31 October 2011

We're All in This Together


I love thinking that we're all in this together.  Meaning, we are all here on this earth with the same purpose: to figure out what the heck this life is all about and to work to triumphantly overcome all that we are faced with.  None of us are immune to this plan.  We ALL must go through it.   
But once you understand it, it's a beautiful process that is a privilege to go through.  And it unifies us all - each and every one...all over the world. 

This was all very clear to me one evening when I was waiting for the divorce to go through.

30 October 2011

Love Story: Will There Be Magic?


After a weekend away with my Brooklyn Young Women (some girls I teach/mentor in Brooklyn), Danny got this....

29 October 2011

Our Outing to Storm King

A Blog About Love, Storm KingWe went to Storm King last weekend.  It was Danny's first time... He LOVED it.  I heard him say something like, "This feels like heaven."  It really was magnificent that day.  It could not have been a better autumn day.  On top of that, we got to spend time with some of our dear friends.

See here for more photos...


28 October 2011

My Personal Ground Zero


mormon divorce, brooklyn brownstone, park slope

When I learned some of these concepts I've been writing about on this blog, it was like I got hit over the head with a frying pan. 
Until then, I had not been living in the way I do now.  I always thought I was a decent person & was reacting to my life in the way anybody would, so when I realized that there was a better way to live, it was like...what?....my unhappiness has been due to my own choice?  I can't blame it on my infertility or on the way I've been treated by others?  Since making these realizations, I have come a long, long way in realizing that I have control over the way I experience my life.  So I know it's possible to make changes. 

Back in the day, I used to succumb to fear, doubt, anger, insecurities, sadness & worry.  All of them.  Often.  I literally let these emotions rule my life.  To give you an idea...

Several years ago, I felt dead.  Yep.  DEAD.  At the time, it was the only thought that came to my mind to describe how I felt.  I was so overcome with grief and sadness so, so very deep, that I didn't know if my body would continue to breathe on it's own or if I could still put one foot in front of the other as I commuted on the subway to and from Brooklyn & my midtown office.  I literally thought I might die in my sleep from grief or become one of those "sick passengers" on the train because I had fallen to the floor.  You see, my former husband, had just let me know, in all seriousness, that he didn't love me and he never had.  Ouch.  We had been married about two of seven years at that point.

27 October 2011

We Love Having You Here

A Blog About Love, We Love Having You Here

To my dear readers,

I just want to say thank you to each and every one of you reading this blog. 
Today it is just 1 month old!  And I am just amazed at what has happened in 4 weeks.

I send the most sincere thanks to all of you who have shared this blog with your friends, sisters, mothers, daughters, boyfriends, husbands and even our nephews (we are now the butt of many jokes amongst our 7 older nephews in Utah.  haha.  But we hope in a few years when they are dating and newly married that they'll be quite interested in what we have to say :) 

And, thanks from the bottom of my heart to those of you who have shared a word about us on your own blogs (wow, we truly feel honored)!  You have sent so many new readers our way.  It means so much as there is nothing more we want to do than share this message of hope far and wide.  So many lives are already feeling inspired.  Thanks a million for helping us in this effort.

26 October 2011

Bianca Merkley & Mindy Gledhill in NYC


Here is some more info on the
CD Release shows for
Bianca Merkley & Mindy Gledhill
in NYC on 11/11/11!
I hope so much that you all can go.
I think it's going to be awesome.  
& NO COVER?  WHAT??  Even a $10 donation will be a steal for this event.

Bianca will be releasing her new album, "A Part of Me" at 6 pm and Mindy Gledhill will be singing in NYC for the very first time with songs from her new Christmas album, "Winter Moon" at 7 pm (yay for Christmas music!  You will find out soon enough that I am nut about Christmas. :)

Since Bianca is a dear friend, she gave me some scoop on her album and now I am even more excited for this concert.  There is so much meaning behind her songs.

25 October 2011

The Best Dating Tips We Can Muster



To all you wonderful men & women who are single and want to be married & have a healthy/happy relationship someday, I present to you our best dating tips....

24 October 2011

The Sachajuan Hair Show

Ladies!  I owe you the report from the hair show.....

Sacha did me all curly.  :)  Prior, he had plans to do my hair straight on stage.  But when I got up there, he announced to the audience that he was going to do it curly (surprise!) & "enhance my natural wave".   Oh boy, I was crossing my fingers for him.  Cause I knew that he was going to have to use a diffuser to dry my hair.  (I haven't had good experience with this in the past.)  I normally always air dry my hair (which takes hours!)  But off he went.... cutting my hair in layers, then adding tons of Sachajuan products, then starting up the diffuser....... and.......

The result was great.  We're talking very full & very fluffy hair.  The audience loved it and when I walked off stage, everyone crowded around to touch my hair.  Kinda funny.

Below are pics from the event, which was crawling with very cool hair stylists from all over the country.
Here's my curly hair, right after Sacha's cut.

Love Story & Dreams of a Great Marriage




In the first 3 weeks before we met face to face, the emails between Danny and I continued non-stop.  I'd lay in bed with my iPhone and just smile from ear to ear writing Danny and also rereading all of his emails over and over before falling asleep with the biggest heart and the biggest smile on my face.  We loved writing each other so much that we specifically did not text.  We did not ever talk on the phone once.  We just wrote our hearts and souls out to one another every day.

And...we started the "what am I going to wear?!" plans.  Danny bought that coat, above.  And I bought some leather boots (it was a good excuse to splurge on some Frye boots, don't ya think?)

But, onto more important things....

23 October 2011

Q & A: What To Do When You Don't Get Pregnant


(From Danny....)

There was a wonderful comment to yesterday's post on "The Little Trials" that posed a question worth answering on a Sunday in a larger post.  The question gets to the root of the attitudes we need to develop when facing something difficult.  If you have additional insights, please feel free comment.

Q:  One thing I'm still trying to figure out...and maybe you can shed light on this for me...is how do you have hope and trust at the same time? I have a hard time putting all my faith and hope in the dream I have of one day having kiddies of my own...but at the same time surrendering my will to God and just simply trusting that if for some reason I'm not granted that desire in this life, I can still have a happy and fulfilling life now. But when I start thinking about the possibility of it not happening, then I feel my trust is strengthened, but my faith and hope is somehow made weaker because I'm starting to imagine life without those hopes and dreams.

22 October 2011

The Little Trials


This post is about LITTLE trials.  I am sure we ALL have little things that annoy us (you are about to find out mine.  yikes.)  But, it turns out that these little trials are AMAZING LITTLE MONITORS & TEACHERS that let us know how we're doing.  If we pay attention to how we react to them, they can point out to us that we might need to change our perspective and make adjustments so that we can stay on track.  And, they provide the best PRACTICE for applying our strength & beliefs!  (This was my key to figuring out all this stuff.... literally putting it all into practice, practice, practice.  )  

And best of all...... 

These little trials help us build confidence in our abilities to conquer things, so that when *BIG* trials come along, we know we can kick some butt! 

Ok - here goes...I'll tell you my process for handling my little trials by just picking three that come to mind, from my recent past...

21 October 2011

Q & A- What to Do if You're in an Unhappy Marriage

 (From Danny....)

So I guess it's my turn to post.  By way of introduction, it now goes without saying that I have married a truly remarkable woman.  Whatever praise or gratitude many of you have expressed in your comments and private emails is only exceeded by the praise and love I express personally to my wife for the wonderful woman she is, and to God for bringing her to me and me to her.  I feel she is my perfect partner in all things, including every word she writes on this blog.  Until now I've played editor and adviser, and occasional commenter.  But, I have just as much interest as she does in sharing our message of love and hope, and so I begin today with this post.

Apparently the rules of this blog are that I lead a post with a head shot...so here you go!  haha. 



Two days ago we received a comment on the "A Major Dating Tip" post wondering what to do when you are in an energy draining marriage, and not just dating.  I started to reply in the comment, realizing soon I had two pages of info and would be better off turning it into a post.  Below is the abbreviated question from Anonymous:

Q: How do you figure out what to do and how to handle a situation in a marriage where you no longer want to tolerate bad behavior or a dysfunctional relationship? What do you do? 

20 October 2011

Fall (in Love) in New York



 I am such a sucker for Fall.

Here is what is on the docket to make this season awesome:

19 October 2011

I'm Working on a PhD



I have always wanted more than anything to be a good mother.  Even though I don't have children, I still have this killer mother instinct for my unborn children - I would do anything for them.  And well, it turns out that I have been able to do a lot for them so far, and I couldn't be more grateful.

I was lucky enough to have my infertility acupuncturist remind me that trying to be a good mom was like trying to get your PhD.  She said most women (including me) were trying to go for the PhD, but we hadn't even finished kindergarten yet!!!  Meaning, many of us were still reacting immaturely to our trials & handling our lives in a dysfunctional/damaging/unhealthy way.   Many of us still didn't know how to cultivate our own peace & happiness, we were waiting for a baby (or a happy marriage, or success, or whatever...) to make us happy.

18 October 2011

REDBOOK Launches an Infertility Campaign...




 Last night, REDBOOK Magazine launched an infertility campaign called "The Truth About Trying."  They're passionate about erasing the taboo of infertility and getting people to talk about it so that the women and men who are going through it can feel more supported

They came across my blog and asked me to be a part of their launch!  I feel honored to be a part of  this effort and feel so happy that I can share my message of hope with more people.  They have listed my blog as one of the "Best Infertility Blogs" (yea!) & they asked me to share a 3 minute video telling "What I wish I had known about infertility..."  Click here to see my video as well as videos from other women and celebrities, too.  They hope that this campaign will inspire other women to create some videos of their own on REDBOOK'S YouTube page

Also, from 2-3 pm EST today (Oct. 18, 2011), they will host a Twitter Chat all about infertility and why more people need to talk about it.  The hashtag is #truthabouttrying.  You can find them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/redbookmag.

And, a very warm welcome to REDBOOK readers!  THANK YOU for coming to my blog.  It is my goal to inspire women & men all over the world who are facing trials.  I promise to send many, many more positive posts your way! 

Also, this is a brand new blog (just three weeks old today!) so it will be doable for you to catch up on some of the relevant previous posts, if you are interested.  To get you started, here are a few recent posts you might enjoy:

An Introduction

Mother's Day for an Infertile Woman

Romance & Clomid

The F-Word Made Me Bankrupt  

The Most Important Things I've Ever Learned #1

The Most Important Things I've Ever Learned #2

The Sock Animals That Saved My Life 

Crack a Smile
 
Something Looming

Healing from 9/11


17 October 2011

The F-Word Made Me Bankrupt

This is me feeling pretty darn happy.  No need to say the F word 50 times a day here.

Several years ago, I used to say the F- word.  A lot.  Partly because it is a New York thing.  [To my West Coast posse:  Just trust me that NY can bring the F-word out of you unless you are really in a good place OR unless you never ride the subway, or never get your car towed (or stolen, with your new Bugaboo in the trunk), or never slip in garbage slime on the sidewalk & later stink so bad that homeless people move away from you on the train, or never get your car keyed or the bumper destroyed or side mirror ripped off, or never get screwed out of your deposit by a landlord, or never smell pot seeping into your apartment from your neighbor, or never have someone house squatting in your newly purchased apartment for 9 months, or never have to carry sheet rock up 3 flights of stairs on your back, or never have your new iPhone snatched out of your hands by a thief on a bike.]  Between the intense New York life + all the trials that I was facing at home that were not in my control, I got very good at saying the F-word.  Essentially, I had developed a short fuse.  Clearly, I was not in a good place.   

I came to realize that the big problem wasn't the word itself, but the energy that was being wasted when I used that word & the damage that the negative state of being & short fuse was doing to my life.

16 October 2011

Obsessed With Hair (& Lipstick!)

On Saturday I met with Style Director, Erin Anderson, and Sacha, founder of Sachajuan @ Woodley & Bunny to prep for the big hair show later on Monday.  They are both so lovely & the salon was AWESOME.  Sacha decided to have my hair colored before the show, so Liz went to work and did a great job!  Here are the results so far, haircut by Sacha coming soon...


BEFORE COLOR & BLOW OUT 
(MORE LIKE SATURDAY A.M. BED HEAD)
 
AFTER COLOR & BLOW OUT


The make-up artist at the salon loved my lipstick and was dying to know where I got it.  Well, I got tipped off by one of the most stylish J.Crew personal shoppers I've seen (Marina Dobreva at Rockefeller Center, 212-765-4227).  She knows her stuff & I LOVE her use of color combinations.  Go to her & tell her Mara Kofoed sent you.  Ok, back to the lipstick:  when I was in the dressing room at J.Crew, Marina (love her name) pulled out some lipstick from her own bag and said YOU HAVE TO WEAR THIS WITH THIS OUTFIT.  PUT IT ON RIGHT NOW.  Well,  she was right.  It was awesome.  So I marched right over to Duane Reade (yes, Duane Reade) to get some.  You have to go to the "fancy" Duane Reades that have "Look Boutiques" (search for one here).  (They have a larger selection of make up brands.)  It's Vera Moore.  Diva Orange.  (Marina says this is also the same thing as MAC, Lady Danger.)

XO,

Mara

Love Story & Buttermilk Pancakes


(Here is the continuation of the first emails Danny & I exchanged in the three weeks before we met.  To read the whole collection of the "Love Story" emails, click here.)  


Danny - - 

Oh, so glad that you have had people watching out for you.  If I could just retire and help people all day long, I would.  Having people reach out to me just meant the world and I am always trying to pass on that favor.

And, oh my...you could come to NY?  Um, that would be so cool!  :)  It would be so great to just meet and talk and share all this.  And if you make me melt, as you are already, it will be a good thing that you live in Boston.  ha!

15 October 2011

The Mother Runner



I feel famous. And athletic.

And it's cause I have been running with The Mother Runner

Have you heard of her?  Her name is Lizzie.  She's talented.  And kind.  And one of the most accomplished marathon runners I know.  Many of us always joke that she could be running a marathon, pushing a double stroller, making homemade yogurt & stirring a batch of granola all at the same time. 

Over Christmas last year, the ladies at my church exchanged acts of service for each other by choosing a "service ornament" off of a tree.  It was so humbling to see this unfold - women offered gourmet  dinners, babysitting, car rides (worth so much in New York!), homemade baked goods, photography sessions, handmade jewelry, and services of all kinds.  So fun, right?  (Especially when all these Brooklyn women are mego-talented!  You can't imagine!)

I picked my ornament and went on my way.  But later they had extras and I was handed another ornament which said "Running with Lizzie."  Um, let me tell you - I wasn't too thrilled about this one.

14 October 2011

A *MAJOR* Dating Tip





 
To all the wonderful single people out there, I love you.  This is for you !  :)
(Mothers:  Please share this message with your sons & daughters.  This is for them, too. :)

I just have to get this out.  My other "dating list" is still coming, but this is an important intro that I thought I would share first.  Here goes...........

13 October 2011

Q & A: Curly Hair

curly hair tips, curly hair products

Well beauties, for today, here's an answer to a question I get a lot (it's so sweet of people to ask)...

Q:  HOW DO YOU DO YOUR HAIR?

Warning:  I am a hair junkie.  You ready for this? 

12 October 2011

First Night in Manhattan as a Single Woman


divorce, single, mormon

divorce, single, mormon

Luckily, I only had to date about 9 months (after my first marriage) before I met Danny.  

But before that, I was dating like crazy in New York, hoping to meet someone wonderful.  I am such a fan of marriage and knew by then what a blessing marriage is... it is one of the best ways to learn how to become a better person.  Even though my first marriage didn't work out, it STILL helped me to become a better person!  That's how awesome it is.  So I just couldn't wait to become a part of that beautiful process again.  But to get to marriage, I had to meet people & DATE.

11 October 2011

What to Do for a Person Going Through a Divorce or Trial

what to do for someone going through a divorce
Surrounding me here are some of the best women there ever could be.

Really, these Brooklyn women should write this post.  Because they (& many others) did everything and more for me.  They were my life line.  To this day I am blown away by the love that came my way as my divorce unfolded.  Here are some ideas on what to do for someone who is going through a divorce (these all meant the world to me.)

10 October 2011

Love Story: Continued...

                    Oh man, this is the look of love.  This photo was taken during those early days.  I could not get that dreamy look off my face.

After several email exchanges over that first weekend of knowing of each other, Danny & I were just head over heels.   Here are some of the next exchanges.  hahha....I laugh at my boldness, but ladies, I seriously couldn't help myself.  And I really didn't care where it would take me.  I knew by then that I was going to be fine either way.  So I just went for it and didn't hold back.

09 October 2011

Crack a Smile

 

On one of the worst days of my entire life, I figured out that the act of smiling makes you feel something good and positive.  It's like magic.  Even if it's a smile just to yourself.  In all seriousness, EVEN A FORCED SMILE DOES SOMETHING TO YOU INSIDE.  I can't tell you how often I forced myself to smile in moments of complete despair........and it caused a shift!  When I figured this out, I was walking underground through the subway station at 34th street, coming home from work.  It was during my first year of infertility and also it was one of the earlier moments when my first husband let me know that he didn't feel love for me the way he wanted to.  I might as well have been walking through my own grave.  The only way I can describe it is, I felt dead.  (Obviously this was way before I learned to handle trials and came to peace with my life.)  I felt so much grief and despair then that I could barely even breath and barely walk.  I literally thought I might fall over and die.  But a miracle happened.  I had the idea in that moment to simply smile to myself.  And I did!  It took almost no energy to do it.  But that tiny smile on my face automatically put the littlest burst of positivity into my brain and it gave me the strength to keep walking.  And to this day, I still use this trick and I smile to myself whenever I need a little boost.  TRY IT !!!!!!!!!!  I dare you to not think or feel something positive or to not feel your eyes sparkle a teeny bit when you smile.  :)  I'd love to hear if anyone else has some success with this.

Hoping you all are having a beautiful weekend.  Fall is here in New York in all it's glory.  I went on a run in Prospect Park early Saturday morning, and felt so full of life.  And, I am feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for all of you dear readers.  THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for reading and & for sharing back with me so much of your strength & wisdom.  I am truly overwhelmed with the connections I am feeling with you already as we all walk along on our own paths.  I look forward to all that we have ahead.

With love & gratitude for all of you,

Mara

P.S.  About a year or so after I figured out my little smiling trick, Elaine Dalton, the lovely President of the worldwide Young Women's Organization, called out to young women all over the world and encouraged them to smile every single day.  I was all over that. 

(Photo above taken in about 2007.   I was on vacation with my first husband.  At the time, I knew he was thinking of leaving our marriage.  It was a very sad time for me.  I had not yet learned how to face trials.  I was barely surviving.  My little smiles were the wee beginning of me developing some inner strength.)

08 October 2011

The Sock Animals That Saved My Life

handmade, sock animals
handmade, sock animals, sock and glove
handmade, sock animals, sock and glove

handmade, sock animals, elephant

When my first husband very resolutely told me that he no longer loved me & started voicing his more-determined-than-ever desire to end our marriage, it was a very strange time in our household!  I knew this time it was different than I'd ever seen before.  I knew it really, really was coming to an end this time & at that point, there really was nothing I could possibly do to stop it.  But in those last few months when he was figuring out how and when to end it, somehow our previous lifestyle pretty much continued.  He'd meet me at the train after work and we'd go for burgers, we'd explore our neighborhood, spend time with friends, spend time together at home, laugh and enjoy conversation & music, etc.  So much of these last few months appeared very much normal.  I think it was due to his sense of relief, at knowing he was freeing himself of a situation he didn't want to be in, and also due to my desire to no longer react to his behavior (I had just learned that tid bit in the year prior :).  And, we were still best friends.  But, despite all that, it was still a very sad time because we were no longer meeting up for dinner as husband and wife, but as two people whose lives were on the brink of parting ways. 

07 October 2011

Mother's Day for an Infertile Woman

Mother's Day is very much celebrated in the Mormon church and on those Sundays, a couple of people from the congregation are usually asked to speak on the subject of Motherhood.

A few weeks before this last Mother's Day, I was asked to speak in church on that date. At the time, I don't think the person asking me to do this realized that day was Mother's Day and certainly didn't realize I had been infertile for 7 years. (I am glad he didn't know, as he may never have asked me otherwise.) My heart was just pounding out of my chest because I was so grateful I would have the privilege to speak on this subject....there is not a topic more near and dear to my heart. I accepted the assignment immediately.

After another failed IUI (infertility procedure), which I found out about the morning of Mother's Day, here's what I shared with the congregation in Brooklyn. I couldn't hold back the tears on this one. They came before I even said the first word at the pulpit. I just felt so grateful that day to see how far I had come...


06 October 2011

Something Looming...



Something unfortunate is about to happen. It is not something I want to happen. BUT, I know better than to worry too much about it, because I've seen how the biggest blows in life have actually turned into MAJOR blessings........for example.....

Love Story: Still Day 1 of Danny & Mara


Danny,

Well, I've loved your emails.   So fun!

I am in a huge rush and I must go, so I can't write much.
But let me just say *thank you* and that your emails made my day, too.

I love all you said about God/charity/unconditional love.  Oh, I hear you on all of that.. I know it all first hand now.  I chose to do the same thing you did.  I think it's the hardest thing we ever have to do as humans...to offer that love to others in the worst moments... but I was so spiritually empowered that I was able to do it.  It was like a gift from God.  This last year, I have never felt so close to heaven.  Oh man, it was amazing.  And still is.

05 October 2011

The Best Tips I Can Give You for a REALLY, REALLY Great Marriage

marriage tips
(Photo by our amazing photographer, Rachel Thurston)

So, at this point, because of our combined experiences, Danny & I happen to know a lot about what makes for a good marriage. :)  We think marriage is one of the greatest blessings anyone can have & we really do feel grateful for it every single day.  But we also know that a lot of people have ebbs & flows in their marriage & that it can be a difficult experience for many.  So here are our best tips.  These are all specific things that we do, so we know firsthand they work like a charm :)....

04 October 2011

Harvey Faircloth

harvey faircloth
harvey faircloth

harvey faircloth
Isn't the new Fall '11 collection great?
And preview the Spring/Summer '12 collection here.  I love it!

(I helped found this company with two friends.)

Romance & Clomid

what it's like to be on clomid
On a date night in New York. 
A friend told me that when they brought their baby home and started their lives with her, it was one of the most romantic times of their marriage.  Isn't that so sweet?  I loved hearing that.

Well, it turns out, that infertility can bring on some romance, too.  This is what I wrote in my gmail journal awhile back:

"Today, I head into Manhattan at this insanely early hour to have an ultrasound, etc., to see how I am doing after a round of clomid.  As soon as I ovulate, we'll inseminate at the Dr.'s office at a very calculated time.  All sounds pretty rotten, right?  Well - nope.  That is not my experience.  These months of infertility treatments have actually been an exciting, even romantic! time of our lives.  I just feel so giddy and rejuvenated to be doing this at all after so many years.  And the joy of having a devoted and loving man by my side as my companion is the greatest gift in the world.  And, he wants to have a baby with *ME* !!!  So how can I possibly be anything but grateful and thrilled?  Danny has been the biggest sweetheart.  He actually thanks me for going to Dr. appointments(!).  He surprised me with 2 shirts the other day which he picked out for me, and made me dinner, and he's learning all the medical lingo, and is totally aware of what we should be doing and when :)   He truly has been loving and wonderful (and fun and sexy :) about the whole thing."

Ladies, as I re-read my journal entry, I realized that ....

One of my tricks to getting through trials is just choosing to be grateful for what I DO have (i.e. A HUSBAND) instead of focusing on what I don't have.

I've been without a husband, and so to even have the opportunity to try for a baby at all (let alone have sex! ha!) is such a privilege.  And when I didn't have a husband, I was grateful for my life, for my friends and family, for the wisdom that I was gaining.  I am telling you dear ladies, being grateful will definitely make your burdens lighter, no matter what they are.  

What are you grateful for right now that is helping to get you through your trials? 

XO

P.S. Danny literally goes nuts every time I wear these women's button-up shirts from Uniqlo.  He likes them so much that I have several in different colors, due to him.  He just loves, loves the fit and thinks they look pretty darn sexy on a woman. (He says they are a cinch to iron, as well.)

03 October 2011

The Most Important Things I've Ever Learned (About Love) - #2




(Photos by the photographer, Rachel Thurston.)  


Here are some more notes on what I've learned about love.  This stuff has changed my life (!) and if applied very literally, I am confident it can change yours, too.   

You ready for this?  It's a lot to absorb.  But in the weeks following my first husband's departure, it was this nitty gritty that caused strangers on the streets of New York to stop me and tell me that I was "glowing" and "radiant".  (I wanted so badly to tell them the real reason why...)

  • To really show a healthy kind of love to your spouse, children, parents, family, coworkers, or friends, your emotional well-being cannot be dependent on them.  The source of your wholeness & your security as a person needs to be based on something else.  For me, the ups and downs of my well-being used to hinge on the love or affection from my husband, or my husband's  (or my own) approval of my looks, or the status of my baby-making, or on the goal of one day having a successful business.  I know what it's like to not have any of those things and to feel pretty miserable about it.  But now, I know better.  And so, instead of basing my deepest happiness & well-being on my husband or unborn children, I get my strength & healing from tapping into what I know to be the most powerful force of goodness & love & strength for all:  being at one with God.  That's a pretty tall order.  But it's available to me at ALL times, no matter what my circumstances are.  Until I was 30, I had no clue how to really do this.  It turns out that anything religious didn't really mean a whole lot to me before then.  But in a desperate state, I decided to give it a go & see what would happen.  I tried to feel that oneness every single day, and that's when the really, really deep & independent peace started.  And one of the best consequences of this?  Now having the sweetest marriage I could ever imagine.  :)
  •   When your real, deep peace is not dependent on your husband or kids, you remove that pressure from them to constantly satisfy you.  Know any moms or dads that hang their own personal happiness & well being around their children's necks and display deep inadequacy/disappointment/depression if their kids do not fulfill all their dreams of perfection?  Or, do you know any wives that are miserable because their husbands don't "fulfill" them in all the ways that they want to be fulfilled?  I see it all the time.  No matter how it's done, if someone is basing their own personal happiness on the behavior of another, no matter how much they think they love that person, they are actually not showing love at all.  Instead, they're loading on an unhealthy amount of  pressure, which can be felt for a lifetime.  I know way too many adults that sadly STILL feel inadequate or unsure of themselves, due to the pressure of their mothers or fathers.
I think applying these two above ideas to our lives is how we can develop what is called "unconditional love."  I know firsthand that there is NOTHING BETTER THAN THIS.  I learned how to love in this way and applied it to some of the most challenging experiences of my life.  I had never felt more powerful, happy, confident and well.  I am convinced it is the most important thing we could master in this life.  And learning to master this more & more everyday is truly the greatest endeavor of my life.

I would LOVE to hear what you all think about this....and I'd especially love to hear if anyone has seen these principles working in their lives or in their marriages.

-MK

P.S.  If you ever get the opportunity to attend a huge concert in the Great Lawn in Central Park, just do it.  We saw the Black Eyed Peas on Friday night and despite not even being fans of the group AND despite the rain, there was something just awesome about being in that park with 60,000 people.  
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