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This book has been on my list for quite some time.  I guess I am finishing up this year and this blog with the wonderment of a child!  I kinda like it!

This is the 3rd book of Wayne Dyer’s that I am blogging about, and I have YET to read one he wrote for adults!  Too funny!

Who wouldn’t want their child to feel unstoppable..like the sky’s the limit?  This book gives “10 ways to soar through life”.  I love the rhyming and the rhythm in this book.  The pictures are beautiful and bright.  It’s just a fun book to read.  And at the end of this book are little discussion questions to ask your child (or maybe even for YOU) to think about.

One of my favorite quotes in this book is “Take a breath and slow it down a hair; it’s not just the goal that brings you joy–it’s the path you take to get there.”  It reminded me of this journey and this blog.  I had no idea what the journey would be like, but I did have a very specific goal: 52 books in 52 weeks.  Of course, I assumed, they would be grown up books with grown up messages.  In my intellectual mind, I figured they would be deep and profound and oh so very serious!  And yet, here I am finishing this journey with 4 children’s books all with very deep and profound messages, but with a FUN flair!  If there’s one thing I have learned this year it has been to let go and in joy NOW!

So what are the 10 ways to soar through life?????  I guess I will share that secret with you, but you really should pick up the book and read it for yourself….since I won’t be sharing with you all the fun stuff that comes along with it!

1) You’re Great–No Matter What!

2) Persistence Pays Off!

3) Welcome the Unknown

4) You Have a Choice

5) Farewell to Worry

6) Peace Begins with You

7) Enjoy the Here-and-Now

8 ) Healthy Me!

9) Creativity is the Key!

10) What can you Give?

There you have it..now rush out to the store and pick up your own personal copy and give yourself a warm hug and smile!

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“We all have a spiritual purpose, a mission, that we have been pursuing without being fully aware of it, and once we bring it completely into consciousness, our lives can  take off.”  This sentence found in the last 3rd of the book just about sums it all up for me.  We have a spiritual purpose for this life.  I know I do. I know I was called to, or whatever you want to call it, at a very young age.  I know that I have spent my entire life “chasing it” trying to figure out “where to go from here”…”what I want to be when I grow up”.  I know that I have spent a great deal of my life trying to “control” it instead of letting it flow to me.  Living in the flow, instead of forcing the issue.  That is the only way to have it come to me.  But I guess I wasn’t exactly ready for it, that is, until this year.  Not until doing this 52 books in 52 weeks project.

This book has been on my “to read list” for YEARS!  I have seen the movie, but never got around to reading it.  As a matter of fact, it was on my list to read this year way early on in the year, but it has taken me to number 48 at week number 52 to actually get it read.  But ya know what?  It came at the perfect time!

This book reinforces much of what I believe spiritually.  It talks about energy, personal conflicts and why we have them, about coincidences and how we pay attention to them we realize they are not coincidences rather our intuition talking to us!  The idea (in this book) is that there are 9 insights left to us by the Mayans, and these 9 insights show us the way to evolve and become more spiritually connected and in tune people.  The insights give us a better way to live..a better way to understand what the Christ was teaching us through is life…..  It is so beautiful!

Like usual, I underlined and dog-eared every other page.  This book was that profound.  However, like the story itself, I think I will let you discover the insights on your own..the way you are lead to them.  That is the only way you will truly understand them.

I will tell you to pay attention to “coincidences” in your life.  For example, let’s take a look at how I became employed at Bogus Basin as a cashier in the Simplot Lodge.    I did NOT want to work in the Simplot Lodge. It is the busiest lodge and can get quite messy.  It has been my perception that it can be very loud with lots of screaming teens and children.  In the past I have been very sensitive to that many people.  It did not sound enjoyable to me.  Then as my son Nate was trying to apply for a buser’s job on-line for Simplot Lodge, I was trying to help him and accidentally clicked on it and applied for MYSELF for a busser in the Simplot Lodge.  A busser!!!!  So totally NOT what I wanted.  I tried and tried and tried very unsuccessfully to remove this from my on-line jobs profile for Bogus. Even though the button said “unclick” or whatever, it would not allow me to remove it.  Ah well.  Then, I got the call from the Simplot Manager wanting me to interview for THAT position.  I told the manager (Gary) that it was an accident and I didn’t want the job.  Instead, he asked me to come in any way just to start the process.  I agreed.  I got called for the interview, Nate did not.  I felt horrible.  I was getting a job, that I didn’t even want, and Nate wasn’t even getting called at all.

I went to the interview; as we talked the subject of Nate came up.  Gary wrote down his name and said he would call him.  He did.  Nate went to the interview and said that if I had not gotten called first, he didn’t think he would have ever gotten called.  Yay!  Then I got the job offer, and so did Nate.  I took the offer, but still hoped the other 5 jobs I applied for would come through.  I only got interviewed for ONE of the other jobs.  I didn’t get that job.  Instead I ended up with a cashier’s job in Simplot Lodge (even though I applied for busser, Gary said he wanted me as Cashier).

It turns out, it is PERFECT!!!!!!  I LOVE  my job, and miss it when I’m not there!  I love the people I work with.  I love the guests I get to serve. I love everything about it.

Great…so that is one coincidence.  It is ONE example of how following the coincidences all the way through will lead  you to wear you need to be and maybe  even help other people at the same time.  So what is my next step in following these coincidences?  On our first work newsletter there was a section about taking your own professional growth into your hands.  If there is someone at work who has the qualities or experiences you would like to learn from, then talk to them.  Well, Bogus is a non-profit recreational facility.  In my job, I get to see all the ‘big wigs” who run the mountain and talk to them on a daily basis.  My next step is getting to know them better and make a date to have lunch or dinner with them and see if I can learn how to go about getting my non-profit recreational facility (roller rink) up and running!

This is what The Celestine Prophecy talks about… one of my favorite quotes says:  “The universe is energy, energy that responds to our expectations.  People are part of that energy universe too, so when we have a question, the people show up who have the answer.”   I have followed the energy to the right place for the universe to provide me with the people I think will be able to help me!  I ask the questions, and the universe gave me the answers!

Here is another great quote.  Beside it, I wrote, “My work!”.  During this part of the book, the main character describes a dream he was having about being in this raging river and if he fights the river it would drown him, but if he didn’t fight against it…”It woudl have carried me to the key.  What are you saying?  That if i don’t fight against this situation that I  might still get the answers I want?”  His friend replied, “I’m not saying anything.  The dream is saying.”

Why do we fight against what is right, even when at first glance it looks wrong.  If we stop trying to control our lives and live in the flow and be OPEN to what the universe is sharing with us, we will wind up right where we are supposed to be and life will be bliss!  When we are filled with energy and living in the flow, all of our questions will be answered and we would feel like a fish out of water trying to gasp for our next breath!  It’s beautiful!

I will leave you with one more great quote that sums up not only this book and the lessons learned from it, but also my year…..

“I guess I’ve woken up and seen the world as a mysterious place that provides everything we need, if we get clear and get on the path.”

Blessings!

Little book….Powerful read!

At the very beginning of the year, one of my friends asked a question on Facebook about the books people were reading.  One of his friends said she had read this book and it was awesome.  So I immediately put it on my list.  I had no idea what it was about, and when I went to go look for it in the book store, I found it in the business section.  Another business book?  Okay….I’ll bite!

The Go-Giver is not your ordinary dried up business how-to book.  To me, it was more like reading Dan Millman’s “Way of the Peaceful Warrior”, but for business.  You get to follow Joe on his search for success where he winds up with this teacher who, over a weeks time, introduces Joe to different people who share with him The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.  It was such a fun book to read!  As a matter of fact, it was so awesome, that I bought it for christmas presents for several people!  I just had to share this gem!

There were a couple of times in this book where I found myself crying from pure happiness.  I found what I have always believed right here between two covers of a book!  I have always been passionate about customer service, and that is what this book is all about.  But it’s so much more than that!  What you learn in this book reaches far beyond business; you can apply these lessons to your personal relationships!  It has certainly given me a refresher on my enthusiasm for service..especially since I have a new job as a cashier in the busiest lodge on Bogus Basin.

During our orientation for Bogus they talked about how we must anticipate our guests needs and smile and give them the best service.  Of course, I took that to heart.  I always do…remember, I’m passionate about customer service.  But this book took it even further.  Even though I’m “just a cashier” and taking money for things the guests have already decided they want, what more do I have to “sell” them?  Well, it’s my job to sell them on the best Bogus experience they can have…..whether its smiling from my register, making sure the dining room is clean, helping a mom with a screaming child, or just greeting them as they walk in.  It’s my job to provide them with the best and friendliest experience possible.  Will I ever see a monetary return for that?  Probably not.  I get paid what I get paid.  Sometimes someone will leave me their “change” for a tip.  Sometimes someone will actually give me a tip..just for ringing up their food.  But all in all, we don’t get /take tips and I don’t get commission.  So where is the incentive?  The incentive is in seeing their smiles and in knowing that I had some part in their fun time at Bogus.  I love that stuff!  And that is exactly what this book is about!

I also found some encouragement in this book…..to reach for my dreams and my goals.  If I follow these steps (just doing what I already do), then taking the steps to reach my goals and my dreams should be easy..or at least a bit easier. *laugh*  I feel like I am in the right place..both physically and intellectually.  I couldn’t have read this book at the beginning of the year and gotten as much out of it as I did now…everything happens perfectly.  Wow…this whole 52 in 52 journey has been mind-blowing and perfect!  This is no different!

As far as I am concerned, this book is so easy and enjoyable to read, it is a MUST READ for everyone high school age and up!!!!  Doesn’t make a difference if you are in sells, marketing, customer service, or a stay at home  mom….pick up the book and read it!!!!  You will get so much out of it!

So there I was, walking through the book store  making a bee line to the children’s section when I saw this cute little puppy dog on the cover of a  book and it was on sale for $4.98.  Add that to my to my favorite word ever, “Bliss”, it was a MUST HAVE!!!!!

I was once told that the quickest way to feel happiness is to play with a pet.  I wasn’t sure if that was true or not.  I have never been a big animal person.  I have always had pets, but I have never really been attached to them so I really didn’t understand this.  Until I was really sad and my cat came up to me to love me and make me feel better.  Then my dog would ask me to play and I would laugh so hard at him.  And I fell in love with my animals.  They have taught me some big lessons.  So it was fun picking up this book and learning some lessons on happiness from Trixie the dog.

I also have to say that it was fun reading a book by Dean Koontz that was on the “light and fluffy” side :).

This book was written from Trixie’s point of view, and was a little odd to read at first.  But as soon as I fell into the rhythm of the writing, it all began to make sense, and I really enjoyed the book.

According to Trixie, “the road to bliss is paved with dog wisdom.” And there are 8 steps.  I will not tell you what those steps are; that is for you to read and find out!  But here are some lessons I learned while reading Trixie’s thoughts:

1) Sit still and be quiet.  Meditation is good.

2)  The rising moon at the bottom of a finger nail is beautiful.  I  never really noticed this before!

3) Life without a cookie is unthinkable!

4) “Pleasure without beauty is just empty thrill”…kinda like Sex without love…..hmmm….same thing, yes?

5) “The world is a gift to  make you happy.”

6) “Here is what real meaning is like.  Maybe you’re meant to give kindness to one special child.  Child grows up, is healer or wise leader.  then your purpose was as big as any king’s, maybe bigger.”  Being a stay at home mom….priceless and so very important!

7) “It is what it is.”  “No Kidding.  if it isn’t what it is, then what would it be?  And if it is what it isn’t, what the hell is going on here?”

8)  “Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation.” ~ St. Francis

9)  If I want to remain young, I must play and laugh more!

10) Grief is cleansing.

Bonus reminder:  Be grateful!!!!!!!!

This book is filled with such heart warming and profound wisdom..straight from the dog’s mouth!  You will laugh and maybe even cry while reading this book.  One thing is for certain, you will smile!!!!!

I bought this book when it first came out (some time at the beginning of the year).  A group of my Facebook friends were going to take the class that was offered via Oprah I believe, and I was going to do it with them.  Ya.  I bought the book, but I never made it to the classes, and I didn’t read the book until now.  And as with everything else in life, there is a timing for everything and I truly believe I needed to have a few more experiences before reading the book.  It is perfect for right now!  Exactly what I need at the exactly the right time.

This book intrigued me.  As a trained storyteller, I learned a great deal about “the shadow” as it pertains to archetypes in storytelling and how to use storytelling in healing the psyche.  This book seemed like a natural fit into my life and what I have already learned; it seemed like it would be a natural extension.

C.G. Jung tells us that our shadow is the person we would rather not be.  Marianne Williamson says, “We feel if we take a deep look at ourselves, we’ll be too exposed.   We don’t want to look at our own shadow, because we’re afraid of what we might see.  But the only thing we should actually fear is not looking at it, for our denial of the shadow is exactly what fuels it.”

Debbie Ford asks the reader, “Are you ready to embark on this journey of reclaiming all of yourself, the light and the dark, your good self and your evil twin?  Are you ready to return to the love of your true, total, authentic self rather than stay trapped in the judgmental angst of a disjointed human ego?”  If so, “Your job is to learn from the shadow, to integrate it, and allow it to evolved your thinking and expand the boundaries of your self-created persona.  Your challenge is to find its value and to bring the light of forgiveness and compassion so that you can defuse its ability to dismantle your life.  Your job is to bring its complex characters out from the shadow, and to use their power and potency as sacred fuel to become who you were meant to be in this lifetime.”

Wow!  That is a pretty big challenge.  There is a reason it is called “the shadow”.  It can be a bit scary to take an honest look at what we are feeling and why.  Isn’t it easier to sit in judgment and blame someone else than to take 100% responsibility for our own thoughts and actions?  Ya, I think so too!  But I have realized in recent days,  months, years that I need to take 100% accountability for everything that happened or continues to happen in my life.   Whether it’s the abuse I endured as a child, the issues in  my marriage, or what I perceive to be happening within the roller derby league I was practicing with.  This book reiterates what I already believe and that is that “thoughts are things” and we create our own world based on our thoughts.  When I think, “Well they don’t like me and are ignoring me and leaving me out because they don’t like  me” then it sets that “wish” into motion and sure enough I get more of what I perceived to be true.  This just shows  me that I am feeling separate from others….separate from my self…separate from God/Love.  Where there is separation, there is fear.  Where there is fear, there is the shadow.  Where there is shadow, there is dis-ease, pain, sadness.

There are so many great thoughts in this book that really helped me look at things in different ways.  If you are struggling with addictions of any kind, fear of any kind, lack of success…if you feel as though something is holding you back, then pick up this book and give it a good read.  At the end of the book there is a test to see how the Shadow Effect is playing out in your life.  I am happy to say that the shadow is not controlling me completely, and yet there is room for growth :).  My eyes are opened now, and that is a good thing.

I will close this entry with this last statement from Marianne Williamson:

“Ultimately, the healing of the world will emerge not from our changing and correcting others, but from our willingness to change and correct ourselves.  Since all minds are joined, our ability to self-correct has a corrective influence on the entire universe.”

Blessings!

“Though I didn’t know it, I was in a dangerous place now.  Having determined that this world was the only one I had–or would ever have–here I was, in conscious mistrust of its core.  And on the other hand, it had been confirmed that the outside world, the one that I had been trying to escape into since I could walk, was not my home either.  I was a misfit in both places.  The only true home I had was inside the notes of music, inside the all-consuming world of white ivory keys and their black flat and sharp companions.”………….

The passage above comes early in this book, thoughts from a 14-year-old Adelaide.  Being raised in an  ultra-conservative home where a girl/woman’s hair was a glory to God, where dancing was not allowed, public bathing (swimming) was not allowed, as well as so many other “thou shalt nots” (as I call them).  From such an early age she wanted to run away and explore, calling herself a gypsy; yet she was stuck in a home with an overbearing mother and father who was emotionally absent most of the time. What she knew to be HER truth and what she was being raised with conflicted on a daily basis, and she found solace and place of “belonging” in her music.  I too shared this kind of confusion in my childhood faith and struggle in my home and solace in my music…..  this was just many of the similarities between Addie and I that I found between the covers of this book!

This book is such a beautiful and heart-warming journey “Walking From Religion to Spirit” (as the cover of the book says).  Isn’t this what this blog is all about?  Well kind of anyway, right?  I, too, was raised in a conservative Christian home.  Though admittedly I was allowed to wear what I want, dance, swim and certainly didn’t have any rules in my house.  The only rules in MY house were that you were to be a God-fearing, tongues speaking, baptised Christian.  Scratch that, these rules weren’t the rules of my house, but they were certainly the rules for ME.  My brothers didn’t have to live by these same rules.  I’m not sure why, but as I read this book and even typed that last sentenced, it dawned on me that possibly the reason that I was the ONLY child out of 4 that was supposed to live by these rules is because I was closest to my mother and I was expected to be a shining light for her.  (Mother daughter issues…….this book is filled with them!)

Anyway, back to the book.  I LOVED it!  I love the history behind the words.  I love the visuals created by the words.  Every time I turned a page, I felt like Addie could have been telling my own story from Religion to Spirit.  I even learned a bit bout my own father and the way he must have been raised (though Addie is nearly 20  years older than my dad would have been today).  More than just her spiritual journey, there are a plethora of insights into being what I call a “sacrificial mom” (or even wife)…of being that care taker.  I found myself self saying out loud…”Hey, Addie!  That is what I am dealing with right now!!!!  Thank you!!!”

All the way through I kept thinking how incredibly blessed I am to have Addie as a member of my church.  This book was released on her 90th birthday…at my church.  Even though I have been attending this church since January, I had never met her until purchasing her book and having her sign it.  When I smiled and wished her a “Happy Birthday” I had no idea just how much this book would  mean to me and how it would touch my life!  Now all I can think about his how truly blessed I am to have such an amazing woman and possible friend in my church.  I can’t wait to send her a card and thank her personally!

Addie’s story is such a blessing and inspiration to all women out there searching for their spiritual path…for all moms out there who give so much to their families…for all the wives who just might  give too much of themselves to their husbands….to women who suddenly find themselves empty-nesters and wondering what the heck to do next!  For all the women out there who say, “I’m too old to do this…..”  you should read this book!

Have you heard the saying, “the only thing constant in life is change”?  Addie’s book is a perfect reminder of that.   As a matter of fact, one of my favorite quotes in the book says, “For me, the status quo, however appealing, never shone as brightly as the radiance of change.”  You get to follow her journey as she moves from parsonage (the home of a pastor) to parsonage and finally to her own homes.  You get to follow her journey that starts in New York and ends in Idaho and takes you places in between.  You get to cry at the unfairness of abuse, face fear in the face of disease, revel in the feeling of first love, feel the darkness of depression and the climb back out to light.  You get to sit with Addie at the bedside of her loved ones as she says goodbye, and you get to say goodbye too.  You get the thrill of not just becoming a mother..but of becoming a grandmother AND a great-grandmother!  This book is a fascinating and exciting read!

I find myself having a hard time sharing what I have learned from this book, but I will say that there are no coincidences in life…….and just as Addie mentions being led to our church (CSL) for a reason (this book), I feel as though I have been led to CSL for a reason…one of them being this book!

I will close with this thought.  Lately, I have been feeling “old”.  I’m only 41.  Yes, this is young.  I never felt old until I started in a sport where the women start retiring in their mid to late 30’s and I was just getting started!  Trying to get onto a Roller Derby team at the age of 41 seems kinda crazy.  And with my new schedule, I will be 42 by the time I can get drafted!  That is even crazier!  Then to add salt to the wound I was inflicting upon myself, I started to read a book on menopause.  The book is written by one of my favorite, entertaining local authors, but the idea of me going through menopause just made me feel even older!  I had to stop reading it.  The next book I picked up was this one, and towards the end of the book, there is this great quote from Addie reminding me that 41 is still very young!  “The new energy breathed into my home lifted my spirits and supported the feeling that, at the age of eighty-three, I was entering the best era of my life.”

Go, Addie, Go!!!!

I’m not gonna lie.  I am  not even sure how to write about this book.  I will tell you that a little over 40 days ago my husband and I had our yearly fight.  Yes, we have one a year and it’s always over the same thing…. his raging libido and my libido that just barely has a pulse.  This is a common argument among married couples so we aren’t alone.  Though in the throws of this argument, both of us feel quite alone.  I will also tell you that this particular subject (sex) is the ONLY subject that has ever brought  our marriage to its knees.

The argument is always the same…he wants more and I feel like I don’t get what I need outside of the bedroom.  No, I’m not telling stories outside of class.  This is just a truth of our lives, and I’m willing to bet its the truth for many marriages.  When a woman doesn’t feel like she is getting what she needs outside of the bedroom,  physical intimacy is just not what she wants to give to him.  Then it becomes a vicious cycle.  Doesn’t it?  I know you have been there!

So we have tried therapy…not much help and I won’t get into it.  Let’s just say Boise,Idaho,  is much too small of a place when it comes to finding good therapists.  Desperate for guidance and help, we decided we would try anything.  We rented the movie Fireproof….about making your marriage “fireproof”..surviving anything.  We knew it was a conservative Christian movie on  marriage, but we thought we would watch it anyway.  It ended up being more about “accepting Christ as your Savior” than it was about saving a marriage.  The movie  pretty much turned my husband (and myself) off.  So in hopes that the book it was based on (The Love Dare) was a bit different, I purchased the book and started the journey….  The Love Dare.

The Love Dare gives you 40 days of dares to follow in hopes of helping your marriage grow stronger.  All of it is based on traditional, conservative Christian values.  It has been featured on Focus on the Family.  If you are a fan of Focus on the Family and/or are a Christian with traditional marriage values then this book is for you!  It is full of traditional wisdom, advice and Bible verses!

I, on the other hand,  was skeptical at best when I started this book.  Let’s face it, I bought it for TRACY to read..not for me.  But he didn’t pick up the book for an entire week.  Instead, I picked it up and started taking on the Dares.  At first I was resentful.  I resented the fact that (in my perception) Tracy wasn’t doing any thing to make “us” better.  It was all me.  It was all of my fault and all of me trying to fix it.  It felt very one-sided.  But I kept going through the dares telling myself to “trust the process” (this becomes very important come about day 35..I’ll explain later).  Eventually, I started seeing some change in Tracy and the way he treated me.  This Love Dare stuff was working!  Yay!!!!  We started communicating better.  He started doing little things for me around the house.  My “love tank” (as mentioned in The 5 Love Languages which I read while doing the dare and have already blogged on) was filling up!  Yay!!!!

Then came days 19, 20 and 21!  This is where the book turns to a very Christian book…daring you to pray the prayer of repentance and accepting God into your heart.  Most of the days AFTER days 20 and 21 are focused not on the  marriage itself but on your personal relationship with Jesus and how this pertains to your marriage.  Even going as far as to say, “The truth is, you can’t live without Him (God) and you can’t love without Him.  But there is no telling what He could do in your  marriage if you put your trust in Him.”  So, unless I accept the Christian God, I can not give or receive true love?  My marriage won’t work?  I beg to differ!  I take a great exception to this!  There are millions of marriages that thrive and the spouses do not ascribe to the Christian belief!

With that said, I do believe there are some great points in this book.  And even in the pages I just mentioned, I found that as long as I translated what the book was saying into my own personal spiritual belief and trusted the process, it made a heck of a lot of sense.  In pages 19-21 it talks about asking Christ into your heart.  I do not believe God lives outside of me.  I believe that I am and always have been ONE/UNIFIED with God.  I believe God IS love and God IS perfect…and since I am ONE/UNIFIED with God (and so is my mate) then I have only to Recognize this and know this to be true..to remember this…and then I am UNIFIED with that same love that this book refers to.  And YES!  It helped me with my marriage :).

I loved the Dares in this book…especially in the beginning :).  They were great reminders of how I should show up in my marriage…patience, kindness, selflessness, thoughtful, and so much more!  After ever day (40 in total) of reading, you will receive a dare and then a place to reflect on that day’s dare.  I did learn a great deal about myself and it was totally worth the time and the days it took to do it.  I will continue with much of what I read in  mind.  Remember when I said I would talk about “trusting the process”?  Well here it is.  All the way through, I kept telling myself to let go of the completely Christian stuff that would normally turn  me off and just “trust the process”.  Well around day 35, I started week 7 of my seminary class, and the title of the workbook section for week 7 was “Trust the process of life”.  There are no coincidences in life!  I love how  my life works perfectly!  Being able to blend what I  learned in this book and what I know to be the truth about my spiritual beliefs was a fun challenge and very enlightening :).

Like I said, this book is conservative Christian and I totally believe it is the IT book on marriage for a Christian couple.  It is phenomenal.  I’m still look for the IT book on  marriage for those of us who are metaphysical and more spiritual.  My husband told me that  maybe I should write my own book…umm..ya..not going to happen.  Who would listen to me anyway?  *laugh*  Aside from the fact that we have been together for 27 years and with the exception of the once a year discussion we are incredibly  happy, why else would someone want to learn  marriage secrets from me?  However, I really wish someone would take The Love Dare and re-write it and re-word it from a Religious Science perspective :).  It might have been easy for me to re-think it while I was reading it, but I guarantee you, it would piss some other people off.  *laugh*  Which is a shame…because it really is a great marriage book :).

 

“What would happen if you discovered the primary love language of your spouse and chose to speak it consistently?”  This is the question Dr. Chapman raises in his book The 5 Love Languages.

I will be honest.  I heard about The 5 Love Languages (the book and the concept) several years ago.  At the time, I did not read the book.  I thought it was a bunch of….ummm….nonsense.  However, I did take the quiz.  My husband took the quiz.  My  kids took the quiz.  But we did nothing with it.

Maybe if we had done something with it, my husband and I would not go through the same cycle of disappointments that we go through every  year.  This year, that cycle hit us hard…harder than it ever has before.  We sought out a marriage counselor..thinking we (I) needed sex therapy.  (Maybe this is too personal to talk about on  my blog….but it’s the truth..and very vital in possibly helping someone who is struggling.)  Every year, my husband and I would “get into it” because he felt like he wasn’t getting enough sex.  I would take it personally and feel like I was being pressured into having sex.  With my history of sexual abuse, this did not go over so well.  But something has to give!  Something has to be changed if our marriage is to survive!  The fact is, we have been together for 27  years, and we love each other.  We do not want to separate and we want to make this work.  So we went to therapy..a sex therapist.  The only one in town, it seems.  But he was old…..VERY OLD.  So old, in fact, he couldn’t hear, couldn’t see, barely walk, and couldn’t remember what we said 2 minutes before.  I’m sure he had great things to say…back when.  But now, well, it just wasn’t working for us.  AND…he made it sound like it was *me* that was the problem.  I just had to suck it up and give it up.  That wasn’t the answer.  So we never went back.

I continued searching for something to help.  We watched the movie Fireproof that was based on the book The Love Dare.  The movie was “okay”.  It had some valid points, but it was highly Christian which was a turn off to my husband and myself.  It seemed to be more about “becoming a Christian” than saving a marriage.  So I thought that maybe the book would be a bit different…… I am currently reading through it on a day by day basis as it is a 40 day Love Dare.  I’m over half way through and will blog about that book when I am done.  At the same time, I decided to read The 5 Love Languages, and I loved it!

I’m sure you have heard about the book “Men are from Mars Women are from Venus”.  I have never read that book, but as I remember what I have  heard about it, I believe it is about the different ways men and women communicate.  5 Love Languages is about the different ways we all communicate our love.  So what are the 5 Love Language?  Words of Affirmation.  Quality Time.  Receiving Gifts.  Acts of Service.  Physical Touch.   In the back of the book, there is a “quiz” for both the husband and the wife to take (individually) to see what their Love Language is.  However, Dr. Chapman says you can also figure out what your spouse’s Love Language is by listening to their complaints.  Are they complaining you never talk to them?  Then Quality Time may be their primary Love Language.  Are they constantly asking you to do things or complaining you never help around the house?  Then consider Acts of Service.  If we listen to the complaints of our spouses, we will likely hear their Love Language. Also, I was told once as a teenager (by my mother in  law) that people do for their loved ones what they would have done for them.  Dr. Chapman says the same thing…..  Does your spouse constantly praise you verbally?  Maybe Words of Affirmation is THEIR love language.

All the way through the book, Dr. Chapman allows you to sit in on his counseling sessions and learn the ways in which he helps his clients.  You get to see how their lives and marriages change!  It’s a fascinating and eye-opening read.  I learned more about myself the way I wish my “love tank” would be filled…and more importantly, how I can help my own husband feel more loved.

Dr. Chapman explains that the “in-love” feeling we all get at the beginning of our relationships can last up to 2 years, but then what?  It might not even last a complete 2 years, and by then, you may already be married!  Then what do you do with the rest of your lives?  “That is what this book is all about.  How do we meet each other’s deep, emotional need to feel loved?  if we can  learn that and choose to do it, then the love we share will be exciting beyond anything we ever felt when we were infatuated.”

Lest you think this book is all about theory and not practice, let me set you straight.  At the end of every chapter, there is a little part called “your turn” where he asks you questions and challenges you to be better.  Do them!  Be an active participant in your life and in healing your relationship (or maybe just making it better).  It certainly won’t get better if you do nothing!  I have to say that my favorite chapter was Chapter 12 “Loving the Unlovely”.  It follows the story of a woman who felt like her marriage was done for but struggled between her faith and morals saying divorce was wrong and the feeling that she just wasn’t loved and there was nothing she could do.  Dr. Chapman gave her a 6 month challenge, and at the end……she had the marriage she had always dreamed of.

Seriously?  Can it be that easy?  Not sure “easy” is the right word.  It can be difficult to feel like you are the only one working on your relationship..and sometimes its not just a feeling; it’s the God’s honest truth!   But I found that trusting the process helps.   As I have been working through The Love Dare, even though I found myself resentful that *I* was doing it and  not Tracy (long story), I have been telling myself to trust the process.  I did my dares, and as I did them, I saw Tracy respond.  (I don’t think Tracy knows I am doing them…..at least I have made a point of not telling him.)  So, now, having finished The 5 Love Languages, I have decided to take the 6 Month Challenge.

My marriage is sacred to me.  I love my husband with all of my heart.  I always have and expect to always feel this way.  I knew the minute I saw him that I was supposed to marry him.  It was that “knowing” that has kept me strong over the last 27 years.  THAT is what I remember when I am hurting most.  I believe that when we are struggling in our marriage, it just means that its time to learn to communicate and grow again…..so here we go… more growing!!!!  Isn’t that what this blog…”The God Project” …is all about??????

So how about you?  Want to take the challenge with me?

 

BTW…..Dr. Chapman has also written a book on The 5 Love Languages for children!  Check out his website http://www.5lovelanguages.com

Admittedly, what I know about Maya Angelou is very little and mostly from Oprah’s TV show.  I have read a couple of her poems, which have touched me.  But until I picked up this book, I have never spent any quality time with Maya Angelou’s thoughts or words.  The title of this book spoke to me because I have always thought about the books I would gather and hand my daughter as a gift as she transitions from girl to woman.  This book is now one of those books that will be passed down.

This book is a quick one day read of 28 short stories/essays and a few poems about life as an African American woman, pregnancy, rape, being a daughter, coming of age, spirituality and so much more!  I  had some very profound moments while reading this book, and I found quite a few parallels with her thoughts on racism and my thoughts on the discrimination of LGBT individuals.

I spend a great deal of my time volunteering, and I donate money when I can.  I have never spent any time looking up the word “philanthropist”, but thankfully Maya Angelou has.   “The word philanthropy was taken from the two Greek words.  phil–lover of; and anthro–mankind.  So, philanthropists are lovers of humanity.”  She talks about how they show their love through large sums of money and how she would classify herself as “charitable”.  “The charitable say in effect, ‘I seem to have more than I need and you seem to have less than you need.  I would like to share my excess with you.’  Fine, if my excess is tangible, money or goods, and fine if not, for I learned that to be charitable with gestures and words can bring enormous joy and repair injured feelings.”

She finishes her thought by saying, “I may  never be known as a philanthropist, but I certainly am a lover of mankind, and I will give freely of my resources.  I am happy to describe myself as charitable.”

I loved her thoughts on this.

There is a chapter called “Morocco” where she tells a story of her trip to that country.  She was a young naive 25-year-old woman who was not versed in the ways of the Moroccan people.  She tells a humorous tale that reminds us to learn about the customs of the countries we want to visit.  This story actually had me laughing out loud.  I may never look at raisins the same way again!

A lesson in gratitude:

“The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas.  The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising.  Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude.  If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow.  Today I am blessed.”

A thought on strangers and friends:

“I learned that a friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”

There was another story she told about her life with  her ex husband.  “Within two days of our meeting we knew were in love together and had to be in life together.”  To me, the thought of being in love together instead of in love with each other, was so beautiful and such a great way to express what love truly is.

Then as I was finishing the book, in the last “chapter” called “Keep the Faith” she describes a persons spiritual journey as this…”It is in the search itself that one finds the ecstasy.”  And so it is!

Imagine being a very young elementary school girl and liking boys.  Sounds about normal, right?  Now imagine being a very young elementary school girl, liking boys AND liking girls.  Sound a bit confusing?  Ya; that’s the understatement of a life time!  Hi, I’m Martha Saathoff Spiva; I’m a 41-year-old married mom of 3 AND I’m bisexual!  This is my story.

One of my earliest childhood memories was attending a church with my mom.  We met in a 2-story office building just off of the LBJ Freeway in Dallas, Texas.  It was made of all black glass with cement pillars.  The minister was a woman.  We met in a big, square room with a stage/podium up front.  I was 5 years old.  There was an altar call…a come to Jesus moment.  And I KNEW I was being called to start my spiritual journey.  I went.  I asked Jesus into my heart.  From that moment on, my spiritual journey was the most important thing in my life.  This was a defining moment for me!

After we stopped going to that church, we started attending the Richardson Assembly of God Church.  After that we moved to the Lakewood Assembly of God Church 30 minutes away in (almost) downtown Dallas.  This is where I spent my formative years.  This is also the time my parents put me in a Baptist private school.  Needless to say, I grew up in a very conservative, right-wing, Texas, god-fearing home.  I knew my Bible backwards and forwards.  More importantly, I had my very own spiritual walk with God.

And this is where things got confusing……….

Like I said, I liked boys.  I have always liked boys.  When I was in kindergarten, I had a HUGE crush on “Talky” the 6th grade crossing guard and friend of one of my brothers.  In 1st grade, I had a boyfriend named Tracy Lewis (not the same Tracy that I married).  As I got older, there were always crushes on new boys and those crushes grew longer and more serious as I became a tween.  All the while, my spiritual conviction grew stronger and deeper.  But all the while, I LOVED girls.  I crushed on my girlfriends.  I would rather look at the women in my brothers’ girlie mags than look at the men.  Finally, at 11 years old, I couldn’t take the confusion anymore.  I needed to talk to someone.  And I thought my mom is the person I could talk to.

This is how it went………..

The car had just pulled up and parked in front of our home.  I asked my mom if we could talk.  “Mom,” I said, “I think I’m gay.”

Her reply:  “That’s impossible!  Besides, you don’t even know what that word means!”

“Yes, Mom, I do.  It means that I like girls.”

“But, Martha, you like boys, don’t you?  You have boyfriends don’t you?”

“Yes, Mom, I do.”

“Well, see!  You aren’t gay.  Besides, It’s impossible.  You are a good Christian young woman and it’s impossible for a good Christian young woman to be gay!  It’s a sin!”

With that she opened the door, stepped out of the car, and the conversation was never brought up again.

Just because the subject wasn’t brought up again, didn’t change what I felt inside.  Only now, it was worse.  I knew I was a “good Christian young woman”.  I knew I had a spiritual calling.  At 11 years old, I had already read the Bible once all the way through.  I prayed every day..a couple times a day.  I even prayed for these “urges” to go away.  They didn’t.  But I buried these feelings and didn’t mention them again for 11 more years!!!!

What happened in those 11 years?  I  met my husband at 14 years old.  I knew the minute I saw him that I was supposed to marry him.  And when we turned 19 years old, we did get married.  The crushes I had on my girlfriends became more serious, but I never mentioned them.  They fantasies I had about women became more intense, but I never mentioned them.  I became even  more confused.  I knew I was supposed to marry Tracy.  I knew I loved him.  Yet, what do I do about these other feelings?  Who and what the heck am I?  Somewhere in there, I learned that indeed I wasn’t gay/homosexual/lesbian.  By then, my vocabulary had grown.  I was bisexual.  Talk about confusing!!!!!  Great, so I know what label to wear, but where does that leave me?  How does that reconcile with  my Christian beliefs?

I became very suicidal for a number of reasons.  I felt like I had no one to talk to.  I wanted to come out to Tracy, but what if he left me?   We were, according to my intuition, supposed to get married!  I didn’t want to screw that up!  I couldn’t tell my girlfriends; we all belonged to Baptist Schools and Assembly of God Churches, and by now and I was also attending a Seventh Day Adventist Church with my boyfriend.  There was NO WAY I could tell anyone from any of these places!  I could be expelled from school.  I was already in enough trouble with the people in the SDA church for being too affectionate and intimate with Tracy.  And my girlfriends, I thought, would feel uncomfortable undressing in the locker room when I was around if they knew (not that I was lusting after them in the locker room…I was too busy  trying to cover up my hickies from the make out session the  night before!)  I was scared with nowhere to run!  The only person I could talk to was God…and I did that all the time!  I prayed.  I read my Bible.  I asked to be normal.  I WANTED to be “normal”.  I cried myself to sleep at night while praying for God to fix me.

At the same time, I remembered a time when I was in elementary school.  I was bullied all the way through my school years…elementary through high school.  I remember feeling like a piece of trash.  And one day after praying and reading my Bible, I sat in my room and drew a picture….more of a poster really.  It said, “I’m not junk, because God don’t make junk!”  This was the message that God gave me when I was a little girl.  I am a Special Creation and I am LOVED!!!!  This is how I survived!

Finally, at 22 years old, after being married for several years and having 2 boys, I found the courage to talk to Tracy.  “Tracy, I have to tell you something.  I hope you don’t get mad.  I hope you don’t want to leave me.  But I am bisexual.”  His response?  “Martha, I could have told you that.”

I’m sure there was more conversation after that, but I don’t remember that.  I just remember feeling so loved and accepted in that moment.  He knew me (and still does) and loved me for who I was even if I wouldn’t admit who I was to myself.  He loved me for who I am long before I loved me for who I am!  My intuition, the Grace of God, that Still Knowing….it was right!  I WAS supposed to marry him!

From that point on, I only came out to a few people where I felt I was safe.  With the invention of the internet and silly role-playing games called MUD(s)…Multi User Dungeons…(kinda like Dungeons and Dragons on-line) I was able to just be myself.  It was freeing. It was anonymous for the most part, but I did make some life long friends from that silly game and they are even friends with me on Facebook now…crazy!

We left our Christian churches behind.  I knew I was made the way I am and I could NOT belong to a faith/church/dogma that said God hated me (or my actions) and that I would be sent to hell for just being me..when I KNOW (from the message I was given as a little child) that God made me just as I am and I am NOT junk!  I never let go of my spiritual faith and personal walk with God.  Finally after all of these years, my husband and I have found the perfect place for our spiritual faith and walk, and it is one that is inclusive to all walks of life: gender, orientation, religious beliefs, races, colors!  It’s a beautiful thing and EXACTLY what Jesus the Master Teacher taught about love!

Anyway at the age of  30 I started feeling the need to really live my life and be “out”.  I was out to a select group of people who were also in the LGBT community.  But I longed to be out to my every day friends who I hung out with every single day.  So, at first, I told Anne and Kim.  Our sons were in Cub Scouts together…they were in Kindergarten together…our lives intertwined.  Anne’s hubby was the Pack Master for our Cub Scouts.  She told him.  I was able to remain a Den Mom..as long as I didn’t make a big deal about it and tell the boys.  But then, when my oldest son moved to a boy scout troop and that particular troop practiced severe gay bashing, I could no longer stand by quietly and keep my boys in a program that taught them that their mom was a freak of nature.  So I wrote a letter explaining why I was pulling my boys out; I sent it to the people who needed to know (including Anne’s husband).  The next thing I knew, Anne was threatening me.  She had taken this so personally (even though her husband was NOT the one I was complaining about..he is a very good man and I totally respect him).   She threatened to out me to the principal of the elementary school our children attended.  She threatened to out me and cause a ruckus in my life and ruin my reputation at the school.  I was on the board of the Family Teacher Organization.  I was very involved in the school.  And she was going to venomously out me and cause issues in  my private life.  I was scared!

It was at that point, I felt I needed to come out to two more of my very close friends…..Beth and Annelle.  They served on the FTO board with me.  I told them EVERYTHING.  They love me…even today!  Thank you, Nell and Beth for loving me and never judging me (or if you did..for doing it quietly).  *laugh*

Shortly after the “near shoving out”, we decided that it would be better if we moved to Idaho.  My husband had a job opportunity here, and I felt like I could use the fresh start without having to look over my back all the time.  I wanted to live my life as “out”.  We moved here, and I immediately got involved with the LGBT community here.  The problem is, I am still bisexual.  Bisexuals not only get grief from the  straight, closed-minded people; but sometimes they also get it from inside their own community.  Sometimes homosexuals don’t like or accept us because they feel as if we just don’t know what we want and are just confused..we are just straight people playing around…or gays who don’t know it yet.  Yea….not so much!  After being shunned by my own community, I went back in the closet (for the most part).  I went back to feeling alone…even from within my own community.

Eventually, I got over all of this.  I was even given an award by The Community Center (the LGBT community hub I looked to when I first moved here) for being a good example of the LGBT life and my community service!  I received the award during Pride week!  FINALLY, I was being recognized  and ACCEPTED for who and what I am…and being awarded for it!!  I AM OUT!!!!!!

This year, in the after shock of 12 gay young men committing suicide because they could not stand the bullying brought on by their orientation, I am stepping up in a very public way.  I am coming out on Facebook and in my blog.  I am standing up and coming out for these 12 young men who couldn’t come out and stand up for themselves.  I am coming out and standing up for all those who are still in the closet, afraid for their lives, afraid of the rejection, afraid of the religious god-fearing haters who would tell them they are hell-bound sinners.  I am coming out LOUD and PROUD for all of those people being bullied..whether by children or adults, by the straight or the gay community…I am standing up for them!

I want those who are still hiding in their closets peeking out from behind the cracked door to know that it is okay.  It is more than possible to come out and do more than just survive out here!  Sure, there are still some haters out there, but things are so much better than they used to be.  There is a community out here that loves and supports you.  Please, if you are feeling scared and bullied, reach out to those of us who have been there..we are here for you.  We love you and want to support you.  There are so many resources for you.  You are NOT alone!

For more information and support, please check YouTube for “It Gets Better” project http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IcVyvg2Qlo   and The Trevor Project http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

This is a picture of my 17 year old son Nate and I at the 2010 Boise Pride Parade!

This is me right after I was awarded the Willow Award from The Community Center…a Community Service Award given to a person of the LGBT community.

This is me and my amazing hubby, Tracy!  He loves me just the way I am!