Please Visit Our Website!

Family 1st Books invites you to visit our upgraded website at! Check out our parenting blog titled, "Parenting, the Ultimate Relationship Challenge."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Dance of Intimacy

One of the books I read while we were at Tahoe was "The Dance of Intimacy" by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D. She says, "An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way."

Based on this definition I wonder how many people achieve intimacy. That is definitely our goal if we hope our relationships will evolve into true soul mate status.

"Intimacy is not about that initial 'Velcro stage' of relationships," according to Dr. Lerner. "It is only in long-term relationships that we are called upon to navigate that delicate balance between separateness and connectedness and that we confront the challenge of sustaining both--without losing either when the going gets rough."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Winter Wonderland in May

Our May get-away took us to our Tahoe timeshare at the top of the ridge dividing California from Nevada. We look down from our Ridge Tower more than 7,000 feet to the lush green Carson Valley. When the sun goes down lights from the towns of Minden and Gardnerville sparkle like a necklace of diamonds.

The Amgen bicycle race was scheduled to start at South Lake Tahoe on Sunday. It had been snowing all night and continued on the big race day. The first stage of the race was cancelled. It continued to snow through Wednesday. The trees bent with their loads of snow. The Christmas card beauty pushed us into compulsive picture taking. How many pictures from one balcony does one need?

We had our fireplace going keeping us snug, warm, and cozy as we read books and enjoyed being together. No pressure. Nothing that had to be done. The full moon peeked out from the clouds from time to time spotlighting the remarkable May winter wonderland.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How the Novaks Handle Stress Points

"Ted and I approach life very differently," says Brenda Novak. "Ted is a big picture person, very flexible and willing to go the extra mile, on the one hand--or, if he falls a bit short at something, to say that's good enough and be happy with less than a perfect job."

"I am more OCD. LOL He can do dishes without wiping down the counters. I have to finish it all. He can fold clothes in a sloppy way and toss them in a closet or leave them sitting out forever; I can't. He can plant a garden and leave the trash of the pots and stuff laying in our yard for months. I"m more of a stickler for doing things right and getting them done on time. Those types of messes can really irritate me."

We've basically worked out this difference by realizing that not every tool is meant to do every job. A hammer is just as good as a saw. Whether or not one is better depends on what you're trying to do with it. That's exactly how it is with our separate skill sets. I'm better suited to some things. Ted is better at other things. We appreciate and celebrate our differences and admire the strengths we recognize in each other.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has three novels coming out this summer/fall--INSIDE, IN SECONDS, and IN CLOSE. She also runs an annual online auction for diabetes research every May at To date, she's raised over $1 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ted and Brenda Novak Together 27 Years

Brenda, a N.Y. Times best selling romance writer, met Ted at college. Her best friend brought him home after a Halloween party. "I normally wasn't impressed with the guys she liked," says Brenda, "but I remember thinking, this one is cute--really cute."

"The second Brenda walked into the room," says Ted, "I knew I'd met the wrong roommate. I backed off from having a relationship with her friend and became friends with all the girls in her apartment instead." When Brenda's friend got a boy friend, Ted felt it was safe to ask Brenda out.

Brenda knew before Ted did that he was the one she would marry. One day he said to her, "We're going to get married, aren't we?" She said, "You're just now figuring that out?" Once he was committed there was no looking back," Brenda says. "He has been steadfast in his love and loyalty."

Brenda believes flexibility is the key to keeping romance alive. "I try to remember that nothing in my life is as important as Ted is. Our marriage is the foundation for our family. That puts little things that can creep in and cause annoyance into perspective."

Brenda says Ted is a nurturer and there's nothing better than marrying a nurturer. Ted believes taking time for the little things keeps romance alive. "I try to show Brenda I care by making sure she has water at her desk every day, by making her a special juicing concoction every morning to see that she gets the vitamins and minerals she needs, by bringing her treats from restaurants I go to for business, by leaving her notes. I want her to know how important she is to me and to our family."

More about Ted and Brenda in my next post.