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Book Feature: Keep Your Love On #KYLO

I have come across a few books that I think are “must-reads”. Keep Your Love On by Danny Lee Silk is absolutely one of them.

The book is an amazing tool that addresses a simple (but often untaught and unrecognized) truth for connecting, communicating, and setting boundaries with others. Not just your partner, but also your family, children, friends, and acquaintances.

What I love about this book, is that though it was written by a Christian author, it is not a religious book. Aside from a couple references to God and Jesus, the book itself does not have to be read by a Believer to be relatable, understood, or applied.

This particular book is one that I highly recommend reading multiple times throughout your life to help remind you and keep you on track to healthy relationships. If you don’t buy the book, go like the author’s Facebook page so at the very least you get page updates filled with his insight and wisdom.

Description Insert from Amazon: 
Keeping your love on. It’s a hard thing to do. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do. But if you want to build healthy relationships with God and others, learning to keep your love on
is non–negotiable. Adults and children alike thrive in healthy relationships where it is safe to love and be loved, to know and be known. Yet for many, relationships are anything
but safe, loving, or intimate. They are defined by anxiety, manipulation, control, and conflict. The reason is that most people have never been trained to be powerful enough to keep their love on in the face of mistakes, pain, and fear. 

Keep Your Love On reveals the higher, Jesus–focused standard defined by mature love—love that stays ‘on’ no matter what. Danny Silk’s practical examples and poignant stories will leave you with the power to draw healthy boundaries, communicate in love, and ultimately protect your connections so you can love against all odds. As a result, your relationships will be radically transformed for eternity. When you learn to keep your love on, you become like Jesus.

 

Keep Your Love On

*Please note that my opinions and the author’s opinions do not always support each other. The author has not endorsed this post.

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Bidding on Virgins

What if I told you your virginity is worthless?

Well it is.

Your virginity (or lack of virginity) holds no value to me, or in my opinion, to God.

When the Bible was written X amount of years ago, society’s parents at that time sold their virgin daughters to the highest bidders. Whether in hopes of them having a good life with a wealthy household, or possibly in greed to better their own provisions. Today, however, you will not find it common that parents are selling off their children into marriage. Arranged marriages are far and few between in our culture.

Yet the value religious society places on virginity stands so firmly as some important necessity to being a good and devout partner.

Your virginity is worthless.

Not because you are worthless, but for the exact opposite reason. Your value is not based on your lack of sexual prowess (or your extreme sexual sophistication). Instead you should know you are valuable because You ARE.

I hope parents can take this message to their children, and talk honestly and openly about sex and relationships. This is not a call to go sleeping around, there are still real life consequences to sex; unplanned pregnancies and STDs are two of them. I also believe that emotionally, sex ties yourself to your partner. So it makes leaving unhealthy situations harder, it makes abandonment a little rougher, it makes the hurt of heartbreak a little more real… But these are all decisions and experiences you choose for yourself. Some lessons can only be learned the hard way.

The message I hope you walk away from is that even if you’re hurting, heartbroken, lost, or virginless – you are just as valuable as before and continue to be.

God did not bid on your virginity, He bid for YOU and He went all in with a Royal Flush.

Dan Vernon Photography - Mayhem #2761891

Dan Vernon Photography – Mayhem #2761891

To Confess or Not to Confess

Sullivan Studios

I was watching a popular television talk show where they were discussing whether or not a person should confess an affair that happened prior to the marriage. Some of the hosts leaned toward hiding it. “What they don’t know won’t kill them.”

The thing is, confession isn’t necessarily about the other person. Confession is about healing. The sooner the man (or woman) confesses to their partner of any affair that’s taken place at any time before or during the marriage, the sooner the marriage can begin healing. Affairs (or any kind of guilt really) cause the guilty to become emotionally withdrawn looking for fights or sinking them into depression… Which will only hurt the marriage.

Without honesty, the marriage is already suffering.

It is not the confession that hurts people, it is the act. They were hurt the moment the affair began, and healing can only begin with truth and forgiveness.

Does that mean that the confession will make everything perfect? No, of course not. However, it’s not perfect now. Until couples are taught how to better communicate with love, honesty, and respect, they will continue to struggle. Marriage is already hard – holding back open communication just makes Divorce more plausible.

When making such a confession you have to be wise if you truly want the marriage to work. Making sure not to blame your partner for why it happened, not to get aggressive, and to make sure to give them whatever space they need to heal. Also, with the tables being opened and honesty flowing, be prepared to be attacked by your partners hurt feelings or to hear things that you didn’t expect.

Confession doesn’t mean you will be given forgiveness, and forgiveness doesn’t mean the other person has to stay with you.

Extend the same forgiveness you were hoping to receive.

That is the solid advice that should be handed out to the impressionable young men and women who watch that show wanting to maintain a stable marriage. Believe it or not, it’s 2000 year old practical advice that can be found in a very well known book.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. James 5:16

He loves me… He loves me not…

He loves me… he loves me not… he loves me… he loves me not… he loves me!!

Wasn’t life so much more simple when you could rely landing on the right petal, after plucking them off an unsuspecting dandelion, to let you know where you stand in a relationship with someone else? Everything is more complicated with age, including your love life. It leaves you questioning, “Does he love me or does he not”? With the crushing reality of adulthood settling in, you know you can’t rely on the once trusty old weed growing in your garden anymore.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

How many dandelions will have to be sacrificed to find out who loves you and who does not? How do you know he loves you? Will you always be in the dark? Here are 14 ways to figure out if it is true love or if it is one of those artificial sweetners that leave you with an addictive complex and a horrible migraine if you decide to leave.

1. Love is patient.
Is he able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious? You’ve decided, last minute as always, to go ahead and get dolled up for your night out with friends. You are already running late for the movie. You forgot something at home and have to turn around. Is he quick to anger? Or is he more docile when things have changed?

2. Love is kind.
Is he quick to give, gentle in nature? Would you describe him as someone with a “big heart”?

3. Love does not envy.
When you are successful in your career or friends/family relationships, does he support you?

4. Love does not boast.
Does he talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about his own achievements, possessions, or abilities. (Mainly because this will get very annoying…)

5. Love is not proud.
(This goes with #4. There is nothing wrong with excited about your accomplishment and even sharing your accomplishment with others. However, boasting and being proud are the extremes)

6.  Love does not dishonor others.
Is he always putting others down?

7. Love is not self-seeking.
Is it always about what he wants to do, how he wants things to go?

8. Love is not easily angered.
Is he easily angered? (Goes with #1)

9. Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Does he constantly bring up where you have failed in life, or failed him?

10. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
“…Love does not try to find ways to get away with bad behavior, and it does not put up with injustice. Instead, it treasures truth, celebrates good behavior, and promotes virtue. True love has nothing to hide. Further, to “not delight in evil” carries the idea of not gloating over someone else’s guilt…”

11. Love always protects.
“…We find a wonderful example of love’s protective nature in the story of Christ’s birth. When Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy, he was faced with a choice: “expose her to public disgrace” or “divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:19). Joseph, being a righteous man, was planning to keep the matter quiet. In other words, he was covering over what he saw as a fault in Mary, and he protected her from public shame. This is love.”

12 Love always trusts.
“The fact that love believes all things does not make a loving person a dupe. Neither does it mean that love is naïve, undiscerning or credulous. We’re not talking about gullibility here, and a foolish lack of skepticism is not a part of love. To trust someone means that you are “ever ready to believe the best”

13. Love always hopes.
“Part of showing love is hoping, and part of hoping is seeing the potential of others. As Goethe said, “If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” In love, we can always be hopeful and show confidence in others. This does not rule out confrontation or the redress of wrongs, but the impact of a positive attitude in the life of another person is incalculable.”

14. Love always perseveres.
“In the wedding vows, a husband and wife take each other “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” The basis of this pledge is the fact that love perseveres.”

In today’s society, love is now very conditional and based entirely on how others behave toward us. It has become very much about how it makes us feel. It is vital to the survival of a relationship to be nurtured, much like a garden where you grow those dandelions. If you find yourself ravaging through the garden, pulling up the flowers, plucking off all the petals until you feel love – then you are going to find yourself with a dead garden and an empty heart. So when you ask yourself, “Does he love me?”  – be sure, too, that you are representing the image of true, unconditional love to him as well. (To answer that question, go back through 1-14 and see how those apply toward your returned behavior). Know also, that no one is perfect – and these 14 checkpoints to know if it’s love were pulled from First Corinthians 13:4-6 where the perfect Love is described. You must decide what boundaries you need to make in your relationship, when to cut the relationship off and when to keep on persisting. I would highly recommend reading Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk – one of the best written books I have ever read about boundaries (with ALL people – friends, family, coworkers, your children, and your partner)

Quotes in 10-14 pulled from the following links:
GotQuestions.Org
GotQuestions.Org
GotQuestions.Org
GotQuestions.Org
GotQuestions.Org

Social Media is the Ghost of Christmas Past

Combustion Magazine August 2013

Combustion Magazine August 2013

The clock struck midnight, Halloween turned back into just a pumpkin. Society’s Prince set out merrily on his way trying to put the glass slipper ornament on every damn tree it came into contact with (because there is no distinguishable traits between a Palm Tree and an Evergreen Conifer).

Christmas is actually only 4 days away now… and I can’t help but reminisce with Social Media’s very own Ghost of Christmas Past.

I wear the chain I forged in life…. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

The really cool thing about social media is that everything – and I mean everything – is documented. The moment I picked up a computer I began updating my friends (who most don’t actually know anything of merit about me, and I of them, but we stalk each other on Social Media anyways) on all of the latest life-happenings.

Since I’ve managed to forget my Myspace credentials, the earliest I can go back to in the past is where I began using Facebook…. and wow, it sure is interesting to see where I’ve been and what I’ve done. What I find most interesting about life is comparing daily life to the “big picture”. Every day that passes, in that moment, seems like nothing substantial has changed. Yet, looking back over weeks, months, even years – nothing is the same.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. – Soren Kierkegaard

Let’s just look at the differences compared in the time span of a week over the past years.

Nevada

Nevada

One year ago today, I was on the road trip of a lifetime. Married still. In the process of traveling with my partner from Colorado to Nevada, where we celebrated Christmas in Las Vegas. From there we went to Death Valley, CA… and it was quite a religious experience. Facebook would lead you to believe I was happy, and a part of me was. I was in the process of completing one of my lifetime dreams; checking off an item on my bucket list. Something was wrong, however – which later lead me to write my Marriage is Hard. post in hopes of encouraging myself to stand strong. Here is one small example of how Social Media is easily deceiving: Look at the picture I was tagged in on Dec 25th, 2012. The tag line is “Viva Las Vegas! Merry Christmas.” I am smiling in this picture. I hated Las Vegas; Despised it with every fiber of my being actually.

Though, let’s continue with this Of Christmas’ Past tour.

December 22, 2011… Facebook’s Ghost of the past tell’s me I was working at Carrabba’s. Running around Walmart with my partner – gift shopping for each other. Playing Poker upstairs with friends (and might I add winning!). As well as throwing end of the year Murder Mystery Parties. Life appears to be very successful. Also, at this time in my life, I was very passionate about writing on some social matters, such as affairs.

Peter Bennet

Peter Bennet

It appears that the furthest back I can go on Social Media, however, is only 3 years back. December 22, 2010. It was my first Christmas as a married person. We celebrated the 12 days of Christmas (event style), and that was quite fun. We were heavily involved in Church and our Youth Group. We were unhappy with our current living situation, but photos on Facebook would never give that away. I was trying to get involved with an agent for modeling. Only 20 years old, still so young. I couldn’t drink legally, and my surroundings made me never want to drink at all (Facebook doesn’t show that either).

That’s where Social Media stops for me (or begins, if you read this blog from bottom to top). If it isn’t on Facebook – did it happen? The week of December 22nd, 2009 – where was I? What was I doing? Well, I got engaged. I was happy, but ignorant to certain facts that would have made me very unhappy. Was it better that way?

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

December 2008… It’s getting harder to piece these past moments together without Facebook’s Ghost of the past. I had just turned 18. I had started modeling. My hair was black. I was probably working on Christmas. Was I happy?

Memory is a mirror that scandalously lies. – Julio Cortazar

December 2007? 2005? 1999? 1989? … I just don’t remember anything. Maybe if I try really hard to bring it to focus. Did I forget it for a reason?

Before I go all Scrooge here with “Bah Humbug!” I’ve really gotten to thinking… Is time’s remarkable ability to heal possible because of one’s ability to forget? Although Social Media is decieving, and not always a true representation of the Ghost of the Past… is it better this way because when we look back, we will not remember the pain?

That brings me here… with Social Media’s Ghost of Christmas Present – December 22, 2013; I genuinely say I wish you a Merry Christmas…

If it is not one do not worry, for you will forget those fine details anyways.

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