Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Audio: https://soundcloud.com/user-83095424/love-never-fails-antoinette

Care for Yourself First

We all want to care for others, but we can only adequately care for other people if we are in good shape ourselves. If we are not in good shape, then we run the risk of hurting ourselves, others, and burning out. Taking good care of yourself means eating, exercising, and sleeping well. We care about you and want you to rest and take care of yourself.

Love yourself first and care for yourself first, and then you will have the strength to love and care for others.

You matter and are important to us!

Audio:  https://soundcloud.com/user-83095424/care-for-yourself-first-florence

Ref: 7 Cups of Tea – http://7cups.com

Love Yourself

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)

For many years I read the 2nd great commandment as a reminder to love others. During troubled times of persecution, I held back my tongue and refrained from harming others. But I missed an important lesson that just came to me recently. The phrase “as yourself” all of a sudden has a new meeting. How can I love others if I don’t have the courage to love myself. So for me, one that has always put the wants and needs of others first, I’ve turn this second great commandment around the other way.

Love Yourself as you love your neighbor. Out of the sky blue this new phrasing opened up a whole new way of thinking for me, and then I found a book that reinforced my new way of thinking. Let all that can hear the sound of my voice, this day and forever more, LOVE YOURSELF! There is no need to sacrifice your happiness for another’s. Love yourself first!

This day, vow to yourself to love yourself, to treat yourself as someone you love truly and deeply – in your thoughts, your actions, the choices you make, the experiences you have, each moment you are conscious, make the decision to LOVE YOURSELF.

Audio: https://soundcloud.com/user-83095424/love-yourself-florence

Adapted from Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant

I Need You

My Darling,

Sometimes it seems like a dream that I have found you. But then maybe it is. We certainly fell in love fast. I feel as if I have always known you. The mere sound of your voice sends shivers down my spine. When you talk I experience small moments of ecstasy even without the physical contact.

Missing you is part of my daily routine. I will count the hours until we can be together again. The days stretch out like an endless sea of loneliness. And yet strangely there are times that even though you are so far away you seem close as if you are lying next to me.

I picture you holding me next to your bare chest, gently stroking my hair. Kissing my neck with small butterfly kisses. I’m running my nails along your back in tiny circles just skimming over your skin in a sensuous way.

I can almost smell that lovely scent that is you. Your scent is my oxygen and I long for deep breaths.

Your kisses taste so sweet like a mint overlaid with chocolate and a taste too difficult to describe, filled with longing and the promise of erotic dreams. My skin aches for your touch.

Is this love? Is this lust? Is it only a pipe dream fueled by our distance apart and made intense by the longing for a physical touch? I don’t know and maybe I don’t want to know. It is too fragile, too new, too wonderful to examine. Because if I do, I might come apart at the seams.

I love you. I want you and yes, I need you.

https://soundcloud.com/user-83095424/i-need-you

Four Love Stories

To the woman I met yesterday

I grew up in a dysfunctional family with tons of emotional, physical and sexual abuse strewn around. The impact on me? I missed developing a secure attachment style (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_in_adults).  Instead I tend to identify with insecure attachment styles (anxious-preoccupied and fearful-avoidant) and I’m constantly taking missteps like getting too personal and expecting intimacy on the first date. This should explain my lack of social skills, but there’s more.

I’m driven by a need to love and to be loved. I take the two great commandments seriously.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

But at an early age I equated love with sex. Why shouldn’t I? My father sexually abused my mother and after their “rough sex” encounters, they felt much better toward each other and got back together. We were a happy family again. Well not quite, it was just the opposite. Here’s the snag. I grew up in an environment that taught strange rules for interaction with loved ones (we were unconsciously taught to take out our frustrations and hurt each other all the time). And the traditional romance story was cut short when the “other woman” came over to our house at two in the morning and started a fight with my mother. My mother left the next day when my father took his girlfriend’s side. Not long after, my father abandoned his four children and moved in with this other woman. When my father left with someone else, I lost all hope of seeing a loving couple living “happily ever after” IRL.

The effect this upbringing had on me was amazing. During my adolescent years I turned into a Don Juan of sorts, a Casanova. I wanted to play the leading man and end my fantasy life with kisses and sex and a roll in the hay. This was the James Bond story I fell in love with. He got “Pussy Galore” at the end. NSA sex was the story I lived and breathed every day. I sowed my oats and went through girlfriends like a hot knife cutting through butter. I lived life like there was no tomorrow, but all good things must come to an end.

This was love story number three. The James Bond story. Just in case you missed it, Love Story number one was the story I grew up in, a dysfunctional family ending in divorce. Like Romeo and Juliet and Cyrano De Bergerac, not all love stories were meant to have a happy ending. Love story number two was the Cinderella story, boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, they go through a few challenges with their families and eventually get married, have sex, have children and live happily ever after. Sound familiar? This is the traditional love story with loving parents, similar to the one you grew up in, right Miss Goody Two Shoes.

So now I guess you’re wondering about love story number four. We’ll this is the love story I’m hoping we can write together. I’ve been studying a lot about the six types of love lately (https://markfleshman.com/2018/08/25/what-is-love/), just so I could articulate the nuances of love and choose the right words to explain myself to you. Why? Because what I seek, what I so desperately desire, is not the traditional love story number two. I’m already married and I’m not looking to pursue romantic love (eros) with you. And mania love is out of the picture too. And since agape love is between God and me, that leaves ludus (playful love), storge (companion love) and pragma (practical love). And how we interrelate and pursue these love types is up to you and me. I spent my whole life playing James Bond and I’m just now starting to learn my new story line. What about you? Do you want to try something new?

But first a word of caution. Ludus is a playful love like flirting. I left that in there as a potential love style to pursue even though it is sexual in nature and I know the idea of talking about sex is taboo to you. It sounds like adultery and falls outside the scope of what married people should do.  Keeping this in mind, how could I possibly have a consensual, adult conversation about sex with you? Yet, I know, in all honesty, that is what I truly desire, a friend who feels comfortable talking about sex. The reason is quite simple. I live in a sexless marriage. Remind me one day to tell you my #metoo story, but you don’t get this one today, this is love story number five. LOL

Thanks for giving me the confidence to come clean and speak from my heart. I got that from you. In the past I used to lie and cheat and talk smack just so I could, like Georgy Porgy, “kiss the girls and make them cry”. Those days are over. You taught me that it is better to speak from your heart and your authentic self, letting the chips fall where they may.

I believe a friendship can be built on companion love by openly communicating and allowing enough freedom to get personal at times. And a friendship needs practical love, by helping each other accomplish worthy ideals. Even though mixing in a little playful love may skirt the fringes of a normal relationship, a sex positive friendship can include a little innocent flirting too.

But how we write our love story is really up to you. How do you want to love your neighbor today? I believe we were brought together for a reason. What might that reason be? Will you accept me for who I am and who I turned out to be? Today is a new day. We have a chance to design a mutually beneficial relationship, something unique, something inspired, something created for just you and me.

Pragmatic lovers (pragma love)

Pragmatic lovers want to find value in their partners, and ultimately want to work with their partner to reach a common goal.

We are a team, you and me. A partnership, based on practicality. Our genesis is mysterious. How did we come about? The answer is profound in its simplicity. Some were made for another. You were made for me and I for you, like two halves joined together make a whole. We were brought together for some grand purpose, much bigger than you and me. We were meant to create.

Your wish is my command. We formed a bond based on practicality. We knew that by working together we could accomplish great things. You are the yin for my yang. We have magic in our midst. You give me the perspective I need and the motivation I so earnestly desire. Your presence arouses me and gets my creative juices flowing.

You turn me on when you flip the switch and trigger my desire to please you. I wake up wondering what more I can do to show my love for you. Another project, another entry on the honey do list. You give me my tasks and an incentive to complete them quickly. Only because you reward me greatly with a simple thank you, a sweet smile, and a kiss.

We were perfect strangers but now we are perfect partners, you and me. We have accomplished so much together for the whole world to see. And when they see us and the fruits of our labor, they see the pragma love we share, one with another. This love takes us to great heights with its natural practicality.

Yes, we work so well together. When I’m thinking too short term, you’re thinking long term. And when you’re thinking of scarcity, I’m thinking of the endless possibilities. I’m thinking abundantly. When I want to quit, you want to continue. And when you say you’ve had enough, I’m re-energized to pick up the torch and carry it even further, to fulfill our destiny and to leave a legacy. Isn’t this cause for celebration?

Listen to me carefully and let your heart feel this special love. A pragma love that connects us in a loving relationship able to transform wants and desires into goals and objectives. And once we decide where we want to go and how we’re going to get there, there is no stopping our dogged pursuit of our worthy ideals.

Nothing can get in the way. We may get slowed down and turned around at times, but our love for each other takes us beyond any obstacles that stand in our way. We are resilient and fueled by synergy to exceed all expectations. There is nothing we can’t do together when we put our collective minds to it. I have faith in you and you have faith in me. We make our dreams come true in a mutually beneficial reality.

They say that behind every great man is a great woman. You are the great woman behind me. When I have you in my corner, I feel like I can accomplish anything. I feel like I can move mountains and leap tall buildings in a single bound. You bring out the best in me. I feel strong and virile and supernatural.

Your soul, planted in a firm foundation of common sense, lights the way as we walk the road less traveled together. There is no one better suited to join up with me than you. We were made for each other. We were meant to be together.

Pragma love permeates our symbiotic relationship and perpetuates our genuine friendship. Pragma love rejuvenates and invigorates the life we share.

Buddies for life, partners in crime, doing great things together, till the end of time.

Audio: https://soundcloud.com/user-83095424/pragmatic-lovers-pragma-love

 

 

 

 

Agape Love

Agape love is the love of God for man and of man for God.

There is something I see in you that I can see in no other. It’s a deep faith and adoration for our God from above. You have a unique and personal relationship with God and I can’t get in the way of that. In ways I never imagined, I share that love with you, your love for God and for other Christians too. You love all of humanity. Good for you!

I have a personal relationship with God too. I try my best to live a peaceful life, a life following the two great commandments from Jesus Christ. But in so many ways I fall short. When it comes to being bridled and restrained, I fight back, always trying to break free of any chains holding me. This is my natural tendency. Yet I feel like I’ve been blessed with so much. I’m living in a present-day garden of Eden, but the only thing I want is a bite from the forbidden fruit. What’s wrong with me? How can I love God wholly, when my animal passions so often reign over me? How can God possibly love such an imperfect being like me?

Yes, I love God. Every day I wake up and pray. God has a plan. God is good. We serve an awesome God. He will provide. Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name….

Like magic, the doors to heaven open and beckon me to come in. This mundane world, all of a sudden, becomes a brighter place in which to live. A ray of sunshine glistens, and the fresh morning air reminds me of the love of God. Nature tells us every day, with every flower and ever whiff of heavenly scent, we are blessed with a potpourri of images, sights and sounds that can only be orchestrated from an awesome, omniscient and omnipotent God.

We serve a forgiving God. I am still alive to give my testimony for his undying love for me. When all seemed lost and I couldn’t muster the strength to live another day, He sent his angels to comfort me and show me the way. They still come and console me, even to this day. I am truly blessed to see the Lord in his people.

God loves you and me. I can see it and say it and revel in the jubilee. I feel a need to celebrate the love that comes from above, so abundantly, filling our hearts with good feelings and filling our minds with good thoughts. Thoughts that show us of his divine love from above and thoughts of love we share with one another.

Today the sun shines bright and the rain clouds fade away. In every speck of nature, we can see the unique love from God above. A special love meant for all of us, but manifested in each of our lives, individually. How perfect this love must be, for God makes no mistakes. He loves both you and me as we praise his divine majesty. My heart shouts “love one”, “love all”, as I bask in the glory of His love from above. Agape love fills my soul and lifts my spirit high above the sky. The greatest love is agape love. Agape love never ends.

Audio: https://soundcloud.com/user-83095424/agape-love