Enjoying Today

I woke up around 5:30 this morning with a relationship on my mind.  I began praying for some insights on it and fell asleep.

I had a dream and in the dream four women lost their husbands in an explosion during a war.  One of the women was the queen. Her son was incredibly distraught over the loss of his father.

Years later the boy became a warrior, living by his wits. He sold a homely old gentleman a bag of lemon drops saying they were a potion that would bring the man a bride.

His girlfriend asked him why he did such a thing to the poor man.

He replied, “I made a commitment to myself that anyone who put their trust in me, I would give him what he asked of me.”

She asked, “So will his belief and faith make him receive what he believes he will receive?”

He replied “that or he’ll learn that in the end we lose everything that matters to us, so it doesn’t matter.”

The girl tried to argue that this wasn’t true, but he was insistent that it was.  We lose everything in the end.

Enjoy each other todayAs he sat at his desk, the girl put her arms around his neck from behind, leaned into his ear and said, “Why don’t we enjoy each other fully today instead of holding back because we are afraid we’ll lose each other tomorrow.”

Interesting how elequently the subconscious mind can send you the message you need.

About Marnie Marcus

Marnie (Pehrson) Marcus is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Divorced in a Forever Family Faith

There is something about going through a divorce that makes you feel like the foundation of your world has been ripped out from under you. Even if the marriage relationship wasn’t good or wasn’t fully supporting you, there’s still this illusion that you have lost the very foundation of your life.

Without that foundation, it’s tough to find your footing. Even if you’re happier for the change, there is still an unsettled feeling that you don’t really fit like you used to. If you’re a person of faith, this can be even more pronounced.

The first phenomenon I experienced (and I see others like me experience) is the desire to withdraw, lick your wounds and pull back from anywhere in your life that reminds you that you’ve fallen short, failed or don’t fit in anymore.

As a Latter-day Saint, in a faith that believes marriage is meant to last FOREVER, church can become one of those places. You sit in meetings and hear people talk about how grateful they are for their ETERNAL families. And you think, “So where does that put me?” Then again when I was married and people gushed in gratitude for their eternal marriages, I thought, “Why am I not thrilled about this? Doesn’t seem like such a blessing to me.”

eternalfamilyI’m the music person at church, so I’m usually given a theme for the talks for the month, then I select the songs to match. The first month after the divorce, the theme was “forever families.” I almost decided to ditch church for the month. How was I supposed to sit through an entire month of Sundays on that subject?

Then, I realized bailing wasn’t the answer for me. When waters are troubled, it’s not smart to jump out of the boat. So I hung on. Besides, since I’m the pianist, I wasn’t going to be able to silently slip out of sight without anyone’s notice.

I decided to call a supportive friend and tell her how I was feeling. Once I voiced the thoughts, the feeling neutralized. I managed that month just fine and every one since.

Many LDS people tell me they feel judged after a divorce, that they don’t fit in, that they are the odd ball. I can honestly say, I’ve never felt that way. I’ve been treated amazingly well. The men at church make sure I have what I need and are incredibly thoughtful. And I’ve never felt an ounce of judgment from anyone. I’m wondering how much of that is because I made a conscious choice to ignore the negative thoughts that were streaming into my head… realizing where they were coming from.

The next thing that came up for me was the shameful thoughts that I could no longer be the leader of Light Bearers (or Christian entrepreneurs). “Nobody’s going to listen to you anymore. You’ll lose your Christian audience. You have the big D on your forehead.” Instead of letting this get to me, I posted my feelings in a private Facebook group of 40 Light Bearers… sharing with them what was going on, what thoughts were slamming me, and telling them I planned to lead anyway and share my journey.

The outpouring of encouragement was amazing. The negative, “You can’t lead Light Bearers anymore” thought fled out the window, never to return.

I think a lot of divorced people get slammed with negative thoughts, and they keep the thoughts to themselves. They don’t feel safe in sharing them. When we nest on our negative thoughts, it’s easier to succumb to them. When we have the courage to voice those thoughts, and let the right supportive people know what we’re experiencing, we can overcome the mind games of the adversary and get on with our lives.

I’m incredibly grateful for the beautiful people who have helped me navigate the last couple years. They have supported me staying the course through my dark nights of the soul and have helped me believe that I still have value, even if my life isn’t cookie cutter ideal.

About Marnie Marcus

Marnie (Pehrson) Marcus is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Coincidences or God-Winks?

Are you noticing the little tender mercies in your life? My friend Laura West calls them, “God winks.” Lately, Elijah, my 13-year-old, has been teaching me about acknowledging them.

For school, Elijah’s been making a physical map of Georgia out of a big cookie.

Elijah’s one of my very responsible, “get it done” children. He’s also incredibly honest. The other day he found a $10 bill at school and gave it to the teacher. His older siblings said he should have kept it, that it would never get back to the person who lost it. If he finds stray change around the house, he brings it to me. In fact, as I was writing this blog, he walked into my office and set a nickle on the desk in front of me.

Elijah’s also one of the few children I have who tells me about school projects ahead of time. The Georgia cookie project was due Friday (today). He made sure I bought the food coloring he needed Tuesday. He suggested I make the cookie Wednesday, but I didn’t get around to it until early afternoon Thursday.

Tuesday, he said his teacher suggested he bring the project to school in a pizza box. We rarely buy takeout pizza. I said, “Hmm… I guess I could grab a Little Caesar’s pizza this week.”

Georgia Physical Map Cookie Project

Elijah’s Georgia Physical Map Cookie Project

Wednesday night, after church, my brother-in-law (who works with the youth and gives my kids a ride to church) decided to buy my kids two pizzas and some cheesy bread on the way home from church. They had dinner before they left, so he had no reason to do that, but he was buying some for his daughter’s family. He’s one of those sweet men who never wants my kids to feel left out.

Elijah walked in my bedroom, offered me a piece of cheesy bread, and said with wide-eyed wonder, “Mom, I needed a pizza box for my project. And I got a pizza box.” The tender mercy was not wasted on this boy.

Marnie and Jillian at Heritage High Generals Band Pinning Ceremony

Marnie and Jillian at Heritage High Generals Band Pinning Ceremony

Last night (Thursday), I went to my daughter’s band concert and pinning ceremony at the high school and left Elijah making his Georgia project at home with this older brother.

About half-way through the concert, Elijah texted me, “Mom, can you buy some graham crackers for my project?”

I’d gone shopping Wednesday afternoon and for some unknown reason felt a compulsion to buy graham crackers. My kids aren’t really into them that much. In fact, I almost put them back toward the end wondering, “Why am I buying these graham crackers? Other than they are a good deal?” I left them in the cart and checked out.

So when I received Elijah’s text last night, I responded, “You’re in luck. I bought some yesterday. They’re in the pantry.”

It was a simple thing, but for me it was a God-wink. Yes, it saved me a trip to the store last night, but more importantly I finally felt like one of those good mothers who psychically knows what her children need before they need it. This has never been me. It was MY mother. When I was a young struggling mother, my own mother would do things like appear at my door with a bottle of fabric softener the very day I ran out.

I swore she was psychic. She was probably just incredibly observant. But the woman does that kind of thing all the time. In Elijah’s God-wink, God winked at me too.  Maybe there is hope for me becoming half the mother my own mother is.

All of these things could be chalked up to seeming coincidences. But I would rather look at them the way Neal A. Maxwell described:

You and I may call these intersectings ‘coincidence.’ This word is understandable for mortals to use, but coincidence is not an appropriate word to describe the workings of an omniscient God. He does not do things by “coincidence” but instead by ‘divine design.'”

I don’t believe this series of little events was about a cookie project or saving trips to the store. This was about letting an honest, responsible 13-year-old boy know that God knows him, looks out for him and provides for him. It was about letting his mother know she’s okay and that the Lord is guiding her in little things with her children.

I’d love to hear your “God-wink” stories… please leave them in the comments below.

About Marnie Marcus

Marnie (Pehrson) Marcus is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Shhhh… The Meaning of Life Is Simple

I’ve spent the bulk of my adult life analyzing the world, what makes people tick, attempting to discover the whys and wherefores of life. Looking for the patterns in the chaos.  I’ve gotten some incredible insights and understanding along the way. Yet, lately I’ve been questioning the questioning. Is all that analysis necessary?

I was out for a drive this morning and asked myself a couple questions:

What if spirituality is as simple as giving whatever doesn’t serve you to Jesus and letting it go?

I mean really letting it go. Stop the activities that no longer serve you and let go of the guilt, the shame and the blame. After all, He’s got it now – right?

What if the meaning of life is as simple as to love deeply, to bring love wherever you go – your home, your family, your work, your friends and colleagues, or even the grocery store clerk?

As this thought entered my mind, I immediately thought of my Granny. I can’t recall that she spent her days analyzing the world or trying to save it. But she loved with all she had. It oozed out her fingertips into her food. It radiated from her eyes and her lips in her smile. Everybody loved Granny, because Granny loved everybody.

What if the secret to a happy life is loving like Granny did?

At the thought, a warm feeling of peace swept over me. I felt a resounding YES from God, angels and any heavenly hosts who may have been in the vicinity of my car. YES, love like Granny did. Focus on your family, make them feel loved and cherished, bring all the love you have and are to those around you.

In my quest for an amazing life, I am coming to understand that it is the simple things. The ordinary day-to-day acts of kindness, the kind smiles from twinkling eyes, and the warm hugs from loving arms are what make life incredible.

Even when cash flow is tight, your life can be amazing. Even when there are challenges and worries, life can be amazing – if there is LOVE.

simplethings

About Marnie Marcus

Marnie (Pehrson) Marcus is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

In Search of a Chivalrous Man

A chivalrous manI’m one of those high-achieving women who earns her own living, mows her own lawn, patches her own water lines, and pioneers innovative trails. Yet, don’t let that self-sufficiency fool you for a second, if given the choice, I’d choose a chivalrous man.

Chivalrous men are a dying breed, and some people are glad of it. The Urban Dictionary says, “Chivalry is something that people always say is dead, but no one seems to know what the hell died.”

I know what died, and I’m mourning its departure. If chivalry is dead, I believe it may be we women who slaughtered it. We basically told chivalrous men that they were no longer needed, that they weren’t important, that we could get by just fine without them. We handed men our virtue (which they were once honor-bound to protect) and said, “It’s worthless to us, take it, trample it. There’s no need to buy the cow anymore, we’ll give you all the milk you want for free.”

When we held our virtue sacred, we wielded a power that persuaded men to commit, to remain true, to value and honor us, to protect their children, to provide for their families — to be an active part of making family life work. As a gender, we tossed that aside because we wanted to be “more like men.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for women being all they can be in this world. I’d go bonkers without my entrepreneurial pursuits. I know we’ve made immense strides in women being treated with respect. Yet, somewhere along the way, we threw away something beautiful. I know scads of heterosexual woman who would say their hearts crave what we tossed away … a man of courage, honor, integrity, and courtesy … a man who is ready and willing to help the weak and gallantly protect women.

I’m probably going to catch a lot of flak for this, but I want to go on record as saying…

– Give me a man who sees me struggling with a light fixture and pitches in to help.

– Give me a man who tells me the truth, a man whose word is his bond.

– Give me a man who honors and values women and who doesn’t use their images for self-stimulation instead of taking the time to build a true connection with me.

– Give me a man who respects and honors my womanhood, who will champion my cause, lighten my load and be a true companion on the adventure.

– Give me a man who is courteous and kind, who thinks about someone other than himself and seeks to lift and serve others.

– Give me a man with passion for life who works hard, plays hard, and loves completely.

– Give me a man who truly listens to me, takes the time to connect with my heart, and then becomes an advocate and a supporter of my dreams.

– Give me a man who admires my physical beauty, but adores even more the beauty of my soul – because he really sees and values ME for who I am inside.

Yes, long live the chivalrous man! Some of us still value you!

About Marnie Marcus

Marnie (Pehrson) Marcus is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

My Daddy the Bird Whisperer

I’ve always known that my dad had a way with people, but it seems he also has a way with birds. He sent me these photos today of a bird he coaxed into coming to him, letting him pick it up and become its friend.

taming a cat bird

taming a cat birdHe found this catbird on his car port and started talking to it. It walked toward him and let him pick it up. It squirmed a bit at first, but then it finally relaxed as he held it in his hands. For perhaps thirty minutes he talked to it in soothing tones until he finally opened his hand. Rather than fly away, it climbed up on his back.

I remember when I was young he found another cat bird in the house that had come in through the chimney. He caught it and held onto it a while. When he took it outside, it didn’t want to leave him. Finally it flew into a tree and kept talking to him for some time.

The trick, he says, is to hold onto the bird, restrain it just enough to keep it from getting away, but use no more force than you have to. It’s about building trust and letting it know you mean it no harm. It’s still a mystery to me that he can talk to it and make it come to him and let him pick it up.

I think there’s a lesson here about building trust with not only birds, but also with people. In my father’s career as a dentist this ability to engender trust and set people at ease came in very handy. In the last years before he retired, he only accepted patients by referral. People came from states away to be cared for by this gentle man with a way of calming others.

My dad said he first learned to work with birds as a boy when he hypnotized chickens to stand on their heads with their feet in the air. This is the first I’d heard of this so he suggested I Google it. Sure enough, here’s a video someone posted on how to hypnotize chickens. The final method in the video is the one my dad used as a child…

Anyway, such fun! I’m completely fascinated. How about you? :)

About Marnie Marcus

Marnie (Pehrson) Marcus is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Christmas Blessings

I’ve been very blessed this Christmas to have all six of our children home as well as the addition of our new daughter-in-law. We spent a traditional Christmas Eve at my mom and dad’s house, but with an new twist. We added some music to the evening. Jillian sang “O Holy Night,” Elise (my daughter-in-law) sang “Silent Night” and our eldest son Caleb sang, “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Unfortunately, the video of Elise only caught the back of her head, and I’ve posted Jillian singing “O Holy Night” before.

So here’s Caleb singing “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

About Marnie Marcus

Marnie (Pehrson) Marcus is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.