Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

Monday, September 29, 2014

52 Things to be Grateful for Today

I think the title of this post is pretty self-explanatory.

I figure who can't use a bit more gratitude? After all, as Thomas Monson has said:

"This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help.

"We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."


Here you, 52 things to be grateful for today.
  1. The fact you are alive
  2. Your husband or wife
  3. Your family
  4. Friends
  5. Pets
  6. Education
  7. Zippers
  8. Velcro 
  9. Pockets (have you ever imagined life without pockets? Dreadful)
  10. Animals
  11. Food to eat
  12. Employment
  13. Internet access
  14. Being able to read Uplifting Love
  15. The beautiful colors of autumn
  16. Watches and clocks
  17. Microwaves
  18. Indoor plumbing
  19. Belts
  20. The combustion engine and your car
  21. Shelter, a home
  22. Religion, our faith (whatever it may be)
  23. Socks
  24. Umbrellas
  25. Books and libraries
  26. Ballpoint pens
  27. Sewing machines
  28. Bread maker
  29. Rice cooker
  30. Sunrises
  31. Ice cream (it truly is heavenly!)
  32. Rainbows
  33. Cell phones, smart phones especially
  34. Post It notes
  35. Recliners and rocking chairs
  36. To be able to see, smell, hear, touch, and taste
  37. Television and movies
  38. Health
  39. Hugs
  40. Electricity
  41. Mechanical pencils and dry erase markers
  42. Mechanics, dentists, doctors, accountants (notice lawyers are not on this list)
  43. S'mores
  44. German chocolate cake
  45. Mountains, rivers, lakes, and streams
  46. Sunsets
  47. Rain
  48. Board games
  49. The radio
  50. Shoe laces
  51. Kisses on the cheek
  52. Popcorn
I challenge you to come up with ten more things, that aren't on my list, and share them in the comments.

By the way, I'm grateful for you and that you're reading what I share. Thank you!



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, September 25, 2014

Ultimate $1000 Cash Giveaway

Ultimate Cash Giveaway.jpg


My blogger friends and I have teamed up to bring you one of our biggest giveaways ever! One lucky winner will win a $1000 cash prize (via Paypal) and it just might be you!


If you want a chance to be the lucky winner, here’s what you need to do - bookmark this page and come back every day to enter and earn bonus entries by sharing the giveaway with your friends on social media. Good luck!


GIVEAWAY


Prize: $1000 cash (via Paypal)
Organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!




Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Besides the mandatory blog comment entry, all other entries are optional. Giveaway ends 10/22 and is open worldwide.


Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!
Image via Unsplash


a Rafflecopter giveaway

12 Ways to Prevent a Divorce

Last week someone came across a post I wrote last August, "80% of Divorces are Filed by Women." After they read the post they shared it on Reddit and it exploded. Thousands and thousands of people visited the post and read it in the next three days.

Because of the huge spike in traffic for this one old post I wanted to find out what had caused such a stir exactly. I followed the visits back to Reddit and found where the post had been shared with others.

I then noticed that the Reddit thread had hundreds of comments on it so I opened them up to take a look. I was appalled and disappointed with my gender. I was also saddened that my message was so grossly misunderstood.

Hundreds of men had made asinine comments sharing their "wisdom" about how to keep women happy. The comments were lewd, sexist, denigrating, and downright offensive. Cami came up behind me as I was reading a few of them and they literally made her feel a bit ill.

How disappointed I was that evening. I, however, stand by what I said in that post and what I firmly believe.

We can all try a little bit harder to positively influence our spouse's happiness.

Can I make another person be happy? Obviously the answer is no. But can I give them more reasons to be happy? As Homer Simpson would say, "duh."

Here are 12 uplifting ways to help your spouse be happier. Another way to say it is, here are 12 ways to prevent a divorce.
  1. Say "I love you" frequently, at least daily
  2. Remind them how attractive you find them
  3. Thank them for something that they normally do
  4. Offer congratulations for an achievement no matter how small
  5. Bring them flowers and chocolate (albeit this is most effective on the female gender)
  6. Send an email or text message letting them know you're thinking about them
  7. Sincerely smile
  8. Do something to help them, something that they would have had to do if you hadn't done it
  9. Take your spouse on a real date, one that you planned ahead of time
  10. Be intimate, physically but also emotionally and intellectually as well
  11. Pray for your spouse
  12. Never use the word divorce. Don't even think it.
Hopefully this post will get shared on Reddit as well but it will have hundreds of complimentary and positive comments.
Have a great day!



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, September 16, 2014

The Devastating Consequences of the Disintegration of the Family

"WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."

I'm not a master strategist. I haven't received any kind of training on warfare or how to defeat an enemy. I have never been in combat, been shot at, or shot at anyone.

I have spent a ridiculous amount of time playing strategy games on the computer and board games like Risk, Monopoly, and chess.

When I play these games, and I'm pretty good at them, my tactics develop and change as the game progresses. Sometimes I may attack directly and throw everything I have at my opponent. Other times I will hang back and watch to see what unfolds.

But regardless of my tactics my overall strategy is the same: to weaken my opponent's ability to fight back.

I want to undermine them. I want to cripple their productive capacity. I aim to defeat them slowly, over time, through patient consistency.

Let me share an example from Risk. In Risk when you control a continent you receive extra reinforcements each turn. I like to hold just one or two territories in the continent that my opponent is trying to conquer to prevent that. If I can do that and control a continent of my own then each turn I am becoming stronger while he (or she, but I've found that girls don't like playing Risk) weakens in comparison.

In Monopoly you grab one of the properties, like one of the four railroads, and just hold on to it. It keeps the other players from building houses and hotels and keeps your rent down when you land on their properties. Slowly but surely, if you can control an entire set or two, you wear them down.

Does this strategy always assure me the victory? No. But it always makes me a force to be reckoned with.

How is this related to families and marriage? In Risk, if you want to be strong and win the game you need to control continents. In Monopoly if you want to be rich and win the game you need to control sets of properties. In marriage and in family if you want to be happy and successful, if you want to win at life, you need to have the right strategy.

What should your strategy be? I propose something simple, actually several small and simple things. Why should we have a strategy? Because it is the small and simple things that we do that really strengthen and solidify our marriages and our families and when they are consistently applied great things come to pass.

There are nine foundational principles upon which we should build our marriages and homes. I wrote a post about them the week before last focusing on one of the nine principles. They are:
Have faith. Pray both privately and as a couple and as a family at least daily. Repent by asking forgiveness for wrongs and mistakes you have committed and strive not to repeat them. Forgive by allowing others the gift that you seek when you repent.
Show respect to those you love most. Love them unconditionally both in word and in deed. Feel compassion for what they struggle with as well as for the things at which they succeed.

Work hard. Then play hard through wholesome recreational activities. 

This is the strategy I recommend. This is the strategy that Cami and I use. The tactics will vary (Cami and I enjoy miniature golf, you may not so you can go bowling instead) from marriage to marriage and family to family. They will also vary from year to year. Our children love the park right now. When they're teenagers I don't think they'll feel the same enthusiasm.

The tactics vary and change. The strategy is the same.

Let's stave off the disintegration of the family, in fact, let's reverse the tide all together. A key to winning in marriage and in our families, to winning in life, is strategy. What's your strategy?



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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blogiversary Giveaway Celebration

Welcome to our One Year Blogiversary Giveaway Celebration!

Join us and enter to win one of the 6 prizes, totaling over $325

Wanting to support fellow bloggers and help them celebrate their one year blogging anniversary I am participating in this giveaway event. Show some love and participate too!

BIRTHDAY (4)

Hosted by:

Intelligent Domestications, My Pinterventures, 2 Crochet Hooks, and Meatloaf and Melodrama

The four of us are turning one this month and we've come together to celebrate our one year blogiversary! Of course, we wouldn't have made it this far if it weren't for all of your support. To help us celebrate this milestone, a few of our blogging buddies have joined with us to co-host this party and make this blogiversary celebration and giveaway possible.
Special thanks to our wonderful co-hosts:
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Just click on their photos or links below to visit their blogs!
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Co-hosts:

Becky and Glenna @My Paper Craze
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Laura @Michigan Saving and More

Trish @The Decoratoraholic


Time sure flies when you're having fun and we can't believe it's already been a year since we started blogging! Whoo hoo! To thank everyone that has helped support our blogs, we'd like to help kick off your fall season with the opportunity to win some fabulous prizes. You'll have 6 chances to win! One grand prize winner will receive $150 in cold hard cash - cha-ching! But wait, there's still 5 more chances to win a prize. Thanks to our fabulous sponsors, one lucky winner will win a sponsor gift package. Plus, each blogiversary blog will be giving one gift prize to a lucky winner too. That's six ways to win a prize and start your fall season off with a bang!

6 PRIZES:

**winners will be randomly chosen through eligible Rafflecopter entries**

One lucky winner will win $150 CASHhappycash400

Special thanks to our sponsors for providing these wonderful gifts.

Sponsor Gifts:

One lucky winner will win these great prizes - Chloe + Isabel earrings (Value $22) from Andrea's Chloe +Isabel Shop, Monogrammed Burlap Chevron Garden Flag (Value $29.99) from Brand it Boutique, $25 Gift Card from Julie's La Bella Baskets, and a Halloween Door Hanger (Value $30) from Becky at My Paper Craze (contact her through her blog for orders).

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**Click on the images to go to the sponsor shops & websites**
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Blogiversary Celebration Giveaway Details:

  • Giveaway begins September 15th 12:00 AM EST and ends September 30th 11:59 PM EST
  • Cash prize of $150 is open worldwide and payment will be made via Paypal. All other prizes are open to residents in the United States only
  • Must be 18 yrs. and older to enter
  • Void where prohibited
  • One entry per household, per address
  • Winners of all prizes will have 24 hours to respond to winner notification email, or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen
  • Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter drawing
  • Winning entries will be verified
  • Sponsors will be individually responsible for prize fulfillment
blogiversary cupcake

Are you ready to win some fabulous prizes? Enter below...


Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. Void where prohibited by law. One entrant per household, per address. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contact shirley.wood97@gmail.com or tiredincali@gmail.com if you have any additional comments or questions.
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Canyon Bakehouse Giveaway

Canyon Bakehouse Giveaway Sponsored by Canyon Bakehouse

Hosted by Deals of Sweetness

Co-Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Canyon Bakehouse Giveaway

Canyon Bakehouse has a mission that is simple. They want people to LOVE BREAD AGAIN. Their family is gluten-free and they are passionate about making real food with wholesome, clean ingredients. They bake bread the old fashioned way and use only 100% whole grains. From their family bakehouse in the Colorado Rocky Mountains to your kitchen, enjoy eating without compromise.

Emilee at Deals of Sweetness has been trying to eat more gluten-free foods but finds gluten-free breads that are enjoyable are harder to find. See what she thought of the Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free breads and muffins!

Would you like to try some gluten-free baked goods? One winner will receive a variety of 4 gluten-free baked goods - 7-Grain, Cinnamon Raisin, and Mountain White Gluten-Free Breads and Cranberry Crunch Muffins. This giveaway begins on 9/13 and ends on 9/27 at 10:00pm (times are Central) and is open to US residents ages 18+. Winner is subject to eligibility verification and will have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner will be drawn. For any questions/concerns please email dealsofsweetness@gmail.com (consider adding this email to your "Safe List" as winning email notification will be sent from this email.) Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.



Disclosure: Emilee at Deals of Sweetness received complimentary product(s) to facilitate her honest review. I received no compensation for this post. Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.     

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Different Responsibilities, Equal Partners

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed."

I have the privilege at work of leading a team of several amazing individuals. They are some of the best people that I know and great employees.

Our team is responsible for many things. Many of these responsibilities there is equal responsibility for, such as answering the phones and helping customers who come into the office. Additionally, each team member has their own responsibilities. One is responsible for depositing funds we receive into the university's bank account; another primarily handles our outgoing communications to students; another processes certain types of paperwork that we receive.


No one position is more important than another. Without any one of us the team's effectiveness and success would be impacted negatively in a dramatic way.

All members of my team are equal. No one person out ranks another (myself excluded for obvious reasons). We share with each other what we know, offer of our time and talents to advance our common goals, and make sacrifices to help one another fulfill our shared and separate responsibilities.

Marriage should be like this. It is intended to be a partnership between husband and wife. Both are equal and share common responsibilities, however, each has a different primary role and responsibility. Husband and wife are obligated and expected to assist one another in the fulfillment of both their shared and their specific responsibilities, just like my team.

Traditionally men have been the providers and protectors of their families. While I believe that women can be just as capable providers as men can be they have traditionally fulfilled the role of nurturing children. I know unquestionably that my wife is about a million times better at loving and caring for our children than I am. If I were left to raise the children alone I don't know if any of them would end up being functioning adults, without a significant investment in therapy that is.

I am profoundly and eternally grateful that Cami chooses to bless our family with her nurturing abilities. I am grateful that we have been blessed that I have a job that provides for most of our family's temporal needs.

One important thing to note is that the specific roles and responsibilities that husband and wife fulfill vary from marriage to marriage. For example, in the Cooper home Cami takes out the trash. I could but she just does. In the mornings I generally get the children ready before school.

Growing up my dad took out the trash (though Mom would probably argue with this!) and Mom got us ready for school (when we were younger, as we got older we would fend for ourselves).

Every marriage is different and so the division of responsibilities will also be different...and that is okay.

While this is generally the case I do take out the trash on occasion and Cami, when she wakes up early enough, helps get the kids get ready before school. We help each other with our responsibilities.

We are equal partners (though if you ask the boys who the boss is, they will all say "Mom is!").

Here's another example of how Cami and I share the responsibilities of family life. I work out of the home. However, because we felt it was the right thing for our family we have stayed at my current place of employment. The intangible benefits of working there are out of this world but the pay leaves something to be desired.

Because of this Cami has helped me provide financially for the family since the day we were married. She babysits other people's children during the day. She also manages our basement (we rent it out). If it weren't for her I would not be writing this post because I would be working an additional job or two to cover our family's expenses. So if you like what you read you have her to thank.

Marriage is a partnership between husband and wife. It is an equal partnership. While each spouse has unique and differing responsibilities we work together to be successful.

Perhaps we should try starting each day with a chant. Let's put our hands together with our spouse's and shout "GOOOO TEAM!"



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, September 9, 2014

$300 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway

Welcome to the $300 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway!
Hosted by All About Parents
Co-Hosted by David's DIY & Michigan Savings and More!

Who's ready for a giveaway?
I know I am!
This is the $300 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway!
Who doesn't love Walmart? I know I do! 
One super lucky winner will win a $300 gift card to walmart obviously right?
This giveaway will run from 9/9 to 9/23. 
There are some amazing bloggers participating in this giveaway so the more love you show the better chance of winning you will have. 

There are many different ways to enter so the choice is yours!
I want everyone to have fun and Good Luck!


The participating bloggers nor Walmart, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest Etc. are associated with awarding the prize for this giveaway. The prize is coming straight from the sponsor. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me anytime, day or night. Thanks for participating!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

9 Foundational Principles for Successful Marriages & Families

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

There's this song, it's called Happy. Pharrell Williams performs it. I heard it for the first time about two months ago and really enjoyed it. My boys love it too.

We've watched the official music video (below) a number of times and several parodies of it too. If you haven't seen it, here it is.



This post isn't about Pharrell Williams or Happy. It is about finding happiness in marriage and in the family. So...

All successful marriages and families are founded and maintained on nine core principles. When the principles are focused and worked on our marriages and families are strong. They are:
  • Faith
  • Prayer
  • Repentance
  • Forgiveness
  • Respect
  • Love
  • Compassion
  • Work
  • Wholesome Recreational Activities
My favorite on the list, and the one the most surprised me the first time I read The Family: A Proclamation to the World, is the last one: wholesome recreational activities.

Isn't that neat? Wholesome recreational activities.

That's something that has been especially difficult for Cami and me. At the end of the day and week we're so tired from everything that all we want to do is get the kids in bed so that we can relax and sleep.


We have good friends who took their kids swimming several times a week all summer. I have another friend that takes his sons camping regularly (I haven't done this at all this year). There's another family we're close to that goes on weekend trips several times a year.

Not us. But we really should. I look back on my childhood and remember all of the fun things that we used to do. We would go swimming at the high school pool regularly. Dad took me camping all the time. We even did a 50 mile backpacking trip one year which was awesome. My dad and I went snow camping each winter where we would build an igloo and sleep in it.

Each Valentine's Day my mom would take my brother and me on a mother-son date while my dad took my sisters to a father-daughter dance.

Every Sunday night we all gathered around the television to watch Touched by an Angel. We had a family night most Monday nights. We still tease my dad about the time that he refused to play Sorry with us because we would gang up on him so that he would lose (otherwise he would destroy us).

All of these memories become the basis of the conversations I have with my siblings now. These shared experiences bind us together.

Wholesome recreational activities. Give it a try. Sign up for my newsletter below to receive my list of 25 Wholesome Recreational Activities for free. What can it hurt?





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

Monday, September 1, 2014

Three Things to Which Every Child is Entitled

"THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."



In our society and world today there is an entitlement mentality that runs rampant. We all hear phrases on a daily basis like "they owe it to me" and "it's my right!"

This sense of entitlement is especially pervasive in younger generations who have never truly tasted sacrifice and hardship. We often forget that rights come with responsibilities. In my opinion it's time that we hear more about our responsibilities and less about our rights.

That being said there are three things to which every child is entitled. It does not matter where or when they are born; their language, race, and nationality are irrelevant.

Every child is entitled to:
  1. Be born within the bonds of matrimony
  2. To be reared by both a father and a mother
  3. For their father and mother to honor their marital vows with complete fidelity
Marriage was instituted and is ordained by God to give each child these three things. 

It is true that there are cases where children will be born into situations less than ideal where either father or mother is not present or where father and mother are not married or living their marital vows as they should.

However, while this can be the case it should be the exception and not the rule. I came across a great public policy argument in defense of marriage made by scholar Ryan T. Anderson. This is a video of an address he gave at Stanford University. It's a little long but let me know what you think.


Marriage is ordained of God. Every child is entitled to be born to a husband and wife who love one another and honor their marital vows with complete fidelity. This is the situation best suited (and dictated by God) to give children what they need to be successful.



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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