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Monday, December 24, 2012

Wayne and Evelyn Mullin Celebrate 70 Years





Connecting with Family at Christmas

Christmas provides an opportunity to connect with good friends and family. Every Christmas I look forward to a Christmas card from my Aunt Evelyn bringing me up to date on that part of my extended family. This year the Christmas greeting came from my Uncle Wayne via email. He let me know that he and Aunt Evelyn recently celebrated their 90th birthdays and 70th wedding anniversary.

Anut Evelyn can no longer write Christmas cards, something she has done all the years they have been married. She and Uncle Wayne met in high school. Soon after they married he joined the navy and became a World War II sailor. She always planned to go back to college when her youngest child reached Kindergarten. Twice, I believe, when that happened she became pregnant again. I don't know if she ever got back to college.

Uncle Wayne has a smile and laugh that can light up a room. He and Aunt Evelyn spent seventy years together, some difficult, some wonderful. Probably the past year has been the most difficult, but to be together seventy years is a blessing. Happy Anniversary, Happy Birthday, and Merry Christmas, Uncle Wayne and Aunt Evelyn.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Peace and Love at Christmas




Reflections at Christmas

Can you remember the first Christmas you spent with the person with whom you chose to spend your life? For us the first Christmas came six months after we married in 1955. That Christmas magically let us recapture the excitement and joy we remembered as children. We had very little money. We cut our tree and decorated it with blue lights and a few ornaments. The joy and excitement came from just being together.

I taught school and Everett attended college so we had two full weeks to enjoy listening to Christmas music, staring wide-eyed at Christmas decorations on Fresno's then famous Christmas tree lane, strolling through stores talking about what we would buy each other if we had money, telling each other stories about Christmas's past. At night we would turn off all of the lights except our beautiful blue Christmas tree lights. We cuddled on an old second hand couch and dreamed about the beautiful future we had together.

This week we sat on our lovely leather love seat with multicolored lights on our floor-to-ceiling artificial Christmas tree and remembered those early Christmas's and how exciting it was to be together. We both agreed it is still exciting in a deeply peaceful way. Christmas can still bring back an assurance that all is well if we sit still and take in the significance of Christ's message of peace and good will.

I wish you all peace and love this Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Have Fun Writing Christmas Cards




Sea Walk--A Haven in the Storm

At the end of July we made reservations for our Christmas card writing getaway at Sea Walk on the Northern California coast. This beautiful condo overlooking the ocean can magically turn an overwhelming task into a boost to Christmas spirit. We sit at a dining room table looking out at waves crashing against rocks a few hundred feet away. This year our arrival at the coast coincided with the first of three powerful storms that hit the state of California. While writing our cards we watched rain drops chase each other down the window pane. Wind teased us sending us to the front door to see if anyone was knocking.

Six does paraded single file past our big window as if they had been sent to entertain us. One evening a young mother deer cautiously fed on the lawn in front of our window while her two young fawns curled up in the grass near her.

Trying to watch a football game on the screen of a tiny TV was frustrating, but who needs football when nature provides superior entertainment. Anyway, we share stories with each other best when electricity is sporadic or somewhat limited. During short breaks in the weather we left the warmth of the fireplace and walked past a cluster of deer feeding on the wet green grass, to watch huge waves crashing against the bluff at Black Point Bay.We loved the nights cuddling in a cozy warm bed upstairs listening to the powerful sound of the wind, the waves, and the rain battering the roof of the condo.

If you dread writing Christmas cards, choose a place like Sea Ranch as a getaway. Start saving your money in a special Christmas card writing account. You will begin to look forward to writing Christmas cards in December 2013.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Connecting with Your Soul Mate at Christmas




Do You Connect or Disconnect at Christmas?

Are you someone who experiences Black Friday on and on during the days leading to Christmas or do you still get excited about the energy in the air during this special time of the year? The music, the shows, the lights, Christmas trees, shopping, eating, decorating, and the unusual flood of mail that comes through your mail box. Sometimes we have to create ways to connect. Six or eight years ago we decided to make Christmas card writing something to look forward to. We took our cards, address book and everything we needed to Lake Tahoe. We sat down soon after we had reached our timeshare and worked on Christmas cards. When we finished we had time to enjoy each other and the beauty of the mountains.

The next year we decided that the mountains in December can be a challenge because of the snow. We rented a condo for 3 days at Sea Ranch on the northern California coast. We have returned every December since then. The tiny post office at Sea Ranch is inundated with our 125 Christmas cards every year. We liked it so much we stayed an extra two nights at Sea Cliff in Gualala which is much cheaper and is also on the ocean. A Christmas card writing getaway transforms a formidable task into shared expectations of family, fun, and celebration.  Looking forward to this unique first event of the holiday season is a great way to increase Christmas fun and joy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Places Where Letting Go Is Easy (#2)


 
 
Tucson Starr Pass Marriott Hotel

Like an enormous castle nestled protectively at the foot of the Tucson Mountain Park in southern Arizona is the Starr Pass Marriott Hotel. Just far enough away from the bustling city of Tucson to experience the vastness and serenity of the fascinating desert, but near enough when sitting on the terrace at night to be mesmerized by the beauty of thousands of glittering city lights. Music that didn't intrude and small bonfires in pits contributed to a setting of complete relaxation and release from cares of every day life.

As Everett and I sipped a glass of wine with our son who lives in Tucson, conversation flowed effortlessly. It was an evening none of us will ever forget.


I had saved Marriott points for a long time so that we could stay at this beautiful place. The desert   grows towering saguaro, which can live 200 years, grow fifty feet tall and weigh more than ten tons. Wild life, including quail, roadrunners, woodpeckers, owls, hawks, desert tortoise, coyotes, jack rabbits and more live in the desert.

We discovered the desert and the hotel when we stayed at the nearby Starr Pass Timeshare. Bush bunnies, quail, birds of all kinds would eat together on our back step. We have taken long hikes in the desert. Once we saw a coyote trotting along a short distance from us with her two young pups. If you are looking for a getaway where letting go is easy, the Tucson Starr Pass Marriott Hotel may be just the place for you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Places Where Letting Go Is Easy




Little America--Cheyenne, Wyoming

When I was a little girl traveling with my family, I passed Little America for the first time. Cheyenne was a little town then and Little America was one of the first items on my beginning bucket list. More than half a century later it took an unplanned cross country trip with my lover to cross off this one.

Little America has everything a traveler crossing the plains could want. Beauty at an affordable price, cleanliness, friendly people, excellent food, tranquility, and a feeling of luxury in a rural atmosphere. Actually, it is located among trees, green lawns and a golf course at the edge of Cheyenne which is now a bustling city. When I first passed it the city was farther away.

The legend begins in the 1890's when a young man herding sheep got lost in a blizzard and was forced to make a camp and spend the night where Little America is now located. He dreamed of creating a refuge for travelers with a crackling fire, a warm bed, and delicious food. In the 1930's he saw Admiral Byrd's picture of "Little America" in the Antarctica and it reminded him of his own isolation in the Wyoming blizzard. He created this oasis on the plains and it has become a part of the Grand America collection of fine hotels and resorts. Of course, he named his dream place "Little America" after Admiral Byrd's refuge in the Antarctica.

If you travel Highway 80 past Cheyenne's "Little America", take a break even if there is no blizzard. You will be glad you did.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Letting Go Can Energize Relationship





Three Week Get-Away

Strange as it may seem, every relationship can benefit from letting go and getting away from everything. Just the two of you leaving business responsibilities, pet care,  house and yard, and obligations to family and friends behind. Take a deep breath, look at each other with lover's eyes, make no reservations and discover new places to relax and play.

In our case, it was an overdue trip to visit members of family we had not seen for years. We decided not to make reservations or tie ourselves to a schedule. Unexpected stops included a long traffic delay for a crash to be cleared; a stop at a garage to determine the damage done after hitting a large tumbleweed, trying to replace a dead battery in an old cell phone (we couldn't!); arriving at Little America in Wyoming too early to stop, but loving it enough to stop anyway. One night we decided to stop at Champaign, Illinois after missing our exit at Bloomington. Homecoming weekend had caused doubled prices for the few rooms still available. So we drove with a full moon another half hour where we found a room for a reasonable price. That 30 minute ride with the full moon lighting our way could not have been planned. Very romantic!

The secret is in letting go. Breathe in calmness and peace and exhale tension and expectations. Three weeks practicing this kind of letting go helped us react to coming home to a pick-up that won't start with nonchalant concern and finding 364 emails with a shrug. We hadn't touched an electronic device and we are reluctantly trying to remember how important they are! The election has come and gone and we don't even know how all of the propositions turned out. How is that for letting go?  I feel like I now have my  lover back, relaxed and taking things in stride. Expect more blog posts on this subject. Feel free to comment on your own letting go experiences.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest blog--Dick Ivey--Are Women More Adaptable Than Men?


If my wife is any barometer on adaptability, women are definitely more adaptable than men. They also tend to listen better than men, are able to articulate their feelings better than men, and better able to exhibit a servant's heart in relationships. In the hundreds of couples we have coached over the years, women score significantly higher more often on "change" in their lives than men.

I love the way The Gorgeous Redhead models adaptability with such grace and tenderness that I am often shamed by my reticence to adapt and change and grow with her. I am a better man, by far, because of the gentle leadership she brings to our family in working together to adapt to the world as it is and to work diligently to make it the world we want it to be.

God bless women everywhere who have this gift naturally and those who cultivate it. May your tribe increase.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Science Supports the Value of Soul Mate Love


Monogamy Is Natural But Not Always Easy

Both sexes have the brain circuitry for deep attachment to a mate, but it isn't always easy. We live in a world full of opportunities to send messages to the amygdala in our brains that will release the pleasure hormones that lead us to temptation. Mindful choices can lead to positive behavior.

Live Longer in Good Health

Monogamous marriage may be the answer to good health and happiness. According to the CDC, the married are less likely to smoke and drink heavily than people who are single, divorced, or widowed. They have reduced levels of sexually transmitted disease and lower rates of suicide.

Brain Scans Validate Soul Mate Status

Similar to the brain scans of those newly in love the soul mate scans show low activity in the areas of the brain where serotonin is produced. The difference for those still romantically in love after many years show activation in serotonin and opiad rich areas associated with elevated calmness and pleasure. "They are in the secure phase of love," explains researcher, Bianca Acevedo of Cornell Medical College. "They still desire one another, they're engaged, they experience the intensity--but not the anxiety."
So there you have it. Brain study proof that couples, indeed, can learn to become soul mates!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Science of Love


Brain Research Gives Interesting Results

In our rapidly changing world more and more brain research has come up with knowledge about overeating, psychological problems, addictions, and much more. The Valentine's Day issue of Parade featured an article on "The Science of Love" by Judith Newman. Researchers using MRI's study brain activity for everything from diagnosing ADHD to the interplay of hormones and neurotransmitters experienced by couples who "fall in love".

Brain Activity Related to Love

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is central to the brain's reward circuitry. Norepinephrine, a stimulant related to dopamine can give energy, sleeplessness, elation, loss of appetite, butterflies in the stomach. Serotonin, a neurochemical that creates feelings of calm, is present in lower levels in those newly in love. There is a relationship between love and anxiety and fear. In 2004, researchers from Italy's University of Pisa released a study that measured hormonal activity in 24 young people who reported having recently fallen in love. They had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than their workaday counterparts.

What Does Brain Research Mean for You?

Does the science of love mean we have no control over how we love? I don't think so. It helps us understand how wonderfully we are created. Mindfulness can be a key to understanding how to love in positive ways. We can control what messages we send our brains. We can value and nurture trust which promotes greater activation in serotonin and opiad-rich areas associated with elevated calmness and leisure. That is what becoming soul mates is all about.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Can You Make Marriage Work?


Two Very Different People

You are two very different people who have decided to run the rest of your lives as a partnership. Wow! You have to decide:

  • whether to have a pet
  • who does what
  • where to live
  • whether to have children and how many
  • what kind and color of car to buy
  • whether and where to go to church
  • how to spend free time
  • what music to listen to
  • what t.v. and movies to see
  • when to go to bed and when to get up
  • where to go on vacation
  • who does what
. . . and much much more.  All of this and still each be who you are!

The dance is between connection and autonomy, love and fear. The hardest part is to listen without defending and to talk without blame. Talk about expectations before you marry. No surprises! Talk about roles. Get to know each other and don't ignore red flags. There is much more to deciding about marriage than "falling in love". Hopefully, you are making a lifetime decision so make it with your head and not just your heart.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Can Love Last? Jacque and Dave Leek





This Is Our Story
I love to think back to our first kiss in that special parking lot, seven blocks from Heald Business College in downtown Sacramento. Dave had been away from school for a few days. I really missed him. I finally asked another student if she knew why he wasn't at school. She was surprised that I didn't know he was in the hospital having surgery. I called the hospital immediately! Amazingly, the timing was perfect, as he was just being prepped for surgery. We spoke only a brief moment, but he later told me that all his fears about the surgery just disappeared.

A few days later, Dave showed up in "our" parking lot, just as I was leaving after school. I was thrilled to see him again. He surprised me with our first kiss when he leaned down through the window of my 1957 Plymouth. Then, he insisted I go home. I wanted to stay, but he said I needed to leave. So I drove away wondering why. When I arrived home, my mother opened the door with a strange look on her face. She stepped aside and I could see a dozen RED ROSES on the table with a card saying: "To the girl I hope to share a lifetime with." I was very surprised as we had not even dated.

We have done exactly that--shared a lifetime together! We were married about eight months later. We have two lovely daughters and their families to continue sharing our lives. We have been extremely blessed to have shared this life with our church family and many treasured family and friends. Most of all we give all the honor and glory to our Lord, Jesus Christ for His grace, love, mercy, and guidance throughout the years. We will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary July 20, 2013.

Our scripture: "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends..."1 Corinthians 13:7,8  RSV


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Are Women More Adaptable Than Men?

Interesting Observation About Gender Differences

In an editorial I read this morning David Brooks, New York Times says, "The financial rewards to education have increased over the past few decades, but men failed to get the memo." In 1954, 96 percent of American men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked. Now the number is down to 80 percent. The latest jobs report shows male labor participation at an all time low.

Young Women Doing Better Than Young Men

Millions of men are collecting disability. According to Michael Greenstone of the Hamilton Project, annual earnings for median prime age males have dropped 28 percent over the past 40 years. Women in their 20's out earn men in their 20s. Brooks speculates that women are more fluid than men and take school more seriously. He believes women look for new jobs and new opportunities--going back to college and pursuing new careers.

Are Women Embracing the Freedom of Being Single?

Recently I talked to a friend who has been widowed for several years. I congratulated her on her recent engagement. She laughed. "He's a great guy," she said, "but I like being single. I decided not to get married." I wonder how many women, like my friend, are choosing autonomy over connection. What does that mean for the future of marriage?

Monday, September 3, 2012

How Do You Handle Change and Loss?




What You Can Control

You cannot control everything that happens, but you are responsible for your reactions to what happens to you. If you become rigid, defensive, and stuck, you will experience deterioration and disorder. If you stay open to grieving losses and use your energy to grow, you can transform a loss into a gain. Avoid becoming victim and trying to get others to rescue you.

Gains Can Include Losses

Sometimes changes that appear to be gains can also include losses that need to be recognized. The summer I got married, I had planned a trip to Europe with a friend. Giving up the trip was difficult. Eight years later my husband had a job transfer to Germany. We lived there for two and a half years and traveled extensively.

I started my career as a teacher. My husband went to college while I taught school. I became active in teachers' groups and eventually became President of the Sanger Elementary Teachers Association. My husband's graduation and the birth of our first child occurred simultaneously. My husband got a job in Sacramento. The move meant a loss of my career, the loss of friends and of having an important place in the community, the loss of our church, the loss of bringing in income. The new baby, although a joy and very much wanted, brought a loss of freedom to go and come as I pleased. It was very difficult and I went through all the stages of grieving.

Learning from Change

I learned. I found strengths I didn't know I had. I did a lot of introspection. I learned the importance of relationships and how to communicate better. I had always wanted to write. This was the perfect time to explore that interest and see if I could write for publication. I took a class on how to sell what you write. I used my family as models. Eventually I wrote a book, "How to Keep the Family That Prays Together From Falling Apart." That led to doing workshops on parenting and then to an interest in going back to school to get my degree in Counseling Psychology. I have been a psychotherapist for more than 30 years. I have come to realize that every loss in life can be a stepping stone to greater learning and maturity.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Are We Compatible?


Resolve Differences

Compatible is defined as able to exist or act together harmoniously. What we do, not who we are! Concentrate on what joins you with another person, not on what separates you. Expect differences. Plan for ways to use your differences to expand your thinking and increase your choices. Use your differences to build strong workable partnerships with another person. Focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses.

Advocates/Friends, Not Enemies

Agree to disagree and always be in each others corner. Not blaming, but accepting and working toward understanding. The greatest obstacles to compatibility are Blame and Defend. Believing there is always a right and wrong, and of course, you are right and he/she is wrong. Let go of fears and defenses. Develop a healthy curiosity. What's going on for me now? What can I learn about you?

Some useful ground rules:

     NEVER COMPARE
     NEVER CONDEMN
     NEVER COMMAND
     NEVER CONDESCEND
     NEVER CONTRADICT
     NEVER CONFUSE   (stick with the issue)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Can Love Last?






GREAT NEWS!

Not only can love last, couples can learn to become soul mates. The love stories you read on my blog all show how couples have turned their love into soul mate relationships! Love supports the difficult therapeutic process of evolving soul mate relationships. Couples who love each other master the difficult process of learning to hang on to autonomy while being connected to someone who is very different from them.

Soul Mates Adore Each Other

One day I read a clipping about a couple who had been married many years. The clipping quoted them as saying, "When we met, we liked each other. After we had been together 20 years we loved each other. Now after 50 years we adore each other." I couldn't wait to find Everett. At the same time he was looking for me. We both had read the quote and happily agreed that that is the way it is. Now it has been 57 years and we adore each other. LOVE CAN LAST!

I would love to see your comments in response to the question, "Can love last?"

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ron and Mary Lou Jones--Married 66 Years





ELOPED IN 1946
Mary Lou and Ron met in their junior year at San Diego High School in 1943. After Ron's discharge from the Navy in June 1946 they eloped and married. They were 19 and 20 years old. "Our love story really began after 17 years of marriage," says Ron. "And after a BA for Mary Lou and DDS for me, 3 kids, golf gods, sailboats, sport cars, campers and Airstream trailer, and bigger and bigger homes."

In 1962 Mary Lou became involved in a Bible Study. While sitting at home listening to the Radio Bible Class in 1963 she invited Jesus to be her Lord. Later, Ron became a Christian, too. "That," says Ron, "started a love affair between Mary Lou and me as we grew in our understanding of the love of Christ that had been missing for the first 17 years of our marriage. That was 49 years ago, and Jesus and His love have surrounded and nurtured and protected us through many ups and downs as we have looked to Him increasingly every day for guidance in our lives."

Friday, August 3, 2012

More Wisdom from Virginia Satir

Soul Mates Make Contact

Virginia Satir in her book, "Making Contact" describes what soul mates do.

                   " I believe
                    the greatest gift
                    I can conceive of having
                    is
                    to be seen by them,
                    heard by them
                    and touched by them.

                    The greates gift
                    I can give
                    is
                    to see, hear, understand
                    and to touch
                    another person. 

                    When this is done
                     I feel
                     contact has been made."
                   

Monday, July 30, 2012

CHILDREN TALK ABOUT RELATIONSHIP

From the Sacramento Relationship Skills Center:

l. How do you decide who to marry?
     "You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like that you like sports, and she should keep the chi;s and dip coming."------Alan, age 10
     "No person decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with."-----Kristen, age 10

2. What is the right age to marry?
     "Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.---Camille, age 10

3. How can a stranger tell if two people are married?
     "You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids."---Derrick, age 8

4. What do you think your Mom and Dad have in common?
     "Both of them don't want to have any more kids."---Lori, age 8

5. What do most people do on a date?
     "Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough."---Lynette, age 8
     "On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date."---Martin, age 10

6. When is it okay to kiss someone?
     "When they're rich."---Pam, age 7
     "The law says you have to be 18, so I wouldn't want to mess with that."---Curt, age 7
     "The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do."---Howard, age 8

7. Is it better to be single or married?
     "It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them."---Anita, age 9

8. How would the world be different if people didn't get married?
     "There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?"---Kelvin, age 8

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

IS FALLING IN LOVE ENOUGH?



  COUPLES IN LOVE
 Some of life's most passionate love stories involve couples who ended up divorced. Among them are Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Desi Arnez and Lucille Ball, Peter Facindle and Jennie Garth, and most recently Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. What makes these stories different from couples like George and Laura Bush, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Monty and Julie Flanagan, Gene and Georgia Schroeder, John and Lois Bueno, and others on my blogs?

Learning How to Live with Another Person
"Chains do not hold marriage together," according to Simone Signoret. "It is threads, which sew people together through the years. That is what makes a marriage last more than passion or sex!" Counting on each other, feeling loved and loving, open to learning, and commitment to the marriage and each other all contribute to couples in love whose love evolves into soul mate relationship.

I agree with my soul mate, Everett, who says, "Three grand adventures to happiness are something to do, sommeone to love, and something to hope for." We have been doing that for more than 57 years and it just gets sweeter each year.

Monday, July 16, 2012

JOHN AND LOIS BUENO--51 years



Young Love

Lois and I went to El Salvador, by invitation of the church there, to be pastors of a fledging church that had just had some major difficulties. We left Southern California in a Ford Falcon and drove all the way to El Salvador--over 3000 miles through difficult roads and circumstances. Most of the details of that trip will have to wait for a different occasion.

A Little Love Can Conquer Mountains


What comes to mind as somewhat of a love story is Lois's response to a difficult challenge. Our little Ford Falcon didn't have much punch.  We had only been married six months, and we had all our earthly belongings in it. We headed for the mountains of Guatemala and found that the little Ford Falcon wouldn't make it up the hill. I looked at Lois and asked, "Do you want to push or do you want to drive?" Since it was a stick shift, she decided to push. She literally pushed us over the mountains in those places where the little Ford Falcon couldn't make it. And to be honest with you, she has been pushing ever since, and that was 51 years ago. Love can be expressed in many ways. One is pushing you over the mountain.

Monday, July 9, 2012

GIFT OF A LIVER TURNED CERTAIN DEATH INTO LIFE




"I'm Alive! I'm Alive"

We saw hospital attendants wheel Janee' past the ICU waiting room after a 10 hour surgery. We could see she had her hands in the air. When we walked into her room, she looked radiant. Her face glowed as she said,"I'm alive! I'm alive!"

A Special Kind of High

The surgeon told us it had been a difficult surgery and she would not have lasted much longer. She went into surgery at 3:30 a.m. and returned to ICU at 3:30 p.m. I would have expected the two surgeons to be absolutely exhausted. Instead, they both seemed to radiate energy, a special kind of high. They had successfully transplanted someone near death after 17 years living with Primary Sclerosing Colingitis and multiple complications. It was a high few people experience--generated by saving a life. In this case their unique skill was indispensable.

Love Comes in Many Forms

We love the surgeons and thank God for their skill. We love the doctors and nurses who participated in our daughter's care. We love our daughter and welcome her back to life and recovery. We love the family who consented to give the liver of the one they had lost. We love our many friends, family, and even strangers who prayed for Janee' and our family and wished us well. Love comes in many forms. It makes living worthwhile.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

OUR DAUGHTER NEEDS LIVER TRANSPLANT





Hours Spent in ICU
Recently I have spent many hours in hospitals with my daughter, Janee'. Seventeen years ago she was diagnosed with a liver duct disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. Now she is at UCSF waiting for a liver transplant.

After we had four people fail to qualify as living donors, a fifth one did qualify and a surgery date was set for June 28th. That was in April and seemed an eternity away. We counted the days. On June 12th what we feared happened. Another bleed and once again Janee' was transported by ambulance to the hospital. She was in ICU in her local hospital until the following Saturday when at midnight they transported her to San Francisco.

A few days before scheduled surgery doctors decided she is too sick to survive with half a liver and her meld count catapulted her to the number one spot for a cadaveric liver. Meld count is the score required to qualify for a cadaveric liver. (Model of End Stage Liver Disease) Today is July 3rd and we wait for a liver to be available.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

ARE YOU A RELATIONSHIP EXPERT?



Relationship Skills Recommended These Skills

If you had the opportunity to list the top ten things to always practice in your relationship, what would they be? The Relationship Skills Center in Sacramento recently listed these:

----------Kiss good night
----------Be honest about your feelings. Nobody is perfect
----------Put your spouse above every other human
----------Treat him with respect
----------Treat her with love
----------Reserve a little one-on-one time every day
----------Seek to learn something about your spouse
----------Give the benefit of the doubt
----------Pursue deeper intimacy
----------Express appreciation

I think these skills are excellent. I would have said him/her for respect and love. I also would add share your values about God and the significance of life.

Monday, June 18, 2012

KING EDWARD VIII and WALLIS SIMPSON


A STRANGE LOVE STORY

A scandal that rocked the world could more correctly be called the greatest dysfunctional love story. Wallis Simpson, a domineering twice divorced American married King Edward VIII, who was unmarried at age 41 and the world's most eligible bachelor.

"She promised to bring into my life something that wasn't there," Edward explained in his 1951 autobiography. "I was convinced that with her I'd be a more creative and more useful person."

Falling in Love Can Be Deceiving

What Edward had hoped for did not happen. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin made the King choose marriage or monarchy. The King, as head of the Church of England was forbidden to marry a divorcee'. His brother was crowned George VI.

The couple lived in Paris for the rest of their lives. "You have no idea how hard it is to live out a great romance," Wallis told a friend. Were there regrets? "There were lots of them on both sides," according to Gore Vidal. Wallis Simpson "was bloody bored with the King and wanted out," according to Donald Spoto, author of "The Decline and Fall of the House of Windsor."

The story of King Edward and Wallis Simpson may always be classified as one of the greatest love stories. It may also be one of the greatest lessons about what not to do if you are looking for fulfilling relationship.

Monday, June 11, 2012

THE GREATEST LOVE STORIES


A Great Love Story 

The 1996 February issue of People Magazine featured "The Greatest Love Stories of the Century." The introduction to the stories began with a quote from Zelda Fitzgerald in a note to F. Scott, "I want to love first and live incidentally."

The greatest love stories chosen by the magazine were: Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimeggio, Stanford White and Evelyn Nesbit, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Ernest Hemingway and Agnes Von Furorosky, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu, Kathryn Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Boris Pasternik and Olga Ivinskaya, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies, Grace Kelly and Prince Ranier III, Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman, Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis, Billy Graham and Ruth Bell, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Colin Powell and Alma Johnson, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Jackie Robinson and Rachel Isum.

The magazine ended its introduction with, "Whatever feelings they arouse, it's a good idea to savor these stories.; In the age of the 30 second marriage, they may come no more." What do you think and who would your list contain? I think I would start mine with the great love stories in my blog. Becoming soul mates requires commitment and work, but the payoff is awesome. I believe great love stories will always exist.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Greatest Lovers of the Last Century?


WERE RICHARD BURTON and ELIZABETH TAYLOR SOUL MATES?

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor apparently had everything most people think they want to be happy. Elizabeth was just 30 years old when she met Richard and she was already in her fourth marriage. Despite numerous flings, Richard, 36, was still married to his first wife and had two children. After divorcing their mates, they married in 1964. Their marriage was fueled by excess--passion, pleasure, alcohol, money, fame, partying, travel, sexual attraction. BUT, were they soul mates?

SEX and PASSION ARE NOT LOVE!

Sex can be great fun, but good sex is not enough to insure lifelong soul mate relationship. It is the icing on the cake. True love makes sex memorable and accelerates the desire to do what it takes to create a soul mate relationship. Soul mates touch often. Connection is just a smile away. Love fuels a multipurpose passion--desire to please, to transform feeling into touch, to connect, to briefly feel one with your mate. In many ways Burton and Taylor's relationship could be described as a great tragedy rather than the greatest love story. They went on to marry other people and Burton died at age 58 of a cerebral hemorrhage. Years earlier he had written in his diary, "The upshot is that I'll die of drink, while she goes blithely on in her half world."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

LOVE AT 80--Doug and Wilma Cross






Doug and I were Bank of America employees, but did not meet until after we had retired and attended a retiree luncheon with our spouses.. We found we had many things in common. We had lived, attended school, and knew some of the same people in Idaho. Several years later we had both lost our spouses, but we remained just friends.

On our first date we planned to go to dinner and a movie. I was getting ready to go to Russia with a Missions group. That morning I had to get a Hepatitis C injection before I could go. After eating dinner, we were finishing a glass of wine when I became violently ill and lost consciousness. Doug had to look in my purse to find my insurance card and call my son to tell him where I would be going by ambulance. He stayed with me at the hospital until my son could get there. That really impressed my family. We still have not seen the movie. We dated a few more times, but neither of us was interested in getting married and we drifted apart.

One morning, two years later, Doug called me and asked me to lunch. After a couple more dates, I began to think Doug had "changed" and I kind of liked him. It was probably me who had changed. I began to pray for guidance. I didn't know it then, but Doug was praying also. It didn't take long before God revealed his plan for our lives in a very dramatic way. We were married about 6 weeks later. On January 30th we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. What a wonderful year this has been!

Friday, May 18, 2012

KISSING


Relationship Skills Center, Sacramento, California from http://www.livesimplylove.com/

I have lots to say about kissing, but I'm only going to focus on one aspect today: the 10-second kiss.

Last week my mother-in-law told me about a segment on The Today Show about kissing. You can watch the 4-minute video about the importance of kissing here. A big part of the segment is about the first kiss related to dating, but right about 3:00 minutes into the conversation they talk abut the 10-second kiss (the article on the same page talks about it a bit more).

What they don't mention on the show is oxytocin, sometimes known as the "love hormone" (Google it, I swear this is true!) as the reason WHY kissing for longer than just a peck on the lips is important. When we cuddle, hug, kiss, and engage in other types of intimacy our bodies release this hormone that increases and reinforces attachment.

We first learned about this shortly after we were married. A counselor we knew suggested that engaging in long drawn out hugs (10-20 seconds) at least once a day would strengthen our marriage over time. The reason-oxytocin! Our bodies are actually created to chemically respond to the love and nurturing of a committed relationship. And longer kisses do the same thing.

Fascinating, isn't it?  For more information on relationship skills check out my book, Becoming Soul Mates--How to Create the Life-long Relationship You Always Dreamed Of.

Friday, May 11, 2012

THE ULTIMATE GIFT OF LOVE



                                           Gourmet food to watch the Super Bowl


Saving the life of another person has to be the ultimate gift of love. To be a living donor of half of your liver goes way beyond the love most of us are willing to give. Incredibly we have had five volunteers for our daughter, Janee', over the years. The hospital puts them through a host of tests.

DISAPPOINTMENTS
The first volunteer, our son, Eric, turned out not a match. Over the years three more people did not qualify. Unfortunately, neither her father or I were eligible because of our ages. Under age 55 is a hard and fast rule.

VOLUNTEERING FOR FAMILY vs. VOLUNTEERING FOR STRANGERS
I would have given my liver gladly for any of my children or my husband, but I don't think I would be willing to do it for someone outside of the family unless they were a long time friend.  Kathy, Janee's donor, had known her for a relatively short time when she volunteered. Neither Kathy nor Janee' has ever had surgery so that is a huge unknown and of course produces a lot of anxiety. What love! Kathy and Janee' have become soul mates in a very short time. Kathy's liver should regenerate in two to three months after the surgery and she will have saved Janee's life. Can you think of a greater gift of love?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Are Marriages Ending at Mid-Life?


Newspapers this week featured alarming news about escalating numbers of people in mid-life and older ending their marriages. The question was, WHY?

COMPUTERS!THAT'S IT!
Every morning I get up to a good-natured fun loving guy. My first question to him is, "Are you going to work on the computer today? The computer turns him into a raging angry man whom I no longer recognize. I have decided that the computer is destroying marriages and blowing up any chance of great relationships evolving into soul mate status.

SO PLEASE! Listen to me.
Everyone take those computers and donate them to the electronic waste collectors and take back your marriages. Maybe getting rid of all electronic devices would give you a chance of walking or riding bikes in the park, walking on the beach, going skiing, and a thousand other things couples in love like to do.

CHEER UP! THERE IS HOPE!
There still are thousands of love stories out there and many people who have learned how wonderful long-term marriage can be in spite of owning computers. Sometimes it takes a second or third try at relationship, but you can get there. It helps to have a good counselor who believes in long-term relationships to help you figure it out. Reading blogs like this one can help as well. GOOD LUCK!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Romance and Horror a Love Story Kirk and Leila Bottomly -- 37 years



Leila and I have two anniversaries--our wedding date and--our first kiss which happened on April 17, 1970. Until then she was my best friend Fred's sister. I was 15. She was two years and one grade older. These are details you won't get from her. I hung out every week at Fred's house. She'd hang out with us and she was a lot prettier than Fred.

Friday nights I would go over or they'd come over, and we'd watch the weekend horror show on TV together until nearly midnight. On this Friday evening our high school was putting on a production of West Side Story. We went with other dates. I took Marjorie and she went with Mike.

At intermission, Laila and I met up at the concession stand in the lobby and innocently arranged to rendezvous after the show for our usual Friday night routine. She had Mike drop her off at my house. Fred didn't make it that night. So it was just the two of us.

We watched The Blob with Steve McQueen--an extraterrestrial blob of carnivorous protoplasm lands on earth, terrorizes a town and a group of rowdy teenagers. The teens end up trapped in one of those small-town silver airstream diners and the blob completely envelops it like a giant green jelly bean. I think they blasted their way out with fire extinguishers--the secret weapon was cold.

I don't really remember too many of the details. But it got warmer in our family room. When things get scary, you naturally want to grab somebody. I got up enough courage to finally kiss her. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I pretty much decided right there and then to marry her. Where was I going to find someone else who could kiss like that? Five years later on June 21 we tied the knot. And sealed it with a kiss..
In June we will celebrate our 37th anniversary.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Loving Creatively--Bill and Lois Cooper--married 55 years


In 1978 while living in Anchorage Alaska, I started working again when our youngest son, Jerry, was a senior in high school. I had enjoyed being a stay at home mom and wife all those years. When I started working at the Anchorage Daily News, I was learning a new job and it was stressful.

About that time, the Sheraton Hotel was opening downtown. They had a beautiful jade staircase going to the 2nd floor that friends were talking about. Since we often took "drives" to check out the town, Bill suggested we drive by the new Sheraton one Saturday afternoon to take a look. So, we toured the new hotel and climbed the beautiful new jade staircase and checked out the new first floor cafe'.

Bill said, "Hey, let's check and see if they have any rooms for the night." I said, "NO! We haven't any luggage. They will get the wrong idea." "Ahhh, Honey, let's just go see", and he dragged me to the front desk and talked to the clerk with me hanging behind.

"Yes, I have a room for you. Do you have any luggage?"  "Yes," Bill responded as I stood there with my mouth open in surprise. Bill had made reservations for a "special" he had seen advertised to get people interested in the new hotel. "One night with dinner and breakfast in bed the next morning."

What a shock and wonderful surprise! Bill had had the boys run into the bathroom and put everything they thought I might need for an overnight into a paper bag and bring it to the car. He had packed a small suitcase for us and put it in the trunk. Needless to say, it was wonderful and relaxing! What a loving creative husband! This is one example of many lovely times in our 55 years of marriage!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Found Love By Missing the Bus--Curt and Nancy McClusky





While I was living in Europe, I went to England for the first week of Christmas vacation. I returned exhausted and slept through my alarm the next morning. I woke up too late to make it to the bus for the church ski trip to Austria. I drove to the bus stop to find my friends gone. Now what do I do?

The pastor at the base chapel told me the ski group had gone to Worgl. That's all he knew. I had already paid for the trip so I had nothing to lose. I looked up Worgl on the map and got in my little Fiat with no radio and started the long drive. I arrived in Worgl the next morning after a night in a hotel. I asked someone at the hotel desk if they knew where the Tyrolian Tours would be staying. They told me where I might possibly find them. Sure enough. That's where I found them waiting for rides to the slopes. What a relief!

My little car became useful. Since there was not enough transportation for the group, I ended up driving daily to the slopes for skiing. I met HIM there and gave him regular rides. We had fun on the slopes and at dinners as well. We then made the long drive back to Zweibrucken in the Fiat together. I was happy that he would ride back with me. We had a lot in common in our beliefs and views. He was stationed in the Air Force where I was teaching. The rest is history. Now we have been married for 38 happy years.

Curt knew my name well because the tour guides on the bus kept calling out my name to see if I had arrived at the bus before they actually left without me. "Is Nancy Reed here? Nancy Reed? Nancy Reed?"  Without that oversleeping and no Fiat in Worgl, would we have met and fallen in love?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Increase the Odds for Good Relationship


Learning to understand and love another person unconditionally is one of the challenges and joys of life. When I read in "People Magazine" about couples who believe they have found their soul mate only to see the relationship disintegrate in a few years, it makes me sad. The concept of "tending the garden" eludes them.

Early in most relationships people tend to feel less important to each other. If they talk to their partner about it, they may complain. That sets up a conflicted communication system of blame and defense which makes the problem worse.

When you feel less important to your partner, begin the dialogue with a positive statement. "I enjoy being with you. When you come home late from work, I feel lonely. I wish we could spend more time together." The partner might respond defensively, "I can't help it. You don't want me to lose my job, do you?" Then you can say, "What  can we do to spend more time together?"

Awareness of prioritizing time together is essential to the growth of love in relationship.

Will Divorced Baby Boomers Remarry?


In the past 75 percent of people who divorced remarried. It will be interesting to see if this new phenomena of "gray divorce" will change that figure. When a marriage fails, people tend to believe that what they have learned from the first marriage will help them avoid making mistakes in the next marriage.

The second time you probably will not choose a partner with the same weaknesses and strengths, but your new mate may have the opposite weaknesses. You will still have to learn how to focus on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. It boils down to learning how to live with another person in a way that will maximize both partners' strengths and minimize weaknesses. Then you have twice as many strengths together plus the fun and joy of blending your souls.

Is it possible that some people who leave long time marriages have decided it is better to be single?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jim and Florine Rae--Married 51 Years


Jim and Florine honeymooned at the Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley, a ritzy desert resort that charged $25 a day. That included three meals a day in their fancy dining room. A geologist friend advised them to be sure and visit Titus Canyon at sunset. They found the narrow road through Titus Canyon wound through sheer l00 foot rock walls .

"Our 59 Chevy sedan slowly navigated the dry creek bed, but not until sunset had long passed and darkness enveloped us. God was with us on this trip and we even found our way back to the Inn as the dining room was about to close."

During the summer of 1961 East Germany built the Berlin Wall and Jim was recalled to active duty with his naval aviation squadron which ended up cutting his income in half. Florine went to work as a nurse at Laguna Hospital in San Francisco to make ends meet. Their love and commitment to each other and their mutual faith in God enabled them to get through that difficult first year of marriage.

Disagreements have come up, of course. "We have found the best way to resolve them is to let Jim have the last word as long as it is, 'Whatever you say, Dear'. "In other words," laughs Jim, "we have learned that the key to an enduring marriage is for each partner to compromise."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Love Makes Jack and Ginny's Marriage Last


"Mom, we have to sit down and talk about Dad's and your marriage." declared our 17 year old son who had just completed a semester course in sociology in high school. He began enumerating all the reasons this 19 year marriage, at that time, would not survive. He counted off that I had been raised in the city and his Dad on a farm. Jack loved sports (he would watch grass grow if it were competitive) and I was a symphony and drama person. Even our jobs were at odds. Jack, a district office director of P.E., recreation, and outdoor education and I was a high school counselor, The BIGGIE was that I had been 16 and Jack 18 when we married. "There just is not hope," he explained, "that our marriage will work."

What our son and his sociology teacher had left out of the equation was the things in our favor far out-weighed the negatives. Our parents had deep abiding love of God and attended church regularly and demonstrated loving marriages. They also had instilled in us faith. Both of us, even at that young age, knew our Lord and Savior. Of course, there are times, even after 63 years, that we sometimes wonder if this teen marriage will last.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sharing Love Stories




This week we begin sharing love stories from people who have long term relationships. I will begin with the love story I know best, my own.

Everett and I met in spite of a million-to-one chance of that happening. In the spring of 1953 my girl friend and I mailed our contracts for teaching jobs in San Diego just before a midnight deadline. Neither of us had been to San Diego, so we saw it as an adventure. During our year there Everett's cousin, a Marine we met at church, introduced Everett to us when his ship docked in San Diego. I was already engaged to an Air Force guy who was in Korea.

I grew up in a California parsonage with loving authoritative parents who micromanaged me. I had one brother 16 months older than me. Everett grew up with 4 brothers and 2 sisters in Nebraska with older parents who struggled to survive the depression. His parents did very little parenting. Everett signed his own report cards. Church governed every facet of my family life. Everett's family seldom attended church.

The differences gave us lots of opportunities to learn from and about each other. Learning to become soul mates has been a life long process. Our love has been a great ride going on almost 57 years. I wrote a book, "Becoming Soul Mates--How to Create the Relationship You Always Dreamed Of" to help others learn how to become soul mates, too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Which Relationship Skills Do You Use?




Relationship skills may come more naturally to some people than to others. Hopefully, children born to loving parents and family learn those skills from family modeling and teaching. Learning continues throughout our lifetimes. We don't run out of challenges as we meet new people through all stages of life. People who do not have the advantage of loving families will struggle harder to make a transition from victim survival skills to positive power skills.

Which relationship skills do you have? Do you use survivor skills to get what you want in relationship? Do you relate from a victim identity--helpless, hurt, defensive, put upon, always right but never understood? Or do you relate from a healthy sense of self--open to learning, owning your actions and feelings, eager to understand more about yourself and others?

To have a soul mate relationship, you must learn to move from blame and having to be right to accepting yourself, differences in others, and an eagerness to listen and learn,. That takes time especially if your survival has depended on strong survival skills.

Deep satisfying love comes in all forms. You can have a "soul mate" relationship with God, mate, friends, but it isn't magic or a lucky discovery. You create it by learning respect, acceptance, and letting go of fear of intimacy.

I hope to share some stories of love of all kinds in coming blogs. Send me your stories and if they fit I will share them.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Love, Dying and Organ Transplants


What does relationship have to do with love, dying, and organ transplants? This powerful Facebook post from our daughter who is in the end stages of PSC, a liver duct disease, illustrates the importance of loving relationships at times of crisis. I shortened it a little:

Hello everyone! Enough cannot be said about the power of love and prayer! As many of you know, I'm not afraid to die. It's just that there's so much to live for. It's a very strange sensation to wake up where you didn't expect to be and be told that, instead of day 4, this was actually day 11....and then to see the faces of such dear loved ones that I don't see in that setting or don't even usually see that time of the year.

Many of you asked questions about being a living donor and several even made the phone call to UCSF. We, all my family and I, thought that I would probably be kept there until after I get a new liver but things are often not what we expect. I'm now in a new phase, however, that includes trying to recover from what just happened and, although not really possible, trying to minimize the risk of it happening again. I'm also not allowed to be left at home alone, which is especially hard to wrap my mind around. I was alone when I started vomiting blood and I managed to call 911.

A lot of you know I have had four people go through the donor evaluation process. I don't know what the final chapter to all this will be, but I do know that I'm becoming bonded to many heroes! It's quite an overwhelming feeling!

Please know my faith is strong as I hope yours is. Yet, I also know that community is an essential part of wholeness and survival. I don't know what I'd do without each of you! I pray that I will be allowed the privilege of giving back some day soon.

I love you all so much!
Janee'
                        Janee' skydives on her 50th birthday!



Monday, February 20, 2012

Couples and Crisis


Crisis can put tremendous pressure on relationship. Sleep deprivation, fear, poor eating, lack of exercise all combine to make decision making difficult and patience short. For the past two weeks our family has experienced this kind of stress as we watch our daughter struggle to hang on until she can get a liver transplant.

What to do? If you have developed good relationships in the family, you will be able to talk about your feelings. You will find strength in connecting to other family members who are experiencing the same feelings you are. You can share how you are dealing with that. Men and boys tend to handle feelings differently than women and girls, but they do have the same feelings.

Couples need to remind each other that more than ever they must be aware of their tone of voice. Talk about how you plan to manage impatience and angry feelings. Hug and comfort each other and above all talk respectfully to your mate. What a blessing it is to be able to support one another even when you feel absolutely helpless.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day the Day of Love


Today is Valentine's Day, but today our family is gathered around our dear daughter, Janee', who has been struggling for years with a liver duct disease called Primary Sclerosing Colingitis. She badly needs a liver. In this case living donors can give a part of their liver which in my mind is the ultimate gift of love. So far, we have had 5 loving people volunteer. For one reason or another none of them has worked out. In the meantime Janee' s disease progresses and we worry about running out of time.

Janee' s room in ICU is gathering valentines. I know she feels the love of so many friends and of her family. She remains upbeat and hopeful, but it is hard to deal with the pain. She stays in touch with what her body needs. If strength of will is the most important answer to cure, she will certainly get through this. She has hundreds of people praying for her.

When you take time to prioritize your family, you will have what Janee' has--a warm blanket of love wrapping you up in shared hope of healing and support. Soul mate relationships do not belong exclusively to couples. Soul mates come to important relationships when love is given high priority.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Can Rivers Be a Part of Gender War


Because we have been discussing Gender War recently, a San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article titled, "Even Rivers Wander Through Gender Wars" caught my eye. According to Maine freelance writer, Susan Farlow, Germany's Rhine River is generally considered a male river. It branches off into the Moselle, a female river.

The Rhine, a powerful river with swift currents, got its name from the Celtic word "renos", meaning raging flow. The Moselle has been considered feminine at least since the fourth century. It flows slowly through the town of Koblenz and winds through hillsides covered with vineyards.

In the United States we don't have to determine our rivers' gender. Unlike German, French, or Spanish, the English language has no masculine or feminine articles so nouns are neutral. Interestingly, on today's noon news there was a story about the big uproar over the Lego company's new legos designed for little girls. It has girlie figures who are designed to be played with in a domestic lego setting. Apparently, the legos marketed to boys are designed to build things.

In my limited world of sand-play therapy, I found girls often chose figures to make sand trays of gardens, imaginary beautiful places, treasure, homes for cute tame animals. Boys, on the other hand, usually chose action figures or fierce animals and waged battles. If they put treasure in their sand pictures their sand figures fought over it. Their sand tray stories sounded very different than the girls'.
The girls' stories might show conflict but the resolution was peace and safety. Boys often ended with blow-ups and destruction.

My limited access to children's play may not be worth much, but it makes me wonder if gender war comes naturally and each side needs to understand the differences in a way to make them assets instead of liabilities.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Has God to Do with Gender War


A recent Facebook discussion about women's place in marriage, leadership, and religion struck me as extremely relevant to our subject, Gender War. Jesus was born into a strong patriarchal culture and yet in his three years of ministry he did wonders in setting women free without distracting people from his message of redemption. That was huge.

Women who believe the Bible must be interpreted literally sometimes struggle with accepting their own God given leadership talents. Men who insist on control miss the joy and maturity of learning from women's wisdom and special gifts. For those people I highly recommend Patricia Gundry's book, "Women Be Free--The Clear Message of Scripture". Years ago when my first book, "How to Keep the Family That Prays Together from Falling Apart" was published, I could hardly wait for my pastor to read it. He never did. His wife read my books. President Carter's brother was quoted as saying, "I never read a book written by a woman." What a shame!

In my counseling practice I have seen terrible "Christian" and "Muslim" marriages in which dominance has become abusive. I am absolutely convinced that soul mate relationship can never be achieved in a relationship where partners need to control each other. I love the advice given by long time soul mates, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder. Their advice to having a great marriage is to learn each other's rhythms and how to read them (see past post). The Lauders agreed they were hardly ever on the same emotional wave length, but they were smart in taking turns between willfulness and acquiescence.

Most of us believe that God is neither male or female. He is Spirit beyond anything we can comprehend. We use the male "he" because we have no pronoun to describe God. Hopefully, we come to know God better through a soul mate who loves and accepts us for who we are and not because of what we do or do not do. GOD IS Love!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine's Day Gift


Don't forget. Valentine's Day is just 15 days away. A perfect gift would be a book about love you can share together, maybe two pages at a time. The Search for Intimacy, the title of the first chapter of Becoming Soul Mates defines intimacy, tells you what keeps people apart, identifies barriers, challenges you to risk, and then describes the rich rewards as your relationship evolves into a soul mate relationship. Click on our website to find more information.

If not this book, here are more excellent relationship books. The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall; All-in-One Marriage Prep compiled by Susanne M. Alexander; The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.; Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald G. Jampolsky,M.D.; Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson; What About Me by Dr. Jane Greer; To Understand Each Other by Dr. Paul Tournier. Reading a book together, two pages at a time can help you create valuable talking and listening skills as well as learning more about each other.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Men, Women, and Money


I heard a financial adviser say, "Women should start setting aside money for retirement when they are in their teens and have their first job. She continued, "Not only do women live longer than men, they must realize they can no longer count on their marriages lasting 40 or 50 years like women in the past."

I found that interesting. Should women go into marriage believing it may only be temporary? Are men more astute and better money managers? Is it still possible for a woman to meet a man who is willing to work at being a lifetime partner? If a woman loses her mate through death or divorce, is she less able to take care of herself than a man is?

Interesting questions. Both men and women need to be frugal and wise with their money, but men are no longer the sole provider. Nothing is a bigger trigger of conflict in gender war than the management of money and roles.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"The Neutering of the American Male"


The book "The Neutering of the American Male" makes this suggestion. "In a journal or tablet write your thoughts, views and beliefs on masculinity and femininity as you understand them at this moment and from where/who did you get these beliefs." The purpose of such an exercise is to identify and clarify your own thoughts and beliefs.

My husband and I like to watch old movies. Movies from the 40's and 50's show how drastically beliefs and expectations about gender can change in a relatively short time. No matter how much couples love each other sex is forbidden until after they marry. Some movies focus on the conflict desperate lovers have trying to find a minister or judge who can marry them. The husband is the authority figure, much like a father to a loved child. The wife may even adopt childlike behavior to please him. In some movies the man will turn his naughty wife over his knee and spank her. Most viewers in those days seemed to see nothing wrong with that.

In working with couples for more than 30 years, I found that for a marriage to evolve into a soul mate relationship it must be adult to adult. No parent child relationship can be satisfying for lovers.

As a young man, author Jim Wysong, struggled to understand himself and what it means to be masculine. He shares what he has learned during the last thirty years. To have successful long-term relationships you must be open to learning and understanding yourself and your lover. This book is another resource that may help you do that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gender War -- 2


Currently, a debate in the state of California revolves around which sex is more needy. Today's Sacramento Bee editorial discussed Governor Brown's proposal to eliminate the California Commission on the Status of Women.  The Bee's position seems to be that while there is official concern about the status of women, the status of men in this state needs attention as well. "After all," the editorial says, "men in California are more likely to be victims of violent crime--and perpetrators of it--than women. They are more likely to be in prison or homeless or to commit suicide. Men are also less likely to graduate high school or go to college." And they die at younger ages.

In the same newspaper an article headlined "Assaults, obstacles still stymie Egyptian women" described horrendous assaults on Egyptian women. This gender war has been going on for thousands of years.

Until you open up to learning and understanding the opposite sex, you have little chance of becoming soul mates. A man can never know what it is like to be a woman unless he learns to know and understand the woman he loves. A woman can never know what it is like to be a man unless she learns to know and understand the man she loves. The challenge adds to the excitement of a long term relationship.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gender War


From the beginning of time the differences between men and women have created conflict, misunderstanding, power struggle and even gender war. Over the next few weeks we will talk about how these perceived differences have created obstacles in the struggle to understand and accept differences as assets on our road to soul mate relationship.

For example, instead of learning one's style of communication and how to communicate effectively, some people justify failure by generalizing about gender.
-----------------All women are bitches
-----------------Who could ever understand a woman
-----------------Men never talk about feelings
-----------------Women expect you to know how they're feeling
-----------------You can never trust a man
-----------------Women cry about anything
-----------------Women don't understand what it is like to be a man
-----------------Men are insensitive and crude
-----------------Women take you for everything you've got
-----------------Men use women/Women use men
-----------------You can never please a woman
-----------------Women are never satisfied

Can you add to this list? I welcome any comments or observations you would like to share on this subject. Look forward to more about gender war!

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