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Friday, December 19, 2014

What Are YOU Thinking About This Christmas Season

"The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts." 
-John Locke (1632-1704)



What are you thinking about this Christmas season?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

3 Distinct Varieties of Mistletoe You Probably Haven't Heard Of

You know the tradition with mistletoe, right? If two people are standing under it they're supposed to kiss. It's a great tradition, especially when you're single.

I really enjoyed it that first Christmas Cami and I were married. Reminiscing about it now I think our ceiling must have been made out of mistletoe. Suffice it to say, it was a good Christmas season.

After that it was still fun to have the mistletoe "hung where [we] can see" it but since we can kiss each other whenever we want, and we take full advantage of that privilege, mistletoe just wasn't as big of a deal. It became just another holiday decoration.

That is until we discovered that there is more than one kind of mistletoe. So far we have discovered three.

The first kind is the traditional mistletoe. This mistletoe entitles those standing under it to one, normal kiss. It's what hangs in the majority of homes during the Christmas season.

The second kind of mistletoe is "make-out mistletoe." When two people get caught under it they are entitled, and expected, to participate in a make out session. Use this mistletoe sparingly and place it carefully in your home. If you have teenagers you may not want to even bring it out until they have moved out.

The third kind of mistletoe is "french mistletoe." You probably guessed it. If you're standing under french mistletoe you are entitled to share a piece of french toast with your companion (were you thinking something else?).

Cami and I prefer make-out mistletoe. It's especially fun once the kids are in bed.

What kind of mistletoe is hanging in your home this Christmas?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How 3 Words & 1 Contraction Will Save Your Marriage

A few weeks one of my newsletter subscribers emailed me. She thanked me for an email that I had recently sent out and then asked a question that made me think.

Her question was simple: "have you discussed the importance of saying 'I'm sorry'?"

You know what, I don't think I have. At least not in a very long time.

I heard a story this last week in church. There were two brothers that owned adjoining farms. They lived next to each other for many years and were great friends.

One day a dispute arose between the two of them. It grew and grew and was blown out of proportion such that the two brothers stopped speaking to one another.

A short time later, after the conflict had deteriorated further, the younger brother took his tractor and dug a large ditch along the property line and diverted water from a nearby stream into the ditch.

The older brother, not wanting to be outdone, hired a carpenter to build a tall fence along the ditch so that he didn't even have to see his younger brother anymore.

When the carpenter arrived the older brother instructed him on what he wanted done and showed him where the lumber for the fence was being stored.

The older brother asked the carpenter if he understood what he wanted and asked if he had any questions. The carpenter smiled and replied that he knew exactly what needed to be done. The older brother then went into town for the day to take care of some business.

When the older brother returned home that evening the carpenter was just finishing up. But to his surprise instead of a fence the carpenter had built a bridge across the ditch. The brother was outraged!

Just as he was about to give the carpenter a severe tongue lashing out of the corner of his eye he saw a man crossing the bridge. It was his younger brother!

The younger brother ran to him and, with tears in his eyes, threw his arms around his older brother.

As they embraced the younger brother apologized for his behavior and for letting such a small disagreement grow into what it had. He then thanked his older brother for being more wise than he and building a bridge to say he was sorry.

The carpenter simply smiled as he walked away.

The reason I share this story is that someone has to start everything. Everything starts with one person making a decision and acting on it. Asking for forgiveness is the same.

The younger brother apologized for his behavior. He thought that the older brother had apologized for his actions too. One apology (though unintended) precipitated the reconciliation between the two.


So who should apologize first? Cami and I have had our fair share of disagreements. Typically I'm pretty sure that I'm right. Generally she is. But in the heat of the moment neither one of us wants to lose.

Three years into our marriage we had a pretty big disagreement. I wouldn't really call it a fight because we have several rules in place in our marriage that, when followed, prevent us from getting into fights. Nevertheless, it was a good disagreement. I don't recall what it was about but I do remember that Cami abruptly left the house visibly upset.

It took me a few minutes to realize that she'd left (I was in another room) but when I did I chased after her! At first I was even angrier that she would walk away. Almost immediately, however, the thought crossed my mind "what if she never comes back?!" I tripled my pace.

Thankfully she hadn't gone far. In the mere five minutes that had passed from when she walked out the front door I was completely repentant. As soon as I saw her I threw my arms around her and, with man tears in my eyes, began frantically apologizing. And I meant it.

All it took was the thought that it could all be over in an instant, that I could drive away the woman I love more than myself. I have been far quicker to say three little words ever since. They are "I am sorry" (sometimes I like to switch things up and I'll say "I'm sorry" too).

While it's often very difficult for us to swallow our pride, and this is true for both husbands and for wives, it is absolutely essential.

One last thought on this. Ultimately it doesn't matter if you are right or wrong if the disagreement ends your marriage. If that happens I guarantee you were wrong regardless of the issue you had argued about.

My advice: Say you're sorry. Don't hesitate. Say it often and say it sincerely. Those three words, "I am sorry," or, if you're feeling adventurous as I often am, that contraction, "I'm sorry," will save your marriage.

Give it a try today.

Monday, December 8, 2014

5 Magnificent Marriage Lessons Anyone Can Apply

I've made many friends during my life. Today I'd like to introduce you to one of my good friends, Ashton Swank. 

Ashton lives in North Carolina with her husband and their little girl. She blogs about desserts at SomethingSwanky.com and her recipes are amazing! Cami loves/hates looking at her pictures because everything looks fantastic. The recipes that Cami has made were delicious.


Ashton also just released a new cookbook, Party Popcorn: 75 Creative Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Snack. Because we are popcorn fanatics we've already ordered our copy and are looking forward to getting it this week. You should pick one up to. It's a great Christmas present.

Cami and I have been friends with Ashton and her husband for the last three years and love them. Theirs is a great marriage and because of this, as well as because Ashton is a successful blogger, Cami and I thought it would be wonderful to hear the sage wisdom she has to share about both.

A big thank you to Ashton for taking the time to share with us today. Enjoy!

Interview with Ashton Swank


How long have you been married?
Over 8 years

What is your favorite thing about being married? Least favorite?
My favorite thing about being married is that I never have to carry a burden alone.

Although I frequently need to be reminded of that. I have a personality that tends towards taking on everything by myself. I like to err on the side of self-reliance to avoid being let down (my blog itself is proof of this! When we were going through a financially hard time, I decided to "take matters into my own hands." Which ended up being a blessing, albeit maybe not exactly the correct attitude to have).


But when things get really terrible and I know that I can't handle something on my own, it's such an overwhelming joy and relief to remember that I don't have to! My ever ready husband is always capable and willing to shoulder anything I give him (whether it's a sink full of dishes or something more tumultuous.... although, my dish load gets pretty tumultuous!) . And that's my favorite part of marriage.

My least favorite part? Being married to someone who likes to spend money just as much as I do. I was really hoping to have the corner on the money-spending market when we got married!

What one piece of advice would you give a couple married for one month? Why?
My one piece of advice goes against conventional, passed-down wisdom, but it works for us. GO TO BED ANGRY. 99.9% of our arguments happen after 10pm. And I know for a fact that it's because we're exhausted. And when you're exhausted, it's nearly impossible to reasonable, rational, tactful, and compassionate. And, in my case, emotions start rising pretty high once I'm tired-- it doesn't take much provocation for me to fly completely off the handle at that point.

We've found that sleeping on an argument usually results in the problem being mostly (if not entirely) dissolved my morning time when everyone is feeling sane again.

Now, the caveat to this piece of advice is: don't leave each other angry. I think going to sleep angry is fine-- partly because I know we'll wake up, safely, next to one another in the morning. But leaving the house angry? That's a different story. No matter what we're battling, we try really hard to not part ways angry with one another. I can't stand the thought that our last parting feelings towards one another (should the unthinkable happen while we're separated) be feelings of anger.

Does your blog get in the way of your marriage/family? If so, how?
I've been incredibly blessed to have a spouse who has been very supportive of my blogging, despite the fact that I've never made it easy on him! Before I earned ANY money blogging, I was spending anywhere from 30-50 hours a week trying to build it up. There were lots of emotional meltdowns. And I've invested a LOT of money that we didn't have for a few years on photography equipment, renting to create studio/office space, blog travel, graphic design, and (of course) ingredients. All of that before we were even getting any kind of return on the time and money we were investing. In the end, it was more than worth it financially. But for 2 or 3 years, we really didn't know if it would be or not. And it was no small sacrifice on my husband's part to support me without a negative word one!

So I guess the answer to the question is: blogging really could have gotten in the way of our marriage/family, but I've been blessed with a supportive family who didn't let it.

On the flip side, now that my husband is out of school and working full time, I'm making an effort to cut down on the blog time and money I spend since it's not the financial necessity it was. I can see that my efforts to do this have been really appreciated by my husband, and that is rewarding to me.

Any other nuggets of wisdom that you would like to share with your readers?
I meant to make these answers funny and witty, because that's the kind of stuff I like to read. But I guess my serious nature won out, and my responses all came out a little bit on the heavy side. So let me just add that I love the teasing, laughing, fun side of our marriage as well as the serious parts!

My husband and I love to watch TV together, and we both really appreciate the value of a good one-liner in a sitcom. I love being in the middle of something or other with my husband when a funny TV reference comes up in conversation. We can really have a good laugh over that, and those are some of my favorite moments with him. And I think you have to make sure to have some of those moments together in life. It's like the cherry on top of an already good thing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

4 Essential Rules for Every Marriage

Don't rules suck? Who likes being told what they can't do? Since we're adults we don't really need them.

Nope, I don't agree. I am profoundly grateful for rules. If there wasn't a speed limit I am certain I would have gone around many a turn in the road to find out too late (as my car and I were flying through the air) that I was going too fast.

I remember the rule that I wasn't allowed to touch the stove when I was a child. I recall disobeying that rule and realizing too late that it was a mistake. That rule was there for a reason. Go figure.

We love freedom. And freedom is wonderful. But, as hopefully I've illustrated, rules keep us safe.

My marriage is under constant attack. The world is changing rapidly and heading in a direction where the family is decreasing in importance. Often it is regarded more like a hobby and is considered a joke. I recently read (though I admit each time I see these types statistics there are different) that the average age a man gets married now is about 29 and for women it's 26.5.

The attacks aren't just limited to changing social "norms." In fact, I think the biggest threats to my marriage have nothing to do with them.

Time is a huge threat to the success and happiness of my marriage, more specifically the lack of time. I find myself being pulled in ten different directions all the time. If I'm not attending a church meeting then I'm being expected to stay late at work. Other days it's friends and family the need help and I'm called away. There's my responsibilities with community organizations of which I am a part. And the list goes on.

However, the biggest threat to my marriage is myself. My attitude and behavior could destroy my marriage faster and more effectively than anything else. Thankfully Cami and I realized this within the first six months of our marriage and we established some rules...to keep our marriage safe.

  1. Never say "divorce." The "d" word isn't welcome in our marriage. We never talk about getting divorced. We never threaten it in the heat of an argument or joke about it when we're playing around. Divorce is unacceptable, therefore, the notion is not even entertained.
  2. Never need to say "you'll just have to trust me." By the time you have to say this it's too late. You've put yourself in a position you shouldn't have. I'm not saying it will never happen, it still could. But never knowingly or intentionally put yourself in this situation and be on the lookout for things that could potentially push you into it.
  3. Don't talk to other people about problems our problems until we at least talk about it ourselves. When you talk to other people you are making private problems public. The problem is that when private matters become public the difficulty in resolving them increases dramatically. The other reason we don't talk to anyone else first is that often the other is unaware there's an issue and our mutual trust is undermined not to mention that when we talk about it together 99% of the time we are able to resolve it in 15 minutes or less.
  4. Don't spend time alone with the opposite sex. We had been married maybe four months and I gave a classmate a ride home from the library. We had been there working on a group project with other classmates and it was late so I offered her a ride home. There was no romantic interest on either side, I was only helping a friend, but it didn't appear that way. For those Christians out there the Apostle Paul taught us to avoid the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Also, if you're never alone with someone of the opposite sex the possibility that a connection/attraction could form is zero.
I want to say one more thing about rule number 4. Recognizing that there are times in my professional career that I need to be alone with someone of the opposite gender (like conducting a performance evaluation with a female employee) I take precautions such as letting others know what we're doing, leaving my office door slightly open, and sitting a reasonable distance away (generally there's furniture between us as well).

So there you have it. You have the potential to destroy your own marriage. So set some rules with your spouse so that you don't go careening off the cliff because you didn't know there was a turn in the road there.


To read more about how rules strengthen relationships, and marriage especially, get a copy of my book, Uplifting Love: Secrets to Making a Good Marriage Great.

What rules do you have in your marriage?

Friday, November 28, 2014

When It's Okay for A Man to Cry...It's Not When You Think

Image Source
I am a male. I also consider myself to be a man. They are not the same thing.

Male is a designation given to individuals in a species that meet certain criteria, primarily their reproductive organs.

All men are males, but a man is more than a male. A man is dependable, trustworthy, keeps his word, is a protector and provider, respects women, in short, he is someone of integrity.

As a man there are entire series of unspoken rules about all sorts of things. One of those is crying.

Men can cry. There's nothing wrong with that. I cried each time one of our children were born. I cry when I ponder on the sacrifices that my forefathers made to allow me my political and religious freedom. I tear up when I think of the sacrifices that our current military service men and women are making.

Other times that I tear up: when I think of the possibility of losing one of my children or my sweet wife, when I'm laughing too hard, when I see extreme suffering of other people, and I am cutting onions.

I think most people would agree with me that these are okay times for a man to cry. And they are. There's nothing wrong with shedding a few tears every now and again...in the right situation.

But is it okay for a man to cry when he is feeling grateful? Yes!

When individuals, both men and women, are filled with gratitude they often feel overcome by the emotion and tears come to their eyes. Pure gratitude is a powerful emotion. And it's okay for a man to cry when he's feeling gratitude.

I'm not saying that every time a man feels grateful for something he should burst into tears. But, for example, when I ponder on how lucky I am that Cami married me it often makes my eyes a bit misty.

It's okay for a man to cry...in certain circumstances. When he's feeling gratitude is one of them.

For a more extensive handling of man tears, including a brief history, see the great post When Is It Okay for A Man to Cry? at the site ArtOfManliness.com.

Are there other times that are okay for a man to cry?



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!

Purchase your copy of Uplifting Love: Secrets to Making a Good Marriage Great right now and have it delivered to your inbox immediately! In just a matter of minutes you'll be on your way to having the marriage that your friends and family envy. Don't delay, get your copy today!
Buy Now

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moments

There are many peaceful and serene moments that come and go. They often arrive unexpectedly and usually end just as we recognize them for what they are. But no matter their duration they are tender mercies, little gifts given to us to remind us to treasure the small and simple things.

This evening I was privileged to recognize one of these tender mercies.

Cami and I enjoy watching TV shows together. We are agreed that we watch far too much TV but we like to do it because it lets us disengage from the ordinary happenings of our day but also enjoy a shared experience together. I can't even begin to count the number of inside jokes we have that have come from our television "habit."

More often than not Cami will insist that we watch "just one more episode" before we go to bed. Inevitably she falls asleep by the end of the opening credit roll and I'm left watching the episode alone.

This happened again this evening. As the episode ended forty minutes later I looked over at her as the faint light from the street lamp gently rested on her soft, rosy cheek. My heart filled with love for her and a profound sense of gratitude that I have the privilege of being her husband. I cannot understand why she condescended to love and even marry me. However, how thankful I am!

Of all of the small, simple, peaceful, and serene moments that come and go I treasure these ones the most.

Today I am grateful for moments. Today I am grateful for Cami.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why We All Should Have Paid More Attention in Math Class

My oldest son is in first grade this year (I know, I can't believe I'm old enough to have a kid in first grade either!). He is, of course, learning math. While he's still mastering addition and subtraction sometimes I find myself being my dad and trying to use more advanced math to help my son understand what he's being taught.

Yeah, it didn't work when my dad did it and shockingly it still doesn't work today. But that's beside the point.

Because math has been on my mind somewhat lately and because my thoughts have a horrible tendency to wander I caught myself thinking about fractions.

Now, I've never been a fan of fractions. I could work with them in elementary and middle school with minimal use of expletives but I've always been a decimals guy. While thinking about my sincere dislike of fractions the term "common denominator" sudden surfaced from the depths of my subconscious.

As the shock of the sudden recollection wore off I lightning bolt shot across my mind. It wasn't just one of those typical lightning bolts but what I call a "Denver lightning bolt" (I lived in Denver when I was a kid and I've never seen lightning anywhere else as awesome as it is in Denver, see the picture below).


The flash of lightning caused a light bulb to go off and suddenly I realized that there is a common denominator that links all families (for those like me that had no special affinity for fractions a common denominator is a value that all denominators in a set of fractions have in common and makes them able to relate to one another). Love.

All families have one thing in common: love. Love is the common denominator.

Ideally all families would feel and enjoy love all of the time but, unfortunately, that's occasionally not the case. However, mothers love their children. Husbands love their wives. Children love their parents. Siblings love each other. Grandparents and aunts and uncles, cousins and nieces and nephews love one another.

I was also recently reminded by a friend from college that families aren't just people to whom we're related. Families also consist of close friends, neighbors, mentors, and others about whom we care and who care about us.

Simply put, families are founded in and perpetuated through love. 

Therefore, what's the one element present in all families? You got it! It's our common denominator: love.

Maybe life is really all about fractions. I guess I should have paid more attention in math class.

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 Fun Ways to Persuade a Woman She's Beautiful

"A woman needs to be told she is beautiful." 
- Thomas Monson

Many woman struggle with their image and perception of their own beauty. Each woman's struggle is unique and varies in its severity but regardless of that it is pretty much universally true that every woman struggles with her own self-image from time to time.

I have always seen it as one of my duties as a husband to help my wife not only get through these periodic struggles but to do my best to prevent them entirely. My job is not to tell her that she's pretty but to help her know that she is beautiful and never doubt it.

While I haven't yet succeeded in preventing Cami from worrying about whether or not she's beautiful I think we have made significant progress. Here are five of ways that we can all, men and women, persuade a woman that she is beautiful. And the best part of this list is that they can all be done in 24 hours or less.

1. Learn to say "You are beautiful" in seven different languages. Google Translate is a big help here. It will even read you what it should sound like so you can practice your pronunciation. Here's are few I looked up.

  • Você é linda (Portuguese)
  • Waxaad u qurux badan (Somali)
  • Ou se bèl (Haitian Creole)
  • Du er smuk (Danish)
  • Jesteś piękna (Polish)
  • Ets bella (Catalan)
  • Güzelsin (Turkish)
2. Write notes that tell her she is beautiful and place them strategically throughout the house, her car, her office, etc. Everywhere she will be for the next 24 hours. For example, on her hair brush leave a note that says "You are so beautiful with your long flowing hair." With her glasses leave a note that says "You are so beautiful when you look at me with your penetratingly (eye color) eyes." In the fridge write "You are like cheese, you look more beautiful with age." You get the idea. The point is to hammer home to her that she is beautiful.

3. Send her to a spa for a day. A facial, getting her nails done, and a good haircut/styling make a huge positive difference in a woman's psyche.

4. Ask her friends and other family members to each write one reason that they find her to be beautiful. These can be reasons she is beautiful on the inside as well as outside but have them focus on the outside. It could be fun to do this twice, once for the outside beauty and then again for the internal beauty (real beauty). Then read them all to her.

5. Force her to stand in front of the mirror, look over her body, then look herself in the eyes and say "I am the most beautiful woman on earth." Have her do this until you notice the positive change in her countenance. Sometimes it can take a while but typically it's pretty fast.

A woman does need to be told she is beautiful and she needs to believe it. Give one or more of these five suggestions a try today. 

Now, tell me how it went in the comments.




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!

Purchase your copy of Uplifting Love: Secrets to Making a Good Marriage Great right now and have it delivered to your inbox immediately! In just a matter of minutes you'll be on your way to having the marriage that your friends and family envy. Don't delay, get your copy today!
Buy Now

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why It's NEVER Okay to Look Twice

I was getting in the car yesterday and a woman walked by. I noticed that she was attractive but thought nothing more of it. As I was driving away I laughed to myself because in my single days I would have certainly gotten a second look and perhaps even a third to confirm my initial, instinctual assessment. But yesterday the thought to look again didn't even cross my mind.

Immediately I began to reflect on this and what was different now from when I was single. Obviously now I am married and it would be inappropriate for me to "get a better look." I devote all of my double takes to my smashingly beautiful wife.

But really it's because I have trained my eyes and my mind not to look twice at other women. I found many years ago that a second look typically leads to a third. Those second and third looks lead to thoughts and often fantasies about what would happen if I weren't married/with the person I'm in a relationship with (I'm not talking about anything erotic, just what ifs like how a conversation might go).

Those thoughts would make me feel the beginning tinges of guilt and disloyalty to my amazing wife and I would then have the chore of "dumping" those thoughts from my mind. Not an easy task.

As I drove I remembered dating in high school and junior high and having no qualms about looking twice at other girls. My friends and I would evaluate other girls and compare them to the girls we were dating or interested in. I think that's pretty typical behavior and young men have been doing it for generations, maybe even forever.

Next, the question formed in my mind, "why was it okay to look twice then but not now?"

After much consideration the short answer is that I hadn't made a commitment then to any of those girls to be 100% completely faithful to them physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for the rest of my life. I have made that commitment to my Cami-girl. That's the difference.

The moral of this story is that looking twice plants the seeds of infidelity. To be perfectly clear, I am NOT saying that looking twice is adultery or being unfaithful. Looking twice puts you on the pathway that leads to infidelity.

This goes for both men and women. Women often feel like they are exempt from this but they are not. When either a man or a woman look twice they open themselves up to the temptation to keep looking and after that one thing generally leads to another.

This is why it is NEVER okay to look twice.



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!

Purchase your copy of Uplifting Love: Secrets to Making a Good Marriage Great right now and have it delivered to your inbox immediately! In just a matter of minutes you'll be on your way to having the marriage that your friends and family envy. Don't delay, get your copy today!
Buy Now

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Family is Two


A family is really only two people. The husband and the wife. The kids come and go. You love them while you have them but when they are gone the marriage stays, it is the core. A family starts with marriage, the children arrive and stay a while and then leave, and the marriage is what's left.

What will be left when your children leave home?

You really need to be thinking about this no matter what stage your family is in. Before you have children decide what kind of marriage you will maintain in spite of the craziness of raising children and how you will maintain it. How often will you go on dates? (and to clarify, it's not a date if the children come. Then it is a family activity) Will you have getaways, just the two of you? What about reading books together or talking?

If you have a house full of small children, what are you doing? Are you being intentional about your marriage? Is it getting stronger or being ignored because of the urgency of the children's needs and demands?

For those with older children, how do you juggle the demands of their busy schedules needing to be taken here and dropped off there at all hours of the day and night with the less urgent but infinitely more important needs of your marriage?

It all boils down to this question: What are you doing to preserve, strengthen, and build your marriage right now?

Try picturing a big sign on your marriage. It reads:


What are you doing daily to strengthen your marriage? Weekly? Monthly? Annually?

Here are a few suggestions for you.

Things You Can Do to Strengthen Your Marriage

Daily Things

Hold hands, kiss, say "I love you" often

Weekly Things

Go grab an ice cream together, go on a date, have a real conversation

Monthly Things

Plan and evaluate your finances together, go out for a full evening (bowling, dinner and a movie, visit a family fun center)

Annual Things

A weekend getaway (preferably at least two nights) just the two of you, really celebrate your wedding anniversary, have pictures taken and then hang up some of the new ones in your home

Ultimately, the question remains, what do you do to strengthen YOUR marriage? I would love to have you share in the comments.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

$1650 Christmas Cash Giveaway!




Thanks to some amazing bloggers we were able to come collectively together with a
 CASH PRIZE of $1650.  
Yes, you read it correctly, $1650!   
What could you do with a little extra cash 
this holiday season? 
 Enter our giveaway and good luck. 

Giveaway to run November 1st - November 22nd  with the winner receiving their cash on Black Friday so they can start shopping for the Christmas Holiday.

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Please stop by and tell them hello.
        
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Friday, October 31, 2014

Giving Thanks Giveaway!

It is time for Giving Thanks!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. Here's one way for us to celebrate!

Now is the time when friends and families get together to give thanks for all the wonderful things they've been given throughout the year. We Three Moms (Anderson's Angels, The Joy of Mama Joyner and The More The Merrier), are so very thankful for our families and everything we have, we've joined with over 100 other wonderful bloggers, to bring you another huge giveaway event! One winner will take home all of the prizes we've managed to put together (it's almost $600 in prizes!) for The Giving Thanks Giveaway!
Giving Thanks Prize Collage
We've gathered prizes for the whole family! Here is a list of our Sponsors & the prizes ~
Giant Microbes - ornament set - $24.95
King Arthur Flour - baking set -$45.80
Misto - 1 stainless steel Misto - $14.99
Meal Measure - 1 Meal Measure - $12.98
Pixtagram - 3 sets of 10 magnets - $36
Chef's Planet - 1 Flavor Enhancer - $45
SoapBox Soaps - 1 Autumn Bundle Set - $23.80
Emerson Creek Pottery - Blue Crab Pie Plate - $31
DK Books - 2 Books - $20
Game Chef - Rollick & Been There Done That Games - $49.98
Lille Rabbagast - Monkey Toys - $20
Rollors - Rollors Game - $50
Zike Bike - Z100 - $249
It's exciting isn't it? Come enter to win! You never know, you may be the ONE to win every single prize!
 
Disclosure: Anderson’s Angels, Joy Of Momma Joyner, The More The Merrier, and all other participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. The sponsors will send the prizes directly to the winner. We are also not responsible for any unfortunate accidents that result from the use of any of these products

Monday, October 27, 2014

3 Reasons I Am The Most Attractive Man in the World

I boldly declare that I am the most attractive man in the world.

It takes a pretty self-confident man to make this kind of a declaration and I just happen to be such a man.

At this point you may be skeptical of my claim. To show you that I'm right here's a picture of me.


I know, right? You're thinking "how does he handle being so attractive?" It's been both a blessing and a curse my entire life but you learn to deal with it.

Let me defend my position. First, I am married to the most beautiful and amazing person that has ever walked the earth. Therefore, while I recognize that I am not her equal, I must be near her perfection and level of physical attractiveness, otherwise fate would never have allowed our union to happen. Here's her picture so you know that I'm right.


Second, Cami (my beautiful and amazing wife) tells me several times a day that there is no one more attractive than me. She is not only beautiful and amazing, she is a woman of integrity so I know that she can't be lying. She would feel too guilty all of the time if she were lying, therefore, it must be true.

Third, we have the cutest kids ever! With four children, statistically speaking, if I were not the most attractive man in the world then at least two of our kids would be "less than the cutest" because half of their genes come from me. However, just look at them! Cami and I are obviously the most attractive people in the world.


Would anyone like to argue with me? I didn't think so.



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!

Purchase your copy of Uplifting Love: Secrets to Making a Good Marriage Great right now and have it delivered to your inbox immediately! In just a matter of minutes you'll be on your way to having the marriage that your friends and family envy. Don't delay, get your copy today!
Buy Now

Thursday, October 9, 2014

We Will Be Accountable to God as Parents

"HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. 'Children are an heritage of the Lord' (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations."

Children truly are an heritage of the Lord. I would hope and expect that everyone that has a child would agree.

Children are amazing. Raising children is an amazing experience from which we are taught a multitude of lessons.

I thought before I married Cami that I was pretty selfless. I was wrong and marriage helped me learn to be more selfless.

Then I figured that I had pretty much mastered the basics of selflessness, I knew I wasn't perfect but pretty good and getting better. Then we had our first child. I was wrong.

Then our next child, then the next, and then the next. After each child I would think "I'm getting this selfless thing and getting pretty good at it." Then the next child is born and I realize I have more to learn. Since we are expecting our fifth child in May 2015 I expect to learn even more about selflessness.

Learning to be less selfish is just one of many blessings that parents receive when they have children. I suppose I could dedicate a series just to the blessings of parenthood (and maybe I will!). Today I'm not going to.

With all of the blessings that come from parenthood also come responsibilities. "Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness..." How do we do that?

First, we should set the example for our children. We should be kind to others, especially our spouse. We should be generous, especially with our spouse. We need to set an example of good citizenship, of being a good neighbor, loving and serving those around us.

Our children, especially when they are young, are influenced more by what they observe from their parents than anything else. This also means that we need to be active in their lives. If we aren't around they won't be able to observe.

This is one of the reasons that Cami and I are so grateful that we have been blessed that she can be a stay at home mom (I prefer the term domestic engineer). The children get to spend so much time with her seeing her amazing example and learning from her.


I also try to spend as much time with them as I can so that they can see me too. I take them to work every now and then with me, they participate in service projects working along side me, and we do stay up nights occasionally where we spend one-on-one time together.

As I've thought about this post the thought occurred to me that Cami and I and our children have been richly blessed with a pretty ideal situation. I make enough money that Cami can stay home with the kids, we're happily married, and the children have both of us to learn from.

But not everyone currently enjoys the same blessings we do. My sister and a few of our friends are single parents. The fathers are not an active part of their children's lives. For single parents I cannot imagine the difficulty and struggles that they face.

They have to be both bread-winner, mom, dad, friend, mentor, enforcer, compassionate, disciplined, etc. all of the time. I'm exhausted just trying to set a good example of how a husband, father, and man should be. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have to show the children how to be a good mother, wife, woman, house keeper, cook, and all of the other things my wife does.


My heart goes out to single parents everywhere as do my prayers. In situations where both parents are not able to be present in the home single parents should rely on family members and close friends and neighbors to support them in their efforts to rear their children in love and righteousness.

Spending time with the children, setting a good example for them, playing with them and sheltering them from the unwholesome that exists in the world is essential for us as parents to fulfill our God-given charge to rear our children in love and righteousness.

This responsibility is so sacred that we "will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations."

We can do it. We have to do it. Leave me a comment and let me know how YOU do it.



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!

Purchase your copy of Uplifting Love: Secrets to Making a Good Marriage Great right now and have it delivered to your inbox immediately! In just a matter of minutes you'll be on your way to having the marriage that your friends and family envy. Don't delay, get your copy today!
Buy Now

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