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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

24 Pillow Present Ideas

I subscribe to Gary Chapman's email newsletter and enjoy seeing the tips and suggestions that he provides on a regular basis. In one of the recent newsletters he suggested leaving a little present on your spouse's pillow to show them that you care. Cool.

Why does this work? Well, we all love getting presents.

Presents can be a lot of work though. All of the planning, the sneaking around, and the cost combine to cause us to reserve presents for special occasions. But, if we think about it, every moment with the ones we love is a special occasion.

Okay, so now you have a justification to give gifts randomly at any time. That still doesn't solve the problems of the planning, sneaking around, and cost. Let me help with that. Here are 24 gifts you can give your spouse that don't require much planning, sneaking around, or money.
  1. A flower, preferably your wife's favorite flower
  2. Tickets to a ball game (if you go to a local team the tickets are WAY cheaper, maybe attend a little league game)
  3. A picture of the two of you with a cute frame for his office
  4. The makeup product that she has been wanting
  5. That book he mentioned that he wants to read
  6. Chapstick
  7. A handwritten love note
  8. He mentioned a tool that he wants, leave it on his pillow
  9. His favorite candy bar
  10. Cami's socks are always wearing out so I got her some new socks a while ago (exciting? maybe not but she knew I was paying attention!)
  11. A note using conversation hearts
  12. Lotion
  13. Perfume/cologne
  14. A new hair brush
  15. A bottle of Martinelli's
  16. At Christmas an early stocking
  17. At Easter a chocolate egg
  18. On St. Patrick's Day a four leaf clover with a note that says "I'm lucky to have you"
  19. A miniature flashlight that says "You turn me on" (Cami suggested this one)
  20. New scarf
  21. Origami flowers or a little bird
  22. Another throw pillow (not recommended as a gift for a husband)
  23. Stuffed animal
  24. Earmuffs
Now that I've put this list out there I've realized that many of these could be used with your children as well. Remember, the trick to a pillow present is that it tells someone we were thinking about them and that we love them. It is that simple.

Photo courtesy of Vial Photography
Let me know how it goes and leave me a comment telling me about what you did or you're planning to do. 

And if you haven't signed up for my newsletter yet, totally should right now.

Monday, July 29, 2013

From the Mouths of Babes

Photo courtesy of Fotolia
Cami found this great little article the other day on Daily News Dig and sent it to me. The author, Chris Hughes, shared some questions that small children were asked about marriage and their answers. It's pretty funny. Here are our favorites.

Question: "What is the right age to get married?"
Answer: "Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then." -Camille, Age 10

Question: "How can a stranger tell if two people are married?"
Answer: "You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids." -Derrick, Age 8

Question: "What do most people do on a date?"
Answer: "Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough." -Lynnette, Age 8

Question: "Is it better to be single or married?"
Answer: "It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them." -Anita, Age 9

Question: "How would the world be different if people didn't get married?"
Answer: "There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?" -Kelvin, Age 8

Question: "How would you make a marriage work?"
Answer: "Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck." -Ricky, Age 10

I must say Ricky is pretty wise for his age. :)

You should totally check out the rest of them. They're all pretty funny.

Have a great day!

Giveaway: iPad with Retina display 32GB color Black!!

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We are giving away an IPad with Retina  display 32GB  Color Black
Value $599

This giveaway is only for US residents !

Dates July 29 - August 19

Winner will have 48hr to request prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure:  Uplifting Love is not responsible for prize.  If you have any question about this giveaway please send an email to  All entries are optional, if you do any of the tasks with multiples entries, even if you do one entry you can get the extra entries, but if the winner tasks is a tasks you did not complete, a second winner will be chosen. If the winner tasks is the one you did you will be the winner.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Favorite Things Birthday Present Giveaway!

My good friend and blogging mentor, Ashton, is celebrating her birthday in the next few days and as a part of doing that she's put together this giveaway. It's got some awesome stuff like a KitchenAid mixer and a $300 Target gift card! 

Help us celebrate by participating. What do you have to lose? :)

Want to win some of my favorite things?! Here's what's up for grabs:
How can you enter to win all of these goodies (an $800 value!)? Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below by signing in with your Facebook or E-mail account (you're required to use one of those so we can contact you if you win!):

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's My Choice!

A week or so ago I wrote about a friend of mine who recently passed away. I called it "Lesson In Love".

One of the comments that was shared with me by my friend Victory (check out her blog!), pointed out one of the things I wrote that stood out to her. She said: "'it is my choice how much I love my wife'-what a powerful statement!"

When I read that I thought to myself "I didn't write that. That sounds pretty profound." So I reread my post and sure enough I had written it. I guess it just slipped out. I suppose if you write enough you are bound to accidentally write something profound or insightful every once in a while.

After contemplating this at length I decided it merited another post. This is that post.

"It is MY choice how much I love my wife."

(Photo courtesy of Vial Photography)

How many times have we heard someone say (especially little children): "He/she made me do it!" For those of us that are parents, how many times have we responded "No one can make you do anything." If that's true, and it is, then we are in control of how we feel and how we respond to situations, statements, and other's actions.

I love my wife because I choose to love her. If I choose to love her even more I can and will. She loves me because she chooses to love me. If she chooses to she can love me even more.

It is MY choice. We've all heard people say things like "I just fell out of love with him" or "we grew apart and our love died." These things don't just happen. While it may not have been a conscious decision that the couple made to let their love die the day to day decisions they made, the small and simple ones, were conscious. Decisions like spending another hour or two at the office each day instead of with your spouse and family. Or choosing not to say "I love you" as frequently.

We must mind the small and simple things in our marriages for them to grow and prosper. The more you tell your spouse that you love them the more that you will. It's your choice how much you love your spouse. It's my choice how much I love my wife.

And I choose to love her more!

Make the choice today to love your spouse more. Now, go tell them that you love them.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Five Star Tree House

Last summer a huge storm came out of nowhere and hit our area. They call it the Derecho. I don't know why that call it this but they do (I believe derecho is Spanish for the direction right--CORRECTION. Thanks to Andrew Miller I stand corrected: "Derecho is a term used to mean a hard, straight wind...").

Anyway, when this storm hit our area the winds were so extreme that one of our mighty oak trees fell down...right on top of our carport. Yes, our minivan, Clyde, was in it.

Thankfully and miraculously Clyde survived with only a few scratches. The carport, however, was not so lucky. It was totally demolished. I finished taking it down in the ensuing weeks while simultaneously cleaning up the tree.

My parents came to visit us in October of last year and with my dad's help we rebuilt the carport and made it better than ever.

From the rubble of the original carport I salvaged some lumber. It has been sitting around on the side of our yard for the last year now and about a month ago I decided I was going to give it new life.

I hereby declare that from the ashes of our carport will rise a tree fort!

This tree house is going to be awesome. I've already decided that it will be built in three phases with construction on the first to begin this summer. The other phases will come as we have the money, time, and the children have the ability to appreciate each phase in its resplendent grandeur.

Before I began building I spent some time researching techniques for building tree houses, best-practices to keep from damaging the trees, cool features to include in the tree house, etc. One suggestion I read several times was to get your kids involved in the planning and make it more of a family project.

I figured it was good advice so two weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon I sat our three boys down at the dining room table and asked them "what do you want in the tree house?" What harm could come from asking, right? They're still little and they haven't seen any other tree houses; they won't ask for anything too crazy. Wrong.

Here's the list that they came up with in about ten minutes. Seriously, they said these things without any prompting from me or Cami. It's quite the list so be prepared.
  • bookshelf
  • books
  • slide
  • stairs
  • couch
  • carpet
  • bunk beds
  • swimming pool with slide and stairs
  • table
  • fridge
  • sink
  • bathroom with a bathtub
  • window with a telescope
  • a shed (for the treehouse)
  • exercise weights and exercise room
  • mirror in the bathroom
  • front/living room
  • three steering wheels (one for each boy) and three seats and a start/stop button
  • turn signal arrows (like on a car dashboard)
  • windshield wipers on the front and the back (they did not, however, request windshields, go figure)
  • truck (like you can use in a sandbox)
  • playroom with a play kitchen
  • "a scoop stuck in the ground with nails" -my three-year old
  • a Christmas tree on top
  • "A sandbox in the tree house with no sticks that stick up because that way we can build sandcastles" -my three-year old again
  • sand crab toys
  • a roller coaster thing
  • grass in a cage
  • three lizard statues that we can sit down on
  • cups in a cabinet
  • clock
  • orca, dolphin, shark, and sea lion statues (one for each boy including the unborn one) on the floor of the tree house where we would have painted it blue so that it looked like water
My oldest, he's five, added that last one. When asked what I would make them out of he replied "metal, like the ones at the zoo." Problem solved.

Here's my list of things I would like in the tree house. Before I asked them for input I thought that I was pushing the boundaries of the possible.
  • water balloon launchers
  • pulley system
  • lights
  • hook-up for a TV
  • cowbell outside the back door for mom
  • tire swing
  • double door (split door where the top and bottom open)
  • flower box for the windows
  • squirrel feeder
  • bird feeder
  • a little zip line
  • trapdoor
  • secret hiding place
  • snack cupboard
I realized after my brainstorming session with my boys that I am just simply not creative enough.

What suggestions do you have for things that we should include in our tree house?

Friday, July 19, 2013

What's the Point of Pinterest?

Back in February I expressed my confusion about Pinterest and what one was supposed to do with it. The post was entitled "Pinterest Pity and Pools". Back then I didn't have many people looking at my blog but I posed the question:

"So I am embarking on this Pinterest pursuit, but what exactly am I doing? Is it supposed to be a big waste of time or is there an objective?"

I didn't get any responses. :)

Well, today I write to share with you my three favorite things about Pinterest.
  1. It's one more thing I have to talk about and share with my wife. We'll sometimes sit on the couch together both looking at Pinterest and share cool pictures, neat recipes (Cami more than me), and talk about how cool it would be to visit this place or go there. It sure beats watching TV show after TV show every night. Besides, maybe someday we'll actually go to those places or make one of those mouthwateringly appetizing recipes.
  2. There are A LOT of cool pictures and ideas. I enjoy the pictures of places to visit. There are so many beautiful places on this earth and I know that I won't get to see all of them in person so I'm glad that others have taken amazing photos and shared them. That way I get to appreciate them too.
  3. It brings visitors here, to my site. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.
I am by no means a master "Pinterester" and so would love to hear your thoughts on a few things. Please leave a comment or, if you would like, feel free to email me at
  • How can I better use it? 
  • What should I do to make the pictures that I pin more appealing to others? (here's a link to my boards in case you aren't already following me on Pinterest)
  • Do you have a strategy that you would be willing to share of how to not waste time but use Pinterest effectively? 
  • And last, but by far the most important question: how have you used Pinterest to improve, strengthen, or enjoy your marriage more?
As always, thank you for your help.

Happy Pinteresting!!! (I love that "pinteresting" has become a verb)

Don't miss your chance to get a copy of Uplifting Love: Secrets to Making a Good Marriage Great. This book will not only help you show your husband that you love him it will help you improve your entire marriage!

You think you're happy now, and I'm sure you are, but I challenge you to read Uplifting Love and apply what you learn today to make your marriage awesome! Don't wait another minute, start taking your marriage from good to great today!

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Create Your Story Giveaway Opportunity

A Lucky Ladybug

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Why? Why? Why?" he asked

I wanted to share a fun little video with all y'all (for those of you that are unfamiliar with the term that's southern for "all of you"). Sometimes as a father I get caught up in all of the things I am involved in like work, serving in our church, education, working around the house, etc. While I don't play golf the message is the same. I should make more time for my boys, especially while they're young.

By the way, the little guy in this video is just like my oldest. He's always asking me "why?" :)

I'd love to hear what you think. Share with me in the comments.

Also, if you haven't signed up for my free newsletter yet you totally should. I mean it's free. What do you have to lose? :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lesson in Love

A dear friend of mine passed away last week. She was only in her late fifties. It was an expected passing as she had been fighting lung cancer for nearly a year and her doctors had warned the family that she only had months to live but everyone had hoped and expected that to mean September or October of this year, not early July.

Her husband is grieving. Her siblings are in mourning. Her friends are laden with sadness.

However, as I have reflected on my friendship with her and her husband I am filled with gratitude for one simple lesson that they taught me through their example:

How a husband and wife should love each other.
Photo courtesy of Fotolia

Both my friend and her husband lived a simple life. They don't have much in the way of material possessions. They aren't famous or particularly well-known. Education wasn't available to them because of family circumstances when they were being raised. But none of that made a difference in the way that they loved each other.

The week before my friend passed I stopped by her home and visited with her and her husband for a while. As was her custom, when I inquired how she was doing she responded "I'm doing great. And my husband's doing great as well."

During our visit she requested that I come by in the coming weeks with our bishop (our congregation's leader; kind of like a pastor) to plan her funeral so that her husband wouldn't have to worry about it after she had passed. Then she asked if I could help her get a few of her husband's favorite foods as they hadn't been to the store in a little while. She knew that her time on earth was quickly coming to an end and she was focused on caring for her husband.

When she asked me to help her get her husband's favorite foods he jumped to the edge of his seat and scolded her for thinking about him. The words he used were: "Right now it's all about you! Don't think about me and don't worry about me. Right now we're focusing on taking care of you!"

She laughed, turned back to me, and renewed her request. I imagine that after I left a few minutes later she was chastened again. :)

While we didn't know it at the time this was the last time I would see the two of them together. What did I learn from two simple friends with little formal education? I learned that love is what matters. They were happy because they loved each other fiercely. And the more fiercely they loved the stronger their love became.

I believe this is the main reason that the Lord allowed me to become friends with this couple. To remind me that it is my choice how much I love my wife. I decide. The more effort I invest in loving her the greater that love will become.

I am grateful to have known my dear friend and for the lesson in love that she and her husband taught me. They will be together again someday and I think it will be a glorious reunion filled with love.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Black Hole Named Clyde

Have you ever had car trouble?

Of course you have. We all have. I once heard it put that a car is just a necessary evil, a black hole that we throw money down until we get sick of it and buy a new black hole. Yep. That pretty much sums up the last week. :)

We have a mini-van. When we got married my wife swore we would never own a mini-van. I've heard a lot of newlyweds say similar things over the years and it seems like saying it guarantees that you'll have one.

When we purchased our mini-van three years ago Cami was actually excited. It had so much space and was WAY easier to get the kids into and out of than the Honda Civic we owned previously. She loved it so much we even named the van Clyde.

Well about a month ago Clyde started "acting up" a bit. The engine would surge as we were driving down the road. Weird. It had done it occasionally for a couple of months leading up to that but we hadn't really noticed or paid much attention to it. Now we knew we had a problem, so I took it to our mechanic, Randy.

Randy looked at it really quick. The prognosis: take it to the dealer, the transmission needs work.

Now I'm no car expert but I do know that taking your car to the dealer equates to "kiss your savings account goodbye." And I am right. Dear Clyde is currently at the dealer as I count for the final time all of those dollars that I call friend. We can pick him up tomorrow afternoon (and leave my "friends" behind). Hopefully we won't have to take Clyde to the dealer ever again.

Cars are kind of like children. You spend a lot of money that you'll never see again. Both are like black holes. The main difference is that children aren't a necessary evil. But they can BE evil sometimes...

I'm praying for you and your cars. Please pray for mine. :)

In other news, it's also my privilege to co-host the Journey's of the Zoo Bloglovin Blog Hop this week. Sarah is the author of Journey's of the Zoo, a blog about her adventures as she travels with her family and the adventures they have when they're home. It's filled with humor, great pictures, and life. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Swim, Sun, and Fun Giveaway LAST DAY!!

Today's your last chance to enter the Swim, Sun, and Fun Giveaway! Don't miss out on this great giveaway!!

A Ladybug on the Go
Hosted by

Summer is one of those exciting times of year no matter where you live or how old you are!  This giveaway  is about celebrating the season in every way.  Prizes include outdoor games, pool/beach gear, vacation essentials, outdoor sporting goods and More.......

Monday, July 8, 2013

I Love My Wife More Than I Did 7 Years Ago Because...

I've mentioned over the last few months that Cami and I would be celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary this year. Well, the time has finally arrived. Today we celebrate the anniversary of our wedding day some seven years ago. I want to do two things with this post: first, share a few reasons why I love my wife more today than I did seven years ago; and, second, to share pictures with you of our life together to this point. I'll be honest, I'm hoping to earn some points with Cami today. :)

First, I love my wife more today than I did seven years ago because...
  1. She loves me more than she did seven years ago
  2. She has born me three sons (with number four due in less than a month)
  3. She believes in my dreams and works with me to make them come true
  4. She gets increasingly beautiful with each day that passes
  5. I know her WAY better than I did seven years ago and love her all the more for who she is
  6. She continues to laugh at my jokes even though she's heard them all a hundred times
  7. Because I've served her and loved her for seven years. I've found that the more I love her and the more I serve her the more I love her and want to serve her. Apparently they feed on each other.
Now for some pictures, a little walk down memory lane. :)

These pictures were all taken before we were married. The first one was the picture we used for our wedding invitation; at the bottom right was a picture I love from our engagement pictures; next to it was on the weekend I first decided I was interested in Cami; directly above that was at our engagement party; and to the right of that is a picture of us at Disney World where I first met Cami's family. Good times. :)

Right: the birth of our first son; Middle: Me and our oldest holding our second son shortly after we brought him home from the hospital; Left: Cami and me in the hospital with our third. We've been blessed so far with three very wonderful sons. There will be pictures of number four when he arrives in about a month!

Cami and I love taking trips together. Sometimes with the kids and sometimes just the two of us. The first row of pictures is us on our first anniversary camping. It was the only thing we could afford to do at the time (and we just barely afforded it). The second row is a picture on the left of Cami and I when we went to Jamestown just before our oldest was born and on the right is a picture of us on an anniversary trip a few years ago when we went to a nearby city, stayed at a nice hotel, and saw one of Shakespear's plays. The next picture is our family at a corn maze a couple of years ago and the last two photos are of Cami and me in Hershey, Pennsylvania. That was an AWESOME trip!

After seven years and lots of memories I can honestly and proudly say that I love my sweet wife more than I did the day we married. She gets more beautiful, sweet, kind, and perfect each day. I look forward to spending not only the rest of my life with her but all of eternity. 

I love you Cami. Happy 7th Anniversary!

Friday, July 5, 2013

VIP Parking

Cami left to spend some time with friends the other evening so I had some fun with the children's sidewalk chalk. I've been wanting to do this for some time now. On the pavement in our carport I wrote in giant letters: "VIP Parking--Most Beautiful Woman Only."

Then we have a walkway from our carport to our home that is a series of stepping stones. On each one I wrote a an adjective describing my beautiful wife.

She loved it. :)  Our sons thought it was pretty cool too. Our oldest wouldn't let his younger brothers even get close to it for days. He would tell them "don't walk on it! It's a special thing for momma." Adorable.

While I did this for my wife it would work just as well for a husband. We like getting compliments too.

If you haven't signed up for the Uplifting Love newsletter yet you're missing out. Do it now!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Happy, Happy Birthday to the Woman I Love!

Today is Cami's birthday!

I'm so glad that she was born. What a sad and lonely world it would be if she hadn't joined it. Thanks Mom Hardy for bringing her into it. I will forever be indebted to you.

My wife loves her birthday. She gets this from her dad. He LOVES his birthday. He eagerly anticipates it for months, expects members of the family to spend hours, if not days, looking for just the right gift and card (he is a greeting card fanatic), and every year expects his birthday to be magical. His oldest daughter is the same way (though, thankfully, she has lower expectations about gifts).

Photo courtesy of Vial Photography
Each January we have a little "half-birthday" celebration in anticipation of the real event. She'll text me on January 2nd and send me an email or two reminding me it's her half-birthday (she does the same thing on my half-birthday). I think one year we even had a party.

Lest I make Cami sound conceited I need to clarify that she loves all birthdays. She congratulates her sisters and occasionally close friends on their birthdays (and half-birthdays). Again, she loves birthdays.

Well, with today being her birthday I decided to do something special for her. I surprised her by taking the day off of work, taking her out to breakfast (by far her favorite meal), I gave her a cool gift that I spent about two weeks secretly putting together, and we went out to dinner at the restaurant of her choice. Hopefully it was a good day for her and exceeded her expectations.

Photo courtesy of Vial Photography
Now, at the end of the day I want to share with you the top five reasons I love Cami's birthday. They are:
  1. Surprises. I love to surprise Cami. The look on her face and the sheer, pure joy in her eyes make all of the effort worth it.
  2. Fun. Her birthday is always fun because she gets so excited about it. It reminds me of what I felt like on my birthday when I was a kid.
  3. Cake. I love cake. I would eat it and ice cream all the time if I didn't have to worry about stomach aches, cavities, and getting ridiculously fat. And we always have a good cake on her birthday.
  4. Presents. It's fun (and a bit stressful) coming up with a present for Cami each year but it's a challenge and I love challenges.
  5. Food. I don't think it's quite a tradition yet but more often than not we go out to eat on Cami's birthday. This is a real treat since we don't go out to eat very often and she always picks fun restaurants.
My wife is awesome. I love her. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!
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