"The Vow" Movie Review

Imagine waking up tomorrow in a hospital bed, unsure of how you got there.  As you look up around the room, you notice several unfamiliar faces that are looking empathetically at you.  In the midst of your aching head and confusion, one of those persons says they're your spouse.  But you don’t recognize them, and you have no idea how you got there.  You just want to go back to your life as you know it and wake up from this bizarre dream.

Suppose in that old familiar life you were already engaged or even married to someone else.  Suppose you had a career in law but in your newly awoken life you were a renowned visual artist.  The amount of disorientation – a rebirth and change in your life that was unforeseen and now unrecognizable – would be staggering.  Yet, it would be true.

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Sin versus Purity

The wages of sin seem apparent to me as death this hour. Not in the funeral, graveside sense of the word, though those are evidenced as well, but what confounds me this morning is death’s residue within contexts of life--sin's ability to rob my abundance of true living, by heart-centered suffocation of awakeness to my Purified state, clean and complete.

What confounds me is sin's enticing pursuit of me as life’s center. Likewise, then, its rejection of others, and the grandiose Story of others being an integral part of mine, and vice versa. I lose sight of ubuntu*. I lose sight of what is real, unloosing my senses to that which is not. I lose sight of the fact that I am lovable- that we are creatures worth loving.

What's confounding of sin today is its ability to embitter me, detaching me in an instant from from that which I truly love. I am infatuated by its choice, and similarly, by its choice of me. Choosing sin, in my case, often means choosing ecstatic pleasures of the moment—ecstacies that will romance me for a lifetime, but satisfy me not for a day. And often I concede to sin’s choosing of me (not on a basis of my Value, but in vehement commitment to arousing addictions toward that which is not). I’d rather be picked, it seems, than believe in patience that truer Love is beckoning to pick me. I’d rather be sought after in my insecurity, or inability, or inconsistency, or inadequacy, even if by an illusion…than accept my purity, and guard it as if my sole means to all Seeing.

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To Marry or Not to Marry?

The experience of “falling in love” is not a foundation for a happy marriage. It is highly possible to be “in love” with someone you should not marry. In fact, you will probably feel the “tingles” for almost everyone you date. It is the “tingles” that motivate us to want to spend time with the other person. As you date, sometimes the “tingles” dissipate quickly, and the relationship never gets off the ground. On the other hand, the “tingles” may develop into the emotional obsession I am calling the experience of “falling in love.” None of this requires much effort or thought. All you did was show up, and the emotions took over. However, a marital relationship designed to last a lifetime requires more than these euphoric, obsessive feelings.

A Time to Talk About the Real Stuff
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Cheap Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

I’m big on celebrating birthdays, babies, weddings, holidays and yes, even the commercial holy day of Valentine’s Day. I love love. I love the romance, the chocolate, the red roses, and fancy dinners.

But I hate spending a lot of money. So when Valentine’s Day rolled around one year, I decided to take matters in my own hands and plan a romantic dinner for my husband and me without breaking the bank.

We had dinner at home—instead of a fancy restaurant with an hour and a half wait. I strung lights on the roof of our porch to create a canopy of white lights. I dressed up a card table with a tablecloth, candles and rose pedals. We had a three-course meal for under $8 each, and I even broke out the china we never use.

We gave thoughtful gifts—we personalized gifts instead of buying what was most popular that season. I made a gift box of his favorite coffee and inserted homemade sweets and goodies. He brought me flowers—a beautiful arrangement from the local grocery store (about 40 percent cheaper than a florist) and a gift certificate for a pedicure and manicure.

We celebrated our love—not our wallets. At the end of the night, we could pat ourselves on the back for saving money, but most importantly, acknowledging and celebrating our love in a meaningful, non-commercial way.

Here are some other ideas for cheap (but fun) dates for Valentine’s Day or any day of the year.

Nature Lovers

* Hiking and nature walks
* Bike riding
* Rollerblading
* Exercising

Intellectual Types

* Museums
* Historical sites
* The Zoo
* Factory tour
* Walking tours
* Public gardens

Social Animals

* Pizza party
* Pot luck dinner
* Progressive dinner
* Fondue party
* Sundae party
* Cook out

Ways to Save Throughout the Year

Dining Out
1. If your city as an “Entertainment Book” and you like to eat out, buy it. They have “Buy one, get one free” deals for a number of area restaurants and date places, like miniature golf. They’re in the $20 range, but you can get one for about half if you wait a few months after they’ve come out for the year. If you use it only once or twice, you’ve made your money back.
2. Check their website of your favorite local restaurant for coupons, or sign up for their newsletter to receive coupons in the mail or vouchers for a free meal on your birthday.
3. Restaurant.com also has discount gift certificates for local restaurants, but I haven’t had much luck finding restaurants I’d like to visit.

Hotels and Vacations
1. Don’t discount a romantic evening at a hotel. For our wedding anniversary weekend, I used Priceline.com to get a night at an area 4-star hotel for a fraction of the price.
2. Consider rentals instead of hotels when it comes to five days or more of vacation. Timeshare User Groups has classified ads from timeshare owners looking to rent out weeks. They have listings for home and abroad.
3. If you’re visiting Europe, check out staying at a monastery! The average price is $30 a night. There are books and resources that will walk you through how to make a reservation, even if you don’t speak the language.

1. There are cool ways to see new sites and experience parts of your city by renting limos, boats, and even venues. They become affordable when you split the costs among friends. We rented a boat tour at Disney for my husband’s birthday last year. It was $120 total, not much if you split it among the 8-12 people on the boat. The boat took us around the chain of lakes that connect the parks and resorts and then parked in front of Cinderella’s castle as we watched the evening fireworks. A perfect night.

The point is to spend quality time together—so anything goes. My husband and I sometimes turn “grocery night” into “date night”—just being together, buying our groceries, and then cooking dinner for each other. But I don’t consider it a cheap date. We buy a lot of food!

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