Archive for May, 2010

May 30, 2010

Making Good Impressions

50 first dates Pictures, Images and Photos
This dare reminds me of the movie, 50 First Dates. The movie is about this commitment phobic guy who finally met the woman he felt he could settle down with. Only she had a weird kind of amnesia; when she woke up in the morning, she could not remember anything that had gone on before. What a challenge because no matter how hard he tried to impress her, she woke up the next morning remembering nada.

I remember wondering as I watched it, what it would be like to have to make a first impression on the same person time and time again; not to get to the state of taking for granted. That state we get to, of easy familiarity where we no longer bother to try making an impression or going out of our way?

That, I believe is the point where a woman no longer bothers about how she looks for the man she married 10 years ago, or the man stops watching his rum paunch and turns into a couch potato. OK, these are extremes but you know what I’m talking about.

Then again, there has to be a level of comfort where we become more comfortable being seen without makeup (for those who cannot abide leaving the house without the war paint 😉 ). So how do we find a balance?

I do not have an answer to this one. So I am asking: How do we make good impressions on our loved ones and still be comfortable with who we are?

It is a constant tug of war for me. I want to make a good impression on him all the time but I do not want to compromise on who I am inside, I never have. I am lucky because he loves everything about me (well, almost everything), but even then…

So I am asking because of the next dare*

LD 9

Greet your man invitingly, ladies. Make it a point to greet him in a way that says you missed him and you’re glad he’s there. Be consistent with it. On the phone and in person. Make him feel wanted.

Bible Verse: Greet one another with a kiss of love – 1 Peter 5:14

* I have been doing the Love Dares and blogging about it too.

May 29, 2010

Love Dare 8 – Commitment

I think a lot of people go into marriage expecting it to be easy. Maybe they’ve seen too many movies. Marriage isn’t easy. Family isn’t easy. Close friendships aren’t easy. The best plan is to expect problems, stay committed, and develop a strategy for getting through the rough times.

John Maxwell

John says it like it is the easiest thing to do – stay committed. Then again, he does say that we should not expect it to be easy. I was discussing with some friends of mine and we were examining the fact that it was difficult to see a young person stay 5 years at one job; the grass is always greener somewhere else. Not to say those who job-hop are not committed, I suppose in their own way they are committed to their welfare. But that is not what I am talking about here.

Commitment here is in relation to someone or something other than oneself. To understand it better, I checked the meaning:

The state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person or persons. –

    • a consignment to a penal or mental institution
    • the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled

That is the thing with commitment, it is not a natural state for man. It goes against the grain. Our first instinct is self seeking. That is, we hold on to someone or a cause as long as it is for our personal benefit. Once we cease to benefit from that quarter, it is time to move on.

Commitment says, regardless of if you are benefiting or not, STAY! Hold on. Believe. It is crazy! That is why I love the highlighted definition a consignment to a penal or mental institution. It takes a person who is not normal in the way we view normal to keep holding on to what appears a lost cause. And in a way, choosing to be committed despite every indication to be contrary is a sort of prison…you are bound.

Which is why careful thought and consideration is needed before making a commitment. Expect problems; think, what is the worst that could happen, and prepare for it. Of course, that is easier said than done, we never really know exactly what can go wrong in a relationship of any kind. But if you know in your heart that things could go terribly south then at least you will think twice about making that commitment and if you still choose to make it, there is no going back.

Marriage is a commitment – a romantic relationship is not (most of the time). That is when you get to decide if you really want to make the commitment. Like everything else, there are exceptions. This goes for friendships too. Make a decision to choose your friends and not to just fall into a friendship. True friendship is a commitment to doing and being the best for that person.

Commitment says although I know you are not perfect, I am your biggest fan. Even when I see stuff I do not like, I will not turn away from you. Instead, I will encourage you and pray for you to be the best that you can be.

LD 8:

The list of negatives from yesterday… burn it ladies. Instead of harboring jealous thougths, fueled by all his faults flaws and failures, we are going to intentionally be their biggest fans. Burn that list and tell him how proud you are of him, how much you appreciate him, how deeply you value him. Decide inside that you are going to be his biggest cheerleader. Build him up and openly embrace his victories as your own.

May 28, 2010

Know Thyself: Own Thy Hurt

The Greeks, those great philosophers, have a saying; know thyself. There is nothing more suitable towards self knowledge than objective introspection, which is what the Love Dares afford. Each dare acts like a sandpapering process, peeling away the known surface to reveal a previously unknown layer beneath. And in a situation where some festering has occurred, you can imagine that what is beneath will not be pleasant.

To a large extent, we all believe in self awareness, or at least, most of us do. Yet even to the most introspective of us come shocking eureka moments when we discover new facts/emotions/levels of existence which we had absolutely no idea existed. When that happens, we can either embrace the knowledge and act on it or we resist and suppress. Either way, this new discovery will not go away.

That is what I found out working through the Love Dares. I had to take a step back to acknowledge and deal with the self I was uncovering. She was not a very beautiful person, I can tell you. Yet beautiful or not, she was me and over the years I have come to love that person. This made dealing with some of the stuff I uncovered, not quite as stressful as it would otherwise have been. One of the things I am re-learning by taking the Love Dare is that love does what is best for the loved one.

With that in mind, even though I could have decided to repress or suppress these new, previously undiscovered facets of myself which I did not like, I knew it would not be the best for me so I have begun the process of dealing with them.

Something else I have discovered: if you are sincere in your quest to walk with God, He will pick you up when you stumble.

One of the unwelcome things I discovered about myself was a lingering anger; it had lingered so much it was beginning to fester. I had tried, in the interests of harmony, to bury it deep inside and to a large extent I guess I succeeded. Only, it had this habit of rearing it’s head at the oddest of moments and one of such moments was a few days into the Love Dare. Generally, I do not keep grudges. But that is because I like to talk things out with a person and let that person know how I am feeling. Once I manage to do that, I am fine.

However, in this instance that did not arise and I found myself taking out my hurt on dh. So I went to God for help – I have a happy disposition and I wanted to keep it that way. Typical of God, he stepped in. First I had to release the hurt to him. I admitted I was hurt and that I had no idea how to stop being hurt. I was also doubly hurt because I could not talk about it. Then began the slow healing. Gradually, the sharp hurt became a dull ache. I even found myself poking around it to see if it still hurt; I guess it does but it is no longer septic.

Then out of the blues, dh brought it up. I was shocked; not because he mentioned it but it was like I had asked God for help and he was going way out. Funny, that is exactly how he operates but it still takes me by surprise. He knew that the final act of healing for me would be to talk about it to someone I viewed as connected to the hurt even if that someone was not directly responsible for the hurt. So we talked.

I will not say I am completely healed – you never know those things until something comes up. But I can say two things:

  1. I do not hurt as badly as I used to
  2. From this experience, I have discovered more of myself and even though I do not like everything I am uncovering, I can honestly say that I love myself.

So, how well do you know yourself? And if you do, do you love that person?

May 27, 2010

Sometimes, Love Makes You Cry

How do you hope in and believe the best of someone who is not living up to his/her responsibility. When a person has continually and persistently let you down (this could be financially, emotionally or even spiritually), it is hard to keep believing the best of that person; to look him/her in the eye each time and say even though I know you’ve messed up, I trust you to make it right.

That is my dad’s greatest strength and (in my opinion), his greatest weakness. No matter how many times people let him down, he still believes that there is something worthwhile about them and gives them a second (and third, fourth, fifth, ad nauseum) chance. I found it hard to take in as a child. And people who do not know better, continue to take advantage of him.

There was this young man my dad took in. His name was Joe, but my brothers and I nicknamed him CJ (Crazy Joe). He grew up on the streets and made a life as a hustler; he met my dad and said he really wanted to change. Looking back now, I know he really did want to change. The only problem was he kept stealing from us. He would steal and run away. When things got hard, he would crawl back weeping, begging forgiveness. And my dad would take him back. EVERY TIME.

Once he was to do the laundry in the house. When he did not turn up for lunch, we all thought he had gone on a stroll or something. By dinner time, we knew CJ had done it again. This time around, he ran away with all the clothes he was supposed to launder and probably sold them. It was months before we saw him again. When he showed up, he had full blown AIDS. Once again, my dad took him in. He left us just before he died.

CJ is just one of many strays my dad brought to our house. No matter how badly they behaved, my dad always saw something in them that was worth believing in. I found it hard to take in (still do as a matter of fact) but that is how we, as followers of Jesus are called to love.

It is so easy to love when the object of our love is doing well and pleasing us. When that person starts to misbehave or even ill-treat us, then the true test of love is seen. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says Love… believes all things, hopes all things…

Over at the group, Rosheeda broke it down like this:

  1. Love holds tightly
  2. to the conviction of the goodness, inherent power and ability of its object, and
  3. accepts all things as true, genuine, and real;
  4. it holds dear its desires,
  5. with confident expectation of obtainment in all things related to the object of its desire

Popular opinion says that if someone is not treating you right, let him/her go. Now, I absolutely do not condone abuse of any form – physical, verbal, mental or emotional. But I believe that if the person you are with is being abusive, you are still called to love that person. Just do it from a safe distance. You have to be alive first and able to love yourself before you can extend that courtesy to another person.

That being said, in a relationship (between a couple, family members or friends) it is impossible to be happy with your partner all the time. There are times when he/she is not living up to scratch. We hurt each other not because we are cruel but because we are human and being human we will fail (If we do not fail, where does grace come in?).

Sometimes, Love Makes You Cry

However, the mandate to love is strongest in the midst of that failure. When we have been let down badly by someone who we had a lot of faith in, it is then that we are to have even more faith in that person. We are supposed to ask for the grace to see that person as Jesus sees him/her and in so doing, we are able to hold on to God; trusting Him to make that person as He sees him/her.

Rosheeda said something that really made me think; she said

So I have made the conscious choice to speak over him what God says he is. If i can’t have faith in Sweetheart, I CAN have faith in God.

By the way, I’m always quoting Rosheeda because she is the one moderating the Love Dare over at the Being Mrs V group.

But that, for me, is true love. When you cannot believe the best about a person, you can still believe the best about the God who brought that person to your life. God is LOVE. He will never do you harm. Everything He brings your way is for good. Have faith in Him. Trust Him for what you believe the person you love will be. What are the positive things you want to see in that person? Speak them over the person’s life and trust God for them.

Which brings me to the next dare, LD 7 – Love Believes the Best

Get two sheets of paper. On one sheet write down all the positive things you can think of about your man. On the other, all the negatives. Then fold the lists and put them in a safe, private place. Dont’ throw them out because we are  going to use them later.  Take one thing from the list of the positives and thank your man for being that to you at some point during your day.

I guess my dad was able to look at CJ and see his potential, see what he could become. I would like to think that CJ died knowing that there was someone in this cruel, cold world that loved him unconditionally.

Have you ever lost faith in someone? it could be a spouse, child, sibling or friend; what are your hopes for that person? Or do you have an experience like that of my dad and CJ? Please share with us.

May 26, 2010

Helping Out and Playing Mind Games

I had been blogging the Love Dares (LDs) and was good until I got to LD 5 then I had to take a compulsory break. The break was not just from blogging but actually from the LDs altogether. This was because of family issues (which I’m not going to share here – TMI) and also, I realised I had some residual anger in me that I had not dealt with. I think I am ready to go on with the dares now.

The last dare I posted on was LD 4 and it was about calling the man up and asking if there was something I could do for him. Well, I’ll tell you how that went. He was going through an 8-days intensive course which began with him leaving the house at 6:30am and not getting home till 7pm.

So on that fateful day (sounds like the narrative of a Nigerian film yes?). Anyway, on that day I called him during his break period…

Me: Sweetheart how are you?

Him: I’m fine

Me: That’s nice. How are things?

Him: They’re OK, though I wish you were here

Me: Aww…I wish you were here too.


Me: Is there anything you would like me to do for you?

Him: Like what?

Me: *frown* I don’t know, maybe something you’d like done before you get home?

Him: No, nothing.

Me: OK

Him: I’ve got to go; I love you baby

Me: I love you too. Bye

So, no one can say I did not try OK. I did my level best.

Now, over to LD 5, the one responsible for my taking a break.

The Verse:

He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him. Proverbs 27:14

Rosheeda’s Translation:

When you bestow upon somebody the gift of YELLING at them as a greeting, they are NOT going to be your biggest fan. You will, in fact, end up on their bad side.

This is really funny; I am a yeller. I am such a good yeller that I have perfected the art of yelling. I yell so well that the person next door does not hear my voice. Yep, it is not in the volume of the voice really, but in the tone of the voice. The beauty of using the tone to yell is that when he complains that I’m yelling at or shouting at him, I can just put up a blank face and act all confused like I don’t know what he is talking about; my voice was not loud. Talk about mind games *sigh*

So the verse really made me uncomfortable. But that was not what made me give the dares a break; a little discomfort I can deal with. It was the dare itself and if there is anything that can let you know if you are harbouring anger or not, it is LD 5. It certainly puts you through your paces. So,

The Dare:

Ask your man to tell you three things that bother him about you, things you say or do. And listen WITHOUT SPEAKING. Don’t try to explain or justify. Be brave enough to really hear them. And then commit to them and you to work on those things, as much as is possible.

I have been able to ask this sincerely without bearing grudges and that is good. So I guess I am back to blogging my way through the dares. On the group, we are already on LD 10 but since this is such a personal journey, I’ll take it at my own pace.

May 21, 2010

Taking A Breather

I am taking a break from blogging about the Love Dares. I will still be blogging, just not about the LDs – at least, not for a while. However if you would like an update on the last dare, keep reading.

When I was a little girl, about 8 years old, I read a storybook. In that story book, I read about a family that lived on the countryside who had opened up their home to a child from New York City for the summer. I do not remember much from the story, only that they had to meet the child at the train station. On that train, there were several other children who would get off on the different train stops. That time, I think there was just one major rail from east to west. I tried to imagine what it was like for those children, growing up without miles and miles of open field to run wild in or mango trees to climb and I failed miserably. I felt sad for them. But it was just a story right?

Imagine my shock and delight when I was contacted a couple of years ago to blog about the Fresh Air Fund and I discovered that they were the ones who were placing children on trains as far back as 1877, which was the era around which the story book was based! I was amazed, I tell you.

For over 100 years, the Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities. They work through hosts.

Hosts are ordinary folk who volunteer to take in a child or two for a couple of weeks during summer. This gives these children an opportunity to experience childhood in a different way. Several lives have been touched and this has all been because of people like you, with hearts of gold.

Another summer is here and the Fresh Air Fund needs hosts. If you would like to volunteer, please get in touch. If you would like to donate on the other hand, click here or go to FreshAirFund.Org.

By the way, if you know the storybook I am talking about, please let me know. Thanks!

Below is a video. Listen to the story of Brandon Mendoza and how the Fresh Air Fund changed his life.

The Love Dares

Yesterday, the dare was to spend some money for the man. I went into KL city with my mum and brother. We decided to go to the Plaza Low Yat – the IT mall. At the entrance, I was entranced by the aroma of freshly baked cookies. I was practically drooling but I decided to restrain myself. We went about our business. Soon it was time to leave and I was once again assaulted by the aroma. I ignored it and we left to another shopping mall. Then as fate 🙂 would have it, we passed in front of the Plaza Low Yat and this time around, I knew it was meant to be. I stopped fighting my destiny and went for the tastiest cookies it has ever been my pleasure to munch. They were the Famous Amos cookies.

Halfway through the cookies, it occurred to me that maybe I should leave some for the dh. It took a lot of self control, but I kept the remaining half for him. That was before I read the dare though.

My mum went out with my brother and they came back with one chocolate covered wafer from Cadburry. Now, I can resist chocolate (truly I can), but combined with wafers….? Uh uh. (Now you know my secret 😉 ). Anyway, after a brief struggle with myself, I handed it over to dh and told him it was a token of my love. He was so touched he left what he was doing and gave me a kiss, then proceeded to eat it all up! 😦 *sigh*

The next dare is below:

Everyone counts it a joy to be thought of. Contact your man today, with no special motivation in mind other than to say ‘honey you’re on my mind.’  Ask him if there is anything you can do for him, any need he has that you can meet.