Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm still here :-)... and results of dd's speech on marriage

I haven't deserted my blog. Until Monday, I'll be entertaining out of town guests. So I won't be posting much but I will be checking email.

Last night, dd's delivery of her speech was superb! Her coach told her it was her best speech yet. (She's done six now.) We were praying that Nazih and Sophia's son would be blessed by the speech; evidently he was. When everyone was dismissed, he approached our dd and with tears in his eyes he thanked her for telling his parents' story and asked if we could give him a copy that GR filmed. The oratorical winner will be announced this morning.

Thanks folks,
Gemma

Edited to add--- Dd was first runner up with her speech. She is already gearing up to receive the topic for next year so she can begin working on her next speech.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Christian view of marriage- How does our own marriage compare to the world's POV?

My 17yodd is competing in an oratorical at our church conference this week. Each year at conference time, our archdiocese gives all the kids a topic on which to base their projects. A few years ago, my 17yo discovered that she loves to deliver speeches so that is where she has chosen to compete these last few years. This year's topic is the following:

"Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female? For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matthew 19:4-5)

I thought I would share dd's speech here. Please keep in mind as you read it, we (my family) are Orthodox Christians so a couple of the Christian practices that she mentions in her speech you may not understand or agree with but I believe there is enough general content here that can be shared by all Christian Faiths. Oh, and the story she tells is really a true story of an older couple we knew. For privacy reasons, I've changed their names in the speech.

Feel free to voice your opinion of the speech. I'd like to know what you think of it. Dd is learning challenged with her writing so try to overlook some of her grammatical errors as she only writes her speeches for them to be delivered, not read. As she wrote her speeches in the previous years, I've helped her a bit with editing. This year I purposely stood back to allow her to work solely with her speech coach. Just the other day was the first time I heard dd practice delivering her speech.
Thanks~~~Gemma


DD'S SPEECH

I would like to share an INCREDIBLE story with you today. 52 years ago, Sophia moved from Lebanon to the United States where she met her future husband Nazih, for the very first time. Sophia did not speak a word of English. Nazih spoke very little Arabic, but despite these odds, they managed to communicate and raise a loving family committed to our Orthodox Faith. Many years later, Sophia was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Nazih would not hear of placing her in an assisted living facility, rather, he wanted to care for her himself in their family home. They had been together throughout their married lives and he saw no reason that illness should separate them now. After having suffered a fall, Nazih’s own ill health soon prevented him from caring for her without assistance. It was only then that he allowed Sophia to be moved into an assisted living facility. In May of this year, Nazih was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. The doctors informed his family that medically there was nothing more that could be done, and his sons decided to bring their dad home.

Nazih passed away peacefully, at home, 3 hours later. 15 minutes later, across town, Sophia suddenly awoke from her coma, calling out for her family. Her sons immediately brought her home, just as they had their father and, 7 hours after Nazih, Sophia also passed away peacefully. At the funeral, the sight of two caskets in the church, although at first startling, was somehow comforting to those in attendance because somehow it just seemed right. They lay before the altar together, just as they had stood before the altar to be united on their wedding day. A further testament to their lives together was the fact that they had passed away during the most sacred time to die, Pascal season, while the Church was celebrating Christ’s triumph over death. For their entire married life, Nazih and Sophia lived sacrificially, not only for each other, and their children, but for their Faith. 52 years of unity, they passed into the Kingdom, now together for eternity.

As it is written in Matthew 19:4-5, “/Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female? For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”/ Matthew 19:4-5. The story of Nazih and Sophia is heartwarming, INCREDIBLE, but would it be the lead story on Access Hollywood? No. Why? Because a successful marriage is, after all, too boring for the entertainment business and the pop icons they worship.

In the Orthodox Church, we have icons of the saints to look to for prayer, comfort, and GUIDANCE as to how we should live a Christian life. THEY are the true representatives of family, sacrifice, and marriage. Today, young people are obsessed with entertainment programs such as Access Hollywood and Inside Edition. They follow these “icons” such as Brad and Angelina, Tom and Katie, Britney, and now Ellen. Every minute detail of their life is covered by the media. What they are wearing, who’s living together, what teen idol is pregnant. Society is now our moral compass, condoning, gay marriage, and glamorizing celebrity weddings and divorces. They nearly begged for photos of Tom and Katie’s daughter, offering 3 million, as if rewarding the couple’s act of beginning a family outside of marriage. Brad and Angelina are known to have done many charitable projects. Because of this, we put them on a pedestal as people of high morals, despite the fact that they live together. Does charity offset behavior?

Is the Church’s view on marriage reaching our young people? Subtle as it may seem, marriage is under attack. Our Faith needs to be the voice in the back of their heads. The Church’s teachings must be THEIR Inside Edition, the TRUE program in their mind that helps them tell the difference between right and wrong.

There are three things the Church teaches regarding marriage. It is a sacrament, it is sanctified by Christ, and it is between a man and a woman. Not the man who was a woman, who is now a man married to a woman, and having a baby. St. Ambrose wrote, ‘/We do not deny that marriage has been sanctified by Christ since the Divine Word says, “the two shall become one flesh and one spirit”.’/ Marriage, as a sacrament, is one of God’s gifts of love. St. Paul wrote, ‘/For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church./’ Ephesians 5:29.

Christ, in union with the Church, loves and cares for us just as we, in return, love and reverence Christ. He came to serve us and sacrificed himself on the cross. In a marriage, the husband and wife must each be willing to be a steward and sacrifice themselves for each other. Each has a specific role. St. Paul wrote, ‘/Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands’/. ‘/Husbands, love your wives’./ Ephesians 5:22-29. Ultimately, husbands and wives must LOVE and SUBMIT to one another to become unified as one flesh. Their love must mimic the sacrificial love Christ had for the Church.

Attaining unity of this level requires three key elements: physical, emotional, and spiritual connections. The physical connection within a marriage expresses love of the flesh the way GOD intended it to be, between a man and a woman. The emotional connection entails submission and sacrifice to each other, and following Christ’s teachings. The spiritual connection is only attained through the sacrament of marriage, not just living together without the commitment.

Only the sacrament of marriage, blessed by God, can unite the spirits of a man and a woman, JUST like the connection Nazih and Sophia shared. These are the elements of a good marriage. If we, as the Church, don't address what marriage is NOT, then the Brad and Angelinas of this world will be our role models. Nazih and Sophia had a TRUE marriage, they lived in unity as followers of Christ, and they served each other and raised a dedicated, Christian family. 52 years ago, Nazih and Sophia united as one flesh. 52 years later, they left this earth, husband and wife, hand in hand.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'll wake you up later!

Well, here is a new (to me) way to initiate sex.

Last night I went to bed before GR as he had to take dd#1 at 10:30pm to her campus job. Both he and I were physically and mentally exhausted from 4-5 hours of yard work yesterday followed up by paying bills together.

When he returned home from the run and crawled into bed I asked him, "Are you tired or horny?" "Tired," was all he mumbled. Then, "What about you? Are you horny?" he asked me. Even when I'm too pooped to party I can thoroughly enjoy a quickie if GR wants it so I told him, "I'm tired but I can go either way. What's your preference?" "If you're tired," he tells me, "I can wake you later." Then....

... he proceeds to ravish me. I ask him, "Hey, I thought you were going to 'wake me later'?" "It is later," he replies with a grin and he carries on. It wasn't a quickie but a rather longie and it was glorious in spite of the fact that we were both tired as all get-out. Afterwards, he and I slept like babies.

Apparently, "later" can mean anything, can't it?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Talking to kids about sex

From FOXSexpert: talking to kids about sex

Ouch, I'm in pain.. and I'm horny, too!


So one of my readers, who may or may not choose to "out himself", asked if I would post an article on the topic of how to manage or continue having sex during a period of time where one spouse is medically not able or very limited. At least I think that is what he asked me to post.

Since my awakening I have hurt my back several times. Sex was tricky while waiting for my back to heal. Each time, GR was afraid he was going to cause me more back pain than I was already experiencing but we'd both be so dang horny. So I would lie flat on my back and say, "Look, just make love to me. I need you to do me. If anything gets to be too painful on my back, I'll let you know." And then I had to stiffen my back before we'd go at it.

Anyway, a few questions that come to my mind are---

*Do you still have sex when you are temporarily and physically limited?

*How does your spouse handle it?

*Depending on what part of your body is limited, how do you overcome the pain enough to enjoy sex?

*When in pain, do you find that some positions work better than others?

My reader (or anyone else) may decide to post some other questions; do feel free. Anyone have ideas, suggestions, please post them.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cool ideas for freeing up sex time

This morning GR and I discussed a definite need to regroup with our schedules for everything that we do... yes, that includes sex. For those of you who are younger, some of the rest of us need adequate rest and sleep if we are to regularly enjoy high quality and high quantity sex. Don't laugh. One day you will be in your 50's and we'll see how YOU manage :P. This need to regroup is not a huge surprise since he and I tend to regroup anyway about every 1-3 months because something always needs tweaking, doesn't it?

Lately, we've all been getting home around 7pm on work nights, doing late supper and getting to bed even latER. When dd#1 first began her summer work schedule, we were leaving the house at 11:10pm to take her to work 5 nights a week. (Can I say how much I hate her work schedule???) The problem was that it was putting us to bed too late so we asked her if we could bump it up a bit and leave the house at 10:30pm instead. We hope to have her driving and with her own car within the next few months. But for now....

The 10:30pm plan to leave the house keeps creeping back to 10:40, 10:45, etc. We are seeing ourselves coming and going with little sleep. Waking at 4-5am the way we like to for sex, has become almost an impossibility. Instead we're hitting the alarm, falling back asleep and then jumping out of bed at 6am so GR can get out the door by 6:45am. What we're doing now is not working and it is making us become two very sad people here [jk, sort of].

The new plan we're working on looks like this--

- supper menu planning, esp M-F, utilizing crockpot or chef salads more often during summer months and having earlier suppers, KIS

-GR and I going to bed as close to 8:30pm as possible, so we have option for sex or sleep some at that time

-leaving home at precisely 10:30pm to bring dd#1 to work

-being awake and more rested at 4-5am so we can, again, choose to have sex

-getting downstairs by 5:30am for coffee, breakfast, etc., so GR can be out the door by 6:45am, on time

Nothing worse than allowing life to screw up your sex time. And we've both been feeling it. Last night at 9:45, while dd#1 was getting ready to leave for work, GR and I jumped in bed and enjoyed a quickie so we could both have an O. Afterwards, I looked at him and said, "Thank you, I needed that." He did, too.

We both would have loved to make love again this morning but from the crazy schedule, we overslept... AGAIN. Now the schedule will be changing. First things MUST come first. [Note to self: Make more time for sex.]

Do you often find life attempting to crowd out time for sex? Do you regularly regroup to tweak your schedule? What cool ideas do you have to keep your sex time freed up? Or do you ignore the signs and wonder why you have little sex life?

Monday, June 9, 2008

It's all just words.. or is it?

It is so good to be intimately "linked" again with GR. As stated in a previous article, we were sexually inactive for 4 days during an out of town funeral with our kids in the hotel room. After arriving back home, GR and I connected for 2 days and then he had to leave town alone for the next 4 days on a business trip. It was like our worse nightmare, having 2 out of 10 days for sex.

After his trip, GR arrived home Friday evening and we enjoyed being intimate, however, it was limited somewhat with other things happening in our lives this past weekend. But last night--- ahhhhhhhh--- it was good to be back in the saddle again. Last night made me all the more thankful that we do not have to regularly live in lack in our marriage bed.

Passion does not always come easily when other things in life try to crowd it out. Jealously, we need to guard our marital passion. It can be more challenging, I know, if it is not a priority for your spouse, which brings me to a related point that I want to mention... something that came from one of my many random thoughts.

Regarding those who do not make sex in marriage a priority---

I wonder if their more passionate spouse would push sex by using the phrase "we need more passion" instead of "we need more sex"... I wonder if that would bring about a more positive change in their less passionate spouse?

It seems that many low-SD spouses tend to lean towards the "sex is blech" mentality when the high-SD suggests sex or they'd simply rather not think about it at all between sessions which makes it challenging to become excited when it's time to make love. But what if you use the word passion instead of sex? I mean, really, when you think about it, wouldn't all of us prefer to have passionate sex rather than plain old, hum-drum sex?

Has anyone experimented with this, trying to sell the idea of having more sex when calling it by another name? Does it help or not?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sex and the disabled- You have to read this!

This article absolutely made my day today. Although I struggle off/on with back pain from scoliosis, I don't consider myself to be disabled and neither is my dh. However, this was great to read. Take a look and tell me what you think.

I don't receive or send those nasty "forwards" but the article almost made me want to send it to all my friends. Don't worry, guys, I won't send it. However, if I accidentally do---- stand up and twirl 3 times to the right, 3 times to the left, have sex with your spouse at least once a day for 3 consecutive days, make 3 wishes, forward the email to 3 friends and your wishes will come true. If you don't forward it, 3 curses will come upon you.
[hehe, jk]

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What are your thoughts on this?

"The Aestheticist" and I have been talking some under my article entitled: What does sexual passion mean to you? comment page for article . If TA doesn't mind, I'd be curious to see how other readers would weigh in on the discussion.

One friendly word of caution before you post comments there---

Please be respectful and polite towards TA in what you share. I am a Christian but not all of my readers claim the Christian Faith. This is not a Christian site, per se. In light of all that, please do not go to that comment page to quote or argue scriptures or to do missionary work. This is not the place for that. If TA cares to discuss his spirituality with you, ask him if he'd like to email with you. He posted his addy somewhere on my blog.

Actually, I would expect these same courtesies towards any of my readers. So play nice, OK? :-)

May the force be with you!

Gees, "the force" has been against GR and me this week.

As stated in my last article, we were away from home for four days with a family funeral. During that time, a huge event in the general area made hotel rooms in about 5-6 surrounding towns just about nonexistent for Fri night, which was our last night there. As I was making calls for hotel reservations I jokingly told GR, "For Wed and Thurs, we can get one stinking room in a couple of the hotels but come Fri night, we're on our own for a spot under a bridge." We finally did manage to hold a room for all three nights. One room, two side by side beds.

What a place! Gas station out front with the hotel office in a convenient store. Oh and *continental breakfast* [blech] also in the store. Hey, desperate folks do desperate things.

There we were, stuck for three nights of "no sex"... none... nada. It was not going to happen anywhere on the hotel premises without an audience. The only privacy GR and I were allowed was in waking at 6am for a walk to the convenient store... I mean the breakfast bar... for coffee while the girls were still semi-asleep beside us. Remaining in bed beyond 6am was just too painful with no love making in sight.

And before you say it, even the parking lot and the bedside bathroom were not options so when I say "no sex" that's what I mean. Stepping outside our hotel room meant stepping into a "courtyard" of sorts, facing all the other hotel room doors, 3 buildings worth, and all the cars. Out back? Nope, several rental cabins were there with people inside them. Beyond the other two sides of the hotel? Negative! Appropriately, there was a trailer park. The fourth side-- the highway; that was tempting.

We only managed a few times of finding reasons to pull each other into the bathroom for brief moments of making out while the girls were in the living area of the hotel room... so it had to be brief. Our bodies literally ached for each other during the trip.

The hotel owner, a sweet lady, came and chatted with GR and me one morning over coffee. I didn't have the heart to tell her that we were NOT enjoying our stay at her lovely hotel. It would have crushed her... so I lied.

OK, we can get through four days; we are mature adults. We can handle this. After we arrive back home GR and I were finally able to reunite on Sun and Mon. How do you do six days worth of sex in two days? And then Tues morning....

Off he went for a scheduled, four day business trip. OK, haha, I got the joke. Now I'm ready to get my dh back. I lasted until last night when I gave in to MB; I needed it. Let's see-- Today is Wed. I have until Fri night to reunite with GR again. It's going to be a rough three days. [Having a Gemma pity party, here.]

Can you store up passion and enjoy it all at once?
Or is passion only time-released?

May the force be with you!