Category Archives for "General"

Sep 11

Fall Tree Craft

By Amy Latta | Children , General

fall tree craft

Fall is in the air, and that means it’s a fun time to do some seasonal craft activities as a family!

Today, I’m excited to share with you a cute autumn craft that’s simple enough to do with even younger kiddos and won’t break the budget.  Take a look:

POM-POM FALL TREES

Materials:
– styrofoam ball {1 per tree}
– assorted pom poms in fall colors
– stick from a real tree
– glue
– air dry clay

Step 1:  Glue your stick to the styrofoam ball.  Push it in and twist a bit so that the stick is firmly inserted, then add some glue to hold it in place.  We used low-temp hot glue so that it dried quickly but wasn’t hot enough to burn little fingers.

Fall Tree Craft

Step 2: Glue pom poms around the entire ball so that it’s totally covered.  Again, we used low-temp hot glue because otherwise this process would take forever.  The adults put a tiny bit of hot glue on the ball, and the kids pressed a pom pom in place, then we repeated that as we worked our way around.

fall tree craft

Fall Tree Craft

Step 3: Create a base for your tree using air-dry clay.

Pom Pom Tree Craft

Step 4: Enjoy!  Use your creations as decorations to bring a little fall color inside your home!

tree craft

Amy Latta is the author of One Artsy Mama, where she shares a variety of project types including home decor, kids’ crafts, sewing, jewelry, and more.  Recently, she published her first e-book, Crochet 101, to help beginners learn basic crochet stitches and techniques.  She is happiest when creating something and enjoys making all kinds of projects with her 5 year old “Little Crafter.” In her spare time, Amy is a professional ballroom, latin, and swing dancer.  When not on the dance floor or crafting, you can probably find her at Starbucks.

Aug 26

A Reality Check for Marriages Gone Flat

By E.J. Smith | Communication , General

Today, I feel like I need to address one of the most insidious myths about troubled marriages.  Ready?

The myth is that trouble marriages appear at random, seemingly out of nowhere.

Reality Check:ID-10044277

Troubled marriages don’t just happen.  They are created.

It might seem like they just happen.  And despite our perceptions to the contrary, the undoing of many marriages is written into the daily grind of life.  With our lives full of commitments—the job, the kids and their 90 hobbies, your 90 hobbies, making time for friends, fixing up the house, paying bills… and then there’s that spouse who is also asking for your attention…

You get the idea– the stress of managing all those hats causes many people to simply check out mentally and emotionally from their lives and subsequently, their marriages.

Pain or Pleasure? 

Honestly, checking out mentally and emotionally is nothing to beat yourself up over.  First off, playing the self-blame game does absolutely nothing to set your relationship back on track. Second, studies have shown that humans will go to great lengths to avoid pain, far greater than even for pleasure.  So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that people check out for days, weeks, months, or even years, only to wake up one day shocked to see their relationship has gone awry, astray, or just completely flat.

But EJ, I am surely at least partially to blame!

Sure, I’ll give you that.   And to be fair a little humility and a sincere apology are often a welcomed olive branch for a marriage gone flat.  But after…

Quite frankly, you don’t have time for hours upon hours of self-blame.  You’ve got a marriage to resuscitate!

Which leads me back to my point:  flat, passionless, disconnected or otherwise troubled marriages often break down while our attention is elsewhere.  The fact that we co-create our relationships with our partners, however, means we have the power to start changing these relationships just by readjusting our focus.

Action Steps

Just like troubled marriages, good, fulfilling, exciting marriages don’t just happen either.  They’re cultivated when we invest in the relationship with our partner.

So here are 3 Simple Solutions you can implement today:

1) Start talking. 

ID-10090773

It’s fairly common knowledge these days that communication (or lack thereof) between partners is one of the best indicators of the health of the relationship.  So first, ask yourself, “Do I talk to my partner?”

If so– about what?

Is it mostly about the bills, the kids, coordinating schedules, and other surface topics?  These are all conversations that you could have with your accountant, babysitter, or the neighbor up the street.

Do you share genuine secrets, dreams, hopes and stressors—the kind of stuff you shared when you were dating?  Moreover, do you seek to get to know your spouse more?  Or do you just assume you know them so well that you don’t even bother to ask anymore?

Want more? Check out EM.com’s 7 Tips for Talking to Your Spouse.

2) Invest in Yourself

Chances are that when you and your spouse first started dating, you invested a little more in aesthetics—physical appearance, keeping your space neat and clean—and in personal interests.  A lot of people would refer to this as the “Honeymoon Phase.” And yes, eventually Prince Charming reveals his physical inability to put socks in the hamper, and Princess Charming reveals that flipflops and yoga pants make up more of her wardrobe than originally thought.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with getting “comfortable” around your spouse, sometimes folks use “comfort” (or even necessity) as a reason to stop investing in themselves whatsoever.

Chances are, your spouse found something about you that was interesting, enticing, and intriguing when you first met.  You had individual interests, thoughts, dreams and activities.  If those have fallen by the wayside, it might be time to invest some personal time in rediscovering them.  Allowing yourself to find passion and joy in life may ultimately re-light the intrigue and passion that initially brought you together.

3)  Grow Together

Of course you can’t just grow as an individual if you want to save your marriage.  Great marriages also possess the quality of couples growing together as well. Share a new experience.  Go to an outdoor concert together.  Agree to pick different activities from each other’s areas of interest—or possibly something entirely new.

Play!

Rediscover the joys of spending time with the person who vowed to accept you and all your quirky weirdness. While you’re at it, remember that you vowed to accept all their quirky weirdness too.  And if all else fails… consider attending couples counseling together.

 

 

Dec 01

Vote for Your Favorite Marriage Blog 2011!

By Dustin | General

Vote for Engaged Marriage!It’s time once again to vote for your favorite marriage blog!

My cyber-buddy and fellow marriage supporter Stu at Stupendous Marriage is composing a list of the Top 10 Marriage Blogs 2011, and I would love it if you can help by taking a minute to vote.

On the two previous years’ lists, you voted Engaged Marriage into the Top Ten.  As it turned out, this really helped us grow our community because people searching for online marriage advice would find Stu’s list, see Engaged Marriage and click over to check us out.

Once they were here and had the chance to interact with you fine folks, they were hooked! 🙂

How to Vote for your Favorite Marriage Blog:

1. Click here to find the short voting form.  It will take you around 15 seconds to vote.
2. One vote per person…but you can encourage your friends to vote.
3. Voting closes at midnight December 4th (but you should vote now so you don’t forget).
4. That’s it!

Thank you for helping out with this. Of course, I would love it if you voted for Engaged Marriage, but I won’t be offended if you choose a blog that you enjoy a bit more.

If you do vote for Engaged Marriage and you’d like to encourage others to join you, here’s a short message you can share on Twitter or Facebook:

I just voted for Engaged Marriage (@EngagedMarriage) as a Top Marriage Blog for 2011. You should too! http://bit.ly/taPVnZ

I think there is a real need for this kind of list, and it is so great to have a central resource to find all of the best marriage-rocking content on the web.

Remember, you have to click over to Stupendous Marriage to post your vote. It only takes a few seconds.

Thanks!

(photo source)

Jan 30

Retreat! But Don’t Miss This Giveaway

By Dustin | General

I hope everyone is enjoying a great weekend with your family.  I am going to keep today’s post very short because Bethany and I are currently away presenting (and attending) a fantastic marriage retreat.

I highly recommend you do the same as soon as you get the opportunity.  It’s such a renewal to our intimacy and our vigor for life…and that’s no exaggeration.

By the way, I wrote this post in advance of our departure, so don’t worry – I’m not using my laptop during our retreat weekend! 🙂

Awesome Giveaway

I wanted to mention that there is a great giveaway going on over at Fit Marriage this week.  We are releasing our Thrive90 Fitness program, which is perfect for busy married couples.

To celebrate the big occasion, we’re adding a major bonus to those that purchase the program this week only.

AND we’re giving away two copies, and it’s super easy to enter.  Just visit the link below for all the details:

-> Click here to access the Thrive90 giveaway at Fit Marriage! <-

Thanks!

One final word: thanks.

This community means the world to me, and you have such a big, positive impact on our marriage.

When I prepare for events like this weekend’s retreat, it reminds of how much I enjoy interacting with other proactive couples.  And, in my humble opinion, Engaged Marriage is the best place on the planet to do that!

Dec 24

Wishing You All a Merry, Merry Christmas

By Dustin | General

As we get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus and reflect back on the year that we’ve shared, I’m amazed at all that 2010 has held both personally and here at Engaged Marriage.

It’s no exaggeration to say that I consider our community to be an extension of my family.  Thank you for letting me share so much and for the amazing feedback and support that you continue to provide on a daily basis.

As a little gift, I’d like to share a great Christmas music video that I found over at the site of my cyber-friends Tom and Debi of The Romantic Vineyard.  Enjoy!

[youtube width=”525″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H10f2w7T5CU[/youtube]

May God Continue to Bless You and Yours!

Dustin

Dec 17

We Did It…Thank You!

By Dustin | General

Thank you for being one of the best and most supportive online communities I’ve encountered.  And thanks for your continued endorsement of Engaged Marriage!

I am excited to share that we have once again been named as one of the Top Ten Marriage Blogs in all the land.  This year’s competition was stiff with more than 2,000 votes cast in total for the 45 finalists.  That’s a lot of votes, but we were fortunate enough to be among the top ten vote getters among an incredible group of great marriage resources.

Thanks again for the early Christmas gift! 🙂

Nov 29

Vote for Your Favorite Marriage Blog 2010!

By Dustin | General

Vote for Engaged Marriage!It’s time once again to vote for your favorite marriage blog!

My cyber-buddy and fellow marriage supporter Stu at The Marry Blogger is composing a list of the Top 10 Marriage Blogs 2010, and I would love it if you can help by taking a minute to vote.

On last year’s inaugural list, you voted Engaged Marriage to the #1 spot on this list.  As it turned out, this really helped us grow our community because people searching for online marriage advice would find Stu’s list, see Engaged Marriage at the top of the list and click over to check us out.

Once they were here and had the chance to interact with you fine folks, they were hooked! 🙂

How to Vote for your Favorite Marriage Blog:

1. Click here to find the short voting form.
2. One vote per person…but you can encourage your friends to vote.
3. Voting closes at midnight December 14th (but you should vote now so you don’t forget).
4. That’s it!

Thank you for helping out with this. Of course, I would love it if you voted for Engaged Marriage, but I won’t be offended if you choose a blog that you enjoy a bit more.

If you do vote for Engaged Marriage and you’d like to encourage others to join you, here’s a short message you can share on Twitter or Facebook:

I just voted for Engaged Marriage (@EngagedMarriage) as the Top Marriage Blog 2010.  You should too! http://bit.ly/eWZApV

I think there is a real need for this kind of list, and it is so great to have a central resource to find all of the best marriage-rocking content on the web.

Remember, you have to click over to The Marry Blogger to post your vote.  It only takes a minute.

Thanks!

(photo source)

Nov 04

Help Name the New Engaged Marriage E-Book! (and win)

By Dustin | General

*Don’t miss the special announcement about being an early bird member at the bottom of this post.*

I need a bit of help from all of you awesome Engaged Marriage community members.

After a long writing journey, I am finally done with my first e-book.  I’m super-excited about how it’s turned out, and it’s just about ready to send off to a designer for the finishing touches.  The only problem is this book needs a catchy name!

In a nutshell, this e-book (or perhaps it’s better described as a course) takes couples through a journey together where they work on four specific key areas in their marriage:

  • Communication That Counts
  • Real Romance for Real Busy Couples
  • Better Sex and Deeper Intimacy
  • Control Your Finances…Together

Each of these main topics is covered over the course of a week for a total of 28 days, though couples may choose to only work on specific areas rather than complete the full program.  So, each of the seven-day sections presents a new lesson and an exercise that they do together on that topic.

One of the things that sets this material apart is that each daily exercise only takes 15 minutes, so it’s very achievable for super busy couples.

So by devoting 15 minutes a day to each other for 28 days (or less if they so choose), a couple will enhance their sex life, financial situation, communication skills and their romance, and they’ll have built a foundation for an awesome marriage for life.

Help Me Name This Thing…and You Can Win!

I’d love to get your input on a great name for this e-book!  Please leave your suggestion for a title and/or subtitle in the comments below.

If your proposed title is used, I’ll send you one of the first final copies of the book.  Plus, I’ll be sure to mention you (and your site if you have one) in the book’s acknowledgments to show my thanks.

I’ll be taking entries until noon CST on Tuesday, November 9th.  At that point, I’ll be picking the best suggestion and moving forward.

At this point, I have the following “working title and subtitle” but I just don’t think it’s catchy enough, so don’t let it skew your creativity!

15 Minutes to an Engaged Marriage
Your Proven Plan for Better Sex, Romance, Communication & Finances in Just Minutes Per Day

*By the way, if you’re interested in buying your own copy of this unnamed course, I will be giving the first opportunity and offering a nice discount to everyone that joins our Early Notification List.  If you’d like to be included (there’s no obligation to buy anything), please click here now and get added today.

Aug 30

Happy Birthday to Engaged Marriage!

By Dustin | General

Happy Birthday!I almost had a heart attack last week.

On Friday morning, a reader emailed me to say Engaged Marriage “looked funny” and no posts were showing up.  When I clicked over, it was clear the site had been hacked or the host server had been corrupted in some way.  Literally, almost one year to the day since I launched this site, I had a moment of trepidation thinking that all of the content shared between us could be gone forever.

Thank God for back-ups!  Within a few hours, I was able to restore everything back to normal with only minor interruptions (sorry to those that received duplicate blog posts in their email inbox on Friday…this was the culprit).  However, seeing the life of this site flash before my eyes made me realize just how much it has become a valued part of my life, and it reminded me that we just passed the one-year mark!

Looking Back to the Start

It’s crazy to think that just over a year ago, I had literally never even read a blog in my entire life.  While on vacation last August, I felt a call to share our pro-marriage message to an audience larger than the participants at the marriage preparation courses we present at a few times each year.  I figured I should look online and see how I could get started.

Well, I can tell you I had no idea what was in store for me!  Within a few weeks, I immersed myself in learning the ins and outs of blogging and WordPress site creation and launched this site with my first post on August 21, 2009.  I’m pretty proud to look back at that first post and see that the mission and message of Engaged Marriage has remained pretty consistent from the very start…and our sense of humor was apparent as well.

Thank You for This Community!

This site is successful because of you.  It’s really that simple.

I am absolutely blown away by the progress that we’ve made together in just a year.  Here are some numbers to give you an idea of the growth and impact of Engaged Marriage:

Looking Forward

Again, I am so grateful for your support and the incredible sense of community that we’ve built here over the past year.  The plan is to keep on keepin’ on with the consistent and valuable content here at Engaged Marriage.

As you may know, I’m working on my first premium product, which will be a 28-day course for busy couples who want to improve the sex, romance, communication and finances in their marriage in about 15 minutes per day.  I had hoped to have it ready for this one-year anniversary, but I’ve been a bit a busy with our new baby and the impending launch of an exciting new project called Fit Marriage.

I promise that 28 Days to an Engaged Marriage is coming (pretty) soon!  If you’d like to be the first to know when it’s ready and receive a nice discount as well, please take a moment to go sign up for the Early Bird Notification List.

I’d really love to hear from you and let you shape our future together at Engaged Marriage!  In the comments below, please share the following:

  • Your favorite aspect of Engaged Marriage
  • One thing you’d like to see more of (or less of) at Engaged Marriage going forward

Thanks again and God bless each of you and your families!

(photo source)

Jun 16

Nine Years

By Dustin | General

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

-Mignon McLaughlin

I can’t believe we’ve been married for NINE years (and together for nearly fifteen).  It really does get better every day because we choose to love each other the best that we can.

Happy Anniversary, Bethany!  Thanks for keeping me around. 🙂

Happy Anniversary!