Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Love Dare: The Choice

So far we are on day 11 of The Love Dare.

11 days of trying to Love one another unconditionally.

11 days of trying to put each other first and ourselves second.

11 days of me figuring out that I am most definitely the lucky one in this relationship.

And 11 days of realizing that Jon and I really do a lot of little things for each other.

I have really enjoyed these past 11 days and I think Jon has too. Not only is it encouraging to try to find ways to do things for your partner, but it's even more encouraging to realize that I really do try to do a lot of things for Jon, without a book telling me to do it. A lot of the dares are about doing something "special" for your spouse that day. Doing a little something extra for them and some of the examples they give are things that I or Jon already do for each other, so its been even more of a challenge finding more little ways to say "I love you."

I think the most discouraging day would to have been about Love being rude. The dare was to ask your spouse about 3 things you do that make them feel uncomfortable or irritated. Your spouse has to tell and you can in no way defend or justify your ways. For the most defensive person in the world. this... was... hard! But I handled it calmly and I am really thankful that the book gave us the opportunity to share something that might be a little hard to say to the others face. I really appreciated Jon's honesty and have been working on my 3... among numerous other things that I know bug the heck out of him.

Love is not easily irritated was also an interesting day. Jon was having one of his " butt munchie" (that's what I call them) days. These are the days when his goofiness gets a little out of control. He can't help but act like he is five and he flaunts it. I finally had to look at him and say " do you want me to fail the non-irritated dare today? are you trying to break me?" He smiled and said nope! then went back to his impish ways. sigh... I do love that man regardless of his butt munchiness at times, and sometimes times I love him because of it.... but usually it's the first case scenario :)

I believe so far Day 10 has been my favorite. "Love is unconditional" Seems so simple right? We get married and just assume that we love each other no matter what. But in reality that is not always the case. We tend to be very behaviorally loving. We only want to love when someone is doing something the way WE want it done. Because let's be honest it's all about! But it all comes down the to the fact that Love is a CHOICE! "The truth is this; love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love." So often people base their love on their emotions or the situation. They aren't basing it on their commitment and their CHOICE of entering this commitment. Do I always like what Jon does? Do I always find him completely lovable or adorable? No! But I choose to be with him, every day I choose to love him despite things that I may not always enjoy. And what's more is that he chooses to stay with me and by my side! (and let me tell you this is no easy feat, despite my chipper disposition, I can be a real peach sometimes :) )

Where this chapter really led was our relationship with Christ. Who loves us unconditionally.
"He doesn't love us because we are lovable but because He is so loving." Wow.... you mean I'm not completely lovable all the time? *sigh* busted. I love that our creator loves his creation beyond all measure, I love that He continues to love me regardless of the situation or his emotions at the time. Obviously for us mere mortals this type of unconditional non- circumstantial love is impossible to reach. BUT that doesn't mean we shouldn't make the choice to strive for unconditional love. And what is really fantastic is the only way we can even get close is by choosing to let God work through us and choosing to let show the love that he shows upon us.

I want a marriage that is unconditional, goes beyond measure, doesn't rely on the other persons emotions or behaviors. I chose this commitment and will choose it for the rest of my life. If more people would make the harder choice of loving their spouse when things get hard instead of giving up when it doesn't go their way, think of how many more stable and well adjusted families there would be? If spouses didn't decide to "not love" each other. Make the harder choice, be true to your commitment and your partner, choose to Love no matter what. Will it be difficult at times? of course. Will it be worth it in the end? Absolutely.

I realize this is a very sporadic and somewhat rambling post, but I'm tired, hungry, and my winter vacation is almost over.... that's the only way I can justify it :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Floods and Scones

This morning I woke up, ready to check facebook, and make scones... these lovely delectable, delicious scones.

They are my mother's white chocolate craisin scones.... they're the absolute best things in the world... and I was so looking forward to having a peaceful morning of baking them and sharing them with the neighbors.

Then I took a step outside our bedroom door and stepped in a massive puddle of water. Water had spread over our ENTIRE floor. From sliding glass door to the bathroom. Puddles... everywhere. I assessed the situation and then handled it calmly and cooly by screaming "flood! flood! Jon there is a flood!" Then I immediately broke down in a heap sobbing... just kidding. Although I did feel like flinging myself on the couch and just not accepting it. But accept it I did. We got it all cleaned up. And then figured out it was seeping through our the screen door.

So we lined up towels and spent the morning wringing them out. The same flooding issue happened in Ian and Amanda's house so the boys braved the wind and rain and found us some heavy duty plastic and created a bit of a barrier.

My amazing hubby putting the plastic up against the screen door. I'm so thankful for him and his ability to stay outside in the freezing rain while I stay inside and take pictures of him :)

Meanwhile... I baked these to improve mine, and everyone else' mood. And improve it, it did.

So while my love was outside I sat inside chowing down on this, and all was right with the world... until I broke a plate... and then I threw myself back on the couch and wept and tried to deny any of it ever happened.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Syringes, Needles, and IV's oh my!

In South Korea they like to use needles, a lot. Every time I go into the doctor some sort of injection, IV, or shot to the rear end is prescribed and it always ends with me shaking my head and repeatedly telling them NO! And they are persistent, they are really into their shots. I was supposed to have 3 injections a day for 3 days for having ...dun dun dun... a cold. Seriously that's it, a cold. For someone like me who absolutely HATES needles it's a nightmare. Honestly, I can't think of something I despise more. I was the crying 20 year old who needed the doctor to hold my hand while the nurse gave me a shot in the rear end so I could go to Nicaragua for a mission trip. Yea... I know pathetic, but I've come to terms with it.

But on to one of the reasons Korea really is crazy... and I can say that because it is. A few years ago our friend Ian posted these photos.

Apparently this tree was "ill" and needed some medicine.
As they were giving the tree these IV's to help the tree, they were also spraying it down with some sort of toxic chemical (while the school children were playing around under it!)
Now onto the next part of craziness... on a bridge near our place we found these all along the road.
Rows and Rows of syringes lining the roadside.
As we were taking the pictures the workers were laughing at us... because obviously this is a completely normal and typical procedure.
Later we learned that the syringes have some sort of apoxy to help the cement or something? But syringes?? Seriously?
It's moments like these that I love/ and am flabbergasted at Korea. Seriously what are you thinking!?

Only 7 more months of madness....

Stay tuned for an update on the Love Dare, it's been 1 week so far and it's been pretty interesting and thankfully needle free :)

Monday, February 22, 2010


Jon and I have been traveling maniacs the past few weeks. We've had some whirlwind tours of Korea, and have been escorting our families around showing them the highlights. It's been fun, tiring, exciting, full of adventure, and semi-expensive. But it's been totally worth it. I have realized however, how much more money you spend when in the company of others. They are all busy buying souvenirs and all sorts of things, and you begin to think " Well maybe we should get that to remember our time here, wouldn't that look cute?" And we forget that we already have about a million photos and 50 other souvenirs from this place. So we we really tried to cut down. Buuuuuuut when I saw these I had to get 'em.

They are little bird incense holders, and they... are... so cute!
Such character, so charming!

awwww.... aren't they sweet!?

And then of course I found this little guy. I can't even really explain why I enjoy this little guy so much. It was fun, quirky, and I just adored him from first sight.

He's got a lovely shade of blue but not too much and you can even put a candle inside of 'em!

Why can't I be outside with all the other owls??

He's just so noble looking. And even now, as I'm staring at him from across the room, I still can't quite figure out why I just "had to have him", but I did, and now I do. And for the moral of the story, when trying to save money and being touristy at the same time.... just give up... because once you see a cute little iron owl, you'll know spending the money on something you don't really need, is totally worth it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 1 and Day 2...

So the Love Dare has begun, and the first two days are over... and they were... ok. The first two days were Patience and Kindness. Basically it was a dare to not say anything negative towards your spouse (have some more patience) and even to really watch your thoughts toward your spouse. The second day was to do something unexpectedly (is that even a word?) kind for your spouse. Today was a fantastic day and it was very easy to be patient with Jon and kind, but maybe it's because he was trying to be the same way with me :)

What I've really been enjoying through this book is some of the scripture they give and just how they break down these very small, but very important parts of loving someone else. Some of the verses I've been meditating on and thinking about are:

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2

"He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick tempered exalts folly"
Proverbs 14:29 (this one is a toughy... especially for me...aaahhhh i love my temper :) )

What I like most about the patience is that it says throughout the chapter "Few of us do patience very well, none of us do it naturally." Thank goodness, I thought I was the only one who didn't ;)

"Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, and write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man" - Proverbs 3:3-4

" What is desirable in a man is his kindness"- Proverbs 19:22

And this is the kicker

"She (the wife in proverbs) opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue"- Proverbs 31:26
I mean who doesn't want to be that wife/mother. Who doesn't want to be full of wisdom and kindness. Ahhhh this will be forever my goal.

I also enjoyed that for kindness that it had four different ingredients: Gentleness, Helpfulness, Willingness (this is a big one for me and my stubborn ways) and Initiative. I love what it says it's just so clear

"Kindness graces a wife with the ability to serve her husband without worrying about her rights"- spot on people, spot on

"When actin from kindness, you see the need, then you make your move. First."

I think more than anything it's helped me to realize not only my treatment of my husband, but how do I treat others around me? My friends and family? Or that random person on the street? My students, co-workers? Do I do my best to treat them with patience and kindness?

Looks like this 40 days is going to challenge my thinking in some big ways, but I'm glad for that and I do think it's good to examine yourself and why you act the way you do (spoken like a true psych. major.... i know).

I'm going to leave with a challenge to each of you (if you read this :) ) Do one act of random kindness today... whether it is to your spouse, child, random stranger, friend... or anyone. Do something it'll make their day, and it'll pry make yours too! So let me know... what did you do today?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Love Dare-The Beginning

Sorry for the hiatus in blogging, but we've been busy showing my brother and his wife around the Land of the Morning Calm... i.e. Korea. We've been having an absolutely wonderful time with them and I can't believe they are already leaving on Saturday! It's too soon!

For those of you who don't know Lent has arrived. And while I don't believe giving up something for Lent or doing something special for it affects your relationship with Christ or that it's really necessary to do anything at all, I always do. And this year Jon and I are "sacrificing" ourselves. When I say that I mean we are attempting to sacrifice our selfish nature and put each other first.
We are doing.... dun dun dun

The Love Dare.
For those of you that saw the flick "Fireproof" (don't worry I didn't) you'll know what I'm talking about.

The Love Dare is a 40 day "Dare" for married couples. Every day there is a challenge to better yourself and put your partner and your marriage first. Every day you are challenged to unconditionally love your spouse. Because Lent happens to be 40 days, we decided it's the perfect time to sacrifice our selfish nature and really focus on each other. I'm really excited about this and feel that it'll really help build our marriage. And quite honestly I'm hoping it'll really weed out some of my very real flaws in our relationship.

So today was day 1... and of course we are already off a day so we'll be putting day 1 and 2 together. But the challenge for day one is patience. ouch. This is one of those many flaws that smack me right in the face, and truthfully sabotage a healthy relationship. I mean are they just trying to take me down right in the beginning? Why not start with something easy like, give your partner a kiss...? I could do that. And it would be so easy. sigh... ahhh challenges. Impatience is just a part of me, waiting is so hard, and as for having grace and patience with others... sooooo difficult. For some reason I feel that Jon will have a much easier time with a lot of these tasks. But I guess this is the growing, accomplishment, and change I was aching for in one my last post. So here it goes, tomorrow we'll start (as it's 12:30 a.m. in korea right now) And we'll see what day 1 and day 2 bring. Pray for patience.

Oh and I'm also giving up pop (yes I am from Minnesota... ) somehow I think that'll be a bit easier...

Any of you take part in Lent??

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Squeaky Shoes

It's a rainy day in the land of Korea. It's been rainy for the past 3 days and to lift my spirits I watch this, and suddenly it doesn't feel so overcast anymore :)

Hope you enjoy Mari as much as I do :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Do you ever feel like life is just completely on hold?

I remember various points in my life feeling like I couldn't wait for the next step or for the next thing to happen. Getting a driver's license, going to Spain, graduation, college, college graduation, marriage, moving to South Korea. All of these moments I felt the need to keep pressing, to get their quicker, to move on with life. But I always felt I was living my life during these moments. I was accomplishing something, meeting goals, growing and learning, and I felt really focused.

And now after all that waiting, speeding things up , and hurrying to get to where I am... I find myself completely stuck, stagnant, and slightly lost. Now that we are in Korea and we are finally here starting our life together I feel that I've hit a massive road block in life.

*Disclaimer: To clarify... this post has absolutely NOTHING to do with my thoughts/ feelings towards Jon. I love him and honestly don't know what I'd do with out him. I feel like we've grown in our relationship and we've really made a solid base and established ourselves as a couple.*

I feel as though I'm just waiting for life to start back up again when we get back to the states. Like life isn't really happening here, and that while everyone else's lives are moving forward and onward, mine is just stagnant... and getting murky. I don't feel as though I'm growing, learning, or accomplishing anything ( which is absolute torture for someone who happens to thrive on accomplishments and goals).

And this is the worst part... I know I should be experiencing life to the fullest while I'm here! I mean this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and here I am saying how my life is at a standstill! What am I thinking!? No, seriously... I'd like an answer. I can't seem to figure it out, I know I'll miss this when I'm gone, and I'm sure I'll regret the fact that I did feel this way while I'm over here. But it doesn't make a difference. Sad to say but in Korea I don't really feel a purpose or a calling. I love the students and my teachers, but I don't feel I have purpose in their lives. *Sigh* I need help, I need wisdom, I need guidance... but more importantly I need God.

My relationship with him as been at a complete standstill as well, and I'm 100% positive that the way I'm feeling about life is a direct result of my relationship with my creator, the one who gives me purpose and created me to live life to the fullest. I need to get back to that place of joy and peace. I need to clear the overgrown brush that has been separating our path to one another.

The hard part is I know it's up to me, I know God's just waiting there for me on the other side and I'm the one that really needs to pursue and get there. I need motivation and I need accountability. So I'm asking you, dear reader, keep me accountable. Challenge me, encourage me, and be patient with me.

I know it's a season in life, and it will all soon change, but I want to make sure I appreciate this season and not let it become a season of bitterness, and being stagnant. It's time to turn over a new leaf and start living life!