Friday, June 10

when a man loves a woman

i was going through my facebook groups and deleting ones that were fad decisions or have now become irrelevant, and i discovered that i was a member of a group titled there are some things guys should always do for girls. period. 

i had completely forgotten about this group, as has inevitably happened with most of my groups on facebook, and was pleasantly surprised to re-read the manifesto there listed.

our culture has unfortunately ceased to value the gentleman and lady. i obviously don't mean in the nobility sense, but in the noble sense, in the gentle and cultured and dignified sense.

now, i don't by any means pretend to be a perfect lady. i have my bad habits to kick and manners to polish as much as the next gal. but i am trying to remain ladylike in a culture that lauds movies such as bridesmaids as "groundbreaking" and "revolutionary" for featuring women exhibiting grotesque behavior that before now has been limited to the male arena.

i would love to see a return to a more graceful interaction between the sexes, where women know their true worth and beauty, and men truly earn respect and know what it means to be masculine.

the group has the following listed as their manifesto. i will follow up this post with one enumerating the manner in which ladies ought treat their men. my personal favorites are in bold.

men, we ladies want you to be gentlemen. and we know that this means that we have to be ladies, to encourage you. we know there are things we too must change. let us all propose to be better versions of ourselves, to clean up our acts and begin to set a new example, one of grace and care and respect for one another. i for one would relish it.

The following is not a list of rules. They're suggestions to encourage guys to be gentlemen.

1. Open doors when possible - whether it be to a building or the passenger car door. the classic example that's stood the test of time.

2. When in a place of worship (or other places that have aisles and pews), if a man is at the end of the pew, when exiting he should stand in the aisle and let all the females go before him.

3. A man should tolerate the occasional chick flick, musical, opera, or ballet - whatever her preference is - *without* complaining about it.

4. Play one of the songs that would make any woman weep like the little girl she once was (but in a good way). A brief list includes, but certainly isn't limited, to:
"You & Me" by Lifehouse
"Collide" by Howie Day
"Out Of My League" by Steven Speaks
And MOST IMPORTANTLY "Question" by the Old 97's (if you propose to a girl with this song, she is putty in your hands).
("Putty in your hands" is not meant to promote "using women" in any way. This group does not encourage guys to be polite in order to get her into bed.)

5. Talk! The strong & silent bit goes from intriguing to boring quite fast.

6. Find out what her favorite flower is and buy them for her randomly (regardless of the situation you might be in). A simple yet profound truth: a single rose says more than dozens of anything else. (I encourage the women to not allow a guy to "prove himself worthy" through gifts and flowers and such. Trust is a precious thing and it should take a good chunk of time before he gains it back in your heart.)

7. If you miss her, or love her, TELL HER! Even your friends like to hear it every now & again.

8. Remember: the best gifts you can give are usually free of cost.

9. Leave a note (or send a message) just to say "hi".

10. Ask her questions about herself.

11. Dress nice every once & a while. Any girl likes to see her brother/friend/boyfriend/etc. in a well-ironed button-up with some nice slacks.

12. PRIDE & PREJUDICE ...that's all I have to say about that (I mean, that should speak for itself). (It's even more impressive if he has read the book.)

13. Tolerate small children as best you can. Meaning, put up with the things that can get annoying. They're children, after all. Show them love and care, teach them how to become a better man than you.

14. Learn to dance! There is nothing sexier than a man who can dance really well. If God did not bless you with the grace of Fred Astaire, at least put forth the effort, it will be greatly appreciated. Always slow dance (even if it's just like you danced in middle school). Also, men, sing to a lady. Even if you're terrible, suck it up! They love to listen to it and will not care what you sound like. It's the thought that counts on this one.

15. Kiss her on the forehead.

16. When she's sick, stay up with her. If you can cook (which is *always* a plus), make her some soup. If you can't cook, there's Campbell's soup at hand for you.

17. Hold her hand while you talk, drive, or just for the heck of it (it's the small things that win you big points).

18. Call her beautiful, because that's what she is (or gorgeous or stunning or captivating or...)

19. Offer her your jacket/sweatshirt. (Note: you may not see that particular item of clothing for a while, if ever again).

20. Don't be too proud to apologize.

21. It's not stalking to watch her sleep if you fall asleep watching a movie. It is stalking to watch her sleep if you're standing outside her window with night vision goggles.

22. When she feels at her worst, tell her she looks her best.

23. If you're trying to get more than friendship out of the relationship, take it slow and never rush her.

24. Guys - always offer to pay for the date. No matter how expensive it gets, especially if YOU asked HER on the date. [if she is willing to pay now and again, don't let your "man pride" get in the way of her wanting to give back to you. she should understand money can be tight - especially when you're always buying]

25. Always do everything in your power to keep her as happy as you can. And cheer her up in any way possible. [if she isn't always happy - and i've never met a girl who is - don't be afraid of her and don't be stupid and always, unquestioningly, blame it on PMS. be there WITH her when times are tough and she wants you there.]

26. When walking on the sidewalk, always walk on the outside near traffic.

27. At least do everything in your power to keep cursing to a minimum while around her. If you can, cut it out period while around her, or cut it out of your vocabulary. Women don't want to hear it, guys don't care about it, adults don't want to hear it, it doesn't impress employers, and you sure won't want your children or someone else's to hear it!

28. Sometimes you have to take the initiative. Don't always wait for her to come to you, because if that's how it always is, you're going to lose her.

29. If any lady is walking alone to her car in a dark parking lot/garage, or is carrying a heavy load, always offer to help walk her to her destination and carry things, if not the entire load.

30. If a woman says no, let that be her final answer with maybe one question of confirmation after her first answer. Do not pressure or force her in any way after that. Don't make her give in to something she doesn't want to do.

31. Always be honest with her. No woman wants or likes a dishonest man. If you can't be honest with her, she can't trust you, and shows you don't trust her enough to be honest. Trust, honesty and integrity are just as an integral part of a relationship and just as important as love.

32. A man should always genuinely listen to women; no matter how bored or busy the man is. Actively listening to the woman will keep him from pain (and bring the man and woman closer together). This works best, of course, when both the man and the woman actively and equally engage in conversation (this includes listening). For the ladies reading this, please talk - always talk - especially if you are having problems with the relationship and to also avoid making bigger problems.

photo credit:

Wednesday, June 8

empty hands raised

for the past few months, the idea of being empty before the lord has been very present in my mind and heart.

honestly, i had thought it to be a bad thing - how could i come empty before him? how could that state of having nothing to offer come even close to being worthy of his presence? 

and then the lord gave me a lovely gift in the form of a one minute segment on our local catholic radio station, which focused on the need for us as christians to have empty hands.

i was so touched that in the few minutes that i happened to be in the car, matthew was well-behaved and not demanding that i play his music cd, that i happened to turn on my favorite catholic station, and that this segment just happened to be playing then.

there are no coincidences in life, just evidences of God watching over his little ones.

this segment concentrated on the following reasons we need to have empty hands as followers of Christ:

firstly, empty hands are best suited to being raised in gratitude and praise of the lord. we are not able to concentrate on being grateful for the things we have if we are clutching them so tightly, or gazing longingly at the things we don't have. also, hands raised in praise are not limited or weighed down by the burden of possessions. they are free and weightless, always giving glory to the one who is most worthy.

secondly, hands that are empty are hands that are free to go wherever the lord calls, to do whatever work he requires. we cannot honestly say, "send me, lord" if we are clinging to our current way of life, our current stuff. if we desire to set our hands to the plow the lord has in store, we must be willing to let go fully of all that we have now. it is just stuff after all--it is replaceable and does not bring happiness in the long haul.

thirdly, hands that are empty are best able to share in the cross and sufferings of the lord, especially in our fellow brothers and sisters. in being empty, we can minister freely to those around us who are not themselves free. there are so many in our world that are heavy-laden and broken. our open, welcoming hands not only encourage others to come to us and find the rest that comes from Jesus, but give us the strength to be there for others in their times of need.

and finally, empty hands are the only ones that will at last clutch the extended hand of Jesus, who will then guide us into heaven, into eternal joy and fulfillment. it won't matter in the end what possessions we have accumulated on earth, what our hands hold here. we take nothing but our hearts with us. if we have lived our lives with empty hands, we will discover that in the end, our hearts are unbelievably full. and we will be satisfied so much more than with earthly treasures.

so i no longer am ashamed to be empty. i no longer see it as a weakness or as something to be fixed or overcome. i just need to orient my emptiness properly, with my eyes fixed on Jesus.

i need to be empty in order that he may fill me with his love, so that i can then shower it on the world.
i need to be empty in order to receive his peace, which will carry me through every circumstance.
i need to be empty to be consumed by his light, which will shine radiant in a world of darkness.

fill me, Jesus. i desire only you.

this photo comes from the blog, Julie Loves English. i just did a random google search for "empty hands" and this image came up, which led me to this blog, which just happened to feature a poem about having empty hands. you should definitely read it: 

One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.
And I walked earth's highways, grieving.
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
"Lift your empty hands to Me!"
So I held my hands toward heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches,
Till they could contain no more.
And at last I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches
Into hands already full!

-Martha Snell Nicholson

Wednesday, June 1

things to be desired

this poem composed by max ehrmann was read at a funeral i recently sang at. 
it is called Desiderata, which means "things to be desired" in latin.
it leaves the heart feeling inspired and challenged. 
i have put in bold those parts that most touched me. 
enjoy and be moved.  

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

that is my hope and prayer for you this day: strive to be happy.
may the Lord bless you and keep you,
make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
may he lift up his countenance toward you
and give you his peace.

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