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Tomorrow is my husband’s 30th birthday. In honor of that, I have compiled a list of 30 reasons why I love him. The list goes far beyond 30 but I doubt he’ll live to 10 million.

30 Reasons Why I Love You

1.      Whenever you get up before me in the mornings, you push your pillow up against my back because you know I don’t sleep well without something to cuddle with.

2.      You’re so unbelievably smart about computers and math and all of those left-brained things.

3.      You make me feel beautiful every single day.

4.      You laugh easily and loudly and truly enjoy life.

5.      You don’t let things ruffle your feathers and whenever shit happens, you deal instead of having a meltdown.

6.      You always tell me the truth, even when it hurts.

7.      You have beautiful eyes.

8.      You dance with me in parking lots and catch me when I trip because I’m wearing flip flops.

9.      You hold me when I need you to.

10.  You clean and go through closets and organize because I ask you to.

11.  You don’t get mad when I move things and you can’t find them.

12.  You dream with me.

13.  You always kiss me goodnight.

14.  You don’t expect me to pack your lunches but you’re always appreciative when I do.

15.  You are good at compromising.

16.  You worked your way through JustFaith even though reading isn’t your thing.

17.  You love the Colts and very vocally watch them play.

18.  You make me laugh.

19.  You care about the people in your life and make time for them.

20.  You’re good at what you do and, even though you’re confident about it, you don’t let it go to your head.

21.  You care about what happens to people in other countries and those who have less than we do.

22.  You do things for the right reason because you believe they are the right thing to do.

23.  You honestly don’t give a damn about being popular or cool or any of the high school antics that people should outgrow. In fact, you didn’t care even when you were in high school.

24.  You aren’t concerned about keeping up with the Joneses.

25.  You show me that you love me even in the smallest of ways.

26.  You have strong convictions.

27.  You are willing to grow and change.

28.  You deal with all of my neuroses and OCD quirks and the millions of things I do that would drive most people crazy.

29.  You think for yourself.

30.  You chose me to be your wife. 🙂

Happy birthday, beloved. I am so lucky to be married to you. I love you!

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What does it mean to love someone? I’m not talking about the mushy romantic love that Hollywood would have us believe is real life. Rather the day to day, through the drudge of life, “yes, you sometimes piss me off but I still choose to love you” kind of love. What does that look like? Are we capable of loving accurately, as God intended?

I went to a prayer meeting last Wednesday where pastors and ministry workers from all over the city gather together to pray and encourage one another. I prayed with an amazing man named Geoff. I asked for prayer for wisdom in how to love and heal certain relationships in my life. Geoff believes that we aren’t capable of loving accurately. We can’t. We might be able to come close. But to truly love another person, to be fully patient, kind, not easily angered, never giving up, we don’t have that in us. Only Christ can do that. Only Papa knows when to love someone by holding them and when to use “tough love”. Because we can’t see everything and we don’t know everything. There are multiple sides to every story, which is why I always hesitate to rush in and only believe one side.

In the Bible, we read of a woman who had committed many sexual sins with many different men. The Pharisees dragged her out in front of the crowd and the crowd was prepared to stone her. I always found it interesting that the man whom she must have been caught with was nowhere to be found. They didn’t care about her side. They only wanted to make an example of her, to cause Jesus to lose His good standing in the eyes of the people. Instead of rebuking her or stoning her or guilting her or demanding that she be punished more, Jesus simply said “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she replied. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I have been in many circles and many settings where people are ostracized for their mistakes. The second that someone doesn’t fit into the box that a group has created, the second they screw up, the second they show that they are human, they are kicked out. There is no forgiveness. No mercy. No second chance. No “Today, I start”. People make mistakes. It’s a part of life. Our job, as Christians, is to walk beside them the best we can. Christ calls us to first love God and then to love others as we love ourselves. But I know too many people who call themselves Christians who only love as long as the other person meets their needs or fits their profile. Christ also called us to forgive our enemies. “What gain is there in loving those who love you?” Loving people whom you get along with, who love you, who you agree with most of the time, that’s easy. Loving the people who drive you crazy? Loving the people who you wish weren’t part of your group/church? Loving the people who hurt you? That is hard. It’s as hard as forgiving those people for the wrongs they commit against you.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” – Gandhi

I would argue that the same can be said for love. Loving people is hard. It’s a choice. It takes courage and strength. It takes a willingness to be hurt. It takes patience. But can we really call ourselves Christians if we aren’t willing to do this? If there is a fault that I could live with having, I would want people to say “She loves too much.”

Loving someone doesn’t mean you have to hang out with them all the time. There is such a thing as a toxic relationship and I do believe that some people need to be kept separated. I don’t go looking to spend time with the man who abused me. But I forgive him. And I don’t wish him ill. I try to pray that God blesses his life. It’s hard and I don’t always succeed. But I try. Because otherwise I have no business saying “Forgive us our tresspasses as we also forgive those who tresspass against us.” Because being a Christian doesn’t just mean “Oh, I get to go to heaven when I die and screw the rest of you!” Being a Christian means you are an image-bearer of Christ. He was crucified on a cross because he loved people who spit on him and hated him and whipped him and called him names. In light of that, does loving your ex sound quite so hard? Does loving the person who doesn’t quite fit into the mold that your church/group has formed sound like the biggest challenge? It’s still hard. But we are not alone. If we believe the Bible, then the Holy Spirit is alive and at work in each of us and that means that we have His help. “Be holy as I am holy.” Love as He loves. Forgive as He forgives. Because nothing can separate us from the love of our Papa. And if we are His children, we should strive to imitate Him.

Watching: ‘Grease Summer Nights Legos’

Thinking: This lady’s house is the death house. I’m getting sick AGAIN!

How to Annoy Me: Try and make me walk over one of those grates. 😛

How to Charm Me: Be willing to make our relationship work out for the best.

Quote of the Day: Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life. – Leo Buscaglia

Random Quirk: To make sense of my “annoy”, walking over the sewer grates downtown scares me quite a bit. I avoid them at all costs.

Daily Photo: daily-8

Listening: ‘Say It Ain’t So’ by Weezer

Reading: Since this is how I’ve spent the past 3 days…

Thinking: Is it the sign of a problem when you use alcohol to take your vitamins?

Feeling Guilty: For showing Mikayla how to dip her fries in her Wendy’s frosty. That way she’s getting milk *and* potato!

How to Annoy Me: Decide that I am only going through the motions of concern and carry the damn box. (Rat bastard…)

How to Charm Me: Loudly inform our mother that the moon is “pretty”, not “purty”.

Quote of the Day: True love doesn’t have a happy ending, because true love never ends. Letting go is one way of saying “I love you”. – Author Unknown

Daily Photo: daily-4

Listening: ‘So Beautiful’ by Darren Hayes

Reading: *smiles*

Thinking: Is it bad that my password for my blog not working nearly caused me to have a conniption?

How to Annoy Me: Drive like a maniac even though the road is a sheet of ICE!

How to Charm Me: Give me a present that displays your unconditional love for me and didn’t cost you a dime.

Quote of the Day: However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship. – Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Watching: ‘Donnie Darko’

Thinking: It’s not comforting when your little brother says “If someone comes to the door, don’t answer. They’re expecting money I don’t have.” And then when you ask if they will be toting a gun, little brother answers, “I hope not!”

How to Annoy Me: Keep asking me if I’m talking to so-and-so and then ask if you asking makes me self-conscious and when I say yes, decide to torture me for being honest.

How to Charm Me: Let us take our quiz together so I have a better chance of getting a good score.

Quote of the Day: Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu

Watching: Dublin/Ireland Slang (I’m such a sucker for accents. “They haven’t got a cloo……” :-D)

Reading: Toddlers: What Do They Eat?! (I like her dinner rules. We had very similar rules in my house and I obviously did not starve myself to death.)

Thinking: One more day!

How to Annoy Me: Make fun of my dependency on coffee. I KNOW I HAVE A PROBLEM! 😉

How to Charm Me: Let us go outside and look at rocks for the first half hour of Geology because it’s nice out.

Quote for the Day: Love makes you smile when you are tired. – Unknown

Listening: ‘I Got You, Babe’ by Sonny and Cher (In honor of Rob. 😉 )

Thinking: I don’t know if it’s right for one person to feel this much love in her heart. My cup runneth over. 🙂

How to Annoy Me: *curses under breath at the sewing machine*

How to Charm Me: Pray over me and our friendship.

Quote for the Day: The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. – Thomas Merton

Book Recommendation: ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ by J.K. Rowling (Say what you want about these books. They are well-written books that got kids reading again. And morality is not the point anyway. 😉 )

Listening: ‘Come On, Get Higher’ by Matt Nathanson

Reading: ‘Marriage and Love’ (If you think *I’m* cynical about marriage, read this! And if I ever get married, this is going on the programs. “Ye who enter here leave all hope behind.” :-D)

Thinking: Oh noes!

How to Annoy Me: Try to control me.

How to Charm Me: Laugh at my stupid jokes when I’m exhausted from not sleeping.

Quote for the Day: Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

Book Recommendation: ‘Crunchy Cons’ by Rod Dreher (It’s a “political” book but I don’t know much about politics and I found it an easy read.)

Listening: ‘Moonlight Kiss’ by Bap Kennedy

Reading: ‘Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’ by David J. Garrow (Also known as my new doorstop. The thing is huge.)

Thinking: What an exhausting two days.

How to Annoy Me: Drive exactly the speed limit.

How to Charm Me: Hug me tight and tell me it’s going to be okay.

Quote for the Day: Never in the world does hatred cease by hatred; hatred ceases by love. – Buddha