Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Language Are You Speaking?

Sometimes in the midst of wearing my laundress hat, teacher hat, mom hat, wife hat or any one of my other millinery options, I forget which language I need to be speaking; or as I recently found out, don't even know which language is most appropriate for the situation.  No, I haven't become bilingual and disoriented.  It's not Spanish or French to which I refer.

The kids recently resurrected the discussion of "The Five Love Languages".  As a matter of fact, a couple of them had been to the website and taken the assessment.  As you might imagine, an animated discussion ensued, and I was left a little dejected.  I realized that I had been blowing it with a certain child...really, seriously not speaking the right language AT ALL! 

Patrick and I can joke about them as we've discussed the love languages plenty over the years.  We laugh because we are so opposite.  If one of the languages is at the top of his list, it's at the bottom of mine and vise versa.  It makes for comical moments.  For Patrick, Acts of Service communicates love and affection to him.  So when he rattles off a list of things he's accomplished for me...a to-do list I didn't even know needed to be done...I can know that he did those things because he loves me.  And I, in turn, can smile and thank him profusely because I know it's his language (instead of doing what comes natural to me...staring blankly and wondering why I would care if my van tires were rotated and transmission system flushed out).

You can laugh it us, but this used to be a big deal in our marriage.  This is the honest to goodness truth---early in our marriage, Patrick would vacuum the house.  I don't mean zipping the machine through the middle of the room.  I mean moving furniture, dusting off baseboards and really going to town with the vacuum cleaner.  I would get defensive and moody (okay, downright pouty)  because I was hearing "you don't keep the house as clean as I would like it, so I'll just do it myself."   In reality, he was just speaking the love language that comes most naturally to him...and assumed I was listening in the same language he was speaking.

Needless to say, Patrick and I have come a long way, but I've realized I need to figure out a way to speak to the kids in their primary love language.  I confess, it feels a little overwhelming to think about keeping it all straight with four maybe I need a flow chart or a giant reminder on the refrigerator.  But thinking about how being in tune with the kids' love languages would pay huge dividends makes it worth the effort.  Maybe I can give a follow up post on my success and/or failure in this area.

If you are unfamiliar with love languages, check out the book by Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages and The Five Love Languages of Children.

What about you and your spouse?  Do you speak the same language?  Or at least recognize that you don't speak the same language and make an effort to translate?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

And the Winner Is...

 Woo hoo...Hannah and Lacey!  Lacey and Hannah have won several first place ribbons in the halter class against other mares, but yesterday she won the championship class...beating all the girls AND the boys.  Here are Patrick and Hannah showing off her winnings: a new lead rope, a bucket and some horse grooming supplies.

Hannah and Ginger- it may well have been their final show together.  It was another rough performance, but Hannah looked good trying to ride the Little Red Mare. (Note the sparkly teal shirt and matching show pad on Ginger)

In fact, Ginger and Hannah were having such a rough time, the trainers took her off Ginger and had her ride Lacey for her final riding class.  Yep, after combing catalogs and websites for a show pad that would match Hannah's teal and black she is completely clashing with Lacey's lime green pad. Painful for the costume mom in me...but after seeing Hannah nearly take a spill on the very nervous Ginger in the show last week, I was happy to see her safe and sound on Lacey...clashing or not.

No matter who she's riding, Hannah rolls with the punches.  

 Let's hear it for #314!

After the show, it was on to the Father Daughter Ball.

Yes, it's the obligatory photo of one of the girls licking the ice sculpture.

Such loving sisters - always!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, Patrick.  Okay, so maybe we weren't nineteen and twenty-one, but I think non-profit work for nearly twenty years definitely qualifies us for "dancing in the minefield". 

'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found

I wouldn't trade our life together for anything.  Thank you for loving me, caring for me and the many ways you lay your own life down for the kids and me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

That's Why I Married Him

"A happy marriage has in it all the pleasures of friendships, all the enjoyment of sense and reason - and indeed all the sweets of life. - Joseph Addison
After more than twenty years, my husband still amazes me.  He loves people...really and truly loves people.  In his line of work, he's always giving and pouring himself out.  And honestly, it wears me out to watch it.  Seriously, sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me, and I ask myself, "How can I be that hard-hearted...or plain selfish?"

Just yesterday it happened again.  We rolled out of bed early, early Saturday morning to be on the road to Savannah by 7am.  While he met with the board of directors at a pregnancy center there, Hannah, Victoria and I took care of some shopping that can only be done in Savannah or Jax.  After a whirlwind shopping adventure, we picked Patrick up and headed home...or so I thought.  He suggested a couple more stops and on the way home I half-heartedly mentioned that we could still squeeze in a workout at the Y.  He was up for it.  I resigned myself to it.

Then on the way home from the Y, a stop at Target AND the office, a thought popped into my head.  "We really need to call so-and-so to check on her."  Patrick hopped right on the idea and suggested I call and ask her to go to dinner.  Ummm...I was pretty tired by that point and quickly put the breaks on that thought.  It had been a long day right.  I had nothing left to give out, right?

We arrived home and guilt got the better of me.  I conceded we should call her (it was already 6pm) and see if she wanted to "do dinner".  Patrick wasted no time, called and caught her in the middle of carrying a bowl of soup to the table. Of course the soup could be refrigerated and yes, she'd love to join us.  I groaned but told myself I could rally.

Turns out, this dear friend had been feeling low.  Yesterday was the 2 month anniversary of her husband's death, and she had spend 2 days working through paperwork and really had wanted to get out of the house.  She'd made several attempts to arrange dinner plans to no avail.  She had resigned herself to dinner alone when Patrick called.  My husband's invite was balm to her soul.

I sat there at dinner thoroughly ashamed of myself ---ashamed that I'd almost deprived this precious lady of much needed fellowship, and ashamed that I sometimes get irritated with Patrick's go-get em attitude.

Thankfully someone in this marriage is endowed with sense and reason...and a heart that keeps on giving.  I don't know where I'd be without him.

How 'bout you?  What's something about your spouse that sometimes irritates you, but really is a gift to your marriage?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cut From a Different Cloth

Ginger and Hannah

I think the reason I find Hannah so inspiring is how different she is from me.  While she and I being polar opposites doesn't always translate into smooth school days, it does help me embrace perspectives I wouldn't normally see.    Hannah rode Ginger, aka the Little Red Mare, in a show for the first time.  It was...interesting.  The first two Western classes weren't too bad...she even managed to place sixth in both of them (there were only eight in the class) .  But the English classes, well...the English Pleasure was something akin to watching a train wreck: the longer it went on the more painful it became to watch and more disastrous if felt.  It went so poorly in fact that she decided to scratch the English Equitation class.

And I left the show scratching my head.  Hannah had worked so hard for the past year with Lacy, the big ole halter horse that she showed in the State Show, I was a bit sad to have abandoned  a horse that Hannah was consistently winning on.  Hannah had helped transform Lacy from a horse not so affectionately called "demon" and "heathen" to a lesson horse that actually earns her keep.  I was thinking, "Can't we just rest on our laurels for a little while, enjoy winning and coast through this show season?"

Not Hannah!  Not the slightest bit discouraged by the poor show, she is energized.  I actually think she's more excited by the prospect of transforming Ginger into a great show horse that she would be hopping on an already proven horse.

Isn't that one of the joys of parenting - learning from and being challenged by our kids?  God uses our kids to stretch us out of our comfort zone and show us things about ourselves that we might never see without them.  So, the next time Hannah and I are going head to head, I need to remind myself how much I can learn from her tenaciousness and spunk.