Category: Mar/Apr 2011

The Inner Issue

fruitMen are visual creatures and women know it. That’s probably part of the reason women are so obsessed with their appearances. So in an attempt to attract the opposite sex, women have scrambled to perfect their outer beauty thinking it will give them the man they desire. They go straight for the weight loss program or tighter clothes; to fake nails and fake hair and whatever other body piece you can buy. I don’t believe men are excluded from this thought pattern either; thinking that perhaps if they look more athletic or built that they can get the girl.

But everyone is missing the point.

I too have suffered from the delusion that if I was “prettier” (whatever THAT means) that the man I was attracted to would be more attracted to me. I think if this equation turns out to be true, there’s a huge problem. Why wasn’t the guy attracted to me before? And when I’m not as worldly pretty later, (because my body WILL age whether I give it permission to or not) will that attraction cease to exist? What a terrible condition to put a relationship on!

There is nothing wrong with being outwardly beautiful. There is no sin in being attractive. There is a problem, however, when you’re more concerned about the outside then the inside. Ultimately, it’s the inside that attracts people. You can be the most handsome/beautiful/fit/athletic person in the universe, but if you have no inner beauty, you’re going to find yourself with few friends and fewer meaningful relationships.

So what are the elements of inner beauty?

#1– How You Treat Others
There’s an old saying that goes, “If you want to know how a man will treat his wife, watch the way he treats his mother.” People watch how you treat others. When you don’t think you are being watched, you are. How do you treat someone who treats you badly? How do you treat a rough relationship with a family member? How do you treat someone in need? How do you treat strangers and guests? Do you blame others for your mistakes and mishaps? Do you gossip and complain about others’ faults constantly? These are all things you need to take an honest look at, and seek God’s help with your weaknesses.

#2– How You Treat Yourself
Do you put yourself first? Do you put yourself down? Do you sit and think about how much better other people are then you? Do you sit and think about how great you are compared to other people? There is a problem with all of these. Whether or not you put yourself higher or lower then others in terms of worth, either side is equally wrong. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and should handle them accordingly, not give ourselves a score based on them.

Don’t mix what I’m saying about self-worth with humility. Humility has to do with being honest. Self-worth has to do with giving yourself a grade based on your own analysis, which will always turn out to be incorrect. God’s all ready given you an A+, and any other grade given is inaccurate. This doesn’t mean we are without our weaknesses; even if we receive and A+ on a test, this does not mean we didn’t struggle with any of the questions. But God has created everyone equal in worth. So be confident in your accomplishments (humbly) and be aware of your weaknesses, but do not score yourself.

#3– How You Treat God
Whatever you put before God — whatever your idol is — affects your inner beauty. When we are attached to Christ, our lives produce “fruit” (John 15:5; Galatians 5:22-23) that nourish our inner beauty. Away from Christ, we produce a chaotic mess that ruins our inner beauty. Your idol can be anything: a person, a sin, or even outward beauty. These things may temporarily supply some inner beauty, but once your idol takes you down, it takes whatever inner beauty you thought you had with it.

And at another angle, how is your faith? Do you curse God and give up hope whenever a bad situation appears? Or do you hold fast to God and wait on Him, believing that He knows your every need and will provide for you? Faith is a muscle that affects your inner beauty. When you trust and are joyful in the Lord, people will find joy in your company.

Although our outward beauty is nothing to take for granted, our inner beauty is far more important a vineyard to tend to. Inner beauty always upstages outer beauty. Inner beauty is what really attracts the opposite sex to us, and keeps them coming back for more.

Verses to Think About
Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

1 Peter 3:3-4
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Love Versus Money

lovemoneyI always tend to laugh whenever someone says, “I’d be happy if I had just enough money to be comfortable.” I find this statement amusing because I know that the more steady the income, the more people potentially make themselves uncomfortable. An extra few hours at work equals the purchase of a new cell phone. A raise equals a better car to commute in. A new job equals a new house. Then you lose those new hours, that raise, or that new job and all of a sudden you’re uncomfortable again because you can’t afford the new things you decided you were comfortable with when you were making more money.

The reality is, people make themselves uncomfortable when it comes to money. Money fluctuates frequently and this causes just about everyone some level of anxiety. This is probably why people think that a steady stream of cash will calm their nerves. But what makes society think comfort should come from  their bank accounts?

A lot of marital problems relate to money. The economy is terrible at the moment, and even when it does get back on its feet, there is no guarantee that someday it won’t be worse then it is now. We can’t rely on our incomes for security and safety, but we tend to when it comes to building a home and raising a family. And when our bank accounts are low– when our security is threatened– we lash out at the people closest to us.

While reading the other day, I came across a story about a woman whose husband lost his dream job. He was heartbroken and she was worried about finances, but she decided that instead of bringing it to his attention and making him feel worse then he all ready did, she was going to up her game as a wife and be more supportive and understanding then ever. It ultimately strengthened their marriage and gave them a better emotional intimacy then they ever had.

It was then that a thought punctured my mind: You don’t have to be rich to get naked.

In the Bible, nakedness represents full vulnerability and realness with God and our spouse.  We should never allow money and Earthly possessions to get in the way of our spiritual, emotional, and physical intimacy with our spouses. It is too fickle a master to submit our temperament to. The first line of the wedding vows makes it quite clear that wealth will come and go, and the promise is made outside of the issue. Our security should come from the vows themselves, not the circumstances that are mentioned before them.

Verses to Think About
1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Isaiah 47:8-9
“Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’ Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells.

Jeremiah 46:27
“Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.”

Date Idea: Festival Date

ferriswheelAnnual events can be found in any city just about any time of the year. These expositions may seem drab on the surface, but when experienced to the fullest they can be an exciting date.

Check Out the Entertainment
The featured entertainment is usually the best part of a festival. Make sure to pick up a brochure from the information booth about the entertainment available. If possible, download the schedule from the festival’s website in advance and decide what events to check out. Some festivals are two to three days long, and each day includes something original to see.

Talk to Booth Managers
Chances are the people running the booths have been to that particular festival many times before. These people not only know the best things to check out at the festival, but they also know about other annual events in the area.

In addition to this, don’t be afraid to talk to vendors about their products. Most of these booth managers are small business owners selling rare, hand-crafted items that are impossible to find elsewhere. Don’t skip over the exotic teas, jewelry, and home decor.

Dress Up
There are more opportunities to get dressed up in costume besides Halloween. Costume shopping and costume making can make a festival more exciting, and is great for photo ops. (Pack a spare change of clothes in the car just in case of wardrobe malfunctions.) You can even go so far as to take on a character to play the entire day. Get outside your comfort zones.

Check Out Rare Foods
Skip the nachos. Most festivals include culinary oddities you rarely find at the fast food joint back home. Dig in to all the free, strange, and disgusting-looking samples you can find. When lunch time rolls around, be sure to check out the fresh foods they’re selling in the booths.

Plan Outside Events
There’s always a chance that the festival will be shorter or less thrilling than expected. If you’re planning on a day trip with your date, the best plan of action is to get to the festival early and then plan on extra events following it. Find corresponding attractions in town that match the theme of the festival. If you go to a lemon festival, find a local restaurant that serves an exotic lemon dessert. If you go to a cultural festival, find a nearby venue that sells that culture’s fashions.

If There Are No Festivals to Attend

Sometimes the festivals in your area are either on days you can’t attend, or cost too much to get in. When that happens, there are other options at your disposal.

Foreign Holidays
There are holidays on our calendars that we are completely clueless about. Research these holidays and plan an at-home celebration or a night out on the town. You can even go so far as to create your own holidays and coming up with its traditions.

Visit a Cultural Neighborhood
Major cities usually have sectioned off neighborhoods that are themed according to different cultures or countries, such as Italy, China, India, or even Greece. Pick up a tour guide of a major city close to you and plan a day trip around a certain theme. Plan ahead to visit local restaurants that reflect authentic foods of that culture. Find stores that sell cultural clothing, or look for theaters that play foreign films.

Tip: The best way to look up the city sections is to type in “[major city] neighborhoods.” This will tell you the different parts of each city, including the cultural neighborhoods.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFarmers Markets
Most towns and cities have weekly farmers’ markets that sell local wares and produce. These markets are somewhat like a festival in a sense that the merchandise is hard to find and a lot of times hand-made. Entertainment isn’t usually provided, but there may be local musicians around or even city venues that demonstrate their services.

Check Museums and Theaters for Events
Some museums and theaters have events or exhibits dedicated to certain cultures or historical events. These usually run for a few weekends, which makes it easier to attend then a one-day-only festival.

However you decide to explore a festival, make sure to explore all of it to receive the best experience. Don’t be afraid to talk to people, don’t forget to be adventurous, and always allow room for some spontaneity.

Lucky Number 14

heartIn Korea, the 14th of every month is an unofficial holiday dedicated to couples. How inspiring! Add these holidays to your calendar:

Jan 14th– Diary Day
The idea behind this holiday is to exchange journals or diaries for the new year. So this year, make a romantic journal that has a record of your different dates, special memories you have with each other, or you can even write letters to one another by exchanging the book.

If you’re single, buy a journal and write letters to your future spouse. Present this journal to them on your wedding day.

February 14th– Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is celebrated a little different in Korea, because on this day, only the girls give gifts. The guys are then supposed to wait until March 14th to return the favor. So ladies: spoil your guy. Valentine’s Day is not all about what he’s doing for you, but what you can do for him as well. Do something a bit more masculine on Valentine’s Day, such as a sporting event, hiking, or rock-climbing If he asks where you want to go for dinner, say the name of his favorite restaurant instead of yours.

If you’re a single woman, show your appreciation to the other men in your life, such as your dad, your uncle, or your nephews. Single guys should schedule a night out camping, fishing, or throwing a LAN party.

March 14th– White Day
This is the day that the men are supposed to return their lady love’s affection. So completely spoil her on this day. Schedule her an appointment to get a manicure, take her to an elegant restaurant, or give her a basket full of goodies.

Single guys should spoil the women in their lives such as their mother, aunts, or nieces. Single ladies should have a girl’s night out by going to the movies, going dancing, or even throwing a pajama party.

April 14th– Black Day
This is the day where single people who didn’t receive gifts on Valentine’s Day or White Day show their sorrow by going out and eating black noodles.

This is a single’s day. Gather your single friends and spend some quality time together. If you’re in a relationship, gather up old friends you haven’t seen in awhile.

May 14th – Rose Dayflower
It’s easy to figure out what this holiday is about by just looking at the title. Send your sweetheart romantic roses.

Meanings of Roses
Red: Love and commitment
Pink: Admiration and gratefulness
White: Purity and true love
Orange: Passion and intensity
Purple: Enchantment and love at first sight
Yellow: Joy and friendship (Platonic rose color)

This day is also considered Yellow Day in Korea, in which single people eat yellow curry rice. Why not use this day to go out on the town or to the beach? Soak up the sun then hit an Asian style restaurant afterwards.

June 14th– Kiss Day
Use your imagination. This day is probably the most fun to celebrate. Go to five or ten different places and take a picture of you kissing your love in each spot.

If you’re single, go out and buy a few bags of chocolate kisses. Give them friends and coworkers, or even give them out to complete strangers.

July 15th– Silver Day
This is a day to exchange small, silver gifts. Give your partner or someone you care for a token of appreciation, such as a symbolic necklace or bracelet.

August 14th– Green Day
This is a go-outdoors-and-enjoy-nature day. Single or dating, this is a perfect day to go out on a picnic, go for a nature hike, or do some adventuring around local scenic attractions.

September 14th– Photo Day
Photo day is simply a day to take pictures together as a couple. Find romantic places to take pictures or have your pictures professionally taken. Make a collage or slide show with your new pictures.

Single folks can get pictures taken with family or close friends, or can adventure out into scenic areas and take pictures of certain themes such as road signs, funky cars, or furniture people leave on the side of the road.

October 14th– Wine Day
Wine is a wonderfully romantic drink and is good for your heart. Have a wine and chocolate picnic (link), or schedule to tour a wine factory with your love or a close friend.

November 14th– Movie Day
Pick out an old movie, the first movie you ever saw together, or go to a specialty theater. Gather friends and have a movie marathon. If you’re not in the mood for the movies, feel free to check out local community theaters for plays and shows.

December 14th– Hug Day
The simplest of the holidays, Hug Day is a day to give out hugs. Give out hugs to family and friends. As a couple, try for your longest cuddling record.

Not Yet Wed

wedding3Society loves to blur boundary lines. Instant gratification is expected in today’s culture, and to obtain it people are willing to compromise just about anything.

Relationships are no different. Between selfish desires and illogical reasoning, relationships lack boundaries. People compromise the idea of a boundary line between “boyfriend and girlfriend” and “husband and wife” in hopes to have their needs met. In the end, however, they only cause themselves more pain.

So what are the boundary lines in a relationship? What is the difference between the titles “boyfriend and girlfriend” and “husband and wife?”

Part of the Family
A common happenstance in boyfriend-girlfriend relationships is the mistake of adopting your partner’s family before marriage. The term “date the family” is not a good one. Yes, it is important to get along with your partner’s family, but don’t make the mistake of pretending they are your family as well.

What’s the problem with adopting your partner’s family? One is that you’ll be hesitant to break off a bad relationship due to your attachment to the family. You’ll adore the family so much that you won’t want to break anyone’s heart, and because of this you won’t walk away from a relationship that needs to be walked away from. Or, if your partner breaks up with you, you’ll have to go through the heartache of losing that intimate relationship with the family members. Either way, it isn’t a good ending. You marry into the family, you don’t date them.

Sexual Intimacy
Sex isn’t only a physical intimacy, but an emotional one as well, especially for women. One person in a premarital sexual relationship will always be more romantically attached. It’s ridiculous to think that both sides are completely numb emotionally when it comes to sex, and that it will continue to stay that way as the relationship progresses. Sexual intimacy before marriage causes more problems than solutions. Sex is not love. Before the commitment of marriage, sex is an attempt to fulfill a selfish desire.

It is easy to find a person who regrets rushing into sex, it is very difficult to find someone who regrets waiting for sex until marriage. Spare yourself the emotional distress of feeling used or the consequences of intercourse by waiting for physical intimacy until after marriage.

Permission and Submission
Boyfriends and girlfriends have this weird idea that you have to ask each other for permission to go out, and then checking in when they are. Your boyfriend/girlfriend is not an authority over your life. This doesn’t mean to treat them with rebellion or disrespect, but it means that your schedule completely belongs to you and that your decisions are still your own.

On the flip side, if you expect your boyfriend or girlfriend to submit to you or check with you before s/he makes any plans, you are treating your partner like a possession or a child. Until you are married, you are both separate individuals and neither one of you is qualified to submit to the other as a married couple would.

Paying Their Way
Buying dinner on a date is one thing, but paying for college classes is another. Your financial contribution as girlfriend and boyfriend should be limited to gifts and dates, and nothing more. You are not responsible for your partner’s medical expenses, tuition, loans, or any sort of monthly payments. Only when you are married do you combine finances and support one another in those situations. Doing this before marriage risks someone being taken advantage of.

Not Walking Away
If you’re a hopeless romantic, you probably have the habit of committing to a relationship as if it were a marriage. You’ve mentally committed yourself to stay through thick and thin, no matter what. The problem is that people who do this refuse to walk away from a harmful or incompatible relationship. It doesn’t make you a bad person to walk away from a failing relationship or to protect yourself from a dangerous partner. A marriage license is a contract to stay for better or for worse, not a kiss.

Why Care About the Boundary Line?

It’s true that there are far and few between that will take heed of the boundary line between “boyfriend and girlfriend” and “husband and wife.” So why should you take this line into account?

The main reason is to avoid any extra pain you don’t need to experience if the relationship falls apart. Don’t think just because you act married that it means someday you will get married. Relationships do fall apart, and keeping yourself on the correct side of the line will help you avoid any extra pain or complications that you don’t need when the relationship is over.

Marriage is fantastic, and dating is a thrill, but they are two very different levels of commitment. A break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend shouldn’t feel like a divorce. Spare yourself that type of pain. Waiting for the proper time to cross the line makes the other side that much sweeter when you get there.

50 Ways to Make Every Meal Romantic

wine21.Dim the lights
2.Serve champagne or wine
3.Feed each other
4.Speak in French
5.Use romantic colors, like red and silver
6.Leave hand written notes on his/her plate
7.Decorate the table with flowers
8.Don’t eat in front of the TV
9.Turn off your cell phone
10.Play footsies
11.Dress up formally
12.Bathe before your meal
13.Light candles
14.Set the plate, no buffet style
15.Don’t make something your love doesn’t like
16.Play music
17.Serve drinks in champagne flutes
18.Turn your meal into a theme
19.Cut something into a heart shape
20.Serve as a picnic
21.Use cloth napkins and the good china
22.Serve your meal outside
23.Leave a gift at the table
24.Blindfold them and feed them dessert
25.Eat in front of the fireplace
26.Don’t nag or complain during the meal
27.Use floating candles
28.Massage your date while dinner cooks
29.Talk about them as much as possible
30.Do dishes together
31.Serve your meal in courses
32.Don’t talk about negative things at the table
33.Decorate the table with pictures of you both
34.Use an empty wine bottle as a vase
35.Say, “I love it when you cook that.”
36.Make personalized fortune cookies
37.Make a toast to your love
38.Use aromatherapy
39.Order his/her favorite restaurant item to go
40.Let your love choose what’s for dinner from a menu
41.Serve chocolate
42.Hold hands while you eat
43.Etch your plates with your anniversary date
44.Don’t talk about work at the table
45.Put a foot bath at his/her chair
46.Put a dish of candy hearts on the table
47.Cook together
48.Open the curtains and look out the window as you eat
49.Thank your partner for cooking
50.Never forget dessert

What Not To Do After Getting Dumped

dump#1– Get Even
Anger is a normal emotion after a break up, but acting on that emotion is not okay no matter how the breakup went down. Any action you take out of anger only makes you look like the crazy ex, and it just supports your ex’s decision to dump you. You’re not crazy; you’re hurting. Work through your anger, don’t act on it.

#2– Hold it In
It’s okay to be in pain after having your heart ripped out of your chest. Cry and scream about it. Talk about it. Seek comfort. Write out your emotions. (But don’t contact your ex.) Work through your emotions daily to find your strength. You won’t feel this way forever, but healing takes longer when you stuff your emotions.

#3– Stalk Them
Don’t show up at their house or send a dozen texts messages a day. Don’t beg them to take you back, or ask what happened between the two of you. Here’s the deal: they dumped you because they weren’t willing to fully commit to you for a lifetime. Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t want to cherish you and stay committed for the long haul.

#4– Despair
Some people can go into a depressive state after a breakup; they feel like no one will love them, and can even feel that life isn’t worth living anymore. Don’t ever think that you don’t have value because someone else decided to walk away. Getting dumped doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person or you did something wrong. If you’re feeling depressed and in pain, there are places you can go to talk to someone such as The Hopeline or Teenline

Gift Idea: Sick Sweetheart Package

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen your sweetheart is sick, you can’t always be there to watch over them until they get better, but you can send them a gift that will make help them heal faster!

Make them a care basket filled with vitamins (such as zinc or vitamin C), bandages and ointments, or hot and cold packs.

People heal faster when they have cheerful spirits. So send your love things that will make them cheerful, such as an uplifting book, a hilarious movie, a stuffed animal, or a collection of love notes.

Other things you can do when someone is sick:
Send them flowers. Don’t just wait till someone is hospitalized for this gesture. Flowers are sure to brighten anyone’s day.

Get them an appointment at a sauna. Saunas are known for detoxing and healing. A couple of 10-minute treatments will make someone feel refreshed and help them heal faster.

Send them mail daily. Being stuck in bed all day is boring. Write them letters or emails on a daily basis for them to read as they rest.

Cook and clean. Taking care of the house and cooking the meals are difficult tasks when you’re sick. Help someone out by doing chores they’re not healthy enough to do so.