Date Ideas for Breaking the Ice

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Jenni and I are writing a book together about dating, and one of the chapters discusses various types of dating ideas.  I thought it might be fun to share some of those categories of date ideas on this blog, such as creative date ideas, funny date ideas, educational date ideas, etc.  This is the section (so far) about date ideas to help break the ice.  Sometimes the hardest part of going out with someone is just penetrating the shell of awkwardness that is inherent in first (and sometimes second) dates. Here are some ideas that might help both of you feel more relaxed and have a great time.

  1. Do a group date. They’re not just for teenagers, and it’s easier to keep conversation alive in a group. If you really want to help your date feel comfortable, plan a double date and have a friend of yours ask out your date’s friend, and then go do something as a group. With their friend there, your date will be more likely to act natural and have fun. If you don’t want to line people up, just plan a group date of three or four couples. If you get enough good people together for a fun activity, everyone is likely to have a great time.

  2. Go to a mall, museum, zoo, or gallery. If you walk around a mall or gallery together, there is a lot to see, and a lot to spark conversation. Zoos and Museums have a lot to see, hear, and explore. Anywhere where there are many kinds of displays of different kinds will provide dozens of avenues for conversation. If conversation starts, don’t rush through it to get to the next display, but use the opportunity to learn about your date and to help them get comfortable talking with you. The conversations that you have will do more for nurturing a potential relationship than anything else.

  3. Do something athletic such as a sport together. Even something as simple as Frisbee can be a lot of fun on a date. If you are both decent at a certain sport, play it together. Sometimes doing something physically active can help both of you get your mind off the fact that you are on a date. When your body or mind is active and focused, your emotions are generally positive, and your experience together will likely be uplifting and fun.

  4. Anything you can do that will get both of you laughing; a funny movie, a clean comedy show – whatever it may be.  Humor breaks ice faster than almost anything.

Do you know of other date ideas that might help a dating couple get past that initial awkwardness?

The Makeshift Degree: Adlibing an Education without Going to School

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Okay, so obviously the most ideal way to get an education in most fields is to go to college, and for many jobs out, it is required.  But let’s face it, there are so many fields out there.  If you’re like me, you have so many interests that it is impossible for you to get a college education in all of your interests.
Also, many people are not in a position to go to college at the moment.
Here are a few ideas for getting an education outside of the school system:

Internet Sources:

The Internet has an endless supply of phenomenal information in thousands of fields.  You’ve just got to know where to look for it.  Here are a few sites I like – (maybe not Ph.D material, but interesting stuff nonetheless):

  1. http://google.com – good ol’ Google search.  You can learn just about anything with that… *
  2. http://www.youtube.com/edu – you know about Youtube.  Well, this is a branch of Youtube that specializes in good educational material.  Not just anyone can get stuff on here, so it’s a big step up from regular Youtube, and it’s a fun source of learning in all kinds of fields.
  3. http://www.ted.com/ – again, not a place to earn a degree, but if you want to get excited about learning, this is a fun place to go.  TED is a collection of fascinating lectures (yes, lectures CAN be fascinating!) that give an interesting perspective on various fields.
  4. http://www.openculture.com/2007/07/freeonlinecourses.html – if you prefer getting your information from reputable colleges, here’s a directory of podcasts that are done by colleges such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, etc.  Just putter around the site to find the subject you’re looking for.

Books

  1. Check the Thrift Stores: As soon as a book becomes obsolete (by college standards that can mean the book has been published for a year and a half and now the photos in the book need to be reorganized), the thrift stores such as D.I. fill up with college textbooks.  After I paid nearly $100 for an astronomy book in college, I found a stack of twenty of them at D.I. the next semester for two bucks a piece.  Ugh… but that’s good for people who are wanting an education outside of school.
  2. Libraries:  They’re still around, believe it or not.  In this “Google any question” era that we live in, this is easy to forget.  Pick a topic, go to the library, and read all you can on the subject.
  3. School libraries: Most school libraries are open to the public.  You may not be able to check things out without a student card, but you can read what you want while you’re there, and if you take your digital camera, you can get instant copies of pages you want to read more about.

This is NOT a comprehensive list.  Fill us in!  What ways have you found for educating yourself on different topics?

* Clearly there is a lot of junk out there, and one of the great purposes of education is to train you to recognize credibility and bias.  You need to learn to check the sources on information.  Just because it sounds legit, or the information is worded in an educated manner doesn’t mean the content is of any real value.  The best lies are coated in great disguises.  So check your sources!

Read more entries with tips and ideas!

The Isaiah Barrier: Tips for Surviving Second Nephi

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talltab1How many times have you read first Nephi?  If you are like me, you’ve probably read it at least twice as many times as you’ve read any other book in the Book of Mormon.  Thank heaven Nephi does such a great job in his first book.  But then what happens?
talltab1You’re reading along, having a wonderful spiritual experience.  You’ve finally gotten back into the habit of reading the Book of Mormon every day.  You’re so proud… er… uh, pleased with yourself.  Then all of a sudden you read a verse that says:

“…kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their faces towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet…”

talltab1“Uh, okay…” you think to yourself, “I’ll just file that away into the back of my brain and get back to the good stuff.”
talltab1So you continue reading.  It doesn’t take you long to figure out that the strange Hebrew poetic writing doesn’t go away.  It lasts till the end of the chapter, then continues on to the next, and the next, and the next.  Before you know it, you’ve lost your daily habit and you’re hating yourself for not being able to work through the Isaiah barrier.
Sound familiar?

talltab1Let’s explore some ideas for getting through the Isaiah barrier without too many permanent scars.

  1. Take it in stride. Don’t expect yourself to race through it at the pace you’ve been going.  It’s not traditional English prose.  It’s not even traditional Hebrew prose.  It’s okay if your scripture study is only a few verses instead of a whole chapter.  Better to read smaller chunks than no chunks
  2. justtallGet a commentary – I’m not talking about FARMS or Hugh Nibley.  They can sometimes be as daunting as Isaiah himself.  Just get the Church Publication: Religion 302, Old Testament Student Manual 1 Kings–Malachi.  That is the Church’s old testament institute manual for the second half of the old testament.  It’s very simple and clear, and believe it or not, it makes Isaiah easy to understand!  (I bet you thought that was impossible – au contraire!)  Give it a try.  By the way, it’s also available to read online for free: http://ldsces.org/inst_manuals/ot-in-2/manualindex.asp
  3. justtallPray. Pray hard.  You’ll need all the help you can get, and who can help you better than the real author!
  4. justtallRewrite it. Okay, so this is a little more involved, and may take some help from tip 2, but give it a try.  Re-write each verse in plain English.  It’s not interpreting and rewriting the scriptures for publication, it’s putting it in your own words to help you get a grip on what’s going on.  Plus it’s kind of fun.
  5. justtallGet out the maps.  Better yet, jump on the computer and goof around on Google Earth (did you know that’s a free download?  It’s much cooler than Google maps, too.  Trust me) and punch in locations as you come across them.  Isaiah’s a real geography buff, and mentions places a lot.  Sometimes seeing it visually can help a lot.
  6. justtallFind scriptural commentary on Isaiah.  Isaiah is such a popular topic in the scriptures (especially in the Book of Mormon), that a lot of the verses are mentioned by other prophets and expounded in detail.
  7. justtallIf all else fails, skip itOh my heck, did I really just say that?  Yeah.  It’s a last resort, but if it’s a choice between losing your scripture habit and skipping the chapters, just skip them.  If you get really good at your habit, you’ll come back in the future.  The Isaiah chapters are more or less done by the end of 2 Nephi 24, so just jump to 2 Nephi 25.

talltab1Well, that’s about all I know.  Any more ideas?  How do you work your way through Isaiah?  Any tips for the rest of us?

Oh, by the way, here’s a scripture for the day!

3 Nephi 23:1

And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah

Journals and Diaries: Ideas for Keeping it Fun!

I have been keeping a daily journal for about sixteen years now, and I love doing it.  One of the things that keeps me at it is using variety in my journal-keeping methods.  Here are some examples:

Traditional Methods

1. Keep a small pocket notebook with you wherever you go, and when an idea of something to mention in your journal comes to you, jot down a word or two that will remind you of the incident so you can write about it in your journal later.
2. Write a memory of something that happened long ago.  Remember that it probably won’t make a difference in the next generation if you wrote it the same day or years later.
3. Write about something funny that happened recently.
4. Write about something someone else did recently.

Creative Methods

1. Draw a cartoon, sketch, or simple painting of the event(s) of the day in your journal.  Write what the picture represents, and be sure to Continue reading