Tag Archives: love

Single and Hate Valentine’s Day? by Hannah Bland

single-on-valentines-gregory-bland
Single and hate Valentine’s day? Have you had a friend tell you how much they dislike Valentine’s Day because they are ‘alone?’

We often get the idea that Valentine’s Day is only about writing love letters to, or buying chocolate and flowers for, our significant others.

If we stick this narrow idea of Valentine’s Day we’ll miss an opportunity to show the love we have for our parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends. All important people within our lives. There are many other ways to enjoy and show love on Valentine’s Day.

In Ruth 1:16 we read one of the greatest stories of love. Naomi upon deciding to return home asked both Orpah and Ruth to remain in their own country. Orpah listened to Naomi’s plea and returned home, where she could get married, and have children.

Ruth, however, had a plea of her own ” where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay….” She loved Naomi so much that she was willing to give up all that Orpah could have, in order to live with Naomi the rest of her life.

As we look at Ruth we see that love isn’t all about getting married, being swept off our feet, or even dreaming and hoping about what our future can hold. Love is right in front of us. It’s in the people we surround ourselves with, those who really care about us. We see the greatest act of love in the Bible, Jesus offering His life for us as an act of love.

When you celebrate Valentine’s Day today, could I challenge you to shift your focus from the ‘love’ you don’t have while celebrating and expressing love to those who are right with you. The family and friends you do have who love you, and of course to God who loves you more than anyone on earth ever could.

From me to you Happy Valentine’s Day!

With Love extended
Hannah Bland

*Photo #75713290 dollarphotoclub

It’s More than a One Night Stand by Gregory Bland

love-respect-gregory-blandValentine’s Day is traditionally an evening of flowers, candy, romantic dinners, carefully chosen words, and concentrated time together. Maybe for some, a secret hope of rekindling a flame that has grown dim, others may desire to kindle a new spark with someone special, or for others, sadly, it’s simply an opportunity to get ‘lucky’. Whatever your motive for celebrating Valentine’s Day, one thing is certain, it is universally understood as a time to show your love for someone special.

As a Dad of two daughters’ and one son there is a strong desire to see relationship and love rise to higher standards than we often see around us. I am not naïve either; I recognize that our children learn more by example than any amount of words I use. For that reason I focus more upon developing my own character which flows out in my words and actions. Our lives, Lynn and mine, are living examples for our three children. They watch, observe, and learn.

Certainly, Valentine’s can and is an opportunity for something different, something special, but it does not replace the ‘every day’ relationship we share. Reflecting on our Valentine’s celebration this year leaves one overarching value lingering in my mind.

Showing love, respect, and value for a lady is a daily commitment we need to make as men.

There are 365 days in the year giving us incredible opportunities and time to show our love, respect, and value for the lady’s in our lives. Make the most of every day!

Until next time,
Make the most of every day to show love, respect, and value for the lady in your life.

Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching and
The Legacy Centre

Face to Face with Fear pt 6 by Gregory Bland

pummeled-gregory-bland-the-legacy-centre“I could never love another child the way I loved Katelyn.”   That thought haunted me and catalyzed a tangible fear within my heart. I forced myself to go through the motions . . .

– I read story’s to Lynn’s belly as we lay down at night just as I did with Katelyn.
– I’d play the guitar and sing to Lynn’s belly. A treat that most never hear and for good reason.

– I would speak to the baby developing within the womb, affirming my love, telling stories of what to expect in our family, and awaiting the press of a hand or foot against my gentle hand.

I was hoping somehow all of these actions would diminish my “irrational” fear. It didn’t. I was still scared. Questions nagged me day after day, week after week, and month after month. It was unrelenting.

Could I love this child the way I love the first?

What if I couldn’t?

What impact would this have them?

Am I going to wreck them emotionally?

As the birth date approached my anxiety increased and there was a barrage of new questions. My mind felt as though I was in a boxing ring, back pressed against the ropes, hands up guarding my face as Evander Holyfield pummeled me.

Are we having a boy or girl? I know how to father a girl, but what happens if we have a boy? What do I do then? I don’t know how to relate to boys? I didn’t even have a Dad at home. I don’t know if I could love another girl, let along a boy. How would I love a boy?

I was a wreck internally.

The Dr’s decided that my love would be tested on June 30th when they declared that Lynn would be induced on that day so they could monitor the birth. Instead of watching the fireworks at the Freedom Festival between Detroit/Windsor, I’d be watching fireworks of a different sort this year.

You’d think after 5 months of fighting with these questions I would have resolution walking into the hospital room. I didn’t. Lynn was induced early in the morning and as the hours passed my anxiety increased and my prayer intensified. Lynn may have thought I was praying for her, but I wasn’t. I was selfishly praying that somehow, someway, God would give me the strength to love this child as I should. Would my love be divided? Would it be diminished in any way with the addition of this child? The unpleasantness of that thought was disconcerting and I continued praying.

The hours rolled by and nothing tangible changed. Not within my heart or within Lynn’s body. Nurses checked frequently on Lynn but precious little was happening. Lunch came and went and still no change, “You’re still 2 cm dilated,” the nurses repeated, over and over and over again. As the supper hour passed anxiety ramped up. It seemed as though God was doing His masterful work of forging patience within our lives.

Lynn and I sat side by side on the love seat in the hospital room, not much was said, but I know a lot was being contemplated. All of a sudden Lynn screamed. I mean screamed, it was so loud I jumped to my feet in an instant and almost immediately nurses were running through the door.

Finally something is happening! It was fast and furious, you’re completely dilated and the baby is crowninlove-gregory-bland-the-legacy-centreg. One nurse paged the Dr, as the others helped Lynn into the bed. I watched in amazement. (I’ll spare you some of the details.) The Dr. arrived at the room just in time to see the baby being born

He held the baby up and said, “Mr and Mrs Bland you have a baby girl. It’s a good thing she ca
e when she did because her umbilical cord is in a perfect knot and it’s tightening.  Take a look at this . . .”

I looked at her through the tears that flooded my eyes, “Hannah Mercedes,
welcome to our family.” In an instant my doubts and fears were erased. I was overwhelmed with LOVE for this precious child. My love was not divided, it was not diminished in any way, but rather I could tangibly tell it was multiplied!

I thanked God for this little girl’s safe arrival and the instant work He did within my heart. It was late that night, 11:25pm, that all my fears were eclipsed by the reality I had a greater capacity for love.

Until Next time
Consider the depth of love you have for another
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

Pro-Active Parent Coaching &
The Legacy Centre

Showing Love with our Ears by Gregory Bland

Showing Love with Your Ears

Showing Love with Your Ears

There are moments when I enjoy what seems like a spontaneous connection with my children.  Those times when conversation flows naturally and easily.  In those moments I just know, in my knower, that there is a genuine heartfelt connection between us.  Then there are the planned conversations, the times we have set aside specifically to follow up on a commitment my child has made so that I can encourage their progress.   In either situation, spontaneous or planned, there is no greater gift we can give our children than to authentically listen so that we might understand what they are sensing, feeling and experiencing.

David Augsburger stated well, “”Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.””  As you take steps toward listening so that you may understand your child, here are some suggestions to help you.

  • Focus upon relational health. The foundation of healthy relationship is trust.  Focusing upon health within the relationship will naturally open the door to touching the deeper areas of our child’s life through coaching when they are ready and give us permission to do so.  Be patient, focus on relational health and connection, the other will naturally follow.
  • Listen more than you speak. Allow your child to completely express their thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions without interrupting or jumping to conclusions.
  • Actively engage in the conversation. Our children know and understand when we are truly engaged in listening to them, or distracted.  They love, even crave, a parents conversation.  It speaks to them and gives them an understanding that, “I am important enough that mom/dad takes time to talk with me.”  (not at me)
  • Ask for clarification. Never assume that you fully understand what your child intends, always clarify and listen for their affirmation, “Yes, Mom/Dad, that is exactly what I mean.”  ”
  • Resist the temptation to move too quickly to solutions. Allow time for your child to speak, and share what they are thinking.  Often you will find that the solution comes to them as they talk about it and their  discovery has greater value than our simply telling them what they should do.
  • Listen beyond the words.  What is their body language, facial expressions, tone of voice telling you?  Pay attention to body language.  There are cues written all over them.
  • Ask permission to go deeper. Parent Coaching is unique in that it touches the deeper matters of the heart quickly.  This can be uncomfortable for some children and teens.  When you sense that coaching could take your child to a deeper, more reflective place, always ask permission to do so and honor their desire.
  • If you tune out, admit it. You might as well come clean because they already know.  Simply let them know that you tuned out for a moment and ask them to go back and repeat what you missed.  This allows them to know that you truly want to hear what they are saying and are mature enough to admit when you’ve missed it.

By authentically listening, we create an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with our children and teens.  Listening will help us truly understand what our children are sensing, feeling, and experiencing.  When there is understanding between you & your child/teen, you will experience a depth of love they never thought possible.  There is no greater way to support relationship than giving our children the time they need to be fully heard and understood.

Until next time,
Show your love with your ears
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

Small Choices Huge Difference Part 4 by Gregory Bland

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Small Choices that Make a Huge Difference Part 4

Choose NOT to Shelter Your Child/Teen from all Pain

There is a common tendency in parents to shelter their children from painful experiences, but pain is an incredible teacher.  It forges character, persistence, endurance, and gives a reservoir of experience through which to draw wisdom as they mature.

Remember:  The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials. – unknown

Until next time,
Evaluate and allow your child/teen to experience some pain.  Don’t abandon, but be there to support and encourage thoughtful reflection, and apply learning to life.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

Keeping Love Alive Part 5 by Gregory Bland

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rQANUdUOJY]

Is love the feeling you feel when you feel like you’re going to have a feeling you’ve never felt before? Or is there something more? What keeps love alive in a marriage relationship? What impact does your relationship have upon your children? Consider these things as Greg shares about one of the commitments he has made and the impact it has had upon his children within this video.

Keeping Love Alive part 2 by Gregory Bland

gregory-lynn-bland-love“Greg.  You have more dates with your wife than anyone I know. To be honest, it’s hard for me to fathom.  How in the world do you do it?”

“We’ve actually come to the place where the first thing we put in our calendar is our date nights.  Then we work everything else around that.  But it wasn’t always this way.”

“Really?  I would never have guessed by what I see.  What changed?”

“Well, the short answer would be, “I came to my senses and returned to intentionally pursuing Lynn as I did before we were married.”
laughing, “That is pretty succinct. You can tell me more if you like.”

“Sure if you want to hear it.”

“Of course! I wouldn’t have asked otherwise.”

“Alright.  But you asked for it.  Lynn and I dated for four years prior to marriage.  Some might call it courting, I guess.  When we could, we’d spend a lot of time together.  When we were not together in person, not in studies or working, you could find me huddled in my room,door closed, phone to my ear, fidgetting with a phone cord as I sat listening.  I loved hearing her voice.  Listening to her talk, getting to know who she was, and what she was passionate about.  This was long before the Fav 10 promotions modern cell phone packages offer & let me tell you, some of the monthly bills that came in, were out of this world.”

“No doubt about it, I can remember those days too.”

“Yeah, the expense never bothered me because I loved talking with her. More than anything though, I enjoyed our times together.  We could be canoeing, walking through the zoo, shooting hoops, eating KFC at the park, or riding motorcycle down a twisty back-road.  Just being with her was exhilarating.   After a few years of dating she finally asked me to marry her. Ok, Ok, truth be known, I finally clued in that she would actually say, “yes,” so I mustered up the courage to ask.  Gregs questionWe married between my first and second years of studies and although it was a little tougher balancing part-time work, studies, ministry in a local church, and a new life together we managed to continue our regular dating routine.  4 years into our marriage we had our first child.  What a season of change that was for us.  We moved to a new community, began ministering in a new church, and had a baby all within one month.  Six months later we discovered we were expecting child # 2.  My mind reeled as I plummeted from awe and wonder at the miracle of child birth to panic and fear in a heart beat.  Subtly, almost imperceptibly  something happened within me.     I didn’t recognize it, but I was pouring my life into our two little girls, making sure that they knew their daddy loved them,  (Once I got over the shock and fear that is.) and the ministry that we were working in.   Lynn and I always had a ‘good’ relationship.  People often commented on it.  What couldn’t be seen on the exterior was a cooling that was taking place within our relationship.  The greatest responsibility for that, was not Lynn’s but mine to bear.”

“How so?”

“I had allowed good things to dominate my time and affection.  Good things like, investing in our children, providing for our growing family, pouring my heart into ministry. When you boil it all down, I had placed these good things, in higher priority than Lynn and my shared relationship together.  When this dawned on me, I was amazed at how subtly this took place within my life.”

“What brought about this realization?”

A friend loved me enough to ask, “Greg, what could happen in your marriage if you put as much energy into loving your wife as you obviously do your children?”
“Wow. That is a powerful question!”

“It was for me!  I began reflecting upon my intentionality with our children.  I had been dating the girls regularly, taking time away as a family.  Ensuring that we were cultivating a healthy relational environment, for us as a family.  Lynn, on the other hand, I was now dating sporadically, with a lot less intentionality.  It was more like, ‘Hey, I have some time do you want to grab a sitter and head out tonight?’  What impact could this have upon our marriage?  As I thought about that, I remembered how we pursued one another during our courtship and into the early years of our marriage.  If I could direct the same energy and enthusiasm into my relationship with Lynn, it would probably mean the world to her.  I renewed my commitment to pursue Lynn as I did while getting to know her.  To cultivate our relationship with intentionality.  To go on discovery, seeking new territory within her heart I had not yet discovered.  I returned home and shared with Lynn my renewed commitment to her, pulled out my day planner and together we selected an evening we would call ours.  What I discovered in work and ministry was this, if I didn’t write it in my day planner, it often wouldn’t get done.  On the other hand though, writing the date down ensured Lynn was a priority, and provided a visual for me when others requested my time.  Interestingly enough, what seemed almost awkward and forced in the beginning has become so natural and normal that we don’t even think about it anymore.  Date night is a great night, a highlight of our week.  There is a no doubt it has had a profound impact upon our relationship together, but has also been great for our children to see the priority we place upon one another.  I would not change this for anything.”

“That’s amazing.  Thanks for sharing Greg.  You have given me something to consider today without even knowing it.”

* This conversation gleaned from a phone call last week with an old friend.

As you consider keeping love alive within our marriage relationship.  Let me close this with one final thought and a couple of questions.  It’s very common for men to think that pursuing the girl, trying to capture her heart, goes hand in hand with dating/courtship but not with marriage.  That simply is not the case.  We have discovered, as many others have, that continuing the pursuit of capturing and holding her heart opens up new vistas and lands of discovery.  Doing so will draw you into a deeper, richer, fulfilling relationship with one another.

So the short challenge here is, take up the chase again, pursue and capture her heart.  You can begin asking yourself, “What did I do when I was dating that she loved so much?” and then begin doing it again.

Your relationship will be better because of it
Until Next Time, Keep love alive by resuming your pursuit of her heart
Your friend and Pro-active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland