Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Candle on the Porch

I went for a long walk today, down some of my favorite jogging trails. Walkin' prayin' workin' up a sweat. This song played on the way home.

Burn your fire on the altar
Leave a candle on the porch
I'm still too far away to see it
but I'm aching for it's warmth
and I'm so tired and cold and lonesome
still I hear your song inside
So sing it louder
if you want me home tonight

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Far as the curse is found

There's an obscure line in one of the verses of Joy to the World that makes me weep for the profound gorgeous joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found


Anyone who has struggled with addiction—dangit there's that word again—anyone who has experienced sin or sorrow—everybody raise your hand—anyone who has experienced sin or sorrow might understand the way I have been experiencing sin and sorrow: the pervasiveness of it.

Pervasive. Kind of a weird word for, "Dammit that sumbitch is everwhere!!!"
(LAUGH)
Okay. I lost half of you right now. I just cussed twice and quoted a hymn in the same article. (shake my head while smiling)
Welcome to my world, people welcome to my world.
If any of you are still listening (giggle) I have often used gardening as a metaphor for life because I think a garden is such a perfect metaphor for the human heart. And healing, recovery, growth, maturity is all about pulling thorns, pulling weeds, and planting flowers. (and vegetables, fruits and other sundry positive plant life. (giggle) I'm a girl so let's just stick with the flowers okay! Thorns bad flowers good. Nice and simple. Okay?

So back to my word 'pervasive'. I can just visualize myself trying to pull a plant out of one of my flowerbeds. The ol' boy had died and I had to pull it out in order to make room for something alive and beautiful. Well lemme tell you, that plant was pervasive! Those roots were EVERYWHERE. I'd think I'd have them all, then I'd run my cultivator through the dirt and (gameshow buzzer noise) I'd hit another root. After a while, I my face started to get hot and sweaty and instinctively I wiped my face. With my hand. Which was wearing a very dirty glove. Whammo. Insta mud right there on my face. And I'm a girl. and we don't LIKE mud on our face. Instamud or any other kind of mud, thank you.

This went on for over an hour when this lovely southern lady (that would be me) blurted out in a huff: "Dammit that sumbitch is everwhere!!!"

Now you know God already forgave me for cussing or I wouldn't be telling you people. After all, the only one who heard me cuss the first time was God and my flowerbed and my flowerbed ain't talkin'. So I've gone and tattled on myself. Which I did for a reason. To illustrate my next keyword: frustration.

When someone encounters an addiction, and they see how pervasive it is, they invetably feel frustration which is often only a buck shy of despair. I didn't go quite to despair that time in my garden by crying. I threw down my gloves and went inside to take a shower, having resolved to tell my husband about that pervasive plant and ask him sweetly to strongarm it out of the ground for me. That would be the surrender keyword. Surrender.

So I want to go back to the hymn (it's about time I rerail this conversation back to the hymn what with the cussing and all)

No more let sins and sorrows grow
nor thorns infest the ground
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found


Oh you guys! This is such good news!
Q: Where does God want to heal us?
A: Everywhere we hurt.

This is why Jesus came. This is why the Angels sang on the night Jesus was born.
Imagine every cold and lonely aching spot in your heart. Imagine inviting Him into those broken places, giving Himself some time and elbow room, and see what He will do.

This is Joy. There are places in my life that are works in progress. Places that I very much desire to see positive change. And yet, I know that I am His and I belong to Him and with Him and that God is 100% delighted in me right now. He has done so much, and He shows no signs of stopping. So I take stock of 2008 and look toward 2009 with joy. Because I know if I keep giving God permission, He will do beautiful, gorgeous, fun, enriching things in my heart, in my body, in my relationships, in my vocation, in my ins and outs of life, good things are coming.

I love you all. Thanks for sharing the journey of 2008 with me.
Mwah! -Sensuous Wife

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spirit in the Senses

I experienced the loving presence of Spirit tonight, talking to me in the things I know, talking to me through my senses, in the visual serenity of our beautiful room, in the warm glow of candles, in the soothing heat of the Jacuzzi tub, in the scent of bubble bath, in the beautiful music playing on my earphones. I was alone, but I wasn’t. Loving and living the Sacred Romance. Delighted Husband walked in and smiled when he saw me so blissed out. DH wasn’t the main attraction, but he doesn’t mind being pre-empted by Himself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Esther is My Girl!

My friend Shawna put out a call on Twitter asking folks to nominate cool women from the Bible that they'd like to read more about. I nominated three and Shawna and I ended up having a great conversation about my girl Esther. Love her! Shawna and Esther. Here's how it went down:

Shawna: Is trying to decide which woman of the Bible I should write about next. Any biblical women you would like to read about?

Shula: How about Rahab? The first hooker documented as doing God's work.

Shula: Or perhaps Abigail who proved that even if you're married to a complete asshole, that God will honor your faith & action

Shula: Or Esther who proved that being a brave warrior queen and a hottie are not mutually exclusive.

Shawna: Those are all great women. I love your take on Esther.

Shula: grin thanks. I love Esther. She's my girl. She reminds me that self care and preparation are valid tools of bravery. Shawna: I like that take on her. Self care is something I am slowly learning, and I like looking good and feeling beautiful


Shula: Interesting Esther didn't run into the throneroom in a ratty bathrobe hair in curlers screaming "we're all going to die!"

Shula: Nope. Miss Girl prayed and dolled up and walked in calm collected wearing Lancome and a great corset. Betcha boots she did!

I love twitter! I love how twitter makes conversations like this happen.

Love y'all. Good night!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Feeling the Strain and Getting Back on Track

I'm a real glass is half full kinda gal. It's my nature. I know that gratitude and focusing on the good is a good habit to be in. However, Delighted Husband had an interesting point the other night when he told me he thought perhaps I created a false sense of expectation for you dear readers and us by thinking that DH and I are smokin' the sheets every single time. I was very impressed by Delighted Husband's insight-he's a smart guy and a deep thinker. I've always been very candid about my own story, my own feelings but I've always been very private when it comes to Delighted Husband. I want to respect his privacy. So it's beautiful and interesting and new when he says he wants to give me more freedom to speak more openly about some of our intimate times together that don't quite feel like the 4th of July. Every good beautiful moment that I've blogged about is true and really happened. (boy oh boy did they ever!) but we have our off nights and our misfires and our mixed signals like everyone else. And Delighted Husband tells me he will be wanting me to share about that from time to time. We're shooting for the sweet spot that's good and not perfect, accessible not unattainable.

I'll never blog like Debbie Downer. I don't think I could if I tried. Sex is too beautiful. But there's something to be said for balance, and grace and flexibility. We are human after all. Like all humans, stress affects us. We can learn good coping skills for stress, frankly I think lovemaking is a wonderful coping skill for stress. Whether it's tender or aggressive, lovemaking the bonding the connecting, the endorphins the pleasure the release can all add up to TREMENDOUS stress relief.

But what if the lovemaking doesn't work? What if you're "us" doesn't work? Oh My God the stress that can cause. Somewhere in month two of our house being in dissarray and in various stages of repair and construction, the stress of Delighted Husband's demanding job and long commute, the stress of my long working hours building the store, wanting to offer my best for the sensuouswife.com team, talking to vendors for the store, managing the reconstruction project for our home, giving good effort to self-care at the gym, continuing to eat sober and not use food to stuff my feelings which means there are these emotions to deal with and mannnn are they damned inconvenient! and next thing you know, I'm a grouchypants and everything Delighted Husband does in the simple foibles of life gets on my last nerve, and everything I do in my simple human foibles gets on his last nerve and there are kids who need us and their life is topsy turvy too with the house all under construction and next thing you know, we've got two people who love each other and desperately need to get laid and who unfortunately are very pissed off with each other in the present moment. Lord have mercy Jesus!

So what did we do? We hauled our angry asses off to counseling and we duked it out with kleenex and talking. And we made love every chance we got. And it did not always go so well. When the emotional climate between Delighted Husband and me is good, it is very easy for me to get aroused. When the emotional climate between us is "off", he can touch me in the usual favorite ways and I don't feel the same feelings..the same emotions or sensations. If I feel awkward in my heart, I feel awkward in my body. And I think he does too.

Here's the thing that I often remember and when I do not I wish to JesusGodAlmighty that I had:
When that fine line is crossed and discussing and disagreeing becomes heated arguments and two heartsore people trying to make their point, the beautiful erotic climate is gone. Heated arguments hurl words and angst like throwing rocks. It's like a greenhouse whose glass pane is broken by a rock and all the lovely warm moist air rushes out and it's cold and dry inside and the delicate breathtakingly gorgeous blossoms and the tender green shoots inside start to wither. I love that symbolic image of orgasms and sex being blooming plants inside a greenhouse being the intimate climate of a marriage, because orchids grow in a greenhouse and we all know what orchids look like, don't we? (grin) Seriously y'all, the erotic intimate climate of your marriage must be protected, or you'll lose some delicate gorgeous glorious pleasure and oneness and joy and it will take a while to get it back. How long it takes is up to the two of you, but it will take a while.

Luckily, there's grace.

Grace came for me in the form of my dear dear friends who let me come unraveled in front of them and gave me a soft place to land. I called my friend that lives overseas on skype, buried my face in my hands and just sobbed. Every few seconds, they would reassure me "Oh love, everything will turn out all right."

Grace came for me with a handful of girlfriends that I could share honestly with and tell them the prolonged stress we'd been under had affected Delighted Husband's and my sex life. Not that I shared TMI, but golly moses, some friends would consider just the last few sentences TMI. But not these girls. These dear women. They told me, "So you're human, so what?" and hugged me and prayed for us.

Grace came for me when I was picking up clutter and tidying our bedroom, I was literally on my knees making the bed when a book on the book shelf in my nightstand literally fell off the shelf, to the floor and fell in front of my knees. It was my 9 year old dog-eared copy of The Power of a Praying Wife. I may not be a rocket scientist, but I knew this was God talking to me, so I stayed on my knees, grabbed hold of the book, and knelt at my bed in prayer. Being me, and considering what was bothering us, I flipped to the chapter on His Sexuality, and I prayed this prayer:
"Lord, bless my husband's sexuality and make it an area of great fulfillment for him. Restore what needs to be restored, balance what needs to be balanced. Protect us from apathy, dissapointment, criticism, busyness, unforgiveness, deadness, or disinterest. I pray we make time for one another, communicate our true feelings openly, and remain sensitive to what each other needs. Keep us sexually pure in mind and body, and close the door to anything lustful or illicit that seeks to encroach upon us. Deliver us from the bondage of past mistakes. Remove from our midst the effect of any sexual experience—in thought or deed—that happened outside our relationship. Take away anyone or anything from our lives that would inspire temptation to infidelity. Help us to "abstain from sexual immorality" so that each of us will know "how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor" (1Thessalonians 4:3-5) I pray we will desire each other and no one else. Show me how to make myself attractive and desirable to him and to be the kind of partner he needs. I pray that neither of us will ever be tempted to think about seeking fulfillment elsewhere. I realize an important part of my ministry to my husband is sexual. Help me to never use it as a weapon or a means of manipulation by giving and withholding it for selfish reasons. I commit this area of our lives to you, Lord. May it continually be new and alive. Make it all you created it to be."

And I started to feel a tiny spark of hope in my heart. I remembered the condition of my heart nine years ago when I first prayed that prayer and I took inventory in my mind of all the good things that had come from that since then. I thought, "heck I should just pray all the prayers in this book", so I flipped to the beginning chapter "His Wife". That's when I got a real shellacking because wow was I convicted of my sulky attitude! Get a load of this excerpt from the Chapter His Wife:
"I Don't Even Like Him How Can I Pray for Him? If you are angry at your husband, tell God. Don't let it become a cancer that grows with each passing day. Instead say, "Lord, nothing in me wants to pray for this man. I confess my anger, hurt, unforgiveness, disappointment, resentment and hardness of heart toward him. Forgive me and create in me a clean heart and right spirit before You. Give me a new positive joyful loving forgiving attitude toward him. Where he has erred, reveal that to him and convict his heart about it. Lead him through the paths of repentance and deliverance. Help me not to hold myself apart from him emotionally, mentally or physically because of unforgiveness. Where either of us needs to ask forgiveness of the other, help us to do so. If there is something I'm not seeing that is adding to this problem, reveal it to me and help me to understand it. Remove any wedge of confusion that has created misunderstanding or miscommunication. Where there is behavior that needs to change in either of us, I pray you would enable that change to happen. As much as I want to hang onto my anger toward him and as much as I feel it is justified, I want to do what You want. I release all those feelings to You. Give me a renewed sense of love for him and words to heal this situation."
Whoa Nelly. I have to tell you, folks, I felt peace after I prayed that prayer. I felt drained of the poison inside me. I felt hope. I felt like it could and would get better between us. I love him so much, always have, but for a few days there we were like two porcupines trying to get warm. We wanted cuddles and we kept getting and giving ouchies instead. It was awful.

So, once I got the toxic sludge out of my heart, all kindsa good things happened. My girls kept on praying and lemme tell you what happened next.

My office is in an alcove of the living room, so I get to work close to the fireplace. And as I've told y'all before, every year when it's cold enough to switch on the furnace, I move the Zepplin pillow downstairs in front of the fireplace. So Delighted Husband was lounging on the Zepplin pillow enjoying the fireplace while I was working at my desk. He looked so sweet and relaxed and handsome, and my heart just lurched in my chest and I felt tenderness towards him. I stood up from my desk, and walked over to him and knelt down and straddled him, lay my arms on either side of his body reaching up to hug him and I lay my head on his stomach and just let myself be. We felt so peaceful and calm. The atmosphere of safety and good connection perfumed the air around us. The warm humid healing air was filling up our greenhouse. The warmth of the sun was shining on our wintry cold greenhouse. It felt so good. Nothing erotic at this point. Just love and healing connection. Delighted Husband started murmuring and petting my hair with his hands. The feeling his of his palm wrapped around my head cradling me with his palm like a baby just melted my heart like buttah. I felt so truly safe for the first time in days. ohmyGod.

After a few minutes, Delighted Husband got up from the Zepplin and went upstairs to tuck the DC in bed. I laid there relaxing and feeling safe. I was feeling safe and good and normal but zero horny at this point. Zee-roh. I know this might sound spooky, but sometimes I feel God talking to me in my heart. And I felt this tug on my heart to take off my jogbra. I figured listening to that still small voice has given me only good so far, so I stripped off my bra and just lay there relaxing. I began to anticipate and wait for the sounds of Delighted Husband's footsteps coming down the stairs. I felt eager. I felt eager to surprise him. I felt eager to see his delight on his face. I did not at this point feel horny or overt sexual desire. I was just eager to see what good thing would come from following that still small voice in my heart. Sure enough, Delighted Husband came down the stairs, walked into our bedroom, and not finding me there, he walked into the living room. He took one look at me sprawled on the Zepplin pillow wearing nothing but running tights and a sneaky smile spread over his face. "What are you doing?" he asked. "Waiting for you." I replied.

In 2 seconds, Delighted Husband shucked off his clothes. I lost the running tights.

Grace came for us in the form of a shagfest that relieved us body and soul. I experienced firsthand that Dr. David Schnarch is right when he says that once the initial conflict is resolved properly, sex can be a verry healthy way to rid yourself of aggression. Oh my God, is he right. I came to my belief that night.
In the midst of our glorious rowdyness, I distinctly remember thinking:

I'm.
so.
glad.
they're.
praying.
it's.
worrrrrking!

I won't tell you what I said after that~I'll let Neil have the last word.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Me, Myself and Sally, Rhonda and Wanda

I just read the most funny and relevant article on how to keep your Wonderland well cared for. Seriously, girls, you're gonna love this. It's not like we never heard of it before, but what a fabulous funny reminder. (walks out of home office toward bedroom looking for Myself)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Keep the Home Fires Burnin'

I'm really glad we have our Zepplin pillow in front of the fireplace. I'm just sayin'. (smile)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful

I woke up at the crack of 5:30 in the morning and stumbled into my kitchen to put the ham into the oven for roasting. Really tired and sleepy as I had not slept much over the last coupla days, working till all hours on the site. I checked Twitter for a few minutes and saw several people's posts to MCHammer telling what they're thankful for. Intrigued, and ever being a child of the 80's, I visited MCHammer's twitter profile. He said, "I'm going to place this stream of Thanks underneath the song as a Prayer for you and your family all year long (2009)...What R U Thankful 4?friends, humanity, visions, dreams, ....this is my song of "Thanks" all year long... "Thankful"..http://mchammer.com/ a song of warfare..

Ever the curious cat, I clicked on the link and listened to the song. And I was greeted by the same hip-squirmin' finger snappin' rhythm his music always had. Then I listened to the words. Whoa. In a twinkling moment, I felt like I was wearin' a choir robe and swayin' and sangin' with the gospel choir at a Black Baptist church like I did one summer when I was a little girl. It felt good. Real good.

So then I sat down to type out a reply. Twitter posts are short teeny short blog posts. 140 characters. I knew one post wasn't going to do, so I kept posting. Here is what I said:

that none of my family were injured or killed in Hurricane Ike, our house is still standing, the love of my husband and children

the spark of life within me, the love & creative energy I share with the sensuouswife team, chance to be contagious hope.

being a woman, all the joy and delight I create in my kitchen, laughter having it sharing it, dancing with Delighted Husband

offering beauty to my world what a privilege! what a joy!, the healing love of God that chases after me even when I hide,

the friends who have crawled into my foxhole with me and helped me transform out of suffering and into joy

the loving, healing, life-affirming joy of sex, the glory and the power of it, wild or tender, redemptive healing hotness. one.

thank you for asking me2take inventory of all good things in my life. I woke tired &grouchy to get up & cook.I go to bed happy ...

And on that note, I will go back to bed and snuggle up next to Delighted Husband. Thank you oh friends of blogdom, for sharing your lives with me and allowing me to share my life with you. I love you all and I thank God for you. mwah! -Shula

PS Isn't it so cool how Himself rescued me from resentment and guided me back to gratitude and joy? I'm tellin' ya, Resentment is a sneaky bastard. Gratitude is the cure!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good Things in Store

Wow I am one busy blessed woman. Lots going on these days which is why I post when I can. I knew y'all would understand. Lemme tell you some of the good stuff that has Sweet Shula as busy as a one-armed wallpaper hanger!

Website www.sensuouswife.com in full speed development mode. My house getting repairs and remodeled from Hurricane Ike damage. The happy sound of hammering in my house BAMbambam as builder released his contruction mojo on doors and walls and carpet and flooring and, you get the picture. :)

So grateful for a good coach, a wonderful team: web developer, graphic designer, customer service, project manager, pr director; a wonderful spiritual director to nudge me toward balance. I am a blessed woman even if I am a busy girl. Good stuff in store! Literally and figuratively. The store is gonna be beyoootiful. The breadth and quality of products we're going to carry is just delightful. Taking sex out of the bad girl corner and right in the thick of all the other healthy beautiful joys in life-right where it belongs.

Love y'all! Miss y'all! If you don't see me around the blog much, you know I'm workin'.
Sendin' out my love and gratitude,
Shula

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lost my appetite

I stopped by one of my favorite Mexican places this morning. A cute little joint that is open for breakfast. I needed to refuel after my workout at the gym and it wasn’t far from the home repair store I had to visit next. After ordering a plate of cheese enchiladas and chicken fajitas, I headed for the dining area to pick a table. What I saw next stopped me in my tracks and left me with a tingling feeling in my chest. Two lanky young men in army fatigues were at a nearby table, polishing off breakfast.

My friend that I love so much he calls me Sis and I call him Brother, had just deployed for parts unknown and seeing those young men in army green gave me quite a shock. I immediately began to sob, sat down at the table next to them, ripped off my sunglasses, buried my face in my hands and let the tears come. Love, fear, separation and longing rolled off my cheeks in warm salty tears. “Ask them to help you” came the warm loving thought in my mind that I knew was Himself talking to my heart. I pressed a napkin to my eyes and swallowed. “Excuse me, Sir. Can you help me please?”. They turned and looked at me calmly waiting until I regained my composure enough to speak. The one nearest to me, a lanky blonde with an honest Kansas farm boy face, said “Yes ma’am?” I took a deep breath. “Seeing you two is quite a shock. My brother just deployed from Germany to parts unknown. I saw him last before they moved to Germany. I don’t know where he is, I can’t know. And I didn’t get to hug him goodbye when he deployed, since he deployed from Germany. Would you mind? Could I give you a hug?

He immediately stood to his feet and held out his arms. I embraced him, taking in his cologne I didn’t recognize and aware that my cheek that I pressed against his neck was wet with tears. At arms length again, I held his gaze for just a moment. “Thank you. I feel better now.” “You’re welcome, ma’am. And good luck to your brother.

They left immediately. As they walked outside the restaurant, I saw through the window as they climbed into an enormous black dually truck-a total wildatheartmobile. I smiled at this and sighed. I did feel better. Peace replaced the shock and grief in my chest and I turned my attention toward breakfast.

I was not hungry, per se. But I knew I had to eat right after a workout. I managed to eat about one third of the Tex Mex delight the smiling olive skinned cooks had prepared for me. After one last spoonful of salsa verde and rice, I knew I couldn’t eat another bite.

And then I realized what a little golden moment this was for me-the woman who used to eat her feelings. Instead of overeating in an addictive unhealthy attempt to squash my emotions, I had let the tears come, been humble and vulnerable enough to ask for help and receive it, and then found to my grateful delight that food didn’t have an emotional hold on me anymore. It was just fuel. Thank God.-Shula

PS Please pray for Michael and Angela

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Single Reader Asks: Why Do Married Women Have Such a Hard Time Enjoying Sex?

I get the sweetest letters from y'all. Some letters seeking advice. Some letters sharing their story of overcoming and then coming coming coming. (twinkly-eyed Mona Lisa smile) The letter I'm going to share with you today arrived in the form of a comment. The comment is still on the post she commented on. But there are so many posts. So many comments, that I wanted to bring this one up front and center. Good stuff, darlings. Enjoy.

I'm unmarried and still a virgin (in my 30's), so perhaps I shouldn't be reading this on some puritanical level, but, well, I did.

Anyway, maybe I'll understand more fully when my desires and imaginations give way to actual reality one day if God should give me a husband - in other words, I have to admit that any reaction I have to your writings is definitely not backed up by experience. But I just hafta wonder -

Why is it that marital sex is so often painted as a difficult thing for women to enter into or enjoy? Unmarried teenager girls often cannot contain desire and the sexual opportunities presented to them, and have sex often enough - they don't go dragging their feet to their teenage lovers' sexual advances. Why is it that christian married women so often present sex as something that takes so much work for them to want or to truly enjoy?

I am so eager for the day when a man might take me completely and utterly in love for one another before the Lord. Is it really so hard in actuality? Will I really have to work on it so much or won't it just be able to be something that we rush into with joy and longing naturally, easily, with innocence and overwhelming desire and excitement?




Dear Anonymous,
Sweetheart, there is no way for me to know exactly what your first time will be like. I wish for you with all of my heart that it is a passionate beautiful orgasmic soul-affirming experience.

In answer to your question, why do married women often find it so hard to enter into and enjoy married sex when unmarried teenage girls often cannot and do not contain themselves?

Well the first thing that comes to mind as a reason is married women have such a hard time letting themselves go and abandoning themselves to marital pleasures is that when they were teenage girls they could not and did not contain themselves. The mind is a harsh judge, and the mind/body connection is strong. So often even after a woman believes God forgives her for sex that was too soon, she has a very difficult time forgiving herself and this judge in her head keeps the party in her loins from throwing all the confetti they rightfully deserve while partying with her husband.

Shannon Ethridge made a beautiful illustration of this dynamic when she was on The Today Show. She said so many women internalize the message that bad girls do and nice girls don't. So (my paraphrase here) they get off on bad girl sex. When they put that wedding ring on their finger, it may take much longer than the 5 seconds to put the wedding ring on their finger to convince their mind and heart and body that good girls do, they do it often and they do it with great pleasure that uninhibited pleasure gives them a strong bond with their husband. That's the core message of my novels, that sex doesn't have to be bad to be good. Good sex can be verrrry verrrry good. ;)

Another factor, another potential obstacle to a married woman truly entering into sweet erotic abandon with her husband is messages of shame soaked into her body by other people in her life who treated her body with disrespect or outright abuse. I've been very upfront in my story (see My Story in sidebar) and in the first year of my blog that "my first sexual experience, hell, my first era of sexual experiences, were coerced, and of a very abusive nature". These wounds left shrapnel in my heart and in my mind and through the strong mind/body connection, even in my body. For a long time, places that my abusers touched me would sound off horrid memories of shame and disgust every time that part of my body was touched again. Even when touched by my loving husband. The body/mind connection is strong. And God designed our skin to have a direct hotline to our memory. With the intended purpose to be that we are strongly bonded to our husband by the myriad of pleasurable loving safe passionate GOOD feelings we experience every time that part of our body is touched. The icky sad difficult but not impossible thing is when that part of our body is touched by an abuser and the skin/bonding/memory system built into our heart and body is activated, what we body memory bond to is bad sex, bad feelings and an unhealthy person who had NO business doing what they just did to us. The body has to unlearn. The heart has to unlearn. The mind has to unlearn. But God's healing power is strong. His desire to heal us is unflagging. So we go to safe people, receive love and prayer and therapy and we unlearn the bad stuff and learn the good stuff. It takes time.

So dear one, I had a lot of bad stuff to unlearn. Of course, the wish from my deep heart for you and for every other woman is that you don't have such horrid messages to unlearn. That you can entrust your self to the care of God and entrust your body and heart to the loving tender erotic care of your husband, unleash your feminine force on him and together have the time of your lives! That's the idea, darling!

(big smile)SW

One more thing, as a 30 year old single lady you are most welcome here. My welcome message asks that those under 18 invite their mom to come enjoy my blog or come back when they are older. Hot married sex is worth waiting for, trust me! You are over 18 and desiring healthy sex. So darlin' you are welcome to hang out here and read. I'd love to be a part of your journey toward healthy hot sex with your husband. I'd be honored!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Singin' in the Kitchen

For as long as I remember, ever since I had my spiritual and sensuous awakening, music has been so important. Such a zesty, vital part of my life.

More often than not, when I'm cookin' dinner, I'm singing. My office adjoins the kitchen, so I'll make playlists of great music and sashay and shimmy and sing in front of the stove. For me, this is about sending out my love and energy and enjoying being joy. for myself. and for my family.

From time to time, I've posted here songs I particularly enjoyed. Now, thanks to a friend on Twitter, I've found an easier way to share the songs I'm dancing dinner to. I've joined blip.fm and become a DJ. (grin)

Y'all I am having so much fun with this! I wanted to share with you for two reasons:
A) Anything joy in my life I want to share (with the exception of certain sacred naked details that Delighted Husband nixes)
B) I've been honest with you guys from the get-go about my tremendous joys, erotic and otherwise, and the high cost of growing it took to get there. But lately, it seems when I have a longer story to tell, it becomes a blog post and when I have a shorter story to tell, it becomes a tweet or a facebook post. And lately, I've had a lot of growing to do, and growing stories tend to be longer.

So I wanted to balance that out and give you a glimpse of some of the sweet moments in my life.

Here's a sampling of my playlist over the last few days. I've found my inner DJ and she LIKES it!
Visit blip.fm/SensuousWife to listen!

SensuousWife Save this one till after the kids go to bed (bites knuckle)
All Would Envy – Chris Botti & Shawn Colvin | pause
SensuousWife Is it too much to ask? I wanna full house and a rock-n-roll band and passionate kisses from you!
Passionate Kisses – Mary Chapin Carpenter | play
posted on Nov 13 at 5:32 pm

SensuousWife Shut up and kiss me. Nuff said.
Shut up and Kiss Me – Mary Chapin Carpenter | play
posted on Nov 13 at 3:30 pm

SensuousWife Perfect kitchen dance music. Flour on the apron and everything!
La Vie En Rose – Grace Jones | play

SensuousWife The guitar is organic pure & Neil's vocal is sexy as allgetout. (shiver) if you really listen to the words, you'll blush.
Forever In Blue Jeans – Neil Diamond | play
SensuousWife Singing this song makes me feel like my heart has taken wing. Joy despite pain feels so good!
Change The World – Eric Clapton | play

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Checking In

I don't know how far I'm going to go with the addiction terminology because you know I'm too much of a bird in flight to focus on the negative. But I've had some harsh realizations lately about how often I was medicating my self, numbing my feelings by using food. The first few days were harsh. Really harsh. How many days is it? How many days has it been? I cannot remember which is a goshdarned blessing in itself. I'm no longer white-knuckling it and counting the days.
(pause)
(sigh)
(smile)
Cool. That's something to celebrate. So anyway, what I was saying earlier is all caveats aside, there's a term I heard from AA "Hi I'm (name) and I'm a grateful recovering alcoholic." The key word here is grateful.
I am grateful.

There's a line from a movie that comes to mind; a movie called The Doctor. In the movie (Netflix it you'll enjoy it) William Hurt plays a doctor that is a cariacature of the obnoxious-SOB-who-thinks-he's-God-doctor. As the movie progresses, the doctor learns he has a fatal disease and has a short time to live. And he changes his life from the inside out, because he knows he only has a while to live. While the doctor is engaging in a random act of kindness, one of his colleagues is surprized and asks him what he is doing. The doctor's reply: I have an illness that has given me permission to live like I like because I won't be living much longer. They key phrase for me is "gives me permission".

I don't have a fatal illness, but if I let this addiction to food run wild, it could destroy my health. It could have become fatal. Easy. And I have found that by living my life sober (which for me is eating with gratitude and joy until I'm no longer physically hungry and not to numb or stuff my feelings) by living my life sober, and working to stay sober, has given me permission to do some really brave stuff.

I'll give you an example.

Several days of not eating sugar when I want to "calm my nerves" (read: stuff my feelings) several days of this has made it really clear to me that resentment is often the trigger to me having the urge to eat addictively. Another AA quote comes to mind "resentment will kill ya" or "resentment is an emotion I cannot afford if I want to stay sober". Damn! Those AA folks really have some wisdom don't they? (grin) So anyway, my point is if I want to eat healthy and not eat addictive I have to deal with my resentment.

This morning, I shared a tearful phone call with the roomate I lived with when Delighted Husband and I got engaged. I moved out soon thereafter when I-oh how do I say this without maligning her? Sigh. Let's just say our friendship and my living there ended badly and I felt forced into buying my way out of the lease. I could say more, but that's enough. The point is that I has resentment towards her.

So I haven't seen this gal in years and years. Twelve or thirteen years. I had done some forgiveness work in counseling and I felt it was a good outcome that angry thoughts of her no longer entered my mind. Live and let live and all of that.

Well this morning, she and I spent a half hour on the phone with both of us taking turns crying and her telling me she loved me and she was so sorry and me telling her I loved her and I forgave her. She prayed for me that I would be healed. And I was.

Now how in the sam hill did this happen??

This happened because I kept running into mutual friends of her every.where. and thoughts of her, no fear of running into her, this bone deep anxiety just permeated my thoughts. And when bone deep anxiety permeates my thoughts, you know what I am tempted to do, dontcha?

Medicate my feelings with chocolate. Or any other sugar I can get my hands on. After a few days, I knew I had to deal. I knew if I didn't deal with this situation, deal with her one way or another that I was going to act addictively.

My connection with this mutual friend made it possible for me to send a message to Roommate Girl via email. I typed out this message:
(name)
Out of the blue, God has brought you to mind several times over the last few days. I think God wants to heal a piece of my heart. Would you help me? Maybe you will feel healing too.
I'd like to call you and talk for 20 minutes or so. What is a good time and a good number for you?
(my name)


Through the same grapevine chain, came this reply:
I would love that. My cell number is (number) and you can most easily reach me during (time)

So I called her.

Now I had done my homework with God early this morning. I sat down with my journal and wrote out what I wanted to say to her, what I hoped to say to her if I actually had the courage to go through with it. Basically, I told our parting story from my point of view using I statements instead of you statements and telling what her actions were and what my feelings were. I cried several times while writing it, and I cried a lot after I finished writing it. I felt what I can only describe as God comforting me. Just a peace and that Himself was proud of me.

When I called Roommate Girl, I reasurred her that I didn't hate her and that I just wanted to feel free of pain and resentment and would she please let me talk from my heart for a few minutes. She said that would be okay. I broke down crying a few times as I told my story. Our story. The story of how our "us" died. When I started crying and stopped talking, she actually encourged me to keep going. At the end of my story, I told her "could you maybe love the me from all those years ago and could you maybe find a kind word to say to her?"

And she did.

Oh my God. She did. She told me she loved me and she deeply regretted her actions and that she didn't want me to hurt anymore and that one of the things that hurt me the most was actually a huge misunderstanding. Which could be bullshit, but it's not. It wasn't. She actually was able to explain how one of her actions which broke my heart in two was actually driven by a different motive than the one I had ascribed to it. But by that point back then, we weren't talking anymore. So. I find out she made big mistakes back then, which I knew, I found out she didn't have quite the hateful motive I interpreted at the time, which I didn't know. The most important thing I found out that I didn't know was that Roommate Girl still loved me and she didn't want me to hurt anymore.

Oh.
My.
God.

And if I had stuffed these feelings with food, I would have never found this out.
Ever.

So you see why I'm grateful?

Love,
Shula

What Does Sex Addiction Sound Like?

This is what it sounds like to me.

I was sweatin' with my girls at the gym when this song came up on the playlist. It's got a great groovy beat so I was enjoying the groove while I was on the lat pull machine. As I listened to the words, I pang of compassion sprang out of my heart and I thought, "Poor darling. That sounds like sex addiction." I hesitate to post this because I want to be known by what I am for not what I am against. But I have to tell you darlings, I don't believe the sexual behavior expressed in this song is going to yield the kind of high impact erotic joy I want for all of you. I'm just sayin'

Fast Love by George Michael

Looking for some education
Made my way into the night
All that bullshit conversation
Well baby can't you read the signs?

I won't bore you with the details baby
I don't even want to waste your time
Let's just say that maybe
You could help to ease my mind
Baby, i ain't Mr. Right

But if you're looking for fastlove
If that's love in your eyes
It's more than enough
Had some had luck
So fastlove is all that I've got on my mind
Gotta get up to get down
Gotta get up to get down
Gotta get up to get down

What's there to think about baby?

Looking for some affirmation
Made my way into the night
My friends got their ladies,
They're all having babies
But i just want to have some fun

I won't bore you with the details baby
Gonna get there in your own sweet time
Let's just say that maybe
You could help to ease my mind
Baby, i ain't Mr. Right


But if you're looking for fastlove
If that's love in your eyes
It's more than enough
Had some had luck
So fastlove is all that I've got on my mind
Gotta get up to get down
Gotta get up to get down
Gotta get up to get down

What's there to think about baby?
Get yourself some lessons in love

In the absence of security
I made my way into the night
Stupid cupid keeps on calling me
But i see nothing in his eyes
I miss my baby, oh yeah
I miss my baby tonight
So why don't we make a little room
In my BMW babe
Searching for some peace of mind
Hey I'll help you find it
I do believe that we are practicing
The same religion
You really ought to get up now

Looking for some affirmation?
Gotta get up to get down
Gotta get up to get down
Gotta get up to get down

At the end of the song, the instrumental closing fades off and it's almost as if you can feel the shame and loneliness rolling in like fog. It made me feel sick in the pit of my stomach. Now darlings, I've made it no secret that I have struggled with and continue to struggle with food addiction. I'm human like everyone else. I am no better and no worse than anyone. There's not a muscle in my body that wants to judge anyone. Me a judge? Jesus Mary and Joseph! Who are we kidding?! But since I've stopped lying to myself and the people in my life since I stopped stuffing my feelings down with food, I find there are things that I see whether I want to see them or not. Dammit! And that was a really groovy song, too. Now all it says to me is sadness.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My First Video

God has been working on my heart big time. I have been doing well to process and keep up with it in real time. Lots of soul searching and prayer and humility and then quantum leaps of growth and healing. Taint easy. I am so so so lucky to have an inner circle of friends that I can talk with and they will love me and accept me and pray for me and encourage me to process and grow. This weekend, I took a long walk. I was gone for several hours, solitude and journaling and duking it out with God. Going without sugar or any kind of emotional eating for several days has been like a fast that has revealed many areas in my heart that needed to be healed and forgiven.

After one particularly intense rant, I had a moment where Jesus became so real and relevant for me. I was angry about a situation, at someone in particular and I was telling God about it. I was legitimately angry for some wrongs done to me and I told God, "God I just want to punch them!" and in my heart I heard this thought. It was as though Jesus answered me saying "I was punched and beaten. Can what was done to me be enough. Cause that person deserves a good punch and I was beaten up, can it be enough what was done to me?" This so shocked me that I stopped in my tracks. Peace seeped in to that angry pit in my stomach, and I let it go.

As I was walking back around the lake, I was startled to see all these golden sparkly lights on the water. It was only visible from that one point on the lake. This song was playing on my phone's mp3 player at the time. I stood there and just drank in the beauty. I got to wishing so so badly that I could record this. I've never seen golden lights sparkling at random on the water quite like that. I decided to at least take a picture. And while I was monkeying around with the camera settings I discovered my camera phone would shoot video. I had not known this! So I held the phone as still as I could and took the video. I'm not gonna win any awards for cinematography but I hope you can sense the peace and tranquility and beauty that overwhelmed me that day in such a lovely good way.


video

Stand

This song was playing on the alarm clock this morning. I soaked up every word. Hope your hearts drink it in like mine did. This is day seven of sober eating.
Love,
Shula

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Starlight Walk

Tonight Delighted Husband and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. It was such a pleasure to walk next to him with my hand around his arm just above his elbow. He's tall and I could tell he slowed down a bit so I didn't have to scamper to keep up with him. I enjoyed watching our feet match strides. Each of us wearing our running shoes, alike yet different. Unity in diversity. It was such a pleasure to enjoy his company. I don't know quite how to put it into words. It was just a joy to be together.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God Must Want Me to Work Out Today

I blurted this out in frustration while I was at the bank trying to cash my Ike insurance check for the umpteenth time. Remember the mortgage company that ate my 1st check? Well, they're up to shenanigans and foot dragging again. This time at the local branch. But I'm not here to fuss about the bank.

The point is, I am learning to associate exercise as the preferred method of stress relief.

This is a big deal.

A very good thing.

After the 2nd hour spent arguing with mortgage company, I drove to the gym and I didn't just do the workout, I attacked the circuit training equipment. I sweated. I grunted. I groaned. I carried on. Some of the sweet old ladies at the gym discreetly stared. I didn't care. I was just glad I was working out in the gym and not throwing a tantrum in the bank lobby. By the time I was done with my workout, my hair was wet and dripping sweat onto my shoulders. And I felt peaceful and even euphoric. The only other time I've felt so peaceful, sweaty and euphoric was. Well, you know.

This is day 3 of no sugar.

The mood swings are not fun. It's withdrawal, just like any other addiction.
I made good choices today.

The next time somebody pisses you off, say, "God must want me to work out today!"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Beach Business Trip

OH MY GOD

My dear girlfriend offered to keep DC for 4 days because DH has wangled things so I can go with him on his business trip. A nearly free marriage getaway! PRAISE THE LORD AMEN.
Let the hooting and hollering commence.
And y'all know I want this thing covered in prayer. whoo hoo!!!

Golly Moses I need this. We didn't think we'd be able to afford a vacation for just the two of us this year what with Ike and me building the store at home and not doing corporate work. But God sure showed us.

Wow, you guys!!
Love,
SW

PS Did I mention 4 wheel drive shagmobile on the beach? (biting knuckle and smiling)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sensuous Wife Shrinks

Well darlings I have decided to screw up my courage and really go for it.
God has given me so much healing in my marriage and sexuality and emotional and physical health, I've decided to be brave and dare to hope Himself will also bring healing to my weight. It's an interesting place to be. I feel gorgeous and sexy now. I don't feel unpretty or unsexy. But my doctor, Beloved Endocrinologist, really wants me to lose weight. Since I'm being treated for a metabolic disorder, the Atkins low carb way is the best match for me.

I feel so nervous!!

I have lost weight before eating the Atkins way, and I did very well. The problem is not the eating plan. The problem is emotional eating. I have lost 15 pounds, gotten some momentum, and then hit an emotional wall and gained 5 pounds back. I'm still at net loss of 10 which is good. And I want more.

I feel like this is the last battle for my heart. The last place in my life that needs to be healed. It's not that I want to look like anyone else. I am so tired feeling victory failure and frustration in this area of my life. I want to conquer this area of my life. I want to be the curvy, athletic girl I used to be.

On the fun side, Delighted Husband and I have looked at each other with a gleam in our eye thinking about some of the hot stuff we could do if I were smaller and more flexible and had more, er, stamina. (blush) (grin) In the few months I have been working out at the gym, I have been amazed at how much faster and easier I can orgasm. Lord only knows what else might be in store for Delighted Husband and me! I intend to find out.

So, does this sound like a good goal? Is this something y'all think you could support?

Love,
Shula

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Committment, Cleavage & Confidence

I've said it before. Wearing great lingerie gives every wife a sense of confidence and joy, even sassyness. Whether you're at the kids soccer game, in a business meeting, grocery shopping at SuperTarget, or on a date with your DH....
knowing you look great all under makes you feel good all over.
And no, I don't work for Victoria's Secret. I just love feeling good about being a sexually confident wife and inviting my girlfriends to feel good being sexually confident wives too. And this bra comes in a wide range of sizes. Like sexually confident wives. ;)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Simple Erotic Nurturing

In so many things in life, success is not about doing some far-out, unheard-of thing. Success is about doing simple things well and doing them consistently. This is true about sex. I can just SEE the grins on the faces of you dear readers. All roads lead to sex on SW's blog. Well, most of 'em. What can I say? It's my calling. (blush) (grin) So back to doing simple things and doing them well.
Nurturing words.
Talking during sex. Some of you love talking "dirty", smokin' hot, sultry, sexy, etc during sex. And good for you! I certainly talk like that some times. ;) Some of you may feel "not so much" about the "dirty" talk. Some of you may feel talking bold and playful with your mate there's nothing dirty about it.
Either way, doing the simple stuff and doing it well is always a good idea.
Here are some good examples of simple nurturing things to say during foreplay, sex, or afterplay.
  • I'm happy to be married to you
  • I desire you
  • I love looking at you
  • You're strong
  • You're beautiful
  • I love my life with you
  • I thank God for your body
  • I'm happy to be married to you
  • I want you
  • You're special
  • I love it when you touch me there
  • You feel so good
  • I love how your (body part) is (adjective)
  • That's so cool! I can see your (body part) (verb)!
  • You're so hot
  • Oooh, do that again!
  • I love making love to you
See? Ladies, you've heard most of these before. But when's the last time you said them?

Men, what do you think? Would you like to feel your wife's warm breath on your cheek whispering some of these nurturing words in your ear while she runs her hands down your back and squeezes your bum?

My thanks to Dr. Doug Weiss at sexaddict.com, some of these nurturing words are adapted from his "Best Sex for Women Only" resource.

PS There are some words that only Delighted Husband will hear me say. And that is so great. Each couple's private language helps create their own erotic world.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It Ain't Easy, But You Are So Worth It

I woke up today in a cold sweat with an awful sense that something was wrong and I had no idea what it was. Some of you who have been reading with me for a while might not be surprised at this. It's not uncommon for a flareup of vague nameless fear to crop up after a victory. I call this a battle for my heart, and it's happened before. Hell, there's a whole category for it. I have to smile at that. There's a whole category for it. For some reason, that is just so funny to me. A great big smile has spread across my face. Here's the payoff for being humble and accountable. People know where you're at.

So I sat up for an hour or so, trying to snap out of it and getting nowhere. So I went back to bed. I told Delighted Husband, "I woke up in a cold sweat at 4:30 with a vague sense that something was terribly wrong and I don't know what it is. I've been sitting in the living room trying to figure out what it is, and I don't know what it is. So I figured if I'm going to not know, I may as well come back here and be warm while I don't know."

Delighted Husband snuggled up to me, and mumbled in a sleepy voice, "If you don't know what's wrong then nothing's wrong. The thief comes to steal kill and destroy" and then he began to snore.

Just like that, I was filled with peace.

Oh, after seeing it happen a few hundred times, I am learning!

Huge strides up the mountain are sometimes interspersed with little bouts of vertigo.
Don't jump off the mountain.
Just hold onto your partner.
Ask them to pass the container of oxygen.
Stand still and breathe deeply.
Rest and collect yourself.
When you feel ready, move one foot forward.
You are so worth it!

Love,
SW

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Healing Power of Story

Some friends of mine have been praying for me.
Wow, when they pray, they pray, and stuff happens.
This is what they were praying about and I will tell you what happened.

I have a group of friends that I used to be quite close to a few years ago. Much misunderstanding and unhealthy dynamics with a few and it ended badly. Several still wanted to maintain relationship with me but I found it too painful, and made a clean break from the whole bunch. Lately, I have been encountering reminders of some of these old friends. Seemingly out of the blue. I've been having a powerful longing to reconnect yet a horror of the train wreck repeating and a knowledge that the dividing issue has never been resolved. I need wisdom and protection. If it is God that a reconciliation take place, then He must open the doors. If it is God's will that I have peace and be free from the longing for a reunion, then so be it.

I stayed awake till after midnight Monday night, thinking about each friend I have lost and receiving the same comfort from God I received right after the train wreck. Hymns really spell comfort for me. So I listened to Chris Rice's new album Peace Like a River. Over and over.

In the morning, I was exhausted. I went back to bed for a while, after seeing my family off to work and school. Then my reminder alarm went off telling me it was time to get ready for my lunch appointment.

All the sudden, it hit me: "I am missing out on a real live local opportunity to enjoy a lunch someone here invited me to because I'm all tired and sleepy because sat up till all hours of the night mooning over some lost friendships who live far away and I haven't talked to in nearly 3 years. What the heck am I doing??"

So I snapped out of it and started getting dolled up.

Now you women will understand this prolly better than you men.
Getting dolled up makes me feel good. This was not a romantic lunch date. It was my agent who I have known and worked with for years. This lunch at the restaurant of my choice was my reward for going to an interview out in the boondocks in rush hour traffic. Nice agent huh? Anyway, the point is, for me especially since I have been working at home in my no-makeup gym clothes for the last month, it was a real shot in the arm to get all dolled up in a nice outfit and go to my favorite restaurant in the Galleria district.

Once I got there, my agent showed up with my other agent (bonus!) who also works at the same talent agency. One agent is a man the other agent is a woman. Both of them love me and have been very good to me. I love them too and they know it. So we're eating these fancy salads and they ask, "so what are you working on these days?" and I said I was supervising contractors who repair my house after the hurricane, I was working with a literary agent, and I was writing content and doing project management on a new online retail website. (wink wink y'all know what that website is!)

So they were very loving and encouraging asking me about the literary agent first. They have both known for quite a while that I write novels. Then they said "so tell me about this website". So I told them it was my first time to do the project manager role for new websites instead of the writer role. I explained the stuff I've learned about keeping track of who's doing what and who's waiting for who. The developer has to code so and so before the writer can write such and such.

I'm keeping it all cool and professional. Like I'm talking about just another gig.

Then God said, "tell them the whole story".

So I did.

I started off by saying "this project has been rewarding for a "pay it forward" kind of reason. This project is giving me the chance to combine my hobby and my work."

"Oh really?? That's wonderful! Tell us about it!"

I did not blurt out, "I sell sex toys".

I said, "I had some really bad things happen to me in my childhood. And you know what, I took myself in, sat myself down in the chair, paid my $95 an hour and I dealt with my stuff. And I reached a point where my therapist said, "You're like the poster child for sexual abuse recovery. You should totally write a book." and I said "yes!". I knew from my writing career how long the book writing process was, and I wanted to strike while the iron was hot and get my story out there while I had the nerve, so I started a blog.

They made encouraging sounds, so I continued.

"The cool thing about a blog, is you have a thought, you push send and bam its out there for the world. No query letters. No endless book critique groups. You have a thought. You type it out. You press send. Bam. You're done.

Now, when I first started my blog, I didn't know anything about blogging. I didn't know anything about stats. I was sure that
A) no one was reading this and
B) if they did read it, I would be tarred and feathered.
But you know what? I still found great power and consolation in telling my story. By speaking out. Even though I thought I was speaking out in an empty room, I was speaking. And it felt good to tell my story. It felt real good.

I sat there at the marble topped table of this beautiful restaurant and rested in their gaze. These two lovely human beings were giving me their full attention. Oxygen for the storyteller's soul.

Several months later, somebody told me about stats and I started tracking visitors. And I discovered that people were reading my story. Lots of people. And they were telling other people to come and read it. (open mouthed wide eyed look of amazement) That was a year and a half ago.

How many people? My agent asked. And I told him how many thousands of you dear people come here and read my story. The agents made happy sounds. I felt the same good overwhelming feeling I always feel every time I think of you dear men and women showing up here and reading what I have to say. Y'all have no idea how precious you really are.

I quickly added, "But here's the best part. I get these emails. Women from all over the world write me and say, "I read your story, and it took me 6 times to read it all the way through cause I kept crying. But I did read the whole thing. And I knew it was my time for healing. So I went for counseling, and that was several months ago, and my marriage is doing so much better." Oh my God, you guys, can there be anything better than that?

I just about cried to think of it, I felt so bowled over.

So over the next couple of years, I began to mentor wives, to mentor couples and it was very common for them to ask me for recommendations for toys and accessories.

I glanced up quickly. Neither agent spewed tea out of their mouth or looked like they needed a defibrillator. Good sign.

So most of these couples were dealing with some amount of sexual abuse or sexual addiction issues. So I was very protective of these women. Because I know from my own experience, that the vibe the feel the atmosphere of some of these toy stores made me feel a little uncomfortable. And my concern was that one of these women who had reached a place of healing in her life and was ready to be brave and do something a little spicy for her marriage, might shop at a store that she felt uncomfortable with, and then she might say, "Oh I tried that it wasn't for me." and then she might give up.

"Oh just when she's going for it in her marriage"....they said sympathetically

I nodded. "Yes."

So one time a husband asked me to recommend a store that would be sensitive to his needs as someone recovering from sexual addiction issues, I said, "you know what, I've been an authorized reseller for quite some time, but I haven't done much with it. Now that I know my job is going to be coming to an end, maybe now is the right time to start a store. Let's think about it pray about it see what develops"

In less than 24 hours, I started getting emails with orders. Now I don't even have a store at this point, I'm just thinking about it and I'm getting orders.

The next day, this wonderful couple that own a professional web development company talked with me and offered to help me. They said, "we think what you're doing is a ministry and we want to help you." I opened my mouth and said "Yes! I accept!" Another friend said they wished they could help if they didn't live several states away. I told her, "you don't have to live here to help. Be my virtual assistant." So this team of wonderful people just grew up organically around me!

I am smiling. The agents are smiling. They're totally tracking with me. This feels so good!

This has been a real challenge to me as a writer. And fun! On one hand, it's easy because I'm writing from my heart. How many branding campaigns have I written? I've lost count. The branding campaign for this site I wrote in 48 hours. It wrote itself. And it was fun! And funny! And playful!

They smile. I smile. My professional and personal worlds are colliding and it feels so good!

Some of the writing has been challenging. On one hand, as a writer, I have to write about the products in a favorable way. On the other hand, as a woman who has been in recovery for 16 years, I have to write about these products in a way that shows sensitivity and compassion for those who are struggling with abuse or addiction issues. So I really wrote from my heart. And I came up with a solution. I put the Liberator Black Label products in their own section of the store, and in the welcome message for that section, I wrote: "This is not for everyone. Take what you like and leave the rest. If you've reached a place in your recovery that you're ready to say, "hold still honey, you're gonna love this!" then welcome to this section of our store."

Agent says, "You did not say that!"

I grinned. "Yes, I did."

Agent says, "Oh that's fabulous!" and we both laugh. I feel amazing!

The agents prepare to leave for a meeting. It's a cordial goodbye, and more than that, I feel like something has shifted inside my heart.

So you can see why (mutual friend other agent) says "This is the coolest thing I wish you could put on your resume!"

I'm grinning. Sharing an inside joke.

Agent is dead serious.
"You may feel differently about that someday. I think what you're doing is amazing."

After they leave, I stand there next to our table and take stock of this feeling in my heart. I feel a thrill and a nervous tingling inside my chest. But it isn't fear. It's energy. It's excitement. It's power.
Power?
And then it all makes perfect sense.
During the early years of my recovery, I told my story, the sad story of my abuse. Sitting there on folding chairs in support group meetings, I told my story. And every time I told my story, I felt stronger. And here I am today, on the flip side. Telling my story, the happy story of my healing and my business. Sitting there on a cushy banquette in a good restaurant, I told my story to my real life friends who have known me and worked with me for years. And I feel stronger. Much much stronger.

This is the Healing and the Power of telling my Story. Wow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Love Her

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
-Theodore Hesburgh

I searched all over the web looking for a picture that would illustrate this beautiful truth and found it right there in my community list, on Michael and Angela's blog. Michael loves his four children, no doubt, and he loves their mother too. VERY much.

Isn't this a powerful image?

(I've heard this quote for years and never knew who said it first. Kind thanks to CaMarriage who posted this quote on Twitter. )

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sensuous Wife Dines Out: Key Lime Pie

When it comes to food, it's not just the flavor, it's the texture. This is never more true than with dessert. The chef at Houston's J. Alexander's knows this well, and his key lime pie is sublime. Delighted Husband and I honeymooned in the Florida Keys, so I've sampled a lot of key lime pie, and I've never had key lime pie as sublime as this Houston rendition. Did I just use the word sublime twice in one article?
Yes ma'am I did.

The plate is simple and square and curves up at the tips as though it hugs something special. Pebbles of crust sprinkled over the plate trickle from the wall of crust that shores up the placid lemony layer topped by a tower of fresh whipped cream. I touch my fork to the cream first, watch the tower fall over as lift the first bite to my eager tongue. The cream is smooth and light and velvety and barely splashed with vanilla. The pie filling is so smooth and satiny it is almost slippery in my mouth. A startling tartness! Then the faintly sweet crumbly crust that is a hybrid of pecans and graham crackers. Each of the three is delightfully well executed, but the whole is FAR greater than the sum of its parts. Gestalt dessert! Whooda thought?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Meme: Six Uninteresting Things About Me

Meme Terms and Conditions
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. List six unspectacular things about you.
4. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.

Lord have mercy! This has got to be the hardest writing assignment I've had in a long time. I've been writing for more than half my life and the mantra drilled into my head was 'make it interesting'. Lordy. Doing this meme is like entering a cooking contest for "the worst recipe ever". Well dangit. This meme came from someone I really love, so I can't just conveniently forget to get around to it, so I'll have to tweak this assignment so I can actually pull it off.

6 Odd Quirky Trivial Things About Me That You Can Decide On Your Own Whether Or Not You Might Find Them Interesting:

  1. I like tea and filtered water and I drink a lot of it.
  2. I like sex and and my husband and I play together every chance we get.
  3. I like writing and have found it essential to my self-expression since age 7.
  4. I like worship because of the sense of presence and unaloneless that it gives me and because I enjoy loving on someone I adore.
  5. I like singing and have found it essential to my self-expression since age 2. I don't believe I could drive or cook or take a shower without singing.
  6. I'm a big fan of nonsexual touch. It's very common to find me squeezing my friends' hand while we talk, or leaning my head companionably on their shoulder while we sit side by side.
  7. I like to laugh and do it every chance I get. I get a lot of chances as those around me will attest. I have actually been asked by my friend who is a comedian to come to his live performances and "salt" the audience with my giggles.
  8. One of the loveliest side effects of my spiritual and sensuous awakening is a renewed enjoyment for kinetic movement. Dance, cycling, playing chase with my kids, powerwalking, circuit training all feel fun to me. I used to be an brainy gal who only lived in her head. I am so over that.
  9. I believe in lagniappe as a lifestyle, so it felt right to give a little more on these lists.
Okay now onto tagging some of my friends in blogdom. I find it especially fun to tag friends I've met fairly recently and friends I'd like to know better and friends I've known forever. Sort of a friendly nudge on the shoulder that says "hey I'd like to know more about you, you big goober." (mischievous grin)

So cough up the trivia, folks!
Cory from Husbands and Dads,
Village Idiot from Tohu and Bohu
David at Naked Pastor,
Cori from My Heart His Heart
Kyra from Lonely Housewife's Refuge
Desmond from Running In the Yard
Shawna from Life In the City

Love,
Shula

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Sexually Confident Wife

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the drawings in Shannon Ethridge's book spoke volumes. Joy! Delight! Smiles! Confidence! and Creativity! come in all sizes, races and positions. That's what these pictures said to me, along with a reallllly great position to try in the shower. ;)

I've got a bookshelf full of books that taught me sexual positions and techniques, and I'm grateful for every one. But as I mentioned on the phone during a girlfriend-to-girlfriend talk, nothing has a greater impact on a woman's sexual experience than how she feels about herself when she walks in the bedroom. Shannon understands this very well, and her book The Sexually Confident Wife has lots of relevant encouraging things to say to women like us who could use a dose of sexual confidence. True confidence is found in embracing our sexuality as a gift from God.

She's very frank in this book, and I loved it. During the two days I took to read it, I alternately laughed, slapped my palm on my desk saying "you go girl!" or dabbed a few tears as she shared from her heart about her body image issues.

Shannon's been there, and she's got a lot of practical encouragement for wives who want to feel more confidence, more orgasms, and a stronger more beautiful bond with their husband. I've tasted the joy of being a sexually confident wife, and I want more. Her book is still on my nightstand and it will be featured in the store.
Read on, darlings, and become the sex goddesses you were meant to be.

Love,
SW

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hottie Hot Tea

I like hot tea. In a pretty teapot. I like it hot and sweet and oh dang this is starting to sound sexy! (snicker) (full blown GUFFAW) (cough) Okay. (smirk) Seriously. I want to describe the perfect cup of tea. I like fragrant tea with a bit of aromatic twist to it, so I like Earl Grey or Constant Comment. Either one. Sweetened liberally with Splenda. Doused heavily with cream. Not some manmade corn syrup solids mishmash like Coffee Mate, real cream as in from a cow. Heavy whipping cream preferably although half and half will do. I add enough cream so the tea is lightened to a pale khaki color. The color of Dockers. Drink hot in a cup with matching saucer. OR drink cold over ice.

My sister in law, the Brit, calls my Hottie Hot Tea "cream of tea soup". SIL makes her own batch of tea separately when she stays with me. I have taken to buying a box of PG Tips tea and keeping in my pantry for when she visits. She likes her PG Tips tea strong enough to walk and barely splashed with regular or skim milk. She doesn't do sugar or sweetener.

I know sugar is for the purists, but I save my sugar for Southern Girl Sweet Tea. When it comes to Earl Grey or Constant Comment Hot Tea, Splenda seems to do the trick.

Enjoy this tea, you hotties!

I'm lifting my steamy teacup in salute of my friend Lainie over at lainiesips.com. She's got one heckuva tea blog!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sensuous Cook

I've started writing and photographing recipes while I cook and calling it The Sensuous Cook, which I'm compiling as a book and will share here and on a new blog Sensuous Cooks. Fun eh? Cause of course "alive to pleasure received through the senses" includes taste. Does it ever! And if you dance and sing while you cook it, so much the better.

I can hardly cook without music. My office is close to the kitchen and I'll cue up a playlist of music while I'm makin' dinner. I'll dance around the island and shimmy in front of the stove.
One of my favorite singers to cook to is Neil Diamond:
"warm touchin' warm reachin' out touchin' me touchin' you sweet caroline bah bah bahhh good times never seemed so good SO GOOD SO GOOD duh duh duh i'd be inclined bah bah bahhh..." and next thing you know we have a crab alfredo made from scratch. God, I love being a woman.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Legacy of Love

Delighted Husband and I spent this afternoon in the garage sorting through belongings from our attic that were damaged during Hurricane Ike. We've been married for nearly 12 years and some stuff was mine before we were married. There's a lot of stuff!

I want to mention first that this is some of the stinky stuff in the attic mentioned here. I don't do it perfectly, but I like to keep things organized, so nearly all of our stuff in the attic was stored in cardboard banker boxes. Those banker boxes acted like sponges, soaking up all the water in the attic when the roof leaked during the hurricane. The wet cardboard was breaking down deteriorating in the heat and smelled awful! But now the cardboard had dried and it was time to sort through them and be done with it.

Some things were ruined and had to be claimed.
Some things were—to my great delight—salvageable.
I want to tell you about one of those things.

Two of the many boxes were things from my single life and girlhood that I had kept and brought into marriage. One box was full of books and journals from the years when I first began my healing journey. Relics of the heart. This box-out of all the damaged boxes-the contents of this box were completely unharmed. I was so glad to see this, and I made a note on the index card which book titles were in there in case anyone ever needed it and I could give it away. There was plenty of work to do, so I quickly folded together a nice clean banker box and began to move the books and journals into their new home.

Then I saw it: A program from the funeral of a man who loved me and mentored me for many years when I was a teen and single adult. I'll call him Paul. Such joy filled my heart and tears filled my eyes. I stood there in my garage, wiping tears, and read the whole article. This man and his dear wife spent their lives loving God and loving people.

They loved me wholeheartedly during the early years of my recovery. They believed me when I told them about my sexual abuse, and they loved me without condition. I don't know quite how to describe it, but there was a gentleness about this man. He saw me. When he looked at me, he really saw me. As a young woman, this was so special to me. In a world full of pain and abuse and inappropriate flirting, this man looked at me with love and fatherly affection. He affirmed me as a writer when I was first finding my wings and beginning my career. He took me seriously. When I talked to them about my questions and trials as I was just starting my corporate career, they really listened. Paul had a wide varied career and he coached me on the people dynamics I encountered on my job. I was so young! So naive yet talented and I found the unspoken culture of corporate America confusing. He took me under his wing and coached me about workplace dynamics and my career goals.

Paul and his wife were always very affectionate with each other. I remember how special and good I felt inside when I would be over at their house for dinner and he and his wife would stand embracing and smiling right there in the living room. Their devotion and affection for each other was a breath of pure air in a season of my life where I was processing all the pain from my past sexual abuse. I would look at Paul and his wife standing in their living room, smiling and talking with their arms around each other, and I would think, "Oh my God. All is right with the world. This is the way it should be."

Years later, I realize that Paul was one of the first people to speak the truth into my life that the sexual and the spiritual were equally important and deserved to be balanced in a healthy life. We both loved to read, and we shared many hours talking about novels and what they spoke to us. We had discussed big tomes like Herman Wouk's The Winds of War, the family legacy and the horror of the Second World War. I remember he asked me what else I had been reading, and embarrassed, I mumbled, "Oh just some other dumb stuff, a Danielle Steel novel." I was sure he would see that as some unspiritual waste of time or worse a shameful detour for a Christian young woman. But you know what he said? Paul looked me straight in the eye and said, "Well, Shula, romance is an important part of life. Never forget that. Life would be pretty dull without romance, and if you want to read about it and let God stir up the desires of your heart for a good man and a good marriage, then you go right ahead. Okay, so what else you been reading?" and the conversation went on, calm as could be. We went on to talk about James Michener's Covenant next, and the staggering issue of South Africa's racial unrest.

I kept up with the conversation, but inside my jaw was dropped in shocked delight. Up until that point in my life, sex and any kind of boy/girl connection had been icky, and toxic and filled with pain. In that one single conversation, I learned that romance and marital love, even the mushy sexy kissy stuff was an important part of life and that was okay for me to want to be married. Of course, I still felt I was exempt from that sort of thing; Having been abused I felt like I was damaged freight. But that one conversation gave me a spark and I began daring to hope. I took all my questions and longings to my counseling sessions with my therapist, but that conversation with Paul was a turning point. A catalyst.

Better yet, the way Paul calmly spoke of romance with the same level of respect he showed the topic of racism or genocide told me that romantic love really mattered. It wasn't just meaningless fluff, it mattered. Romance was a legitimate issue.

I smile as I conclude this article, and there are happy tears in my eyes. Because I know that Paul would be so proud of me, of the redemption stories I am writing and of this life of love I have built with Delighted Husband. I so so WISH Paul had gotten the chance to meet my beloved Delighted Husband. They never met. My first date with Delighted Husband was the night of Paul's funeral. It was a new season in my life, and while the two men never met, I brought my changed and healing heart into my marriage.

What a legacy of love!
-SW

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Shortest post ever

It's next to impossible for your husband's foibles to annoy you when he has used his power, skill, and generosity to reduce you to a quivering gooey puddle of joy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fond Farewell to Paul Newman

Delighted Husband and I were with the kids eating burgers and ice cream at Sonic this Saturday afternoon when I heard the news of Paul Newman's passing. My first words were "Ohhhh bless her heart. Joanne has just lost her friend and lover and partner of 50 years."

Besides his professional legacy as an artist and philanthropist, when I think of Paul Newman, I think of one of the longest lasting marriages in the movie industry. I have immense respect for that. For this reason, my ears were quick to listen tonight when we happened across a rebroadcast of Paul's interview on Larry King Live.

Larry asked, "What is the secret to a lasting marriage?"

Paul's answer: "Lust, respect, patience and determination."

Wise words. My deep condolences to Joanne and their family. My profound respect to her husband.

May we all weave lust for each other, respect for each other, patience with each other and determination to stay together into the fabric of our marriages.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sweet Breeze on My Face

Sense of touch and hearing today went straight to my heart, my friends. Sweet breeze filtered through tall trees and touched my face while this song was playing on my phone. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Can I get some backup here?

Folks, I have to tell you, the topsyturvyness of my life lately has inched past the tipping point of overwhelming.

My job ended Thursday just in time for me to help Delighted Husband prepare our home for the storm. This leaves unanswered questions for me because I had hoped I could launch sensuouswife.com by the time the knew-it-would-end-eventually-job was completed and that sensuouswife.com would become my new job and I could be a WAHM again. At this time the site's not quite ready for launch and my new job has become being the unpaid Construction Manager for my house. I never thought I'd wake up one day and be Bob the Builder. But I must restore my home so I am flying by the seat of my pants learning a new job the quality of which will determine what kind of house my family and I live in for the next umpteen years. No pressure!

I camped with my inlaws for a few days which was a blessing. Like any sleepover, after several days we were ready to be home in our own place again. It's only natural. During our stay at MIL, DH and I made 2 visits to our house in the dark trying to grab a few clothes by flashlight. Much stumbling and bumbling about shuffling along in the dark carrying a heavy load. I cut my hand on something in the dark and I continue to find blood dots on the floor where I dripped without knowing it.

During the time I was camping at my inlaws house, I got what appeared to be wonderful news about my fiction writing then really horrible news right on it's heels. I rode that emotional rollercoaster, doing a serious gut check in the process. If God is proud of me for telling the stories that are in my heart to tell is that good enough? Can I stay proud of me and my work even though other's signifcant opinion may rise and fall?

I spent much of the day yesterday pleading my case with my mortgage company. When I received my claim check from the insurance adjuster, it was made out to me, Delighted Husband and the mortgage company. I called the customer service for the mortgage company and asked them if I could take the check to a local branch to be endorsed. They said no, it had to be shipped off to Atlanta where it would be endorsed and sent back to me. I called yesterday to check the status since I had traced the package and knew my check had arrived. The customer service person who answered that call told me I should have taken the check to my local branch for endorsement. Mlehhhh!

This is more than just a hassle. Seemingly everyone in Houston needs a new roof. So finding a suitable roofer and contracting them before their dance card becomes impossibly full is a big big deal. I tearfully told Mortgage Lady In Atlanta, "you have no idea how frustrating it is to have good men sitting across from you at your kitchen table and not be able to hire them because you don't have any money to pay them because your money is hundreds of miles away in Atlanta where it doesn't belong!" I went on to explain to Atlanta Mortgage Lady that because I got my check early from the insurance company, I have a parade of vendors coming through my kitchen wanting to be hired. But every single day I do not hire said vendors they drop out of the running because somebody else does hire them and next thing you know I'm on a six month waiting list. I cannot live like this for six months! Atlanta Mortgage Lady apparently has a heart. Because she volunteered to email the mailroom, have them find my check (the one in the great big overnight pack) and she would walk it through the endorsing process and Fedex it back to me sometime this week. None of the other talented able and available contractors will touch my house until the new roof is complete. So Delighted Husband and I are scraping together the cash to hire and pay the hiring downpayment to the roofer so he can get it done so by the time the Sacred Check from Atlanta arrives we can reimburse our household checking account, and pay the rest of our bills. (including our mortgage hows that for irony?) Most importantly, we will then have the money to hire wallboard and ceiling and paint and attic insulation contractor who is talented, ready, highly recommended and willing to start once that roof is in place. (pant)

Once Talented Ready Recommended Contractor is done with the reconstruction upstairs, we can get Carpet Guy to replace, clean and reinstall the various carpet upstairs. Once the upstairs is done, we can move downstairs to the Showdown at the OK Corral where Insurance Company says rotten wet hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished and they'll be all better. Riiiiiight. So my hope is—y'all pray about this too, okay—my hope is that by the time Various Contractors are finished with the upstairs that Insurance Company will have agreed with Flooring Expert that sanding and refinishing is a waste of time and money and will have coughed up the bucks for a replacement hardwood floor. (gasp)(pant) So then we can be done with the lion's share of the downstairs repair. Except yesterday I found wet wallboard and peeling paint downstairs that I hadn't noticed when Insurance Adjuster was here last week. Mlehhhhhhh!

So my job today is to sort through all manner of belongings that were pulled down from the Stinky Attic. Delighted Husband, brave man among men, hauled this stuff down the attic ladder and laid visqueen all over the Guest Room and neatly spread Water Damaged Grossy Belongings all over the Guest Room. I moved the biggest HEPA filter in there and it still smells like, well like nothing I've ever smelled before. So today my job is to sort through and photograph and document the Lost Stuff, take it out of my house, send photographs and claim forms to Field Claims Office to hopefully get more money to buy replacement stuff. Some stuff can't actually be replaced...) And then my job is to reclaim and rebox the Keep Stuff, taking time to launder the baby clothing and baby sling and other babyish stuff that I'm not willing to let go of yet because I might get to be a mama again if we adopt. (more emotions stirred up over that topic).

Oh and I don't get paid for any of this. But what else can I do but repair my house and hope that the store goes live soon and the second income is restored to our family? Y'all can pray about that one too if you want to.

So yesterday, I was on the phone with Beloved Out of Town Friend Sue who is uniquely equipped to comfort me because not being a Houstonian she is not in the same boat. I was sobbing and in between sobs saying nearly inaudible things like "I'm really doinnnnnng pretty good. I thing I founnnd a cahnnnntracterrr todaaaaay." Among other comforting things, Beloved Out of Town Sue said, "I think you're doing extremely well and if you weren't crying by now with all the things you're dealing with, I'd wonder if you were actually human. So you're human. So you're crying. So that's okay." Dontcha just love her? Gosh, I do.

So I thought it would be okay if I let y'all know that I'm human and that this ordeal is very hard for me. And if you wanted to love on me and say nice things, that would be okay. Lovely even.

Love,
Shula

PS Talented Recommended Contractor told me he found a 2 foot by 2 foot nest of Unidentified Living Creatures in my attic. Eeeeeeeeeeeeek! (shudder)