Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas Tree

If you live close enough to one or both of the families, and if either family has a specific time to decorate the house for Christmas, make sure your CB joins in the fun! Pop some popcorn, turn some Christmas music on, and let the decorating begin!! This can be a great time of fun and laughter together as a family, and at the end of the day you can stand back and look at the results of your labor.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holidays

Study up on the origin of the holidays. Where did christmas come from? Why do we celebrate it on December 25? Who is Santa Claus, really? Where did the legend come from? Are there parts of the holiday that are pagan in origin? What will you do as a couple to celebrate Jesus' birth? Are there parts of the "commercialized" holiday that you will dispense with?

Do the same thing for Thanksgiving, though as a newer and less commercialized holiday Thanksgiving should be easier. It is very interesting to study up on where things come from--you never know what you'll learn!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The First Moments

(Continued from part 2)

I can't put a finger on when exactly I came to know Melody's younger brother, Richard. Since then correspondence has been lost and memories have been blurred, because at the time neither of us knew there was anything significant happening. I do, however, know that much of it wouldn't have happened if it weren't for a choir we were both involved in. We practiced at different rehearsal locations, but when the whole choir would meet together I couldn't help noticing the outspoken boy on the back row of the guys section.

While I don't remember the exact order of events, there are several "moments" in time I remember as defining the course of our friendship.

One was around the Bush v. Gore presidential election of 2004. It was the first election I'd voted in, and I was determining my voting policy. Some of the voting practices followed by people I knew troubled me. It bothered me more that when I questioned these issues my friends (both peers and their parents) took offense rather than answering my questions. I felt as if I was expected to automatically toe a certain party line, and when I stepped outside the box nobody knew what to do with me. I remember saying in a forum discussion that I just wanted someone "reasonable" (ie. Willing to listen and think through my objections before answering) to answer a few questions. Richard was a part of the forum as well, and when he saw that comment he PMed me. There followed a lively discussion, where he willingly listened to and answered my concerns. At the end of the conversation our conclusions still differed, but I remember being very grateful for his helpful--and "reasonable"--assistance.

Another time I remember was when I was at my grandparents house. I believe this followed the elections a few months. Richard and I had kept up sporadic correspondence since the elections, and one e-mail he asked if I had any prayer requests. There was something weighing heavily on me at the time. While I don't remember the exact problem, it probably had to do with my grandmother, whom I was caring for as she prepared to meet her Savior. I remember sitting at my granddad's rolltop desk and writing out a short email describing the issue. I clicked the 'send' button, and immediately felt a sinking feeling as if I'd revealed too much of myself in showing him this area of concern. I didn't know Richard well enough to know how the prayer request would be received. I anxiously watched for his reply. When he wrote back he was all kindness and concern--melting away my fears.

I admired Richard from a distance. Even though he was only 14 at the time he demonstrated spiritual maturity above what I expected to find even in young men my own age. At the time he was suffering from several mysterious health problems which doctors had been unable to diagnose. Even though he was often in pain he didn't complain, choosing instead to accept everything God gave--both the seemingly good and the seemingly bad. I remember hoping that someday he'd count me as one of his good friends, but I really never expected it to happen.

Part 4

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Giving

Consider giving presents to family members together this year. Giving presents together has several benefits. First, it allows more flexibility in the present (there is more money available if giving from two people than there would be from one). Second, it will probably be less expensive. Third, it allows the CB coming into the family to get a better idea of what each person likes. Fourth, it's just plain fun to be able to sign "From: Us."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thankfulness

Each day during the month of November sit down with your CB and write one thing that you are both grateful for. Or you could each write something separate and then compare notes afterwords.

There are several cute ways to do this. When I was a child mom set out strips of colored paper for my brothers and me to use. After writing something on the paper we made a long chain, each strip of paper becoming one link. Each day we'd add a few more links to the chain, and by Thanksgiving it was quite long! I've also heard of cutting paper leaves out of colored paper (just fold a piece of paper in half and cut a leaf shape with a zig-zag pair of scissors) and writing things you are thankful for on those. I saw a collection of those leaves once that was kept in a bowl, and it made a pretty fall decoration. Remember the reason for the holidays, and be Thankful!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Culture Shock

A common difficulty in starting a new family is the combining of two family cultures. This process can be particularly difficult in the courtship stage, when the two young people are moving from being two individuals under their respective authorities, to being one couple under God. This transition, already difficult for everyone involved, is further complicated by differences in family cultures. 

For example, one family may place a heavy emphasis on education, while another believes common sense and hard work are enough. 

One family may be reserved in showing emotion, while the other family is very expressive and affectionate.

One family may be well to do, and the other may struggle to make ends meet. 


One family could be large, while the other has one one or two children.


One family may be relaxed, the other may be involved in each other's lives.



Parenting styles vary widely as well, from the hands-off, "You're both adults now." To the hands on, "you're still ours till you're out of the house."


There is nothing wrong in ny of those things, they are just the circumstances that each couple will face. I listed maybe six, there are hundreds of others. Each one will effect your courtship in some way. The important thing is to be aware of these differences.


The most obvious challenge in facing different family cultures is the difference in thought processes and expectations. A family who places great emphasis on education may have difficulty in understanding why their son/daughter's CB has made different choices. A family that is very physically affectionate might not understand why their son/daughter's CB doesn't initiate hugs more frequently. The result could potentially be hurt feelings, particularly if these differences aren't understood.


I think the most challenging time is in the first few months of the courtship, while things are still in a flux and the "new normal" hasn't been reached yet. It is important to keep in mind throughout the courtship and engagement (and marriage too, I'm sure!) that each family is coming from a different background. Learn everything you can about the family you are entering.  Don't react too quickly, take time to learn what makes them tick. It is possible that the hurtful thing they said or did (or didn't say or do!) was never intended to cause pain--it may even have been a loving thing in their minds! Be understanding of their unique way of viewing the world. Love and forgiveness are the keys.






Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Exercise

(So this isn't exactly holiday related, but it certainly will be a useful habit to get into before the holiday foods come out in force! )


Depending on your circumstances and proximity, exercising can be a great way to spend time together.  If there is a trail nearby you can go jogging together, or if the weather is incliment you can do indoor exercises at home or elsewhere. If exercising together isn't practical but you still like the idea, you could be exercise "accountability partners." Even though I know I need to exercise and want to, sometimes it take  little push to actually get me moving!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Christmas

The holidays are upon us, the stores have broken out their Christmas and Thanksgiving wares, so it's time for some holiday Christmas ideas! I'm going to add some holiday tags, and for the next couple months have holiday related courtship projects. And, to start things out festively, here's a favorite Christmas song of mine.


Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
ring ting tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you
Outside the snow is falling
and friends are calling "yoo hoo",
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you.

Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
let's go, Let's look at the show,
We're riding in a wonderland of snow.
Giddy yap, giddy yap, gidd yap,
it's grand, Just holding your hand,
We're gliding along with a song
of a wintry fairy land

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
and comfy cozy are we
We're snuggled up together
like two birds of a feather would be
Let's take that road before us
and sing a chorus or two
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you.

There's a birthday party
at the home of Farmer Gray
It'll be the perfect ending a of perfect day
We'll be singing the songs
we love to sing without a single stop
At the fireplace while we watch
the chestnuts pop. pop! pop! pop!

There's a happy feeling
nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the coffee
and the pumpkin pie
It'll nearly be like a picture print
by Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things
we remember all through our lives!

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
ring ting tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you
Outside the snow is falling
and friends are calling "yoo hoo",
Come on, it's lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you.

It's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you
It's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you