Let's enjoy a swim in the Tidepool and share laughs and tears about how these struggles have shaped

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wish You Were Here!

I made it to the airport in Charlotte on Wednesday just in time to pick up Chris curbside.  What do you call a first meeting that feels more like a reunion?

We managed to miss a few turns on the way to the hotel because our chatting was way more important than navigation.

We ate Mexican with Gaye of Calm.Healthy.Sexy.  And as Chris asked in her post, “What do three intimacy bloggers talk about over a casual meal?”  A little bit about marital intimacy, but mostly about our families, blogging, and hair.  Then we made a quick trip to the grocery store as the conversation continued about sausage races and ironing.

Since Thursday, Chris and I have been attending SheSpeaks training.

At breakfast on Friday, tiny scrolls ‘favors’ were at each place setting.  Bible verses were written inside.  The Proverbs 31 staff had prayed over these scrolls.  The prayers of the staff had been that each woman would receive the verse God wanted her to see.

I teared up when I read mine. 
“You didn’t choose me.  I chose you.  I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name,” John 15:16.
Random inspiration from the weekend so far:

“The more dependent we are upon God, the more powerful he will work within us,” Lynn Cowell

“Obedience is followed by blessing,” Wendy Blight.

“It is not about me, it is about the message God has given me to extend to those He knows needs it,” Wendy Blight  “If God says we are to write, WRITE.  His word never returns empty.”

“Rejection is God’s protection,” Wendy Blight.

“Technology is God’s gift to us, one of the greatest tools to complete the great commission,” Mark Kendrick.

“Don’t try to figure out patterns of God’s work.  Don’t be discouraged by perceived setbacks.  Watch what God is doing.  He’s helping you work out your mission,” Shaunti Feldhahn.

“Set backs, slow starts, no fruit are all stepping stone forward!” Shaunti Feldhahn.

We are not done yet and my cup is overflowing!

Prayer Wall

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How Do I Forgive Her of Past Lovers?

After Is My Husband Comparing Me to Former Lovers posted, I received several messages from men.   This is in response to those emails.

She’s wearing white under false pretenses.  You know the truth.

She was the perfect girl, so sweet and helpful and uplifting.  She loves Jesus.  Her character and lifestyle confirm she is trying to live out her faith.  You felt like Superman in her presence.  Then, she took a risk and allowed you to see into her past.  And even though she has sought God’s forgiveness and repented, now every thought of her is clouded by what she told you.

She’s no longer perfect.

As one with pre-marital sexual experience, I can tell you, her greatest wish is to go back in time and make better decisions.

Sin is bondage.  It chains our hearts with regret.  It is easier to ask for forgiveness from Christ than it is to forgive ourselves, sometimes.

Why did she make those decisions in the first place?  She may not really know why she did what she did, but you should ask her.

Maybe all she heard was DON’T and wanted to see what all the hullabaloo was about.  Afterall, sex just goes downhill after marriage, or so she heard.  God’s design of marital sexual intimacy had never fully been explained.  It’s far more than physical pleasure, but a melding of physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy. No Christian ever spoke plainly to her that sex after marriage is made all the more beautiful if you only experience and learn with your husband.

Maybe she was desperate from male attention since dad was never around. 
Maybe she was rebellious and hard-hearted and didn’t care about God’s laws.  
Maybe she was abused and her mind corrupted by bad company.  

You have forgiven, but want to forget.  How do you begin to process this?

See her as Christ sees her.
“If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is – that she is a sinner,” said Simon the Pharisee. Jesus said to the Pharisee, Simon, “Do you see this woman?  I came into your house.  You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair……You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little…….Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace,’ “ Luke 7:44-50.
Jesus wasn’t blind to this bold woman’s sin.  However, he valued the abundant love and faith of her heart more.  He extended her grace and forgiveness.

In this present moment, does the heart of your lovely lady overflow with love and faith?  What are you valuing more, her heart or her sin?

Forgiving can lead to forgetting. 
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing,” Isaiah 43:18-19. 
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come,” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Your part in this is to not wallow in dark thoughts, but, to allow the Holy Spirit to fill you abundantly with mercy.  I truly believe that as forgiveness overtakes your heart, the Lord grants a bit of amnesia.

Don’t let this be a territorial dispute.  Seething that other men invaded your territory.  Do not dwell on the past.  Love the new creature God has given you in your wife.

Every marriage grieves.

At some point in a marriage, you grieve your expectations.  Whether it is the expectations of your spouse’s sexual experience or of how life was supposed to go in general, you grieve.  Things don’t go as planned.

It is hard to hear this when your heart is throbbing with pain, but it is truly a blessing to grieve early on.  When you grieve early on, you have the ability to live a larger part of your life loving the ‘real’ person,  not the person you have put on a pedestal in your mind.

When you know the aches and sins of your spouse, they no longer have to hide their failure.  Together, you can bolster each other up in spite of the flaws and failures and because of flaws and failures.  You can’t deny you have flaws and failures, too, just in other areas.  Maybe you were a technical virgin, but have viewed your share of porn and masturbated to it.  Or you lied on a job application or you cheated at cards or shoplifted.

Appropriate perspective of marital intimacy.

When you consider that the whole of marital intimacy as spiritual, emotional and sexual, you see that sexual intimacy is only 1/3rd of the package.  It’s an important third, and shouldn’t be neglected.  But, it’s not the entirety of marriage.

Does she point her life constantly toward Christ?  Does her character shine with patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness?  Is she servant oriented and consider other’s feelings?  Does she work hard at her tasks, whatever they may be?  Does she strive to be hopeful and joyful even when circumstances seem stacked against her?  Is she open and honest, but not condemning, when things aren’t so good?

Consider her other qualities and don’t let her failure to keep the hymen intact overshadow the new creation God has made.

Consider your purpose.

God has given you a broken vessel because you have a greater purpose.  Your purpose is to nurture this woman into all that she can be to fulfill her role in God’s Kingdom. 

What did Christ do with the adulterous woman (and yeah, I’ve always wondered where the guy was, cause it takes two!)?

Christ set the adulterous woman free.  He set her free from the sin of her soul.  He also gave her a second chance and set her free to have a full life.  “Go and sin no more.”
Your wife or fiancĂ© needs your Christ-like love so that she can learn how to forgive herself.  She needs you to be her partner in having a full life.

So, what do you do with this information?  You pray and evaluate.

If you can forgive fully one day and then not be able to the next, you are still working toward forgiveness.  It’s a process and doesn’t happen all at once.

But, if this is really a stumbling block, you are the one who has to work this out prayerfully.  Pray for God to reveal your underlying issues.  What is keeping you from forgiving?  Search scripture, find a trusted mentor to talk with.  Don’t let it ferment in your heart.  Air the issue out and find resolution.

Here’s the hope.

Some ‘wives of noble character’ are born.  However, I think the vast majority are cultivated.  If you partner with Christ to nurture her heart toward self-forgiveness and help her feel her value as a woman, while she is walking in the character of Christ, she will help you feel like Superman every day!   

Even if you weren’t the first, you will be the last.  And who wouldn’t want to spend the rest of their life with a woman whose heart glistens like a ruby for her husband!?

If you haven’t read Is He Comparing Me to Former Lovers, I recommend you do.  Thoughts in that post are relevant to this and are also applicable to wife or husband.

My prayers are with you as you come to terms with the mess of life, sometimes known as the consequences of sin.

 If this is your first time visiting OysterBed7, Welcome!  Please stay awhile, peruse the archives and don't forget to follow me via facebook fanpage or twitter (@oysterbed7)

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Key to Understanding Orgasm: Deep Spots

A Window into O’s (as in orgasm) is a series dedicated to empowering my pre-orgasmic friend.  The more you know about something, the less mysterious it is.  Understanding how our bodies respond to sexual stimulus, helps us envision the path to an orgasm.

God created our bodies to house his spirit.  But, he also created our bodies to experience sensations.  He gave us pain as a danger signal.  He gave us pleasure to bond with our mates.  (See Why Sex? on the nature bonding.)

Orgasm isn't an idol to be sought after at all cost.  It is a perk.  Sometimes, we need tools to understand how the perks work.  That's what this series is all about.  I want to give you tools to understand and then move forward to experience.

If you are new to this series, start here with the Introduction.

We’ve discussed the clitoral network which is breathtaking in design. 

We’ve discussed the urethral sponge which is most likely the G-spot accomplice. 

Today, let’s continue our look at interior O-potential and talk about Deep Spots.

Ever heard of the A-spot?

The area of transition where the uterus meets the vagina is called the cervix.  

An interior view of the cervix protruding into the vagina.

The cervix protrudes into the vagina ever so slightly to produce a crevice.  This crevice is called a fornix.  The anterior fornix erogenous (AFE) zone is found in the crevice on the side toward your naval.  The AFE zone is also known as the Epicenter or A-spot.  On the opposite side you’ll find the posterior fornix erogenous (PFE) zone.

All of the internal pleasure places were designed by God and have been explored since the creation of woman.  Eventually, science catches up.  The Journal of Sexual and Marital Therapy published findings of Dr. Chua Chee Annin 1997 regarding the AFE zone.  Although there is controversy regarding his ethics in scientific method, he found a positive correlation between the AFE zone, vaginal lubrication and erotic sensitivity.

Why is this spot erotically sensitive?  I believe it is because the juncture between the vagina and cervix is densely packed with nerves and is a point of a large supply of blood vessels.

A schematic of the uterine artery and other blood supply.  
Notice the boxed portion where the cervix resides.

A nervous system diagram of the female reproductive system.
Notice the boxed area where the pelvic plexus innervates at the cervix.

 What if you have a tilted (retroverted) uterus?

In the United States, 1 in 10 women have a retroverted uterus (according to rightdiagnosis.com).  The normal position of a uterus is to lie forward toward the naval.  But in 10% of American women, it lies toward the spine.

A tilted uterus, may cause the AFE zone to be more accessible.   Abnormal physiology isn't always a bad thing!

It's crazy how female plumbing is laced with pleasure potential!  Not every square inch, but a great deal more opportunity exists than most realize.    However, a wife should be in a highly aroused state before the deep play begins.

Here are links to the rest of the 'O' series.  

Introduction: A Window Into O's
O Potential:  How the Husband Can Help
Nurturing Your Gardenia: Helpful Hints on Reaching O’s

If this is your first time visiting OysterBed7, Welcome!  Please stay awhile, peruse the archives and don't forget to follow me via facebook fanpage or twitter (@oysterbed7)

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Cup of Celebration

I primed a water pump once when I was a little girl.

When a hand-pumped well won’t bring up water, you have to prime the pump.  A cup of water is poured into the pumping chamber to help start water flowing.  (It has something to do with a vacuum.)

Now, as a grown woman, I need to prime my spiritual pump.

I have recently been in a spiritual vacuum.  It’s not a place where there is disbelief. It’s just a place that lacks celebration.  

I am looking forward to my cup of celebration and worship next week with jittery anticipation.

I will again be attending SheSpeaks, Proverbs 31 ministry’s conference for writers and speakers.  It is an amazing time of worship, celebration, encouragement and education.  It's 4 hours west of my home in Charlotte, NC.

There is nothing like coming together with a large group of women on a mission!   Each attendee has a ministry she is passionate about.  You can read about my experience last year here.

The other reason I am excited is that I'm going to share my cup.  Next week, Chris (Forgiven Wife) and I, will be meeting in person for the very first time.  It'll be like a homecoming.  Because, we are pretty sure we were separated at birth.  Our friend, Gaye (calm.healthy.sexy), will also be making a short visit.  

We were not created to be alone.  God gave us marriage.  He also gave us friends.  Chris and I have lots of 'you, too???' moments.  I know we share much of the same kind of life experiences and outlook, but will she share my love of the mornings?  Nomatter what time of day she comes to life, we will make time to hash out our plans for Heart Craving.

We both have a heart for hurting women, especially those who are a little off-kilter when it comes to the powerful role sexual intimacy plays in marriage.  I cannot wait to share this ministry experience with Chris, my sister-blogger.

Because the enemy does not like it when a unified force comes into play for the Kingdom of God, I ask for your prayers.  (See Chris' prayer request here.)

Marriage - Please pray for a hedge of protection around both of our marriages.

Being Overwhelmed - Last year, SheSpeaks was nearly too much to take it.   You might think that this is just a big 'extravaganza' of Christian hype, it's not.   It's a large group of sincere women worshiping and learning how to grow God's Kingdom in their area of ministry.  The event is a lot to process.  Please pray for us to have peace and the ability to absorb godly wisdom amidst the powerful nature of this conference.

Direction - Please pray that we stay true to our message, the importance of marital sexual intimacy.  We seek God's guidance in fine tuning our collarboration, Heart Craving, and our individual ministries.  We seek God's guidance in presenting our message in a way that struggling wives will hear us.

Protection - I ask for the Holy Spirit to be present in abundance during Chris & my visit together.  For protection for our families while we are away.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to empower the women at SheSpeaks for Christ.   

As this 'LaVerne and Shirley' pair hits Charlotte, pray with us that the outcome will be God's message pouring out to redeem the special purpose for marriage, His perfect design.  

"There is no limit to what God can do through you, provided you don't seek your own glory," L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert.

We'll keep y'all aprised of the fun.  Maybe Chris'll get to try shrimp & grits for the first time. Watch twitter for updates on our weekend (7/24-7/27).

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Glowing Reminder

The mayo jar blinked like a stop light after midnight.  I was 10 years old and reveled in harvesting fireflies.  The bioluminescent flash of these insects mesmorized me.  Without remorse, I would smear their dayglow nubbins on random objects, even my own arms, to wonder at the continued glow-in-the-dark effect.

We have spent the past 10 days in our birthstate, Indiana.  Nighttime brought out the multi-sensual symphony of my childhood; crickets chirping brightly, lightning bugs and a tang of green things growing from rich dark earth (which is free of sand).

I hadn’t realized fireflies were absent from my life until I experienced them again.
There was a tiny leap in my heart when I saw sparks randomly appear in the air like magic.  They are joyous creatures.

How could I have not realized lightning bugs have disappeared from near my home

How do we forget anything that was once important, meaningful or fun?

When the bare minimum of caring gestures are made in a marriage, eventually we forget what we are missing.

Back when we had slipped into a place of misery, I didn’t realize I was missing sexual intimacy.  If you’d accused me of it, I would have denied it.

Now, if you are a friend who finds sexual intimacy distasteful, please stick with me.  

I knew that I missed the easy way we related to one another when he assumed my motives were loving.

I knew that I missed acceptance of each other, even if we didn’t agree.  I didn’t have to agree with him or vice versa, but we could still be a team.

I knew that I missed honesty and open sharing of whatever was on our minds.

I missed him looking at me with fondness.

I didn’t know that all of that was tied up into how we related sexually.  I glady bought into the lie that sexual intimacy was fluff, not part of the foundation.  That helped me bypass any responsibility. 

What I didn’t know I was missing is that sex is a third of the total marital intimacy package (spiritual, emotional and physical intimacy).

I didn’t know that I was crushing the light in my husband’s heart by denying the importance of our sexual intimacy.  When I became convicted that I wanted him to glow once again for me (and vice versa), I had to make a committed decision to begin engaging in sexual intimacy on a more regular basis.

Now, nearly 15 years later, I do know what I was missing.  Sex isn’t just a romp in the lightning-bug-lit field for physical pleasure, it is a romp that promotes a sustained connection between man and wife.  All of those things listed above and more have returned and I never want to not miss them again.

In case you've wondered, "where are all the lightning bugs?"

Sharing with Calm.Healthy.Sexy's Let's Get Real Party.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Proposal

Our middle son, J, put his head together with the heads of several fine, upstanding, clueless, young friends and the team came up with a strategy of romance.  Our oldest son (already married) gave his younger brother some valuable words of wisdom which solidified the plan. 

The proposal was to be a big surprise for his beautiful girl.  Because, the day he was asking her was his birthday.  I was touched that J wanted help from his twin brother, his dad and I.

There is a quaint setting in an older neighborhood close to downtown Wilmington.  It is not on the beach, but at a lake filled with cypress knees, alligators and moss.  The brave can rent paddle boats.  Historically, the lake was the mill pond of a 250 acre rice plantation owned by Dr. Samuel Green during the mid-1700s.

J’s older brother was married in this very same spot, called the “Fragrance Garden.”  It was a glorious outdoor wedding.  This would be the spot to see another enchanted Burns moment.

Mr. Muscle and I took the liberty of scouting out the location early in the day.

We said “Hey,” to the two homeless guys lounging in the gazebo.  One showed us pictures of the morning’s visitor, an alligator, on his phone.  And if it’s the same guy who was camped out when our son was married, his name is Bob.  (As an aside, in the south, we say, ‘Hey,’ not ‘Hi.’  Surprisingly, there is a difference.  As another aside, and another surprise, many homeless have cell phones, at least around here.)

Here’s yet another aside, J finally found the ring of his dreams at the pawn shop just two days earlier.  My hairdresser just two days before that had suggested a certain shop in town to be reputable.  One of her clients had worked there.  My hairdresser also gave J tips on how to negotiate, thanks to said client.  He got a sa-weet deal on a bee-utiful ring.  Did you see last Thursday’s graphic?  That’s the ring.  (If you need pawn shop advice, email me.)

Anyway, back to the climactic event.  After a birthday dinner of sushi, J said he wanted to take her the scenic route home.  (Sometime later, she told me she was wondering why he was taking her through ‘the ghetto,’ actual quote.)

All the time they were dining on raw fish, the three of us had been procuring 2 dozen roses (thank you, Costco) and fifty votives with tea lights.  I may be exaggerating a bit, but it seemed close to fifty.  We placed votives around the art deco fountain in the center of the Fragrance Garden and tried to keep them lit.  A light breeze with subtle fragrances of southern jasmine kept blowing them out.  Stupid breeze.

Via intermittent one-word, coded texts, we were kept apprised of their progress.  We finally heard a car door shut.  We high-tailed it behind the bushes.  I know those homeless guys were laughing at us.

J’s lovely lady trusts him completely and was compliant to follow even though she thought it was a sketchy neighborhood.  She was surprised at the beauty of the garden.  Thank goodness the pleased tone of her voice carried behind the bushes so I could hear.  Then things got quiet and I had to stick my head out and pray she was too consumed with the moment to notice me or his brother, who was actually standing with a camera.

We had hid the ring under one of the benches surrounding the fountain.  (The bench with the least amount of bird doo.)  He knew which bench to go to because that’s where we placed the roses.

I stuck my head out from behind the bushes just in time to see my very handsome son, kneel his 6’1” frame to one knee.  Frankly, I never thought I’d be allowed to witness this moment.  I tread softly now that my sons are young men.  I have always been aware that in order to gain daughters, I was going to have to take a backseat in their hearts.  But, he wanted us there.  He said so. He just wanted to make sure it was a surprise to her.

She was caught off guard and tearfully thrilled when he got down on one knee.  He took her hand and this time, sound didn’t travel the distance, he spoke so softly.  The gaze they held spoke all I needed to know.  They are desperately in love.  She reached down and cupped his face in her hands and kissed him through her tears.

And when she finally was able to say, ‘yes,’ we came out of hiding.

See a video tour of the Fragrance Garden, click here.  Skip the advertising and start at 1 minute.  You will see the fountain, the bench (one on the left was the wedding ring bench), the bushes (where we hit) and the gazebo.  You don’t have to watch the whole thing.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

What the Widget?

What the widget?

First, I want to thank all those who have joined OysterBed7 in the last two years.   It’s a bit startling to see the numbers increase each month.  I never dreamed it would take off as it has.  You encourage me so much!

My focus with OysterBed7 is to encourage wives who are struggling, specifically with low libido, not make high dollars.  God prods me every week to help hurting wives and marriages.  When I don’t have time to write, it’s usually because he has sent flesh and blood to my door for help.  I am compelled to share my hope.  Change is within grasp.

However, I have been praying over a decision the past few months.

You may have noticed a new gadget on my sidebar.  I’ve installed an Amazon link.  When and if you purchase a book through this link, I’ll get a small percentage.  If I mention a book in a post, I’ll have it in the listing.

Since O7 is not a 501c3 non-profit, I cannot take my expenses off on our taxes.  Mr. Muscle has not batted an eye as I pay for Christian Counseling tuition and ministerial weekends like SheSpeaks out of our household account.  However, there are things I would like to contribute to their payment, including more ministerial and writing weekends so that I can better serve you and glorify God.

Currently, I use free editing software for my graphics.  I also use Publisher/Powerpoint because they came with our Office Suite.  My secretarial days allowed me to master these programs.  But, one day I’d like to really go for it and get Adobe’s Photoshop.  I try to use my own photos or Public Domain photos, but having the option to buy into a photo subscription service would increase my selection.  Photos really aren’t that big a deal, I realize.

Another reason I’ve added it, may seem unlikely.  I think it may help me be more accountable to writing consistently.

Thank you for obliging me a small means of income to help offset my expenses as I continue to grow in skills and wisdom to share with you.

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