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What My Vitamix Blender Has Taught Me About Love

I have a new addiction in my life. It’s a Vitamix blender. On our recent trip to Texas, we picked one up and since we returned, I have been using it 2-3 times a day. It is truly a glorious thing. You can even make soup in it. Blend for 10 minutes, and it is steaming hot!

My daughter is wholly on board with the new toy too. Every morning, she says to me, “Can I have a smoothie for lunch?” Of course I say yes, because it gives me another opportunity to indulge in my addiction. That, and the fact that she now – very happily – skips off to school to eat a staggering conglomeration of fruits and veggies without a whimper of protest. The amount of spinach that child has consumed is nothing short of a miracle.

But here is what my Vitamix has taught me. One of my passions, one of my “causes” in life is healthy living. This stems back to the fact that I became a cancer orphan at 21, my aunt is a breast-cancer survivor, my sister has had pre-cancerous cells and my daughter was diagnosed with Severe Chronic Neutropenia at 13 months. Pretty grim.

However, I have also realized that my cause stems from a deep desire to love my family. As Bell Hooks says, “To begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner automatically assumes accountability and responsibility.”

I crazy love my family. I truly believe my husband to be the most amazing man and my daughter to be the most fascinating girl on the face of the planet. But loving them entails taking care of myself. When I choose to put down the candy bar and replace it with an apple, it is not because I am trying to look like Jennifer Garner (although she is gorgeous and there are days when I would really like to look like her), but it is because what I put in my body is my act of love for Eric and Riley. It extends far beyond speaking love and becomes doing love.

It says, “I choose to do all I can do to make it to your wedding and to the birth of your children.” It says, “I choose to sacrifice that candy bar so that I have more energy for you.” It says, “I choose to eat well so that my brain functions better…and I am thereby more patient, kind and compassionate with you.” It says, “Even though I would really like to go on a binge, I choose you instead.”

Some days, I do better than others. But that’s ok. Because it not about expecting perfection of myself, it is about choosing the journey.

Bikinis for 7 year olds!?!?

I am the mother of a six-year-old and despite the subject matter that I speak about, write about and research for my day job, we are extremely conservative at home. Just the other day, my daughter chastised me for using the “D” word. It’s probably not what you think…I had commented that something was “dumb”.  And, for the record, the word “stupid” might as well be cussing in our household.

 

When it comes to my own profession, I also realize the prudence in speaking openly about sexual questions that come up. A few have with Riley…although not as many as I was expecting by this age. When she does broach the subject, I ask for clarity on what it is she is trying to learn and why, so that I can answer the question simply and truthfully but not answer too much. (There’s the old joke of the Dad who went into a lengthy explanation about sex to his child who asked “what’s sex”, only to find out that the child had been told by his mother that “dinner would be ready in a few “secs”.) I try to balance healthy candor about the subject of sexuality with the fact that we hold pretty conservative values as a family.

 

So, I was horrified to learn that Abercrombie & Fitch has just marketed a bikini for 7-year-old girls with a PUSH UP TOP.

Really????  Seriously!?!  Are you kidding me!!???

 

We are facing an epidemic of little girls growing up believing that their bodies are inadequate because of the ridiculous amount of media pressure to be a perpetual size 0, and yet they want to send a message to our 7-year-olds that their pre-pubescent chests are inadequate? It’s ludicrous.

 

But, as CNN’s LZ Granderson points out, companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch would not sell such items if there were not parents who buy them. Companies have increasingly pushed the boundaries on what is and what is not appropriate for teens and children for years, and have been allowed a ridiculous amount of latitude from parents. As parents, it is our duty to make sure that our children wear items that reflect a healthy amount of self-respect rather than just what is the latest fashion. As Granderson says,

 

I don’t care how popular Lil’ Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn’t always makes me popular — and the house does get tense from time to time — but I’m his father, not his friend.

Thank you, LZ for making the point that is so often lost on my peers. We did not give birth to children so that we could have life-long buddies. When we chose to produce off-spring, we were making a decision to train these little beings how to love themselves and how love others. Decisions that fall within these parameters do not necessarily make us popular with our children, but they do make us good parents.

 

Because of my job, I get asked all the time how to talk to kids about sex.  There are lots of opinions on that subject – when to start, how much to share, what’s age appropriate information.  But I don’t even have to broach any of those points to get to the basic premise here: Talking to your kids about sex includes how you let them dress – or how you choose to dress them.

 

That’s my take-away for this blog post.  But in the interest of fairness, I should say that Abercrombie & Fitch have agreed to remove the term “push up” from the title in favour of the less incendiary “striped triangle”, but have continued selling the padded bikinis.

 

What are you thoughts?

Happy Birthday to Me

When one of our friends was in his twenties and his son Adam was just three, his son saw him step out of the shower.

“Dad, when I get older, will my penis get bigger?”

“Sure, son.  It will.”

“Is mine going to be as big as yours when I am your age?”

The dad felt both awkward and amused by the question.

“Well, probably yeah.”

His son thought about that for a minute, and then with eyes getting wider by the moment said, “that means that when I am forty, it’ll be HUGE!!”

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Aging is just a matter of perspective. Many people dread adding candles to their birthday cakes, but this little boy could only think of the benefits of getting older. And, in such boy-like fashion too!

Today is my birthday.

I love my birthday. Not because I look forward to the gifts, or phone calls or Facebook messages – although those are wonderful and if you are sending them to me, keep ’em coming!

I love my birthday for two reasons. The first is out of sheer competitiveness. I am trying to beat my parents. You see, my mom died when she was 46 and my father died when he was 51. Neither of them lived for very long. I very simply want to outlast them. (I am hearing Billy Joel’s song Only the Good Die Young as I type this. What that says about my desire to be “good”, I will refrain from commenting on.)

But the second reason that I love my birthday is that every year, I have accumulated more knowledge, more understanding and hopefully more wisdom. The person who I am today is happier, has a deeper sense of self, has helped more people, is more comfortable with the body God gave me, has grown in courage, has learned more from mistakes and has had more adventures than the “me” of last year. I know “me” better. I like “me” better. I can’t wait to see who “me” is at the end of each year. I have to admit that, looking forward, the idea of turning 50 just thrills me to no end!

Why do I blog about turning older on a website which is devoted to passion, love and intimacy? Because I know – from personal experience as well watching the lives of the my clients – that when you are excited about getting better with each year, your sex life gets better too. There is a direct correlation between becoming more comfortable in your own skin and getting better at sex. Why? Because sex is one of the ways we express who we are on the deepest of levels. Our wants, our desires, our proclivities – they all emanate from a place of who we are. And the more we know and understand that, the better we will be able to express it in a truly authentic way. Trust me, when you get there, it is an amazing place to be.

I find that most people who are afraid of turning older feel that they have something missing in their lives. There is something that they want to do which has not yet materialized. Perhaps it is a relationship that they are seeking. Perhaps it is career they have always wanted which has not turned out as planned. Perhaps they don’t even know – they just wander around with a vague sense of aimlessness in life. For those people, the thought of years rolling by is terrifying.

But if you are actively searching for the very best you that you can find, when you are taking the time to listen to that inner voice that acts as your compass to direct you to the reason you were put on this earth and then go after it, the years merely become a companion as you pursue what you were destined to do.

We have another friend who is 62. He was recently asked what he was going to do with his “last 18 summers”. The question was so jarring to him that he spent hours thinking of his answer. And then he made some radical changes in his life.

Can you say that every year you get better? Do you like yourself more? How many summers do you have left? Are you doing what you were meant to do in this life?

If not, you have some work to do. But it will be worth it.

Today, I am going to begin my year by having a ridiculous amount of fun with family and friends.

And, my husband turns forty this year. So, thanks to Adam’s perspective, I have that to look forward to too!

NEW – Guest Writers for erynfaye.com

Guest Writer Announcement

Socrates said that “An unexamined life is not worth living” and I couldn’t agree more. If we are not looking at what makes us think and behave the way we do, then we get mired down in patterns that are utterly predictable and, well, incredibly boring and tedious.

If I do nothing else on this website, I hope that I spark your interest in looking to see your lover in new ways and deepening your love and respect for each other.

One of the best ways to examine our own lives is by listening to the thoughts and perspectives of others. For nearly a year now, you have listened to what I have to say. Do not fear – I have no intentions of being quiet anytime soon. However, I have decided to invite guest writers to share their own ruminations on passion, love and intimacy. These guests come from various walks of life and all have thoroughly different perspectives, opinions and insights to share with you.

Some of these people are professional writers; others are not. Some of them will provide their own articles; others prefer an interview style. Some approach the subject with a clinical eye; others will share deeply personal stories.

Whatever format or voice they choose, remember this: it is through thoughtful discussion and discourse that we learn and grow.

Having said that, here is a suggestion for a “blogger date” with your spouse: When the guest posts come out, sit down and read the article together and then talk about the implications in your own love life. What strikes you as funny or odd or truly fantastic? Does the article seem out in left field or does it hit amazingly close to home? What can you incorporate in your own love life? What do you want to blush and laugh about?

Get ready to have your first blogger date on January 12th.

I am delighted to announce that my first guest writer will be Cumingirl from Christian Nymphos.

Cumingirl will be writing on Anal Sex in Marriage.

cumingirl

Cumingirl is a devoted wife and full time mom of two living in the USA.  She is one of the co-creators of www.christiannymphos.org.  Their website is considered by many to be groundbreaking in its ability to intertwine sex and the Christian faith.  The site was launched as a way to teach married women to walk in sexual freedom with their husbands.

High School Reunion: Glory Days

So tomorrow night I am going to my huband’s 20th high school reunion.  He went to high school in Texas, and so by state law (I assume) reunions are held on homecoming, which again by law, must coincide with a football game.  So, I am going to get all dressed up and go watch a high school football game with my husband while at the same time meeting everyone from his graduating class.

Now, just so we are all clear on the background here, I did not know Eric in high school.  We lived in different parts of the state (or different parts of the continent depending on what years of high school we are talking about).  I moved from Canada to Texas when I was a freshman (9th grade).  Eric lived his entire life in Texas.  So, aside from a few dear friends that I made and still keep in contact with, high school was not that great a time in my life.  I am very glad it is over.  Eric, on the other hand, loved every minute of high school.  High school was like a 4 year party for him.  He fully embraced the whole high school experience – played sports, did well in academics, had HUGE number of friends (and evidently a whole load of girlfriends too).  So going back to visit his old stomping grounds holds great attraction for him.  Going back to high school, any high school really, is a far less attractive concept for me.  Add to this the fact that we don’t even live in the country (much less the state or city) and I know NO ONE ELSE that will be attending, and well, I am freely admitting that I am going only because I love my husband and it will make him happy.

But this whole 20 year reunion thing has been making me think lately.  When we graduate from high school (whether we loved it or loathed it) we are always looking forward.  It is a new chapter in our life.  In many ways high school graduation is a rite of passage.  Some people go to college, some go into the working world, some get married – the possibilities are endless.  And that is what has gotten me thinking.  Endless possibilities faced us.  We could do anything we wanted.  We could chase our dreams.  Do you remember what your dreams were coming out of high school?  Did you have your future planned out?  Where did you see yourself in 10, 20, 30, 40 years?

Now fast forward.  How long has it been since you finished high school?  Have you accomplished everything that you thought you would?  Have you gone everywhere you wanted to go?  Did you marry the person you dreamed you would (or at least the kind of person you thought you would)?

Why or why not?  Were you dreaming the wrong dreams, or have you just not gotten around to chasing them yet?  Has life gotten in the way of what you wanted, or have your desires changed as you matured and grown?

If you did absolutely everything you wanted to do coming out of high school, then what did you do after it was all accomplished?  How did your ideas change?

Now, since I am a passion coach, think about your relationship.  Is it everything you wanted it to be?  Is the intimacy at the level you thought it would be?  Is the communication as strong as you wanted it to be?  Is your sex life as fulfilling as you dreamed it would be?

Have you ever sat down with your lover and talked about what your dreams and goals for each of these areas are?  Do you know what his/hers are?   Maybe the two of you should have your own intimate “reunion”.  Get a sitter, go out some place – like where you met – and talk about what your dreams were for the relationship when it started.  See where you are now compared with then.  And talk about how things have changed.  Talk about how time and maturity have changed you.  Talk about what your goals and dreams are now, and how you can reach them together.  Get back to that place of infinite possibility and re-create your future together.

Trust me, it will be WAY more fun than reliving your spouse’s glory days with a bunch of people you don’t know.  I kid, I kid.  I love you husband and I can’t wait to find out more about the man I love and who he was a teenager!  Though, I am pretty sure that I am more impressed with who you are today than who you were then!!

Top Ten Technology Flirts

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Yesterday was a crazy day. You know the type where you have to carry a colour-coded schedule just to make it through the day without doing something foolish like, well, forgetting your kid at school??? (Don’t laugh too hard. We did that earlier this week) It was bonkers. Eric and I were flying in different directions, Riley had places to be and needs to be met. We ended the day flopped on the bed together, eating pizza and watching a kid’s movie about enchanted princesses and undying love.

After we put Riley to bed, Eric and I ventured downstairs with ambitious plans to work some more. This is one of the significant pitfalls of working from home. The lines between work and home life get completely blurred and it becomes exceedingly easy to work all the time. There is no such thing as a 9-5 work schedule. That could be a blog post in and of its own!

But on this occasion, we were just too tired to work. Instead, we ended up sitting right next to each other with our computers out. Then we found each other on Facebook. And we starting flirting. Outrageously. Which led to hearty laughter. Then our friends and family started to chime in on the discussion and we giggled even more. At last count, we were up to 32 comments and one “like”. I’m not sure what the record for comments on Facebook is – I am sure that we fell far short of that record – but that was a lot for us!

This interaction led me to think: who is your spouse flirting with on Facebook today? If it’s not you, there is a problem. This is a skill set you might want to pick up.

Realizing that this is a significant issue, I consulted one of my techy guru friends for his hottest tips on ways to use technology to flirt with your spouse.  Around here we call him JDog.  I think you’ll find him to be as refreshing and enlightening as we do.

J-Dog’s Top Ten List:

J-Dog’s Note: Ok, so Eryn-Faye asked me to come up with ten ways to flirt using technology, and I thought, “Oh, that’s easy!” Turns out that with the steady march of this thing we call ‘convergence’, the lines between various technologies are becoming less and less clear. Some of these suggestions will obviously cross over to others, and some won’t as much. The one commonality should be creativity – as long as you can think of something fun and creative to say to your lover, the technology can help you convey that message. I managed to come up with ten, although the last one is illegal, so don’t do it, ok?

Also, I’ll add the standard disclaimer that I’m a guy, and in spite my attempt to balance this with tips for both sexes, my own biases will show. Whatever.

1. Texting. Most people have mobile phones these days, and many couples each have their own. Texting is usually free, especially between family members (check your rate plan before going crazy with the texts, though!). Send your spouse a short, badly-spelled note informing them of just how hot you think they are. If you’re female, include details about your underwear. While this is quite effective if they are at work, it can be even more fun to do when you’re in the same room as each other. It’s a very good way to build the sexual tension between you when you’re at a party, for example.

A sub-genre of this is known as ‘sexting’, and is generally more risqué (and risky!) and involves sending sexy photos of yourself to your spouse’s cellphone or email. A couple things to keep in mind if you want to try this are that you shouldn’t be stupid and include pictures of your face, because it’s pretty much guaranteed these pictures will not remain entirely private (especially if the recipient is a guy!). Also, be very careful when selecting the recipient from your address book, as a slip of the finger on that tiny keypad means the wrong person gets to see your naughty bits! Again, check your rate plan to make sure it’s not going to bankrupt you to send that picture.

If you don’t have a mobile to send text from, most carriers allow you to send texts from their website, or via email. For example, for Telus Mobility customers, you’d send an email to tendigitmobilenumber@msg.telus.com. Check your carrier’s website for details on how to do this.

2. Skype. This would include other kinds of real-time text chat as well, such as MSN, Yahoo! Chat, or Google Chat. Whatever network you both use, put it to good use by turning up the heat now and then. If you are apart from each other during the day, try to get online at the same time now and then, and just talk about how much you love each other, or how much you miss them. Tell him about your underwear. If your network of choice supports video, use it! It’s amazing what a turn on it is just to see your lover’s face while you talk to them. And if you have the opportunity, live video can spice things up in other ways too!

3. Music. It’s long been known that music is a great way to romance a woman. Dudes, fire up iTunes and buy her a gift card or use the Gift This function to send a specific song directly to her inbox. Browse the Latin and Jazz genres, or find a new mix of one of your old favourites. Girls, just send him a song about underwear. There’s lots on there, trust me.

4. Twitter. You can say a lot in 140 characters or less. Tweet about your lover. Let your followers know how much you appreciate them. Just for fun, start a hashtag with their name, and use it lots. And use the private message capabilities to add some spice!

5. Facebook. Eryn-Faye mentioned this one in her post, and I have to say it was a lot of fun watching that conversation go on! Facebook is a great way to publicly flirt with your lover, and letting your friends inject their own humour into the process can result in some hilarious moments. Use your status updates to brag about how great your spouse is – making oblique references to their sexual prowess not only tells them you think they are ‘all that’, but it is a great self esteem booster to have one’s praises sung in public. Doesn’t hurt the libido, either – which is what we’re going for here!

6. Telephone. Sure, it’s old-school, but sometimes, it’s just what the doctor ordered. The ability to hear your lover in real-time, with no delays, jitter, or dropped packets can be very refreshing. Call her up and let them know exactly what you’d like to do with her when you get home. Or, call him up and tell him about your underwear.

7. Voicemail. If your lover works in an office, you can call the switchboard and ask the receptionist to transfer you directly to their voicemail, rather than ringing their extension. This way, you can leave them a surprise message – be sure to preface it with “Darling, please make sure your speakerphone is off”!

8. Email. Even those of us without mobile phones have access to email, and this can be put to great use in the flirting game. Guidelines involve not using corporate email accounts for naughty exchanges (get a gmail account – it’s free, already!), and remembering to be careful about sending incriminating photos. Underwear shots are great, as long as your face isn’t visible.

9. Video. The availability of video recording technology such as camcorders, cell phones, and webcams means that it’s easier than ever to create a visual delight for your lover. This can be a lot of fun, especially because it’s so very ‘naughty’. You know what makes your lover tick, so include those things in your video. As with other forms of electronic flirting, it’s very important that you ensure the privacy of your material: no faces or identifiable markings such as tattoos; don’t use workplace networks to send private files (most log everything, and copies can be made for auditors or investigators upon request); and make sure that your personal computer is secure, both from outside penetration (hur, hur) as well as from family members (especially children, for heaven’s sake!). I would suggest getting PGP encryption keys and using them to lock all your private files.

10. Hack one of those roadside construction signs with the big digital displays. Replace the warning message about the bridge washing out or whatever with something that tells passersby how amazing awesome your lover is. You have fewer characters than Twitter, here – so use shorthand! And wear gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints, ok? I’m just sayin’…

As with all types of flirting, it’s important to remember that the most effective methods will employ your lover’s Love Language. Once you have that figured out, technology and gadgets can really help you push those buttons!

Eryn-Faye’s note: Ladies, for what it’s worth, underwear seems to be a consistent theme!

Essential Elements of Sex Course

Beginning next Wednesday, I will be doing a teaching series on The Essential Elements of Sex: Reigniting Passion, Love and Intimacy at the Women’s Breakaway program in Langley, BC. During this 8 week course, I will be answering questions such as:

  • What are the myths that we believe about sex?
  • How can we juggle our busy lives without neglecting this crucial aspect of our relationships?
  • How can we communicate effectively with our spouses about this sensitive subject?
  • How do we navigate differences in desire levels?
  • How can we overcome the insecurities that we experience?
  • How can we have more fun together?

If you would like to join me, the Woman’s Breakaway Program is being held at North Langley Community Church:

Location: 21015 96th Avenue  Langley, BC V1M 2Z3

Time: 9:15am – 11:15am

Runs: Every Wednesday from September 23rd – November 25th

Cost: $25 for the course  ($10 for child care for the entire course)

For more information, call the Women’s Breakaway program at 604-888-0442.

The Languages of Love

This past weekend, I attended Michele Weiner Davis’ course, Divorce Busting® Intensive for Professionals. We buckled down for days, and from 8:30-5:00 every day, we talked about techniques to help couples on the brink of divorce resolve their differences.

One of the stories that she shared was of herself as a young wife. She got married in the 70’s when the modern woman was emerging and this culture was the filter through which she viewed her marriage. She didn’t need to cook for her husband – she was too busy building her career! As the kids arrived, she realized that she had to do something to get some nutrition in them, so she began to ensure that there was actually food on the table when they got home. What she was quite shocked by was her husband’s reaction to her new-found culinary skills. He would smell the food wafting through the house when he arrived home and gave her the most enthusiastic of responses! As she thought about this reaction, she began to realize that his mother was a superb cook. In fact, at family gatherings, the table was covered with all sorts of dishes to enjoy. Because of the way he was raised, Michele’s husband felt loved when she put an effort into cooking!

Inadvertently, Michele had stumbled upon a concept which she now shares with all the couples that she meets – Real Giving. Real giving occurs when we give to our spouses something that we know they will like. It might be a hug when they are being particularly ornery. It might be tidying the house even though you are exhausted and want to go to bed. It might be starting up the car on a cold winter day so it can warm up before your spouse gets in it. It might mean filling up the gas tank in your spouse’s car. It might mean sitting eye to eye and having a conversation. Or it might mean letting them go for a night out with their friends.

It might not seem natural, come easily, or even feel like it is a big deal to us, but we must learn to recognize what our spouse sees as important loving acts and do them. It’s not about sacrificing for our spouse; it’s about showing them love.

In his groundbreaking book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman wrote of this important concept. In this book, he theorized that people have one of five “languages” in which they speak love to their partners. They are:

  • Words of Affirmation (telling your spouse through verbal or written language how much they mean to you, how good they look, what you love about them, etc.)
  • Physical Touch (reaching out to have physical contact with your spouse)
  • Acts of Service (pitching in to help your spouse doing things such as running errands or household chores)
  • Quality Time (having undivided attention and spending alone time with each other)
  • Gift Giving (giving gifts of other tangible expressions of love to your spouse)

Frequently, spouses speak different languages. An Acts of Service husband might take care of all the household chores, but his Quality Time wife just wants to spend time with him. A Words of Affirmation wife might be telling her spouse what a great husband he is, but her Physical Touch husband wants to be able to cuddle more often.

Furthermore, all of these languages have “dialects”. A Words of Affirmation spouse might be embarrassed to hear you speak the words aloud, but is delighted to find little notes around the house which express your affirmation. A Physical Touch spouse might crave back rubs and massages. A Quality Time person might love spending time together on the golf course and go out for beer afterward. A spouse who delights in Gift Giving might like fresh cut flowers to put on her table each Friday night. An Acts of Service person might like to have the car washed each week.

If spouses are speaking different love languages to each other, and they don’t recognize that their partner doesn’t speak the same language, they will overlook the acts of love that their spouse is giving them. Even when they find out there is such a thing as different “languages” of love, some people ask – Why should I learn his language if he won’t learn mine?! Or worse, these people will get judgmental and think to themselves, “Her way of showing love is stupid; mine is better.” These attitudes are toxic to the relationship. They create a deadly standoff in the marriage wherein neither party is willing to budge first.

If we are not able to learn to recognize and then speak the language of our partner and if we refuse to practice real giving, then we are channeling the actor from Cool Hand Luke who said, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate!” Neither party is going to feel loved and both parties are going to feel resentful! Welcome to the fast-track to divorce!

However, when couples are practicing real giving (even if just one party starts the process), then they are putting aside the notion of a tit-for-tat relationship and seeking ways to show love to their partners in manners in which the partner recognizes,  accepts and cherishes. And it is quite amazing what usually happens – once the first domino is tipped over, it creates a chain reaction throughout the relationship which is incredibly positive! Both parties are going out of their way to show love to each other.

What to do some real giving practice this week? Here are some ways to get started:

  • Which language do you speak?
  • Does it have a particular dialect?
  • What language does your spouse speak?
  • Does that language have a dialect?
  • Practice real giving this week by picking two things that you want to do in your spouse’s love language, and give it to your spouse as a gift.

How do you show love to your partner?

How do you show love to your partner?

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