Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Joys of Married Life! - Chicken Soup for the Soul - Married Life #Review and #Giveaway

As most of you already know, I'm not technically married to Josh but we've been together 8 years and basically live the lives of a married couple.  We will probably, eventually, take that walk down the aisle but probably not for a while.  In the mean time I like to observe my married friends and their marital bliss.  

I recently met a wonderful man and very talented author by the name of Stephen Rusiniak and he contacted me about a very interesting story he contributed to one of the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul books.  As you know, I am a fan of Chicken Soup books so I was excited to read his story and see how it related to the other stories in this book.

Who is Stephen Rusiniak?
According to his Facebook page, "The 'C' I received in college for my required freshman writing course should have put me on notice that I was no writer.  My lack of ability notwithstanding, a few years later I had a blast co-writing a silly teenaged-angst book with my friend and fellow classmate, Wayne.  With no idea of how to go about actually writing a book, we wrote one anyway, and along the way we caught the attention of a few publishers - one of whom even offered us a contract!  Interesting story, but for another time!"
"Years later I happened to be one of the three keynote speakers sitting on the dais waiting to share my thoughts concerning family values.  I was asked to participate in this conference as a result of my background as a police detective whose specialty was family and juvenile matters.  I delivered my prepared remarks, but before concluding, I added a personal story, on the cuff, but relevant to the topic.  When I finished, there was applause and something else -- audience members were smiling -- while at the same time, many were crying.  I liked the response."
"Later on and still amazed by the audience's reaction, I considered the power of words and wondered if it were possible for me to take some of the key elements from my speech and incorporate them into a short essay.  I'd become intrigued by the idea of using words to make people laugh and to make people cry while at the same time delivering to them the intended message.  When I completed the story, I wrote another, and then I wondered what my former partner would think of what I was writing now."
"Wayne had written a story about the coming summer season on the Jersey Shore.  I tweaked it - most notably changing some of the details and the location to Ocean City, MD (where I'd purchased a townhouse a few years earlier).  Submitted the revised piece to a regional Maryland magazine under the pseudonym, 'Stephen Wayne' (clever, huh?) and a few months later a copy of the magazine and a check arrived in my OC mailbox.  We were published writers!"
"It seemed easy -- write, submit, get paid, so I decided to send out a piece I'd written about my teenage son kissing me goodnight.  A nice little piece, or so I thought, but a 'good news' magazine disagreed.  'Doesn't work for us.'  Another said they 'like the style but not the story'.  Two more never replied.  Began thinking I'd misjudged the interest in such stories, or at least my ability to write them, but then one day everything changed.  An acceptance email, a contract, and then another.  The Power of a Son's Kiss eventually appeared in two magazines, a third wanted it, and it was included in the 2008 anthology, Chicken Soup for the Father & Son Soul.  Oh that 'good news magaine'--they went out of business shortly after rejecting my story."

"Over the past couple of years my stories have appeared in various newspapers, magazines, books and now - online, and my published count exceeds sixty-something.  And yet, I'm still asked how this is possible.  'But you were just a cop'.  I know, and I credit my former profession with allowing me the opportunity to speak in front of various groups concerning family issues, and then parlay these experiences into stories that people seem to like.  And admittedly, when it comes right down to it, I've been awfully lucky -- especially considering I'm just and average 'C' writer ex-cop!"

My Review
I found Steve's story to be so interesting and inspirational I felt the need to share his entire story with you.  I am so impressed with his thoughtfulness and care for others that it gives me hope, reading his stories, that maybe there are more than a few good people in this world.

Every marriage, or relationship for that matter, has it's ups and downs.  No relationship is perfect and at times we may feel like we want to pull our hair out!  I know I've been there several times as has Josh.  But we've learned to be patient as all things eventually pass.  One thing that really helped me during recent low time in my life was reading Steve's excerpt in "Chicken Soup for the Soul - Married Life". 
His story "For Better or Worse" reminded me so much of my life and the similar struggles we all face at times.  I tend to get a bit frustrated when things don't go as planned, I'm sure we've all felt that at one point or another, and it was comforting to know that others feel the same way.  And his story reminded me that with a little patience and taking our vows to each other seriously, the majority of the storms will pass and these insecurities, anger and pain at one point, can turn into a learning experience and help the relationship blossom.  No relationship is perfect, we're all going to argue and fight at one point or another but it's how you react to those situations that will make or break you. 
This is a very inspirational story and I highly recommend picking up a copy of "Chicken Soup for the Soul - Married Life", even if you're not married, to help give you a little hope.
Shopaholic Rating:  5 out of 5 Shopping Bags - Relateable stories that make some sort of impact are the best kind of stories to read.

Where can you read this story or more stories from Stephen Rusiniak?
If you're interested in reading "For Better or Worse" by Stephen Rusiniak, pick up a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul - Married Life by visiting the Chicken Soup website or for only $10.98!  You can also find other stories Steve has written and more information about him on his Facebook page! If you live in or near the Montclair, NJ area, join Stephen at a public reading of his story on Tuesday, September 25th at 7pm at the Montclair Public Library!  Be sure to keep checking back to his page for more updates and information about new stories to come!

Giveaway Time!
Three lucky Shopaholics are going to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul - Married Life!  Here's how:
Mandatory Entry: How do you overcome obstacles in your relationships? (That can also be friends and family for you single readers.)  Comment below.

Extra Entries - worth 1 entry each - comment once per entry
Follow StephenRusiniakPR on Facebook
Follow Shopaholic Mommy on Facebook, Twitter,  Pinterest and Google Friend Connect
Share this giveaway on Facebook - up to twice per day - 60 minutes apart
Enter to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul - Married Life featuring @StephenPRusiniak with @Shopaholic Mommy!  Ends 9/1!
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Enter to #win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul-Married Life feat. Stephen Rusiniak with @ashtonzommi!  Ends 9/1!Subscribe to Shopaholic Mommy's mailing list - leave email address
Comment on any non-giveaway post - leave link

Bonus Entries - comment once per entry
(5 entries) Blog about this giveaway and include link - leave link
(3 entries) Grab my button and place it on your site - leave link
(3 entries) Place Shopaholic Mommy on your blog roll - leave link

I will choose three lucky winners on September 1st at 8pm EST using  I will contact and announce the winner soon after.  That person will have 48 hours to respond via email to claim their prize.  If I do not hear back within 24 hours I will hold a redraw to choose a new winner.  This giveaway is open to US and Canada Residents 18+!  Good Luck!

I received a free product to help facilitate this review.  Any opinions expressed in this post are mine and unbiased.  For more information please see the disclosure policy located in the PR section of this site.


  1. I'm a yeller. My husband's reserved. He waits for me to finish yelling at him to let off steam, then we actually discuss the issues.


  2. Followed StephenRusiniakPR on Facebook

  3. Followed Shopaholic Mommy on Facebook

  4. We overcome obstacles with prayer and discussion!

  5. tweet

  6. Following StephenRusiniakPR on Facebook as Shelly Emmons Leatham

  7. Following Shopaholic Mommy on Facebook as Shelly E Leatham

  8. Following Shopaholic Mommy on Twitter @sleatham1

  9. Following Shopaholic Mommy on Pinterest as sleatham1

  10. Following Shopaholic Mommy on Google Friend Connect
    as allysmama, Shelly Leatham


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