The first story is the longest and most mature of the issue. “I Was a Pick-Up” tells the story of Toni, a sheltered 17-year-old who makes a dress and goes on the town. During her adventures, Toni takes a ride from a convertible-driving rich boy named Bob, who later abandons her at roadhouse when the place is raided. Luckily, bad boy Stanley rescues her. Sadly, Stanley leaves Toni with a note that says she is better off without him. However, two pages later, Toni has barely escaped another yet another lout, when she meets a reformed and now-successful Stanley in a gas station. They live happily ever after.

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18Of course the clinch image is, much like the narrative it so strikingly represents, a generic type. Each individual execution of the type is slightly different but essentially – typically – the same. This typicality functions as the basis of the public’s interpretation of the clinch image. That is, the public perceives the type of image and interprets this image as signaling a stereotypical kind of romance genre identity ; this interpretation is based on the widespread cultural codes that regulate the semiotic functioning of cover iconography, which hold that a clinch image equals the generic identity “romance”. In this interpretative act, the public overlooks the individual execution of this type – an execution that, for all its typicality, still has individual traits. These traits are, however, precisely the focal point of the romance reader’s semiotic decoding of the image and suggest to her a somewhat different interpretation of the text’s identity. They do not simply individuate the image, but do so according to a set of (generic) codes shared by the novel’s producers and its target audience of romance readers. On the basis of these codes, the romance reader is able to learn more about the novel’s specific characteristics.
But maybe it would be useful for me to at least acknowledge to myself now, on the eve of my second marriage, that I, too, ask for an awful lot. Of course I do. It’s the emblem of our times. I have been allowed to expect great things in life. I have been permitted to expect far more out of the experience of love and living than most other women in history were ever permitted to ask. When it comes to questions of intimacy, I want many things from my man, and I want them all simultaneously. It reminds me of a story my sister once told me, about an Englishwoman who visited the United States in the winter of 1919 and who, scandalized, reported back home in a letter that there were people in this curious country of America who actually lived with the expectation that every part of their bodies should be warm at the same time! My afternoon spent discussing marriage with the Hmong made me wonder if I, in matters of the heart, had also become such a person—a woman who believed that my lover should magically be able to keep every part of my emotional being warm at the same time.
If this sounds like a foreign or crazy notion, remember that it wasn’t so long ago that people in Western culture held these same sorts of unromantic views about matrimony. Arranged marriage has never been a prominent feature of American life, of course—much less bridal kidnapping—but certainly pragmatic marriages were routine at certain levels of our society until fairly recently. By “pragmatic marriage,” I mean any union where the interests of the larger community are considered above the interests of the two individuals involved; such marriages were a feature of American agricultural society, for instance, for many, many generations.
For forty-five days, notice your status frustrations and remind yourself of the hidden advantages of wherever you are as a way to boost serotonin and a way to feel better. Your status will always be going up and down in small ways. Your mammal brain will always keep track of it, as much as you wish it wouldn’t. If you fret over your position, the fretting will never end. You can focus on the positives instead, which will train your brain to feel happier. Once you create this thought habit, you will always have a way to make peace with your mammal brain.
Wardating isn't limited to the world of Wi-Fi. Burton says he's written dozens of hacks, including a bot that combs Craigslist personals and IMs him when it finds a candidate that meets his specs. But his favorite is a browser plug-in for the dating site Hot or Not. "The problem with Hot or Not is it keeps presenting the same pictures over and over because it's random," he explains. "My plug-in remembers which ones I've seen and will skip them. That way I can get through the whole site. When I did that, I had about 50 hot women spamming me the next day."
At first, Fran wants to go to the police, but Wayde convinces her to keep quiet and the rewards will be theirs to reap. She agrees, but is shaken when the agency auditor finds severe and purposeful errors on their tax returns. Wayde tries to smooth things over, but Fran insists they give the scheme up. Wayde promises they only need to do a few more jobs.
22One of the most visually striking and remarkable characteristics of the category romance’s material packaging is the dominance of a standard design template that all novels published in the same line share. While each line or imprint has its own characteristic template, most of these templates also have certain elements in common (e.g. the spatial placing of certain elements). The line-imposed design template determines the look of nearly every aspect of the category romance’s materiality and is as such quite an invasive material and visual presence. It is perhaps most noticeable on the front cover, where its dominant color scheme, prominent imprint logo and overall composition create an extreme sense of similarity between individual category romance novels published in the same line (see figures 2 and 3). As we can see in these examples, the placing and (stylistic) execution of almost every element of the cover composition (from the title to the name of the publisher) is determined by the line’s design template.
The American Meteorological Society 13 published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found that happiness is maximized at 13.9°C, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.
Where our conversation did turn peculiar for me—and for all of us in the room—was when I tried to get the grandmother to tell me the story of her own marriage, hoping to elicit from her any personal or emotional anecdotes about her own experience with matrimony. The confusion started immediately, when I asked the old woman, “What did you think of your husband, the first time you ever met him?”
It’s natural to trust your current likes and dislikes when you think that will make you feel happy. But now you know that they’re based on accidents of experience rather than complete information. Your accidental circuits cause the threatened feeling you get when you depart from the road you know. If you avoid the threatened feeling by sticking to the old road, you miss out on a universe of potential happiness. You can learn to enjoy the challenge of embarking on a new road to feel good.
Because love isn’t enough. Let me clarify, love, in the way most of us define it, isn’t enough. Love isn’t what makes you decide to not act out your desires when someone attractive starts showing you attention (and you haven’t had sex in months). Love is not what makes you apologize and give your partner a hug after an argument (even though inside you know you’re 100% right). Love is not what makes you weather the storm when disaster strikes (which it will). Love is not what makes you decide to treat each other with kindness, respect and empathy during a breakup or divorce (you’d be surprised how quickly love can feel like hate at that time). No, it’s not love. It’s commitment. It’s the responsibility to keeping your commitment. Not just to the other person, but to yourself.
It is in this particular area that I feel my most powerful impact. To say that my marriage was unconventional and that it was difficult is an understatement. But, I would do it all over again because my journey with Jeff provided me the opportunity to discover my own true definition of love. For in those twenty-five years, I was able to find my core, my strength, my faith, my hope, and my true understanding that I was chosen to love him. I was chosen to stay with him. And I was chosen to be able to watch him become the stranger in my bed due to the horrific devastation that his virus brought. To this day, I remain in my heart, Jeff’s wife, friend, caregiver, and devoted partner. My hope is that with this book, others may gather up the strength and fortitude to commit to their marriage vows before God first and then, commit to their marriage. May this book give you the understanding of how remarkably strong you can be and how capable you truly are when “Committed to Love.”
She was twelve years old, I would learn later, but tinier than any American twelve-year-old I’d ever met. She was exceptionally beautiful. Her skin was dark and healthy, her hair glossy and braided, her compact body all sturdy and confident in a short woolen tunic. Though it was summertime and the days were sultry, her calves were wrapped in brightly colored wool leggings. Her feet tapped restlessly in plastic Chinese sandals. She had been hanging around our hotel for some time—I had spotted her when we were checking in—and now, when I stepped

A typical romance story was told in the first person, allegedly from a true account confided to a trusted comic book professional. They generally followed a predictable dramatic arc, with a fairly wide range of crises — unrequited love, class barriers, jealousy, career conflicts, haunted pasts, etc. — inevitably resolved with a monogamous happily-ever-after ending. “Well, darling, suddenly I don’t love you anymore! I can’t explain it — but I just don’t!” announces Tony at the outset of “Changes of Heart,” the lead story from the April 1965 issue of Young Romance (the longest-running title in the romance pantheon). He and Brenda had been so right for each other. Then — boom! The thrill is gone! Brenda doesn’t know how she’ll carry on. She dates, but can’t get Tony out of her head. One night the doorbell rings — “It’s Tony!” she thinks. But it isn’t Tony, it’s Tony’s old friend Bill Oliver. Tony’s blown town with no forwarding address, and Bill thought she might know where to find him. Brenda breaks down sobbing, spilling the whole story. Bill listens sympathetically, then admits that he, too, was recently dumped. They start hanging out, and suddenly realize they’ve fallen for each other. “There was no need for words — our love was strong because it had been born out of pain.”
24As the illustrations above show, the predominant effect of such an invasive design template is a very strong sense of standardization. It makes category romance novels look like uniform assembly-line products that lack the individuating and unique characteristics that we as a culture tend to value – particularly in art and literature. Instead, category romances all look the same and appear to be mutually interchangeable. This dominant impression of interchangeability is amplified by the fact that the elements that traditionally signify the book’s individual identity, such as its title, the name of the author and the summarizing blurb on the back cover, are also slipped into the line’s design template, which in effect almost completely mutes their message of idiosyncrasy. Instead, these elements appear to merely be (insignificant) variations upon an already-existing pattern that in effect appears to be more meaningful. In the public’s interpretation of the category romance’s design template, this message of standardization is likely dominant and the line template in effect serves as a code signifying extensive similarity and lack of singularity.
If you’ve caught yourself spending too much time in the past or the future, read the 4th Pathway of Ken Keyes: “I always remember I have everything I need to enjoy my here and now unless I am letting my consciousness be dominated by demands and expectations based on the dead past or the imagined future.” Remind yourself you have food, clothing, shelter, mobility, vision, hearing and basic necessities. Many people don’t.You needn’t try to convince yourself that everything in your life is fine; just know that right here and right now, if you aren’t stuck in “how awful it is,” you can calm yourself and change your negative thoughts to accepting what is so now. That doesn’t mean you won’t do anything about your situation; it just means that what you are and have right now can be dealt with, minus panic and fear.
Kirby: Joe and I were working for McFadden Publications at the time. McFadden had comics and in one of the books we did a feature called My Date. It suddenly occurred to me that McFadden was the biggest purveyor of romance in the world and was making millions at it, and we were sitting on top of the same thing, except that there were no romance stories in comics. My Date was a prelude.
Some recent work in neuroscience as examined the brains of people in romantic love. They found that the brain areas involved with making judgments and with sense of self. What this means is that when we are in romantic love, out ability to make judgments about situations and the other person is actually impaired, and we lose our sense of individuality and over-identify with the other (Xu, et al, 2010).
Notice, talk about, and write about what does feel good in your life today. It could be the pancakes for breakfast, the call to or from a dear friend, yoga at the gym, the flowers you saw on your walk, your good vision and hearing, the cleared desk or table, or anything that leads you to more peace and contentment. I sometimes read my list of gratitudes when I’m feeling grumpy or overextended. When I take a few moments to focus on what does feel good, I’m usually much more able to settle down and do what feels important to do.

Meeting the Hmong women that day in Vietnam reminded me of an old adage: “Plant an expectation; reap a disappointment.” My friend the Hmong grandmother had never been taught to expect that her husband’s job was to make her abundantly happy. She had never been taught to expect that her task on earth was to become abundantly happy in the first place. Never having tasted such expectations to begin with, she had reaped no particular disenchantment from her marriage. Her marriage fulfilled its role, performed its necessary social task, became merely what it was, and that was fine.


The simple answer is that Kirby’s romance comics are not as accessible as his efforts in other, more action-oriented genres such as science-fiction, western or super-hero comics. The more complicated answer is that romance comics are too close to real life. After all, how realistic is it that a reader would encounter savage Indians, bug-eyed monsters or costumed supermen in their day to day lives? Uncluttered by such unrealistic distractions, romance comics are free to explore the more quiet drama of real life—the incidents, heartbreaks, and human conflicts that are actually encountered in the lives of their readers. Thus romance comics have had the perfect camouflage: Made up of the familiar details of daily life, they have not stood out. Instead, they have receded in the minds of readers as their more colorful competitors on the magazine racks have loomed ever larger in their more exaggerated presentations.
Gary Smalley was one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships. He was the award-winning, best-selling author or coauthor of sixteen books, as well as several popular films and videos. The Blessing and The Two Sides of Love have won Gold Medallions, The Language of Love won the Angel Award as the best contribution to family life, and his other titles have received Si ...more
What I learned from that experience is that commitment requires open communication channels and an “all-in” mentality by both people. Relationships require each individual to meet in the middle, with dual commitment for the present and future. Sure, nothing is promised, but when it comes time to progressing in a relationship and talking marriage, it’s critical for communication to be on point.
By sacrifice, I don’t really mean some extraordinary feat of self-sacrifice. Of course that would matter, but I really mean small, day-to-day indicators that a person is willing to put their partner or relationship first. And I mean mutual: A healthy relationship includes two givers, who each give to each other and the relationship in small ways that matter.  
Coexisting without trust is bad, but getting burned again is worse. So instead of taking a leap of faith with that crazy neighbor or the coworker who stabbed you in the back, you can find steps that are comfortable. For forty-five days, craft reciprocal exchanges that build stepping stones toward trust with difficult people. You can’t predict the results since you can’t control others. But you will expand your sense of control over the trust bonds in your life. This is hard work, and it may not feel good in the short run. But in the long run, it builds confidence that you can do something about those thorns in your side learn how to feel happy in spite of them.
To be in a state of Happi-ness there has to be a complete absence of ego. Ego being a state of mind (identity) - acquired from the past - which continuously seeks to connect with an uncertain future ( and remains forever fearful of the outcome). So, when the chaotic mind is free of incessant and noisy thoughts (the ego) and becomes quiet and aware(conscious) of a calm... then, and ONLY then does Happi-ness prevail.
The app sent alerts asking people how happy they felt — on an 11-point scale from "not at all" to "extremely" — throughout the day. By analyzing over 3 million submissions from more than 50,000 volunteers, the researchers discovered that on average, people experienced an 8% increase in happiness when they were with friends, compared to a 1.4% increase with parents, and just a 0.7% increase when they were with their children.
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