Category: Jan/Feb 2011

14 Days of Valentines

heartChristmas gets 12 days, so why can’t Valentine’s get something too? Don’t wait to show affection till the 14th. Follow this calendar to make the next two weeks memorable.

We highly suggest everyone does the “Singles” prompts. Don’t forget about the other people in your life that aren’t your sweetheart!

1
All: Write down the amazing character attributes of God.  (Merciful, righteous, wonderful, good, creative, loving, etc) Sit back and stare in awe at His glorious nature.

2
Him: Hand-write her a love letter. Drop it off at the post office to be sent– even if you live together
Her: Send him a love email
Singles: Write a thank you card for your parents

3
Him: Call her and tell her that you are thinking about her
Her: Text him and say that you miss him
Singles: Text/email someone you lost touch with

4
Him: Take her to whatever movie she wants to see
Her: Buy him snacks at the concession stand while you’re at the movies
Singles: Go to the movies with a friend you’ve known at least 5 years

5
Him: Organize a picnic breakfast in the park
Her: Bring him his favorite smoothie for breakfast
Singles: Make a full breakfast for your entire household

6
All: Spend time with your First Love. Make a list of things to thank Him for. Then thank Him.

7
Him: Buy her a potted plant and leave it on her doorstep with a note.
Her: Buy his favorite ice cream and drop it off at his fridge with a note.
Singles: Take your best friend to his/her favorite cafe for drinks.

8
Him: Email her a song that reminds you of your first kiss
Her: Email him a song that reminds you of your first date
Singles: Email someone a stupid song from when you were in middle/high school and laugh about it

9
Him: Take today to groom yourself for your woman. Pluck your eyebrows. Do your laundry. Buy cologne.
Her: Beautify yourself for your guy. Paint your nails. Use a pumice stone on your feet. Get a haircut
Singles: Spoil yourself completely

10
Him: Offer to wash her pet
Her: Offer to wash his car
Singles: Offer someone in your neighborhood to do either of the two mentioned above

11
Him: Take her to her favorite restaurant .
Her: Buy him a book and surprise him with it at dinner.
Singles: Contact the people you rarely talk to on your Facebook/Myspace/Email list and leave a short message

12
Him: Make her dinner
Her: Bake him a cake
Singles: Bake cookies for a specific group. (Such as coworkers, Bible study, math class, etc.)

13
All: Look over the last year and write down all the things God has done for you and those around you. Give Him praise for always looking out for you and the people you care about.

14
VALENTINES DAY!
All: Spoil someone unconditionally, without any complaint, without any selfish motivations, and no holding back. Have a good holiday, everybody!

Trick

tv“…The Devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist.” -Charles Baudelaire, The Generous Gambler

The last time I went to go pay my phone bill, I observed something interesting. While I was waiting in line, I took notice of the two TVs on the wall next to me. On one TV there was a fun, childlike documentary on arctic animals in comparison to human beings. On the other TV was a typical soap opera full of sex, drama, and violence. One of the TVs had sound, the other didn’t.  Want to take a guess at what show they thought everyone would be more interested in?  The soap opera, naturally.

In reading this line from the story The Generous Gambler by Charles Baudelaire, I immediately thought of the hold the media’s view of sexuality and relationships has on society. Dramas, soap operas, sit-coms, and reality shows have seemed to influence what society claims to be okay when it comes to relationships and sex.

It’s almost as if we look to these shows to define our morals. No longer does the Bible define sin, but we do. We decide based on what we watch, who we know, and our own logic what is and isn’t sin, and then we go out into the world and destroy our relationships and our lives.

In watching that soap opera for ten minutes I learned these common media lessons: wear as little clothing as possible to be attractive, treating someone you love like dirt is okay if you’re having a bad day or they deserve it, sex has no other value then entertainment and personal satisfaction, and self-control gets in the way of really living. All these lessons ruin our marriages, our relationships, and our families.

What really defines our morals? What defines our sexual sins? It’s almost as if we erase the devil to justify destroying ourselves and the relationships around us. Our families don’t matter. Our marriages don’t matter. The purity of our sexuality doesn’t matter. All that matters is doing what we feel is right and giving in to any temptation we come across. And in doing such, Satan wins his game and we know nothing better of it.

If we want to really live, we have to stop justifying destroying our lives. How can we enjoy life after tearing apart our relationships because of our logic influenced by the media and society around us? We need to remember who Satan is and how he influences the world around us: he taints our sexuality, he feeds our selfishness, and he works at making our marriages and relationships to fall apart. We need to remember what defines our morals and stick to that source in order to save our marriages, our families, and ourselves.

Verses to Think About:
Ephesians 4:19
They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

Proverbs 14:12
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Proverbs 14:9
Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.

Colossians 3:5
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Love Song CD

headphonesIt may seem a little adolescent and cheesy, but with the right amount of creativity and presentation, a love song CD can be a highly romantic present.

Some ideas for your CD:

–> A song that explains how you feel about them in the morning
–> A song that explains how you feel about them in the afternoon
–> A song that explains how you feel about them in the evening
–> A song that explains how you feel about them in the spring
–> A song that explains how you feel about them in the summer
–> A song that explains how you feel about them in the fall
–> A song that explains how you feel about them in the winter
–> A song that reminds you of your first date
–> A song that reminds you of your first kiss
–> A song that reminds you of your first anniversary
–> A song that reminds you of your first dance
–> A song that reminds you of your first year as a married couple
–> A song that says how you feel when they walk into the room
–> A song that says how you feel when they are away from you
–> A song that says how you feel when they look into your eyes

Want to make your CD more romantic?  Put some effort into the CD sleeve.  Write a dedication to your sweetheart, thanking them for your wonderful relationship together.  Or write the reasons to why you picked the songs you did.  Or write your favorite lyrics from the songs you chose.

If you’d rather go the MP3 route, give your sweetheart a music gift card and write a letter that says which songs they are to download.  Include your reasons for picking the songs you did in the same letter.

Reasons Not to Cohabitate

houseLiving together before marriage is gaining in popularity, but there are four reasons why cohabitation is not a smart option.

#1 –There’s no such thing as a test drive
Some people think that living together before marriage “tests” if you two will make it through a marriage. Marriage made up entirely of commitment. You can’t practice commitment. By living together you’ve all ready determined that you’d fail as a married couple, because you two can’t make the commitment marriage requires.

#2 — Couples that live together are more likely to fail at marriage
Do some research. You’ll find that most couples that live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced, that is, if they ever decide to get married. If you’re not ready to make the commitment of marriage, don’t “compromise” by living together. You’re only setting yourself up for failure.

#3 — It’s a sign of immaturity
Living together before marriage has the same maturity merit as “friends with benefits.” The theory is you get all the perks of the other side of the fence without any strings attached. Life isn’t high school. If you want a lasting relationship, you need to have maturity and commitment. Living together before marriage proves you don’t have either.

#4 — Sooner or later someone will get used
There are two major benefits that come to mind when it comes to living together: financial help and sex. Inside of marriage, these two things are favorable, but outside of that commitment they are a disaster waiting to happen. These two things will keep people in relationships they have no real interest of. When something better or more exciting comes along, someone will bail. Don’t put yourself on either side of this situation.

Happy Single Awareness Day

sad

Valentine’s Day is somewhat irritating and maybe even depressing to the single crowd. Being surrounded by reminders that you don’t have someone to share the holiday with can be taunting, but don’t plan feeling sorry for yourself just yet. Try these ideas instead.

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Date Idea: Snow Date

snowmanDespite its frigid temperature and hassle of shoveling it from your driveway, snow can be a romantic interlude when given the chance. Turn a snowy day into an unforgettable date with your partner.

Playing in the Snow

The snow is full of activities for children-at-heart. Bundle yourself up, hit the slopes, and find ways to have great fun in the snow with your date!

Snowman
Building a snowman is a traditional snow day activity. There are all kinds of snowmen (or women) to build, but try to add a little twist to your snowmen to make it more romantic. Build a snowman that reflects your partner’s personality. Build a snow couple. Build a snow family with a pet dog.

Snow Sculpture
If you want a better challenge than a snowman, make a snow sculpture instead. Take a photo of something you’d like to carve out of the snow, or invent something as you go. Do something sweet like a giant heart, or do something impressive like “The Thinker” by Rodin.

You can even make a snow city! Make square blocks of snow and carve them out to be sky scrapers, apartment complexes, and little cars. Destroy it like Godzilla afterward.

Snowshoe Hiking
Don’t let the winter weather stop you from taking a look around the scenery! Hop on a snowshoe hike tour and embrace the snow in all its glory. Take photos of the snow in the trees, the scenic view from the top, and your date as you both freeze and sweat at the same time.

Outdoor Fort
Build an outdoor fort out of snow, branches, or whatever else you can find. Make it big enough to walk into. Shape it like an igloo. Make it into a replica of a studio apartment. Whatever you decide, have fun making it together then crawl inside and share some hot chocolate.

Sleigh Ride
The ultimate romantic memory. A sleigh ride has a sort of magical quality to it and is naturally romantic. Find this service and jump on it.

Snowmobile Ride
If a sleigh ride is too slow for you, jump on a snowmobile. There are actually snow mobiles built for two and it’s a thrilling way to explore the scenery. Use a snowmobile to take your date to a remote location that includes a hot picnic lunch.

Sledding
It doesn’t matter if you use a plastic garbage bin lid or an inner tube, sledding down the side of a mountain is a lot of fun. Go to the mountains and go to a park that provides the tubes, or look for a fun place close to home. Ride double or race each other down the hill.

Extreme Sports
Skiing and snowboarding are two thrilling dates for couples who want to get an adrenaline rush. Take a KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAlesson together, or teach your date how to do it. Don’t worry about talent or skill, just have fun going up and down the hill together.

Ice Skating
How can ice skating not be romantic? Hold hands while you skate around a public rink, or a safe pond. Take lessons together if you need to.

Snow Treats
Gather clean snow and add snow cone syrup or other flavored things to it. Make different concoctions and dive in with a spoon.

In Town

Mountain towns thrive on snow days. Check out gift shops and specialty stores, buying trinkets for each other. Check out local foods, or hit every single restaurant in town and decide who as the best hot chocolate.

Snowed In

The weather might be too harsh for any snow fun, or you just may not be in the mood to bundle up and go out. In that case, there are a few fun things you can do inside while you’re snowed in.

Become an Olympian
There are some games out there for the Wii and Playstation that involve winter sports. Pick these up and try your skills with games that provide multiplayer. Compete against each other. Loser has to make dinner.

Become a Entrepreneur
Create a board or card game that has to do with winter or snow activities. Build the game electronically or out of cardboard. You can make it romantic, or you can make a game to play with friends on the next snow day. Once you’re done making the board game, play it by candlelight.

cocoaBecome a Decorator
Create a wreath for your date, family, or friends. Make each wreath personalized, with decorations each person loves, such as favorite flowers and plants, colored ribbons, or popcorn. Or, make a heart-shaped Valentine’s wreath for each other and hang it on your doors. Add notes and trinkets to the wreath if you want.

Indoor Winter Wonderland
If there’s no snow outside your window but you want to give your date a winter wonderland, try building one inside.

Buy artificial snow and cover your living room floor in it. Make trees out of cardboard cut outs or buy a couple cheap, fake ones. Use pine scented candles and start up the fireplace.

Create a picnic on the “snow” and make hot soups and bread for your dinner. Make desserts that are covered in powdered sugar or make snowflake-shaped sugar cookies.

However you want to spend the wintery weather, do it creatively. The snow is a playground of opportunity in romance and fun.

Gift Idea: Hand Painted Mailbox

mailboxPresent your sweetheart with secret love notes using your own personal mailbox!

You will need:
A mailbox or any type of box with a lid from a craft store
Paintbrushes and paint
Stencils
A hand written love letter

In craft and fabric stores you can pick up a wooden mailbox that is prepped for you to paint. If you can’t find a mailbox, you can use a regular box or even a large treasure box if desired.

Use two coats of whatever base paint you would like. For wooden surfaces, acrylic paint works great and it’s pretty cheap. Make the paint relevant colors, such as your partner’s favorite colors, the colors they were wearing when you first met, the color of their eyes, etc.

The easiest way to paint a wooden surface is to use a stencil. After the base paint has dried, tape the edges of the stencil against the surface and gently paint over the stencil. Use something symbolic or simply romantic.

After you’ve finished painting, use the box on a regular basis to leave notes and trinkets for your sweetheart.

New Year Ahead

newyear

The new year brings a strange sense of ambition to do things better, bigger, and bolder than the year before. Whether you’re single or married, the new year is a perfect opportunity to make plans to deepen ties and refresh your relationships.

For Singles

Strengthen Relationships
Once you’re in a marriage, you’ll find that you’ll have less time for family and friends. It’s best to work on deepening your relationships now. Patch up broken relationships and build up new ones.

Go to School
Thinking about getting certified or getting a degree? Do it. Although it’s not strange to go to school later in life, it’s guaranteed to be much more difficult. Get educated in things you love or are interested in while you still have the energy to put in the proper focus.

Take Care of Yourself
It’s amazing how a toned body or a new haircut gives you confidence. Throw out your old clothes from middle school that you can “still fit into” and try out something different. Dye or cut your hair, stop eating fast food, and hit the gym every once in a while. Don’t think that because you’re single you have no need to take care of yourself.

Travel
Take advantage of the fact that you only have to pay for one plane ticket. Take road trips with other single friends, do day trips with family members before your parents get too old (and senile), or hit the road solo and take note of great adventures. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet your soulmate on one of your trips. And if not, you’ll have tales of your travels to tell them when you do.

Donate Time and Energy
There are many causes out there looking for activists. Anything from simple church drives to building houses in third world countries. Donating your energy is best at a young age while you’re still single. These activities will have a great impact on your life and the lives around you.

Learn the Basics
There are a lot of basic skills you learn as a single person that carries on into creating a good home after you’re married. It’s best to learn them now instead of having your marriage suffer from a lack of skills. Learn to cook so you and your family eat better. (Not to mention the romantic bonus points you get for making a home-cooked meal.) Learn to organize your time and energy so you are more productive, which turns into more time for other things, such as time with your partner. And lastly, practice financial wisdom to cut out excessive spending and debt, which is a huge cause in broken marriages. Learning these things not only helps your marriage down the line, but it helps you as an individual now.

 

As a Couple

Strengthen Old Relationships
Your relationships with others are still important after marriage, and this is the year to rebuild them. Hold small get-togethers to reconnect with old friends, or call up people you haven’t seen in a month and take them to lunch. Spend a weekend away from your spouse and spend it with friends on a mini-vacation.

Switch Roles
Once you get in the habit of him always mowing the lawn and her always doing the dishes, you start to lose the appreciation you have for each others help around the house. Switch chores for a week. Don’t hassle each other for doing something wrong. The point is to find a renewed appreciation for each other.

Set Aside Time
If you don’t have a date night, create one. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you stop dating each other. Dates and quality time together are how couples connect and create intimacy. Bring the romance back into your marriage by planning dates, vacations, and day trips by yourselves. Make it a rule not to discuss work or kids for the duration of the event.

Revamp Your Body
Working out isn’t only for single people. As a spouse you have a responsibility to satisfy your mate’s sexual needs. Working out and taking care of your body enhances sexual attractiveness and gives you more stamina. Get rid of your old clothes, put a little effort into your grooming, and do what you can to appeal to your spouse.

Do Maintenance
Even if you’re relationship seems smooth, it still needs maintenance just like anything else. Attend seminars,wrench read relationship books together, or even schedule an appointment with a counselor to see if there’s anything you can do to improve your marriage. Take advantage of the good times to prepare for the hard ones coming.

Bury the Hatchet
Every marriage has core issues. Whether it’s a lack of forgiveness, lack of appreciation, lack of intimacy, or bad communication, this is the year to resolve these issues. You are not allowed to have them next year. Agree to do whatever it takes– even if it means something you don’t want to do– to fix these issues. Bury past events in the past and leave them there. Anything worth having is worth working at.

Rekindle the Flames
Romance and passion are said to be the first to go. Time to bring them back. Make sure to do three romantic things for your spouse a week, such as doing a chore, giving a massage, or saying something reassuring other than “I love you.”

Don’t allow this year to be like the last. Make it more exciting, more active, and more loving. Spend less time daydreaming and more time actively working at your future or present marriage.