Tag Archives: love

The Problem with Tolerance

28 Jan

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Driving to work a few months ago, I noticed a purple bumper sticker that I hadn’t seen before that stated “Tolerate: Believe In It.” It was similar to the “Coexist” bumper stickers I’ve seen numerous times. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was “emptiness.” Believe in IT? Huh?

Alright, alright. I know what people are getting at when they say “tolerance” – they mean acceptance. The first definition of tolerance, according to Merriam-Webster, is the “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.” While this sounds like a decent and respectful idea, and everyone certainly deserves respect, it falls short. Here’s why:

1. Tolerance does not seek truth.
First of all, tolerance sounds to me a lot like “relativism,” defined as “the belief that different things are true, right, etc., for different people or at different times.” (Thanks, again, Merriam-Webster.) This is a big reason why the concept of tolerance leaves me empty. It signifies that there is no real truth; that “tolerance” is supposed to be some supreme social ideal that we are to bow down to so no one’s feelings are hurt. Catholic speaker and author, Matthew Kelly states, “A world without truth is a world without joy or meaning.”

Whoa! That’s a pretty powerful and wise statement. You can’t have joy or meaning in this life without truth! It’s not possible! Truth is the key to a meaningful and joy-filled life. Tolerance is not the path to truth, and, therefore, does not lead to true joy and meaning. Clearly, relativism and tolerance is a dead-end street to seeking purpose in one’s life.

2. Tolerance is isolating.
Contrary to popular belief, tolerance does not build community. Tolerance is lazy and selfish. It doesn’t really have concern for others, it just wants everybody to get along. You stay where you are and I’ll stay here and we’ll just do our thing. Cool?

Tolerance is also defined by Merriam-Webster as “the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant.” After reading that, how does tolerance still sound like something that makes a successful society? I tolerate an itchy sweater or a long wait at the doctor’s office, we shouldn’t have to tolerate people. Yes, personalities and ideals clash, but we are called to recognize the dignity in each person, no matter how hard it may be at times.

3. Tolerance is not love.
What’s missing from this tolerance picture, is LOVE! Love trumps tolerance – no contest. Let’s be real: Would you rather be tolerated or loved?

Love requires sacrifice, listening, care, respect, honesty. Love wants others to get to Heaven. Love puts others first and seeks truth. Love makes the impossible possible. Love does not have limits.

Many of us know the popular words in 1 Corinthians: 4-7 (NAB), but they are worth repeating here:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong-doing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

One thing that love does not require, though, is that we agree with one another. Somehow this absurd lie has been perpetuated that to really love someone and want what’s best for them, you have to let them do whatever they want – and encourage it. To quote a recent tweet by Rick Warren, “It’s nonsense that you must agree with people to #love them. I often disagree with people I deeply love. I married one!”

And still, even while reading about the beauty of love, there are those who are fuming that I am dogging the false ideal of tolerance. How dare I have the gall to bring God, faith, and the Bible into this “debate”! But I say, how can I not, when the best this world can offer is tolerance, because the world denies God, and thus rejects love? There is no love without God. And this is precisely why there is a huge problem in our culture in this day and time. So many are settling for humanism over Christianity, this world over the next, relativism and tolerance over truth and love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s stand united in truth. Let’s continue to grow in love and live by the golden rule. Let’s choose joy and live with purpose each day. Let’s build each other up and use the gifts God has given each of us. Let’s embrace God’s grace and shine His light!

A life without truth, joy, community, and love is… empty. And I have a problem with that.

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What I Learned about Love from My Grandparents

4 Oct

Last month, my grandparents celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary!

20131003-210447.jpgMy grandparents dancing at my wedding in 2005

When Adam, the girls, and I, took our annual fall trip to South Bend this past weekend, we visited my grandma and grandpa. This was the first time that I saw my grandmother in the nursing home that she moved into a few months ago – and the first time she didn’t remember who I was. We had such a nice visit, though, and she loved seeing her great-granddaughters, even though she didn’t realize who they were in relation to her!

My grandma has vascular dementia. My grandfather tried to take care of her as long as he could at their home, but it became too difficult, even with some in-home care.

20131003-210530.jpgMy grandma, grandpa, and me

During our visit in the nursing home that beautiful fall Friday morning, I was able to see what real, sacrificial love looks like.

Real love is…

…combing your wife’s hair when she can’t do it herself.
…picking out a pretty shade of pink nail polish so she can have her nails done.
…pushing your wife in a wheelchair while your great-grandkids dump acorns and leaves in her lap.
…holding hands while listening to the Swing Sisters provide musical entertainment for the residents.
…visiting twice a day every day because it’s so hard to be apart.

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Acorn-dumping in progress! (Go Irish!)

My grandpa also shared with me this poem that he found in the newspaper.

    Alzheimer’s

Don’t ask me to remember,
Don’t try to make me understand.
Let me rest and know you’re with me,
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I’m confused beyond your concept,
I am sad and sick and lost.
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me,
Do not scold or curse or cry.
I can’t help the way I’m acting,
Can’t be different, though I try.

Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone.
Please don’t fail to stand beside me!
Love me ’til my life is done.

-Unknown

Caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s, may be one of the most selfless, loving things anyone can do.

My grandparents have been such a blessing in my life, and still are! If you have a moment, please offer a prayer for them! I’ll pray that all you married couples will enjoy 58 years together, too!

The Greatest Vocation of All!

15 Feb

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I ran across the above quote last weekend and had to share it! It expands perfectly on my post about vocations from last Friday! It’s also timely, considering yesterday was St. Valentine’s Day – a day all about LOVE!

For the Year of Faith, I signed up for the daily e-newsletter, Read the Catechism in a Year, and Day 122 held this amazing paragraph by Jeff Pinyan.

If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn’t lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE. And I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members to Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT’S A UNIVERSE OF IT’S OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE – IT’S ETERNAL!

In addition to reading this last Saturday, I heard a visiting Franciscan priest speak about this same topic at Mass on Sunday. He emphasized respecting others as the way to show love.

No matter who we are or what job we have, we are all called to love one another. Sometimes we get caught up in finding our passion and the right career, but no matter how old or young, rich or poor, etc., we can always make it a priority to show love through our everyday actions and treatment of others.

Have a great weekend full of love, everyone!

Above background image courtesy of Phaitoon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Just a Glorified Personal Assistant?

5 Sep

In my continuous pursuit to be a better mother and wife, I am often attracted to books that address these topics.  Last weekend, I finished reading When a Woman Inspires Her Husband by Cindi McMenamin.  There was even an entire chapter dedicated solely to a wife encouraging her husband to dream, so I think it is definitely appropriate to write about what I gleaned from this book in my blog!

When a Woman Inspires Her Husband was mainly based on the fact that men need to feel respected in a relationship and want to feel successful in what they do.   Many of the things that I read, were not necessarily new to me, but it was a great reminder of how much sacrifice is required to have a truly healthy marriage.  I’ll be honest, though, that there was a point when I was reading this book that I started to get a little upset.  I felt McMenamin wrote this book for women in the 1950’s.  It was like she practically assumed that the wives reading this book would only have responsibilities within the home and that the husband was the sole income-earner.  I’m not a stay-at-home mom.  I am the one in our family with the stable income.   I don’t have time to cook every night.  My house would not pass a white glove test pretty much any day of the week.  After reading the chapters about “Easing his Burdens”, “Making His Home a Sanctuary”, and “Giving Him Breathing Room”, I practically felt like McMenamin was describing the job of a personal assistant.

When I was thinking about this during my commute to work one morning, I thought of the verse, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).  And then I realized that sacrificing my selfish wants and dying to myself every day is laying my life down for my husband.  Interestingly enough, McMenamin actually refers to this same verse towards the end of her book.  Do I have a lot on my plate? Yes.  Is my number one priority the well-being of my husband and family? Yes.  Do I have a lot to learn still about being a good wife? Yes.  McMenamin used a great quote from the book 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg: “The more encouragement and affirmation he receives from his wife, the easier it will be for him to discern God’s voice.”  Consider me humbled.  And if that isn’t enough, check out this take on the well-known passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that McMenamin refers to from The Message:

“Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

The biggest thing that I took away from this book was that I need to let Adam lead.  Often times, I am the planner and the organizer, so I automatically tend to make decisions or have an idea already in my mind.  So combine my female multitasking ability with a personality-type that trusts my own judgment to logically evaluate the best option, and you can see why this would be a challenge at times.  This was a wake-up call to me, though, that I need to step back and let my husband be the one to evaluate and make final decisions (still with my input of course, wink!).

At least there is one area where I feel like I do a good job, and that is encouraging Adam’s dream of having a successful career in music.  McMenamin talks about wives being a cheerleader for their husbands, and I can say without a doubt, I am my husband’s biggest fan!  Let’s be real – I started a blog on this topic, people!  Despite the current financial instability and lack of a clear path, I trust that God has a purpose for my husband’s musical gifts.  I hope that my unwavering belief has been, and will continue to be, inspiring to Adam.  I think that’s a main reason why God put me in his life.  And I’m thankful that I have a husband who tries to see how his musical aspirations fit into his family life and not how his family can fit around his music!

I will continue to work on having a servant’s heart, but I know my vocation of being a wife is more than just being a glorified personal assistant!

Our 6th Anniversary!

23 Jun

This coming Saturday marks six years that Adam and I have been married.  It’s

Our honeymoon 2005

fun to take this time and think about how our life has changed so much since we met.  We’ve experienced a three-year long-distance relationship, buying a house, and having two daughters.  I’m so excited to be going out on a dinner date tonight!  We haven’t been out together alone since probably December, because of bed rest and our youngest daughter’s recent birth.  Since we don’t make a big deal out of giving gifts to each other and we don’t have the money even if we wanted to, I decided to go old school and make a mixed tape, er, I mean, CD, of love songs!  Yeah, this is just like back in high school – total cheese ball, I know!  Anyway, here are the songs that I decided to include on my playlist:

1. “I’ll Be That” – Jimmy Wayne (A fun, upbeat love song!  Plus, I had to include Jimmy Wayne in my playlist!)

2. “Just Another Day in Paradise” – Phil Vassar (We have two kids, so this is totally our life now!)

3. “My Best Friend” – Tim McGraw (Corny? Maybe. True? Yes.)

4. “The Woman in Me (Needs the Man in You)” – Shania Twain (Love the first couple lines in the song.  I’m not always strong.  And sometimes I’m even wrong… I guess Adam would probably like these two lines, as well!  Plus we’ve been watching Shania’s reality show and it was in my head!)

5. “God Gave Me You” – Bryan White (This is the first of three Bryan White songs on the list.  “Why,” may you ask?  This is a CD that Adam introduced me to when we first started dating.  This whole CD is full of great love songs and is like the soundtrack to our relationship!)

6. “The Depths of My Love” – Anthony Smith (One of the most creative love songs ever!  He’s a genius songwriter!)

7. “Me and You” – Kenny Chesney (Great song before Kenny started singing about the beach and high school all the time!)

8. “Cherish” – Brian McKnight (It doesn’t hurt to throw in a little reminder to Cherish her love, does it?)

9. “Because You Loved Me” – Celine Dion (This song is the theme from one of my favorite chick flicks, Up Close and Personal with Michelle Pfifer and Robert Redford!)

10. “How Lucky I Am” – Bryan White (Sweet song!)

11. “Ill Be” – Edwin McCain (Classic!)

12. “Gettin’ You Home” – Chris Young (I’ll leave that one alone!)

13. “I Still Believe In You” – Vince Gill (I’ve always loved this song.  Plus, Adam loves Vince Gill!)

14. “Right Here Waiting” – Richard Marx (Appropriate for being married to a musician!)

15. “That’s When I Love You” – Phil Vassar (Another upbeat love song from Phil’s early days!)

16. “Custom Made” – Andy Griggs (Cute song!  I’ve always felt that we  fit well together!)

17. “One on One” – Jimmy Wayne (Very rare, but needed, with two young daughters!)

18. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston (Even though the premise of this song has to do with moving on, I had to include this mega hit.  Plus, I needed another song by a female artist on this playlist!)

19. “You’ll Always Be Loved (By Me)” -Bryan White (This is the first song we danced to at our wedding reception!  The lyrics are perfect for our life!)

There are many more I probably could have included, such as Journey’s, “Faithfully.”  Maybe I’ll make a “Part II” CD next year…

Adam surprising me with the song he wrote for our wedding, "Here's To Me and You"!

Anybody have a favorite love song and/or good story about a song that represents a particular relationship?

Discerning God’s will

29 May

Overall, I guess my blog deals with the question of God’s purpose for my life and my family.  Today at mass the readings dealt with this specific topic, so I think it is the perfect time to discuss this a little more…

Adam and I have been focused on God’s will a lot lately, especially in regards to his career path.  He is starting to make decisions based on using his musical talents to bring others closer to God.  Adam wants to be a positive artist who writes/sings about the real life day-to-day struggles that we all have as human beings and show that there is hope even when things may be tough.  So I was definitely thinking about this when 1 Peter 3: 15-18 was read today, which says, “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your  conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.  For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”

I’m usually not one to throw Bible verses around, but I feel that this really shows where Adam and I are at right now.  In Adam’s case, he is finally aligning his “artist image” with his “real life image.”  I feel excited about what God has in store for us, knowing that we are trying to keep our priorities in check and we are striving to be better individuals.

One author who talks a lot about being “the best version of ourselves” is Matthew Kelly.  A book that he has written, The Rhythm of Life, is focused on this topic and encourages us to have dreams and discover our talents.  Adam is currently listening to it, since he is not much of a reader.  I’d been encouraging him to read it for the past couple years and finally I broke down and got the audiobook.  It’s all in God’s timing! Matthew Kelly is a great motivator! He also encourages parents to frequently ask their children, “What do you think God is calling you to do with your life?”  In his book, Building Better Families, he states that as a society, we often ask kids, “What do you want to do when you get older?”  Many of us grow up to be unhappy with what we are doing.  Maybe asking a different question will bring more fulfillment and purpose.

For more about Matthew Kelly, you can check out his website:  www.matthewkelly.org.

Good night!  This mommy needs her sleep!

Campground Tour Begins

27 May

Adam leaves tonight to go on the road for the first weekend of the summer.  He is part of the Nashville To You Campground Tour for the second year.  Adam will be playing guitar for a couple of female artists and will be playing some new original songs as well.   It will be quite an adjustment again, since Adam has been off the road for the past 6 months.  It will definitely be difficult for our 2 year old – maybe more so for her daddy!

For more information about concert dates, check out www.nashvilletoyou.com/Events.php.

Happy sacrifices

26 May

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am getting ready to go back to work after being on maternity leave.  I’d love to stay home with my girls, but working a full-time job is a necessity at this time in my life.  (I know I am blessed to have a job in this economy.)  Adam is able to call himself a professional musician, fortunately, but it doesn’t quite support the family yet. Due to pre-term labor complications that required a short hospital stay and being on bed rest, we are not in the greatest financial spot right now, but I know that God will bring us through it and it is all worth it for our newest little angel!

One of the ways that God has shown me that I can help support my family is by using coupons.  I’m sure many of you have seen, or at least heard about, the TLC show, “Extreme Couponing.”  This show debuted right around the time our youngest daughter was born and it got me thinking that I can save money on my grocery bill.  I am definitely not trying to be like these very extreme people on the show who are clearing shelves, but it is fun and rewarding to be able to find a good deal on something that is free or over 50% of what it would normally cost and maybe stock up on a few more items than usual.  I like to call what I do, “strategic couponing!”  I’m sure I’ll talk more about this later in another blog as it is one of the things I am very focused on in addition to my children, working, and taking care of our house –  not unlike many other mommies in America.  It’s also fun, because Adam is now asking me if we have coupons for certain items.  I feel good knowing that I’ve found another way that I can contribute to the well-being of our family.

I know that many families are going through difficult times financially right now.  We, as wives and mothers, need to support each other.  We all make great sacrifices for our husbands and our children.  So often in the media we see women gossiping and attacking each other, but another reason that I wanted to do this blog was to encourage each other in a wonderful mission that we are all striving for – to support our families and help them be the best individuals that they can be.  Hopefully, this blog can become a forum for advice, tips, and encouragement.

More to come!

Let’s start at the beginning…

17 May

I am the wife of a dreamer – a musician.

I believed in my husband, Adam, before I even met him.  I saw him perform in our junior high school talent show.  He sang “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton and I, along with the rest of the audience, thought that he had an amazing voice.  He continued to stand out during high school musical concerts and as a drummer/singer with his parents’ band.   After he graduated high school he stayed around town for a year to earn money to move to Nashville, Tennessee.  During this time, we began dating and I always knew that music was what Adam was born to do.  In addition, to my belief in his voice, we also shared a strong faith in God.  In 2002, he moved to Nashville to pursue his music career and I headed off to a small college in the middle of a cornfield in Indiana.  We had a long distance relationship for three years.  I definitely didn’t have the typical college experience.  Most of my nights were spent talking on the phone and doing school work.  I took  extra courses most semesters and went to summer school.  I graduated early so that we could get married and I could follow him south.  I never once hesitated about leaving my supportive family and moving to a new life, since I believed in Adam and his God-given abilities so much.

Now here we are, nearly 6  years, a house, and two beautiful daughters later.  It has been a long, winding road so far in regards to Adam achieving his dream.  He has written numerous songs, pursued an 80’s cover band, a band project, and a duo project.  He has been playing guitar and singing backgrounds for a young female country artist.  He is a professional demo singer. Last year, he began a new path as a solo artist and has reached a new level with songs that truly fit his voice.  In some ways he has come so far and in other ways, he is only just beginning.

As I said before, I have always believed in Adam.  I have always trusted that God has a plan for him, since he is so musically gifted in so many ways and gets along so well with other people.  I have been praying that God will show him the steps that He wants Adam to take.  Recently, my prayers were answered.  Adam had been struggling with what to do with his music and was losing hope.  Due to some conversations with a couple of guys on the same day, he discovered that he had lost his purpose.  After some soul searching and some other God “coincidences” around the same time, he renewed his goal of wanting to speak the truth and bring God to a secular audience.  He has his passion and excitement back and I am very excited to see what God has in store for our lives.

We have already been blessed in countless ways, but when trying to make a dream a reality there are always sacrifices  and obstacles.  This blog will capture these times, as well as the positive, hopeful moments.  I feel that a big part of my mission in life is to support Adam in his career and to be the best mother that I can be.   I’m excited to be on this journey with the family that God has given me and to share these experiences with you!