30 July 2012

Girl Talk

Here's a little post I wrote for Babble...mostly cause it's something most people don't seem to talk about...how women might be ruining their own sex lives. 

(1928 Photo by Edward Steichen, via Liebemarlene)
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
(We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club
(Discussion about Man's Search for Meaning starts this Wed., Aug. 1.  Buy the book here.)
Babble Voices &
The Equals Record

27 July 2012

Launching...An On-line Book Club. Let's Read Some Great Books Together

There are so many books I want to read!  I feel like this stack of books is next to my bed.

Though it seems that since I've been in New York, my days have been so packed with other endeavors that (shamefully), reading often doesn't make the cut.  On the other hand, Danny has read about 100 books in the last year.  He reads in bed every night while I get cozy next to him.

Well, it's time to dive in to reading more books...because we just started an official Book Club for A BLOG ABOUT LOVE.  Yes, it's on!  And we promise the books will be awesome.  The first book is one of our lifetime favorites.....Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.  It's a short read, but life-changing, I tell you!

Amazon Prime that thing to your door, because the book club discussion will commence on AUGUST 1!  So go find yourself a beach.  Or a bubble bath.  Or a hammock (ahhh!) And join us for this end of summer greatness.

The Book Club discussion will take place over on a separate Book Club Facebook Page, so join in there.  We plan on the discussion being awesome.  :)  For one, you readers are some of the most insightful around (we go nuts over your comments and emails every day.)  Also, Danny and I will chime in AND one of our favorite women ever will be on board, too....her name is Lisa Riley.  She's one of our fantastic readers and...she's a book club extraordinaire (!).  So much so that she is helping us launch this project and wants to help us make it awesome.  We couldn't be more grateful to have her on board.  

Have a fantastic Olympics weekend, friends.


Danny & Mara

P.S.  We have some ideas for the next book, but if you have suggestions for the future, we'd LOVE to hear. 

(Awesome art exhibit by Adam Bateman, an old friend from Brooklyn)

Update:  I reread this post the day after publishing it.  And I see that I used the word "awesome" (4) times.  Oh dearie.  And now I'm hiding behind the stack of books.  That's the life of being a blogger.  :)

Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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ABAL Book Club
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26 July 2012

Unplug Me Now

Are you guys talking about this...unplugging?

I hope so.  Even the execs at Google and Facebook are talking about it (Silicon Valley Says Step Away From the Device - NY Times.)

Danny and I certainly talk about it.  Since we started the blog, we have become more and more active on-line, of course.  And it's WONDERFUL to be able to do this - to blog.  But with that also comes the desire to be plugged in at all times.  I'll admit that it's a huge struggle to walk away, to read a book, to stop and go on an outing, to fit in time with friends, etc.  We are constantly trying to fit more into the day.  And failing at it.

Many top execs. have said they are concerned about the lure of constant on-line stimulation - and that it can cause a profound physical craving that can hurt productivity and personal interactions.  So true, right?

An exec. at Facebook full out says to "Log-off once in awhile and put down [the device]."  And Google has started a "mindfulness" movement at the company to teach employees self-awareness and improve their ability to focus.

Guys, we all need to do this.  Let's all develop our own Mindfulness Movement to help us unplug and have more togetherness with those we love.

A few strategies I'm working on:

-Staying off-line on the weekends (as much as possible.)
(This works, you guys!  I'm telling you.  Really staying away from the phone and computer for a longer period of time seems to slow down my "need" to check everything.)

-Staying off-line in the evenings (as much as possible.)
(This is going to be a new effort for me.  And a hard one.  I write my brains out in the evenings.  And I'm going to try and do that earlier in the day.  We'll see how that goes.  Today I had a goal to be done by 5:00 pm.  It is 5:04 as I write this.  :)  :)

-Continuing my daily walks
(This is the best focus / recharge I know of.)

-Lots of cuddling/chatting/hugging/dining/hand-holding with Danny
(This one's my favorite.  :) :)

What is your strategy?

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25 July 2012

Underground New York

A few photos from around New York..........

 These cheap bags usually found at dollar stores are the best beach bags ever.  These were on 7th Avenue in Park Slope.

Here's our subway stop.  We've spent lots of time here over the years :)
 Heading into the city.

The cute old lady that lives here tends to her garden day and night.  She just painted that door!

This is what happens when you want to walk home from church and all you have is heels and a lucky pair of sacrificial socks in your hand bag.  I had never walked in New York in socks before.  Eww.  The thought of it is so gross.  But, well... it actually wasn't so bad...
I just love how homegrown Brooklyn is  :)

Have you guys had any crazy New York experiences?  Of course you have.  That's what's so cool about New York.

Recently when we were hanging out with friends, I revealed that when I was single, I kept getting invited to go dancing and um.....I don't dance.  I mean, really don't dance.  (I mean didn't :) :)  So I took a dancing class with a teacher who's sole endeavor was to teach people like me how to dance.  You know, at clubs and stuff.  Or wherever (cough, cough, Duck Beach.  Yes, I went there.  Heaven help.  For those who don't know, it's the Mormon spring break.) 

So I found the dance teacher on Craigslist.  I was slightly scared going to meet her (i.e. what if it was really a him?)  I left my fancy, polished desk at a hedge fund in Midtown, still with my pencil skirt on and headed to a building on 8th Avenue near the Theatre District.  Cash only.  Seedy.  But luckily it was packed with people.  This is where Broadway dancers rehearse and prepare for auditions in little studio rooms.  10 floors.  No elevator.  No AC.  Lots of sweat.  I could hear the Flamenco in one room, hip hop in another.  Dancers were walking with boomboxes up and down.  I'm telling you, "Fame - I'm Gonna Live Forever" was all I could think of.  It was definitely a slice of New York I had never experienced before.  I'm guessing the Wall Street analyst (still in his suit) who finished a class just before me felt the same way. 

My friends (& Danny) laughed their heads off when I told them about this.  "So did you learn some moves?"  They wanted to know.  Um, yeah.  I did.  And I wrote them down so I wouldn't forget.  One of them was called "Stirring the Pot".  lol.  They were dying.  They wanted to know how many were in the class and I told them it was just me (more laughter)  :)  Turns out she was so nice and reassuring that it felt like dance therapy.  Her favorite word was "fierce" and she kept telling me that my dance moves were fierce.  haha.  I'll take it.  

And then my friends told me about one of their crazy, underground New York experiences....The Moscow Cat Circus.  Yes, guys, a cat circus!  My friend said she couldn't stop laughing from the second it started because this cat came out in a remote control jeep and rode around on the stage.  Oh, I'm still laughing just thinking about it.  Sadly, the Cat Circus is no longer playing, but google provided a look at the glory days.

Have you done anything crazy cool in New York that was off the beaten path?
Oh man, do tell.  Danny and I would love to try them all.  

Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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24 July 2012

New Yorkers, Want More Closet Space?

Hey all, do you have some clothes you'd like to donate?  The Mormon congregation in Brooklyn has organized a community clothing drive as there are (4) charities in great need of clothes.  Drop-off your clothes at the blue building on Court St. & Union in Carroll Gardens on July 29, 29 or Aug. 4 from 10-4:30 pm (bins located just inside the door).

OR.....if you have a bunch of clothes and can't make it to the drop-off  - - - well, I have a big car in Brooklyn.  It was supposed to have (3) car seats in it by now but instead I use it for stuff like clothing drives.  So email me (mara[at]ablogaboutlove[dot]com) and let me put that thing to work  :)  And if you really want to get busy, on Aug. 4 there will be a huge effort to sort clothes and prepare them for delivery.  Me and my big car will be there.  It would be awesome to meet you.


P.S.  Tuesday night (tonight!) we have a class on-line at 8:30 pm ET.  It's called the "Language of Love" and it's all about how to speak more lovingly, how to be more vulnerable, and ultimately, how to really, really have a wonderful marriage (and life) by making the Language of Love a priority [REGISTER HERE.] 

 I love this class so much.  I love it because this is why my husband is the way he is.  It isn't by accident.  He is loving because he has dedicated his life to it.  And he really does aspire each day to master what he calls "The Language of Love"...and oh man, it really works.  It has made our marriage sweeter than I could imagine.  I couldn't be more grateful.


(Clothing Drive Announcement by Spencer Hansen of the Park Slope Mormon congregation, photo image by Domestic Architecture.)

Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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23 July 2012

Love for Colorado

Over the weekend, I thought a lot about Colorado....I wrote a little post about it here (on Babble).

Sending love & prayers to everyone involved.


p.s.  Sunday after church we had a vegetarian BBQ with some dear friends.  We dined in a garden behind a brownstone (the ultimate dream for every Brooklynite) and ate seasoned and grilled slices of zucchini, yellow squash, onions, sweet potato, mushroom, beets, & bell pepper.  Delicious.  I highly recommend it!

Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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20 July 2012

I Found My Bread for Life

So, I'm gluten-free (love!).  But I generally don't eat a lot of products that are just replacements for bread, cookies, pancakes, pizza dough, etc. (don't love!)  There are a few exceptions that are good, but mostly I don't eat starchy, gluten-free bread products...they aren't healthy & spike your blood sugar...and I don't like eating things with unrecognizable ingredients.

But then.... I saw this recipe for Paleo Bread by Elana's Pantry (I first saw the recipe when GOOP featured it here.)  The ingredients sounded so healthy:  Almond flour, coconut flour, flax seed meal, coconut oil, eggs, honey, baking soda, celtic sea salt, apple cider vinegar.  Ok, this is my kind of ingredients list.  Danny was suspicious as I just bought my very expensive almond flour and coconut flour.  But then the almondy, coconutty bread smelled sooo tasty while cooking.  We've been so happy eating thin slices of this very moist, delicious bread in the last 24 hours that it's almost gone.  (I can tell you that it's amazing with pastrami.)  This bread will definitely be a new regular at the Kofoeds.  (I just ordered myself a bulk 5 lb bag of almond flour here and can't wait to try out more of Elana's almond flour recipes.)  Can you tell how excited I am?  This bread really made my week.  I still can't believe the smell of bread will actually get to reside in this house.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!



(Photo by GOOP)

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19 July 2012

Being the Second Spouse (Or Boyfriend/Girlfriend)

the second spouse

When I got divorced, I wondered a lot about what it would be like for the guys that I would date.  How would they respond to the fact that I had been married before?  Would they be ok with it?  Would they be uncomfortable or insecure?  Would they be comfortable in my home, the home that I had lived for many years with my former spouse?  Would they want to live here?  Would they want me to sell my silverware, throw out things that I loved, or replace my furniture?

Danny thought the same thing when he realized his marriage was ending.

We both owned condos in Boston and New York.  And 2008/2009 wasn't exactly a good time to sell. 

Well, I dated several really great guys.  And I think a lot of them were a little uncomfortable with my life here in Brooklyn - since it previously involved another husband.

One guy had suggested that if we got married, he would probably want to sell my place immediately and move to Manhattan - to just have a fresh start somewhere together.  Another guy was really quite uncomfortable even spending time in my apartment or with my Brooklyn friends, as if the ghost of my previous husband was lurking here & there.  :)

Well, I really loved my friends in Brooklyn.  And I really loved my ward (congregation) here in Brooklyn.  And so while I could see that someone might be uncomfortable here, part of me also thought it was silly for someone to have to ease those concerns by walking away from a great neighborhood, selling a home during a down market, selling perfectly good furniture and belongings, only to have to buy it all again.

the second spouse

And then I met Danny.  This guy - oh man - he came to my apartment and just fell in love with the place.  He loved everything here and just felt at home here right away (it also looked very much like his condo in Boston, which was a fun surprise.)  I took him to meet friends and he just fell in love with them - never once held back - but just reached out to them with friendship.  I took him around my neighborhood to all my favorite places.  I took him to church and he just was thrilled to be there, thrilled to meet all these people that I had grown to love so much over the years.  Never once did he think, "Crap.  Her ex-husband used to live here.  I don't belong here."

And, it turns out that I felt the same way when visiting Danny in Boston (we traded off weekends while we dated.)  I immediately just had love for all his Boston friends.  They had been so good to him during his time of need and so I just felt so grateful for them.  I loved being in Danny's home.  It was just a place where he resided and that meant that it was full of the good energy that he exuded.  It didn't bother me that he once shared that furniture with his wife.  It didn't bother me that he once sat at the kitchen table and shared a meal with her.  I would have moved to Boston in a heartbeat if that was going to be best for us.  But early on, Danny thought it would be great to move to New York.  One day while at Pier Park, near his home in East Boston, he just said, "You know I'm moving to New York when we get married, right?"  And that was that.  Of course I squealed and jumped and smiled and said, "Really? :) :) :)."  I just couldn't believe that he was always so open and transparent about his intentions for us and his intention to be my husband.  (Yes, I'm getting distracted here as that's really a part of our 'Love Story'.  :)  Do you guys miss it?  I'll admit, I do.  Haha.  We have more letters coming very soon.  Stay tuned. :)

Alright, here are a few tips I can pass along for anyone who may be the "second spouse" or may be dating someone who has been married before...because while I think it's very common and normal for people to be uncomfortable with their partner's former marriages, I think there's a better way to live.  :) I've felt what that empowerment feels like and I can tell you that it's totally worth shooting for.  It will lead to more peace with yourself and your relationship, more love for your partner's life, and hopefully it will even save some good looking dishes, a comfy couch, some handy Christmas decorations, a lifetime music collection, good bottles of cologne or perfume, great recipes and meals from past home cooking, and visits to your favorite restaurants and places. 

1.  Try to feel grateful for the past experiences your partner has had.  Hopefully he/she has been able to learn a lot from the experience and has become a better person because of it.  And if you do admire your partner's qualities (which I hope you do! :), realize that those qualities are usually due to all their combined experiences, good and bad.

2.  Realize that feelings of jealousy, fear, or insecurity only harm your current relationship.  They literally clog the flow of love, openness, goodness and trust between the two of you.  If you recognize some of those insecurities in yourself, it's totally worth it to address it and figure out why.  (Do you fear your partner compares you to his former spouse?  Do you feel inadequate?  Do you worry that your partner still has romantic feelings for his/her former spouse?  Do you feel insecure about your partner's feelings towards you?  Do you not trust your partner?)  Use this situation as an opportunity to address any underlying insecurities or fears or to face important conversations with your partner or with a counselor.  I think it's so important to address this stuff if you want to have a healthy and stable relationship.

3.  It's totally ok to replace items for your new home together, but...think about why you want to replace the items.  Is it because you have a different aesthetic?  Or is it out of jealousy or insecurity on your part?  It's kinda crazy how little things like this can pin us in a corner and we can't deny that something deep down doesn't feel right.  But - I say be glad for those uncomfortable feelings....as they remind us to dig a little deeper to see if we can resolve things. 

What do you guys think?  Do you have a different perspective on this?  Or do you have any other tips to add for someone in this situation?  

(Photos by Blonde Episodes and Classy in the City.  How cute are those hats?)

Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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17 July 2012

Wed. PM 'Class About Love': ~Get Yourself Some Self-Worth~

Hello dear readers - -

It's time for our next class!  Today, Wed. PM (as in July 18) at 8:30 pm, we will host our class on our amazing on-line platform (same one as the Alt Summit classes.)

This class is all about how to get some SELF-WORTH.  I talk about this so much on the blog...and well, it's because getting self-worth (the REAL kind - the kind that will last through all kinds of crap) will change your life completely!!!!  And I mean - - in your relationships, while dating, in your marriage, at work with bosses and colleagues, as a mother or father, as a member of your crazy (or not-so-crazy) family, as you face your trials, as you experience failures & disappointments, and as you stare yourself in the mirror everyday (or in store windows, or in the glare from your i-phone, or on instagram.)  Who doesn't want to feel good about who they are, what they look like, and who they have the potential to be.  We'll teach you every bit we can about how to start feeling your worth...and it's practical stuff you can turn back to time and time again, as needed.  (Danny also prepared a huge pack of notes for all our attendees.)



Mara & Danny

(Photo by Creature Comforts)

Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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Choose Your Hard

(We received this beautiful letter from a reader and with her permission, wanted to share it with you.  Since making changes in life really can be hard, we loved her insight about choosing which "hard" you want to experience.  SO good.  THANKS, MARINA!)

Dear Danny & Mara,

I wanted to share a little bit about what I have learned about forgiving.  This has not been an easy thing for me.  I grew up with a mother who had suffered an abusive and neglected childhood.   My whole life I struggled to feel loved by her, and even though I knew that she had shut off her emotions in order to deal with her difficulties (which continued into her adult life) I didn’t know how to forgive her for the way she treated me.

I went to my brother-in-law who was raised by abusive, alcoholic parents and yet radiated peace, joy, love and forgiveness.  If anyone could help me, he could.  He told me that I had to tell the truth about the situation and quit wanting things to be different.  He challenged me to love my mom without expectations, to quit worrying about how she treated me and to focus on how well I loved her.  I wrote a list of all the ways I could show her that I loved her.  I had written a long list in my heart of all the things that she had done to hurt me and I had to throw that list away and focus solely on my new list.  I started working my way down the list of things I could do to love her.  When she did or said something hurtful I went back to my list and my intention to love her regardless of how she acted towards me.

After about three months, she came to me and said that I had changed, that she had always felt that she was walking on eggshells with me, but that now she felt relaxed around me.  I had prayed for a change of heart towards her for years, but it was making the decision to actively love her no matter what that changed my heart for good.  We have a very sweet relationship now and when she needs someone safe to talk to she calls me.

This experience has made forgiving easier for me (like that muscle memory you talked about in class), but it is still hard sometimes.  I was in another difficult situation where my Bishop wasn't helping my son in the way I thought he should.  I won’t go into details here, but my son was very vulnerable at the time, going through chemotherapy for cancer and dealing with some difficult issues in our family and with friends.  I felt so protective of my son and yet wanted to show respect for the Bishop, too, even though I felt strongly that he was in the wrong.

I went back to my brother-in-law for help again. (He is wise and giving.)  He asked me how hard it had been for me to feel these difficult feelings.  I expressed how hard it had been.  I knew that I would feel so much better if I could release the anger and resentment that I was feeling but I was deeply struggling with it.  He then asked me how hard it would be to release my negative feelings right then.  I said that would be extremely hard.  Then he said something that instantly helped me begin the shift.

He said, “Choose your hard.”

Oh, that’s right.  I had a choice, and since both of them were hard why wouldn’t I choose the better way?  I humbled myself, owned my feelings, and went to talk to the Bishop with a kind, understanding attitude.  My Bishop responded to me positively and my son was the beneficiary of that exchange.

I know that things don’t always work out as positively as the two situations I have shared, but I have found that when I have love in my heart, miracles often happen.  Both of you embody that trait.  Thank you again for all you are doing to bless the lives of so many, including mine and the people that I love.


(photo via The Constant Buzz)

Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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Our Summer Must Have

So, Danny has been telling me about these chairs that he loves.  They're chairs to take to the park, camping, etc.  We are major park goers around here.  And so I couldn't be happier that he ordered us these chairs.

Last night was our first chance to try them out.  We headed into listen to the NY Philharmonic perform in Central Park.

They are as light as feather.  (We hang them on our coat rack at home).

They fold flat.

You can ROCK back in forth in them, people.

I couldn't believe how comfortable they are.

AND, they're affordable. 

The concert went until way after 10:00 pm.  By the time the finale fireworks show started, I saw couples sitting back to back on their blankets as they were so uncomfortable.  But not us.  We were lounging and rocking and loving our seats like two little dorks.  The people sitting next to us told us they were jealous.

What are your summer must haves?  (I always love a good recommendation!)

Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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16 July 2012

My Visit to The West

We just returned from the West.  This trip renewed my soul.

I had some moments that took my breath away, ones that made my heart just feel alive.  They brought tears to my eyes then and do so now as I think of them.

One was while sitting at my friend's kitchen table in Salt Lake City with two dear friends (S and A).  They are more like family to me.  They both now live in Salt Lake but previously lived in Brooklyn for many years, and it feels as though we grew up together here.  I go so far back with these women that we knew each other before any of us had kitchen tables.  Among the three of us, we've experienced 6 Brooklyn renovations, 2 divorces, 4 husbands, 1 apartment fire, 1 east coast black out, 1 Brooklyn home squatter that wouldn't leave for 9 months, probably 7 trips to the tow yard, 1 stolen car, the births of 3 dear children, 1 dog, 1 cruise, and more road trips and rooftop picnics in Brooklyn than we can count.  We have had extraordinary experiences together.  Ones that have changed us forever.  I sat at that table and just cried as I felt the richness of friendship and life and what we've all experienced.  It truly is extraordinary.

The next day I hiked the Y Mountain in Provo while Danny was at a conference.  I had never done it before (I'd only been to Provo once before as a teenager) but headed up at 2:00 pm regardless of the hot sun.  The views were breathtaking and the air so quiet.

At the top I saw a father and son as we both took in the view.  He asked what I do (I tell ya, it's been a unique experience telling people that I'm a blogger :).  But he knew all about blogging.  He was friends with Stephanie Nielsen and Courtney Kendrick and was friends with Gabrielle Blair's brother-in-law. As we got to talking, he was very curious what it was like to share so many personal details on line.  He wondered what that might be like for Danny and I and our own marriage.  Well, it was then that I told him why Danny and I had anything to share about love at all.  I told him a bit about our experiences and why it is that we have learned what we have...and how that all led to the two of us being together (see the first email from our 'Love Story' series here).  I told him that we're so grateful for it all that now we're doing all we can to give back.  And I cried.  Right then and there, with this beautiful view just sweeping me away, the soil under my feet and the beauty of the earth and beauty of my life, I just cried as I told this kind stranger what it has been like for Danny and I to have a blog.  He thanked me for sharing.  And then a storm swept in.  I said good bye and ran down with rain on my face, cool air all around me, the sound of thunder and the smell of rain and wet soil.  My soul just wept with gratitude.

It is my hope that we all will have moments that tap our souls and make us feel something - something that is greater than life.  Seek after these moments.  See the beauty in your life.  It is all around you.

Have you had any of these moments recently?  If you feel so inclined, I'd love to hear.

Much love to you all today.


P.S.  I'm driving in a cab home from JFK.  My legs are sore from hiking.  :)  Blogging, a Brooklyn Cyclones game and fireworks at Coney Island, some walks with our readers, a NY Philharmonic concert in Central Park, hiking at the Adirondacks, picnics with friends, bike rides with Danny, the Olympics, and some beach days await us.  I'm so excited to have many days of summer left.  I want to savor every single one of them.

Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
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11 July 2012

When Your Man Notices Another Woman

Have you ever been jealous or upset because your husband notices beautiful women?

Today's post is inspired by a question from a reader.......

"As a woman, I feel that I only have eyes for my husband.  But learning about him, I have realized that for men it is difficult for them to not look at someone beautiful.  I'm not saying my husband is constantly looking at other women.  But, it is hurtful when I notice him "check out" another girl, even if only for a moment.  Sometimes it's difficult for me to accept that we will continue to be attracted to other people, even though we are true and faithful to one another and totally in love.  I think that's not really fair of me to expect him to ignore all other women and...
-I struggle to not feel hurt when I see him look at a girl in a short skirt.
-How do you cope with these issues?
-How can you learn to be more trusting and understanding of your husband, as his brain sees things differently?"

GREAT question!  Have you experienced this before?  I sure have.

I've been very open about the fact that back in the day I had no self-worth.  Yes, I was in a less than desirable circumstance.  But I also was not facing the situation with any amount of strength or wisdom or worth.  So you can bet I felt a sting of worthlessness if the man I was with noticed a hot woman.  I felt hurt.  I would certainly feel less than desirable.  I would feel like I wasn't "enough" and at the heart of it, I feared that the man would so much rather have sex or "be" with a hot woman than with me.

But I learned to overcome it many years ago, while in the thick of it.  And now, well, it's something that doesn't even cross my mind.  Here are some suggestions for facing this issue (these are things I did personally).  Maybe something here will resonate with you.  By the way, I realize others certainly may feel differently about this subject.  I am hoping other people will weigh in here!

1.  Realize that it's totally normal if someone - man or woman - notices or appreciates the beauty of another human being.
Yep.  I think it's just human nature!  Girls notice guys and girls.  Guys do the same.  I don't feel threatened by it.  Instead of taking it personally; instead of worrying that I'm not good enough or hot enough or desirable enough; instead of thinking the worst...(like he would rather have sex with another woman instead of me.  ha!)... I just think to myself that it's pretty normal for us all to notice attractive human beings.

2.  Deliberately learn to not compare yourself to others. 
If a woman already was not feeling like she measured up or was feeling frumpy, unattractive, not desirable or good enough, not sexy enough, etc., then it seems those feelings would just be pronounced if her man noticed a beautiful woman.  I recommend celebrating the beauty that you already have - daily.  Don't rely on anyone else to make you feel good.  Take charge of that part of this equation.  Take care of yourself physically and mentally.  And as part of that effort, learn to not compare your own features to others.  Learn how to be grateful for your own body and your own beauty.  It will free you tremendously.  If this is a tough thing for you, know that you can overcome this.  It's soooo worth working towards.  (I wrote about this topic in more detail here.)

3.  Develop some self worth.
This is KEY (with everything, really!)  When you have it, you won't have a tendency to take the actions of others personally.  When you really cultivate it for yourself, your worth is not dependent on someone else (I wrote a post about that here), or on your own looks for that matter (that some people seem to hit the genetic jackpot certainly is not indicative of their worth or anyone else's).   So, if your man notices someone else, your heart doesn't have to sink.  You can hold your head high.  You can know how wonderful you are and that you have SO much to offer.

4.  Realize a stranger on the street doesn't have what you have with your partner: Marriage.  A ring.  Companionship.  Partnership.  
YOU are your spouse's partner.  No one else has that role.  So relish that role and own it.  Honor your husband often for being your partner; for choosing you; for being faithful to you.  Grab your husband's arm and give him a smile and act like you're his woman.

5.  Realize that a person's actions say more about them than it does about you.
Now, glancing and noticing a beautiful person is one thing.  Habitually gawking with no limits, having no sense of control or respect whatsoever, going way out of one's way to ignore your spouse and noticeably stare at another person...well, to me, that's different.  I'd say that's inappropriate and disrespectful to everyone involved (including any children in the family who may be noticing this behavior).  Sorry to be so blunt but someone like that is not a gentleman, not mature, and is showing no respect to women or themselves.  But - would I feel hurt in a situation like that?  No.  Self worth actually makes it possible to not take crap like that personally.  Instead, I would actually just feel sorry for the person as they clearly are making a fool of themselves.


I wish anyone facing this issue all the best!  I know it can get better.  I'm living proof!

But let's get this discussion started.  Have you been in a situation like this?  Would you have a different answer for this reader?  Thanks for adding any input!

Much love,


(Photo by Howard Socherek)

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10 July 2012

Danny's Prayer for Me

"Please bless my dear wife.

Bless her to feel like a mother in her heart, in her soul, in her bones, in her mind, in her womb, and in the words that she speaks."

Oh, that man makes my heart just feel so big.

When we got married, we knew that getting pregnant would be a miracle and so we never stopped it from happening.  That means I've listened to beautiful prayers like this for the last two years.  And every single word of them has meant the world to me.

We had set July as our last month to try naturally before IVF.  We have been hoping for a miracle.

But.....that miracle won't be happening.  

Last night I had a few tears.  It was my turn to pray.  I started.  I choked.  Danny cozied me tight.  And then and there I decided to focus on gratitude.  I had gratitude for each other.  Gratitude for our lives.  Gratitude for all of our beautiful experiences - each and every one.  Gratitude for our families.  Gratitude for our sweet marriage.  Gratitude for all the joy that we get to experience  - so much of it!  Gratitude for the ability to love and to be nourished by it.  Gratitude for all the experiences that we have ahead.  Gratitude for the courage and bravery I will be trying to develop as we face the next steps.  Gratitude for all the women and men that have gone before us.  Gratitude for all of you wonderful people and the beautiful experience it has been to connect with you here.  

I was smiling before our prayer was done.  My heart was full.  Life felt so good.  I am telling you, gratitude is like a drug.  It's amazing to me how quickly it lifts any weight that I feel.  It cultivates something so real and deep, even when the feeling of joy or beauty could have been non-existent moments before.  Does this work for you, too?  Next time you're feeling blue, try it!


I love you all.  Thank you for being in our lives.  Thank you for your own lives and journeys and for all the wisdom and love that you share back with us. 

AND - Thank you for helping to share the positive message of this blog with so many!  We hear from dozens of your friends and family who are now new readers and have said the blog is helping them so much.  We're amazed every day.  I know this stuff I write about has all helped me....but writing it out & trying to be a tech person (when I couldn't be further from it) is another story.  So this really is a miracle that people's lives, marriages, motherhoods, & families are somehow being reached and uplifted.  Thank you for all you've done to help us as we bust our tails on the other end.  Want to do something more to help?  We now have a Facebook fan page!  We'd love for you to "like" us, if that suits your fancy.  :) :) :) :)  Thanks a million in advance for helping us spread some positive words & supporting this effort.  

[Also, I just posted more photos from Brazil on our Facebook page.  Enjoy!]  

P.S.  Thanks to beautifullymodest.com for providing the red dress for the Manaus Temple dedication!

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07 July 2012

What My Family Thinks About My Blog

Hello Dear Readers -

I'm with my family right now in Arizona.

And well..........my family reads my blog.  I wouldn't mind if they didn't.  But they do, and it's quite sweet (I'm just still amazed to have anyone read it.  :)

I knew my Mom & Dad would be excited about the blog.  They're always so supportive of anything I do.  But I thought some of my siblings might think I was crazy to be a blogger.  My family isn't always so warm and fuzzy.  We tend to speak our minds and there's usually lots of opinions in the mix on all things related to politics, business, religion, economics, education, etc.  I figured having this blog could possibly be a source of ridicule (You're doing WHAT full-time?  For free?  You're sharing all that on-line when you could be working?)

But.....well......they love the blog.  

One sister was talking about it and I said, "So what other blogs do you read?"  I figured she'd be more in the know than me when it came to other blogs.  She said, "Yours.  Yours is the only blog I read.  pshhh - I don't have time to read anyone else's blog."  I felt quite honored to think that my busy sister, who's a mom of three, made time to read my blog.

And then, my brother, George, was excited to hear about our classes.  He seemed very impressed that we were doing that.  But he said, "You guys HAVE to provide something that's recorded, for the people that can't make it to the live class."  I know, guys.  We will be working on that soon.  Big brother is after me on that.  I'm just thrilled he likes the idea.

And, my sister-in-law, Dominique - well, she's one of my favorite fans.  It really means a ton to have her support.  Like some of my sisters, I thought it would be hard to win her over.  But she's crazy about the thing.  She has a blog, too, and surprised me with this amazing post, "What My Husband's Kid Sister Taught Me About Love."  I couldn't believe it.


P.S.  I'm being a terrible blogger.  No pictures from my trip.  Sorry about that!

(Photo from Style Wonderland.)

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05 July 2012

I Didn't Used to Know if I Believed in God...

This topic tormented me my whole life.  I just didn't know.  And I wanted to know.

But then I got really desperate for some hope and healing.  And so I thought I'd give God's way a try (100%) to see what would happen (yes, I was that desperate that I was willing to go out on a limb like that.)  And well, it worked.  I was shocked, actually.  As skeptical as I was, it really, really worked.  I found myself doing things that I never thought were possible.  

(This is a short video of a father who lost most of his family in a car accident.  The outcome is miraculous.  I get what he's talking about now.)

Do you believe in God?  Or a higher power?  What guides your life?  I'd so love to hear. 

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03 July 2012

Happy 4th of July!

This year I'll be out West for the 4th of July, but this is what 4th of July normally looks like in Brooklyn.....

(for the best tacos ever, followed by fresh watermelon juice & the best horchata we've ever had.)
 (photo by Jamie Beck)
(as seen from a rooftop on Court Street)

What will you be up to this 4th of July?

Hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday!
xo,  Mara
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