K is for Kisses

Hello Friends,

Don’t you love a good kiss? I certainly do. I was talking with a dear friend the other day about our marriages and about passion and the passing of time. We talked about how repetitive things can get in a marriage or long-term relationship. You know. Oh look, his socks are under the coffee table again. Stop making that awful noise while you chew. Must we always stop at Starbucks before leaving on a road trip?!?
We all have these experiences with our partner that can erode the passion a bit. Over time, those moments of renewed passion, adoration, and a quickening heartbeat can be further and further apart.

My husband and I went to a marriage workshop about two months ago. We have been married for about seven years now and while we love each other dearly we also have those challenging moments of utter annoyance and disappointment like any couple does. We also felt like we really needed to focus on our foundation. So much had gone on in our marriage and collective life over the last few years that it was time for a shot in the arm. A renewal.

So, we went to this workshop. If you have not heard of John Gottman or his wife, Julie Gottman, and you are in a significant relationship, I suggest you look immediately. They have this relationship stuff nailed. We are so glad we went to this workshop. For the record, we are not people who go to workshops or “touchy feely” stuff. We are pretty pragmatic. We have way too much of the WASP in us to enter drumming circles or share our feelings in groups. This had none of that.

Their theory, which is better explained in this book,

seven-principles-for-making-marriage-work

is that people need a strong base of trust, fondness, and admiration in order to create a positive lasting partnership. They have a seven step process explaining each part.

People, it makes complete sense to me. We were astounded and changed by our experience at the workshop. Here is a visual which shows what the seven components are. Without the bottom three you can not accomplish any of the others.

SRH Blog Pic

Sound Relationship House Overview

The one little takeaway that I want to share is this:

The six second kiss.

Anytime one of you is leaving the other or rejoining the other, you kiss. Now we all know how that can devolve into a crappy little quick peck on the cheek. This is exactly what my dear friend and I were talking about.

The passionless and perfunctory peck.

That is not what the Gottmans want you to do. They want you to kiss for at least six seconds. It is longer than you think. It easily tips the kiss from the affectionate to the, well, passionate. There is connection in that kiss.

Trust me on this one. A six second kiss on any departure or reunion. It makes a huge difference. It has for us. For it is in the little things, the everyday things, that momentum is built. It is in the cup of coffee my husband brings me every morning before he leaves for work. It is in the reading of the Sunday NYT together every week that we find our way as partners.

Go kiss the one you love.

Love,

S

Week 13/52

Hello Friends,

I am borrowing a format from an artist to use here.  Blue Bird Baby is a fantastic blog. Simple. Lovely. Soulful. Inspiring. She uses a weekly format to document. I like this method of tracking the days and the process. I have modified her approach a bit.  Every week you document and you note by the week.  She documents her darling daughter’s life in a really lovely way.  Go check it out.

This week I am:

Writing

Many entries for the A to Z Challenge. It is great fun and I have met some terrific people so far.

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c
Reading

I am reading a great deal about blogging. I want to improve my site and so research is called for, but I am still reading many other things too. This week I am getting near the end of this delight:

Notes From A Blue Bike

Blue Bike

Watching

This lovely youngest daughter of mine grow up. Trying to pay attention to every moment.

September 2013 043

Listening

Vance Joy, Riptide

Thinking

About my research road trip this summer. Looking forward to days and nights in many places.

nsjmasn

Wanting

A little bit of this loveliness in my own garden. Isn’t this beautiful?

via Jeffrey Gardens

via Jeffrey Gardens

Needing

Way more sleep. My husband has been sick and not sleeping well so he gets up in the middle of the night. I struggle to get back to sleep. Too much on my mind. I need more sleep…

via Special-ism.com

via Special-ism.com

Coveting

A little cabin. A place where I can write and just be.

cabin

Wearing

More eye cream than I usually do. Where are these wrinkles coming from… Frown.

eye cream

Eating

These bits of amazingness! You can count on Sprouted Kitchen to always get it right with savory foods. I was not expecting these to be that amazing, but they are. . . God save me from the remaining dozen or so lurking in my cookie jar.

via Sprouted Kitchen

via Sprouted Kitchen

Drinking

This lovely and amazing stuff. Just on its own with a bit of ice. So refreshing. . .

 086-2eat2drink-fever-tree-p

I hope your week is good. I wish for you a week of love.

Love,
S

Writer

Hello Friends,

So the word this week over at Lisa Jo Baker is WRITER. So here goes.

I think it is funny how much power the word writer had for me just a few short months ago. For years I have wanted to be a writer. I have stories floating around in my head that I need to write or they need to be written. I feel like a vehicle or a surrogate mother for these stories. But I struggle with labeling myself a writer. I fought these stories for years. Put them out of my head. Set them aside. Downplayed and dismissed them. For over thirty ears I have wanted to write and I have done everything I can to avoid it thinking that I am not a writer. How could I possibly write when I am not a writer.

Then a few months ago I came across a book I must have bought over two decades ago back when I was earning my bachelor’s degree. It was a book about being a writer. In this book the author explains the difference between a writer and an author. That was my aha! moment. I may not be an author yet, but I can certainly call myself a writer.

So, now I call myself a writer and in just the naming of the thing. Guess what? I write now. I write and write and write and I have never been so clear. The stories are there somehow and they are starting to take shape and form  paragraphs and moments and places and people and dialogue and action.

I am a writer.

Love,

S

Lisa Jo Baker has an interesting task every Friday. She calls it Five Minute Friday and it is a writing exercise posited around a particular prompt. You write to the prompt for a total of five minutes, uninterrupted, unedited, and then you link your writing to her site. As well, you go back and read two entries and comment on them.
She has, in effect, created a writer’s workshop. I love this and find it fun to participate in whether or not I had a blog. It is about the writing after all.

Author
Quote

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

Hello Friends,
Yes, I am writing about another writing book. So sue me. But let me first tell you that I first read this book over ten years ago and I still love it. I am rereading it now because it is soulful and beautiful. If you don’t know about Anne Lamott, you need to know about her. She is gracious and full of grace. She is also full of spit and vinegar, but that is another story. Anne has a lovely way of inviting you into her head without you even realizing there was a door through which you needed to enter. I mean, she just gets it. She is spiritual. She is soulful. She is completely open. She shares the downfalls and the mistakes. She shares the heartbreak and the shame. But all along the telling of her story (meaning, any story she deigns to tell) you are there too, almost arm in arm.

No, I am not stalking her, I just want to grow up to be like her. She is a wonderful role model and a delightful writer.
Author Pic

I have read many of her books, but my all time favorite is her book about her life and the art of writing. She is so helpful, alive, real, insightful, and instructive in this book.

bird by bird:Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Book Cover

via

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth.  What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.  Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave.  They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
―     Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life    

I encourage you to read this book of hers if you only have a little time. Once you read this one, you will want to read her others.

Love,

S

Book Cover

Favorite books of 2014:Book 1

Hello Friends,
I don’t know about you, but I have never been a fan of Stephen King. His books scared the bujeezus out of me. I read the short story, The Mangler, while living in the add on garage bedroom right off the kitchen in my grandmother’s home one summer. This would be the summer that her huge brown (yes brown) fridge died. But prior to it actually dying it made a lot of noise. Only at night. While I was in bed. Trying to sleep after watching Dynasty with my grandmother and dreaming of having hair like Krystle Carrington. Can we talk at some point about that spelling too? With a K and a Y? Really?

Krystle Carrington

This fridge was ginormous. It was dark brown. It was loud. I was convinced that it was possessed and that is when I started reading Stephen King. I began with his short story collection and in particular, The Mangler. If you are not familiar with the story here is a short summary: Women work in this horrific, reminiscent of The Jungle, laundry. There is a machine that maims and kills the female workers in all sorts of grotesque ways. End of story.

mangler

Needless to say, I became terrified of that fridge. I was convinced that somehow it would kill me just as the mangler did to so many innocent young women. I wasn’t really sure how. Maybe it would squash me as I poured my orange juice or let off some poisonous gas that would kill me in my sleep.

Brown Fridge

I decided that I was done with Stephen King. There was already so much to be scared of. I mean I had seen Night of the Living Dead a few years prior and that still completely haunts me. Remember it? How could anyone forget!?!  Who needed anything else to be afraid of? Not me.

Movie Poster

In later years (recently, as in, over the last six months) I decided that my desire to write (WRITE!) was becoming something a bit harder to squelch. So, on a lark, I bought King’s book On Writing.

Cover of the book

Wow.
Wow.
Wow.
People, this is worth reading.
So helpful.
So good.
Love his tone.
Love his attitude.
Love his candor.
If you are struggling with your writing. If you need a shot in the arm. Or if you would like to say you have read Stephen King’s work without scaring yourself too badly, please read this book.

Love,
S