Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Winter Wonderland, Pt. 3

My favorite time of year may be my solitary walks at night, in the snow.

Salt continues to be one of the most fascinating substances known to man.


Did you know that snow only falls on the north side of a tree?

Ha. Just kidding. :)

(See Winter Wonderland, Pt. 2 for more thoughts and pictures.)

Thing I'm thankful for: warm cookies, fresh out of the oven

Monday, February 04, 2019

Ask Yourself, "What Can I Learn From This?"

Ha! Did you laugh when you read the title of this post? I chuckled to myself as I typed it. :)

It's these kinds of sayings that get me all kinds of riled up. Of course, there's nothing wrong with learning something from a painful experience or a "trial," but it's okay to wait until you're through it first. Also, I'm pretty tired of people assuming that every struggle in life happens simply to teach us something. That's not how the laws of nature work, that's not how free will works, and I'm certain that's not how God works.

When I saw this on the internet last week, I practically blew a fuse.

Not only is this NOT reassuring, it's insulting. I'll be damned if all single people have to learn the responsibility of commitment and all married people have already learned it. It reminds me of this precious memory:

My apartment had been broken into. The thief had gotten in by throwing a large rock through the sliding glass door in the living room. He cut himself on the glass, bled all over the place, and stole mine and my roommate's laptops, jewelry, backpacks, and I don't even remember what else. We had to clean up this stranger's blood, and somehow learn to feel safe in this apartment that we were stuck with. It was also the last two weeks of the semester, and I had research papers and projects on my laptop. I had to ask my professors for extra time to finish everything (or start from scratch), and I was exhausted and depressed and quite frankly, scared. I also had to buy a new laptop, which was a huge hassle. Not long after the break-in, I was talking about how I was feeling with some friends. One of them said, "Well, just think: This person probably needed your stuff more than you did."

I couldn't believe my ears. I think I just quickly ended the conversation and left. And at that moment, I vowed I would never say anything so ridiculous and foolishly optimistic and insensitive to anyone, ever. I hope I've lived up to that promise to myself.

In that vein, I want to present to you the following image I also saw on the internet; it's a stark contrast to that dumb quote above:

These are examples of things we should be saying to each other. These are the things love is made of.

Don't know what to say when a friend's father dies? When someone has cancer? When someone just feels blue? Do some research. Google it. Talk to other people who have been through something similar and ask what they wanted to hear when they were going through that same thing. Don't say, "Let me know how I can help"––just find a way to help! Help without asking! Buy a meal and have it delivered, write a kind note, send flowers, be a distraction. Do anything except say something like, "What can you learn from this?"

Thing I'm thankful for: vegetarian chili!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Love Languages

I've written about my love languages before (See My Love Languages.), so I'm not going to drone on about what I need to feel loved. I do think, though, that the love languages are worth re-visiting, especially since I saw something about them today on Facebook.

In case you're not familiar with the Five Love Languages, I'll give you a quick run-down: They come from a book written by Gary Chapman called The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, and they are:
  • Physical Touch
  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
The idea is that everyone has a primary and secondary love language. In other words, everyone prefers to receive love in one or two ways. They also tend to express love in the way they prefer to receive it. This can cause communication problems, though, when couples "speak" their love differently. Chapman suggests, then, that people learn their partner's love language and express love accordingly; doing so will make communication better and the relationship stronger.

So. That brings me to these images I saw on Facebook. I think they're great:

(For me, words of affirmation are spot on. Just so spot. On. It's mind-boggling, actually. How did Chapman get it so right?!?)

Now, although Chapman has graduate degrees in anthropology and philosophy, there hasn't been much academic research on the Five Love Languages, so lots of people take his ideas with a grain of salt. I, for one, think he's onto something true and crazy important. I think if people learned (through observation and honest conversation) others' love languages, we'd all be happier. I also think this applies to more than just romantic relationships.* Being able to speak anyone's love language aids communication, and really, we should all try to express love to everyone we come across. A lot of problems in this world start from people not feeling loved. What if we changed that? What if we made people feel loved just by paying a little bit of attention to their language? I'm going to try, anyway; feel free to join me.

*Chapman himself seems to think so. He's written lots of other books about the Love Languages and how they apply to children, work situations, and military.

Thing I'm thankful for: well-prepared Sunday School lessons