Choices

Five Ways To A Great Marriage

I have selected Communication, Compassion, Compromise, Commitment, and Christ as five foundations of a great marriage. I believe they all work together to bring harmony and love for couples in marriage.

COMMUNICATION

Are You a Caricature?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

When I was a senior in high school, I had a caricature drawing done with a friend of mine. I remember as we sat for the artist, we tried not to laugh and squirm as we anticipated what the finished product would look like.

And, I'll admit it, when I saw the drawing, I was startled.

I looked at my ginormous head, stubby nose and large mouth and it certainly didn't look like a "beauty shot."

But, it was never supposed to. The caricature was, well, a caricature.

    "a picture, description, or imitation of a person or thing in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect."

I didn't quite appreciate the drawing for what it was: exaggerated. The shock to my system created feelings that confirmed, yes, I was grotesque.

And that drawing memory connects me to another one.

My high school art teacher repeated a motto as we, her students, attempted to draw anything, people included:

"Draw what you see, not what you know."

The concept, if embraced,

Conquering Worry

When you are inclined to worry -- don't do it! That is the first thing. No matter how much reason there seems to be for worrying -- still, there is your rule. Do not break it -- don't worry! Matters may be greatly tangled, so tangled that you cannot see how they ever can be straightened out; still, don't worry! Troubles may be very real and very sore, and there may not seem a rift in the clouds; nevertheless, don't worry! You say the rule is too high for human observance -- that mortals cannot reach it; or you say there must be some exceptions to it -- that there are peculiar circumstances in which one cannot but worry. But wait a moment. What did the Master teach? "I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear." He left no exceptions.

What did Paul teach? "Don't worry about anything!" He did not say a word about exceptions to the rule -- but left it unqualified and absolute. A good bit of homely, practical, common-sense wisdom, says that there are two classes of things we should not worry about -- things we can help, and things we cannot help.

Evils we can (correct) -- we ought to (correct). If the roof leaks -- we ought to mend it; if the fire is burning low and the room growing cold -- we ought to put on more fuel; if the fence is tumbling down, so as to let our neighbor's cattle into our wheat field -- we had better repair the fence than sit down and worry over the troublesomeness of people's cows; if we have dyspepsia and it makes us feel badly -- we had better look to our diet and our exercise. That is, we are very silly if we worry about things we can help. Help them! That is the heavenly wisdom for that sort of ills or cares -- that is the way to cast that kind of burden on the Lord.

Self-sabotage: "Hug Me!" "I'm Trying"

Hug Me! Do We Fight Our Help?

I love this adorable cartoon post.

Dinosaur number one pleads, "Hug me!" to Dinosaur number two, who responds, "I'm trying."

I immediately thought of the "fighting your help" principle, both on the recovery front and the much larger spiritual playing field.

Many of us struggling with addictions, disorders and vices often employ a lot of self-sabotage when it comes to interaction and, yes, actual help.

We reiterate such statements as...

    "I'm worthless."

    "I'm unlovable."

    "I've made too many mistakes."

With those statements, we push others away; we fight our help.

And, of course, we do this with God.

Thoughtless or Thoughtful ?

Some people seem to have a genius for making others miserable! They are continually touching sensitive hearts, so as to cause pain. They are always saying things which sting and irritate. If you have any bodily defect, they never see you without in some crude way, making you conscious of it. If any relative or friend of yours has done some dishonorable thing, they seem to take a cruel delight in constantly referring to it when speaking with you. They lack all delicacy of feeling, having no eye for the sensitive things in others, which demand gentleness of treatment.

Thoughtfulness is the reverse of all this. It simply does not do the things which thoughtlessness does. It avoids the painful subject. It never alludes to a man's clubfoot or humpback, nor ever casts an eye at the defect, nor does anything to direct attention to it or to make the man conscious of it. It respects your sorrow--and refrains from harshly touching your wound. It has the utmost kindliness of feeling and expression. A truly thoughtful person, is one who never needlessly gives pain to another.

Are You Stuck in a Hole?

Imagine you're running a marathon. You're monitoring the situation, carefully maintaining a reasonable pace based on ability and training. You've prepared your body and mind for the race; you know the signs that tell you to run faster or slower, when to drink or eat.

You expect the unavoidable ebbs and flows of mental and physical energy. Hills and headwinds will increase difficulty in some places; sunshine and tailwinds will provide a few easy, enjoyable stretches. You're eager to confront exhilaration and trial as fundamental elements of the competition.

You also know about "the wall," that point where you'll be tested nearly beyond your ability. You anticipate that burning muscles and aching lungs will challenge desire and discipline. You expect the urge to give up, to stop and allow the pain to subside. The lure of immediate relief will entice you to cast aside goals and dreams, surrendering the satisfaction of the finish line in return for an end to the struggle.

Then, without any warning, you fall into a hole.

The publicized course didn't mention this complication. You didn't train for it, couldn't see it coming, didn't prepare survival supplies or pack climbing equipment. There's no cell phone reception in the hole.

You try everything you know to escape from the hole on your own, but

Another's Critique is Not the Final Say

I recently caught a viral video of a turtle repeatedly head butting a cat. The feline, annoyed, swishing its tail, eventually got up and moved. And the turtle was on its way. Is it a lesson in adversity? In persistence? In forging ahead, despite negative feedback?

Other people hold mirrors up to us. And a significant mirror came to me in the form of a critic to my beloved baby, my book, "Thin Enough."

They say we're supposed to embrace the criticism and the ugly truth. Well saying that, doing that and feeling great about it don't necessarily happen all at the same time. But criticism and unpleasant comments still occur, often while we're in the middle of something as challenging as recovery from a compulsion, addiction or disorder.

Learning to Listen

It is a challenge to become an active listener until you understand how years of denial, manipulating others, chemical use and other negative consequences have become the foundation of your distorted listening. You have become deaf to the reality of what you hear. Your addiction has become a filter that prevents you from hearing the truth. People talk about what you have become. You do not make sense when you talk so nobody listens to you.

Listening becomes a threat and you convince yourself that nobody will understand you because they will not listen to your version of your life as an addict or alcoholic. When you are deaf, to the reality of addiction, the delusions and paranoid ideas you create in you head become the reality that is your life. You become the delusions and distortion because you

Prince and The Elevator

Living in Minnesota right now, I am in mourning... and its color is purple.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard the news that singer, rock star and lightning rod of controversy, Prince had died. On April 21st, 2016, he was found dead in his Paisley Park home... in the elevator. He was 57.

It was an enormous shock to the world. Just imagine what the experience was for Minnesotans.

Yeah.

You might be wondering why I'm writing about Prince, of all people, in this Christian recovery forum. You, perhaps, may believe he was a creator of "the devil's music," encouraging all kinds of sin, debauchery and strange behavior.

I ask that you please stay with me for a few moments.

Something struck me within minutes of hearing the news of his discovery in the elevator. It was later confirmed by American record executive, musician, songwriter and record producer, L.A Reid. He revealed a private conversation he once had with the artist.

Prince asked him, concerning his lyrics to the song, "Let's Go Crazy,"

    "You know what the elevator is, don't ya? It's the devil."

Yes, these lyrics...

Why is this happening to me?

A friend of mine who is experiencing some painful family issues has repeatedly asked herself the "why" questions.

Why is this happening to me?

Why am I being treated like this?

Why is my loved one acting in such an ugly manner?

She has been blindsided by a situation and a relationship she never dreamed was possible, rife with betrayal, deception and slander. This was once a close, bonded relationship, one filled with unconditional love and trust.

So, the events over the last few years were a definite shock.

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