Archive for May, 2011

Love Never Fails

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.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)

The prayers, words of encouragement, and affirmations have been pouring in, and I just want to take a moment to say “Thank you!” I am in the throes of this difficult exam but I am determined to stay the course. Passing this exam is the last major hurdle before moving on into the steps for preparing and writing my dissertation – I’ve come too far and through too much to stop now!

I was just whispering a brief prayer of thanksgiving for the love I am blessed to have in my life, and then the song Tell Him by Colbie Caillat popped on in my iPod. This song was written by Lauryn Hill and for those of you who don’t know; it is a take on a passage in the Bible from 1 Corinthians 13, which is also known as “The Love Chapter.”

A portion of the passage is provided above, but here are some highlights from Lauryn’s song:

Let me be patient let me be kind
Make me unselfish without being blind
Though I may suffer I’ll envy it not
And endure what comes . . .

Now I may have faith to make mountains fall
But if I lack love then I am nothin’ at all
I can give away everything I possess
But am without love then I have no happiness
I know I’m imperfect
and not without sin
But now that I’m older all childish things end

I’ll never be jealous
And I won’t be too proud
Cause love is not boastful
And love is not loud

Now I may have wisdom and knowledge on Earth
But if I speak wrong then what is it worth?

To me, so much of what 1 Corinthians 13 says speaks to relationships.  Of course when we think of “relationship” we often think of our S/O, and it certainly applies. But this passage (and song) is so much broader than that – it speaks to our relationships with people: how we interact with them and how we treat them. This love thing is a two-way street, and everyone in the equation is tasked with the responsibility of making sure they love each other right. And you know what? That “rightness” means not focusing so much on what you do to me and how you love me, but how I love YOU.

Focusing on how I love you gives me the ability to first realize and recognize my imperfections, and that I need love and tolerance just as much as you do. Next, focusing on how I love you enables me to do what the passage says: Be patient, be kind; not boastful or proud. It helps me to not dishonor or mistreat someone – and if I am mistreated, to not keep a record of the wrong that has been done to me, but to forgive and let it go. It helps me to always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere.

In other words, it helps my love to never fail.

When SM and I made the big decision to date exclusively with the intent of marriage, we both had to take a long, hard look at the potential impact our relationship might project on our family and friends. Yes, the decision was ours to make, but we had to be realistic and decide if we cared enough to continue loving each other in spite of any obstacles we faced. I remember telling SM that the only person who could change the way I felt about him – was him. When I love, I love. Period. The end. (And yes, he made the same affirmation to me).

I believe if more couples approach their relationship armed with a “my love will never fail” mentality, they would be able to withstand any storm life sends their way.

[Sidebar: Ahhh . . . so much for my not engaging in any “heavy thinking!”]


Here are three versions of the song for you to enjoy!      


(Watch for a glimpse of Michelle-O in this one!)



Join in the fray:

Who/what is your “unfailing love?”

May 26, 2011 at 3:53 PM 2 comments

Testing . . . testing . . .

Hi lads and lasses! Sorry for the delay on the blog. This past week saw both joy and sorry for my family as we celebrated two high school graduations and paid respects to a family member who passed away. Exhausting for sure, but necessary in all respects. I love my family!

Today I enter two weeks of comprehensive testing for my PhD program. Some of you didn’t know it, but A Swirl Girl is pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration. Needless to say, both Pandora and iTunes will be in HEAVY rotation for the next two weeks.

I’ll pop in and out when the spirit of procrastination comes on me. I’ll share some of the music I’m listening to, or maybe some quotes. I ask your patience as I go through this process. No heavy thinking for me – unless it’s pondering an exam question.

Say a prayer for me and wish me luck, people!

Join in the fray:

Is life sending any tests your way? Tell me about it – you know misery loves company! LOL

May 24, 2011 at 2:23 PM 2 comments

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful

I was working on a paper the other day and channel-surfed to find the perfect background show. You know the kind I mean: The “mindless” program you leave running in the background while you do something that really uses your brain.

[Side note: I also listen to my favorite Pandora station at the same time. What can I say? I’m a multi-tasker to the nth degree.]

I landed on America’s Next Top Model (I have no idea what season) and decided to leave it there (that’s the only way I get to “see” it). I generally look up during the last 10 minutes or so of every program to give myself a break (and to watch the elimination – of course!).

Turns out I was on one of the final episodes where the remaining contestants had to do their Cover Girl commercials. They had a couple of scenarios to work with, but the bottom line was how well they could work the scenario and say, “Easy, breezy, beautiful, Cover Girl.”   

You have to ask yourself, How hard is that??? Surprisingly, it was very hard for some.

I sat there shaking my head and chuckling, when suddenly my mind wandered and I thought about SM. (I admit that my mind wanders in his direction most of the time – but I digress).

I thought about a trip we’d taken to Hilton Head to catch some beach and some sun. He had pounded on my door one morning at what seemed like the crack of dawn, Starbucks cup in hand.

[Side note: I have to digress here. This is a man who wherever we go, always locates the nearest Starbucks because he knows how much I love an extra hot caramel macchiato. I could go on and tell you that he also knows my exact recipe, but why bore you with those details? Suffice it to say that SM is a good man, and I know I’m blessed to have him in my life. I have a funny story about SM, me, and an empty Starbucks cup, but I’ll save it for another blog. *LOL* just thinking about it!]  

The sun was coming up, and SM wanted us to watch the sunrise together. It was nippy that time of morning, but he pulled the heavy comforter off my bed and wrapped us in it as we sat on the terrace facing the beach. Needless to say, it was a beautiful and glorious sight – and tears came to my eyes as I sat, months later, remembering that very special time.

It was warm enough a few hours later for us to walk along the edge of the beach and enjoy the feel of the sun on our faces and the sand between our toes. We laughed, talked, and held hands – an easy, breezy, beautiful summer morning.

I’m getting misty-eyed again recollecting that, because It occurs to me that just as we’d think it should be easy for a wanna-be model to say “Easy, breezy, beautiful” – it isn’t – and you know what? Relationships are the same way.

As I mature and grow in my relationship, I realize that every day is not easy, breezy, and beautiful. Life happens. Too much humidity? The “hair” of your relationship gets frizzy. The pressures of life can feel like sweltering heat – and all you want to do is escape. Sand gets in your eyes, and you cry. Cry hard enough, and you melt away your make up . . . and even if you cry just a little your mascara may run and you still wind up looking like a distant cousin to a raccoon.

We suffer setbacks and seeming reversals of fortune. We get the wind knocked out of us and we have to find a way to pick ourselves up. We misunderstand and get things wrong. We get hurt; we hurt others. We get offended; we offend each other.

I look at couples like my parents and others, married for 40, 50, and even 60-plus years, and ask them the secret of their longevity. They tell me traditional wedding vows they took covered those not so easy, not so breezy, and not so beautiful days. “Better . . . worse . . . Richer . . . poorer . . . sickness . . . health,” they said. On those not so beautiful days, and during those not so beautiful times, they determined that, in spite of it all, they would dig their heels in and remember their investment of time, and emotion. They chose to love him . . . love her. They let the fierce winds blow, and they allowed the rain to pummel them, but they didn’t let go.

Sitting here now, I think back on that episode of America’s Next Top Model and I celebrate. I celebrate relationships, and above all, I celebrate love.  

I muse on life, reminisce about that wonderful summer morning, and I smile.

“An investment in the emotional bank account,” is what SM called it.

I realize that the easy, breezy, beautiful days lay the foundation for the days and times ahead, and I smile. Easy, breezy, beautiful. It’s the stuff that my dreams now are made of.

Join in the fray:

How do you define “easy, breezy, and beautiful?”

May 13, 2011 at 7:28 PM Leave a comment

Let the Good Times Roll! (2011 Festival International)

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 Festival International in Lafayette, Louisiana. This was the 25th year for this annual event and I had a BLAST! So many sights, sounds, colors, food, and people!

Here’s a blurb from the website (emphasis mine):

 Festival International de Louisiane is truly a community event drawing together approximately 1,500 volunteers from all segments of the community to work together to celebrate both our diversity and the common human experience that binds us together. Through the arts presented and the joint efforts to produce it, the festival contributes to the spirit of community that is so unique to the Acadiana region.

The annual 5-day festival is held during the last full week of April. Historic downtown Lafayette, Louisiana, is transformed into an entertainment complex featuring six music stages, food court areas, street musicians and animators, arts and crafts boutiques, art galleries, beverage stands, cultural workshops, international cooking demonstrations and a world music store.

All programming for the festival is designed to celebrate cultural expression in a variety of forms and to encourage understanding and appreciation for different cultures. Festival International events are free to the public and designed to encourage family participation from all sectors of the community.”

Think about it: Five days FILLED with experiencing and celebrating diversity, community, the arts, cultural workshops, and international cooking???

I think you get the picture.

The Southwest region of Louisiana, also affectionately known as “Acadiana,” hosts annual festivals based on a variety of different themes and local specialties. For instance, Crowley, LA, known as “The Rice Capital of the World,” annually hosts the “International Rice Festival.” Rayne, LA (shout out!) boasts that it is “The Frog Capital of the World,” and correspondingly hosts annually the “International Frog Festival.”

[Sidebar: Any excuse to throw a party is better than none . . . .]

There was a ton of things to see and do so I was able to capture only a mere smidgeon of what the Festival offered. I hope you enjoy the photos and videos.

Upcoming Festival line up:

Festival Acadiens et Créoles – October 14-16, 2011

International Rice Festival – October 20-22, 2011

International Frog Festival – November 9-13, 2011

Acadiana Film Festival – November 17-20

I love festivals and cultural events, but I must say my love for this genre has increased since meeting my SM. He is a master at finding these events, researching the high lights, and making sure we capture the best and most essential parts. I can hear the wheels turning in SM’s head even from here. I’m a native Louisianan, but I can guarantee you that when it’s all said and done he’ll know much more about these festivals than I do. 

Avec SM, je peux vraiment laisser les bons moments de rouleau! 

(With SM, I can really let the good times roll!)

These sculptures were SO lifelike . . . .


Join in the fray:

How do you “let the good times roll?”

So lifelike . . . so eerie!

They stalk the streets . . . .

What fun!A little Mardi Gras flavor . . .

A few brave souls joined in the Indian dance . . .

May 4, 2011 at 4:19 PM 2 comments

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