Taking the Guess-Work Out of Date Night

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Who doesn’t love a fun date night?  Getting dressed up, going somewhere fun and spending time together is a great way to recharge your marriage.  But there can to be two problems when a man and woman are going to go out for a date:

  1. They always go to the same place because they can’t think of something new.
  2. They’re afraid to say what they really want to do, or they can’t make up their mind, so they go back and forth with, “Where do you want to go?”  “I don’t care, you decide!”

Does this sound familiar?

I have a couple suggestions for you that will alleviate both of those issues:

Resolution #1. –  Either Google “New restaurants (or stores, etc) in our area”, or use another kind of guide with that information to find new possibilities, like your newspaper.

It’s easy to fall into a rut!  You go to your favorite restaurant, get dinner and call it a night.  But with the world around us growing as it is, there’s no need for that to happen.  In our city and I’m sure in most areas of the world, new businesses, walking/biking paths, books stores, and restaurants are popping up every year, giving opportunities for new adventures.

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Recently our local newspaper published their 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards.  In it are Restaurants with the best french fries, Asian foods, barbecue ribs, pies, doughnuts, desserts, coffee, Stores including gift stores, department stores and book stores. It goes on and on, listing the best of all kinds of fun places to shop, eat, be entertained or pampered.  I couldn’t believe how many places were recommended that I’d never even heard of!  I am writing those places into a book of date idea places.  The next time we want to “try something different,” we’ll simply open the book and make a new choice!

You could also write the names of the places you want to try on Popsicle sticks and put them in a jar.  Draw one out and do it when Date Night rolls around.

I love this idea of color-coding so you can make a more careful choice regarding price range or planning ahead.

125 colored popsicle sticks-$5. Mason jar-$4. 100 date ideas!

Resolution to #2. –  Take turns deciding.  When it comes down to making the choice of which place you should go, do this – He chooses this week, you choose the next.  It takes the pressure off trying to be sure he likes the place, and vice versa.  This way, you both get the chance to decide and if it’s not the best, well, next week they can make the choice!

Don’t allow boredom or indecision to ruin your date night!  Mix it up a little and make the most of the time you take to share a special evening together!

Refresh your marriage!

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Being Intentionally Thankful in November

grateful

Happy November Eve!  There’s a reason I’m posting a second post on this October 31!  Read on!

As we stare into the beginning of this month in which we celebrate

Thanksgiving,

I thought it might be a good idea to think about how we can maximize being thankful for these thirty days!  It’s too easy to jump into Christmas mode and only give a nod to being grateful for all God has given us in His grace.   So, let me share a few practical ways you can focus on being thankful starting today!

  1. I’ve signed up to join Revive Our Heart for the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge.  You have to sign up before November 1!  So I’m posting my blog a day early so you won’t miss out!!  This will help me to really be intentional in being thankful!
  2. Show your family gratitude.  I’m re-doing something I’ve done in the past to show my husband know how grateful I am for him.  I drew this simple tree on the bathroom mirror.  Each day I’ll add a leaf stating one reason I thank God for him.  The first year I did this my husband said he was going to Lowe’s to buy a bigger mirror!  It made me smile, because I knew it had hit a chord in his heart.  I love him too much not to let him know exactly why!thankful tree
  3. Chalkboards are great ways to express daily thanks.  Set one on the counter of your kitchen and each day have your family write another thing for which they can give thanks.
  4. Or you could draw a tree on a chalkboard, like my bathroom tree and add leaves of thanks, like below.
    chalkboard thankful tree | NoBiggie.net - love this!
  5. Keep a thankfulness journal in which you only write your thanks – no requests.

Let’s be intentional every single day this month to be thankful to the Lord…He is the Giver of everything and He deserves our praise!

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Chipped Cups and a Thankful Heart

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There’s a routine that happens in our house several times every day – perhaps it looks similar at yours.  It’s the washing and cleaning up after a meal. Most people don’t relish scraping lasagna off dinner plates, deciding which Rubbermaid container will hold the remains of the tossed salad, getting all the dishes into the already-full dishwasher or cleaning out the drips on the oven floor, but it all must be done.  The blessing of these tasks at my house is that I never work alone.  My thoughtful husband works alongside me until the towel is folded over the edge of the sink and the kitchen light is turned off.  It sounds like a pleasant scene, doesn’t it?  It truly is, and I try to thank my spouse often for his diligent efforts to help me with this daily chore.

But I haven’t always been the smiling spouse and happy housewife during this task.  As ungrateful as it sounds, there have been times when I’ve corrected him for the way he was handling the dishes.  He’s a big guy with big hands, and my dishes have often cringed under the force of being picked up or set down in a not-so-gentle way.

Of course, it was my duty to tell him, right?

Only if I wanted to crush his spirit about helping, when he could have been off doing any number of far more important things than washing my “riches.”

Only if I wanted to hush the chatter we had been having while we worked side by side in our sudsy love.

Only if I wanted to make him feel like my son instead of my husband, my leader, the head of our home, and the provider of the very home in which we were working.

Only if I valued my possessions more than a happy marriage.

But I did it and I regretted it. I confessed it to my God and to my hard-working, strong husband.

I decided after that that it was far better to work together, each of us happily humming, talking, teasing, laughing, and loving, than to be doing this triple-day duty by myself just so I could keep my dishes – my riches – without any nicks.

God knew I would need this reminder and He put it in the form of a proverb –

Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great riches and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 15:16

Yes, it’s better to have plates with a hairline crack, a bowl put in the wrong cupboard, or a set of eight glasses that only number seven now, than to have a perfect set of dishes without the comradery that happens when we work together with right hearts.

My dishes were my “riches” that proverbs mentions.  What’s yours? What form of perfection or higher standard comes between accepting gracious help or refusing it?  If your husband attempts to help you at home, do you appreciate his efforts, or do you demand perfection?  Do you accept his help, or ask him to go do something else so the task will be done the way you want it accomplished?  Maybe you need to remind yourself, as I had to do, of the blessing of a man who will be kind enough to offer a hand.  Think about whether you’d rather be sitting at home alone with your “riches” around you, or  living happily as one, with a little less “riches.”

I think many wives must come to grips with this truth.  So, if this rings true in your heart, know that you’re not alone.  Our sinful heart wants our way, instead of the wonder of a sweet marriage that comes when two people work together with happy hearts.

When it’s all said and done, what’s left of my dishes may only be chipped cups and splintered saucers, but if my heart is full of gratitude instead of grumbling, there will also be a whole lot of love that got splashed up in the soapy process.

That’s what I’m going for.

How about you?  What are the “riches” that are causing you to be demanding and critical instead of thankful for your spouse?  Ask God to help you exchange that criticism for gratefulness. Then smile while you sip your coffee from that chipped cup!

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Date Time!

There are lots of fun things to do on date days/nights, but last week, I got to enjoy a really special treat that was a bit of a sacrifice for my husband to pull off. Going to the Biltmore Inn for afternoon tea is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so as a belated birthday gift, he took me!

HE TOOK ME!!

The sacrifice came in that my husband doesn’t even like hot tea.  He’s a coffee guy, but he went.

He poured tea.

He drank tea.

It’s also a pretty fancy affair.  While I know he’d much rather be hiking an Appalachian Trail, he was happy to take me on this fun adventure!  That’s what marriage is all about – giving of yourself for the other.  It meant all the more to me  because he went and had such a sweet spirit about it.  He didn’t roll his eyes and grimace; he enjoyed it for me.  That made it all the more fun, of course!

The experience at the Inn did not disappoint!  It was regal.  It was delicious.  It was romantic.  It was a memory-maker!  Let me show you what we enjoyed!

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A sweet Doorman greeted us.
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The menu for the tea, and the beautiful setting at the table.

 

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We could read our menu card, and it had listed in order each appetizer on our plate.  So good!!!

 

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The cheese and sweets tray.  Delicious!

 

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Sweeteners for our tea.

 

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Proof that you can still be a man and pour a cup of tea!

 

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We enjoyed walking around the Inn afterwards.  It’s stunning…and so was my company!
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Even outside, there is beauty all around!

I have two points in my post today:

  1. If you ever have the opportunity to enjoy Afternoon Tea somewhere, do it!  It’s expensive, but it’s a treat that is worth the money and the time.
  2. Be willing to be stretched for your spouse.  This made me love my husband all the more.  He did this for me because he knew I’d love it.  The reservation was made several weeks before and I got to anticipate and look forward to this for days!  Now the memory of it all is tucked away in my heart, filled with admiration for a man who’s not too proud or selfish to do something just for me!  I’m looking for the opportunity to return the favor!!  It will be fun, and I’m sure it will include hiking, sweating and burning calories, rather than adding a few, but that’s okay!  Our marriage is worth it!

What event could you plan to do this week to sacrifice for your spouse and spend time together?  

Refresh your marriage with sacrifice,

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Friday Favorites

This has been another busy week, full of helping with a move, entertaining our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons for two nights (who were the ones moving), church, cooking, cleaning, and lots of baby snuggles.  Those are some of my favorite things from this week, but there’s more, and they’re on my camera, so let’s let the pictures roll…

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Sweet Liza Jane…she’s just irresistible! And yes, she’s spoiled!!

 

chalkboard art
This new chalkboard drawing sums up our mornings!
Katie brown chikcen collage
This week on a busy day, I popped a roasting hen in the oven to have for dinner.  This Katie Brown Chicken recipe is so savory and delicious!  It makes the BEST gravy, too!  

Whenever my husband has to be away, he tucks notes around the house for me to find.  It absolutely melts my heart to think he goes to so much trouble to show his love!  I found these and other notes this week while he had to be gone.

Dale collage

I am honestly the most blessed woman to be married to someone so thoughtful and loving.  He is my favorite of all favorites!!! I don’t take him for granted – he’s a gift from God that I am more grateful for him with each passing day!!

I trust you had a some highlights in your week, even if you’re going through some hard things, and I know so many people are right now!  Sometimes we have to choose to look for the little blessings God allows and focus on those in the midst of the difficulties.

What is a highlight from your week?  Have you tried the Katie Brown Chicken?  

Refresh yourself this weekend,

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Talking To Your Spouse with Grace

 

 

couple aThe phone rang and she answered it. The change in her tone was blatantly obvious to everyone in the room.  This wife went from bubbly/friendly to irritated/annoyed.  “Who was on the other end of the phone?” we wondered.  Then she said his name and we learned that it was her husband.

This scenario happened in the public setting of a business.  My heart sank when I realized that when this lady heard her husband’s voice, instead of being glad to hear from him, she was irritated.  His call interrupted her.  His questions annoyed her. And his needs overwhelmed her.  She was only too happy to hang up and move on with the people around her and the business at hand.

But I cannot point a finger at her because the rest of my hand is pointing back at me.  It’s easy to get a call from Dale and answer casually instead of enthusiastically.  Do you ever get caught up in the day-to-day routine as I do and forget the special bond you share with your spouse?  Consider the difference between answering the phone with,

“Yeah, whatcha’ need?”

Or

Hi Sweetheart!  I’m glad to hear from you!

What about when he asks you a question and you answer him for the second or third time?  Does each answer get louder and more aggravated? Remember how you loved his name when you were dating?  Do you say it with as much tenderness now?

Last week my brother-in-law was working his job inspecting roofs, as he has done for many years now.  The early morning dew was still on the back half of the house, making the surface slippery.  His work would be quick and he planned to climb down in just a minute, but just as that thought was flying through his mind, his foot slipped and he could feel himself falling.  He grabbed the gutter of the house, helping to break his fall, but only a little.  He was taken by ambulance to the Medical Center in the area where he was treated in the Emergency Room for his many broken bones.  Praise the Lord for sparing his life!

As my sister and I walked the hospital halls together, we discussed the abruptness of any calamity.  No one plans for it.  No one puts, “Visit husband in trauma unit” in their planner, but life as we know it can be changed in a moment. We all know that, but we move on each day as though we are ignorant of that truth, and we blurt out unkind phrases and words like an umpire at a ballgame.

Remember the woman I mentioned at the beginning of this post?  The one who changed her disposition when her husband called?  Sadly, I learned the news of her husband’s death and I wondered if she ever wished she could talk to him again, with a completely different frame of mind? Did she ever wish he would interrupt her busy day by calling her?

If you knew that this was your last day with our spouse, would you use a different tone when we answered his call?  Would you use kinder words when responding to his questions?  Would your repeated answer be more patient?  Even if we knew we had 50 more years together, wouldn’t we want our relationship to epitomize tenderness, kindness and sacrificial love?  These are all words of grace – what we receive from the Lord every day.  It’s what might not be deserved, but we give it, because that is how we are loved and spoken to by our Savior.

I know I need to make some changes in order to fill my husband’s ears with words of grace. How about you?  Excuse me while I answer my phone…

Hi Sweetheart! I’m glad to hear from you!

If we asked others what they hear when we speak to our spouse, what would they say? What would our husband say?  It’s all about grace.

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Books On My Tables

A wonderful book is a treasure.  I love to read, and I’m always on the search for a new author or title to check out. While there have been years when I was busy with homeschool that I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted, I pretty much always have a “book going.”

It only seems fair to share my treasures with you! So today I’m sharing three books that are sitting on my coffee tables that I’m currently reading and LOVING! They’re different enough that I can read all three at the same time.

Book 1a

Adorned – This is one of those books that every woman needs to read – and then reread at least every other year.  Titus 2 is the backdrop for all the teaching and instruction found here.  It’s practical, convicting, helpful and challenging.  She addresses both the older and younger women and ends each chapter with a list of questions for each.  My copy is covered in yellow highlights to help me remember these essential truths for my life as a woman who loves and desires to live for God.

For my girls’ birthdays this year, I gave them each two copies – one for themselves, and one to give to an older woman they could ask to go through it with them.  This book is best when shared with at least one friend.  Do your spiritual life and your female side a favor and read this!

book 3a

The Most Important Place on Earth – This book about the home was written by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s husband years before they were ever married.  His first wife died of cancer, and he and Nancy married nearly two years ago.  Robert is an excellent, compelling writer.  I have laughed out loud as he shared many tales from his own home life.  He wisely shares the ingredients needed to make our homes the most important place on the earth.

I got my copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.  There are updated versions that have a cover that’s current to today, but the message is one that will be relevant for all time.  I highly recommend this book, and am thankful that my sis recommended it to me! Thanks, Dianne!

Book 2a

The Cave, The Cabin and The Tattoo Man – This book also came from my sister, who has met the author, Tim Callahan, from Kentucky.  To read the title you might be surprised that I’m reading it, but the story is precious.  It’s a fiction book based on the author’s growing up years, which happen to be the same era in which I grew up.  Hence, the illustrations and pictures he paints take me back to my own childhood days.

This is the story of a little boy who stays with his grandparents during the summer months.  He helps them with the little grocery store they owned.  He fishes in their pond so well that he is the envy of all the grown men, and he gets himself into precarious situations during his free hours.

When I need a book to just take me away on a little vacation, this is the one I’m reading…for the second time.  This is a series, too, which is fun.  I love knowing there is one to follow!

I hope you’ll check into reading at least one of these suggestions.  They’re all worthy of your time, and in my opinion, much better value than anything television has to offer!  Autumn is nearly upon us, and aren’t fall and winter the best times to snuggle in somewhere comfy with a cup of coffee and read a compelling book?!

Do you have a treasured book you’re reading?  Please share in the comments!  I’ll need some new titles soon!

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