The Many Faces of Love-Maggie Sabatier-Smith-Pevonia Blog

Valentine’s Day—yet another holiday that challenges many to go above and beyond to find that perfect gift. A gift that speaks the message of love and friendship or as I like to say “a deposit in the love bank.” On this day social media buzzes with posts about the flowers, the candy, the restaurants… all the love expressions that we have come to expect. But, what about the acts of love that take place throughout the year—the ones others don’t see—the ones that surprise us with a sudden gust of “first kiss” memories? I’m wondering, which we remember most: Valentine’s Day gifts or the day-to-day love story?

As I type I am filled with a rush of memories—moments that allowed me to see love with a new set of eyes. Love has many faces. I’ll share a few from my own love story.

It’s the little things...
My husband’s love language is service and gifts. During our early years of marriage I traveled frequently for work; he would surprise me with notes and cards in my suitcase and welcome me home with a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvre’s. Today, on a regular basis he notices when I run out of my favorite food or shampoo—suddenly they appear silently without fanfare. A great cook—he often sacrifices his love of fancy dishes to cook what we call a “Maggie” meal, just for me.

It’s the “can’t top that” things…
Years pass, life brings us challenges and suddenly flowers and chocolate can’t possibly reach our hearts. I remember a weekend getaway. I was in the throes of a very painful auto immune condition: 24/7 pain, exhaustion, and brain fog were my daily companions. The last thing I wanted was to go away. He planned it all. He started out wearing his “vacation” hat. Immediately, it brought a smile to my heart. Coffee lovers, he got me Starbuck’s Cafe Verona, at the time advertised as the cafe of romance. A sunken tub with an assortment of bubble bath was waiting for me at the condo. He gave me my love language: quality time.

Our care giving season began suddenly and caught us both unprepared. Together we opened our home to my parents. That first Christmas together, mom was in the hospital with Alzheimer’s. I would spend most of my time with her. With no time or energy for holiday celebrations, my Paul surprised me one night. I came home to find a fully decorated table-top Christmas tree, a precious act of love that still brings tears as I remember. Paul walked this season out with me. He was there for the tears as well as the laughter (nursing homes provide both). God’s unconditional love held us together. It was God’s love that we shared with each other.

It’s all about the Road Trips…
We are in the RV Travel Season of our lives. My act of love for him was to agree to go camping. A New York City girl at heart,  camping was a true sacrifice. However, we have discovered a new flavor of romance as we spend time together traveling across the United States. He has patiently introduced me to a world I could never have imagined. We combine his love for nature and my love for people and we make it work.

It’s love for a lifetimenot just a day…
This started out as an article and has turned into my Valentine’s Day love message to my husband. I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I relive so much of our love story. What about you? What if you took the time to reflect on the many faces of love in your own life?

Photo by Wilson Sánchez


The Power of AND-Pevonia Blog

When Sarah shared, “I believe the children are our future,” Jennifer retorted, “I agree, but parents create tomorrow.”

When Jennifer responded with the word but, she effectively tossed Sarah’s idea aside and replaced it with a completely new one. This irked Sarah, for while Jennifer did not openly oppose her idea, Sarah received a clear signal of Jennifer’s disagreement.

While, Jennifer may not have intentionally rebutted Sarah’s statement her use of but trivialized Sarah’s contribution and suggested that it may have been inadequate in thought.

But offers contradiction, it presents conflict, and suggests the moving away from the speaker’s intention.

When we want to agree or pay homage to another’s statement we should use the word and. If Jennifer had said, “I agree, and the parents create tomorrow.” She would have given Sarah’s idea the full attention it deserved, even as she offered up a different idea.

Now, there are two equally powerful statements and each has a place in the discussion. Neither is bigger nor smaller, and the conversation is now expanded and open to new possibilities. The word “and” increases the size and scope of discussions. It also allows the creation of multiple solutions to everyday challenges.

Another example:
Joan wants to go to the evening yoga class. Her kid needs to be picked up at 5 p.m. Yoga starts at 5 p.m.

Joan thinks, “I want to go to the 5 p.m. yoga class, but I have to pick up my kid.” Joan’s mind hears this as either yoga or pick-up-the-kid, two opposing options with only one possible outcome. It is impossible for the mind to perceive that the two could co-exist. The mind perceives either option as a constraint of the other.

When Joan restates her thought, “I want to go to yoga and I have to pick up the kid,” her mind no longer perceives a conflict. Picking-up-the-kid and yoga are two ideas that co-exist. When Joan begins to think about how the two objectives can be accomplished she can adjust her words to: How can I pick up the kids and make the yoga class?

This rephrasing generates several options. “Perhaps, my husband can do pick-up duty on yoga days,” or “perhaps I can attend a studio with childcare services.”

And is a powerful word that joins seemingly impossible thoughts, expands the horizon of our thinking and minimizes conflicts. We are not confined to either or; we are free to partake in infinite possibilities. And is a great word to add to our toolkit and retrain ourselves to use. Since practice makes perfect, try this for a week: When responding to another person use the word and when you are inclined to say but. (Even if you said but quickly restate the sentence with and.) See what happens.