So tired … busy weekend Toastmastering at District Conference

I will never drive back from a District Conference on the Saturday night after it ends … I left Myrtle Beach at 1 1 p.m. and got home at quarter of 2.

But the conference itself was fantastic. My friend Ray Schnell won 1st place in the International Speech Contest. He’ll represent South Carolina (District 58) at the 2013 International Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, this August. Sorry for the fuzzy photo; I was moving around.

Ray Schnell
Ray Schnell is congratulated by International Director Kristina Kiehlberg, left and District 58 Governor Phillip Woody. Phillip is a tall guy and he has to look up to Ray here!

 

The conference was held at the beautiful (and pricy) Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort at Kingston Plantation. I got there around 7:30 p.m. Friday … the sunset from my oceanfront room balcony was a gentle display:

Serene oceanfront view
The view down the beach at Kingston Plantation in North Myrtle from my balcony was serene.

More pictures and commentary to follow ….

Links I love … and you’ll love them too

Lately inspiration has left me for blog topics. My back is healing nicely (thank you, Pilates and Swimming!) and work is going ok (knock on wood.) And I did post the fun photos from Bark to the Park. So I thought I’d share with you some of the blogs and sites I love to visit. I’m betting you’ll want to add them to your blogroll.

One of my favorite blogs is the one hosted by the “Blogfather” himself, Instapundit. Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds has been blogging since shortly before 9/11, and his method is to post links to other sites, along with short one to two-sentence commentaries. If he’s really amused he’ll add his trademark “Heh“. The content is mostly news and politics from a libertarian/conservative perspective, but you might find anything and everything on his blog. Including a perfectly marvelous recipe for chicken.

Another blog on my Firefox Morning Coffee plug-in  is Testosterhome. Augusta, Ga. writer Rachel Balducci chronicles her life with five boys and one daughter. I started reading her blog when she only had four boys. It’s an inside look at an entirely different life than mine – I’m a single woman with career, volunteer work and friends, who is a Baptist, and she is a married stay-at-home Mom and professional writer who is a Southern Catholic. Through her blog I’ve learned all about soccer, Chuck Norris and all things wild and wonderful in a family of eight.

Sippican Cottage is winsome blog written by a Yankee furniture maker. If I ever get an extra $500 together I’m buying one of his beautiful, handmade console tables. They are crafted from Tiger Maple and have tapered legs. An instant heirloom. His wry commentary on the social scene is worth subscribing to. And his boys – wow! He and his wife homeschool their two boys, who are budding musicians. Their two-man, largely self-taught band “Unorganized Hancock” plays requests from their dad’s blog readers. You’ve got to watch this version of Buddy Holly’s “Oh, Boy.” It will make your day.

Bark to the Park

It was a beautiful day for walking outside with a doggie … and several hundred Columbians did that downtown Saturday as part of Bark to the Park, the annual fundraiser for the local pet rescue shelter Pawmetto Lifeline. My friend and work colleague Bess invited me to join her team and help her walk her two dogs, Buddy and Pickles. Buddy was friendly and enjoyed nosing around the other dogs; Pickles was, ahem, overstimulated by all the excitement. But both behaved well and didn’t foul the streets!

The walk was led by the local police canine unit.

K-9 unit
Columbia’s finest rests up before leading the walk.

Buddy, ever sociable, was ready for his closeup:

Buddy, ready to go
Why, yes, I am ready to go for the one-mile walk.

Pickles wouldn’t consent to having a picture made by himself; we had to catch him in an unguarded moment.

Buddy and Pickles
Two pals momentarily out of mischief

The State newspaper has a great roundup of photos.

Cocky meets the dogs at Bark to the Park
Cocky at Bark to the Park – photo from The State.

Learning to speak the language of love

This is the text of a speech I gave at my Toastmasters club, TNT, the Dynamite Toastmasters.

Würden Sie gefallen langsam sprechen?

Wie bitte?

What is that? You didn’t understand me? I said “Would you speak more slowly please?”

If one of us is speaking a language the other doesn’t understand, it doesn’t matter how loudly or how often you say it. They listener doesn’t get it. We resort to pointing and gestures.

Over the course of 30 years of marriage counseling, Dr. Gary Chapman found that couples who were trying to show love to each other weren’t always getting the message across. He’d cited an example, familiar to any counselor, of a couple who’d come to see him. One partner was perplexed at the accusation, “He doesn’t love me anymore.” “What do you mean? I go to work 50 – 60 hours a week, take out the trash, mow the yard, pay the bills and visit your mother … how can you say that I don’t love you?”

Yet the other partner did say that, because she wasn’t having her emotional needs met.

Chapman found that it was the same disconnect that two different language speakers would have. He identified five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. Today I’ll briefly highlight each one of these Five Love Languages.

Before I begin – it is important to note: everyone, regardless of primary love language – likes these things. They’re all nice. But one will speak to you more than the others. One will communicate love to you, and be your preferred method of communicating love. That is your Love Language.

Let’s look at them:

1 – Words of Affirmation

These are the verbal compliments. They are the most direct words of affirmation you can give. It’s not verbal flattery to manipulate – but to do something for the one you love.

Each love language has different dialects, just like a spoken language. In Words of Affirmation, there’s also:

Encouraging words – words to build another up

Humble words – love makes requests, not demands

Indirect words of affirmation
Pay a compliment to your partner to someone else – when it gets back to him, you get bonus brownie points!

2 – Quality Time

This means undivided attention.
Watching the TV together doesn’t count. Texting while talking doesn’t count.
Have you noticed you can tell the married couples apart from the dating couples when they go out to eat? Why is that?

A dialect of this is Quality Conversation.
Chapman defines it as “Sympathetic dialogue where two people are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires.” It calls for active listening, watching body language and learning to talk – learning to share.

Another dialect is quality activities. What does your loved one like to do? When’s the last time you joined in?

3 – Receiving Gifts.

Gift-giving is part of every culture’s love and marriage process. It is a fundamental expression of love.
Recall how children love to give gifts to their moms, whether it’s a flower from the garden or a hand-drawn painting right for the frig.

Now – this is not about materialism. The gift is symbolic of the thought. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or even cost anything. The thought is shown by actually getting and giving the gift. It’s a visual symbol of love.

But note — If you love someone whose love language is receiving gifts, you may have to change your attitude toward money. It is an investment in the relationship.

One gift can be intangible — the gift of Self, or presence. It’s not quite the same as active quality time – it is physical presence. This is especially important in time of crisis.

4 – Acts of Service

This is doing things that you know your loved one would like for you to do. They may not be convenient; they may not be what you want to do. But you do them, to show them that you love them.

Have you noticed through life, many couples seem to act differently toward each other prior to marriage than after? The obsessive “in-love” phenomenon causes us to do things differently – then we come out of it and as Dr. Chapman says, “what we did before marriage is no guarantee of what we will do after marriage.”

This language does NOT require that you be a doormat in order to show love. Love is a choice – it cannot be coerced. Performing acts of service for your partner must be an act of free will – not manipulation. To do acts of service out of guilt or fear isn’t love.

5 – Physical Touch

Now this isn’t just sex. This encompasses a wide range of explicit and implicit touches.

Hugs will communicate love to anyone – but for someone whose love language is physical touch – it is an emphatic declaration.

Just as pulling away from someone’s body is to distance yourself emotionally, to touch someone’s body is to touch them – their inner selves.

It can be explicit and demand full attention, such as a back rub, or implicit, such as rubbing a shoulder as you pass in the hall, running your hand through your partner’s hair, or holding hands.

In times of crisis, if the mate’s language is physical touch, then nothing is more important than holding that person when he cries.

If your partner’s Love Language is physical touch, then this one can be a lot of fun to find creative ways to show love!

In summary:

The Five Love Languages are not the sum of emotional communication. But just as learning the basics of another language helps us when we travel, learning the way in which your partner best expresses and receives love means you have a greater chance of being understood.

Learning the right love language is a key to helping another person feel loved. The next time you want to show love to him … speak his language.