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My favorite way to spend a lazy afternoon is to stretch out on a chaise with a pitcher of sangria (my nutritionist disagrees, but there is no better way to get so many servings of fruit so deliciously) and a good book. On this page I’ll share with you some of my favorite reads.

But first things first.

Paula’s Very Favorite Absolutely Friggin’ Incredible Sangria

Combine 1 bottle medium-bodied red wine, 1 c pomegranate juice, 1.5 c orange juice, 3 to 4 oz Southern Comfort, 6 oz lemon lime soda,  1 c sliced strawberries, 1 thinly sliced blood orange, 1 c crushed blueberries, 1 c crushed blackberries. Occasionally I even add a thinly sliced kiwi. Stir. Serve over ice cubes in a very tall glass.

What were we going to do? Oh, right. Read…


 The Five Love Languages by Dr Gary Chapman

What makes you feel loved? Good question, huh?  I couldn’t put my finger on it either.  Earlier this year I began a process of eliminating from my life the relationships — both with people and with organizations — from whom I “just wasn’t feeling it.” My criteria were very subjective; if there wasn’t a smile on my face as I thought about them, I hit their delete button.

While on vacation this summer, I read The Five Love Languages. As I turned the pages a monstrous astral fluorescent light buzzed on and damned near blinded me as I realized why I’d chosen to terminate those particular relationships.  Dr Chapman’s theory is that each of us speaks primarily one of five love languages and the extent to which the others in our relationships speak our language determines the love we feel from the relationship. Obviously it’s also important to learn the languages spoken by the significant others in our lives – mates, parents, children, friends, co-workers – so we know how to give them what they need.  The five languages are:  quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Many of us are multilingual, but one language will predominate for each of us.

First take his assessment at learn your own language.  It’s fun and only takes a few minutes.  Then go read his book.  It’s an easy omg-this-is-really-good-Sunday-sangria read and it’ll give you a lot to think about.


Conscious Loving – The Journey To Co-Commitment by Drs Kathlyn & Gay Hendricks

In marriage – as in business – choosing a good partner is the easy part.  Being a good partner is a far longer process; it certainly requires considerably more effort. In my past I have chosen wisely in some cases – not so much so in others.  However, until I began reading Conscious Loving – The Journey To Co-Commitment by Drs Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, I didn’t realize how badly I’d failed the “being” part of the equation. Now that my patina is quite well along in its development (in other words, now that I’m a mature single), I’ve committed to making my last marriage the best.

I first became familiar with the Drs Hendricks when – in my quest to create more love and harmony in my life – I enrolled in their Relationship Catalyst program. I discovered more about myself in that program than I had in thousands of dollars of therapy. Then I enrolled in a relationship workshop offered at Simi Valley’s Center for Spiritual Living; Conscious Loving was recommended reading for that workshop.

For those of us who for whatever reason have developed an allergy to the C-word – commitment – this book is a very potent antihistamine.  Through it I’ve learned to communicate more positively, honestly and openly and  to allow more creativity and pleasure in my life. I know this one is going to be hard to believe, but it’s also helping me tame my control issues.

I love this book and highly recommend it not only for singles who want to do it right the next time, but for couples who just want to tune it up a bit as well.  May it bring as much peace and clarity to your life as it has mine.  Enjoy.


What I’ve Always Wanted To Tell You by Stevie O’Connor

“Mom, we need to break up.” That sounds to me like the masculine version of my daughters’ “Cut the cord, Mom.” As parents we do all we can to protect our children and help them take short cuts around the difficult consequences we experienced in our own youth. Intellectually, we know that at some point we have to let our baby birds spread their wings and fly solo, but…

In this moving, wonderfully written book the widowed Stevie shares with the son she’s raised alone since he was 8 — and who’s just enlisted in the military– her experiences, the lessons she learned from them and her advice for the future. I alternated between laughing and crying as I enjoyed this incredible gift from a loving mother.


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