Marriage · memories · Refreshment in marriage

Family Friday – Invest in Time Away

This week during our Valentine’s dinner, I pulled out a dating journal that my husband and I kept for quite a few years.  We recorded lunch dates, overnighter’s, and weeks away that we were blessed to share during the years our girls were home.  Wow!  It was filled with special memories we had forgotten.  But one thing rang true – we missed our girls while we were away, but those times alone helped shape our relationship.  It made us better parents, and it made our marriage stronger.

We literally had to scrape together every dime  to go on these outings, but it was so well worth it!  I’m thankful we have that journal to remind us of the joy those times away were for us.  Some dates were simply a shared ice cream cone, or a picnic lunch at a nearby park.  As a matter of fact, most outings were minimized in extravagance, but maximized in enjoyment AND effectiveness!   It was always profitable for our relationship.

For any married couple to spend time away together so they might invest in their relationship, will require an investment.  That simply means it is costly.

  • It could require a financial investment.  There are lots of things to do that don’t cost, but most overnighters aren’t free.
  • It will require time – time away from family, away from work and away from all other distractions.
  • It will require a willingness to get honest with one another so you both can make changes that are necessary.
  • The sacrifice of your pride is crucial so you can listen to your spouse without thinking about what you want to say.

After 36+ years of marriage, I would have to say that time away from pressures and demands – even for an hour – is time that helped build our marriage.  It’s so easy to get on two separate tracks when things are so busy.

May I ask you – are you making a true effort to spend time with your spouse – just the two of you so you might talk in depth, pray together, have times of rest, laugh, strengthen one another in the daily grind, and pour into your marriage so you can both be ready to move forward?

Let me encourage you, if you’re wanting to share these times but your husband is reluctant, plan a short outing.  Do something you know HE would love.  Keep it lighthearted and encouraging.  Pour into him.  Bless him with what he needs.  Pray about it, asking the Lord to make your time special.  Keep doing these little outings and work your way into a weekend away.  Allow the Lord to move in his heart.

God has a plan for your marriage and you can trust Him to make it what it needs to be.  But again, time with just the two of your is one important ingredient.  Even though there are no longer children in our home, my husband and I have to get away to really have time to talk and share uninterrupted.  We still need it.  We still love it!

Let me end by sharing some photos of the weekend Sweetheart Retreat my husband spoke at last weekend at The Wilds.  It was a wonderful blessing to our hearts to gather with 80 couples and pour into their lives for two days!  If you’ve never experienced a couples’ retreat at The Wilds, you don’t know what you’re missing!  These pictures will give you an idea of the fun we shared!


My favorite speaker!
Fun Time is always full of the good medicine of laughter!!


This baking skit…oh my!
Old friends surprised us!


Does this look like CAMP FOOD?!
More old friends that blessed our time there!
Love the bookstore!

Valentine’s day is behind us, but you live in your marriage every single day.  Make the most of it by making investments that will benefit your relationship for years to come!

Refresh your marriage – Why not start planning now for an outing?

Who attends couples’ retreats?  Where do you go?

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Christmas · Family life · memories · Prayer

Christmas Favorites 2017

Since I was absent the week after Christmas I didn’t get to share SOME of my favorite pictures and moments.  There were lots of them, but let me show you just a few.

We got to spend an early Christmas weekend with Whitney and her husband.  They’re great hosts – taking us to see the lights in the downtown city near them, fixing great food as you can see below, and giving us a cozy guest room to stay in.  We got to visit their church and loved worshiping with them!  Whitney doesn’t just blog about comfort at home – she lives it out!  Her house was decorated so beautifully for the holidays!

Christmas 2017 1

If you can’t visit Dollywood any other time of the year, you must go at Christmas.  It’s just breathtaking.  We got to go see the lights and shows (many that share the Gospel!) with dear friends and it was a great evening.  Sights like this one are at every turn!

Christmas 2017 2

Our little grandsons were sick on Christmas Eve, so they missed going to their other grandparent’s home or going to church.  However, after the service, we all went to their house where I fixed brunch for all of us.  Then we got to watch these little sweeties open the gifts we gave them and big teddy bears from their great Nana and Papa.  Wow!  That was special.

To see Alli and her husband love and parent these boys is a reminder every day that God answers prayer!

Christmas 2017 3a

Christmas afternoon we headed to Kentucky to spend Christmas with my family.  What a special joy it was to have my sisters and our husbands and our parents all together for Christmas Day!  It was also a time to celebrate my dad’s 85th birthday.  We are blessed beyond measure, and so thankful to the Lord for wonderful relationships, and time together to share a meal, laugh (lots!) and praise the Lord for His blessings this past year.

My brother-in-law on the far left has recovered miraculously from a fall from a roof in early September.  To see him standing, walking and enjoying the day with us was a gift in itself!  God sustained him and my sister as she cared tirelessly for his needs all those months.  Many of you prayed for him, and we are grateful.  Thank you.

Christmas 2017 4

I thank the Lord for a wonderful 2017 where I saw the Lord answer prayer after prayer.  Guess what?  On the first day of this year, another longtime prayer was answered!  I can’t wait to see what else God is going to do.

I was moved to tears by many who requested the prayer journal I shared about in the previous post.  Your names are all in my journal and I can’t wait to hear how your prayer life will result in blessings untold as you wait on the Lord to answer!

Be refreshed this weekend as you gather in a local church to study, worship, pray and fellowship!

What was a highlight of your 2017?

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Dates · Family life · memories

Turn Responsibilities into Special Events

We had the blessing of going to Michigan last weekend where my husband officiated a precious wedding for a couple that are members of our church.  The bride’s hometown is in Michigan, so that was the location for their beautiful wedding.  I lived in the Detroit area until I was 13, so it was fun to go back to a place where I have childhood memories.

The wedding itself was just magical. It snowed the day of the wedding, making it the perfect additional touch!  Isn’t the Lord good?!  Christmas weddings can be beautiful just because of the church and its decor.  Their church was a rented church, so it would be both of their weddings, not just the bride’s.  I loved that!  Plus, this church was gorgeous, as was the bride and her attendants.

holiday nights 2

After the wedding event, we had the blessing of going to Greenfield Village for their Holiday Nights.  What a fun time we had!  It was romantic, musical, cold, snowy, festive, and fun!  We absolutely loved the whole night!

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No, we didn’t skate, though I really, really wanted to!

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As we were traveling home, my husband stopped for coffee, and beside the coffee shop was a gourmet popcorn shop, Shirley’s Gourmet Popcorn Company.  My husband slipped inside while I was in the car.  He bought three different flavors and of the two I’ve tried, I can attest to the fact that their popcorn is some of the best I’ve had!!

It was a busy weekend, but we were so thankful for all the times we had to share special memories together, such as our evening at Greenfield Village, coffee at a new-to-us place, and popcorn on the long trek home.  That wedding weekend wasn’t just special to the couple who got married, it was special to us as a couple!

It’s so important to make special events out of the things that are responsibilities.  Turn an errand to town, a trip to the grocery store, an evening at school performance or ball game by looking for the fun in each of those things.  Put your phone down.  Look at the people around you.  Stop for the caloric Krispy Kreme doughnut and hot chocolate – or the yummy gourmet popcorn!  Enjoy the brief snow flurries by getting out and watching them come down.  Hold hands with your husband while you’re out.  Do the sporadic thing that pops into your head.  Enjoy each moment.  Turn the small things into big things!

Refresh yourself and those around you by turning the little things into big, special things this weekend!

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Christian love · home · Home making · memories · refreshment at home

Happy Imperfections

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I’ll never forget the day we moved into our country home where we are now.  It had just been finished being built! We were moving into our very first brand new house!

It was surreal.

I wasn’t moving into someone else’s mess or used home that needed work – this one was new and perfect!

We had many strong men helping us on move-in day lifting, carrying and lugging all our possessions into our new abode.  One kind man set down a box in my kitchen and I began to slide it closer to the place where it would be unpacked.  His response echoes in my ears even today:

These hardwood floors will scratch up even by a box being slid across them; you better lift that instead.

I followed his wise advice, fearful of causing some imperfection to come to my new and perfect home.

Those words guided the careful application of pads to every chair, table, foot stool, and anything else that was going to be rubbing across the hardwood.  I couldn’t stand the thought of a scratch ruining the looks of my perfect kitchen, hallway or living room.

But alas and alack, over the four years that we have been here, it has happened.  What would that man say if he could see where a can of green beans fell in my pantry and dented the floor there on a day when I was preparing a meal?  Or the heels that have walked across the planks causing scratches, or the other little nicks and bumps that have happened just because people live here, visit here, eat here, spill here, and do life here?

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Perfection isn’t a word that would describe my home, but I’m good with that now.  I’ve come to see those scratches as reminders that people are more important than my perfect standard.  If we lived here alone there would be far less imperfections, but oh, the blessings of belly laughs, happy shedding of tears, playful frolic, nurturing visits, prayerful conversations and loving of souls that we would have missed!

Thank you, sir, for your good advice.  I’m grateful you shared that with me – I really am.  I’ll keep the pads in place and care for my home as a gift from the Lord, but when the marks are added to the hardwood, fingerprints to the glass, or smudges on the walls, I can smile instead of grimace at the happy remembrance of the people that have helped make memories – not imperfections.

Last week when I mopped the floor, I saw a scuff on the floor and started to sigh, but then was reminded of the truths that God has been teaching me about living more for people than perfection.  Instead of sighing, with every stroke of that Swiffer, I thanked God – by name – for the different people who had been in our home.  It made my heart so happy – happy for my perfectly wonderful memories made in my imperfect home.

Do you ever get caught up in wanting your home to look perfect, and feel frustrated that it isn’t? People are more important.  Look at the people, instead of the imperfections, and you’ll have the freedom to use your home to glorify God!

Refresh your heart about your home.

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birthday · Family life · home · memories

Friday Favorites = Family & God’s Faithfulness

This past week could pretty much be summed up with one word – Family!  What a blessing to have a loving family who love God, run to the Throne of Grace with you and for you, and celebrate blessings and weep in sorrows together.  We’ve had pretty much all of that this past week.  It was a reminder of how blessed I am, and I certainly don’t take it for granted.

Last Friday gave me time with my youngest daughter and her two little guys.  How fun it is that they’re getting big enough to ride in the stroller while their mommy and Gigi have lunch and do a little shopping!

All and boys.jpg

Saturday morning took me to a 10K that my husband ran in.  I’m so proud of his work at his running distance and time.  Staying healthy and fit is important to both of us and he finds running helps him with that goal.  I’m a walker, not a runner, so I stand on the sidelines and cheer him on!  This  was his fourth time to run in this particular race and it was his best time yet!  I’m so proud of him!


My flower boxes continue to bring a smile to my face, even in this early fall season.  I’m looking for something to transition them into autumn boxes, maybe with some mums and mini pumpkins.

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Sunday afternoon took us to central Kentucky to visit my family.  We had planned to go for Labor Day, but God providentially postponed our trip, knowing what we did not – that our family would be dealing with a crisis the next weekend.  I mentioned what happened in yesterday’s POST.  How grateful we were to be able to be there for my sister and brother-in-law.

We also had the fun of celebrating mine and my sister’s birthdays. My sweet parents grilled delicious steaks, baked potatoes and all the trimmings.

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My mom mixed and my dad churned their famous homemade ice cream to accompany the Tiramisu cake my mom had purchased.  I might have to walk some extra miles this coming week, but it was worth it!

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Winchester, Kentucky is home to the famous Ale-8 One, a ginger soft drink. They’re selling it in East Tennessee now, too!  A friend of mine has purchased it for me locally and been “carded!” but it’s not alcoholic!  It’s purely a soft drink and we love it! We always stock up when we’re home!  Their salsa is also super-good!

Ale 8

Central Kentucky is beautiful, and I always love getting to visit my home, but the best part about it is spending time with my family that lives there. Our week there was full of family fun and family sorrows, but God’s grace was seen in it all. His grace allowed us to have the sweet times of fun, and it continues to give strength to endure the hardship.  What would we do without the Lord?!

So tell me…

  • How have you seen God’s providence in your life this week?
  • What do you add to fall flower boxes?
  • Who’s heard of Ale-8? Have you tried it?
  • Would you please pray for my brother-in-law, Tim?  He has a long road of recovery ahead of him.  Thank you!

Have a great weekend! Find a place to worship God and be strengthened in His Word!

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Family life · home · Life, · Love · Marriage · memories · refreshment at home · Refreshment in marriage · Wife's Role

Best Friends in Marriage

The posts have been about friendship this week, we can’t forget our BEST earthly friend and the importance of maintaining  our relationship with him!

Dari Ace a

Yesterday found my husband and me in the basement going through some boxes of “stuff.” Stuffed animals, old toys, pictures, school annuals, dolls, dishes, and books were sorted through. I was down there for several hours – not because I got so much accomplished, necessarily, but because when I go through old things it brings back memories and I have to stop and reflect! My husband and I passed many pictures back and forth to one another. “Oh, remember this?” “Look at us! How hilarious!” (You will not be seeing any of those pictures posted here!) Not only did we recall many special times from our past, but it was a sweet time together recounting good memories and numerous blessings.

I also leafed through a couple of the books that I hadn’t read in a while. One book was on marriage and there was a chapter on being best friends with your mate. The highlights were how important it is to spend time together having fun, talking, sharing your heart, and being open with one another. I smiled – we had done that even in a cool basement on Memorial Day when most of our neighbors were probably out at the lake or at the park having a picnic with their extended family. We had shared secret memories of times and places when notes were found written in our handwriting. We’d laughed. We’d talked about times when our girls were growing up. This is what friends do.

Dari Ace

After we’d had our grilled hamburgers later in the evening, we headed out for a drive through the countryside. Opening the sun roof on the car, the warm air blew through as we pointed at beautiful homes, the clouds over the mountain or a row of flags in a front yard. We even stopped for an ice cream at Dari ace – so cute! It was a great end to a fun day spent with my best friend.

Are you still best friends with your husband? Are you spending time together? I don’t mean time living – I mean time just being together. What tone of voice do you use when you speak to him or repeat an answer to his question? Is it the tone that one would use with their best friend? God gave Adam a wife so he would have a companion. Are you and I being the best kind of completer that we could possibly be? Best friends give each other the benefit of the doubt, love when no one else loves, and enjoy just doing little things together. Is your husband the one you spend that kind of time with? Don’t replace his companionship with that of your girlfriend, sister or parents. That is not God’s plan for a married woman.

I am planning on re-reading that book I found. It was a good reminder for me. We all need to be encouraged in what a godly marriage looks like. I’m thankful for a day in the basement that helped me to be refreshed in the friendship part of our marriage!

With love,

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P.S. I believe the book I was referring to is, The Ministry of Marriage, by Jim Binney.

Family life · home · Husband · joy · Love · Marriage · memories · refreshment at home

Summer Date Night Ideas

backyard night1

One day last week, my husband was cleaning out some of his office boxes that had been stored away in our garage when he came across a stack of preserved letters, notes and cards, most of them written by “Yours truly.”  We began reading them and found ourselves laughing, crying, and rejoicing over the years, the experiences we’ve shared, and the goodness of the Lord in it all.

It became so obvious to me that the written note is so important!  Without that, how would we recall these precious memories?  How would we have remembered how awed we were by God’s provision, or how near the Lord was during that trial?

Since that afternoon, I’ve determined that I must
a.) Continue writing notes.  Texts are great, but in ten years, how will we be able to reread that form of media?
b.) Read through the stack I have tucked away from the 36 years behind us!

Now, here are 30 great Summer Date Night ideas! 

  1. My first encouragement to you about a summer date night is to make a time when you and your spouse can sit down and read through some of your cards and letters you’ve saved.  Go out on your back porch to read them, or take them to the lake where you can sit at a picnic table.  Just do it.  It will remind you where you’ve come from and how special your relationship really is!  I fell in love with my husband all over again!
  2. You don’t have any notes?  Sit down and write your husband one today and leave it in a special place where he’ll find it.  Write it on pretty paper.  Spray a little perfume on it.  Then tuck it away so you can start that file you’ll be able to read again when you’re old and gray.
  3. Make your own Drive-In.  Make the setting outside your home perfect for watching a movie or show on your laptop or tablet.  Turn on the patio lights, light candles, get a bowl of popcorn popped and a comfy swing to share!
  4. Bookstore Date–  I first shared about this here ,and no matter if you have done it before, this date can be done over and over again and it will be new each time.  It’s one of our favorites!
  5. Read your favorite books to one another – or find a new one to read!
  6. Bake cookies together
  7. Watch the sunrise, then make breakfast together
  8. Attend a local baseball game
  9. Go for a long drive
  10. Have a picnic
  11. Play Frisbee
  12. Visit the farmer’s market
  13. Video Record the Story of How You Met & Fell in Love
  14. Cook a Late Night Dinner Together
  15. Write a Prayer List & Pray Together
  16. Make Smoothies or Milkshakes
  17. Share 5 Goals Over a Late Night Snack
  18. Do a Puzzle Together
  19. Play a Game
  20. Have a Chip & Dip Night – Add Conversation
  21. Record Each Other Sharing a Recent Memory
  22. Tackle a FUN Project
  23. Write a Gratitude List about one another
  24. Have an Ice Cream Sundae Night
  25. Search for Funny YouTube Videos
  26. Go to Yard Sales and see who can find the best bargain
  27. Go to the Local Bike Trail and ride bikes.
  28. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert
  29. Begin a Date Night Journal and Write down each time you have a date, what you did and any fun memories you created.
  30. Go to a Theme Park Without your children and leave your phones in the car.  Ride all the water rides.  Eat the snacks.  See the shows.  Stay late for the fireworks!

I hope you’ve had a great first week of June, and I hope some of the ideas shared this week will inspire you to create some fun at home this summer!  Each day is a gift from God and is worth celebrating!  So enjoy!!

Stay refreshed in God’s Word this weekend.  We need Him every single day!

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