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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Columbia, Sonora, and Highway 108

An invitation to the wedding of my cousin's grandson arrived in late July. "Karen and Michael are getting married in Sonora, the heart of Gold Country," I told my husband. "That will be a great August get-away. We can see family and explore the gold country towns of Angels Camp, Columbia, and Sonora. We can top it off by crossing the Sierras on Highway 108 the next day." Highway 108 was the only California highway crossing the Sierras that we had not been on.

Columbia - Old Gold Town

What a wonderful weekend it turned out to be! The wedding at a country inn was fun. The couple even included their dog in the ceremony. After the minister pronounced the couple man and wife, they put their hands behind their backs and the minister handcuffed them together. They skipped out of the building. The dog didn't want to wake up. He lumbered reluctantly out behind them. We had a good time visiting with family at the reception.

The dog slept through the ceremony.
The next morning we headed east across the Sierras on Highway 108. The highway climbed 10,000 feet before descending to Highway 395. Snow still covered the ground at higher elevations. Lush green with lots of swiftly flowing streams and even some waterfalls kept us exclaiming our appreciation. We imagined how gorgeous it must be in the fall when the quaking aspen show off their brilliance.

It was a great weekend exploring Columbia, an old mining town, Angel's Camp where the frog jump has become world famous, and the interesting shops in the quaint towns along Highway 49. We can't wait to go back some day with our granddaughters.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Carolyn Hax Gives Advice

"One of the most important things we can do for the people we love," writes Carolyn Hax in her newspaper column, "is love them as a package, conflicting opinions and all. That means trusting the relationship to be bigger than their dissent."

When we can achieve this, we have gone a long way toward learning how to become soul mates. In my book, "Becoming Soul Mates" is this quote from Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887).

"Oh, the comfort, the irrepressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Listen With Your Heart

To manage yourself use your head. To relate to your lover use your heart. Lovers can slip into a pattern of blaming that becomes an invisible infection eating away the closeness, love, and intimacy. Always listen to your lover with your heart.

Nothing will cause distancing as quickly as feeling blamed whenever unpleasant things happen or mistakes are made. Listen to your mate without jumping into a defensive response. Reflect to him/her what you think they wanted you to hear. Be willing to say,"That hurt" when you feel harshness or blame.

When you open your hearts to each other focusing on what he/she does right, your love will grow. Your defensiveness will weaken and you will feel gratitude that your mistakes and weaknesses are minimized. Soul mates accept each other just the way you are. No changes required!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Differences--Racial, Gender, Personality, and More

"A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences." This quote comes from Dave Meurer in "Daze of Our Wives."

In my book, "Becoming Soul Mates--How to Create the Lifelong Relationship You Always Dreamed Of" you will find a chapter on how to make differences work for you. A difference can lead to conflict, but it doesn't trigger conflict. Your attitude and feelings about the difference triggers the conflict. When you stop defending and start thinking, you can ask yourself, "What is going on for me? What can I learn from this about myself and about the other person?"

People behave in ways that make sense to them. Why does it make sense to your lover to talk, believe, or behave in this way? Agree to disagree and stay in each other's corner, not blaming, but accepting and working toward understanding.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Recognize Times to Keep Your Mouth Shut

  While in the Authors' Booth at the State Fair, a visitor asked me, "What is the most important thing you have learned about making relationship work?" Tough question. I think my answer was, "Prioritize the relationship."

The question lingered in my mind. Maybe the most important thing I continue to learn is when to keep my mouth shut. Some people would say, pick your battles, but I have found many battles can be avoided by keeping my mouth shut.

"You didn't turn off the lights, air conditioner, water; close the door, drawer, curtain; why do you have to drip across the floor; slow down; you eat too fast; you spend too much money." These are the kinds of things that waste your energy and irritate your mate. Give it up. If there is a serious problem, it won't be resolved this way.

Your mate may not notice when you stop complaining. He or she will feel the difference but may not know why he or she is feeling warmer and closer to you.