Walking Wednesdays

Walking Wednesdays

Not sure where this post will go, but I feel like taking a walk. Want to join me? Walking is good for finding perspective. It’s good for helping settle anxious thoughts. And it’s good for relationships.

As I walk I notice God’s creation; the way the breeze floats through the trees, the songs the various birds sing, the humming of a distant lawn mower and the smell of Spring in bloom. It is a beautiful time of year.

When was the last time you took such a walk–together?

Taken the time to hold hands and breathe in the beauty. If you must, bring your children along and let them enjoy this time with you. Walking provides a rhythm for the doldrums. It can awaken long forgotten dreams. It can stimulate conversations you didn’t know you wanted or needed to have.

Walking is how most of the world in generations past spent much of their time because it was the only option available. In this day of driving in our own cars, listening to our own music and filling every minute with texts, emails, to-do lists and the next video game challenge, it’s no wonder we’ve forgotten how to just go for a walk.

Today is Wednesday. What if we were to reclaim this day for taking a walk together? Not to see how many steps we can add to our Fitbit or to get to where we’re going, but to walk just for the sake of being together. As you do, purpose to stop and talk to a neighbor, pick a wild flower or two, skip a rock on the pond or feed the ducks. Make it a leisurely time to relax and unwind–together. Oh, and leave your electronic devices at home. You might miss a beautiful sunset.

Walking Wednesdays are a good idea. Are you in?

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Palindrome Date Idea

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A palindrome is when something reads the same backward as it does forward, like the family pictured above.

Well, I just discovered that this week has been dubbed Palindrome Week because the date of every day this week reads the same either way.

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This got me thinking of how we could celebrate this phenomenon in a fun and memorable way. Consider writing a letter to your spouse using all palindrome words. Or choose from this list using a palindrome (they’re underlined) as a spring board for your date:

  • Desserts, I stressed!  - Plan an evening where you go out for dessert. Maybe even try a couple of places ordering one dessert from each place.
  • Racecar – Go go-kart riding.
  • Kayak  – Rent a kayak for two.
  • A man, a plan, a canal: Panama – Plan a date at home using Panama as your theme. Panamanian Recipes. Movies about Panama. Documentary.
  • Civic – Explore your city as if you were a tourist. Get a map, your camera and have fun.

Dates are meant to help you have fun together like you did when you were dating. This one is sure to help you forget your responsibilities and remember why you fell in love in the first place.

I’ll leave you with this sage palindrome advice:

Live not on evil.

Posted in Creative Dates, Date Night Ideas | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Full Hearts With Empty Arms

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March was a whirlwind of a month for us, and it’s taken me until now to recover. I was away from home for 27 days helping my daughter get ready for her 4th baby to come, and helping our son move his family to TN. I’ve realized that we haven’t shared our latest blessing with you–our daughter’s 4th baby.  Her name is Brielle Nicole, and she was born on March 20th weighing 6 lbs. 15 ozs.  :-)

While our hearts are full, our arms are empty since all of these sweet blessings live in other states now. This is a new season for us–as close to an empty nest that we’ve ever experienced–and we’re sad.

But God is in the changes, and we know that they are good. Good for our children. Good for our grandchildren. And good for us. I know this because God is good, and He is always at work even when we can’t see it yet.

A month ago I posted about Pulling Up Roots. I talked about what needed to go to make room for what was coming–namely my old irises for my new dahlias. Well, I’m happy to update you on my flower bed, and here is what 6 weeks have produced.

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The buds are just forming and will soon reveal what each dahlia will look like. I love anticipating such good gifts from God.

Come to think of it, children are much the same way. We love, we train, we encourage and we correct them, day in and day out. It’s exhausting work that seems to move at a snails pace. We wonder if our hard work is producing anything good or of lasting value. We doubt ourselves. We struggle to find the energy to face another day, another bad attitude, another sickness. It’s like pulling up an overgrown flower bed by the roots.

But what motivates us is faith in God who gives us strength to do what we couldn’t do on our own. We anticipate the new growth that will come as a result of being faithful to do what we know to do.

Parenting, like gardening, takes team work. It can be done alone, but it is much more difficult.  Thank God you have a spouse who loves and cares for your children as much as you do. Of all the good things you can give your kids, having a strong, healthy marriage is one of the best gifts of all, just below saving faith in Jesus Christ.

In whatever stage you are–married without children, married with young children, married with teens, or married in an empty nest–know that God is right there with you, ordaining every step of the way, even when it seems you can’t see His footprints.

“Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.”

Psalm 77:19  ESV

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Open Nest, Parenting, Seasons of Life | 4 Comments

New Tradition: Making Monday A Funday

Why is it that Mondays are always dreaded? Consider these two songs that were at the top of the charts in their day:

Rainy Days And Mondays, by the Carpenters

Monday, Monday, by The Mamas And The Papas

But Tom and I have a different take on Mondays. It’s our date night, and it has been for years. We LOVE Mondays!

When our kids were at home, I looked forward to Mondays. It made the start of the week exciting knowing I would  have time for US to connect and talk about things other than school, kids and such. It was a healthy habit for our marriage. Of course, it doesn’t take a date night to make a healthy marriage, but it does take connecting on a deeper level consistently. And date nights are one way to insure this happens.

Back to the title of this post…why not consider making Monday a fun day for your marriage? I’m providing a list of 15 ways to get you started. Please feel free to add to the list in the comment section. We all need help as Mary Poppins so accurately sings, to add “an element of fun” to our marriages. It’s not as difficult as you might think!

  1. Make Monday a regular date night. Find a young person you can hire each week for this purpose, and it’ll be more likely to happen. Or switch with another couple watching their kids one week, and they can watch yours the next.
  2. After the kids are in bed, play a board game using one of our romantic twists like we did with Clue or Scrabble. ;-)
  3. Make Mondays a day where you have a really special dessert you both enjoy. It could be homemade or store bought.
  4. Send romantic texts throughout the day.
  5. Have lunch together.
  6. Go to our Date Night Ideas Pinterest Board and choose one list. Print it and cut them into strips. Select one each Sunday to determine what you’ll do the next day.
  7. Do a jigsaw puzzle together using our twist if you like.
  8. Play hide and go seek using a flashlight after dark. Check out this idea as well as 13 more ideas from our Get Your Romance On challenge.
  9. Set up a small tent on your bed and camp out together.
  10. Invest in a firepit and use it on Mondays while you eat your delicious dessert. :-)
  11. Start a challenge like our Alphabet Dates–this will provide 26 dates to get you started and most can be done at home.
  12. Watch a movie you haven’t watched in years.
  13. Play Legos together building something using all the pieces.
  14. Take dancing lessons.
  15. Fill out this Favorite Things Questionnaire from the Dating Divas blog and ask your spouse to do the same. Print it, and keep it as a reference to use when you want to surprise your spouse with something they love.

What would you add to this list for your “Fun Day”?

Posted in Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Dating Your Spouse, Romance in Marriage | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

When The Rain Comes


There are times when a song says exactly what you can’t seem to find the words to say. And when you hear it, it tugs at your heart and becomes a favorite.

That’s what this song, When The Rain Comes by Third Day, has done for me.

Our life has been full of ups and downs, like an emotional roller coaster. But what we’re facing isn’t hard compared to the trials many of our friends are going through. Face it, life isn’t easy. When the rain comes in its many forms, we are often tempted to want to be alone to deal with it. But as a married man or woman, God has given us a better way. He has given us a partner in this life to hold us close when the storms come.

I am grateful for a husband who knows how to care for me when I’m facing a storm. He knows God will ultimately carry me through the trouble, but Tom is right there with arms open wide to hold me until it passes.

What storms are you or your spouse facing today? Maybe the best you can do is to assure them of your commitment to stay by their side until is passes.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Romantic Night Time Picnic Date


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Last night Tom and I had a picnic under the stars, and it was wonderful.

We found out that our favorite small town, Winter Park, was hosting the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in the park located in the center of downtown. We made plans to make it the best it could be.

First, we planned our menu and packed it all in our cooler. We bought a couple of salads from a nearby restaurant once we got to our location. We also packed a fruit salad, some popcorn and salted caramel biscotti’s (our absolute favorite!)

Second, we packed the car with our fold-up wagon to make carrying all of our picnic supplies easy.

Third, we packed table linens, utensils, plastic wine glasses and citronella candles. I even cut a few fresh flowers from my garden. For an easy and decorative centerpiece, I took an empty wine bottle and filled it with water and re-corked it. When we arrived at the park I uncorked the water-filled bottle and set the cut flowers in place. :-)

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Fourth, we loaded our chairs and our roll-up picnic table, purchased at Crate and Barrel and worth every penny!

Finally, we got in the car and enjoyed a great picnic and concert under the stars.

I can’t tell you how many people commented on our table setting. And it wasn’t hard to do.

I recorded one of my favorite songs for your enjoyment:

Here are a few more ways to enjoy a picnic at night:

  • On the beach – take your portable grill and cook steaks or burgers beachside. If available you might even reserve a fire ring, like those available on Daytona and New Smyrna Beaches.
  • By the lake – if there is a park nearby on a lake, set up in the late afternoon and plan to stay until sunset. The weather is usually much cooler, and most people will be going home when you arrive.
  • At a state or national park – since most parks close at dusk, you may have to make this a breakfast date, or a late afternoon date.
  • In your backyard – you can make this as simple or elaborate as you want. One time I set up our dining canopy and decorated it with market lights. We had our fire pit going nearby adding to the ambiance.
  • Rooftop – If your roof has easy access and is comfortable, there is no more secluded place after dark than the top of your house.

Everyone has enjoyed a picnic together, but not many think outside of the box on how to give it a fresh twist. We hope you’ll give an picnic under the stars a try.

Posted in Artsy Dates, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Dinner Dates, Music, Outdoor Dates | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

There Is No Quick Fix For Marriage

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Spring has sprung in Florida, and it’s beautiful! My dinner plate dahlias are growing strong, and I can’t wait to see what they look like in full bloom. But I must patiently wait for the buds to appear and then, open.

Such a rich truth to apply to our marriage.

Growth happens slowly–over time. We may work really hard preparing an area of our marriage for growth like learning new communication skills, or starting a budget. Maybe we attend a marriage seminar or read a really good book revealing areas that need our attention–and we start making application. But the process is slow.

We may not see growth as we had hoped. Things may stay the same causing us to be discouraged, even questioning if all our effort is worth it. And to this we want to say loud and clear…Yes.It.Is!

In our society we expect quick results:

  • Put your ATM card in the machine, withdraw cash instantly.
  • Throw clothes in the washer/dryer, push start and in no time your clothes are clean and ready to be worn again.
  • Hop an airplane and you can be anywhere in the country by the time the sun sets.
  • Don’t like what you’re watching on TV, click a button on your remote and choose from an endless variety of options.

But marriage isn’t a quick fix. We can’t change the channel if we don’t like it. We can’t withdraw cash if we haven’t made any deposits. Our clothes only get clean if we’re willing to get our hands dirty, so to speak. Relationships require cultivation in the same way they did hundreds of years ago. Technology hasn’t made relationships easier, and it can’t give you a better marriage. It can make certain parts more convenient, but for your marriage to grow healthy and strong you simply must do what you know to do, and keep doing it until you see results.

Are you willing to work this hard? If you’re not, then you know what part of your marriage you need to work on first–your own motivation. You’ve heard the phrase, quitters never prosper, and it couldn’t be truer in marriage. Those whose marriages succeed are those who do the hard work day in and day out. They didn’t get a better spouse than you. They just took what they had and made the most of it.

The Bible says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Eccl. 9:10

Imagine how beautiful your marriage would be if you followed this principle in all areas of your relationship, not just the ones you enjoy? Let’s be faithful to do the things we know to do with the strength that God provides. I have a feeling that if we do, we’ll reap a rich harvest in our marriage that will cause others to pause and take notice of its beauty.

What areas in your marriage are in need of your care and attention?

Posted in Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

What You Really Need In Marriage

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You may have noticed our absence lately, and it’s for good reason; Our daughter is expecting her 4th baby any day now, AND our son is moving next week with his family to Nashville where he’ll begin a new job working with Dave Ramsey–we are so excited for him, while saddened to see him move so far away. But it’s still within a day’s drive, so we are grateful. So many changes happening all at once, but God is helping us stay focused on what is needed. 

But our thoughts are often towards you, wanting to encourage you in your marriage. This is why we are sharing with you the following article by Mark Altrogge titled, What You Really Need In Marriage. We think you’ll benefit greatly from this excellent post. 

Until life settles down again, we’ll continue to pray for God to help you and your marriage grow stronger for His glory.

Blessings,

Debi

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WHAT YOU REALLY NEED IN MARRIAGE

by Mark Altrogge

Our culture is extremely self-oriented. We are continually bombarded by messages that tell us we need greater self-esteem. We begin to think, I need to do this for me, I need to be validated, I need to feel good about myself, I need to think about my desires for a change, etc.

It’s so easy to bring this mentality into marriage. We can think we “need” certain things from our spouse. But in reality, we often take our desires, which may not be wrong in themselves, and elevate them to the level of “need.” “I want” becomes “I won’t be happy unless I get…”

Of course, there’s a place for talking to your spouse about your desires. There are things husbands and wives should do for one another. They should serve one another. They should seek to bless each other. Each should bear their share of the load of caring for the children and household chores.

But be careful with desires. But what if your spouse fails to meet your desires?

I would first ask this: how much do believers in Jesus really “need” from their wives or husbands? I would submit that you DON’T “need” your spouse:

To satisfy you
To serve you
To make you feel good about yourself
To meet all your expectations
To fulfill you

It’s wonderful if you have a wife or husband who cares for you, serves you and blesses you. But remember, ultimately no human being can meet all of another human being’s needs. No human being can satisfy another human. It’s just not going to happen. Only God can meet all our needs and truly satisfy us.

We take vows to love our spouse for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in good times and bad. What will you do if your spouse gets hurt or sick and is completely unable to do anything for you? What if you have to care for him or her for years? You will have to look to the Lord for contentment, satisfaction and joy.

So what do you really need?

You need… (click here to continue reading.)

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage | 2 Comments

Pulling Up Roots

"Image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Yesterday Tom and I spent the day in our garden. It was something we’ve needed to do for a long time, but kept putting off. It was hard pulling up our African Irises that had overgrown the planter where they had been for several years. We could have thinned them out each year, but we didn’t. The job was too much for me, so all I could do was help Tom put the spent plants in the garbage can.

Once the irises were removed, we raked the bed to uncover roots that had broken off when the plant was pulled out of the ground.  Then, we spread bulb fertilizer over the fresh dirt getting the bed ready for my dinner plate dahlias. I love irises, and I love dahlias. One isn’t better than the other, they’re just different.

Why do I tell you all this?

Because marriage is a lot like our flower bed. It can be beautiful, but in need of work. We can choose to be diligent each day and thin out what is no longer needed, or we can wait until the work is much more difficult. In either case, the flower bed will be better off in the long run.

We may have had a season of one blessing where God is replacing it with something new and just as beautiful. But until we see what is growing next it can be hard to let go of what was familiar.

I’m grateful for a husband who is willing to get his hands dirty to pull up the roots in our marriage that need to go. And he is more than happy to plant the good nutrients back into our relationship. I love to water the newly planted bulbs waiting for them to sprout through the ground. I love the anticipation of what my dahlias will look like this year. Tom plants, I water, but it is God who causes the growth. And we are grateful for the growth we’ve seen.

"Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

We’re in a season of helping our married son and his family pull up roots of their own. But this kind is where they will move from living a mile away from us to another state where they will put down roots in a new flower bed, so to speak. It will be hard work, but I trust that what God is doing is good–very good. I may not see the bulbs growing yet, but I will. The flowers may not be familiar to me, but I will grow to love them when I see the growth that God provides in their marriage.

In the meantime, this is hard work and it hurts.

What roots have you had to work together to pull out of your marriage? How has God provided fresh beauty as a result?

Posted in A Fragrant Aroma, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Beatles Date Night Idea

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 50 years since The Beatles first stepped foot in America appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show. We recorded the star-studded Grammy Celebration, which gave me a great idea for our Valentine’s dinner this year. I’ve laid it out for you in easy steps to follow, but you can add your own touches as well. For instance you may not like the songs I picked to highlight, but the good news is they have a plethora of titles from which to choose. The point is to make the night memorable for your spouse.

Step 1 – Mail your spouse a letter to invite them to “your house” for dinner and the date. On the back of the envelope write: Enclosed–All My Lovin’ ♥

Step 2 – Plan the menu using song titles as a springboard of idea. I served Strawberry Fields Forever Green Salad, Get Back Baby Back Ribs, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Saute’, Twist and Shout My Honey Pie. (Alternative ideas to consider: Green Apple Pie, I Wanna Hold Your Hand-Tossed Pizza, Blackbird Pot Pie, Don’t Let Me Down Souffle’, Blueberry Fool On The Hill, Glass Onion Soup, The Hippy Hippy Milk Shake, Moonlight Bay Scallops, Sun King Crab Legs)

Step 3 – Decorate using all white linens and plates, if you have them to represent the White Album. Dress in all white too, or buy Beatles T-shirts for both of you to wear.

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Step 4 – Set up a Pandora Station or Spotify Station for the Beatles.

Step 5 – Plan what you’ll do after dinner. Give them a Ticket To Ride on a train somewhere, or at a carnival nearby. Watch a Beatles concert on DVD. Play the music from Step 4 and tell your spouse, “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You“.

That’s it! As you can see it doesn’t take much to make an evening at home your spouse is sure to remember for a Long, Long, Long time. Hello, Goodbye, until next time. Enjoy this classic love song…

Posted in Artsy Dates, Christian Marriage, Creative Dates, Date Night Ideas, Dating Your Spouse, Holidays, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

When Jealousy Whispers–Flee!

Graphic Credit: jasonavant.wordpress.com

Graphic Credit: jasonavant.wordpress.com

Do you or your spouse struggle with jealousy? Is it towards your spouse or is it towards others who have more than you or something you want, but don’t have?

Jealousy is a destroyer of marriage. It is an impostor. It doesn’t seek the good of the other. It seeks to separate close relationships, and it should be resisted at all costs.

There have been times in my marriage that I have struggled with being jealous. I share this with you in hopes of helping you see that if you struggle with this sin, you are not alone. Or if you are on the receiving end of jealousy, you can, by God’s grace, understand your spouse as Tom worked hard to understand me. Both are important to hear and believe.

I remember when our kids were little, I was jealous that Tom got to drive to work without the noise of little people fighting in the background. He got to eat all of his lunch without interruptions, and he didn’t have to share his french fries. <sigh> Yes, I was seeing Tom’s life with rose-colored glasses and mine with a dirge playing on pipes.  I am being overly dramatic in the hopes of helping you hear the whispers of jealousy and how such thoughts will lead you down a road with all sorts of dissensions. Flee!

But how? How do we flee when we’ve given ear to it’s voice?

The Bible tells us to resist the devil and he will flee, but before that we’re instructed to draw near to God. It is when we draw close to Him that we find the strength to withstand the whispers of the enemy.

It was also helpful for me to realize that jealous can be a good thing, but there is only One who is holy enough to possess it–God, the Father. His name is Jealous (Exodus 34:14 says, “for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”)

When we allow ourselves to be jealous of another, we are taking on a name that is reserved for God alone. Only He is holy and just and can be jealous without sin. Not so with us. When we put on jealousy this is what it looks like:

“But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd.” Acts 17:5 ESV

When we put on jealousy it can only lead to death.

In the case with the Jews as stated above, they eventually put Jesus to death, even though there was nothing found in Him worthy of death, especially death on a Cross. Imagine the damage done in our marriage when we give our ear to the whispers of jealousy.

  • You may be jealous of things you only imagine as being true.
  • You may be jealous of vain suspicions.
  • You may be jealous of your spouse’s time.
  • You may be jealous of the things your spouse gets to do.

Whatever it is you’re tempted to be jealous over, there is a better way. Instead of listening to these subtle whispers, ask God to help you “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” as it says in Romans 12:15.  Ask Him to help you think on, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…and the God of peace will be with you.”

And I believe He will silence the whispers of jealousy if you draw near to Him, resist the temptation and flee! How do I know? Because this is what He has done in my life, and the peace that follows is worth the fight!

In what ways has jealousy whispered in your ear?

Posted in Christian Marriage, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages, The Gospel & Marriage | 2 Comments

Celebrating 35 Years Today

Our Wedding Portrait

Our wedding day–February 24, 1979

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Here we are today–February 24, 2014

35 Years of Marriage

13036 Days Together

5 Addresses

20 Countries Visited

3 Children

7 adorable grandchildren

We love in the light of God’s love for as long as we both shall live.

Posted in A Fragrant Aroma, Anniversaries, Celebration Dates, Celebrations | 8 Comments

15 Ways To Make Your Anniversary Stand Out

Photo Credit: kenareashenaei.blogfa.com

Photo Credit: kenareashenaei.blogfa.com

Every married couple has one. Some remember them more fondly than others, but they should all be celebrated. Even in the most difficult times, our anniversaries serve as a reminder of the covenant we both agreed to for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. That about covers every challenge a married couple can face together. And it’s in our “togetherness” that the burden can be lightened if we let it.

Tom and I will celebrate 35 years on the 24th. 35 years!

How did we get here? Only by the grace of God because we are two sinners who do what sinner do–sin! But we have a remedy for our sins, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We celebrate His grace on our anniversary because we know that left to ourselves we would have never made it this far.

I love to plan romantic memories for us, and after 35 years I have quite a list. Now I want to share my list with you in an effort to help you plan a special memory for your anniversary this year. On a side note–I haven’t done everything on this list, but hopefully will.

  1. Think of one word to describe each year you’ve been married. If you have lots of years behind you this one might be more challenging. But give it a try. It’s always good to look back and remember how far we’ve come. Then share your list with your spouse thanking them for each year.
  2. Recreate something from your honeymoon. It can be a special dinner, songs you danced to, or any other activity you really enjoyed ;-) on your time away as Mr. & Mrs.
  3. Watch your wedding video.
  4. Make a photo book of pictures from every year you’ve been married.
  5. Make a music video using the same pictures, but put it to your favorite love songs as the background music.
  6. Give them a year of romantic dates based on the number of years you’ve been married. For example–if you’ve been married 11  years, plan 11 dates sometime over the course of the next year.
  7. Give your spouse a day of all their favorites. This can be any number of things–like a massage, day at the beach, golfing, fishing, roller skating, along with their favorite foods. The more you can do in the day the better. And don’t tell them what’s coming next. We heard of one husband who sent his wife to one place and when she finished he would send her a text telling her where to go next. I think she went for a massage/mani/pedi, to the hair salon, to the mall for a new outfit, and finally met him at a great restaurant for a romantic evening.
  8. Follow the traditional list of anniversary gifts and give them something for your year.
  9. I love using the number of years married as a spring board for ideas. For example, if you’ve been married 12 years, that’s a dozen. Celebrate the #12 by coming up with dozens of things to do or gifts to give. How about making them a personal calendar with one date day each month. If you’ve been married 16 years–that’s Sweet 16. Let “sweet” be your theme. You get the idea.
  10. Plan way ahead and start saving for a really nice gift. I did this one year by taking an extra $5 from the grocery budget, as well as had garage sales and such through out the year. I managed to save $400 to buy Tom a really nice stereo system. And we were living paycheck to paycheck, so I know it can be done. It just takes incentive and determination. Once you see how you blessed your spouse, it’ll inspire you even more.
  11. Do something totally out of your normal routine, like rent a convertible and go for a drive in the country all day long–or to the beach. Plan ahead and put a picnic in the trunk to be spontaneous.
  12. Commit to planning a regular date night for the rest of the year. You could do Alphabet Dates, which would provide 26 dates, and many of them are at home dates not requiring a babysitter.
  13. Plan a special getaway together. It may not happen on your anniversary, but you could spend the evening talking and dreaming about. Maybe even book your flights or your cruise date.
  14. Set the timer for the number of years you’ve been married, and blindfold your spouse. Have your way with them until the timer goes off. Guaranteed this anniversary gift will be a favorite! :-)
  15. Find time to thank God for all the things He’s brought you through together. Think out loud of all the ways you’ve both changed through the years, and end the night by taking communion together.

What would you add to the list? How do you make your anniversaries special?

Posted in Anniversaries, Celebration Dates, Celebrations, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Romance in Marriage, Romantic Ideas | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

5 Romantic Videos For Your Valentine

Graphic Credit: CoolChaser.com

Graphic Credit: CoolChaser.com

Our final video is one we created ourselves. We’ve shared it before, but the message is too good to not include in this series.

Together.

This is a word that describes what marriage is all about. We’re together through every situation–good or bad–that we’ll face in this life. And the only way it’s possible to stay together is through God’s grace. He is the One we celebrate most on Valentine’s Day because we love because He first loved us. And showed what laying your life down for another looks like, and what it requires.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! May you be reminded of all the years you’ve shared so far…Together!

The Winner of our Valentine’s Day Giveaway is: Kathy King-Kauffman

Congratulations! Thanks to all who took part. We appreciate you!

Posted in Christian Marriage, Holidays, Music, Romance in Marriage, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

5 Romantic Videos For Your Valentine

Photo Credit: Six Word Love Story blog

Photo Credit: Six Word Love Story blog

There are some songs that evoke a sense of oneness and romance like no other. Today’s video is such a song–Adele’s voice is soothing and compelling. She draws you into the story she weaves with her musical notes and lyrics. It’s a beautiful song we hope will inspire some serious slow dancing and kissing this Valentine’s Day.

As a challenge, see if you can do this: sit next to each other on the couch, play this song, and look into each other’s eyes while the music plays. Let the words renew your conviction to always love your spouse no matter where life takes you.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Holidays, Music, Romance in Marriage, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , ,

5 Romantic Videos For Your Valentine

Photo Credit: John Legend via Vimeo

Photo Credit: John Legend via Vimeo

Today’s video speaks of what true love looks like. It requires complete surrender, total devotion through all the seasons of life, and seeing perfection in your spouse’s imperfections. Enjoy this song by John Legend titled, All Of Me…

Posted in Christian Marriage, Holidays, Music, Romance in Marriage, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Romantic Videos For Your Valentine

Photography by: Courtesy of Timberline Lodge

Photography by: Courtesy of Timberline Lodge

February is a special month for us. It’s a time when we reflect on our life and love together. No matter how many years you’ve been married, there is something about reflecting on your wedding day that inspires romance like nothing else.

I had never heard of this song by Landon Austin titled, Once In A Lifetime, until I found this excellent video by a young couple who were married last year. They used this song as the backdrop for their “first look video”. Watch it and let it take you back to the first time your husband saw you in your wedding gown, or when your eyes first saw your beautiful bride.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Holidays, Music, Romance in Marriage, Valentine's Day | Tagged

5 Romantic Videos For Your Valentine

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Face it. Nothing says romance better than music. It can lift a weary soul to see the good. It can wash away the trouble you’re facing, if only for a moment. This week we want to highlight some of our favorite romantic videos for your enjoyment. May these songs direct your gaze towards your spouse with love and gratefulness for all that God has given you.

First up? An a cappella men’s group whose harmonies are incredible–Straight No Chaser.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Music | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

If Your Walls Could Speak… (A Valentine Giveaway)

…what would they say?

We love wall decals. It’s personalizing your home in a unique way to you and your family. Recently we discovered an on-line business that takes wall decals to a whole new level. Before, I used to look at the few sold at Target hoping to find one that said something I wanted my walls to say. Now I’ve discovered a new venue called WiseDecor.com they can make your walls say whatever is in your heart to say. The hardest part is choosing!

In our dining room we have one that says: The fondest memories are made while gathered around the table.

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In our kitchen we have one that says: It’s so good to be HOME, as well as another that says, Bon Appetit.

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If you could choose–what quote, Bible verse or saying would you want your walls to speak? Wall Decor.com offers ideas for every room in your home! I had so much fun perusing every link, but I must warn you–it makes deciding that much more difficult, but oh so fun! ;-)

Once you pick your design and place your order, you’ll receive great customer service. My order arrived neatly packed ready to hang. All instructions and tools are included to make it as easy as possible. It took me longer to get my folding ladder out than it did to put the decal on my wall, and I did it all by myself–surprising Tom when he walked in the door. And you know I love surprising him! It’s a hobby of mine. :-)

Finally we are pleased to inform you of our fantastic Valentine Giveaway for 2014:

The kind folks at Wise Decor have agreed to give one of our readers one decal of the winner’s choice. All you have to do is comment with what you would want your walls to say. You will also get extra entries for joining each of the following social sites for Wall Decor. Let us know when you comment which ones you joined for the extra entries.

Facebook: WiseDecor Decorative Lettering

Twitter: @wisedecor

Google +: WiseDécor Decorative Lettering 

Pinterest: WiseDecor Decorative Lettering

A winner will be selected on February 14th, so get your entries in by midnight February 13th. (Winner chosen using Random.org.)

Posted in Christian Marriage, Contests, romanticizing your master bedroom | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

What Paper, A Groundhog And The Super Bowl Have In Common…

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They’re all three alive and well!

No matter how much you enjoy your electronics, there is some paper that will never die. :-) We found a video that is hilarious, and probably the reality of many couples who live with a techie spouse. You’ll find it at the end of this post.

Today also happens to be Groundhog Day, a day that has been celebrated for the past 128 years in PA. It has been quoted that “Punxsutawney Phil. Will. Not. Die.” His popularity only increases year after year, so we agree with the likelihood of his immortality.

Finally, today is the Super Bowl featuring the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Sea Hawks. If you’re not into watching football, but your spouse is, check out these great ideas for connecting with your spouse during the big game from Fawn Weaver of the Happy Wives Club–Go Broncos!

Photo by Shin Yong

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