giveaway winner: falling apart in one piece

After using to determine the winner, one lucky reader was chosen to receive Stacey Morrison's book Falling Apart in One Piece! Drumroll please..........................

April Heiner Longmore is the official winner!

Congrats April! Your prize will be on it's way soon! Not April? It's okay, there will be more giveaways! Stay tuned...

giveaway: falling apart in one piece

Stacy Morrison was happily married; or so she thought. One day, her husband of 10 years dropped the bombshell-- he wanted a divorce. Stacy was left with a failed marriage, a new baby, and a house that was falling apart. But she took the high road and decided to learn from this seemingly hopeless time in her life.

Even if you're not going through a divorce, this optimist's story will inspire you.

You can win this book!

Want to win? Here's how to enter:

You can enter in two ways.

First, you can leave a comment at the bottom of this post on Jen's Love Lessons. Just click on the "Tell me what you think" or "Post a comment" link at the bottom of this post and then leave your first name and email address in the comment.

Second, you could leave a comment (or just click the "like" button) under the link to this post on my Facebook fan page.

All entries (comments on Facebook and on Jen's Love Lessons) will be combined based on time of entry (so technically, if you comment on both, you're increasing your odds of winning). Then, the winner will be chosen using

You have until TUESDAY April 26, 2010 @ 5:00 p.m. EST to enter. The winner will be posted on the Jen's Love Lessons homepage that night and I will send you a personal email (via facebook or otherwise) as well so that I can solicit your mailing address.

For more information please visit and Amazon, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Good luck!!!

*All entries received after the cutoff time will be deleted prior to choosing a winner.

quick love tip: give 'em a break

If it hasn't happened already, having children will put a serious strain on your relationship. You will fight about completely ridiculous things, you will be more stressed out than you thought was possible, you will say things that you don't mean, you will question your decision to have children, and you will be thrown into this competition about who works harder (some of you will be involved in a harmless teasing match and others will participate in a full-blown war about this last topic). While I could write for months (maybe even years) about my own experiences with these gems of parenthood, I won't. Instead, I'll just talk about one of the strategies that Hus and I use to keep our sanity.

We try to be in tune with one another and give each other breaks when needed. You see, our twins go to childcare three days a week, are watched by myself two days a week, are watched by Hus one day a week, and are with both of us one day a week. On the days where one of us has the twins all to ourselves, the parent who went to work for the day will deal with the sometimes horrific bedtime routine that night. It's a nice break.

Yesterday, I had the twins. And they were both congested, feverish, tired, and cranky ALL DAY LONG. It was a rough day. When Hus came home, he realized how difficult my day was and said, "Go lock yourself in the bedroom and do whatever you want. I got this." It was the sweetest thing that I'd heard all day. And the bonus was that it gave a topic to blog about and the time to actually write the post.

Raising kids is hard. It tests you and your relationship. Pay attention to cues from your spouse. If you sense that your mate is overly tired, stressed out, or angered as a result of being around your little rug rats, give 'em a break. Take over and let your partner calm down or just relax. You both will be better parents because of it.

wise love words: with friends, you can get through it

Below is a reprint of a clever article written by Stacey Morrison, the author of Falling Apart in One Piece: One Optimist's Journey Through the Hell of Divorce. If you like this article, stay tuned-- I'll be giving away her new book this week!

The Five Friends Who 
Will Get You Through Your Divorce

The Vault
This is the friend who listens, and listens, and then listens some more. And who understands that his only role is essentially not to react to 98 percent of your utterances as you are processing all the impossible changes that are heading into your life, except with a full range of compassionate "Mmm-hmm"s, "I know"s and "I bet"s. He doesn't call you on some of the more outrageous or crazy or unstrung things you might say (and there are a lot of those thoughts in your mind). And she doesn't interject with her own opinions of Where Things Went Awry, as if she could have some omniscient insight into your marriage (She might, but she knows it's only likely to make you feel worse.) Instead, she merely nods, pours you another cup of coffee, and doesn't look at her watch until she is pretty much positive that she's supposed to be somewhere ten minutes ago. And more important still, is the simple fact that The Vault will never repeat a word of what you've laid bare. So it's almost as if you've never said any of it, but somehow, you feel better anyway.

The Entertainer
There's a whole lot of introspection that goes on in divorce - - and generally, it feels pretty crappy. That's why you need a friend like the Entertainer, who will take you out of your head and into the world. The Entertainer doesn't really want to know the gory details about what you're going through- -and that's a good thing. This person is the Life of The Party, or the Hostess With the Mostest, and they don't need to be troubled by the fact that life can be a big, fat downer. This is, for you at this moment in your life, their most redeeming trait. They will be only too happy to have a friend who wants to see the latest movie, go to the newest restaurant, hear their freshest jokes, and basically drink in their big personalities while you get a few hours to escape from yourself and remember that there's still plenty of fun left in the big, wide world. So make a standing Friday night plan with this friend; you'll thank yourself for it.

The Taskmistress (Or Taskmister)
It's bad enough that you've lost your spouse, but it turns out that you've also lost part of your mind. And not just in the feeling-crazy sense; in the remembering-to-tend-to-life's details sense. Paying bills, going to the doctor, filing insurance papers, registering your kids for summer camp and so on - - all these niggling, but important, tasks that need your attention, at a time when your attention is very divided. That's why you need the Taskmister, someone who will step forward and be the co-pilot of your life. In my case, I had a great friend and co-worker who, when she started planning childcare for her daughter's winter break, would ask me if I'd done the same. (Um, no, actually.) She reminded me about annual insurance registration and flu shots, tax returns (oh, right, that) and the dreaded summer camp decisions. And frankly, she was the person who reminded me that I hadn't yet figured out what my son and I were going to do the day my husband was moving out of the house. "You don't want Zack to see that," she said. Right. And I didn't want to see it, either. I ended up spending the day, and then the evening, with her and her family, and Zack and I had the time of our life. And not only because we were at a museum, having fun, dancing with our kids and drinking wine. But also because she always helped remind me that, even though friends can't help you with the big stuff - - the heartbreak, the financial woes, the identity crisis - - they're really, really good at helping with the small stuff. And truly? That's no small thing.

Your First Single-Parent Friend
One of the hardest parts about breaking up with a life partner is that you are suddenly very alone, like, existentially alone. Suddenly your don't fit with your married friends quite the same way anymore, and if you're a newly single parent, you can't launch yourself into your single friends' social lives that easily, either (plus all their freedom is a little hard to take when you feel so weighed down by your history). What you need, if you're divorced with children, is to make a friend who's living the rough-and-rocky road of divorce and the challenges of co-parenting. Because you will understand each other in a way that no one else can possibly match. And that feels really, really good. Since I was the first person to divorce in my circle of friends- -any circle of friends: my New York friends, my college friends, my high school friends - - I was going to have to go out and find this person. Fortunately, the internet makes all of this much easier than it would have been decades ago. I simply typed "single parents" and the name of my neighborhood into Google, and voila! A single parents' message board popped up, and changed my life in short order. I suddenly found dozens of voices who were dealing with the same confusing tasks, like giving up precious time with your child, trying to manage a household with one adult and one salary, trying to be a good parent when you are sad and stressed. At a single-parents' get-together, I met Susan and Nicholas, among many other single parents who both were and weren't like me - - though they were like me in the way that counted most. Susan and I exchanged dozens of emails, posted long discussions on the website, and organized get-togethers. We talked about our careers and our challenges; we talked about clothes and losing 10 pounds; and a year or so later, we talked about guys when we started stepping out and dating again. It was such a relief to have a friend who understood the underground grief that becomes a part of daily life, but who was up for the challenge of figuring it all out and having some fun, too. And then, in that wonderful way that life works, lucky Susan married lucky Nicholas from the single-parent group - - proof that joining a single-parent group really does get you ready for the online dating thing. Hey, it's a process!

The Fountain of Your Youth
When the person you share your life with looks at you and says, "I'm outta here," it's a short trip down memory lane before you hit the my-whole-life-has-been-a-lie cul de sac. It's easy to call all your happy memories into question, even though deep down, you know that those years you lived with that person were the real deal, both the good and the bad. But still, it gives you a pretty creepy sense of not knowing who you are, a vague, discomfiting sensation that lodges somewhere behind your solar plexus. Now is the time for you to lean on your oldest friend, that person who knew you in braces and skinned knees, who would remember the name of your prom date, who knew where your parents hid the vodka, or was the first person you met at Camp Sunny Farm. This friend will reintroduce you to the you you still are and have always been, by reminding you that your whole life's memories are not stored in just that one person who doesn't want to be married to you anymore. The first time I got together with the friend I've known since I was 5, we laughed until we cried, and then I cried until I laughed. He brought back to me that sense of my younger self, the one that wasn't afraid, who expected that life would bring me great joys and surprises-and reminded me of the simple delight that there is no such thing as a stupid joke. Tapping into that very solid sense of myself reminded me about the core of who I really am, the part of me that would bloodied, but not bowed, by heartbreak.

Author Bio
Stacy Morrison, author of Falling Apart in One Piece: One Optimist's Journey Through the Hell of Dovirce, is the former editor in chief of Redbook magazine. She was formerly executive editor at Marie Claire and editor in chief of Modern Bride, and has appeared as an expert on women, love, sex, money, and more on Today, CNN Moneyline, and The Early Show, among many other television programs. Stacy lives in Brooklyn with her son, Zack.
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