to shapeless blobs (or not). Perspectives change.

We're working hard, having children, and juggling all of our responsibilities.

One of the beautiful things about a long marriage is that no matter what, you have each other and you know how to make each other smile, or put a twinkle in the eye.

But sometimes it feels like you should try something new.

So there was one time when we were both trying to up our romance game and we went to a popular marriage site.  My husband tried buying flowers for me once a week, and while I appreciated the gesture I told him he didn't have to do it anymore - I knew he loved me. He was doing it because he thought it would make me happy.  I was happy but the flowers weren't making me happier and it became a waste.
I also tried making a candlelight dinner at a popular romantic's suggestion.  I did that ONCE - maybe I should do it again.

If it feels forced, it takes away the romance factor.  So for us it's the little things - cooking a special meal because someone likes it, buying dinner because I'm too tired, doing the dishes, telling a joke and the other laughing, having an inside joke, a special look shared just by the two of us, hugging in the parking lot.

Because when you get right down to it, we may be old but we are not cold!!!!
That's us!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thoughts on Moving - Location, Location, Location

Yesterday at church we chatted with a couple that have lived in Los Angeles all of their lives. As someone who had lived here all of his life he mentioned that he was surprised that Angelenos appear to be insular; and he couldn't figure out why that appeared to be so. He came to this conclusion after his house was broken in to while he was on vacation. This incident forced him and his wife to come out of their comfort zone and chat with their neighbors but it seems like the neighbors were quite comfortable in their boxes. No one saw anything suspicious activity around their house while they were gone. It almost seems as if most of the neighbors were truly minding their own business. Since the break in they've made an effort to connect with their neighbors.

We debated the merits of why the locals seem to stick to themselves, but came up with no good answers.

Later that day, I decided to talk to a neighbor. It's LA, so there's always something being filmed. The whole neighborhood received notices that the reality show "I Hate My Yard" was being filmed on our block. So we all knew which house it was (not because the yard was ugly, but because the notice stated the address). Being curious, I started to talk to this particular neighbor and she invited me over to see what the show had done so far. As we were leaving her yard, she saw my Little One on her scooter and recognized her from school. It turns out they both knew each other.

“Walls people build around themselves” Quote

All  of this got me thinking about insularity:

  • Someone has got to be brave and say hello first. 
  • People are usually really welcoming if you are friendly. 
  • You might not get a connection the first time but you have to be persistent, especially if it's who you are. 
  • It's worth it in the long run. 
  • People may have built walls around themselves and perhaps have forgotten the reasons why. 
  • It's easy to stay to yourself, harder to reach out, but more rewarding. 
  • We won't know what each person is going through until we start talking to them. 
  • At their core most people want to connect. 
  • Life is more fun with friendly neighbors.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. James 2:8 (NIV)

Do you know your neighbors? Do you make an effort to connect with them? Why would an entire town, village, etc be known as being insular?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Parental Pressure

When I was a child it did not seem such a big deal or a self-esteem crusher if my parents did not attend my events at school. I can count on one hand the number of times my parents came to a track meet; and when they came, I can't honestly say that it mattered. I performed no better or worse than if they were not there.

Fast forward to when I became a parent. Apparently it is expected that we attend ALL of our children's events, and participate in ALL of their activities. If you have more than one child, just imagine. Each time I go to another recital, another spring concert, another open house, all I can think of is sacrifice. While I dearly love my children I do not think it makes me a better parent if I attend every event, nor do I think it damages a child's self-esteem if I don't. Nowadays, we are also expected to sit down each night and do homework. When I was a child I do not remember my parents doing homework with me; yet I was a straight A student.

Annually, at the Little One's school each student is required to do a science project. Every year, without fail the parents are pulled in to this endeavor and there is some underlying resentment on the parents' part. I remember making fossils as a child (one of my only science projects). I remember having to buy ingredients and my mom not knowing what the items were. I remember following the directions to make the fossils and my mom being mildly amused as I actually made the fossils. Her input was to buy the products, the rest was up to me and this is exactly how I try to approach these projects, though I have to admit in prior years I have put so much pressure on myself, the project felt like mine. On top of all of this, sometimes the school did reward the parents' effort, but more often than not, it was the child who did all the work himself that got the better grade - the child whose board did not look perfect but could articulate what he did. So it seems we are driving ourselves crazy so that we as parents can have bragging rights. When you think about it, that’s not the point.

I'm saying all this to say, as parents we have to draw a line. Yes, we want our children to succeed but their success is not because we did it for them, but because they did it. It is our job to nurture, and provide guidance and then step back and let them learn. As in science projects and life - we can't do it for them.

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness. Titus 2:7 NIV

Have you caved in to parental pressure? Do you allow your child to do all of their work or do you "help?" How do you feel when your child earns a good grade with your help?