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Friday, December 27, 2013

I'll Make You a Deal...

Cami and I like to make deals with each other. A few Christmas's ago we started betting on different things around the holidays. The loser was responsible for taking down the Christmas lights. I've only had to take down the lights once or twice in the last six years. :)
Source

One year I bet her that we would be pregnant by a certain date (it was ridiculously close to when we were planning to go off of birth control). She totally didn't think we would be. I won.

Another year we bet on something one of the kids was going to do, it was either walking or saying their first word, and I think that she actually won that time.

And so each year it has been something new and strange. We haven't even discussed what this year will be but I'm confident that we will be soon (especially because I wrote this post).

We also like to make deals on smaller, day to day things. It's typically something like this:

Cami: "What are we going to do tonight?"
Tyson: "Watch that awesome movie we just got from Netflix!"
Cami: disappointed "Oh"
Tyson: "What? You don't want to watch it?"
Cami: "Not really."
Tyson: "Then what do you want to do?"
Cami: "I'm not sure" (she always says this)
Tyson: "How about I make you a deal?"
Cami: her eyes light up and in an excited child on Santa's lap voice "Okay! What is it?"
Tyson: "We watch the movie and I will brush your hair."
Cami: "Okay!"

When she wants to do something and I don't the deal is usually that I get a back rub or a shoulder massage. The beauty of our system is that we both love it and we both get something we want. We were negotiating.

Marriage isn't about compromise as we so often are told. Marriage is about cooperation. It isn't a zero-sum game where when someone wins the other has to, therefore, lose. When we cooperate it becomes a win-win situation. This is good negotiation as well.

Source
The key to any successful negotiation is an exchange of value where both parties are satisfied with what they gave and what they received. It becomes even easier to "negotiate" in marriage because not only are we interested in a successful resolution we love each other profoundly and willingly sacrifice something to make the other happy.

Next time you and your spouse have differing ideas on what to do play the home version of "Let's Make a Deal."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Final Blog Hop of 2013

Final blog hop of 2013... Welcome!
Merry Christmas to you and yours. 

Though many of you may not get to our party till after the holiday, we will so happy to see you when you do join us! 
Last week's party was well attended and it seem obvious to me that lots of viewers were having chocolate cravings because of what was most-viewed!


Butterfinger Balls from Ducks 'n a Row




And now for this week's party!

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 
 on
Ducks 'n a Row
Simple Guidelines:
  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below)
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there!
  • When you are PINNING, remember to do it from the original post. 
  • If you are new, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. 
  • Thanks for joining us!
Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row
Blog / Bloglovin’ / Email / Facebook / Google+ / Pinterest  / RSS / Twitter

Jamie from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Tyson from Uplifting Love

Stacey Gannett from This Momma’s Ramblings


Monday, December 23, 2013

I Wish You a Merry Christmas!

As it is Christmas week instead of writing a few posts to share with you I am going to share a few videos that for me help encapsulate what Christmas and the Christmas spirit is all about.

By the way, if you haven't found a Christmas gift for anyone yet send them my ebook, Uplifting Love: Secrets to Making a Good Marriage Great. It's a gift that will keep on giving as they apply its teachings in their marriages. What's better than a gift that keeps on giving?






From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Women and Their Influence on Men

I attended a conference recently where I had the privilege of listening to an address by Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She is a well known journalist and public speaker and is very educated and experienced.

She spoke to the group for about an hour addressing the progress that women, black women in particular, have made over the last few decades. It was wonderful to hear of the wonderful things that have happened and are continuing to happen in the fight for equality.

Ms. Hunter-Gault also spoke about the slow progress, and in some cases no progress at all, that is occurring in many areas of the world. She shared some facts about women in Africa. One of these was that 90% of the funds that African women (those actually in Africa) earn goes back to caring for their families. She then contrasted that with the fact that only 30% of the funds that African men make goes back to their families.

An interesting and insightful phrase she used while speaking was "when you educate a man you educate a person but when you educate a woman you educate a nation." I believe this is true with all my heart. That's the reason that I insisted that Cami finish her bachelor's degree before our children were born (when we got married she only had eighteen credits to go).

However, Ms. Hunter-Gault said nothing about those women who choose the most important profession: domestic engineering (stay-at-home moms). I found this curious and it has left me wondering. Is it because she does not consider it a noble profession (I doubt she feels this way)? Or is it because women have always been domestic engineers so there is no progress to make?

As I reflected on her comments I realized that the genesis of all of the issues that she addressed was men failing in their God-given responsibilities. Not only in Africa but across the globe. How truly sad.

I worry that because women, who in my experience are just as capable and often more so than men, have chosen to leave the home or split their time between home and the outside world that this further enables men to shirk their responsibilities because we men are lazy by nature.

Ladies, this Christmas season give us the gift of accountability. Help us not to be lazy. Hold us accountable, in a loving and Christlike way, to our responsibilities as protectors and providers.

If I could give one gift to all women everywhere it would be to help men live up to their responsibilities and potential in the home, in their marriages, with their children, and in their communities. What a wonderful, more perfect
world this would be if we men everywhere stood together in fulfilling our duty.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop

Welcome to Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #52
We had so many great posts shared last week...take a look! 

MOST VIEWED 


Very Popular


Editor's Pick

And now for this week's party!

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 
 on
Ducks 'n a Row
Simple Guidelines:
  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below)
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there!
  • When you are PINNING, remember to do it from the original post.
  • If you are new, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. 
  • Thanks for joining us!
Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row
Blog / Bloglovin’ / Email / Facebook / Google+ / Pinterest  / RSS / Twitter

Jamie from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Tyson from Uplifting Love

Stacey Gannett from This Momma’s Ramblings

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Traditions

Earlier this month I asked subscribers to my newsletter to share their favorite Christmas memories and traditions. I've included a few of their responses below. It was fun to see how differently everyone celebrates the same holiday. Thank you to all of you that responded. Hearing from you makes it so much more fun.

From Bekah @ re•solve:
"My family always went to Christmas Eve service at church. When we came home, everyone got to choose and open just one gift that night. This was always normal to me, but my husband was (and is) appalled by the tradition. Neither of us wanted to budge on this one, so finally we formed a new tradition to appease both of us - we go to service still and open one gift still - but it has to be a stupid/gag gift of some sort."

From Sinea at Ducks'n a Row:
"My favorite tradition was that we all gathered as a family on Christmas Eve at my parents' house to enjoy a feast of appetizers (a long long table full), egg nog and great company. We had shrimp cocktail, pigs n a blanket, crabmeat & cheese dip, artichoke heart dip, smoked oysters and on and on. When we were little, we also could all open one gift on Christmas Eve. As adults, we've changed it to a grab bag."

From my sister Cassie:
"My favorite tradition is paying attention during church." (apparently she didn't think I was paying attention at church that day)

My favorite Christmas tradition is getting the Christmas tree. As a kid we would always go to a Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving and pick out our tree. We would traipse all over the farm looking at every tree in order to find the perfect one. When we did we'd cut it down (either my dad or I would actually do the cutting while the rest of the family stood around), haul it home, and put it up.


We would spend the rest of the weekend decorating the tree and the house for Christmas. It always inaugurated the Christmas season and I've carried that tradition into my home and my family now. It's something that my little boys look forward to. We don't go to a tree farm (there aren't any nearby) but to Lowe's instead. Then we bring it home, decorate it, put up lights both on the tree and in the yard and the Christmas season has begun.

I love Christmas. I hope that you do too.

Wishing you a VERY merry Christmas this year,

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Reason Behind Christmas (Video)

As you probably are already aware I love the Christmas season. Not so much because of the gifts and the hubbub of the holiday but because the entire Christian world turns its heart toward Jesus Christ for an entire month. The resulting joy, happiness, and kindness amazes and humbles me each year. Imagine what the world would be like if we celebrated Christmas every month.

Here's a video I came across that helped me feel the Christmas Spirit.


What helps you to feel the Christmas Spirit?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"My Back is Killing Me!" and Other Reasons Why Co-Sleeping Sucks

When I wake up in the morning, before I even open my eyes, I can tell whether or not someone has been in the bed besides Cami and myself. How do I know you ask. I'll tell you. Because my back hurts. And it's not a little hurt like it's just tight, it really hurts. There are knots all up and down the muscles in my back.

Once I realize that my back hurts, and therefore someone else is in the bed with us, I moan in pain. Next I roll over to verify that I am correct (I have a 99% accuracy rate). Then I hobble from the room to try to stretch out my back without waking anyone else up.
 

If for no other reason alone I hate so called co-sleeping because it hurts my back. Wikipedia defines co-sleeping as "a practice in which babies and young children sleep close to one or both parents, as opposed to in a separate room."

There are arguments both for and against co-sleeping. Those in favor argue that co-sleeping helps children to feel loved and safe and often get a better nights sleep. Additionally the argument goes that children who co-sleep with their parents have a better self image and a stronger relationship with the parent with whom they co-sleep.

Those opposed to co-sleeping contend that co-sleeping can sometimes lead to infant death. In fact, when our youngest son was born this last August the nurses told Cami not to put him in bed with us because they worried that I would roll over on him and crush him in my sleep. I think it's kind of silly in my case but it really does happen. Another argument against the practice is that it can compromise a child's sleeping habits.

I believe that science has a place in our world. However, for me science can be put aside on this issue.


Here are three reasons why co-sleeping sucks and how it can harm a marriage.

  1. My back hurts!! Physical discomfort of any kind (whether it is back pain, a headache, or menstrual cramping) in either spouse draws on the reserve of patience that we each have. With the extra draw that occurs when we hurt the chances of conflict, and serious conflict, grow.
  2. When was the last time we made love? I don't typically discuss sex on this blog but if you're kid is always in bed with you when are you going to be intimate with your spouse? Kick your kid out to get your love life back on track.
  3. I feel like something has come between us. In the case of co-sleeping something has literally come between you! Get rid of it. If you stop and think about it the majority of the time you spend with your spouse is while you're asleep. Even something seemingly small like co-sleeping has a subconscious impact on your marriage.
With that said, I believe that there is a time for co-sleeping. It is limited in nature (like an hour or two). If a child is scared and struggling to fall asleep one night lay in their bed or on the floor next to their bed with them until they fall asleep.

Another possibility would be when a child is sick. Again, however, I recommend going to them instead of inviting them into your bed. Why? Because it is YOUR bed. They have their own. That's why you bought it.

As I close my tirade about the ills of co-sleeping I'm going to share a quick story. Cami and I were friends with a couple a while back that had a few kids. They let their youngest sleep in their bed with them every night beginning when he was really young. 

Three years later the husband was ending up on the coach regularly just so that he could get some sleep. When he wasn't on the couch his wife was in a recliner rocking their son all night long. The amazing thing to Cami and I was that they would both regularly remark that they couldn't figure out why they and their son were always tired.

We would put on our perplexed faces and wonder something too.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop

Welcome to Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #51.
The holidays are really busy but we do hope you can take a little time and look around.
Never know, there may be that one awesome gift idea or recipe that you need right now!
So, let's not waste anytime and get down to it. 
Take a look at what you liked the most last week...

Most Viewed


Very Popular

And now for this week's party!

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 
 on
Ducks 'n a Row
Simple Guidelines:
  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below)
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there!
  • If you are new, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. 
  • Thanks for joining us!
Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row
Blog / Bloglovin’ / Email / Facebook / Google+ / Pinterest  / RSS / Twitter

Jamie from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Tyson from Uplifting Love

Stacey Gannett from This Momma’s Ramblings




Monday, December 9, 2013

I hate juggling

I like to think that I'm pretty good at compartmentalizing my thoughts and emotions. I have compartments for work, church, hanging out with friends, and for my family. I probably have more than that too.

I switch between them as the situation dictates occasionally operating out of two compartments at the same time. This probably doesn't happen too often but I know it can.

Sometimes though, in fact all too frequently, I get caught between closing one box and being forced to open another. This wreaks havoc with my mental wiring. I feel like I am being metaphorically pulled in two directions, like I am on one of those medieval torture devices, and about to rip in half.

Source
I hate this feeling. I suppose we probably all do (if we didn't it wouldn't have been an effective torture device), but for me it's especially miserable. My preference is to finish something and then move on to the next. Juggling multiple projects isn't a problem as long as I only have one in my hands at any given time. When I am expected to have several in hand at the same time I go bonkers.

This is what it feels like when I get stuck between compartments and it causes a lot of emotional strain and depletes my reserves of patience. A lack of patience, as we both know, often leads to misunderstandings and contention with others.

Late last week I become engrossed in a project that I have been trying to complete off and on for about a year at work. I have made considerable headway in the last month and am hoping to wrap it up, tie a bow on it, and deliver it to my boss any day now. The problem was that I had a mental breakthrough on how to solve the last issue with the project...just before five o'clock.

That same night our family had committed to attend an award ceremony where a family friend was being recognized. The ceremony started at six.

Cami called me about 5:30pm and asked how my afternoon had gone. I gave her a brief reply and asked about hers. She shared a little bit and then sensed that I wasn't giving her my full attention so she inquired when I would be home.

"In a little bit" I answered. "I'm trying to finish this project I'm working on and I'm finally making some headway."
"That's wonderful," was her reply. "You do remember that we need to be at the ceremony by six, right?" "Yeah, I know" was my response.
"Okay..." she said drawing out the "ay" for a few seconds.

We quickly expressed our love for one another and then hung up the phone. Not ten seconds later it dawned on me that I had sensed in her tone that she wasn't very happy that I was still at work and was very sweetly and indirectly telling me to come home right away.

Always trying to be the obedient and loving husband I stopped what I was doing, put my coat on, and headed home.

On the walk home (we live within walking distance of my office. It's great!) I realized I was feeling really irritated with the situation. Not with Cami specifically but that I had all of these priorities and obligations constantly tugging at me and I was sick of it. I nearly yelled in frustration.

When I walked in the door the kids cheered and then they all chastised me for being so late. I bet them that I would still be ready before they would be and next thing you knew the greatest race was on (I did win in case you were wondering).

As I unwound later that evening I realized that my irritability and extreme frustration as I walked home was in large part due to the fact that at the time I felt trapped between two open compartments: work and home. Because I chose to drop everything at work and rush home I didn't fully close that compartment. So as I walked home and tried to open my home compartment the two mixed. That's bad.

The moral of the story: make sure to close your compartments. It will prevent frustrations in one part of your life from negatively affecting relationships in another. Specifically, I am talking about your marriage. Don't let work, church, community service, or friends negatively impact your marriage. Adhere to the adage "leave work at work."

Now, I'm going to close this compartment and go eat breakfast.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kids and Christmas (Video)

The reason for Christmas...from the mouth of babes.



Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Beware of the Doghouse

As it is the time of the year where we are all thinking of what to get our wives for Christmas (or at least we should already be thinking about it) I felt that this video was appropriate to share. Enjoy!



What have you done that's gotten you in the dog house? Tell me in the comments.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Your Wife is Ugly...and a few other things you just shouldn't say

One day when I was 16 I happened to be at a youth function at my church. One of the adults was talking about dating and marriage and giving us advice. He had been married for like twenty years and was basically reliving his "glory days" of dating and all of the fun he had.

At some point he made a comment about finding someone that you're attracted to physically and otherwise. Just then one of the boys in the group jumped up and asked the leader why he had married his wife then. For a split second we were all a bit confused. Then he followed up with "I mean, because she's ugly."

Silence filled the room. Within 1.9 milliseconds the boy realized his mistake and all color drained from his face. He and the leader stood with their eyes locked. The leader's full of rage, the boys filled with terror. The rest of us just sat there.

I would like to tell you that the leader used this opportunity to teach the young man in a dignified, Christian manner. Nope. But the exact opposite also didn't happen (the kid didn't get the stuffing beat out of him) either and I believe for that the leader deserves considerable credit.

Up until this point in my life I had instinctively known that there were certain things you did or did not say to others. I couldn't list many (if any) of them if asked but I just kind of knew. On this day I added the first one to the list.

You NEVER, EVER call another man's wife ugly...especially to his face.


Hopefully, you are already aware of this one, but if not I just saved you from significant potential danger. Either way add this one to your list of things NOT to say.

Some other things I have learned not to say:
  • That's not very flattering on you
  • Have you gained weight?
  • How far along are you? (unless you are 110% certain that the woman is expecting)
  • Your baby is ugly
  • I hope you didn't have to pay for that haircut
Even if they are true you shouldn't say them. In fact, it would be best if you didn't even think them because we say what we think, but I know that sometimes we just can't help it, the baby really is ugly.

Remember, NEVER tell a man his wife is ugly. Unless you want to get hurt, then go right ahead.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop

It's December! Welcome to our 50th blog hop with three wonderful new co-hosts! Please take time to visit their sites and follow them on various social media.
And stick around for our 5 top viewed features from last week PLUS YOUR POSTS!!!
Our December Hosts

Host: Sinea from Ducks 'n a Row (top left)
Co-Host: Stacey of This Momma's Ramblings (top right)
Co-Host: Tyson from Uplifting Love (lower left)
Co-Host: Jamie from Love Bakes Good Cakes (lower right)

Our Host--Sinea Pies: This is my 50th Blog Hop on Ducks 'n a Row! We've grown from a humble 4 or 5 links to way over 200 each week....way over! Thank you to everyone for supporting, sharing, pinning and enjoying our posts. If you would like to receive an email reminder when this hop goes live, just ask! ducksnarow1@gmail.com

Say "hi" to Stacey:  Stacy of This Momma's Ramblings is a mom to three, aged 11, 14, & 20, wife to hubby number 2 goin on 12 years. We are one grade quarter into our 3rd year of homeschooling. Soon to be in grades 5 and 8. I have been a SAHM and blogger for almost a year. My blogging style is a bit like my iPod playlist...just a little bit of everything! I blog mostly about family life, home schooling, recipes that I make whether that be food or home made products, book or product reviews, and any other rambling thing that might pop into my head. 


Here's Tyson: "Tyson has been married for seven years to Cami, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, and they are happy. They have three sons with another one due in less than a month. Tyson shares ideas and stories on his blog "Uplifting Love" about marriage and how to make it great. Love in marriage is amazing and he and Cami want to help others feel the same happiness and fulfillment in their marriages that they enjoy in theirs. He loves to laugh, tease Cami and his boys, and hearing what you think about his posts.



And, Jamie: Jamie is the blogger behind Love Bakes Good Cakes. She spends her days with her husband and children in Phoenix. She enjoys developing and testing recipes and believes meals and recipes should be easy enough for the average cook. Jamie strives to share recipes that are family-friendly, budget-friendly and cook-friendly!

MOST VIEWED POST(S)
We have a tie for most viewed.
Five great posts topped the list!
15 Must Have Gifts for Moms by Mums Make Lists
Light Up Princess Dress by So Sew Easy
Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding by Love Bakes Good Cakes
Jelly Belly Cookies from Bakewell Junction
DIY Colored Rice from Mommy on Demand

 Now for the 50th...
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 
 on
Ducks 'n a Row
Simple Guidelines:
  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below)
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there!
  • If you are new, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. 
  • Thanks for joining us!
Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row

Jamie from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Tyson from Uplifting Love

Stacey Gannett from This Momma’s Ramblings


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