Love does not envy

I don’t really consider myself an envious or jealous person. That being said, there are times when I’m not always as happy as I should be when others achieve success. It’s not that I want their success, but rather I sometimes wonder why some people seem to have more than their share of success (in my opinion).

I know a person who seems insolated from failure. It doesn’t seem to matter what they do or don’t do. Every time I turn around I hear of another bit of good fortune that has come their way. To be honest, my first thought is not one of happiness for them. Obviously my feelings about this person are less than loving.

I need to examine my thoughts and motives when I’m not cheering someone else’s success. Do I desire what they’ve achieved? Generally, the answer is no. Do I resent their success? If there is a perceived unfairness regarding their success, I think the answer is sometimes yes. Am I discontent with my own success? Personally, the answer is no, but I do believe that discontentment with one’s own circumstances is the seed of envy.

When I truly love someone, I can’t help but be excited and downright giddy when they are successful. My sister and her husband have bought and sold real estate at opportune times and reaped the rewards. Their home is lovely and a wonderful place for our family gatherings. We haven’t had the same experience in our real estate dealings, but I am truly happy my sister and brother-in-law have had success.

I don’t expect to love an acquaintance as I love my sister, but I need to avoid envy and jealously, regardless. It’s difficult in a “What’s in it for me?” culture to shift our thinking, but it’s necessary if we are to exhibit love to our family, friends and colleagues.

(Next: Love does not boast)

*“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud.  It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs. Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.” (New International Reader’s Version-NIRV)

Love is Kind

In my previous post, I mentioned wanting to avoid the first *description of love (Love is Patient). However, I’m discovering that patience is necessary to live out the other qualities of love. When I lack patience, I’m unkind, and that is a painful reality.

IKindness quote_Site’m still working on the patience, but being kind was drilled into me by my mother. Whenever my siblings and I would argue she would quote Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV) I’m sorry to say that I’ve not always followed my mother’s admonition. I was sometimes unkind to other children. I wasn’t always kind to co-workers. I’ve even been unkind to my husband and children, and I truly do love them.

Overall, however, I believe people with whom I interact regularly would say that I am a kind person. I simply find no reason, in general, to be purposefully unkind. I think most would agree that bullying and cutting remarks are extremely hurtful and completely unnecessary, but that’s the low hanging fruit, so to speak.

Our everyday actions and responses to stressful situations can sometimes cause us to choose to be unkind. Someone irritates me, so the logical reaction would be to irritate them in return; and eye for an eye. I have the ability to choose what seems to be counterintuitive. Someone irritates me, and I choose to take a deep breath, smile and move on.

In addition to reacting with kindness, I can be intentional with my kindness. I’m thinking about a friend, so I send them a note/email/text telling them how much I enjoy having them in my life. My husband loves chicken enchiladas, so I put forth a little more effort and make them for dinner.  I know my son and daughter-in-law are tired when they come home from work, so I do the dishes, and pick up the toys when I babysit.

I’ve heard it said that kindness means to withhold what harms, as well as give what heals. I like that! Wouldn’t the world be better with less harm and more healing?

(Next: Love does not envy)

*“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud.  It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs. Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.” (New International Reader’s Version-NIRV)


Love is patient

There’s video of me at about age 6 at a Christmas gathering at my grandparent’s home. I’m obviously very excited as my grandpa is passing out gifts to my siblings and cousins. I begin to bounce on the couch as the anticipation grows. For some reason, everyone else is receiving gifts, but not me. I know mine are under the tree (I saw my name on the tags!), but grandpa isn’t grabbing my gifts. I know this isn’t intentional, but it’s all I can do to wait patiently and not yell, “GRANDPA, I need a gift!” Instead of yelling, I bounce higher and higher and it’s quite apparent that patience is not my strong suit.

As I begin to memorize and live the definition of love as written in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7*, I find myself wanting to avoid the first description of love; Love is patient. Wouldn’t it be easier to just skip over the tough attribute and move on to something easier, like “love does not brag?”

The video clip of me as a youngster shows a lack of patience with circumstances, and to a certain extent, maturity assists with developing this type of patience. However, the type of patience required to love fully is different. If I say I love someone, I will not have a short fuse or lose my temper when dealing with them. For me personally, this type of patience does not come naturally or with maturity.

My husband is pretty close to perfect, and I should have no issue whatsoever being patient with him. Sometimes, however, he doesn’t do things on my timeframe (gasp!), and my first reaction is to bless him with frequent, friendly reminders (aka nagging). I need to show him I love him by patiently (and quietly) waiting for him to complete a task.

I love my mother, however, I’m not nearly as patient with her as I should be. She’s getting older and although she’s doing well for her age, there are times she frustrates me. Now more than ever, she needs me to show my love for her by being patient.

My kids are adults, and sometimes they act in a mature manner and sometimes not so much. I need to allow them to make mistakes and choose their own path. Surprisingly, some things I believe to be mistakes turn out to be just fine. They need me to be patient as they continue to grow into amazing adults.

I need to be willing to make allowances for the flaws and imperfections I see in others not just because this makes me more loving, but because I am keenly aware of my own faults and weaknesses and would appreciate the same tolerance.

As you age, are you becoming more patient with those you love, or finding irritated to be your default?

(Next: Love is Kind)

*“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud.  It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs. Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.” (New International Reader’s Version-NIRV)

Connecting with family reunions

Summer is a great time for family reunions and we had the opportunity to reconnect with my mom’s family in August.  There are 62 of us (four generations), but only 28 of us were able to attend this year. It was a lot of fun to catch up with family we don’t see very often.Family_reunion

My sister and her husband hosted the reunion at their home, which has plenty of space for large groups to eat and play. They also had a brilliant idea to ask a friend who does photography as a hobby to come and hang out for the day and take some candid and formal shots. We have some great photos to help us remember the day! Most of us are so busy talking, eating and playing that we often forget to take pictures.

We were also supposed to attend a family reunion on my husband’s side of the family. We were really looking forward to this event, because we had never met these family members. My husband’s great-uncle’s family has been having family reunions for decades, but they were unaware that there were extended family members who lived close enough to attend. We connected through and because their relative was the oldest in the family, they have a great deal of old family photos and documents. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend due to my being quite ill with a “bug” and subsequently, a migraine. They hold their reunions annually, so we hope to attend next year.

My dad’s family has been scattered and distant due to the death of his mother when most of the children were school-aged. They were raised in different homes, and to the best of my knowledge, the last time all eight were in the same location was at their mother’s funeral in 1936. They have all passed away, but we cousins are beginning to connect through social media.

Pat_meI recently located my dad’s brother’s oldest daughter through a combination of searches and Facebook. She was anxious to meet her cousins and traveled from Chicago to Portland for a visit last week. I shared old photos I’ve acquired and it was interesting to hear her tell stories about her dad, step-mom and siblings. It helped fill in the blanks for both of us, although I suppose there will always be questions about how our dads and their siblings coped (or failed to cope) during those childhood years after their mother died. We hope to connect with the other cousins from our dads’ side of the family next summer with a reunion and discover more about our shared history.

I’d love your suggestions and tips for organizing family reunions. What would make you attend a reunion? Have you hosted a reunion?

The favorite grandparent

An acquaintance of mine had a boy who was about my daughter’s age and a girl who was about my son’s age. I used to joke with her that I was glad our children weren’t interested in dating each other, because if they ever got married and had kids, I wouldn’t have the slightest chance of being the favorite grandma. You see, this acquaintance is just about the sweetest person I’ve ever met. Not just nice, but genuinely sweet! I’m a nice person, and I try to be sweet, but it’s not something that comes naturally.

I hadn’t given much thought to the “favorite grandparent” thing until I noticed an article on the subject at, entitled, How to Be the Favorite Grandparent: A Cheater’s Guide. My first thought was, “How appalling! What kind of grandparent would manipulate their grandchild for their own ego?” Much to my relief, the article was more about how to be a good grandparent, rather than being the favorite grandparent.


All wrapped up in blanket made by her Mimi!

My granddaughter Kaley’s other grandmother, Lisa, knits and crochets. She’s made Kaley some beautiful blankets, sweaters and hats. I couldn’t “knit one, pearl two” to save my soul. She also does much more cooking and baking than I do. I truly hope Kaley has an interest in learning from Lisa as she grows older. However, even if she chooses not to pursue those interests, she and her “Mimi” will have a special relationship.

Kaley’s other grandfather, Uriel, loves camping and fishing. I can see him teaching her set up a tent properly then heading down to the lake for her first fishing lesson. She seems to be a girly-girl, so I’m not sure how she’ll do with bait, but even if she doesn’t like fishing, she’ll enjoy the time with her “Papa.”


She had her Poppa wrapped around her little finger at first glance!

Kaley’s grandfather, Chris (aka my husband), looks forward to reading stories to her, taking her to get frozen yogurt and giving her a ride on the tractor. The two of them will explore the creek, while he tells her about how he used to spend time there as a little boy. She may not like frozen yogurt and may be afraid of the tractor, but she’s already mesmerized by the soothing deep voice of her “Poppa.”

Kaley's Dedication 007

Besides singing, I also “occasionally” buy her clothes – ain’t she pretty?!

Kaley will probably be amazed and alternately annoyed at her singing grandmother (that would be me). From the moment I first held her, I’ve been singing to her. She loves music (as do most children), and I do hope she’ll take an interest in singing and playing an instrument. But even if she doesn’t, she’ll remember her “Mamo” singing softly to her as she was rocked to sleep.

I believe I can say with all sincerity that I have no goal to be the favorite grandparent, because if Kaley were to have a favorite, that would mean her relationship with her other grandparents was in some way deficient. That would be a shame. We all have so much to offer her, and I believe her life will be enriched by her grandparent relationships. She will be more confident in her talents and abilities because all four of her grandparents believe in her and love her unconditionally.

All four of us will be at her first birthday party later this week, and before we know it, we’ll be celebrating her high school graduation. And, that’s what’s really important – that we’re all there for her, all the time. That’s grandparenting with *finesse!

My grandparent finesse level:
Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your grandparent finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

A special blood connection with my dad


So that’s what they look like…

My dad and I shared a blood connection that goes beyond the ordinary. Not only was he my natural father and blood relative, but we also shared mosquito repellent blood. They didn’t like him and they don’t like me. If you showed me a picture of a mosquito and asked me to identify the insect, I’d fail the test every time. The little blood-suckers would eat my mom and sister alive, while displaying an odd aversion to me and my dad.


Me & Daddy before one of my band concerts

Being invincible in a swarm of mosquitoes wasn’t the only connection I shared with my dad. We also connected through music. He was a very talented musician, and helped me hone my talents vocally and instrumentally. I’ve enjoyed that part of my life immensely, and still sing and play the piano. It’s been a great connection between me and my son, as well.


Me & Daddy after Christmas church services

We connected through faith. My dad was quiet and reserved about his faith, but he lived it every day in the way he was devoted to my mother, dedicated to me and my siblings, and how he treated those around him. As a result, I am a devout person of faith, and I’ve done my best to pass along that heritage to my children and grandchildren.

We connected through humor. If daddy liked you, he teased you. He had a great wit, and his eyes disappeared (as do mine) when laughing at a good prank or just a highly humorous situation. I really appreciate that I can take a joke, tease and giggle like a five-year-old at my own jokes. Life is too short to be overly serious.


My biggest fear was that my dad would die of a heart attack before he was able to walk me down the aisle.

Life for my dad was extremely short. I visited his grave a few days ago. His headstone reveals the year of his birth, 1933, and the year of his death, 1985. The dash between those dates stands for 52 well-lived, short years full of music, church, camping, water skiing, and lots of teasing and laughter.

He’s been gone so long and so much has happened in his absence that I occasionally feel disconnected from him. That is until someone complains about those pesky mosquitoes.