Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life Brings Changes

Life is taking our family down a new road... the good Lord must have wonderful plans ahead for us, I just don't know what those are right now.  After six years of teaching at the same school they laid me off last month.  Since then I have been trying my best to put my faith and trust in Christ and not myself-- it is HARD!  I have thought about all the things that weren't fair in what happened or I can focus on what's ahead.  For my sake, I am trying my best to do the latter. 

Right now I am in the process of trying to figure out what to do with my life, now that there are other possibilities.  I LOVE being creative and making art, so that is an option.  I also love teaching and could try to find another job doing that.  But I also want to do what the Lord has planned and not try to make decisions on my own.  Where is the balance?  I haven't gotten any real direction yet and I am not one who likes to sit around and wait.

My husband has been wonderful during this time and continues to offer support.  This is one of those "tests" of a marriage where we can come out stronger or fall apart.  I have no intention of letting us do anything but come out stronger than before.  I'll keep you updated on the journey.  For now I just wanted you to know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.  More to come...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More ideas for a Couple's Almanac...


More page ideas for YOUR Couple's Almanac!  I hope you have started your own way of recording your personal story of you and your spouse.  Keep working on it and adding new things as life continues; we are planning to go see a concert soon and those tickets will go into our almanac!  Quotes, copies of e-mails, cards, photos, etc are all things you could include.  What about?  Receipts, tags from favorite clothes/brands, movie tickets, pics of favorite DVD/CD covers... send me your ideas to add to the list!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Your Spouse's Passions

I can't believe it has been almost a month since I last posted!  It has been a busy start to the summer and I don't think it will slow down.  Our family of four just returned from a brief day at Branson Landing and lunch at Joe's Crab Shack (YUM)!

One of the reasons we went down there was to buy some books for Ronnie; he has his Annual Training trip soon.  There is a Christian book store there at Branson Landing where most books are $5.  Among my husnband's passions are playing the trumpet, golfing, growing pineapple and reading Christian mystery thrillers.  On our way down to Branson I began thinking of his other passions, specifically growing pineapples!

Sounds like an odd choice of hobbies for someone who lives in the southwest part of Missouri!  We get odd looks when we share this information with others, but it provides for interesting conversation.  It all began when we visited Maui, Hawaii in 1998.  While there we went on a boat excursion called "The Trilogy".  What a fantastic day on the water!  Part of the day included a lunch buffet prepared by the crew of the catamaran.  During this time they discussed pineapples and how they grew. . . that sparked the interest of my husband.  We brought back a few fresh pineapples from the island and the challenge began!

Over the past 13 years he has learned about pineapple plants, how they grow, how to "force" them to bloom, how to plant/pot them, and so much more!  On a trip to Ohau, Hawaii in 2002 we even visited the DOLE plantation to see how pineapples grow there.  I certainly didn't know how many varieties of pineapple there were; big and small.  This is something I know my husband thouroughly enjoys and so I support him in these adventures! 

The beginning of a new pineapple plant!  It begins growing up from
the center of the spiky leaves.  (2005)

When you plant a pineapple, you cut the top leafy part off the rest of the pineapple... which is what you cut to eat!  Then the spiky leaf top is propogated until roots begin to form and then you plant it!  Now with our climate it takes much longer to grow!  We keep the pot with the plant inside during the cold months and outside during the hot months.  This is something that takes A LOT of patience since it is not a plant that is grown in Missouri.  If I remember correctly it took at least two years before our first plant produced a fruit!  I'll have to find those photos and scan/post them.  

I could have been a non-supportive wife and told him it would never work, or that he was foolish to try to grow a pineapple.  But I didn't!  Why?  It was his heart's desire to try this and see if it would work; I love my husband and wanted to show him that by encouraging his efforts.  This wasn't an adventure I would have done on my own, but that doesn't mean I can't/shouldn't support him.

This is 3 months after the May 2005 photos where you see it beginning to form a new plant.  He has cut it from the stalk (where he is holding it).

Here Ronnie is holding his latest conquest: Pineapple #2!  This one is smaller than the first one he grew which he had to "force" it to bloom.  It was sweet and had a fairly concentrated pineapple taste.  YUMMY!
I will add more photos later... but think about what your husband likes to do and try your best to support him in every way possible!  It shows him your love, but more importantly your respect!  And respect is VERY important to a man in his marriage relationship!
This group of four pics is from July 3, 2007... Ronnie's third pineapple!  All pics are from it still on the stalk that grows up from the middle of the spiky leaves.  After this one is removed the plant in the pot is no longer good for producing another fruit.  Each plant only produces one pineapple in it's lifetime.  So we throw out the old plant and repot the top of the newest pineapple once we cut it off.  Then the cycle begins all over again!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Layout for our Couple's Almanac

After posting about making a Couple's Almanac I have been busy making layouts and other elements for our almanac. I am so excited to continue filling out our journaling cards that are all about our lives as a couple. I have purchased many digital kits to make the cards and other elements for our almanac. It is so fun to "play" with all the different parts of the kits.

I will try to post more of my journaling cards so you can see what we will have in our almanac. There are so many ideas of things to include in such a "book." I have all summer to get creative and work on our almanac. That's one of the many joys of being a teacher!

The past week or so has been so busy that I haven't had a chance to write a new post. That is on my to-do list for this week too. It keeps growing longer and longer by the minute! But that's okay... certainly not a complaint! I am more than thankful for it all!
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Military Salute: An album for my husband

This album was made for my husband several years ago as he prepared for his 2 weeks of Annual Training.  He is in the Missouri National Guard 135th Army Band, based out of Springfield, MO.

I always try to do something for him when he has to go away for his training.  So this year was this album!  I used a military theme to decorate the front and as a color scheme for the inside pages.  The cover is chipboard covered in scrapbook paper, hole punched and tied with twine.  The inside pages is scrapbooking cardstock cut slightly smaller than the cover.
I feel it is VERY important for my husband to know that I support his decision to continue in his guard unit.  So this is one small way I can do that while also giving him a glimpse of home while he is away.
A couple's page; what I love about him. . .

A page about family. . .

A page about our daughters!

Another one of photos of us... before & after kids!

A personal pocket to hold my wishes for him
and a page with my thoughts!

Other years I have put messages in envelopes labeled for each day of the week, made a mini file folder album with questions and quotes (pictured the post on Couple's Almanac: How To), used date tabbed dividers for an album and more!  I'll share some of those on a later post.

Supporting your spouse, whatever they are involved in, is a critical component of a successful marriage.  We are to lift our spouses up which allows them to feel good about themselves.  If we don't support our spouse it creates tension and if left unsettled could lead to your spouse seeking someone who does support them.  One of my BIGGEST goals in my marriage is to compliment my husband in front of others (when he's around or not) and also to NOT talk badly or complain about him with others.  Gal pals can often be heard complaining about things their husbands do or don't do and the same with husbands about their wives.  I have always tried to show respect for my husband to his face and when he is not around.  One of man's most basic needs is to be respected!  This is a close second. . . after sex!

If I focus on the positive things in our marriage and "think on good things" then that will show in my relationship.  I do not nit-pick him for things he does or doesn't do because I wouldn't want him to treat me that way.  It is amazing when I focus on what he does do (which is way more than a lot of husbands-- hopefully not those reading this though) that I can easily overlook things that might otherwise bother me.  We are in a committed relationship for a lifetime; a covenant marriage.  Why spend time being upset with my spouse and cause unnecessary anxiety for myself?  This simple way of thinking is all about losing the view of "it's all about me" and focusing on the relationship Christ has given you.  The relationship is more important, so react in that manner.  If something really does bother you then approach your spouse in the appropriate way.  You certainly don't want to sweep things under the rug, but you also don't need to bring up little things all the time.  We get enough negativity from the world and don't need any more in our homes.

While I always try my best, I do slip up and forget these things.  When I do, I find the need to apologize and then move forward from there.  If this is something new and intriguing to you then I encourage you to give it a try.  When we desire a change, change your own attitude and desires-- that will be reflected in your relationship.  Take baby steps and don't give up!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


What is a Couple's Almanac?

 A Couple's Almanac is a way to record your story as a couple, recount special times together, share dreams, make lists of future plans and so much more!  I first read about this project in one of our favorite  books, Red Hot Monogamy, by Bill & Pam Farrell.  I made a note in the margin that I thought it would be a fun idea to do together. . . and to my surprise my husband answered back in the margin that he agreed!  We use this as an opportunity to connect with one another during dates, on long drives/road trips or even spontaneously!  
These are a few photos from the almanac we have started as a couple. Ours is a 12 x 12 size album, simply because I had a few layouts that I wanted to include in the almanac that were already done and were that size.  Also, I do like the idea of plastic protecting the pages.  Other ideas to use:
* A journal (blank or lined)
* A sketchbook
* A photo album (make "pages" 4 x 6 and slip in spaces)
* A 3-Ring binder
* An altered book
* Envelope album
* Library pocket album
* Paper bag album
* Composition book
* Digital book

Any place you can record information could be the starting point for your Couple's Almanac.  What do you have stashed around your house?  Brainstorm ideas of things to include in your album and get started tonight!

We began by just making lists of topics/questions/things to include in our almanac.  We used a steno pad and then I went back to transfer our information to the "cuts" stuff later.  Mainly because I didn't have all the stuff with me when we began. . . who wants to take all the stuff on a ride in the car?  I'll settle for the steno pad and pen!  My husband is used to me asking questions or having him list things for journaling in our scrapbooks... so this wasn't too much of a stretch for him. . . plus he liked some of the topics we planned to include!

When it came time to put some of our information into the "almanac" I went straight to a layout I created years ago. . . with our love story in mind.  Notice the "r" and "s" in the photos along with words like "dream", "time", and "love".  I had the perfect use for it now. . . our Couple's Almanac!

Another layout I had already done was about one of our homes.  I had taken photos of different aspects of our home, inside and out,  Then I used a square punch to cut out small squares.  I then arranged them in a collage style.  We no longer live at this home, so it is fun to look at the pics and think of when we did!

The layout to your right shows nine squares on green.  This is actually a flap that when you raise it reveals journaling about our home.  It was a way to get more photos in the layout and record memories.

My husband does make my heart sing. . .

This is a layout in progress.  It was a ready-made layout I purchased at a local store.  I did have the perfect photo of my cutie-husband to put on it, so I did!

Now for other ideas for almanac postings or pages. . .

*  Nicknames for one another- how do you sign notes, what terms of endearment do you call one another?  You get the idea!

*  Our Bucket List- what are things you want to do together in life before you die?  Make a list and date them as they happen!  My hubby totally surprised me with one of mine in August 2010!

*  10 free things your spouse does to make you feel loved.  Our lists are ongoing. . . sometimes it is hard to think of things on the spot.  So be prepared to give yourself or spouse time to think of their answer.  It doesn't mean they don't have any, it is just difficult to come up with them quickly.
*Places you want to visit/travel together. . .

Look for pre-made cards or sayings like the ones in some of the photos.  They make quick and easy journaling blocks.  You also see some of our lists we've made that haven't been put into our book yet.  I included them so you could see other topics!
*  Dream Dates- my hubby said "Sarah"; wrong meaning there sweetie!  He was joking around, but in our minds dream dates were similar to vacations we'd take with each other.  You can determine what it means for you and your spouse.

*  Ways you can praise your spouse. . . We did this years ago in a church class on marriage and we had to finish the phrase "I praise you, (name), for. . .  I have never forgotten what my husband said to me.  It needs to be one specific thing or way, not just a generalization.  Mine to my husband was, "I praise you, Ronnie, for your commitment to us and for your help around the house that gives me a break."

*  List 5 admirable qualities of your spouse and tell why

*  List 5 things I LOVE and 5 things that drive me crazy about my spouse. . . now hopefully your spouse already knows of these and it won't start an argument or be a surprise.  If that's the case. . . skip or have the conversation first!  We used it as a spring board for more discussion and things we can do to help the other one remember the items in a kind manner.  Plus ours weren't major things either. . . at least not to us.

*  Make a list of how you spent each anniversary since you have been married.  Check out for some great ideas or also for some fun date ideas!

*  Define true love

*  List all the reasons you are in love with your spouse

*  What would you consider a perfect weekend getaway?  Come up with this together, or each of you write your own and then you have an idea of what your spouse would like to do.  Surprise them with that gift sometime!

*  What kinds of "together" things do you enjoy with your spouse?

*  Our song is. . .  because. . .

*  List words you would use to describe your spouse

*  Make a list of words or phrases that capture the meaning of love

*  When I look into my spouse's eyes I see. . .

*  Make a list of wishes you have for your spouse. . . I wish for...

*  Books you've read together or want to read together. . . possibly ones to strengthen your marriage

*  Make a list of your spouse's passions in life (without having to ask them)

*  Ways you celebrate holidays, birthdays or special occasions

*  Make a list of your "favorites" (color, snack, food, drink, sport, candy, movie, tv show, book, song, clothes, pjs, magazine, room in house, restaurant, ice cream, dinner, breakfast food, kind of music, kind of movies, car, hobbies, sports teams, places to shop, etc)


These are a few pages of journaling blocks I made for us to use in our almanac.  Visit for the digital kits used to make them.  There are elements from Clementine and Wild Love.  I hope to make more for our book, but maybe these ideas will inspire you!