Marriage

By the Downward Way

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on October 7, 2014

By the Downward Way by Dan LordI haven’t been blogging much lately (fall is always such a crazy busy time for our family) but I had to pop in quickly to share our latest bit of exciting news…

Dan’s book, By the Downward Way, has been released into the wilds of Amazon!

I absolutely love this book. Which is, honestly, kind of saying a lot (even taking into account that it was written by my husband) because I don’t usually gravitate toward the fantasy genre. It’s just not my thing. This novel captured my heart in a way that few books do, though. Have you ever read a book and fallen so in love with the characters that you were sad when it ended because you missed them already? That’s how this book made me feel. Combine that with the thrilling twists and turns that By the Downward Way offers and you have a novel that I think is absolutely extraordinary.

Here’s the description:

Leo Von Koppersmith is determined to face down the family curse that for centuries has driven his male ancestors to madness. To do it, he will have to travel to a hidden island inhabited by a strange and wonderful cast of human and humanoid characters, help protect a tribe of children who have mysteriously fallen out of the sky, and evade the monstrous beings that hunt them. Above all, he will have to be the one thing that has been missing from his family since the beginning long ago: a loyal father.

Here are the first two reviews:

“This book is like the best of Tolkien crossed with a great Dean Koontz thriller. Dan Lord’s incredible imagination and ability to convey intricate thoughts with just the right words will transport you. He has an unusual talent.”

“A generational curse, diabolical forces, and a man who has lost his way. Lord weaves an evocative tale reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra trilogy. An intense and absorbing journey filled with an array of fanciful characters, I found myself reading straight through to the final page.”

And here is the book trailer:

 

I also think it’s just perfect that his book was released in the autumn. It’s thrilling twists and heartwarming moments make it the perfect novel to curl up with on a cool day (or crisp night) with a soft blanket and your favorite hot beverage.

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did! You can find it at Amazon for Kindle or on paperback!

 

Take care, sweet peas!

Hallie

 

P.S. If you purchase and enjoy the book we’d be so grateful if you’d leave an Amazon review and/or share the link with your friends! Thank you so much!

 

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Sex Advice: Lead Us Not Into Google

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on July 2, 2014

My finger hovered over the “publish” button. I drew a shaky breath. For months I’d been thinking about publishing this ebook but kept asking myself, “Do you really want to be ‘that Catholic woman who published a book about great sex‘?”

Three years ago, while we were working on Style, Sex, and Substance, contributing writer Elizabeth Duffy sent a questionnaire to hundreds of Catholic women asking them about their sex lives: Were they satisfied? With what issues did they most struggle? And their husbands? Were they content? Was there tension?

I was taken aback and saddened to see just how many women reported being dissatisfied with the sexual-love aspect of their marriage. Inspired and informed by the feedback she received, Elizabeth wrote an excellent chapter on the topic for our book.

After the book released, I started receiving emails from women about their intimate lives and the struggles they faced. At best, they said, sex wasn’t fun. At worst, it was a source of enormous marital tension…

To read more, just head over to Patheos where I have the pleasure and privilege of guest posting this week!

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Your questions about “Spice Up Your Marriage” answered!

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on May 26, 2014

Hi cutie pies!

First, thank you all so much for your support of Spice Up Your Marriage — A 28-Day Adventure! Thanks to you, she achieved #1 Best Seller status on Amazon! You all are the sweetest! (She would thank you, too, but she’s having a moment.)

 

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A couple of questions about the book have been coming up repeatedly so I thought I’d take a minute to answer them.

A lot of you are wondering whether the book can be used during an NFP season of spacing. Julia answered that question so well (and sweetly!), that I think I’ll just cut and paste her thoughts below:

“As my wee ones are still asleep, I just enjoyed a hot cup of coffee while reading the ebook from start to finish. First off — great work, Hallie! I especially loved the postscript on “alone time” — such great advice! While I am not going to assume what others might find cheeky or blush worthy, I found the contents written with honesty, compassion, and utmost respect for women, their husbands, and the marital act. The language was suggestive without being “in your face” (a breath of fresh air compared to most mainstream material on the topic).

Re: couples in an NFP “season of spacing”… Even though many assignments focus on physical intimacy (directly or as the natural progression of things), some focus more so on other aspects of the relationship (communication, emotional connection, etc.) Assuming that you could pick and choose assignments out of sequence (and I don’t see why not), those abstaining during fertile periods could still intentionally set aside time for one another to work on emotional intimacy (e.g., Day 15). For that matter, it would help build anticipation for physical reunion a few days later. ;-) “

A few of you have also asked whether there is a way to read the book if you don’t have a Kindle. Kindle does offer a free reader for PC and for Mac users (there’s an app for iPhones, as well). Eventually, I may upload it for Nook but formatting it for Kindle was a bit of an ordeal so it may be a while. (If for some reason none of those options work, email me and we can do a Paypal/PDF thing.)

Oh, and for those of you who do have Kindles but are worried about little people stumbling upon your spicy download, Calee offers a few suggestions here. (Thanks, Calee!)

And last but not least, many thanks to those of you who’ve left kind reviews, shared the book with your friends, and/or have helped me to promote the book on social media. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your help!

If any of you would be willing to leave a review on Amazon, it would mean the world. The more positive reviews a book receives, the higher Amazon will rank it and the better it will be promoted. (BTW — anonymous reviews are fine. Just fine. Wink, wink.)

 

With so much love and gratitude!

Hallie

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Spice Up Your Marriage – A 28-Day Adventure

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on May 21, 2014

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Girls! My eBook, Spice Up Your Marriage – A 28-Day Adventure, is on Amazon!

I’m so excited!

For those of you who are wondering what on earth would compel me to write about such a (potentially) embarrassing topic, all I can tell you is that I apparently have no sense of self-preservation. (Wink.)

All kidding aside, I decided to pen this 50-page eBook for two reasons:

1) There is CRAZY demand. I wrote a post a while back entitled Spicing Up Your Marriage (without 50 Shades of Grey) that is (by far) the most viewed post on my entire site every single day.

My stats look like this, again, every single day:

 

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And my inbox is flooded with email from women asking if I have any tips for how to revitalize the sexual-love aspect of their marriage.

2) This is an important area that is too often not discussed. Which is something that needs to change. Cultivating a satisfying sexual relationship does not come easily for every couple. And judging from the email I receive, when a couple is struggling in this area it places a huge strain on the union.

Women are constantly telling me that they feel hopeless because they don’t know how to fix this issue and they don’t know where to go to get answers. Asking Google for advice is like stepping into a virtual adults-only XXX store. I wanted to write an eBook that would offer tips for spicing up your marriage in a way that doesn’t demean, disrespect, or objectify the participants.

Even couples who have had a satisfying intimate life in the past can find that it’s easy to deprioritize the sexual-love aspect of their relationship amidst the busyness and stress of daily life. There is a great temptation to choose sleep over sex. And sometimes we should! I am never more miserable to be around than when I am sleep-deprived.

But here’s the thing: marriage is the foundation our families rest upon. We simply can’t afford to neglect it. Obviously, there are many areas of marriage that need our attention, but from what I’ve seen, when the sexual-love component falters, tensions rise incredibly quickly.

Plus, all these spicy activities are such stress-relievers! Who among us couldn’t use a little extra stress-relief?

So, I thought, why not pen a little 28-day guide to putting the spark and spice back into your relationship with minimal effort and lots of fun?

There are three options each day — a mild, medium, and hot — so that you can tailor it to your needs, your comfort level, and your desires (and use the guide countless times without repeating the same journey). While some of the hot options are pretty spicy (so, prepare yourself for that), none of them disrespect the participants. I’m all about self-giving, satisfying, and respectful sweet lovin’. If you encounter something in this book that just doesn’t feel comfortable to you personally, move on.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for your support, cutie pies!

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In which I didn’t pick a fight!

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on May 1, 2014

Do you know what I love? Sending Dan my latest blog post which includes the line…

“Don’t get me wrong, had you peeked into the windows of my home these past few months, you probably wouldn’t have seen a serene woman down on her knees. But you might have seen a wife who poured out a bit more love…”

…after I’d spent the last 24 hours glaring at him, grunting rather than speaking, and just generally stomping around like my three-year-old daughter. (Wince.)

Charlie is sleeping through longer stretches at night (and now I am terrified that I just uttered those words! please don’t leave me, sweet slumber!), nursing is less frequent, and I suspect that my hormones are all confused and angry and mercurial.

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Everything has been irritating me.

E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

So, just to recap, I’d been glaring and stomping for days when I felt inspired to write the lobster post.

At first I felt dishonest. Or at least like I was being a bit misleading. But then I thought back on this week and realized that it was actually the perfect example of the ways in which Dan and I have grown as a couple.

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What I felt like doing throughout the last few days was to bring to his attention every last little thing that I found maddening. And I’m sure what he felt like doing was to tell me about the things that he felt found maddening (namely me, my glaring, grunting, and stomping).

But I bit my tongue because somewhere deep down inside I knew that I was being irrational and that any pleasure I’d derive from venting would quickly be crushed by disharmony. (Apparently I also managed to find of modicum self-control at some point.)

As for Dan, he didn’t comment on my passive-aggressive tantrum though I’m sure he could have offered me all sorts of constructive criticism. Instead, he just let it play out, knowing, I suppose, that I’d eventually find my way back to serenity (or at least stability).

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And that feels pretty great to me. No, I didn’t smile in spite of inner turmoil and yes, I derived a certain ugly satisfaction from making my displeasure known (albeit in a less verbal way than I once would have) but I didn’t pick a fight.

I didn’t pick a fight!!!

The storm rolled through, and the trees bent in the wind, but then the sun came shining back through the leaves and all was well. The damage was minimal and love reigned supreme.

So, yeah, progress.

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I’m the Lobster

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on April 28, 2014

Do you know who doesn’t win at blogging?

This girl.

You don’t even know how in awe I am of all of you who, amidst the craziness of daily life, still manage to visit your beautiful virtual homes away from home to share your hearts. I smile each time you post your wonderful updates and between scrubbing the pots and the pans, I read your words.

When I can, I try to dash off a comment but I have this weird problem where I want to say just the right thing. I want to perfectly convey to you just how much you inspire me. You girls are responsible for at least 50% of my joy each day. But when the right words prove elusive (thank you Charlie-no-sleep), I usually just close my laptop in frustration and return to the suds.

 

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I think maybe I’m just not good at online communication (which is why I am so excited about meeting so many of you in person at Edel!). I wish I was. Sometimes I’m envious of the sweet bonds so many of you have formed, and I worry that I’m failing to offer the same loving kindness (I know I am) but I do hope you know that I think the world of all of you. I just have a social media anti-charism. When things get chaotic on the home front, Moxie Wife collects dust. Basically I fail at Blogging with Discipline 101. Can you even imagine how neglected she would be without Five Favorites?!?

This winter was challenging. We were visited by Scarlet Fever, a stomach flu, and more everyday colds than I care to count. There was a tragic death in the family. I took multiple solo-parent trips by air which, though I love traveling, aren’t terribly relaxing with an infant in arms. Oh, and that infant in arms? I don’t know if I mentioned this (okay, I did), but he never slept.

It’s tempting to look back on this past winter, shake my fist, and say “Good riddance to bad rubbish!” I mean, it was seriously brutal at times. But as crazy as it may sound, and as happy as I am to welcome the reprieve of springtime, when I look back upon the last few months I’m filled with silly joy and overflowing gratitude.

Not because I’m a “so-holy*I-love-suffering*bring-on-the-pain” kind of gal (hahaha), but because this winter was revealing. In a good way. Now that I’m standing on the outskirts of that difficult season, I can look back at our experience, consider the way we handled the challenges we faced, and I can see all sorts of fruit. Delicious, life-giving fruit that’s been ripening for years.

Those fruits like to hide, don’t they? When you’re struggling mightily — arguing with your spouse, barking at your children, rolling your eyes at perfect strangers, (stubbing your toe and cursing the door jam, anyone?) — it can all feel so pointless.

 

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I can’t tell you how many times I have thought, “This would be such a great opportunity for sanctification if only I’d lean in to it a bit.”

The other day it hit me that I’m kind of like a lobster in a lobster pot.

At first, the steam feels kind of nice. “Thank you, Lord, for all these little crosses! I feel the goodness of your mercy! Your wish is my command!”

But then he turns up the heat a little and I’m all, “Stop, stop!!! You’re killing me! I’m dyiiiiing!”

And I do die, just like the lobster. Only there’s that small Resurrection thing that we human gets to take advantage of so, after all the dying (to self), I’m brought back to life!

Perhaps fittingly, it being Easter and all, I can see all this so clearly right now.

As he sometimes does, God has lifted the lid of the lobster pot a bit. The sun is shining through and he is saying, “Do you see now? Do you see how all of the pain and suffering has made you more tender? I didn’t need you to lean in. I just needed you to stay in the pot. And you did. (Albeit with a bit more thrashing than the average lobster.)”

 

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I’m not patting my back as I say this. Truly, I’m not. I’m more marveling at God’s goodness. I did nothing (you have no idea the degree to which I can do nothing) to bring this about and still he did his thing.

Don’t get me wrong, had you peeked into the windows of my home these past few months, you probably wouldn’t have seen a serene woman down on her knees. But you might have seen a wife who poured out a bit more love, a mother who showed a little more patience, and a woman who faced uncertainty with slightly more trust than she would have five years ago.

Of course, God knows that this lobster is far (so, so far) from perfectly tender. And so I know that he’s about to put me right back into the pot. That’s how these reprieves always go. They give you just enough time to breathe deep, recharge your batteries, and prepare for the next challenge. And that’s actually okay with me. With a little trepidation and as much faith as I can muster, I say bring it on…

Another day, another lobster pot.

 

I hope you are all having a beautiful, joy-filled Easter!

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

{I’d love to connect with you on Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ or Pinterest!}

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That bride-to-be over there? Tell her your stories.

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on February 24, 2014

I was mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest the other day and found myself bemoaning the fact that I got married in a pre-Pinterest world.

Only, if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t really regret it all that much. I just get distracted by those barn loft-mason jar-candle lit-wildflower weddings that are so gosh darn charming and lose my mind a little.

But really, you brides-to-be must be dizzy when you think of all the options available to you these days. There’s just so much creativity right there at your fingertips. How do you not want to do all the things?!? Is it making you mad? Are you drowning in it? Do you need me to send you a life-preserver? Because I totally will.

When I think back to my wedding and ask myself what I might change had I the help of Pinterest, the truth is that I wouldn’t change much at all. I loved our wedding. The ceremony took place inside an old Spanish Catholic church at dusk. There were a few flowers here and there and lots of candlelight but mainly there was just simplicity and love (and a killer mezzo soprano who gave me chills with her rendition of Ave Maria).

Our reception took place on the back patio of a downtown Mobile restaurant. They took care of everything. The trees were lit with twinkling lights, there was a small dance floor, and the food was provided (as were all the tables, chairs, and linens). All we brought in was the music, the Margarita machines, our cream cheese and pecan frosted butter cake, and our centerpieces — floating candles surrounded by the the most intoxicatingly scented gardenias.

It was all so uncomplicated and lovely. I’d say it was stress-free — and it really should have been — but I was kind of an emotional mess. So, while it’s true that I occasionally see things on Pinterest that I would love to have incorporated into our special day, mostly I just wish someone had told me to take care of me.

I wish I’d scheduled in more time to connect with Dan in the days leading up to our wedding. I wish I’d spent more time in prayer. I wish someone had told me to take a Benadryl before going to sleep on the eve of my wedding because even if you don’t have cold feet (mine were warm as toast) it’s unlikely that you’ll sleep very well and being exhausted on your wedding day can make even the little stresses feel overwhelming and disastrous. I wish I’d had a Mimosa to take the edge off so that when I found the hem of my dress covered in black dust I would have laughed it off instead of bursting into tears. And I wish I’d had a woman who’d gone before me take me out to lunch and tell me all of this ahead of time. I would have liked to have heard her stories so that I could have known to expect the unexpected, that “disasters” are part and parcel of a wedding, and that truly, a wedding is just a day.

An important day, a day that is the start of a whole new breathtakingly beautiful life, but just a day.

So, let’s make this a thing. If you know of a woman who is engaged, call her up and invite her to lunch. Sip wine, eat cake, and tell her your stories. Laugh at yourself so that she’ll be able to laugh at herself. Let her know that you are always there, day or night, to listen to her fears and answer her questions (including the awkward, embarrassing ones). Even if it looks like she all the support she needs, give her a little more because you just never know. She might just need you, too.

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