I love taking a word and really focusing on the true meaning and depth it can offer along this journey in life and “Takin Time Out!” This week I decided to share my Word of The Year 2014 – “AWARENESS!” During the past couple of years I have become more in tune with my surroundings and opportunities that presents themselves in so many ways on a daily basis. I feel as if I am more intuitive and I am able to act more and make things happen based on my instincts when certain moments, opportunities or circumstances present themselves. Maybe it is the mother in me. However, through my quiet time each morning I feel the Holy Spirit really at work. It has been an incredible journey and makin some unforgettable memories happen. In this last “Halftime” of life it truly makes me HaPpY! I am hoping to take it to the next level this year!
God has wired me with a servant’s heart and I truly love to do and give back to others in special ways. “AWARENESS” of those individuals Love Languages or likes and dislikes can make it a more a personable journey. Sometimes the reflection is heartwarming, sometimes it is very emotional, while other moments bring laughter, I am not quit witted as I would like to be but usually someone will pick up on something I have done or said and add that part to the mix. Oh what fun the adventure can bring.
Mentioning Love Language have you read the book or listened to the audio book written by Gary Chapman? It is one of my top ten must read books of all times. It will help you to express your heartfelt commitment to your mate, children, loved ones and even co-workers or people you are close to. Once you determine how that person is wired and the love language they speak you can relate to that person on a much deeper level. The added bonus it cuts down on your frustration and you also will fill that person Love Tank up and life can go much smoother. There are five to choose from Let me expand on each one from excerpts in the book to give you a better “AWARENESS”.
Words of Affirmation
One time when my wife and I were visiting our daughter and son-in-law and our two grandchildren, our son-in-law took the garbage out after dinner. When he walked back into the room where we were talking with our daughter, she looked up and said, “John thanks for taking the garbage out.”
Inside I said, “Yes!” because I knew the power of appreciation. I can’t tell you how many men and women have sat in my office over the past 30 years and said to me, “I work my tail off every day, yet my spouse acts like I haven’t done a thing. I never get a single word of appreciation.”
If your spouse’s primary love language is words of affirmation, your spoken praise and appreciation will fall like rain on parched soil. Before long, you will see new life sprouting in your marriage as your spouse responds to your words of love.
Acts of Service
Do you remember the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words”? For some people, that is particularly true of love. If acts of service are your spouse’s primary love language, nothing will speak more deeply to him or her emotionally than simple acts of service.
Maxine, who had been married for 15 years, came to my office one day because she was frustrated with her marriage. Listen to what she said: “I don’t understand David. Every day he tells me that he loves me, but he never does anything to help me. He just sits on the couch watching TV while I wash the dishes, and the thought never crosses his mind to help me. I’m sick of hearing ‘I love you.’ If he loved me, he would do something to help me.”
Maxine’s primary love language is acts of service (not words of affirmation), and even though her husband, David, loved her, he had never learned to express his love in a way that made her feel loved. However, after David and I talked and he read The Five Love Languages, he got the picture and started speaking Maxine’s love language. In less than a month, her love tank was beginning to fill up, and their marriage moved from winter to spring.
The next time I talked to Maxine, she said, “It’s wonderful. I wish we had come for counseling 10 years ago. I never knew about the love languages. I just knew I didn’t feel loved.”
In every society throughout human history, gift giving has been perceived as an expression of love. Giving gifts is universal, because there is something inside the human psyche that says if you love someone, you will give to him or her.
What many people do not understand is that for some people, receiving gifts is their primary love language. It’s the thing that makes them feel loved most deeply. If you’re married to someone whose primary love language is gift giving, you will make your spouse feel loved and treasured by giving gifts on birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and “no occasion” days.
The gifts need not be expensive or elaborate; it’s the thought that counts. Even something as simple as a homemade card or a few cheerful flowers will communicate your love to your spouse. Little things mean a lot to a person whose primary love language is receiving gifts.
If your spouse’s love language is quality time, giving him or her your undivided attention is one of the best ways you can show your love. Some men pride themselves on being able to watch television, read a magazine, and listen to their wives, all at the same time. That is an admirable trait, but it is not speaking the love language of quality time.
Instead, you must turn off the TV, lay the magazine down, look into your mate’s eyes, and listen and interact. To your spouse, 20 minutes of your undivided attention – listening and conversing – is like a 20-minute refill of his or her love tank.
Men, if you really want to impress your wife, the next time she walks into the room while you are watching a sporting event, put the television on mute and don’t take your eyes off her as long as she’s in the room. If she engages you in conversation, turn the TV off and give her your undivided attention. You will score a thousand points and her love tank will be overflowing.
We have long known the emotional power of physical touch. That’s why we pick up babies and touch them tenderly. Long before an infant understands the meaning of the word love, he or she feels loved by physical touch.
In marriage, the love language of physical touch includes everything from putting a hand on your mate’s shoulder as you walk by, touching his or her leg as you’re driving together, and holding hands while you’re walking to kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse.
If physical touch is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing communicates love more clearly than for you to take the initiative to reach out and touch your mate.
Aren’t these incredible examples and could you relate to one or two of the situations? Do you know your love language or those you love? I hope you will consider picking up a copy if you haven’t already. I have the audio and love to listen to it often as I am a bit remedial and learn from it each and every time.
Shortly after my last child graduated High School, I decided to give my family a quiz or survey on certain subject matters. I am always trying to improve my relationship or “AWARENESS” and make things special for each of my loved ones. These are a few of the questions I asked:
1) What is your Favorite Home Cooked Meal?
2) What is your Favorite Place to Eat Out?
3) What is your Favorite Holiday?
4) What was your Favorite Church we attended growing up and why? (We changed a few times along the way, livin in the Big City you can do that)
5) Who was your favorite pet and why?
6) What is your favorite dessert?
7) What is your favorite appetizer?
8) What is your favorite beverage?
9) Where would you volunteer?
10)If you could go on a mission trip where would it be?
11)What is your favorite room in the house?
12)If you had a choice in receiving a gift, or getting together or going somewhere, which would it be and why?
13) What was your favorite family trip or outing and why?
14) What is your favorite game to play?
15) Do you like to work puzzles?
16) If you could take a trip where would you go and why?
17) Are you in favor of Mom and Dad selling the house and moving – Why or why not? And if so where…Lake? Golf Course? Or the Country?
18) From your childhood what do you wish I would have done differently?
19) What is your favorite memory?
20) What is your favorite book and/or movie?
This gave me such an insight to each person, you know I thought I knew the answer to most but I was wrong on quite a few. Now on their birthday I can fix their favorite home cooked meal, dessert or we take them out to eat at their favorite restaurant. When I want to volunteer for something and not go by myself I know who to ask. Maybe I want to work that jigsaw puzzle on the wintery “Takin Time Out” I know who will help and who won’t! I recently bought a game and there are several topic editions of different subject matters on Table Talk Trivia, it has various questions and you draw a card read the question and answer it. I love how you get to know that person better, you are surprised at some of the answers but bottom line you become more intentionally “AWARE”. I encourage you to pick up the game it is great for a dinner party or small gathering you have allot of laughs. We try to play each Sunday Night when we gather as a family for dinner.
I believe we need to be more “AWARE” of our bodies and watch for unexpected changes we can detect many things early and head off any potential life threatening illnesses if we are “AWARE” and act upon them. I am not encouraging you to be a hypochondriac but sometimes there are little signs you need to see a doctor or nurse practitioner about. Make sure we get our regular routine checkups, dental cleanings and checkup, take our herbs and vitamins. Drink plenty of water and exercise while maintaining a healthy diet. As we grow older certain things we might be deficient on and we prevent further damage or complications down the road.
Speaking of “Awareness”, I believe Facebook has been a positive result of connecting with old friends and folks I grew up with in the same tight knit community from my childhood. As many of you know I moved away several years ago, my parents and sister have also moved away but our roots and relationships remain deep. If you had the opportunity to grow up in rural America you will know what I mean. Once a friend always a friend or if you had a certain last name they respected even if they never met you but they knew your parents, grandparents or sibling you were their friend. Do you understand what I am trying to say? Oh yes I forgot to mention they may be your distant relative or next of kin as well. LOL…
With that said, I have reconnected with many people I probably would never see again. For those of you on Facebook I hope you can relate to what I am saying. I love that I have a relationship with those friends & family that are half way around the world or right in my back yard and I didn’t even know it. We have connected again and they are part of my daily life just as they once were. Yes I will agree sometimes I don’t really care how many times they went to the gym (guilt maybe), what they had for dinner (I am dieting) or where they are vacationing (I am jealous). LOL don’t take it personal if I hit a nerve. But most of the time I do care and like or comment on their post because maybe they are wanting to make improvements or changes in their life and I can be that encourager or coach to help motivate them and cheer them on and vice versa. It’s all about being “AWARE” and acting upon it.
This summer there was one post from a friend making a statement to her cousin who lives in Dallas maybe they could get together for lunch sometime on I-35 since they were only a couple hours away from one another. My “AWARENESS” radar kicked in and I was planning a business trip to Austin and had asked my cousin to ride down with me since it was her birthday and thought she might like to get out of town for a few days. I contacted the friend that lived a couple hours away and asked her to meet us at my favorite “Takin Time Out” retreat in Saledo for dinner but I wanted to surprise my cousin since we all hadn’t seen each other in many years. Each of our parents were good friends growing up but time, circumstances and our move away from that community we had lost touch through the years. It was exciting and heartwarming to spend a few hours into the wee morning catching up and reminiscing about old times. Connection and “AWARENESS” was key in this memory makin event.
Just last month I reached out to another friend and we met for lunch. I loved the reconnection, catching up, sharing each of the trials, tribulations, relationships, ages and stages of the kids…it was great. We both have a different story to tell but the fact we were born in that same small town community gave us our roots and that makes us unique. Special Memories are being made all because I became more “AWARE” and connected through Facebook. I know social media sometimes gets a bad rap but personally I feel it is all in moderation. Do not let it consume too much of your time or become an addiction and lose sight of keeping those face to face personal relationships. Be smart and set boundaries is my advice to us all.
As I sit here sipping on a steaming cup of hot China Tip Green Tea…I recently read an article of how God directs the lives and paths of Christians in many ways and often uses the Bible to speak to us. Again “AWARENESS”, the word of God is powerful and changes the hearts of those that hear it and live by it. It is a great idea to memorize Bible Verses and then to go back to them throughout your life as situations come up and you are “AWARE” and ready giving instruction, encouragement and inspiration for our daily walk with God…here are my top 5 from that article.
#1 – Seek what is Pure
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
#2 Be aware of the spiritual battle
1 Peter 5:8-10
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
#4 Be Content with what God has given you
Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
When opportunities present themselves I always want to be the hand and feet of Jesus. However, in this crazy mixed up world I know we have to walk with caution and use our heads and hearts wisely but it doesn’t mean to keep our blinders on or our head in the buried sand. We need to react when situations present themselves. Every morning on my way to work I see this same girl walking to HS school. I do not know her or her parents personally but they do live in our neighborhood. Now the school is just a few blocks away and during nice weather I think it’s great to walk and get the exercise but this week it was bitter cold and all she had was a light weight jacket and she was shaking her hands to try to keep them warm and circulation to move. I really wanted to ask her if she wanted a ride but knew I shouldn’t so I slowly drive by and by the time I got to the stop sign the light bulb went off. I had an extra pair of warm gloves in my console, so I rolled down the window and offered her my gloves, she thanked me and asked how she could return them or repay me, I said not to worry about it keep warm and have a great day. I pulled away feeling so much better and knew I was able to help even if it wasn’t a warm ride to school.
As I continue “Takin Time Out” reflecting on this journey called life, I hope something sparked a fire with you this week, to make a change, enhance your life, pick a word you want to expand upon or just sit back and breathe a little deeper and relax a bit more. Look around, visualize like we discussed last week and become more “AWARE”. What have you been missing? Until next time my dear friend…enjoy and observe a little more…