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!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Write Your Own Love Story. . .

I love to read Christian romance novels and a few years ago began a reading streak that took me off course.  I say "off course" as in it side-tracked me from my own life.  I just had to finish a book before going to bed or I read instead of doing things with my kids. . . it consumed my time!  Some of the "quick read" books were the ones by Love Inspired, they were quick to read and didn't have a complicated plot.  Well, the more I read these books the more I began thinking  I wish my husband did that for me, Why can't my spouse be more like that?, etc and those thoughts began to bother me.  I am deeply committed to my husband and always was while reading these books, but my mindset went from satisfaction to wishful thinking.

Fortunately, the Lord led me to reflect on why this might be and how could I change it.  I realized that these books, even though they are Christian, made me want things (not other men) other than what my spouse was giving me at the time.  DANGER!  Whoa-- stop right there!  That is not good or Biblical nor is it fair to my husband.  Then I started to think of our relationship and how it played out over the years and decided if I wrote down all the loving, thoughtful things my husband did for me while we were dating, engaged and then married I would have my own love story.

The authors of those books don't write with these intentions, but we are wordly and satan uses ANYTHING he can to steer us away from Christ.  I wanted to think more about our love story and began remembering all the things we would do together, words we would say to each other, how we would dream together, how we stuck out tough times while dating/engaged and other things that demonstrated our love for one another.  Wow!  My story began looking better than the books I was reading and the best thing is. . . my story isn't fiction!

I encourage you to record thoughts about your love story with your spouse.  Start by thinking of how you met, first date, memorable events, little things that showed your love for one another and begin slowly building an outline of your story.  Make a journal for it and go back with your spouse and work on it together!  My guess is you have a love story worthy of recording.  We just need to keep our eyes and hearts open to what we have and what Christ has given us. . . be committed to your spouse and only your spouse.

In the end I decided I could no longer read those books without getting sidetracked-- even though I knew better.  I am glad I took that step because it has allowed my husband and I time to work on a goal we have together-- to help other married couples.  If I was still caught up in the romances I wouldn't be able to see clearly to know how wonderful I have it!  All I can say is-- Thank you God for my husband!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Being a better lover and parent. . .

So much for well laid plans. . . Ronnie and I were going to spend a week in Virginia this coming week at an Army conference, but then he didn't get to go (budget cuts).  So he was going to plan a weekend to Eureka Springs for us; that was before we had to replace the entire air conditioner.  So instead he shared his idea and we thought we'd stay at home and send the kids away. 

Let's just say that the devil trys to attack anything good and holy (like us spending time together) ane the plans for one of girls changed.  So we quickly made last minute arrangements for Friday night, but had no where for her to go Saturday evening.  Ronnie and I thought we'd make the best of the time we had and spent Friday evening and during the day Saturday together.  It was after this time together that I had a realization. . . spending time with my spouse allows me to be a better parent to my children.

Spending a day and a half together focusing on one another "filled' me up because I had his attention and he had mine without being interrupted by anything.  Amazing what a little time together can do for your patience level. . . when it was time to get our youngest I was able to focus on her and didn't feel like I needed to divide my time between her and my husband.  The three of us enjoyed an evening at the movies and dinner where we were all relaxed and happy.  She knew she had our attention and wasn't trying to compete for it. 

God designed marriages to put God first, our spouse second and the children third.  My "story" shows why. . . putting the time and effort into the marriage can not only strengthen the marriage but also the relationship with the children.  It's a win-win situation!  Maybe you should start planning a getaway for you and your spouse! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Big O

OK... you must be thinking OMGoodness or wanting to read quickly to get to the "good stuff".  Actually, this is what title we like for the class we want to teach on marriage and intimacy/sex.  Do you think it will catch people's attention?  There is actually more to the title, it is The Big O: Oneness.  We even came up with a cool graphic/logo for it.

Marriage is all about two people (a man and a woman) coming together as one.  In Genesis2:24 it says "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become ONE flesh."  This is an important verse for all marriages.  There are three components that are essential for a strong marriage. 

1.  The man leaves his parents and in a public act, promises himself to his wife.
2.  The man and woman are joined together by taking responsibility for each other's welfare and by loving their mate above all others.
3.  The two become one flesh in the intimacy and commitment of sexual union that is reserved for marriage.

(These three points come from the commentary of the NIV: Life Application Bible.)

Marriage is a gift from God and He created marriage to be a lifelong commitment.  In Matthew 19:6 it says "So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore, what God has joined together , let man not separate."  Marriage binds two individuals together socially, intellectually and spiritually; also, intimacy needs to be developed emotionally and physically.

God created marriage and the act of sex.  I for one am VERY glad He did!  This topic will be the focus of future discussions.  Sex makes a tremendous difference in the life of your marriage!