Oscar and the Princess

This evening I’ll light a fire in the fireplace and curl up on the couch with a large bowl of buttered popcorn. Then I’ll settle back and watch the Academy Awards event from the red carpet extravaganza until the very end when Ellen DeGeneres says good night.

Yes, I’m a fan. The type of movies I watch include: old black and white, romance, comedy, drama, adventure, science fiction, foreign, animated, suspense, musicals, and even an occasional western. I love them all.

But, wanting to experience the moment when the winner is announced for best picture is not the only thing that entices me to watch this lengthy production.

What is it that not only lures me, but countless other women to watch? The gowns. Those beautiful, intricate, very expensive, size 0 gowns that we’ll never be able to afford or fit into.

I think it goes back to playing dress-up as a little girl and dreaming of one day becoming a princess. Watching the stars glide down the red carpet in flowing, gorgeous fabrics is kind of like playing dress-up as an adult.

The Academy will award actors and other people who have made great contributions in the film industry. It’s a night to honor creative people and hard work. The winners will take the statue home and place it on their mantle to remind them of that one glorious moment. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We all need affirmation in our lives. It keeps us motivated to keep going when life isn’t moving along as smooth as we’d like it to.

Many of the movie stars today have become idols and almost royalty in the eyes of their fans. The key is to keep perspective. Some are able to and some are not. Fame can be gone overnight. It can also become negative and destroy. We only need to look at Anna Nicole’s death and Britney Spears’ latest antics to see how their lives spiraled downward and the kind of attention they’ve received.

Several years ago I joked about being a princess and have since then been teased about it. One friend even gave me a plague that reads, “I Am a Princess and Proud of It.” But, I believe there’s a difference in “acting” like a princess with the expectation that people cater to your whims…and feeling like a princess.

I am a princess because God is my Father. I belong to the King of Kings and the Prince of Peace. My inheritance is eternal life and I didn’t have to earn it. And nothing...or nobody...can ever take that away from me.

I’ll take that over a gold statue any day.

Oscar Red Carpet 1

What is a Friend?

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”
Bernard Meltzer

There’s a lot of wisdom in that statement. True friends accept and love us despite all our faults and idiosyncrasies.

Friendships are important to me and I don’t them for granted. Although I live in the Seattle area, there are several friends across the country with whom I keep in contact. We’re able to talk for hours on the phone without feeling any distance or time separating us.

There are writers with whom I’ve become close to. We share common goals and bonds that other people probably can’t understand.

Within my church family, there are people whom I call friends. We invest ourselves in common ministries and activities. I enjoy seeing them and catching up on pieces of our lives.

“Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.” Jewish Saying

Two special friends in my life have indeed become my treasure. Our commonalities bind us together and our differences keep our friendship interesting. We have the freedom to be who we are without fear. Trust is never an issue in our relationship. They are two of the most loyal people I’ve ever met. We tease, we disagree, we support…and we laugh. Actually, we laugh a lot…

“A friend is someone who can sing you the song of your heart when you’ve forgotten it.” Unknown

While hanging out together one evening, we talked about the ebb and flow of life. What we give and receive in our friendship shifts, depending on the need. At any given time, one friend may need to receive while the other two give a little more.

Over the years the three of us have accumulatively experienced: divorce, remarriage, death of a child, death of a parent, unemployment, family members with mental health issues, family members with substance abuse, job change, children’s weddings, children leaving for college, parents dealing with health issues, moving from one home to another… Whew!!!

Be willing to give of yourself. Believe in your friends. Encourage and support them in their dreams and goals. It takes some effort to be in a friendship, but the rewards are so much greater than the work.

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” G. Randolf

Someday the three of us will be sitting in our own rockers -
on a porch - our hair gray…

Well…on second thought…let’s eliminate the rockers—and forget about the gray hair. Just look for three feisty, very much alive, young-at-heart women…

May you be blessed with true friends.

Best Friends 1

Romance, Men, and Music

Romance - Part 4

God gave us an incredible gift to help us declare our love, build intimacy, and enhance the romance in our lives.

He gave us the gift of music.

In a prior post on romance, I wrote that I believe both men and women need and desire romance in their lives. I’m convinced of that even more than I was several days ago.

This past Sunday evening, during the prestigious Grammy Awards, every area in the music industry was honored for their contribution to the world of music over the past year.

A majority of musicians are male. I would guess the majority of songs written are composed by males. I would also tend to bet – if I was a betting person – that the majority of those songs are about love. Love shared, love hoped for, love lost, love for a life time, etc., whether the song be a ballad, a rock tune, hip hop, rap, Latino, pop, or country.

Songs are woven into our lives. They help us grieve during a break-up, celebrate hope for our future, and rekindle romance during an evening alone with our spouse or significant other.

I believe God intended this gift to touch us deep in our core – into an area where sometimes nothing else can reach or penetrate. Music not only touches our soul…it is an expression of our soul. It reveals what our hearts are made of, whether we have a soft and loving heart, or whether our heart is black with hatred and anger.

So, my theory is this…for men to create – or even enjoy - beautiful melodies and words that speak of love and romance, they must first feel it in their soul. Macho or not…

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Be Mine

What Makes You Feel Loved?

Romance - Part 3

How we communicate our feelings plays a large part in romance.

Sometimes all it takes is a few words to say it all. Did you see the movie, “Jerry McQuire?” Remember the now famous quotes when Jerry (Tom Cruise) tries to explain how he feels about Dorothy (Renee Zellweger)?

Jerry : “You... you complete me. And I just..."
Dorothy: “Shut up, just shut up. You had me at hello.”

People all over America went, “Ahhhhh…how romantic!”

Those words said it all. But, romance can also be as subtle as a look exchanged between two people, a light touch, or a call in the middle of the day.

I experienced an “ah-hah” moment some years ago when I read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book made sense and correlated with what I’d experienced in my own life.

In the book, Gary explains that not everyone feels loved in the same way as the next person…nor do they communicate love the same way. So, your spouse might be showing love in a way that makes them feel loved – and still may be totally missing the mark with you. And vice versa. Discovering our love languages can change how we communicate our feelings for each other – and in turn rev up the romance in our relationship.

What love language fits you?
(You may have more than one.)

Words of Affirmation – You feel loved when someone gives you a compliment, words of encouragement, or verbal acknowledgement.

Quality Time – It involves sharing experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires while having uninterrupted time together.

Receiving Gifts – The gift doesn’t need to be expensive or given every day. But, it’s looked at as a treasure and a symbol of the love given.

Acts of Service – You feel loved when your mate does helpful things, without resentment, that makes your life or work load easier.

Physical Touch – The touch doesn’t have to be sexual in nature, but without touch you feel unloved and you wither away inside.

To learn more about the five languages of love, click here: http://www.fivelovelanguages.com/learn.html

Keep sharing the love,

I've Been Tagged! Six Weird Things About Myself

Look for Part 3 on love and romance tomorrow.

In the meantime…

I’ve been tagged by Michelle Sutton, book reviewer extraordinaire.

I’ve been instructed to share six weird things about myself and then tag six other bloggers.

So here they are:

1. I love watching foreign films, especially when they include martial arts.

2. I enjoy pouring salt on large slugs and watching them disintegrate.

3. My wardrobe consists of 90% items in black.

4. I could eat popcorn and French fries every day of the week.
(But I won't let myself.)

5. I’m compulsive about answering email.

6. I won’t go to bed and will stay up “very” late, even though I’m exhausted because I don’t want to face getting up in the morning.
(Okay…that’s very weird…and only non- morning people will understand.)

I tag these other writers:

Angela Hunt http://www.alifeinpages.blogspot.com

Meredith Efken http://www.meredithefken.com/blog

Cynthia Ruchti http://splashinginthedeepend.blogspot.com

Lisa Harris http://myblogintheheartofAfrica.blogspot.com

Julie Carobini http://juliecarobini.blogspot.com

Beth Goddard http://bethgoddard.blogspot.com

Check out these fun and inspiring blogs!
And see what weird things you can find out about these people.

Annette M. Irby - Romance Author and Friend Romance - Part 2

I met Annette through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s organization a little over a year ago. After discovering that we only lived five minutes apart, we fast became good friends.

Annette has been a wonderful blessing in my life. Not only is she a cheerleader when it comes to my own writing, she inspires me to grow in my relationship with the Lord. She’s a wife, mother of three, and besides writing novels, articles, and devotions, Annette also has a gift for writing music.

As an author, she has a heart for writing Christian romance. While her stories contain a strong, spiritual thread, they are by no means sappy. Her characters are real people with faults who struggle with daily issues, just like you and me.

Most novels placed in the romance genre center around unmarried couples. By the end of the book the couple confesses their undying love, and then what? In our minds do they continue to live happily ever after, high on love? Or as in reality, do they fall prey to neglecting romance in their married life as they get bogged down with the daily grind of paying bills and changing diapers?

I appreciate Annette’s passion for writing stories that include and encourage romance within marriage. She has the ability to create scenes in her stories that include a delicate balance of sensuality within that relationship without making the reader feel uncomfortable. That’s unusual in fiction today, especially fiction with a Christian element.

If you read Annette’s recently published e-book, “Love Letters,” you’ll get a small taste of what I’m referring to.
“Love Letters,” a novella, is published by The Wild Rose Press, and can be downloaded for a small fee at this link: http://secured.thewildrosepress.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=334

If you want to learn more about Annette and what she writes, click on this link: www.annetteirby.com or on the link, Annette M. Irby, Romance on the side bar of this blog.

Take care,

Valentine's Day, Romance...and God?

Valentine’s Day is only a week away.

That shouldn’t be earth-shattering news to any of us. After all, how could we not be aware?Stores stock their shelves with Valentine’s Day cards as they remove Christmas items. Commercials try to influence us into believing the best way – and sometimes the only way - for a man to show his love is by giving diamonds or pearls. And the only way for a woman to know she’s truly loved is by receiving a gift that comes with a high price tag.

Now don't get me wrong! I'm not against giving or receiving jewelry...or flowers...or chocolate. (Just in case my husband is reading this!) I like those things just as much as any other female. (Especially dark chocolate, Honey) But, I don’t think they’re the only way – or even sometimes the best way - to show a person how much we care about them.

I think it’s sad that for some people, a holiday is needed in order to celebrate and express love for a spouse, fiancĂ©, or the person they’re dating. Hello! What’s wrong with this picture?

What I think is even more sad is how many marriages are lacking romance. I’m not talking about the “moonlight and roses” kind of romance. But, the every day kind of stuff that keeps the interest and fires burning. The kind that makes you want to spend time alone together because you enjoy each other’s company. Even if it’s just snuggling up with a bowl of popcorn to watch a movie on a Saturday night.

We’re bombarded with romance outside of our relationships through movies, advertisements, and books. Look at all the shelves in grocery stores that are full of paperback romances. Women aren’t buying them because of the racy sex found in “some” of them. (Well…at least in most cases.) They’re buying them because the stories transport them to a place where they can re-live the experience of falling in love all over again.

Women are hungry for romance. But, I won’t accept that we’re alone in this. I think men need their own version of romance just as much as women do. It may look different from ours, but it’s there. Underneath their skin. Deep down in their heart. Am I wrong???

I also believe that God is very interested in how we bring romance into our lives. I don’t think the subject, or concept, is trivial for Him in the least. After all, He made men and women with an attraction for each other. He gave us these inner needs...to be loved, cared for, honored, desired, and cherished...and wants them to be met in a healthy way.

I’m going to be focusing on the topic of “romance” in my posts this week.

If you have any comments on what I’ve written…or suggestions on what you’d like to have me write…I’d love to read them. Please post them in the comment section.

Till then,

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