Help for busy moms · Marriage · Motherhood · Overwhelmed

Six Suggestions for Stressed-Out Moms

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Sticky floors, piles of laundry, emotional meltdowns, food battles, dirty diapers, frequent illnesses, limited outside activities, bedtime squabbles and marital strain all point to one thing —-

an overwhelmed mom.

Did I just describe you?  How did I do it?  I’ve been there.  I remember the days of wondering Continue reading “Six Suggestions for Stressed-Out Moms”

Dates · Refreshment in marriage · summertime

Family Friday – My Favorite Summertime Dates

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The sand drawing above is an annual event that my husband started doing years ago when we first started taking vacations to the beach.  He draws our initials in the sand, dates it, draws a heart around it and then we get a picture.  It always makes a memory and I think it also speaks to other people, too.  As a matter of fact, when this one was taken, several people, including a child, walked towards it, then nearly stumbled when they saw the drawing, not wanting to trample through it.  Of course it would have been fine, but it was like they felt were desecrating soemthing sacred and they wanted to help us preserve it. But I wonder, do we as couples trample over and desecrate our marriage relationship by not stopping to consider what we need to do to preserve it?

Right at the top of that list is making sure that we spend time together…we continue to date our spouse.  There are lots of fun things to do on dates in the summertime, and many of them cost very little! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Drives.  Whether we drive through the country, or an ocean city while on vacation, we love to drive through subdivisions or streets and look at homes and landscaping.  We turn on some music, roll down the windows and drive slowly.  It’s fun to see what others have done to their homes and also dream about what we might do because of ideas gleaned on our drive.
  • Back porch dates – Those cool patio lights make the perfect setting for a movie on your laptop or tablet out there, accompanied by popcorn or a treat!
  • Backyard dates – We pull out the  croquet, badminton or other yard game and enjoy some friendly competition.
  • Bike rides – So many places offer great trails.  Sometimes we even pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the ride and lunch along the path!
  • Ice Cream Dates – The only thing we ever order from McDonald’s is their soft serve ice cream.  We also love Chick-fil-A’s cones.  Often we’ll buy a half gallon when it’s marked down, and enjoy a cone outside on the swing.
  • Yard sales – We like to make a mental list of things we’ll look for – a piece of furniture for the patio, books, or antiques for decorating.  We load up on quarters and $1 bills and head out, newspaper in hand and scavange for the best deals on those items.

Don’t trample over your marriage this summer; make time to create favorite dates and times with your spouse!

Do you and your spouse have any traditions like our drawing in the sand that you do? What  fun plans are you making for this summer? 

Refresh your marriage,

Denise Signature 150 px

Dates · Marriage · Refreshment in marriage · Uncategorized

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!

Denise Signature 150 px

Husband · Love · Marriage

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,

Denise Signature 150 px

Family life · home · Husband · Marriage · Winter

Family Friday

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Welcome to a new feature on my blog – Family Friday.  I’m beginning this weekly post because one great passion that I have is for the HOME.  Home isn’t the structure in which you live, it’s the people – your family that makes it a home.  But the truth is, there are lots of hard things in every family.

  • Strained marriages
  • Financial woes
  • Parenting stresses
  • Busy schedules
  • Miscommunication
  • In-laws
  • Rebellion
  • Sin

How do we keep home a happy place?  Is it even possible?  Home will never be a perfect place, but yes, a happy home is possible.  I know that it is, based on God’s Word.

So, I’m dedicating Friday’s to Family issues.  From fun date ideas to parenting issues, I am going to strive to give you some encouragement.  It’s not because my home is perfect – as I said earlier, none are!  But based on the fact that home is God’s gift, and His Word is our manual, we can learn what He says about creating a happy home.  Let’s open God’s Word each Friday and get some practical helps that we can apply to our families.

There’s no better time than the present, so let’s start with an idea that will encourage your marriage.

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Fireplace Date – Cold winter nights need a fire.

  • Find somewhere where you can sit by a fireplace – Home,  Starbucks, Panera – anywhere there’s a fireplace!
  • Fix/Buy a hot beverage and a baked good to share
  • Have some fun with one of these activities:
    • Take a game with you to play -Dice for Farkle, Card game, Scrabble tiles for Bananagrams,  etc.  Some Starbucks have board games available for you to use in their store.
    • Before the date night, write up a list of questions on 3×5 cards.  Flip one over at a time and ask your spouse to answer. Here are 25 to get you started!  I found these  great questions on the Internet – one place was Intoxicated on Life. 1.       What are some books you’ve really enjoyed?

      2.       What books would you like to read sometime?

      3.       What are your favorite foods?

      4.       What did you want to be when you grew up?

      5.       What are some of your favorite memories from your childhood?

      6.       What are some of the more difficult memories from your childhood?

      7.       What are your favorite hobbies?

      8.       What did your parents teach you that you appreciate now?

      9.       What did your parents say or do that you found difficult?

      10.     Who is someone that inspires you?

      11.     What do you like us doing together?

      12.     What would you like to do together in future, just the two of us?

      13.     What would you like to do together in future, all of us with the kids too?

      14.     What is your favorite passage of Scripture?

      15.     What is your favorite memory verse?

      16.     What are your greatest strengths?

      17.     What are your greatest weaknesses?

      18.     What overwhelms you?

      19.     What is concerning you?

      20.     What are you fearful of?

      21.    What is the best marriage you’ve ever seen modeled?

      22.    When did you first know you loved me?

      23.    Who are the heroes you look up to?

      24.    What is your earliest childhood memory?

      25.    What is your greatest regret?

    • Make a list of things to do on future date nights
  • Dress in a way that will show you care.  Add a little makeup.  Fix your hair.
  • Hold hands, snuggle up and create a little fire of your own!

I’m open to topics for future Family Friday posts!  Do you have a suggestion or request?  I’d love to hear your ideas, or if this was helpful today.

Keep your marriage refreshed by having a date night!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

 

Husband · Marriage

Keeping Your Marriage From Being a Statistic

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Connecting with friends from long ago happens frequently, thanks to Facebook.  Sometimes the re-connection brings pieces of good news – of family blessings or a life making a difference for Christ.

Recently someone very dear to us reached out to my husband.  The messages went back and forth filling in the empty pieces of all the years that have spanned our last visit.  It was with great sadness that we learned of their recent divorce after more than 30 years.  It was like a low blow – we didn’t see it coming and it hurt!  We hurt for all the pain it has brought.  We hurt for the child involved in the separation.  We hurt for the picture of oneness that has been broken. We hurt for the tears and sleepless nights that this family has endured.

We also hurt for marriages in general.  Why?  Because marriage is under attack.  Satan loves to get a foothold in the hearts and lives of one or both partners.  He hates marriage because it is one of God’s plans that pictures the Gospel – oneness, forgiveness and grace.  Here are some of his tactics he may throw at a married couple:

  1. A rift that makes the relationship become distant.
  2. Then there seems to the couple they have nothing in common anymore.
  3. They begin to live as roommates, or maybe even two strangers in same house.
  4. It progresses to then seeing the spouse as an enemy, out to hurt and destroy.
  5. The “logical” option is to end the marriage.

I’ve posted here about my recent Instagram pictures on Mondays, entitled, “Marriage Matters.”  I’ve challenged myself to post a picture of something each Monday that shows  an effort to enhance my marriage because Marriage Matters!  I’ve invited you to join me, and several have! Thank you!

I personally need the weekly reminder that unless we are proactive in keeping the fires in our marriages burning significantly, rather than just a little smoldering puff of smoke ready to go out, we are allowing our marriage to become another statistic. Worse than that, the testimony of Christ will have gotten another blot.

What can you do today to keep your marriage from being another statistic?

  1. Pray for your marriage.
    1. Ask God to give you a heart for your husband.
    2. Ask God to give your husband a love for you.
    3. Ask God to protect your home against all evil.
    4. Ask the Lord for wisdom about what you could do today to show that your marriage matters.  There are some days that I feel like I’m at a total loss about how I could serve my husband or do something loving for him – my mind is just blank!  That’s when I pray and ask the Lord what I could do.  He made that guy!  He knows his needs and He will reveal to me what I can do for him today!
  2. Stop and plan something you and your husband could do together as a date within this next week.  Make the plans, then tell him you have something fun scheduled just for the two of you!  Here are some lists  or ideas I found.  Some might be silly, but don’t be a stick in the mud!  Keep looking until you find an idea suitable for you both.
  3. Be the most pleasant person your husband has seen or talked to all day.
    1. Look at him when he talks.
    2. Speak sweetly.
    3. Don’t be his mom, be his wife! That means don’t criticize or belittle him.
    4. Smile at him.
    5. Smile with your voice when you speak on the phone.
    6. Dress for him.  Look sharp for him and wear what he likes to see you wear.
  4. Provide for his needs – physically, spiritually, and practically.
    1. Don’t let him leave home “thirsty.”
    2. Make home his haven.
    3. Provide good meals that will make him anticipate suppertime!

I realize that not every marriage will be “fixed” by these simple four additives, but if your marriage is just stale and lacking, these simple ideas can revitalize your relationship and add the spark to get it back on track!

Keep your marriage refreshed,

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