This is my first fiction book to self-publish and I am excited to see how this goes.
All Dixie ever wanted was a home in the country with a family of her own. That dream was shattered when her husband left the day after he graduated medical school with his new plastic surgeon.
Four years later she is highly successful with her own business, but her heart still longs for what it wanted most.
Lucas Hardwick is ready for a change. On a recommendation from a friend, he finds himself in LaRue, Texas looking for the right property to relocate his security firm. He knows exactly what he is looking for in a property. His heart, however, is looking for something more.
Dixie is stunned when she is attacked on a quiet sidewalk in her sleepy little town. When she meets the eyes of her rescuer, Dixie finds herself looking into the eyes of the first man in four years who tempts her heart to dream again.
Will this Christmas make dreams come true or will the attacks on Dixie’s life succeed?
On this Marriage Monday, I want to talk about the biggest hurddle you have had to overcome in your marriage.
For me and my love, it has been communication. I am betting, that this has been yours. Even if wasn’t THE biggest hurdle, I can guarantee it was key to you overcoming that hurdle. Communication is key when building a marriage and probably the most challenging aspect early on.
With us, it wasn’t even that one of us didn’t want to communicate, it was that we didn’t understand the other’s communication style. Every person comes from a nuclear family- even if they spent the majority of their childhood in the foster system. That nuclear family, for better or for worse, defined how that person communicated. Mostly, the ways of communication are defined by all the unwritten rules.
The unwrittten rules of communication.
Those little devils can really make communication hard. Its been said that the devil is in the details and the unwritten rules of communication are the details.
Think about it. For those of you that grew up with your mom in the house, what did it mean when she huffed? I know exactly what it means when my mother huffs. I have a whole vocabulary of sighs that my kids and my husband understand. However, a stranger would have no idea.
But this is what we bring into our marriage with us.
In my family, we communicated loud. Like all the time. If you wanted to be heard at a family gathering, you had to be louder than the person sitting next to you. I am telling you, it is an introvert’s nightmare. I married an introvert. I thought for a long time, that he hated my family. He didn’t, he just needed a nap- but that is a topic for another post!
So, in the beginning Tony would say “Stop yelling” and I was like, “I am not yelling. Would you like me to yell so that you can see the difference?” Tony on the other hand is a man of few words. I had to learn what his body language meant. After 28 years, I am pretty good. I still miss it sometimes, so I am still a fan of using your words.
Another example of different communication styles is the phrasing that is used. Tony, being a laid back guy who is, well, nice- would aske me, “Are you ready to go?” To this I would reply, “Yes” or “No”. In the early years this caused problems because in his mind, he just told me he was ready to go. In my mind- he asked me a question. Where I came from, I watched all the men in my family walk in and say, “I am ready to go.” I thought all men did it that way. So, we had to hash that out in the car.
As time went on, I still expected him to be more direct, but I also realized that that wasn’t his way. I needed and loved the steady love he gave me, with that came an indirect approach to communication. I choose to acknowledge that when he aske me if I was ready to go, that he was politely telling me that he was ready. I then showed him love and respect by leaving then, or at least communicating when I would be ready.
It’s funny, but because he didn’t grow up with direct communication- everything that was said had underlying meanings- he didn’t take what I said as what I meant. Trust me- I don’t know any other way to be. If I don’t want to have a conversation or I want to avoid conflict- I just don’t say anything or I make noises of agreement. I don’t speak in veiled meanings because I don’t know how. Now, learning how to phrase things so that it doesn’t sound like you are attacking the other person is important.
How something is said is just as important as what is said when you are communicating with your spouse.
Regardless of where you came from, learning to communicate in your marriage is essential.
On marriagetoday.com, Jimmy Evans shares this:
That’s how you overcome conflicts: You talk through them. Talk about money. Talk about sex. Talk about parenting issues. One study showed that 86 percent of divorced couples admitted they had communication problems in their marriages.
86% of divorces might could have been avoided if they had learned how to communicate. If you are having trouble in your marriage, get some help. There are a plethora of articles online to help improve communication. Apply what you know from communicating with people at work to your spouse. If you wouldn’t call your coworker an idiot, then don’t call your spouse and idiot. If you wouldn’t tell your boss that he was the biggest loser you ever met, don’t tell that to your spouse.
Sometimes, communication is hard because we think we should get to say whatever we want to our spouse. We don’t. That person we promised to love and cherish to death do us part should get the best of what we have to offer- especially our words.
So, what has been your biggest hurdle to overcome in your marriage?
Thank God! My healing, your healing is not in anyway dependent upon the one who did the wounding!
Think about that a minute.
Your healing is not in anyway dependent upon the one who did the wounding.
This is so great because I have no control over the other person. Neither do you. Neither does God. Nope, not even God has control over people. He is a crazy risk taker and gave us this thing called free will. I have the freedom to do whatever I want, consequences be damned. This means other people can do whatever they want, regardless of the consequences to those around them. Now, don’t confuse God’s gift of free will as a blanket approval for every action- because He doesn’t like what was done to us anymore than we do.
Now, God does have control over my life because I freely choose to give him control.
AND THAT IS THE POINT
Because I have free will, when I chose God it is because I CHOSE God. This makes God over the moon happy because if a choice is forced, its not really choice. Love that is demanded and required is not LOVE. God so loved me that he gave his son. God so loved you that he gave his son. So, when I choose God, it means something. It sounds a lot like a love story, does it not?
My friend, it is the greatest love story ever told.
Since I have chosen God and his son Jesus, I have given them access to my heart, soul, and mind. I have surrendered my life, therefore he refuses to let me remain the same. He will pursue me, until I drop the barriers and let him see where it hurts. Not so he can add to the wound but so He can heal it. Kind of like the Alpha male in those love stories where he pursues the heart of the woman he loves, regardless of the venom she throughs his way? Yeah, just like that. God is the ultimate Alpha male and thanks be to Him, he has pursued my heart. This usually means that he keeps poking at the tender spot, not because He is sadistic but because He needs me to grant him permission to get in the middle of it.
As of late, any statement or question from Tony that could in any shape or form be construed as him saying that my best wasn’t good enough has brought out a huge reaction. Think angry mountain lion hissing, growling and baring her teeth- maybe even taking a swipe with the claws. He and God both just take all the anger and let it roll off. Neither walk away and for that I am so grateful. Nothing Tony has said was meant to imply that I wasn’t enough, for whatever reason he thinks I am freaking amazing.
No matter what I do, how hard I work, how much I accomplish- it’s NEVER enough. How hopless is that situation? Can you relate?
But, its not really a situation. It’s a mindset.
A mindset framed and built by words and messages from my past and fed by the enemy. Yes, we have an enemy whose whole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. We have an enemy but we have a bigger God. The commander of Angel Armies has come to our rescue. Once again, I get love story vibes. God is writing the love story of your life. DO NOT give in to the enemy.
Seeing the truth of the situation, seeing the lie that is being told, this is the beginning of healing. The healing is not dependent upon the one who did the wounding. The healing is dependent on you- YOU have to power.
Hear that again- YOU have ALL the POWER over your healing.
That doesn’t mean you have all the answers. You don’t. BUT, your heavenly father does. Give Him control over your life and let him into the wounded areas and HE WILL heal you. You have the power to choose life and recieve the healing.
Now, please do not expect this to be an easy process. It won’t be. Healing is scary. But living with wounds unhealed is even more scary.
For me, I could not stand the idea that the enemy would have any power or control over my future. This meant the wounds had to be healed or they would steal joy and peace from my present and my future. I will NOT give the enemy one more victory in my life.
I have wounds because others did not let God heal their wounds. I am NOT riding that merry-go-round another minute. I will not hurt others by refusing to let God heal my wounds.
My healing is not dependent on the one who did the wounding- neither is yours.
As you already know, I have been exploring the possibility of self-publishing. As I weighed the pros and cons and read many articles on the subject, I thought how it would be nice if I had a book to experiment with before I pulled the trigger on my novel, Out of the Shadows.
About three weeks ago I woke up with a story idea playing in my head. I thought, “What if I wrote a Christmas Novella and had it drop December 1 on Amazon.”
I liked the idea! If you don’t know, generally a novella is between 17,000 and 40,000 words. I did the math and knew if I averaged 2000 words per day, I could be done in 10 days.
So, I sat down and began to write. 14,000 words in, the computer ate 10,000 words. I almost despaired. But, I wanted to meet that goal! So, I kept typing. Turns out, that was just an unexpected edit. I like this version better!
Now, I’m 26,000 words in and should be finished by Friday.
When I was all of 19 years old, I was getting married. Lots of people weighed in on my decision- some welcome, some not. But I had one uncle I was very close to who always said the bold and brave things to me.
He told me to let Tony have sex whenever he wanted it. If I did, I would never have to worry about Tony cheating.
He and my aunt had a great marriage so I took his advice. Best thing I have ever done- other than choosing Tony as my life-long companion.
I have learned a few things over the 28 years that have come and gone.
For one, Tony is not the kind of man to cheat- regardless. Just as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, Tony Ross is a faithful man.
The other thing is that sex is an easy barometer to the overall health of a marriage. Think about it, it is the one thing that sets a marriage relationship apart from any other relationship. You can’t legally or in good conscience pay for it. You can pay for childcare, housekeeping, therapy and so on- but you can’t pay for sex. Now, you can get it for free but then we cross the moral line.
If I don’t want to be intimate with my husband on a regular basis, or vise versa, then something is wrong down deep in my relationship.
Another benefit to this advice was that I was not swayed by the idiotic idea that I should withhold sex from my husband in order to maintain control or manipulate him. This would have done considerable damage to our relationship. Thank God for an Uncle not afraid to talk about sex!
As you know, I love a love story. I believe that every person does, too.
I am often asked what is my favorite book or love story.
The answer is easy- our love story.
Tony and I met in college. It wasn’t love at first sight. As a matter of fact, we crossed paths for months before we were even aware of each other.
The first time Tony saw me, we were in the cafeteria and his best bud- the guy I was dating- pointed me out. Tony was interested in my roommate. She was more his type, short and fleshy with dark coloring. I was 5’4″ and weighed in at 105 lbs, no curves just long an lean. Dark blonde hair with green eyes. Not what he normally dated.
Before Tony I could count the guys I dated that were shorter than six foot on one finger. His best bud was 6’4″. The first time I really noticed Tony was while on a date with the best bud. A group of us had gone to the West End in downtown Dallas. I wound up walking behind him and thought, “Wow, he has a nice backside.” And he did. As a college athlete planning to return to Turkey and play pro soccer, he worked out about 8 hours a day.
We became more aware of each other. One night the team had come back from an away soccer game and we were all hanging out in the co-ed. A remark was made that someone had taken Tony’s shirt from the locker room. I asked him where it would have gone and he said he had no idea. I have no idea what possessed me, but I hooked my finger in the neck of his jacket and pulled it out. Looking down at his bare chest took my breath away. He had the biggest set of pecs I had ever laid my eyes on. I am certain I blushed. I began to look at Tony in a different way.
If you are wondering about the best bud, we were never serious. He and I had no business together- we were both way too self-involved. He would one day be the best man at our wedding.
A few weeks later, Tony and I went on our first date. Dancing at Billy Bob’s Texas, and it was life changing.
I am not joking and I am not being overly dramatic.
We may not have been love at first sight, but that date? That was it. Being with Tony was like soaking in a hot tub. I was at ease for the first time in my life. Wrapped in his arms, I never wanted to be anywhere else.
Tony says he knew then that he was going to marry me.
But, that is not where the story ends. I broke up with him a few weeks later. But that is a story for another day.
I shared a bit of the love story between Brett Bentley, the heroine, and Alex, the hero in The Way to A Man’s Heart. Both love their southern heritage and their food but don’t agree on taking freedoms with the recipe.
I thought I would share the cornbread recipe that Brett was using. As you can imagine, the possibilities of variations are endless but nothing beats a good pan of cornbread.
My bunch likes their bread on the sweet side. This corn bread has a fluffy texture, a nice crumb and it holds together even with a nice slice of butter on it. No more boxed mixes, this is too easy!
One note on the honey- buy your honey locally from an individual if possible. The honey found on the shelves at most grocery stores has been cut and diluted with corn syrup. YUCK! Most farmer’s markets and health food stores have REAL honey. Plus, when you eat honey made by local bees you will get the health benefits and help with allergies. Not to mention, you are helping a local farmer and businessperson.
I hope you try this, you will be glad you did.
Holly’s Corn Bread
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup of corn meal
3 tablespoons of honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil or melted butter (real butter- not margarine)
Heat oven to 425′
In a mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients. In small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup- combine all the liquid including the eggs and beat together. Stir liquid into the dry ingredients just until mixed- do not over beat. Pour batter into a 9X9X2 greased baking pan or a 9 inch cast iron skillet- my personal favorite. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy! The wonderful aroma of fresh cornbread cooking will warm your soul and satisfy your hunger. What do you like to eat on a cold day?