Really Relating

LIFE, LOVE, AND THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT MAKE IT ALL MATTER

Still The One 02/26/2010

Filed under: February,God,Love,Marriage,Month of Love — Vickey Banks @ 11:36 am

February, the Month of Love, is drawing to a close. I can’t say good-bye to it without paying tribute to the man who still holds my heart in the palm of his hands.
  
I’ve been married for almost 27 years now, and I’ve never been more grateful. Should you not have a husband, or should you have one that you’d like to whack over the head with a frying pain, please don’t slam your computer shut or start yelling obscenities at me. I know how fortunate I am.
  
But, you probably don’t know why.
   
For the first 23 years, I was a really good wife. I worked hard at it. Constantly. Although far from perfect, I read numerous books and attended seminars on marriage, cooked and cleaned when I didn’t want to, embraced my husband’s family to the point that they truly become my own, trusted and followed him even when I wasn’t crazy about his decisions, made lists of all the reasons I was grateful for him, washed his dirty clothes, ran his errands, supported his dreams, served alongside him, prayed for him diligently, altered what I wanted to do and how, only spoke well of him, and tried with every fiber of my being to love my Brian like he wanted and needed to be loved. I even learned to like fish!
  
There are 2 problems with the above scenario. The first being that while it might make me sound good, the truth is that Brian made this all embarrassingly easy. Seriously. The man is the epitome of a servant leader. I’ve never met anyone that is easier to love and respect, more sacrificial and generous.
  
The second problem is that our lives took a violent turn 4 years ago and my little world was rocked. Tragedy upon tragedy left me feeling I didn’t have much to give to him or anyone else. But Brian, well he became more supportive, more loving, and more sacrificial.
  
That is why I’m grateful.
   
Ecclesiastes 4:10 says,If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.”
   
Although he was hurting too, when I was at my worst, Brian refused to leave me there. He reached out and tried to pick me up. Again and again and again. That is my love story in the making.
  
Oh, how I do love that man. After all these years, he’s still the one I want to say “I Do” to.
 
Really Relating
Is there someone in your world who has fallen and feels all alone? There’s no alone like that alone. That is real trouble. How would God have you reach out and help them today?
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TOP 20 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY GIRLFRIENDS 02/24/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vickey Banks @ 12:29 am
“A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half cracked.”
  
My girlfriends happen to be among THE most amazing women on this planet! They have added fun and laughter, encouragement and unparalleled prayer support during the best and worst seasons of my life. I love them with a passion that defies description and pray God rains down His favor on them. Should He choose to send us all on a fully paid, month-long beach vacation somewhere that is blissfully warm, AND allow us all to look magnificently well in our bathing suits…well, I’d appreciate that too J!
 
In honor of their FABULOUSNESS, here are The Top 20 Things I LOVE About My Girlfriends. I LOVE That My Girlfriends:
  
1.     Understand that chocolate is NOT an option.
2.     Believe that calories don’t count if you share the desert.
3.     Challenge, encourage, and inspire me in ridiculous amounts.
4.     Commiserate with me the effects of hormones, time & gravity.
5.     Don’t edit all my exclamation marks!!!
6.     Come to my rescue when I’m in over my head.
7.     Never make me talk WHILE I’m crying.
8.     Care about me and those I love.
9.     Hold my hand, let me cry, clean my house, feed my family, & cover me in prayer when my world falls apart.
10. Think I’m funnier, smarter, and far more talented than I really am J
11. Send me sympathy cards when my animals die.
12. Come in all shapes & sizes, color & chronological age.
13. Buy tacky cards and great presents for my birthday.
14. Treat me like I’m family – the family that they like!
15. Let me ramble. And ramble. And ramble.
16. Are warm, witty, fun, friendly, deep, purposeful, kind, caring, & faithful.
17. Come when I call.
18. Don’t make me explain how I got from one thought to another.
19. Love me, just as I.
20. Let me love them.
 
I LOVE My Girlfriends!
  
Really Relating
What is one thing you most appreciate about your friends? Go ahead, brag on ‘em!
 

Put Your Love On Paper 02/20/2010

Filed under: Love,Love Notes,Putting Your Love on Paper — Vickey Banks @ 2:30 am
  
  
I have one. My daughter has one. You probably have one too.
  

Whether they’re tucked away in a shoebox under your bed, saved in a folder on your computer, or stuck in a drawer of your desk. Whether they’re from your parents, friends, sweetheart, a teacher, or a combination of them all. Whether they’re mushy or simply encouraging. Somewhere, I’m guessing you have a card, letter, or an email…
  
You have a love note.

 

Why do we keep these notes of encouragement and affirmation? Why do we hold on to these expressions of love and appreciation? 

Life is hard.
   
It wears us down and throws dirt on our fairy tale dreams. We don’t always get the job, the boy or girl, the life we thought we wanted. Or, if we did get the life we wanted, it brought with it a boatload of reality that we never bargained for.
  
So we go to our love notes; these priceless reminders that someone, somewhere, believed in us. They appreciate our efforts. They think we’re special.
  
Because someone took the time to put their love for us on paper, we can hold their words in our hands and be reminded of the one thing that we need to know above all else,
  
We. Are. Loved.
   

So save those words of love and encouragement. Treasure them. Bask in them. Hold them in your hands and read them over and over again. But, whatever you do,  

Put your own love on paper.
   
Take the time to put your love for someone on paper today. You may be the love note they’re looking for. 
  
Really Relating 
Who will you write today? Go ahead, put your love on paper. Tell someone thank you for something particular. Acknowledge their gifts and potential. Thank them for being there for you. Be the love note they’re looking for.

 

 

Puppy Love 02/16/2010

Filed under: Dog,Love,Puppy,Puppy Love — Vickey Banks @ 6:53 pm

 Have you ever been loved by a puppy?
 
The slobbery kisses, wildly wagging tail, and adorable little face that licks you relentlessly with a no-holds-barred kind of love…there’s nothing like it!
  
 Wikipedia’s dictionary says the term “puppy love” came from the adoring, worshipful affection that may be felt by a puppy. I mean really, who doesn’t appreciate a little worship every now and then? J
  
Fourteen years ago, the sweetest ball of fluff bounded into my family’s home and captured our hearts forever. One look at our Golden Retriever puppy and we were goners. Smitten beyond belief. As he grew, so did our love for him.
  
We had to say good-bye forever to our Tanner last week. But, being wildly loved by him taught us a lot about how to express love to others. We’ve learned:
  
·      How you greet someone can make his or her entire day.
·      Everything is better when someone sits at your feet and listens.
·      Treats are always a good thing.
·      You can never be petted enough.
·      Loyalty is the loveliest of traits.
·      What you do is not nearly as important as who you have beside you.
 
Ah yes, it’s good to be loved by a dog. We’ll be forever grateful to the one who loved us and let us love him. We love you, Tan. Always.
 
 
Really Relating
Have you been loved by a dog? Tell me about it. What have they taught you?
 

Daddy’s Little Girl 02/05/2010

Filed under: Celebrate,Dad,Daddy,Daddy's Little Girl,Little Girl,Love,Memories — Vickey Banks @ 8:36 am
One of the purest forms of love has to be the love of a little girl for her Dad. Today is my Dad’s birthday. Although I’m no longer little, he is still the hero of my heart.
   
As I celebrate my Dad today, I’m remembering a scene we lived out many times. I’d walk into the living room to find him stretched out on our gold velvet sofa, a bowl of freshly popped popcorn in his lap, intently watching football – a manly sport for a manly kind of guy. Then came the question there is no telling how many times I asked during my growing up years, “Who are we for Dad?”  Next, I’d sit down and cheer for the team Dad said we were routing for. I don’t remember it ever occurring to me to cheer for the other team.  One thing was for certain: I was for Dad’s team.
   
When I became a Junior High cheerleader, Dad sat me down and painstakingly coached me at home on the game of football.  He flattened out a newspaper on the kitchen counter, using it as a chalkboard to diagram the lineup of the team, making sure I knew the roles of each and every player.  I can still see those Xs and Os now.  This was one cheerleader who would never yell “D-E-F-E-N-S-E” when her team had the ball! 
   
Over the years Dad taught me about a lot more than football.  He ran beside me and held on to the handlebars as I wobbled up and down our driveway learning to ride a bike.  He sat next to me and taught me how to drive a car. Like the ex-Marine he is, he showed me where the pressure points were on a person and how to defend myself.  He helped me buy my first car, made me apologize to my Mom when I hurt her feelings, celebrated the good grades I made, and somehow made me believe I could be anything I wanted to be. 
  
Yes, a lot of years have passed since these memories. These days, I sit beside Dad during his chemo treatments and am more grateful for his love and character than ever before. But one thing remains the same: Whose team am I for? Forever and always, I am for my Dad. 
 
Really Relating
What’s a favorite memory you have of growing up in your house? Share it, please!
 

It’s All About Love 02/03/2010

Filed under: February,God's love,Love,Valentines,Valentines Day — Vickey Banks @ 11:40 am
Welcome to February: The Month of Love!
   
Yes, this is the month that makes greeting card companies and sellers of chocolate dance with glee. Candied conversation hearts and red roses take center stage. Romantic comedies light up the movie screens and singles everywhere get depressed over their lack of a significant other! Fortunately, love is much more than all these things. I’d like to take this entire month to blog about love and the relationships in our lives.
   
To get you in the mood for all things Valentine, first hop on over to http://www.faithclipart.com/video/happy-valentines-day-video-animation.html. It offers some fun-filled Valentine’s Day facts and an inspirational message at the end that will assure you of a breathtakingly beautiful fact:
   
You Are God’s Valentine
   
Read that last sentence again. Let it redecorate your heart. Whether you’re married, divorced, engaged, widowed, or single, you are loved by God.
   
That Bible sitting on your shelf…it’s a collection of His love letters to you. Since it’s far easier to love others when our own love tank is full, lets look at some of my favorite love notes from God:
  
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. -Jeremiah 31:3
 
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 John 3:1
 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
           
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:35-39
 
Forever and always. Lavishly. Actively. Knowing your bad side. Inseparable. That’s how God loves you.
 
Take this Love Challenge: Begin every day this month by reminding yourself that you are God’s Valentine AND read a love note from Him!
 
Really Relating
How does it feel to know you are lavishly loved by God?
How should knowing this affect the other relationships in our lives?