A Behind-the-Scenes Look at The BridgeMaker | The BridgeMaker

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at The BridgeMaker

By on Oct 17, 2010


The unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates

Creating The BridgeMaker is one of the best decisions I have made. It provides the chance for self-expression, to discover new (and old things) about myself, and publishing the blog gives me an opportunity to meet some wonderful people.

Tess Marshall of The Bold Life is one of these wonderful people. She recently invited me to be interviewed on her blog. Tess asked thoughtful questions and she surprised me by asking some personal questions as well. Even though I’m transparent about the events in my life, I do hold back from sharing too much about me.

If you would like a behind-the-scenes look at The BridgeMaker here’s my interview with Tess. Following the interview is a bonus behind-the-scenes look at me where I allow the window to my life to be opened a little wider.

The Bold Life interview

What inspired you to begin The BridgeMaker
I started The BridgeMaker in September, 2008 as a creative outlet for my love of writing and to see how I could begin to make a difference in the world, one person at a time. Since launching the blog, I have created a purpose statement, or a “why I blog” statement: To share my heart and to touch the heart of others.

It is named The BridgeMaker because I want the blog to be a place where people can travel from where they are today to where they want to be tomorrow. All of us have the capacity to be “bridgemakers” when we extend our experiences, faith, inspiration, and more important, our love to others.

Briefly tell us about your new e-book and how it would benefit us.
My new eBook, How to Love Consciously, explores the power and joy of love. It gives practical advice for improving relationships, inspiring romance and showing how love can continue to grow over a lifetime (Mary Beth and I have been married for over 25 years and we are still going strong).

How to Love Consciously provides eight straight-from-the-heart written chapters for creating lasting love in your life. The eBook is also absolutely free and the best part is the Foreword is written by you – Thanks Tess!

What spiritual practices do you use regularly to “keep the faith?”
For me, “keeping the faith” is acknowledging my past while continuing to move forward. There is a recurrent theme in many of my blog posts that goes something like, “You must acknowledge what you want to change or heal.”

So, I keep my faith by knowing I have come a long way. And while I still have a ways to go, my life is full of abundance and love – two things that keep me faithful because they tell me that I am indeed worthy to be loved and to have my heart’s desire.

What about your life will I not find in your bio or on your about page?
You will not find I’m an avid baseball fan. However, living in Kansas City is tough this time of year because I see the other teams in the playoffs and I know the Royals have so far to go.

You will not find I love to run and workout. In fact, I’m currently training for a Thanksgiving Day 5K race where I hope to finish in less than 21 minutes.

You will not find I have a professional job as a marketing director in the publishing industry.

You will not find I love lazy Sunday afternoons lounging on the couch, watching football while sipping a glass of wine.

What is the best advice you would give to couples who want to improve their relationship?
What saved my marriage seven years ago is when I started putting my wife’s needs before my own. This doesn’t mean I don’t I matter in the relationship, it just means when I put effort in ensuring Mary Beth has what she needs to be happy and successful, I find my needs are naturally met.

When both partner’s needs are being met, then things like anxiety, hostility and bitterness leave the relationship. And things like intimacy, friendship and romance enter it.

Is there a defining moment in your life that changed everything?
Yes. While attending a personal development seminar seven years ago, I learned all of the garbage I had been carrying my entire life was costing me the happiness I deserved.

Feeling guilty for my brother’s accident; not being able to keep my mother from alcohol; and tormented for wearing eyeglasses and speaking with an impediment as a young boy, had created so much toxic shame that I had lost myself in it. I threw out the garbage that day and reclaimed my dignity; my confidence and discovered self-love. And I haven’t looked back.

What legacy will you leave behind?
The legacy I want to leave behind is for people to know it is okay to be positive and nice. You can have a demanding job and be nice, too. You can disagree with someone, but still find something positive in the resolution.

Life is short and happens quickly. We can either choose to be disappointed with what we have or we can choose to see the goodness in everything around us.

I choose to see the goodness. I choose happiness. I choose love. And I hope others will, too.

Seven things about myself

Thanks to Andrea DeBell of britetalk for providing the motivation to be more transparent. She models this admirably in her article, The Gift of Unexpected Friendships. Thanks to her prompting, here are seven things you may not know about me:

  1. My family is the center of my life, too. I write about them often because each one adds indescribable value and love to everything I do. Pictured above (from left to right): Andrew, Mary Beth, Caitlin, Emily and Brandon.
  2. When I was in high school I had a job washing pots and pans in a United States Marine Corps dining hall. The room was 10’ x 10’ and reached temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. The job taught me the value of hard work and reminded me college would be the best option after high school.
  3. My goal is to retire at age 62 and live in both Italy and Spain for one month each, every year.
  4. This is my formula, or ritual, for writing: I generally write every evening from 7 to 9 p.m. in my kitchen watching a game (baseball, football, etc.) on a muted television while listening to contemporary Christian music.
  5. My favorite time of the year is right now, Autumn, or Fall as we call it in the US. I love the crisp temperatures, the beautiful foliage, and decorating the house for Halloween.
  6. I really stepped outside of my comfort zone a couple of years ago when I dressed as Billy Idol for a rock-star-themed party I attended. To be honest, it was Mary Beth who came up with the idea and costume, but I went through with it – white spiked hair, earrings, temporary tattoos, and all. Wanna see? Just click here.
  7. My horoscope sign is Cancer; my favorite color is blue; I need that first cup of coffee every morning; I was raised Lutheran, later became Catholic and now I simply allow His spirit to guide me; and I plan to write for the incredible readers of The BridgeMaker for many more years to come.
  8. Plus one more: To the college English professor who advised me to change majors because I didn’t have the talent to become a professional writer – thank you for the inspiration.

Share, too?

You are invited to give us a behind-the-scenes look into your life or blog, too. Please share in Comments below one thing about yourself that may provide encouragement for others. Reading this by email? Please visit the blog to leave your comment – just click here.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • I feel your strength as it comes through your words Ginny. Keep the faith, God has great things still waiting for you.

  • alex–I have been reading for a while now and am always encouraged. When I hear pieces of your story, I can relate it to me and my life and realize that I can still (at nearing 50) become something…I am not my past, I am not what others said I am, and I am not who I usually think I am. I have overcome so much in my lifetime and I hope to leave a legacy for my 9 children and their children. I have broken the cycle of abuse, abuse and more abuse. And God has shown me I have a story…one worth telling…if to no one else buy my kids….and me…to see how far I have come and am still going.

    BLESSINGS!!!!

  • Robin, now that I have rubbed my tears away, thank you for your heartfelt remarks. I feel like you have taken a look into my soul and still decided to love me anyway – thank you for this gift.

  • Dear Alex!! This was just a delight to read. It’s always heartening to learn and see more of the person who is writing. It makes you more real to me. I love the photo of your family. And I also am deeply moved by your honesty about yourself in the past.

    We ALL have a past, and are often taught that we have no right to move beyond it and live a happy, healthy, loving, productive life. But the sad things is that is we DON’T move beyond it we are not helping those around us or the world.

    You are a perfect example of that. You have moved on, grown and now share such WONDERFUL wisdom and love with the world. What a waste and loss if your guilt, shame or whatever, had held you back because you felt you weren’t deserving. The world would have lost SO MUCH!!

    I am very very proud of you. Thank you dear Alex for the choices you have made and continue to make in your life. They encourage us all. Hugs, Robin 🙂

  • My pleasure Dia.