Tag Archives: God & Religion

Book Review: “Before You Get Engaged” by Rev. David Gudgel

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Before You Get Engaged [NOOKbook]Before You Get Engaged [NOOKbook] by David Gudgel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book a great read given that I am currently engaged. It was written well and was easy to follow. I wish I had read it months ago rather than after getting engaged. This book was still a great help because it helped to affirm that I am marrying my man for the right reasons and helped me to really analyze whether I am ready (which I am). All in all I would recommend this to anyone in a serious relationship that may be going down the road to marriage, or possibly for someone who is looking to find the right person and settle down.

Pretty Woman

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In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” she discusses how men surveyed for her book felt about how important looks are to them and the effects of a woman maintaining herself for her man.

I personally believe that a man is completely justified in wanting his woman to make a genuine effort towards her appearance and at taking care of herself. In my opinion, if a husband truly does love his wife, then a lack of self maintenance on her part, should be relatively disconcerting . A woman’s self maintenance is not only important because of her own health and well being, but the gesture of a woman trying to look her best around her man shows she cares. This not only helps in validating their relationship, but also helps to validate him as a man.

If one were to also consider God’s stance concerning their appearance, a plethora of theological and sociological contradictions would come flooding out. It is my own opinon that God would rather have his children find comfort in their own skin than ascribe themselves to some unreachable goal that the media shows us “what women should look like” every day.

I think God wants for us to treat our bodies as temples just as the bible suggests. Therefore, to properly respect it, one must make every reasonable effort at maintaining it so that it may stay healthy and energized.

In this chapter, the author made a big deal about the topic at hand being very hard-hitting and potentially hurtful to the reader.I however, was suprizingly unmaimed by the chapter’s contents. it just makes sense to me that a man wants a woman to put up an effort at being beautiful for him. Honestly I see it all as a two-way street. Now, I don’t neccessarily want my man to be taking care of himself solely for me, but rather that I would like to see him do it for himself and be healthy – the fact that he looks better the more he works out is just a bonus.

I guess the thing that did hit home for me in the chapter was how badly I need to go to the gym. My man goes to through a lot of effort to take care of himself, and I can’t honestly say that my efforts are comparable. In truth, I need to drop the excuses tht have been holding me back and get to work. I won’t say that this chapter triggered any sort of emotional reaction from me such as the author suggested, but I can see where other more sensitive women might get upset at the idea that their man wants them to look good for them.

I personally find myself very encouraged when I read “Sometimes I’ll meet a man whose wife is overweight – but she takes care of herself. She puts some effort into appearance… if she is comfortable in her own skin and is confident you don’t notice the extra pounds. I look at that husband and think he did well.” It goes to show that men really don’t generally set impossible expectations for the woman they love but rather, they appreciate when their woman makes the effort to be beautiful for their man. I myself am relatively comfortable in my own skin. Sure, I have my own insecurities – a good number of them. While I know I am out of my ideal shape, and I have some weight to lose, I also know that my condition is not helpless and that in itself is the thing that brings me the most comfort.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.

“Impostor Syndrome”

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According to Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” a suprising percentage of men secretly suffer from a significant level of insecurity. In many (if not most) of these cases, men reported that they oftentimes feel like an impostor when faced with the unfamiliar and fear that their inexperience concerning the situation at hand will be found out.

I am not too surprised to hear about this. I know that with mu experience in the working world, I have frequently identified with the same concept of being an “impostor” and consequently, dealt with a good amount of insecurity and inadequacy. Oftentimes when I am out in the world or at work, I frequently worry about my coworkers and superiors discovering when I don’t know exactly what I am doing or when I lack experience in something, much like the men discussed in Feldhahn’s book.

Where I believe my case may differ from many of those men, is that I don’t think I am unsure about something. While I personally feel and oftentimes may fear that I am going to be “found out” for my secret uncertainties. truthfully, I don’t believe the external repercussions of being “found out” are as strong as if a man was “found out.”

I believe that it also differs in that I do not worry so much about being found out at home. when I feel loved and trusted at home, it is easy to open up and discuss my shortcomings and uncertainties that I fear being discovered at work or in public. I don’t let my “impostor syndrome” affect my home life.

I believe that it is important to create an affirming safe haven at home. In order to do this, I believe that one must provide an escape from the many stressful things that provide the many insecurities in our lives. One should also be very assuring of their trust in their man and his ability to provide for and take care of his family; especially by expressing their love and desire to be with him.

If/when I perceive insecurity in the man I am with, I oftentimes will begin to feel a bit of it as well. Mainly, I will feel insecure about my ability to build him up and strengthen him. In a way I will also feel bad for him in that he does not have a stronger woman to build him up where I have already failed.

I am sure that I also have unintentionally made my man feel more unsecure that before when I have taken the opportunity to tell him to do something “better” without even giving him a chance to try whatever it is that he is doing his way. Other times, I have been guilty of questioning “his way” when he was only trying whatever “it” is for the first time.

Sometimes when he is worn down on his business, I try to affirm him by praising his vast knowledge and experience. i try to let him know exactly how proud I am of him and how much I appreciate how he takes care of me. I also do my best to express to him just how confident I am that he will provide for me and our future family (assuming things keep going the way they are going).

In the end, I believe it is important for every woman to recognize a man’s need for her to build him up and express her trust, respect, love, and faith in him. These things (which to some women may seem small) are absolutely essential to assuring her man of her affections for him and oftentimes being able to put his insecurities to rest.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” she discusses a number of things that are integral to a man’s inner psyche. These things can sometimes be overlooked by a woman who is unaware and/or uneducated on the things that make men and women so very different from each other.

Perhaps one of those things that is most overlooked in our society today is respect. A very enlightening thing that Feldhahn’s book teaches is that this is not a standalone detail. Very closely integrated with respect is trust. Now most women (such as myself) really do love and respect their man whole-heartedly, but the problem is, these things are oftentimes lost in translation between men and women.

The thing that seems to challenge me is how these things are lost in translation between my man and I. until reading about it, I had thought that I do  a pretty good job of expressing my respect and trust to my man, and consequently my love for him. What surprised me after some personal reflection and analysis, is that oftentimes it’s a lot of the smaller gestures that I have always assumed most men never noticed are the ones that really are monumental.  Unfortunately these are oftentimes the gestures that show the most disrespect and distrust instead of the love, respect, and trust you might try to express to him on a regular basis. Usually these things are hidden in simple and ordinary everyday occurrences.

For example, the other day, my man was driving us to Seattle as another car veered towards us and I instinctively gasped. Having just read about showing trust and respect through small gestures, I was mindful of how these small moments and actions can speak to a man. So, I said,”It’s not that I don’t trust you, I do. It’s just that I don’t trust that  [CENSORED] driving the black SUV over there.” He stayed focused on the road  (like the good driver he actually is) and said “No, you don’t trust me.”
“What are you talking about?!”
“No, you don’t trust me, because if you trusted me, you’d trust me  to be able to get out of the way of that [CENSORED] driver and avoid getting hit.”

After hearing that I was somewhat shocked. I’ve been telling my man that same thing since we started dating, thinking that I was expressing my trust in him, when in actuality, I have been expressing a significant amount of distrust. Consequently, I have been disrespecting him almost every time he was driving us around the [CENSORED] Seattle drivers on the road.

As if showing my man distrust and disrespect wasn’t enough, the truth is, many men (and women) connect those actions to the actual concept of being loved. While for most women, love is something that is purely emotional, most men will tie love and respect to each other that they end up practically indistinguishable. According to Feldhahn’s findings, many of the men surveyed and interviewed saw love and respect as the exact same thing.

This can sometimes lead to misunderstandings between couples. Men trying to express their love for their women will do so by showing her the utmost respect, but might be a bit emotionally disconnected. Women on the other hand might express a purely emotional love to their man but also be completely lacking in expressions of trust and respect. I believe it is when both man and women recognize these perceptions and needs (either consciously or subconsciously), that you see a couple who can be truly satisfied in their partners expressions of love.

It is not at all uncommon to find yourself unintentionally disrespecting your man (like you saw I have done earlier), there may be times where you are exceptional at trusting, loving, and respecting him – even when he is not around.

Historically, I have been known to moan, groan, and complain about my significant others to my friends, family, and coworkers behind his back (again, not to be intentionally disrespectful) as a means to air out my frustrations with him while avoiding a confrontation between us.

However, with the man I am with now, I find myself talking about how awesome and amazing he is even when he is nowhere around, and to people who have never even met him. I don’t ever find myself putting him down, but rather, I brag about him and how much I trust him to take care of my future.

I will admit, I do joke at his expense some. I would not be surprised at all to hear that the jokes I make tear him down some even. So I am now making an effort to shift what i say to be more constructive than destructive and praiseworthy such as commenting on all the awesome things he does for me and how lucky I really am to have him in my life.

In Feldhahn’s discussion guide for the book, she asks, “Consider the marriage advice of the Apostle Paul, ‘So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.’ (Ephesians 5:33) What us the connection of a husband loving his wife and a wife respecting her husband?”

I believe the answer is that a man will have a hard time believing that his wife loves him if there is no respect for him as survey results suggest that many men count love and respect to be one and the same. it is hard for a man to express love to his wife if he questions her love for him because of a lack of respect for him.

In conclusion, I believe that respect is perhaps the single most necessary thing for a woman to give the man she loves, as without it one might question if there ever really was love at all.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.

“The Seven Revelations”

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In the first chapter to Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” she introduces the reader to what she calls ‘the seven revelations.’ These are seven of the very most basic (and consequently important) commonalities that she found most men interviewed and/or surveyed had during Feldhahn’s research for her book which included hundreds of interviews and surveyed hundreds of men nationwide and from all sorts of walks of life and ages.

I am not going to go into very much detail as to what they all are here, as they will be covered in much better detail later on, but I also intend on limiting what I divulge of Feldhahn’s writings for multiple reasons:

  1. I do not wish to misrepresent anything she has written.
  2. I really believe that you should go out and buy the book so you can see and interpret it all for yourself.
  3. My whole purpose for doing this is personal growth. I am doing this book study for me and consequently for my man as I have every intention of being the best woman I can be for him.

I have decided to post what I have found in the hope that what I write may help someone out there, so if that is you, I would like to reiterate how much I think you should go buy a copy of Feldhahn’s book for yourself – I am sure there is much more for you there than you will find in my meager writings.

In her first chapter, Feldhahn introduces the “seven revelations” which are:

  • “Men need respect”
  • A woman doesn’t have to look like a model, but making an effort to take care of yourself speaks volumes to him.
    • He would rather feel like he is unloved than to have no respect.
  • “Men are insecure.”
    • Despite looking “in control” on the outside, men oftentimes feel like “imposters” and fear that their various inadequacies will be discovered.
  • “Men are providers.”
    • Even if you made enough money that he would not have to work, he would still feel like he needs to provide for you.
  • “Men want more sex.”
    • A woman’s sexual desire for her husband affects his overall sense of “confidence” and “well-being.”
  • “Men are visual.”
    • Even men who are happily married are drawn to and struggle with images of other women both externally and mentally.
  • “Men are unromantic clods.”
    • Most men want some degree of romance, but many hesitate out of fear that they will fail at it.
  • “Men care about appearance”
(Paraphrased from p. 15 of “For Women Only”)

In the discussion guide, (a highly recommended companion to the book) she asks “Which of the seven revelations are you implementing best and which one is most likely to require changes in your life?” My response was as follows:

I am pretty understanding about men being bombarded with thoughts about most every woman they see. I believe it’s something that can’t be helped for many men in our society given  the almost constant onslaught of sexual imagery and the current state of fashion lacking in any sense of modesty.

I think it would be beneficial to work on allowing my man to be more in control and expressing my confidence in him and his abilities. In the past I have always been very confident in my abilities to handle a lot of the “manly” fix-it type tasks, and I have a strong tendency to interject when i should probably just express my trust and confidence in his capabilities and remain silent as form of expressing my trust and respect. Just telling him that I believe in him can only really mean so much without a physical manifestation of it to truly show my feelings.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.

Introduction: “For Women Only.”

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Recently, I have been studying a book called “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of menby Shaunti Feldhahn. (The copy I have also includes the discussion guide for the book as well and you may see me reference that on occasion as well.)This book is all about what every woman needs to know about the inner lives of men. Now, when I picked up the book, I was actually looking at it to see how I could make fun of it for the silly title expecting it to be some piece of completely laugh-worthy  feminist propaganda. After all, what the hell does a woman know about the inner workings of men? Her answer: Not much. but that does not mean a woman shouldn’t make an effort to try to understand the inner workings of her man and other men in general.

What I immediately liked about this book is that it is not only practical and easy to read, but she actually researched the topic with hundreds of personal interviews and broad spectrum surveys including men of all ages and walks of life. These interviews and surveys provide significant evidence to the points she makes in her writing, suddenly making it a somewhat credible and reliable book.

The truth is, our world is confused on gender roles and what every person male and female needs in a relationship. Contrary to much of the feminist propaganda of recent times, man and women are not the same. It is very important that a woman considers her role in a relationship as mutual and includes supporting and encouraging her man every day. This is a two-way road however and it should also be noted that it is also every man’s responsibility to  support and encourage his woman as well. It seems that anymore, the key components to  building and maintaining a happy and healthy relationship have been forgotten as they are not considered to be “progressive” enough by a number of influential people. It is my belief that this is also the cause of the rise in the divorce rate. These same progressive ideals that turn us away from a relationship building mentality, also teach us to watch out for “number one” above all others. it is because of this fact and a lack of healthy examples for the younger generations to see that some of the most basic relationship skills have been lost and are no longer passed from generation to generation.

So does this mean that I think we should go back to some kind of archaic thought process and social system where women stay at home and remain solely subservient to their men? No! If some woman decides she wants to be a lawyer or a doctor, then by all means she should be able to do and do that if she so chooses to. I just believe that if she would like to have a happy and healthy relationship, she should recognize the very basic internal and emotional needs for her man and make every effort to provide for those specific needs before moving forward with her own agendas or (God forbid) insisting that he give up on those needs in order to be with her.

So, Over the next few weeks (or however long this takes), I will be going over many of the key points in Feldhahn’s book, and answering a number of questions from the discussion guide (which just happened to be included at the back of my copy of the book). If you (like me) care about your man and want to understand him just a little bit better, I highly recommend checking out this book.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.

Learning to Dream again…

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Recently I have spent a good amount of my time focusing on developing my life goals and dreams. Sad to say, it seems that I have greatly lapsed in this skill since my school days, so now I am starting over from scratch as an adult. So the following are some questions I have snagged from Ravi Vora. I do not know him personally, however, I did find the post I have linked to particularly helpful in stimulate my brain back into dreaming big once again. So without further ado, here goes!

Q: If you had $100 million dollars what would you do? Money is no issue. just imagine what you would do with your life if money didn’t matter.

A: I would freely give back to all of my friends who have helped me along the way so far repaying their endless generosity with interest and enjoy changing their lives for the better as they have for me in the past. I would also have my own family and raise my children up teaching them about the world by showing them through travel and historical study. I want to be able to support any and all of their talents so that they can make a name for themselves.

Q: What do you think about when you think about Nothing? I believe that when you think about nothing, you are thinking about what you love. When I lay down at night and clear my head for sleep, something always comes rushing back in. The things I love most.

A: When I clear my head an think about nothing, the things that most often cross my mind are having a fmaily and raising them. I also think about having the time and money to adequately enjoy my hobbies and passions like my Viking Age reenactment, building guitars, and my photography. Mostly my thoughts are centered around raising my family to enjoy my passions with me.

Q: What makes you happy every day? Just one thing, however big or small. Expand upon this and you will be closer to figuring out your dream.

A: Jason make me happy every day by letting me know that I am loved and cherished. he makes me feel as it his love and blind affection are completely unconditional for me. All I’ve ever really wanted is to love and be loved and he provides me with this every day.

Q: If you had 60 minutes to live what would you do? Sometimes in your last moments you make crazy decisions. These are our gut instincts and can be associated to our big dream.

A: I would gather my dearest friends and relatives and tell them all that I love them. I would hope that Jason would honor my by marrying me (before God) before I die and spend my last moments with the family that loves me wholly and completely.

Q: What is one thing about your life that you would change right now? Got it? Now change it.

A: I would fix my finances and be ready to get married… I want a family and the love that I believe I will be able to express once I get to have a family of my own.

Q: How do you define success? From having a million stamps to having a million friends on Facebook, success is a general term that each of us define for ourselves. Once you know what your definition of success is, you will be able to go for it.

A: I believe that someone  is successful when they have found what  is meaningful in their lives and have afforded themselves the opportunity to balance that with their spirituality and home life. This also means that one has found a functional and lawful way of achieving this in society.

Q: If you wrote your autobiography, how would you want people to remember you? If you want people to remember you a hero, then start working towards that goal.

A: I want to be remembered as someone who has overcome the many turmoils in life and loved freely, laughed, often and gave much to the world.

Q: If you could visit one place in the world, where would it be? Making a concrete choice will lead you to what you need and will start to drive you towards that place.

A: For me it is hard to choose just one place. But I guess where I would like to go most of all someday is to Disneyland with my (future) family. I want to show them the place where everyone can be a child just like my father showed me.

Q: What is one thing that interests you more than anything else? Whether it’s a hobby, and object, or a person, there’s something you’re interested in so much that it drives you. figure out why you are so interested in it and you will find your big dream.

A: The one thing that drives me is the idea of having a family, Raising them and loving them. I’m interested in it because I love and want to be loved without it ever being circumstantial.

Q: What do you hate doing? Sometimes you can find what you want to do by eliminating what you dislike doing.

A: I hate when I am forced to be false and work below my skill level. I don’t like fulfilling obligations to those who belittle me because in the end they are always going to tear me down.

Q: Who do you admire most? If they have what you want then maybe they are living your dream (or have lived it). Figure out how to live that dream too.

A: I admire those who are able to love, be loved, and love themselves freely. I admire those who have a healthy and happy family life

Q: What is one thing you would change about the world? Now go change it.

A: I’d change all the propaganda that teaches people to be one thing or another because society says so rathewr than to follow their passions and fulfill their responsibilities to God and their loved ones.

Q: What are you doing when you feel the most alive? Is it  skydiving? Writing? Speaking in front of people? Whatever gives you the thrill of living is a great indication as to what you want to really do with your life.

A: I feel the most alive when I am able to forget all the many demons in my life and rather spend my time freely loving on those who deserve it and return their love to me as well.

Q: What was the happiest moment of your life? Find a way to make that moment last the rest of your life.

A: I don’t think it’s happened yet, but rather is going to happen wen I can finally say I have a family.

Q: What is one thing you would change about your past? When we look into our past, we can see what will affect our future. So you can either figure out a way to make that a positive part of your past, or learn from it and move forward. Either way, you’re finding the change to point to your dream.

A: I would have appreciated my family more when we actually got along in my youth. I wish I could have known what I would be mission before it was actually missing.

The Wonders Never Cease…

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So I finally got another job… and this one doesn’t seem too shady or anything which is a relief… It seems like all here is out there are shady schemes or scams someone is trying to pull on some poor unsuspecting person who is completely desperate for a job. It’s sad to see how much evil that there is out there in our world today.

It seems so often that people use our world’s sad condition as a sign that the end times are coming… but I don’t know about that… I just don’t see the signs equaling what others try to denote them as. I guess I’m just blessed with an over-abundance of hope versus the average person. Where so many people see inevitable doom I am fortunately able to see hope and room for growth and improvement.

I will admit that I cannot always see things so happy and great… I am also burdened with a low self esteem, and a tendency to also see a hopeless future referring to my self. But, I blame my upbringing. I was raised in a house where everyone is mentally ill. I am half convinced that my family is cursed. From time to time I have fought some fierce battles inside myself desperate to hold on to what shreds of sanity remain, and I can say that I am foru fortunate enough to claim a general success.

Things are starting to look up for me. I’ve been fighting a lengthy and tiring spiritual battle for the last few months. I’d forgotten that once you grab on to a faith that is genuine that’s when the real demons come out to test you and make you let go. It hasn’t been easy; but I have been determined to hold on. The service last week on mothers day spoke to me in a much needed way… which is great. That little bit that spoke to me extra special seemed to be the thing that broke me loose from those bonds that those demons had a hold of me and allowed me to come out of my hole again. the funny thing is, I can’t tell you exactly what it was that did it though; just that it happened.

Sure my problems are still problems; but suddenly they are so much easier to deal with. Money is still an issue; and it will probably continue to be for some time. However, whatever it was that was holding me back from fully opening myself to God (which seems silly I know, given the whole he knows everything) no longer has that hold on me… I’ve been able to write in my prayer journal again and while my entries may be short, they are consistent.

I’ve been able to ask god to show me his will, and to mean it… I believe there is a significant difference there… and by doing so I have been blessed. I asked God to help me find a job that he wants me to have, and within days I have a decent job offer. I see the blessings beginning to abound in my life again. So this is good.

I can only hope that God also blesses you in the many ways he has blessed me as well. It’s amazing how the wonders never cease.

This Tragedy [Guitar Chords incl.]

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D
I'm Evil
A
I'm a theif
  G
I took all you gave me 
      C                D
and threw it in the street

Turned my back
A          G             Em
saying you never gave me enough.

D       A       G        Em
It took tragedy and some tears
D  A        G       C       A
to bring me back to my true light
D  G     D   G   D  C
to bring me back to you. 

D
I'm saved
     A
but still a failure 
G                         C
as I still turn away from you
 D  A        G       A  D  A
You still forgive me as always
 D   A    D    A  G            Em   C
You still pick me up whenever I'm down
 D  A      D   G     C
You still give me everything.

D         A            G
I'm sorry it takes a tragedy
D   A          G     Em  A
To turn this tragedy around...

I do not remember the tune anymore, or the speed. in fact I forgot I ever wrote this one. But looking back I remember sitting in my room trying to perfect it… not for anyone to ever hear but God. (Note made in April 2010)

I am numb.

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All this pain
that I see
Oh God
Goes right through me
I am numb
it eats away at my friends
Oh God
All I see is their pain
Will it end?
Oh will it ever end my God?
It goes tight through me
I am so numb.
I am so numb.
Will it end?
Oh will it end?
Will it ever end my God?
it goes right through me.
I am numb
I am numb
Unfeeling
So unfeeling,
Unfeeling,
‘Cuz I am numb.