Thursday, October 29, 2015

Alpaca my scarf - Lawn Fawn

Hi friends,

Today is a totally crafty post.  Like many of you, I follow several crafter blogs and love getting ideas for fun card projects.  Back in September I saw a few really fun cards people made using a Lawn Fawn stamp set called Alpaca Love.  The stamp was so popular that Lawn Fawn sold out, but I added my name to the waiting list.  Last week, I got the e-mail that it was back in stock and in an impulse buy moment I ordered the stamp and die.  It was easy to justify since the stamp and die with shipping was only $12.00.

So, my stamp and die arrived and I started playing around with the set.  I saw a really fun card by Kelly Latevola.  I liked her card because she had the two alpaca's facing each other.  As I sat at my craft desk playing with the die and stamp I was baffled, how in the world did she get the alpacas to face each other.  I had only one stamp and the face faced to the right.

So I made my first card having the alpacas side by side.  But I didn't really love that card.  First, the flower soft I used was too thick.  Second, I liked the idea of the Alpaca's facing each other way better. I went to sleep pondering the dilemma.

And the next day it came to me.  I was watching a video from PTI on a new technique for adding pearl shimmer to a card and they were using VELLUM as a mask.  Vellum!  That's the answer to my dilemma.  So the next chance I got I headed up to the craft room and got busy.

This time I used flocking on the animals (much less bulky and still fluffy and textured.)  I did the die cut on vellum and flipped one Alpaca around.  At first I just had the vellum die cut Alpaca's attached directly to the card, but they looked too white and harsh.  So I modified it by adhering the vellum Alpaca's onto cream cardstock die cuts to soften the image.  I also bumped them out with dimensional adhesive.


My card.  I wanted to be sure that it looked like a girl and boy Alpaca so I added eyelashes & a bow to my female alapaca.  Aren't they the cutest thing?

Oh and I loved buying from Lawn Fawn.  My package arrived 1 day earlier than expected and inside was my order PLUS a few extras.  They sent me these cute little snowflakes, some twine, a few sheets of patterned paper and a hand written thank you on the business card.  Classy.  I'll be happy to shop with them again.

and in case you want to see revision 1 (before I made the changes) here it is below.  This one doesn't include the snowflakes (a nice little extra) and can you see how different the whites are on the alpacas?  It's not a big difference, but the little things make it even more special.

Below is Kelly's card that inspired me, and a link to her blog.

I will continue to play with this set and hopefully post some more cards as the weather gets colder.

Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fall themed birthday card

Hi friends,

Just a quick post today to share a fall themed birthday card I made. My dear husband had a birthday last week and rather than go the masculine route or the romance route, I chose to go with a fall theme.

We didn't do anything special for his birthday, but it was nice to relax up at the cabin.  Well, we actually only relaxed on Friday and Saturday evening.  Saturday day-time Bob spent uncovering a mouse nest that we suspected was behind the broom closet up against the fireplace.  

Sarah and I wisely headed out to the farmers market to buy fixings for dinner.  Bob is very dramatic and vocal when he finds disgusting things and based on the SMELL that was coming from that closet, we knew there was something nasty behind that closet.  

The good news is the mouse poison is working. The bad news is we killed a mouse who then ran into his hidden nest, in the house and well, you get the rest.  Bob said it looked like a mouse condo back there that had been lived in for years.  Yuck.  The joys of living in the woods!

The way we did celebrate was with a yummy dinner.  The farmers market has local meat so I got some nice steaks for dinner.  Sarah made a very decadent cake for dessert; brown butter cake with roasted apples. Her recipe called for a pound of butter and one cup of walnuts.  It tasted like the crust of a cheesecake.  Yum and so pretty, but very rich and filling.

Oh and notice that beautiful wall hanging in the background?  My Aunt made that for us and mailed it to us this past summer.  It's perfect there above the fireplace mantel welcoming everyone to our little bear lodge. So many people have sent us cute little bear things.  It's fun having a theme for our lodge.

Thanks for visiting today. Make it a great day.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

PTI Blogger Challenge and Felicity

Hello friends,

Today's post includes my first Christmas card of the 2015 holiday season.  Papertrey ink has a monthly challenge.  The inspiration photo was beautiful green and red holiday colors and I had just received my PTI order on Wednesday so I decided to join in.

In addition, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about a TV series that I've been watching.  The show is called Felicity.  It originally aired from 1998-2002 and I watched it when it was first out and decided to re-watch it 10+ years later.

But first - my card.

This card uses PTI's new stamps and dies in the set called 'Spruce and Sprigs.'  I got both the stamps and the dies and thought this set would like nice using the PTI holiday paper I had on hand.  Below is the inspiration photo.

This year I'm hoping to start my Christmas cards now so I have them all done by early December.  The last few years I've been scrambling in December to get them all done and somehow it's not quite as much fun to make cards when you have a deadline.

So when I'm not making cards, I've been catching up on an old TV show I used to enjoy.  Currently I'm watching Felicity.  

I don't watch live TV but have a few shows I record on my DVR but I also love to watch old shows. Normally I get them from the library, but for the Felicity series I found these at my local SAVERS and bought them when I had a 30% coupon.  I like watching from a DVD set for several reasons. 

1 - No commercials to fast forward through.  
2 - I can watch multiple episodes in one week.  For shows that leave you hanging at the end of one episode I can watch the next episode immediately.

So, I'm really enjoying watching Felicity again.  It's so funny to see how much life has changed in 10 years.  Watching the characters call each other using 'land lines' is hysterical.  No texts, no facebook, no instagram, just conversations face to face and on the phone.  I also find it funny how difficult life was.  In one scene Felicity needs a book for a class.  She calls around to various stores and takes the subway to visit several bookstores all in vain - no book.  Now, it's just a quick search on Amazon, overnight shipping and BAM, no issue getting a book.  I also find it interesting how innocent everything is.  The college students in the show are not all sleeping with each other all over the place. I also love the plot lines from the show.  They tackle difficult situations like family abuse, date rape, gambling and basic relationship dramas.  I highly recommend you check it out.  I'm almost done with season 1 and will be on the look out for season 2 to stay connected.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Proposal

Hi friends,

I'm so excited to share with you all that my son Eric proposed to his long time girlfriend Jessa this past weekend.

I had hoped that he would propose this month so I made this congratulations card last Sunday in anticipation.

For those who know me well, you know I'm terrible at minding my own business and waiting patiently.  I knew Eric planned to propose this fall and it took all my self control to stay out of the whole thing.  I'm not sure I stayed out of it enough, but I was trying.

Eric had talked to Jessa's dad in August and ordered the ring in September.  Jessa's parents, my father, Marylu and Bob and I were all coming to visit him on Oct 16 & 17, so I was expecting news of this engagement last week.  I thought for sure he would propose earlier this month, but he waited till Friday, just before all the parental units arrived for the big moment.  It was very special and a surprise for all.  I'm so glad that my dad was able to share in the moment.  He thought he was just coming to Clemson to see his grandson and watch a football game.  He got that and more!

We had dinner reservations at 6:30 Friday night and the whole gang met near the restaurant.  They shared the news with all of us together and it was a fun surprise.   I'm so glad that my dad was able to share in the moment.  He thought he was just coming to Clemson to see his grandson and watch a football game.  He got that and more!   The proposal happened in the afternoon and the 'reveal' happened in the evening.  News spreads fast via social media so when we are at a coffee/ice cream shop after dinner, several screaming girls stormed our table with squeals of delight at Jessa's big news.

The proposal moment!

Eric and Jessa (soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Monroe) right after they shared the news with us!
Eric and her dad.... tears... of..... joy....
Eric looking quite proud of himself
Their friends hosted a party later Friday night at Eric's apartment
We had a really fun weekend at their campus.  Friday was our special surprise celebration, then Saturday was lunch at the Smokin Pig, then tailgating and the Clemson/BC game.  

Eric and I in front of 'the pig.'

We taught my dad how to play corn hole.
family selfie in front of the pig
The whole gang at the game.  Go Tigers.
At the tailgate
Marylu and my dad bundled up.  They aren't used to the cold!
Then on Sunday we went to NorthPoint Ministries in Atlanta.  I listen to Andy Stanley's podcast whenever I can and didn't want to miss the opportunity to attend his church.  Eric took us there (and then a quick meal) before we caught our flight home.
I embarrassed everyone asking for a picture at the church!
It was a really nice weekend, but I'm exhausted.  Have you ever needed a weekend to recover from your weekend?

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Birthday Card for PTI's 'Create along with us' challenge

Hi friends,

Just a quick post today to share a card I made last night.  Papertrey Ink is releasing several new products today and as part of their new release they invite customers to 'create along with us' using techniques and ideas the design team has done all week.

One of my favorite PTI designers is Dawn McVey.  Like me, she uses a lot of florals and color.  For my card I used her coffee card as my inspiration.  It's hard to tell in the pictures but the card base we both used is the same color.  She just has better lighting than me.

My card uses 'on my couch' stamp set and the sentiment is from Quilted Elegance.  This card is for my weight watcher leader.  She has been talking about her birthday at meetings all month, so I thought I'd give her a fun card to help her celebrate.

Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great day!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Wedding Card and Oktoberfest Party

Hi friends,

Did you have a great weekend?  We had a great time celebrating Oktoberfest with family and friends. The weather was cool and dry and we enjoyed german food and beer and good company.  Thanks to all who joined us.  If you couldn't make it this year, we hope to see you in the future.  We plan to make this an annual tradition, HOWEVER, next year the party will be in September.  What you say?  Oktoberfest in September - that's not right.  Well, actually in Germany Oktoberfest is always celebrated in September.  It's a 3 week festival and the last day of the festival is October.  Like us, they prefer to have it in September because it's warmer and the days are longer.

So, mark your calendars.  We plan to host the Oktoberfest on the same day as opening day in Germany from now on.  We were all freezing and had to move inside.  Next year, we shall hope for a sunny day so we can stay outside under the beer tent till the sun goes down.

Before I share pictures of the party, let me share a pretty little wedding card I made.  The bride and groom were married today  (Columbus Day.)  Sadly, I had to work and miss the event, but I sent along this darling card and a check.

It's a little unconventional for a wedding card, but the bride is kind of artsy and I thought she'd enjoy the fun texture of the gathered ribbon, the doily, twine and button with the bright (non-wedding) colors.

So on to photo's of the party.

My phone was busy playing the Oktoberfest play list so I hardly got any pictures.  I was relying on the other guests to send me their photo's but so far haven't received any.  I'll update the blog with more photo's when (and if) I get some.

For now, here is just a small sample:

Moi - as hostess.  I made my dirndl myself!

Bob - looking quite authentic in his mock lederhosen.

The Beer Garden (everyone abandoned the tent to sit by the fire!)

The fire pit was the popular place to hang out.

By the time sundown came, most had switched to coffee to stay warm.

Sarah had a darling outfit on and her friends were taking lots of photos.  Stop back again later this week and hopefully I'll have more photo's for you to enjoy.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.

Friday, October 9, 2015

I love fall and Joey's 16 year adoption anniversary

Hi friends,

As you know from my last post (and other posts in October of previous years) I love fall.  What's not to love?  Cold nights, warm days.  Gorgeous new england foliage everywhere. Pumpkin Spice everywhere.  Funny though, now that I've mentioned it I can't think of anything pumpkin spice I've eaten recently, but it sure sounds yummy!

So my card today reflects this fun sentiment.  It's a great all purpose card to send to a friend to just say 'Hi.'

So, today I thought I'd write a little about our darling dog Joey.  We adopted Joey in the fall.  He was born in August, so I'm guessing we got him in October since he was 8-10 weeks old when we got him.  He is still going strong.  I'm amazed at how he is still doing great given his age.  In dog years he is now 112.

First let's talk about Joey the puppy.  Both Bob and I grew up with a family dog.  My dog was a character and we had him all through my childhood.  Bob had a dog who was a big part of his childhood as well.  So, when Sarah was 10, we decided to get our family dog.  It's funny, I did not even know I was a 'dog' person until we got Joey.  We chose to get a shelter dog and Sarah and I went to the shelter nearby and originally had thought we would get a medium size dog (like a small lab or retriever) but when we arrived they had just gotten this adorable dachshund/spaniel mix.  We fell in love when we met this adorable, tiny ball of black fur.  Joey came home and I took over the major responsibilities of walking and caring for the puppy.  I remember him being a pretty easy puppy, but maybe my memory is blocking out all the accidents and whining.  We did not crate Joey at night and from an early age he took to sleeping on one of the kids beds.  For some reason my memory is that he mostly slept in Eric's bed, probably because as Sarah became a teenager she probably shut her door at night and blocked him out.

Joey experienced all the joys and miseries of being a family dog.  Yes, he came out with his on walks in the park, yes he enjoyed attention and ball throwing from the kids and his friends. However, he also suffered the normal dog atrocities when young boys are in the house (and the parents weren't watching closely what's going on.)  The worst I heard was that Joey would go for 'rides' in a laundry basket down the carpeted stairs.

Or that the young boys discovered that if they left a starburst on the floor with the wrapper on, that Joey would eat it.  Sigh.  Somehow he survived.  Maybe it made him stronger, but it definitely explains why he cowers in the back of the room when Eric's now young adult friends stop by!

Joey has survived several house moves. I think the move from the Salt Box house to the Colonial was the hardest.  He had spent his puppy-hood in the salt box house.   At the Salt Box house we would take him to walk in a field nearby that was next to a dairy farm.  We all laughed that Joey would be afraid of the cows and we'd have to walk on the other side of the trail or he would start to run the other way.

Then it was on to the new house.  I remember trying to take him to the new house to help him acclimate.  He hated the new house.  All he wanted to so was sit in the mini-van.  Without furniture and stuff (that smelled like us) he felt the new house was quite uncomfortable.  But then, when the furniture was gone from the old house, he didn't want to be there anymore and scampered to the mini-van.  I think in his mind that was the only safe place.  Then to make matters much, much worse, shortly after moving into the Colonial a new puppy arrived on the scene.  Joey was not at all happy to have Tank move in.

Tank was the adored new puppy and the only part of his life that got better is maybe we modified his food to puppy chow, but even that only lasted for a year.   Now don't you all go feeling so so sorry for poor Joey.  On the scale of good dog lives, Joey's got it pretty good.  Two walks a day.  Two meals a day. Sleeps on Eric's bed every night (Tank sleeps in a crate) and a dog companion to hang out with when the house is empty.

I didn't really think Joey would survive the move to the condo, but so far he's managing just fine. They are 'city' dogs now.  The condo is in a city, on a busy road and it does have an impact on them. When we go to the lodge up in the woods, they get to be country dogs, but Monday-Friday, they are truly 'city' dogs and have to walk on the city streets and only get to play in the small fenced yard.

Frankly I think Joey likes the city life.  He can sleep (a lot) and he can watch the mailman and pedestrians out the window.  He isn't much into long walks anymore and he hardly plays with balls or sticks so that's not especially appealing to him.  He is mostly interested in staying warm, finding a soft spot to sleep on and getting his two square meals every day (and maybe a dropped piece of bacon every now and again.)
He's gotten quite a bit of grey fur now that he's a senior dog.  The other physical thing he has is a giant fat blob.  The first time we felt Joey's uni-boob we all freaked out and thought it was a tumor. 
The vet confirmed it was just a strange manifestation of fat on his chest.  You really have to feel it to appreciate it's grossness.  It's large (covers his entire chest area), hard (no give to this at all) and protruding.  When he gets a hair-cut you can see it very clearly and it's not a pretty sight.
Joey gets around pretty well. The only real challenge we face with him now is that he has started struggling to go down the wood staircase.  The vet said his eyesight/peripheral vision is starting to go, so he has trouble with depth perception.  The wood stairs are not forgiving so after his 3rd fall, Bob and I installed the baby gate.   He can go up to the second (or third) floor but only if we are with him.  I usually carry him down the wood stairs.  He seems to be hesitant at the top and allows me to pick him up.

It's a minor inconvenience to Bob and I.  It's quite funny watching me try to step over the baby gate with my work clothes on (heels and a pencil skirt don't do well with a hurdle!)  It's mostly inconvenient to Tank.  He has not mobility issues at all and now he's confined to the lower level while we are at work.  He'll get over it.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Love you forever

Hello friends,

Are you enjoying fall?  Here in New England we are enjoying, in no particular order: football (college & professional), apples and all the yummy ways to make them unhealthy, crisp mornings and evenings, foliage, fires, return to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and even though I'm embarrassed to admit it, the return of my TV series - Nashville.  Now before you go judge me for putting a TV show on my top fall items, know this.  It's the only show I watch.   Well I might watch Downtown Abbey this winter, but based on last seasons plot line, I may just skip that one, so it's the only show I watch currently.  Also, I watch it from a DVR recording, so I'm not a slave to the network programming.  So, it's 1 hour a week, and it's my one guilty pleasure.  Well, I do read people magazine {gasp} so it's one of two guilty pleasures.

One of the fun things for us about the fall is that we celebrate our anniversary.  While most of you are celebrating x number of years of wedded bliss in the summer, Bob and I get to have our celebration at the end of September.  Since this year marked 30 years of wedded joy, we took two days off and headed to a luxury historic hotel for a night.  Know what we discovered?  The only people out and about on a Monday or Tuesday in September in a resort town are retired people in bus tours.  We felt so young!!  No seriously we bumped into several very nice couples, surprisingly most from New Jersey while exploring Bretton Woods for 2 days.

So of course I had to make Bob an anniversary card.

And you probably want to see pictures of our little getaway too.

The fancy hotel gave left us these chocolate strawberries in our room.  Yum!

We took the Cog Railway to the top of Mount Washington
We were happy to be on the summit, but glad we didn't spend the day hiking!
The resort had a very special spa.  I hope to get back there again someday.  Really lovely!

Lastly, I saw this great post about wedding vows.  I wish I could say that I do all these things, but I can say that if Bob and I both did these, we would have an awesome marriage.  Don't get me wrong - we have a great marriage, but we are not perfect.  A good read if you have the time.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Have a great day.


After years of marriage I’ve realized…I know nothing about marriage…
It’s been six years since Tiffani and I exchanged vows. Like most soon-to-be-married couples, we had an idea of what marriage would look like. After all, we watched “chick flicks,” read a few marriage books, and spent time with older married couples.
Looking back, however, I realize I didn’t know much at all about marriage. The words I promised Tiffani at our wedding were idealistic and romantic. This isn’t much different from the traditional vows you hear at almost any wedding. “To have and hold, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
There’s nothing wrong with these vows. But, seriously. Who really understands what they mean?
I know what you’re thinking. Why do marriage vows matter?
Here’s why. Vows are promises. But not just any promises. Vows are markers that guide your marriage. So, while I’m not against writing vows Casanova would applaud, I am against vows that are more romantic and emotional than practical and honest.
Let’s be real. In a culture that idolizes romantic love, we don’t need any more Shakespearean vows. We need vows that will shape and impact marriages.
Here are 12 truthful marriage vows you won’t hear at a wedding.


When you get married, you vow faithfulness to your spouse. You vow exclusivity to them. You promise to never flirt, lust, or seek attention from the opposite sex. You promise to protect your mind from images that aren’t your spouse.
You don’t listen to music that degrades people. You don’t allow your eyes to view images or watch shows portraying people as objects and relationships as indispensable. These are obvious, right?
But when you vow exclusivity to your spouse, you vow more than physical purity. You vow emotional purity as well. You promise to never confide in a secretary at work or be flattered by someone of the opposite sex.
Emotional purity is much less obvious than physical purity, but it’s just as destructive. You must fight to give all of your emotions, your desire to impress, your attention, struggles, heartaches, and everything in between to your spouse. These don’t belong to other people. Fight for purity, both physically and emotionally.


There’s no such thing as a 50/50 marriage.
You can’t keep score in a marriage. There’s no such thing as a 50/50 relationship. That’s a contract.
Give 100% of yourself every day. Some days, 100% won’t be much. But on those days, trust your spouse will pick you up. Regardless, let go of this give-and-take idea.
Just give. Giving is the essence of love and the heart of the one who created marriage, God.


Most marriages struggle because the relationship is the end goal. The mission of most marriages is to provide stability to your life, to have a family, to have a companion. Get the idea?
But God created marriage, and because he created it, the goal is larger than selfish desires. The goal is to glorify him. Even in Christian circles, few couples make the gospel the mission of their marriage. And this explains why Paul said it was better NOT to marry (1 Cor. 7). Your interest would be divided between your spouse and God.
Your mission on earth is to serve God. Everyday. This mission doesn’t change when you get married. But if you’re not intentional, pleasing your spouse will take precedent over serving God.


For the sake of your sanity and your marriage, please listen. You can’t change your spouse. You don’t have that power.
If this is your goal, two varmets will infest your relationship: bitterness and resentment.
For years, Tiffani and I tried to change each other. It wasn’t until we stopped trying to change each other and started enjoying one another that we experienced intimacy.
One of the profound mysteries of marriage is two people with different values learning to love, flourish, and celebrate one another. It’s not easy, but that’s why you must rely on God and embrace the unique values He places in every person, including your spouse.
This sounds overly simplistic because it is…just love the person in front of you. Don’t long for a “fixed” version of your spouse. Don’t hope for a day when your spouse changes. Just love the current version of your partner. Doing this will transform your marriage.


Marriage isn’t a quest to find happiness or completion. God created you complete. You must learn to love yourself before trying to receive or extend love.
When another person is responsible for your happiness, you idolize that person. You obsess over everything. You check Facebook profiles, text messages, and missed calls. It’s a miserable way to live. It’s a terrible recipe for a quality relationship.
Be confident in the man or woman God created you to be. Then you will be free to love your spouse the way God intended.


This was probably the greatest barrier in my marriage the first few years. Tiffani and I had expectations that influenced our decisions and shaped our understanding of marriage.
Tiffani’s expectations for me were influenced by her dad. Tiffani has an amazing dad. I respect him. I’ve learned a lot from him. But I’m not Tiffani’s dad. Likewise, my expectations for Tiffani were shaped by my mom. I have an amazing mom. But it’s unfair to expect Tiffani to respond the way my mom responded. And these unrealistic expectations created a lot of disappointments.
Your spouse should never endure disappointments as a result of ignorance. State your expectations clearly. All of them. Be thorough. What do you expect from a wife? A husband? What does marriage look like to you? What does sex look like?
If you can’t state your expectations, either because you don’t know them or you’re too shy to say them, it’s a red flag that you aren’t ready for marriage.


Your spouse will hurt you and vice-versa. When this happens, search your heart, seek God, and forgive your spouse the same way God forgives you.
Don’t forgive with conditions. Don’t say, “I forgive you” when you’re really storing your spouse’s mistake to use as ammo in a future argument.
Unless you forgive the way God forgives you, completely and unconditionally, a wall will grow taller and taller in your relationship. Eventually, bitterness and resentment will make intimacy impossible, and your marriage will be nothing more than two roommates living under the same roof.


Many days you won’t feel like being for your spouse. But you must be for your partner if you want your marriage to grow. What does this look like? Here are a few examples.
  1. You pray for your spouse.
  2. You affirm your spouse’s strengths and gifts.
  3. You focus more on the positive aspects of your spouse’s personality and actions than the negative ones.
  4. You help your spouse pursue his or her dreams and talents.
  5. You make your relationship a safe place for hard questions and deep conversations.
When you are for your spouse they open up like a flower, stepping into their relationships, workplace, etc. with boldness and courage. Is your spouse living with boldness and courage?


God created marriage to be a private relationship between two people.
God created marriage to be a private relationship between two people. In the social media era, virtually everything is available to the public. Privacy is viewed as stinginess, almost as though six billion people are entitled to full access of your life.
Don’t buy the lie.
Your marriage is private. When you fight, your girlfriends don’t need to hear your husband is a jerk. Your homeboys don’t need to hear that your wife is irrational and ridiculous. No one, other than your spouse, should know intimate details about your sex life.
Don’t publicize a relationship God designed to be private.


Regardless of the circumstances in your marriage, never spend more time looking in the rear-view mirror than the windshield. You must always believe the best is yet to come.
Why? God is a futurist.
He always leads people towards the future, towards the unknown. This forward movement is rooted in hope. Hope that the unknown is better than the known because God forges the path.
But here’s the lie our world says: future circumstances are tied to current actions. So, if your marriage is miserable right now, it won’t get better in the future. But the future isn’t dependent on external actions. It’s dependent on internal perspective.
In other words, you must choose to believe tomorrow will be better than today. If you choose this, it will be true, regardless of the actions of your spouse.


Marriage is about intimacy, and intimacy requires time and exclusivity. Here’s what this means practically. You must learn to say no. Go ahead and practice now.
Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book Boundaries In Marriage, says, “A marriage is only as strong as what it costs to protect it.”
Saying yes to outside influences means saying no to your marriage. You will hurt people’s feelings. Your parents won’t understand. They might even call you selfish. Your golf game might take a hit. Your friends will send you passive-aggressive text messages because you aren’t spending time with them. Your co-workers might think you’re uncommitted because you choose to spend a night with your spouse instead of working late on a project. Unfortunately, even your church might make off-hand comments.
I’m giving you a heads up because these are the costs you must take to protect your marriage. If you don’t do this, your marriage will fail. And, trust me, it’s must easier to implement this vow on day 1 of your marriage than several years in.


I’m going to be real here. At some point, you will want to give up. I know what you’re thinking. “Not me. I would never leave my spouse.”
That’s real sweet and all, but you’re naive.
Marriage is crazy hard. Eventually, your spouse will wound you deeply, you will lose the will to invest in your relationship, or you will come to the realization that marriage is more work than you signed up for.
When this season comes, the line between giving up and pressing forward will be drawn by your community. If your community caters to your ego and feeds your “woe is me” attitude, the line will be easy to cross. If you aren’t plugged into a local church, doing life with a group of Christians, the line will be easier to cross. If, however, you surround your marriage with a community of Christians who are for you, the line will be much harder to cross.