February…How Do I LOVE Thee? (Song 9 in the Countdown)

Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 9

Love is…unselfishly handing over the last piece of chocolate (and smiling when you do.)

One of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) begins with these words, “Love is patient, love is kind….” Often read aloud at weddings this verse is actually not an ode to romantic love, but rather a call to love one another and to live in a spirit of cooperation and mutuality. In this type of existence, men and women would equally look out for one another without reservation, sharing and giving wholeheartedly. When I think of that kind of love, song 9this song by Jason Mraz comes to mind. In an interview Mraz says that these lyrics speak to “giving yourself or your time to someone else.” As we near Valentine’s Day (and the pressure to find the perfect gift mounts)—I can’t help but wonder if today’s definition of love centers around quantity or quality?  How many of us would happily accept an hour of uninterrupted time with a loved one (romantic or otherwise) over a box of chocolates or a dozen roses? In so many instances giving a gift is the easy thing to do while giving yourself is what really matters most.  In this Valentine season, will you be a giver or a taker?

Coming Up: Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 10

***This post is part of an ongoing series. As part of my cup half full approach to loving the month of February, I vow to jump in with both feet and embrace the whole Valentine thing with my own custom list of Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul. Ambitious? Yes! Bold? Absolutely! Crazy? You betcha! Pointless? On just about every level. Regardless, let’s give it a go—I mean it’s February and how else am I going to get through the coldest, bleakest, cloudiest, shortest (and longest at the same time) month on the calendar. Let the countdown to Valentine’s Day begin! I (gritting teeth) LOVE February, how about YOU?

February…How Do I LOVE Thee? (Song 8 in the Countdown)

Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 8

Love is…laughing before the punch line (but the joke-teller doesn’t mind) because you both already know where this exchange is going.

What is love without laughter? Personally, I LOVE to laugh. It really is my favorite thing 🙂  This song made the list because it shows love from a yin and yang point of view. Keely Smith with her beautiful, sophisticated voice paired song 8up with Louis Prima and his talented, yet cut-up, vocal abilities. It’s the kind of duality that I can appreciate. I mean, I really think there’s something to this whole opposites attract theory. And as a more serious type, I love (and NEED) to be around others who can let loose and appreciate the lighter side of life. They keep me grounded. So maybe it’s not so much that opposites attract as it is that opposites complement and interconnect with one another. And when it comes to love, this dynamic just might be a good thing.

Coming Up: Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 9

***This post is part of an ongoing series. As part of my cup half full approach to loving the month of February, I vow to jump in with both feet and embrace the whole Valentine thing with my own custom list of Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul. Ambitious? Yes! Bold? Absolutely! Crazy? You betcha! Pointless? On just about every level. Regardless, let’s give it a go—I mean it’s February and how else am I going to get through the coldest, bleakest, cloudiest, shortest (and longest at the same time) month on the calendar. Let the countdown to Valentine’s Day begin! I (gritting teeth) LOVE February, how about YOU?

February…How Do I LOVE Thee? (Song 6 in the Countdown)

Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 6

Love is…the ability to love oneself in (and through) both good and bad times. –me

Probably one of my more controversial love song picks…. Some may find fault with the language in this one, others with the graphic themes presented in the video, but this song spoke to me the very first time I heard it. Let’s face it…loving oneself can be a tricky thing. On one hand we’re called to put others before ourselves and “make nice” yet song 6somehow maintain a healthy self-esteem without being too prideful. It can be a tough line to walk. Often in this world, though, it seems we are all too willing to sell ourselves out for love and acceptance. We see this play out time and time again and often it begins at a very young age. Playground antics have gotten meaner, bullying is all too real and extremely scarring, and the constant competitiveness in today’s society doesn’t leave much room for loving YOU. In an age where we are constantly picking ourselves apart and fearing the critique of our peers, it’s important to hear and receive the gift that we are all “wonderfully made” and of great value. Love yourself.

Coming Up: Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 7

***This post is part of an ongoing series. As part of my cup half full approach to loving the month of February, I vow to jump in with both feet and embrace the whole Valentine thing with my own custom list of Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul. Ambitious? Yes! Bold? Absolutely! Crazy? You betcha! Pointless? On just about every level. Regardless, let’s give it a go—I mean it’s February and how else am I going to get through the coldest, bleakest, cloudiest, shortest (and longest at the same time) month on the calendar. Let the countdown to Valentine’s Day begin! I (gritting teeth) LOVE February, how about YOU?

February…How Do I LOVE Thee? (Song 5 in the Countdown)

Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 5

Love is…slow dancing in the kitchen before dinner (no music required.) –me

Of all the songs on the list, this one is definitely in my top 3 (yes—the list is not in any particular order.) I’m not necessarily an Eric Clapton fan, but I find this song especially moving because it represents a very beautiful (yet simple) moment in a love story. So often we hear about these grandiose relationship gestures…epic first dates, extreme engagement stories (just Google flash mob proposals and you’ll see dozens come up) and extravagant destination weddings. These things aren’t inherently bad, some of them are quite romantic, but most lifelong love song 5stories consist of a lot of mundane and simpler moments. When the adventure is gone and all that’s left is morning breath and the laundry, I pray that we have something deeper to hold onto in our relationships. I know they’re out there, but I don’t know many sky-diving lovers in their 80s…however, nothing melts my heart like seeing a couple in their golden years walking hand in hand in the grocery store. Here’s to “little” love moments 🙂

Coming Up: Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 6

***This post is part of an ongoing series. As part of my cup half full approach to loving the month of February, I vow to jump in with both feet and embrace the whole Valentine thing with my own custom list of Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul. Ambitious? Yes! Bold? Absolutely! Crazy? You betcha! Pointless? On just about every level. Regardless, let’s give it a go—I mean it’s February and how else am I going to get through the coldest, bleakest, cloudiest, shortest (and longest at the same time) month on the calendar. Let the countdown to Valentine’s Day begin! I (gritting teeth) LOVE February, how about YOU?

February…How Do I LOVE Thee? (Song 4 in the Countdown)

Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 4

Love is…spending the day with people that you love and NOT feeling like you’ve wasted a single second of your time. –me

This little ditty marks a coming of age…when the thought of boys goes from “eeewww” to “hey there!” And what sweet little Joey McIntyre and the NKOTB crew didn’t know is that their ‘80s ballad set the bar high for what thousands of little girls were EXPECTING from their teen romances.

song 4We wanted boyfriends who would woo us, chase us, call us, be there for us, and write songs that talk about how their lives would absolutely END if we didn’t exist. That’s not too much to ask, right? The funny thing is that I’m not sure the guys ever got the message 🙂  Thank goodness for the New Kids on the Block Reunion tour—lol!

Coming Up: Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul: Song 5

***This post is part of an ongoing series. As part of my cup half full approach to loving the month of February, I vow to jump in with both feet and embrace the whole Valentine thing with my own custom list of Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul. Ambitious? Yes! Bold? Absolutely! Crazy? You betcha! Pointless? On just about every level. Regardless, let’s give it a go—I mean it’s February and how else am I going to get through the coldest, bleakest, cloudiest, shortest (and longest at the same time) month on the calendar. Let the countdown to Valentine’s Day begin! I (gritting teeth) LOVE February, how about YOU?

February…How Do I LOVE Thee? (Song 3 in the Countdown)

Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul:  Song 3

Love is…coming home to all my favorite things (people and pets included.)  -me

Home.  There’s no place like it.  It all comes back to that familiar quote—home is where the heart is.

Wherever and whatever you consider home…there’s nothing that compares to that feeling.  The familiarity, the comfort, the little things that make it “just right.”  I LOVE going home.  Home is where you can take your shoes off, where you can breathe, where you can find true peace.  And like the song says…”I wanna go home.”

There are three places that I personally consider “home.”  First, my hometown.  Although at this point in my life I’ve spent more time away from western Kansas that I actually spent growing up there, I still consider it home.  I know where (just about) everything is.  It’s where my old schools are, where great memories were made, and most importantly—it’s where most of my family still live.  Home.

song 3Second, is Lawrence, Kansas.  While attending college I had the opportunity to grow and spread my wings.  I learned to be self-reliant and develop character.  I found out my strengths and weaknesses.  I had my first taste of life on my own.  Still to this day, whenever I visit I am immediately transported back in time to a carefree existence where there was nothing but possibility and adventure at every turn.  Home.

Finally, my actual home…you know, where my stuff is at.  I think this one is more of an emotion  than an actual location.  Over the past 20+ years, I’ve moved a number of times and not just in the same town.  And, for as much as I hate packing, I actually don’t mind the moving all that much.  Wherever we can all be together that becomes my sanctuary and safe haven.  Home. 

Coming Up:  Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul:  Song 4

***This post is part of an ongoing series.  As part of my cup half full approach to loving the month of February, I vow to jump in with both feet and embrace the whole Valentine thing with my own custom list of Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul.  Ambitious?  Yes!  Bold?  Absolutely!  Crazy?  You betcha!  Pointless?  On just about every level.  Regardless, let’s give it a go—I mean it’s February and how else am I going to get through the coldest, bleakest, cloudiest, shortest (and longest at the same time) month on the calendar.  Let the countdown to Valentine’s Day begin!  I (gritting teeth) LOVE February, how about YOU?

February…How Do I LOVE Thee? (Song 2 in the Countdown)

Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul:  Song 2

 

Unrequited love.  Most of us have lived in that house at one time or another.  Boooo 😦   Still, there’s a lesson in this country music ballad.  How many times do we set ourselves up for failure in relationships in exchange for a few blissful minutes that we KNOW will turn into heartbreaking memories.  Unhealthy.  Undoubtedly.  But how else will we decide what we’re willing to settle for and discover what we truly need and want in a relationship.  This isn’t just about romantic love either.  It crosses over into family relationships and friendships as well.

Song 2I love that this song was written by Willie Nelson before he was widely known in the music industry.  Thinking about this song from the male perspective reminds me that we’re all equal in the heartache department.  Sometimes there’s health and healing in just letting go (after we’ve sufficiently cried our eyes out, of course.)

Love is…having an entire conversation through facial expressions and well-timed nods.  -me

Coming Up:  Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul:  Song 3

***This post is part of an ongoing series.  As part of my cup half full approach to loving the month of February, I vow to jump in with both feet and embrace the whole Valentine thing with my own custom list of Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul.  Ambitious?  Yes!  Bold?  Absolutely!  Crazy?  You betcha!  Pointless?  On just about every level.  Regardless, let’s give it a go—I mean it’s February and how else am I going to get through the coldest, bleakest, cloudiest, shortest (and longest at the same time) month on the calendar.  Let the countdown to Valentine’s Day begin!  I (gritting teeth) LOVE February, how about YOU?

February…How Do I LOVE Thee? (A Musical Countdown to Valentine’s Day)

Love is…an unexpected Sonic Coke (delivered), just when you need it most.  –me

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a man-hating, love-skeptic, Lifetime-movie-watching scorned type of woman.  Really.  And I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day out of a series of rotten relationships or man troubles.  (Rather, I’ve been the recipient of some truly wonderful and sentimental Valentine’s Day gifts from some sweet gentlemen callers over the years.)  Yet, I’m just not big into the Valentine thing.  The idealist in me believes that we should love each other (and act like we love each other) every single day, no holiday necessary.  The realist in me wonders why we spend so much time, energy and money picking out that special something only for that special someone to psychologically dissect it in a thousand different ways.  Uggghh.  It just feels like an unnecessary merry-go-round.  It doesn’t help much that Valentine’s Day lands smack in the middle of February—my least favorite month.

So this year I decided to approach the whole thing differently.  I’m going to start loving February.  As part of my cup half full approach, I vow to jump in with both feet and embrace the whole Valentine thing with my own custom list of Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul.  Ambitious?  Yes!  Bold?  Absolutely!  Crazy?  You betcha!  Pointless?  On just about every level.  Regardless, let’s give it a go—I mean it’s February and how else am I going to get through the coldest, bleakest, cloudiest, shortest (and longest at the same time) month on the calendar.  Let the countdown to Valentine’s Day begin!  I (gritting teeth) LOVE February, how about YOU?

Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul:  Song 1

What a fun, upbeat look at love!  Great metaphors.  Quirky and fun lyrics.  Reminds me of new love…such excitement Song 1and intensity coupled with uncertainty and hesitation.  It’s that point in a relationship where you say look I want to make you my number one, are you with me?  We’ve all been there.  It’s the moment of truth:  Will you let me lean on you?  Carry the weight without complaining about the burden?  Appreciate the good and the bad…let me be a source of joy in your life.  Pull your honey close and move to this one.  BTW…pay attention to the shadows in the video.

Coming Up:  

Love Songs to Melt Your Heart and Move Your Soul:  Song 2

Just Might Be a Cool Mom

I had this zany idea the other day…let’s make a snow day Harlem Shake video–and upload it on youtube!  What? Yeah, I know. It’s not exactly the sort of thing that pops into the head of a quiet midwest Mom (sometimes I even surprise myself.)  So, how does one arrive at the idea of a snow day Harlem Shake?  Glad you asked.  Let me walk you through it.

The whole thing started when I saw the Kansas Jayhawk basketball team’s Harlem Shake video.  A die-hard Jayhawk fan, I absolutely loved it and shared it with my kids.  They liked it.  Liked it?  That’s right, they liked it as in they watched it once and moved on.  Okay.  Mmmm, maybe this Harlem Shake thing isn’t exactly cool.  But it sure was funny and I soon found myself cruising youtube looking for more Harlem Shake videos.  Before I knew it I had watched a couple dozen videos (some good, some not so good).  Eventually, I decided to turn to everybody’s favorite source for information–Wikipedia–and find out more about these videos.  Turns out it’s this big web frenzy…complete with rules and criteria like masks, costumes, wielding objects and in some cases, very little clothing!  The whole things lasts less than one minute and I thought to myself…it might be fun to make one.  Of course, I never (ever) thought we actually would–but Mother Nature had a better plan.

Enter the big midwest snow storm!  Wednesday’s light snow and modest accumulations  (mixed with the weatherman’s doomsday overnight forecast) led us to cancel Wednesday night activities at church.  A relaxed night of Jayhawk basketball ensued (LOL that game was anything but relaxing!)  Word that school was cancelled for Thursday made room for a laid back morning and an additional 5 inches of snow created opportunities for some outdoor fun.  We could have headed to the backyard to build a snowman (I like snowmen), but blame it on the Jayhawks victory, their funny Harlem Shake video and the rare occurrence of a well-rested Mom and an idea was born.  I announced my plans over lunch.  No one was as excited as I was. 

I headed to the basement to gather some props.  I explained the “rules” of the video to the kiddos and swore that it would take 5 minutes or less to create.  Still, no one moved.  I bribed them with the promise of hot cocoa and extra play time in the snow that afternoon.  They were slow to get moving, grumbled all the way out the door, and gave me blank stares when I directed them into the yard.  My son complained that the whole thing was embarrassing (and he’s an EXTROVERT) while my daughter moped and sulked in the snow.  Three minutes later we were done and they were FREE!  They couldn’t get to their friends fast enough and I was left feeling like the “uncool” Mom with the “uncool” idea of making a Harlem Shake video. 

Fast forward to later that afternoon.  The video had been edited and uploaded.  I asked the kids to come see the finished product.  The smile that crept across their faces was priceless.  My children are hams at heart and love to see themselves on any screen.  They giggled.  They asked me to play it again.  They laughed at themselves, laughed at each other and of course, laughed at their parents.  I linked the video to my Facebook page and we laughed together throughout the day as family and friends liked and commented on our video. 

We were surprised this morning to see that our video had more than 60 views on youtube…for today’s “plugged in” kids that’s a pretty big deal.  Our snow day Harlem Shake video was the buzz at the only hill in town worth sledding on–which means… this little family project just might be labeled a success, that as parents we aren’t that lame and out of touch and finally, that for once (yes once),  I just might be a cool Mom.

No one in this world will ever love you like your Mom.   author unknown

February is the Longest Month

“February is a suitable month for dying.  Everything around is dead, the trees black and frozen so that the appearance of green shoots two months hence seems preposterous, the ground hard and cold, the snow dirty, the winter hateful, hanging on too long.”
–  Anna Quindlen, One True Thing

med234056Let me be clear. I am not a fan of the month of February. Yes, I am aware that there are a lot of fantastic holidays in February…admirable tributes like Black History Month, President’s Day, and (occasionally) Ash Wednesday.  Obviously, there are good times to be had…Ground Hog’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday, and Mardi Gras.  Then there are wacky observances like Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day (7th), Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day (11th) and Do a Grouch a Favor day (16th).  The month of February even offers special days like Random Acts of Kindness Day (17th) and Love Your Pet Day (20th), not to mention the big holiday of the month–Valentine’s Day.  We’ve packed a lot into this little month and yet…for me, February remains the longest month of the year.

I think a lot of it has to do with the weather.  It is too cold.  Now there’s cold and then there’s too cold.  February brings with it the kind of temperatures that people refer to as “too cold to snow.”  It’s absolutely bitter with winds that will cut through you like a knife.  It’s not just a Kansas thing either.  When I lived on the West Coast I still loathed the month of February.  Don’t let the California stereotype fool you…there’s very little sun to be had in February.  Rain, rain and more rain.  Gloom, dark clouds, and extra gloom.  (Can you tell that I don’t like rain either?)

Yes, February seems extra long because of the weather but there’s also another factor.  I’m not sure exactly how to describe this one, but I’ll just call it “The Letdown.”  Here’s where we’ve passed all the fun holidays and those New Year’s resolutions start to fall apart.  You know what I mean…the diet failed, the get organized frenzy has died down, and we are weeks away from Spring Break or any sort of exciting getaway.  “The Letdown” reminds us that we have nowhere to run.

Speaking of nowhere to run…February is also the time of year where everybody is sick with something.  I actually start to fear my husband and my kids.  My kids especially.  Every time I see their cute little faces I think about all the germs they’ve picked up at school.  Yuck!  They’re probably sick of me telling them to wash their hands every time we come home from school, church, shopping, etc.  As a certified germaphobe, I am on pins and needles all month.  My hands are so dry they’re practically untouchable.  Make the school lunches–wash my hands–pour some juice–wash my hands–touch a doorknob–wash my hands.  You get the picture.  Once (obviously a long time ago) a nurse told me that I had the softest hands she had ever touched, but not anymore, lady!  I’m practically bankrolling Aveeno right now and I’m pretty sure holding my hand on Valentine’s Day isn’t what it used to be!

Good, that brings me to Valentine’s Day.  It might mean something if they didn’t put the Valentine candy out on December 26th (or sooner!)  The holiday has become almost as overwhelming as Christmas.  The pressure is on to find the perfect gift coupled with the added pressure of trying to find the right card.  You don’t want to say too much or the wrong thing.  Here’s where I feel really bad for people who are still dating.  Talk about complicated.  I should feel sorry for my husband, too.  I’m not easy to shop for under any circumstances and I’m certainly no picnic at Valentine’s Day.  Not into flowers or candy…mostly I just want a nap.

This has been fun…all my ranting about February.  As I started writing this blog I came across several others who dislike February just as much as I do.  I actually found that encouraging.  I also came upon this little piece of trivia.  February is named for an ancient purification festival…I don’t know all the details but I imagine everyone was so busy hibernating and avoiding the cold weather that they couldn’t help but purify themselves.  Picture this, people of an ancient city where the temperatures are so cold that they stay in…not just for a day, but for several.  Sounds like fasting to me.  They survive only by drinking snowmelt (doesn’t get much purer than that.)  Their isolated lifestyle means less exposure to germs, thus no risk of colds or flu.  Consequently, there wouldn’t be a need for excessive hand washing.  And finally, I’m pretty sure the pressures of Valentine’s Day just didn’t exist back then.  Maybe these ancients were on to something!

So it’s day one of this never-ending month and I may have just solved my own dilemma.  I will no longer be a victim of the “February funk.”  It’s all about hibernation…so excuse me while I get my favorite blanket and try to consume a much coffee as I possibly can without leaving the house.  I mean, I’ve only got 28 days 🙂