Intentionally Relational. That's it. That's my "catch phrase" for the new year approaching. It's so much more than catchy phrase or lofty ideal. It is my heart's desire. My passion. I love people. I love nurturing heart connections. I love communicating openly, lovingly, and intentionally. It is not always easy though.
Have you ever felt misunderstood? Misrepresented? Misplaced in the grand scheme of life and love? Of family and friends? It stinks, it hurts, it really crushes if you are someone who really loves being relational. Someone who loves deeply, can grieve deeply when that love is not reciprocated or when that love is misunderstood.
Some people invest most of their lives communicating love to their family and friends. Actions often speaking louder than words. Parents experience this with their children. A parent's needs are often secondary to that of her children. The need for her children to feel loved, cherished, and protected is primal, a part of her innermost being. Spouses experience this as they row through life's waters together. Sometimes bailing out the boat and other times gliding down the stream with relative ease, but all the while communicating love and commitment.
This year has definitely held many amazing moments. So many celebrations have taken place in my heart and in the hearts of those that I love. Thankfulness abounds! If I were being very honest though, I would have to say that this year has also been a very heartbreaking year. I have felt misrepresented, misplaced, and above all misunderstood for quite some time now. I have done some serious soul searching to see how I can change this tide, how to navigate this stormy side of life that honestly caught me off guard. Maybe that is a problem in itself. Being "on guard" hardly allows for intentional, honest communication. Relationships suffer if walls are built up to shelter the heart.
So, although it may be "safer" to retreat into our self made shelters, are we really being relational? Are we sincerely seeking to intentionally connect our hearts with others even if we may be disappointed from time to time? Or even if we may be the source of disappointment from time to time?
Being intentionally relational is experiencing life on life with others. No holds barred. No barriers. Loving others where they are. Loving others for who they are. Believing the best about others. Asking the sometimes tough questions and COMMUNICATING in order to alleviate any false assumptions. Looking at the big picture. Being focused on someone's heart and not their flaws because really, we are all flawed. Above all, in my mind, being intentionally relational is seeking the very best for other people. Giving them our very true selves. The real us. No walls, no falsehoods, no judgements, no selfish conditions. Only love and life. That's my heart's desire. That's my passion.
Intentionally relational. That's my catch phrase for 2015. How about you? What is your desire for this new year ahead?
The gifts were already open. The long dreamed of toy kitchen sat staring blankly, oven door open in a silent scream, plastic food chewed. Shredded wrapping paper, busted game pieces, and crushed ornaments littered the living room floor. The tree tilted awkwardly toward the broken sliding glass door as if it were trying desperately to escape the sad little scene.
Oh, that Christmas so, so long ago. Two tiny broken hearts amidst all those broken toys. Broken door, broken dreams, broken family...
Christmas may be the hardest time of the year for some people. All the "togetherness" of the season accentuates the loneliness of those who are grieving. Grieving the loss of a loved one, the death of a dream. Broken hearts, broken homes.
We can offer gifts to those who are lost and lonely by being there for them. Opening our hearts and homes to those who need love and comfort. We can share our faith, our food, our families and friends. So many unopened gifts...
Wednesday, I participated in an inspiring photo journaling project called One Day. The One Day Project (#OneDayHH) was hosted via Instagram by one of my favorite bloggers, Laura Tremaine, of the Hollywood Housewife blog (www.hollywoodhousewife.com).
Pictures are one of my passions in life, right along with anything chocolate and peanut butter, coffee, and sleeping children. So, Wednesday I had a great time photographing many of the seemingly mundane aspects of our life. Here are some of the pictures and a few thoughts that I shared on Instagram at the end of One Day.
For years now we have shopped at the big box wholesale stores. 6 monkeys + two parents + people who are crazy enough to visit us + random animals = a hunka, hunka box store love. I mean, where else can you buy a case of Ramen Noodles big enough to feed a college student for all four years?
"Shopping" is actually the wrong verb. "Schlepping" is more like it. Anytime you go to a store to pick up lunch supplies and come out with a 5 pound jar of peanut butter, a six pack of sliced bread, a crate of bananas (or enough supplies to feed an army of Elvises or is it Elvi?) and a giant inflatable jack-o-latern you are schlepping not shopping.
And really? Who uses that much spray starch besides maybe an Elvis impersonator in Vegas?
But seriously, it's not all bad. Some gigantic quantities of certain products are actually helpful. Big box shopping has it's pros and cons. Let's take a look:
1. Pro: A half ton of liquid laundry soap? With mountains of laundry accumulating on the daily? That works for me.
Con: Lifting that half ton container of liquid laundry detergent to fill that tiny measuring cup makes me feel like a female body builder competing in a clean and jerk competition.
2. Pro: 1000 rolls of toilet paper at pennies per roll.
Con: Finding a place to store 1000 rolls of toilet paper upon bringing them home. "Hey kids! Forget Legos! We've got some toilet paper rolls for you to play with!" "And tonight, you can snuggle with them at bedtime!"
I'm a researcher. I research. I research things like, "How to keep your house looking good if you clean it once a month or never?" or "If I eat ice cream for every meal, will I still be meeting the basic nutrition guidelines set forth by the FDA?"
Recently, I researched "How to apply your make up so that you look younger." That's when all heck broke loose! Did you know that as you age, your eyelashes lose their natural wave? That's right folks. Your eyelashes basically go flat! How's that for a bit of fun trivia on Labor Day? #gravity! #firstworlddrama
So, being the feisty and passionate person that I am about anything that might present itself as a challenge to me (or you could say that I'm slightly obsessive-compulsive), I have decided that I will not, I repeat, I will NOT allow my eyelashes to get lazy. I am on a quest. On a quest to find the ultimate gravity defying mascara. Please join me and give props to your favorite mascara here or on my Facebook page. Because really, flat eyelashes = no fun.
And if you're one of those Super Duper fortunate people that has curly eyelashes that look good without mascara, well, thank your mama, your daddy, and God because you are blessed. But do yourself a favor, don't read articles about "how to apply make up so that you look younger" because you might find out that as you age you also accumulate other types of facial hair. Oh yeah, those luscious curly eyelashes look great and all, but did you happen to see that straight wiry chin hair?