How to pray together – even if it’s been awhile. Or Never.

How to pray together – even if it’s been awhile. Or Never.

Pray together, you say? But how? Maybe you can’t remember the last time your prayed with your spouse… maybe never? And plus – there’s stuff goin’ on!

Is life a bit crazy right now? Maybe finding a moment alone together as husband and wife is hard. Maybe the cray-cray cycle is spinning so fast, that you and your spouse feel like you’ve lost your stuffing. Maybe you can’t put two words together before you fall asleep at night, so how can you devote yourself to prayer?

Is life a bit hard right now? Maybe you are struggling. Struggling with finances, with relationships, with health… Maybe you don’t really feel like talking to God when life sucks the big one… He knows everything. Does He really need to hear you whining again?

Is life a bit too good right now? Whoa, there! Yes. I did say “too good”! Maybe you’re on track and shining. Maybe those things you’ve been praying for are real now. Maybe you’re all “prayed-up”, and you’ve already said a great big thank you to God. Yup. You’re thankful. You’ve told Him.

How to pray together - even if it's been awhile - Or Never

Why Pray Together?

Why should you pray together as husband and wife? If it’s hard enough to pray on your own, why even try to pray together?Pray Together. For where two or three gather in my name there am I with them - Matthew 18-20 NIV

Everything is better with God included.

The first reason to pray together is that everything is better when you’ve invited God to participate – or rather, when you’ve drawn close to Him. (He doesn’t go anywhere, we’re the ones who move away a step or two… or ten…)

Pray together - Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

You and your spouse can encourage each other.

It’s easier to stay motivated if you pray together. One can encourage the other. And you’ll both be encouraged by your growing connection with God.

Where do you begin if you’ve never prayed together?

I’m going to quote my friends Jason and Tiffani at SongSix3:

Praying for each other tweet from songsix3

Start simple. Hold hands. Thank God for each other. 

Here’s “A TIP”

And here’s A TIP if you want to go a little bit further – take turns:

A – Adoring Him. Tell God how amazing and awesome He is.

T – Thanking Him. Thank God for all the wonderful gifts in your life – including your spouse.

I – Interceding for others. Consider all those around you who need God’s help. Ask for help – for them.

P – Petititioning for yourselves. Sometimes the simplest words are the most effective – “Father, help!”

Prayer doesn’t need to be fancy. It’s a conversation.

Prayer doesn’t need to take hours.  But take as long as you need. No hurry.

Scripture and Prayer

Robert’s favorite chapter in the Bible is John 17 – it’s the chapter where Jesus is praying to His Father. It’s conversational. He prays for those with him and those that come later and believe in Him. (that’s us!) Read that chapter to begin to feel what prayer can become. Try different Bible versions: The Message International Children’s Bible – New King James.

Sometimes understanding comes after reading and pondering. Read just a few verses before you pray your own prayer together. 

pray together - consider Philippians 4:6-7

Spend time with other couples who pray together.

Maybe you didn’t grow up in a house where you heard your parents pray together. It happens. However, it’s never too late to find a couple from whom you can learn. (There’s something to ask God for the next time you pray together as husband and wife!) Yes. Ask God to to bring you close to another praying couple.

But to begin… take Jason and Tiffani’s suggestion to heart: Hold hands and thank God for each other.

Want to pray together - start simple. Hold hands. Thank God for each other.

check out the post on Jason & Tiffani’s site that birthed the tweet: http://songsix3.org/do-you-pray-with-your-wife/

pray together

 

 

Enrich Your Marriage and Encourage Others

Enrich Your Marriage and Encourage Others

Enrich your Marriage AND Encourage Others – Are you making the most out of your relationship? Or are you just coasting along, making life work for you?

Is your marriage “Just fine.”?

You’ve been married for a while, right? Maybe a few years… maybe a few decades. And you like spending time with each other… dating your spouse is fine.

You’ve done the dinner at a restaurant more than once. (Probably more than 100 times if you’ve been married a few decades.) You’ve gone out to see a movie. You might even do fun things together like go to car shows, go antiquing or thrifting, play golf or tennis, tour on your motorcycles, or sail your boat, train for marathons or hike local trails.

You enjoy your time together – it’s all fine.

Enrich your marriage - you can be more than fine!

So now what? What happens for the next few decades… more of the same?

You have a unique opportunity to use your relationship as husband and wife as a powerhouse for good.

A powerhouse for good. What does that mean?

It means that you leverage your “just fine” marriage relationship… it means that you kick your “just fine” marriage relationship up a notch… it means that you invest in yourselves and others to lead a life that’s filled with meaning!

But you still have kids at home – what about them? 

Let them see you doing good while strengthening your relationship, and it’ll inspire them.

You’ve heard the saying, “The best gift you can give your children is loving your spouse.”  Right?

Go one further – continue to love your spouse, but do good together!

Now wouldn’t that be a valuable action? –  for you and your spouse – for your kids, family, friends and your community?

Enrich Your Marriage Encourage Others - Love your spouse and do good together - lead a meaningful life

12 Dates – Encourage Others – Enrich Your Marriage

Here’s a list of 12 dates – ideas for you and your spouse to enrich your own marriage AND encourage others. Choose one a month for the next year. Put them on your calendar. Make it real.

***This is a really long post – so I thought I’d make it easier for you to put the ideas into action with a free workbook which includes all the ideas in this post, space to fill in your ideas and lists, and more!***

 

Create a “Take It Easy” basket for a friend.

Enrich Your Marriage: Discuss the idea of relaxation with your spouse. Make a list of all the things that she/he (you both) find relaxing. Be specific. You might discover something you didn’t realize about your spouse. Over the time we’re together we continue to change as people. What we found exciting in our 20’s we might not find great today… couldn’t that be true about relaxation also? Items to consider would be music, chocolate, warm socks, DVD, etc – think of the 5 senses.

Encourage Others: Agree to a budget. Purchase some items from your list and put them into the basket. Drop it off at your friend’s place. Sharing what you love is a sign of care. Though you can’t know exactly what will bring joy to this person, your care will shine through.

Flowers for Caregivers

Enrich Your Marriage: Talk about your experiences with those who are elderly. Are your grandparents still alive? bouquet-of-flowers-1503055_640Parents? What are some of the upsides and downsides of growing older? Do you have some fears? Do you share the same fears? Are they different? Why? This might not be an easy conversation, but it’s important. No matter how old you are now – you’re growing older. You’ve vowed to live your life with your spouse. Understanding how she/he feels about time/bodies/lives changing is valuable.

Encourage Others: Pick up 2 bunches of flowers and visit the closest nursing home. Give one bunch to the caregivers – theirs is often a thankless job. And give the other bunch to the first elder person who smiles at you. (I know, if you could, you’d give every person a bunch of flowers, but you can’t. Think of it differently – do for one, what you’d like to do for everyone.)

Treats to Connect

Enrich Your Marriage: What treats do you remember from when you were growing up? Wagon Wheels (Maybe that’s just in Canada?) Candy cigarettes? Shoe-string licorice? Reminisce for a bit as husband and wife. Sometimes we lose track of the fun stuff from our childhood within the seriousness of life. That child – or parts of that child – is still alive in you and your spouse. The memories will make you smile. Smiling together is precious.

Encourage Others: Buy a bulk bag of candy/chocolate bars – make up little packages and give them to the kids in your church’s Sunday school.

Wisdom of Words

Enrich Your Marriage: What books have you both read that you both enjoyed? Maybe it was a huge, thousand-page tome… Maybe it was a Reader’s Digest magazine or a Peanuts Cartoon book? It doesn’t matter the seriousness or fun of the material. Just explore a bit. Why did you like the reading material? Is it the same reason your spouse liked it? If you’ve never read the same stuff, why not? Yes. Why not try it! :-)

Encourage Others: Go to a bookstore – or look online – and buy an extra copy of your favorite book. (Or a book you believe would be your favorite once you’ve both read it.) Give it to another couple to enjoy.

Laughter IS Medicine

Enrich Your Marriage: Science tells us that laughing will make us healthier. (This study. And these too.) Do you laugh with your spouse? What makes you both laugh? Sitcoms? Jokes? Slapstick? Spend an evening on Youtube, just laughing at all the comedians. Decide what kind of humor suits you both. (if you don’t already know.) In addition, try new kinds of humor. Dry British comedy. Or comedic shenanigans that make 3-year olds laugh. I wish you an evening that makes your belly muscles hurt! :-)

Encourage Others: Make list of knock-knock jokes – keep ‘em clean! – and phone a friend to tell them the jokes. Take turns. You’ll all end up laughing! And become healthier!

Comfort and Joy in Scripture

Enrich Your Marriage: Do you know your spouse’s favorite Bible verses? Do you know the stories behind those verses – why they are important to your spouse? Sit together and gather a list of your favorite Scripture verses. Maybe 8 or 10.

Encourage Others: You can either write each verse – individually – on card-stock squares, or use your computer skills to create an attractively spaced document to cut apart into squares. Put the finished product into an envelope and mail them – anonymously – to someone who is going through a hard time. Add a note to tell them they’re not alone.

Shared Sweetness

Enrich Your Marriage: I’m guessing that not many couples bake together.couple cookies heart enrich and encourage Are you one of the few? If so, great stuff! Try a new cookie recipe and indulge your gifts in the kitchen. If you’re not used to baking together, there’s a unique togetherness that comes from co-operating to make an end product. I can’t explain it – you’ll just have to try it.
And if you really don’t want to follow a recipe, then buy some refigerated dough and co-operate in putting it onto the cookie sheets. Then decorate. Then eat a few cookies. :-)

Encourage Others: Take your batch of cookies and drop them off at your local fire station. The fire-fighters will work off the extra calories quickly. 😉

Gumball Rally

Enrich Your Marriage: This is an activity to bring out the kid in the two of you. candy-1124375_640You’re not as old as you might feel… Remember those gumball machines (or candy dispensers) in the grocery store? Map out a plan to drive past all the grocery stores/malls in your area. Then spend an evening/afternoon in the car together with a fun mission.

Encourage Others: Tour around the local shopping plaza, grocery stores etc. where you’d find gumball machines… and leave quarters in the slots to surprise the next kid (person). Be stealthy. Don’t give your mission away…  😉


Gift of Music

Enrich Your Marriage: Music is a universal language – it transcends the spoken word. Dissonance and harmony – they’re themes in relationships too. Pull out all your CDs – I’m guessing you might have a few CDs hidden away – not all of your music will be MP3s if you’ve been married a few years. cd-cover-642141_640Walk through the CDs as a history of your likes and dislikes… do you like music your spouse doesn’t? Why? Are there albums you loved at a certain time – why? Do you now hate certain songs that you loved once-upon-a-time? Now sort the CDs into piles – must keep and give away. I’m imagining there are going to be some “ah-hah!” moments – some surprises at what your spouse values and why…

Encourage Others: Once you’ve organized and the CDs into piles, gift those you no longer love to a nursing home. Or the Library. Or a hospital ward. You’re sharing something you onced loved enough to spend money on… let someone else have the gift of that music to enhance their life.

Comfort and Affirmation

Enrich Your Marriage: Not everyone’s love language is words of affirmation, yet a few words or phrases spoken for comfort and affirmation won’t hurt anyone. Imagine the concept of a huge tank (like a water tank) that’s called a “love tank”… it can be filled up in many ways: words of affirmation, actions serving one another, physical demonstrations like hugs and loving touches, little gifts, and time spent doing something together. It’s good to know what your spouse’s primary love language is (one of the five), but filling the tank can include all of the love languages. letters-837_640This enrichment activity will key you both into which words resonate with your spouse. Go to a card shop. Pick out cards which appeal to you, and taking turns, read them to your spouse. First you read a card you’ve chosen as special. Read it. Watch your spouse’s reaction. Does the words/sentiment you’ve chosen resonate with your spouse? Yes? Why? Is it what you expected? No? Why not? You’ll learn a lot about your spouse in this activity to enrich your marriage.

Encourage Others: Choose 3 friends who are facing some difficulties. Or friends you know could use some encouragement or affirmation. Find cards at the card shop which you both feel would resonate with those friends. Buy them. Send those cards. A physical card is impactful. You have the choice of signing your names – or not…

Encourage-mint

Enrich Your Marriage: Which leaders in your life – teachers, ministers, coaches, etc. – made a significant impact in your life? Each of you make a list of these signficant leaders. Show each other the list. Does your spouse know about all these people? I’m guessing there are going to be a few surprises. And if your spouse can recognize the name, does she/he really understand the details of this leader’s significance to you? Spend some time telling stories about those people – share with your spouse how these people have made you the person you are today.

Encourage Others: Some of those leaders on your lists won’t be available today – so you’re going to do this as silent tribute. Buy a bag full of mints. Or maybe two kinds of mints. Put them into a jar and label the jar with: “Thank you for your involve-mint, commit-mint, and encourage-mint.” Take the jar to your local school (or church, or volunteer organization, etc.)  and leave it in the office for the teachers. They don’t need to to know you. You don’t need to know them. This action is about reaching out to affirm these leaders as they make a difference in other lives.

Compassion in Action

Enrich Your Marriage: Are you past the stage of little ones in your home? I’m guessing some of you are. Maybe your kids are teens. Maybe they’re grown. Maybe you don’t have kids.

This activity is to take action in a way that will positively impact another couple, while empathizing with the stage they’re in. 

Do you know of a couple with young children? (I’m talking under 5 years of age.)  You could know them as neighbors. You could know them from your church. You could come in contact with them through a school, a sports connection, a hobby, or event. That young couple could be your grown kids. Or friends of your grown children. Narrow your thoughts to one particular couple.

couples back to backThink of this couple. What do you know about them? How are they similar or different from the two of you? Can you relate with the stage they’re in? At all? Chances are life is filled with new expereinces – and not all of them are fun. Chances are they’re not overflowing with extra cash – it could be that paying their bills every month is a challenge. Chances are they have a small circle of family support (parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles) who live close by. And even if they live close, they’re not always physically or emotionally present in their lives.

Enriching a marriage when raising young children is difficult. (I think you might remember?) This is the point in time where many marriages go off the rail – and never recover. Two people who love each other lose their connection. It takes time and effort to continue to grow through the “young children” stage. Can you relate? What do you remember about this time in your life?

Reminisce a bit. Pull out the photos, if it’s hard to envision – or it’s been too long. You’ve already walked this path. You’re veterans. You know the pitfalls and the joys. How are you leveraging what you’ve already learned? What would you do the same… what would you do differently? (We all can make a list on this topic.)

Reach out to encourage: This is not a quick action. Make a plan to get to know this younger couple. Be deliberate. Talk to them in passing. Ask about their children. Ask about their work, their life ambitions, or their hobbies. Let them get to know you.

Give it time for them to know and then like you. Time for them to trust you. Yes, it’ll take time to build a healthy relationship.

It’s not about giving advice – just being kind. It’s not about giving instruction – but being a listening ear. It’s about a friendly smile, an extra helping hand, or a word of affirmation, when life is tough. Wait for the time it’s appropriate to offer to provide childcare for an evening, so the younger couple can go out on a date. (They’ll need to really like and trust you first – this won’t be appropriate immediately.) Maybe, if you have the funds, it might be possible to provide a gift card to a restaurant.

How can you bless another couple? How can you leverage your marriage to become more and add value to another couple?mentoring

A Year Endeavor to Enrich Your Marriage & Add Value

Enrich Your Marriage Encourage Others - Love your spouse and do good together - free workbook

You could do these actions over a year – one a month. Some are just for fun. Some have little cost involved – others can be as extravagant as you’d choose. Some are a deeper, more time consuming activity.

Go ahead – download the workbook! It has space for you to write your own thoughts – make notes – and I’ve done some of the work for you (like including a few “knock-knock” jokes, and a page of Scripture notes.) It’s free!

 

Simple Appetizer Pleases Everyone

Simple Appetizer Pleases Everyone

A simple appetizer is my go-to choice when we visit friends. Rob is easy to please, so it works as a treat for us also when we want a quick bite! :-)

Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella with Pesto

Slice a ripe tomato – cut it in half if it’s a big one – then slice the halves. Slice your fresh mozzarella. I halve the mozzarella ball also, to make the tomato and mozzarella slices fit together easily. Arrange the slices on a tray or plate.

Yeah. Easy.  (You didn’t even need instructions, did you?)  :-)

Add in a good bread – we like a baguette loaf – and a jar of pesto. (We like the one from Aldi’s.)

And you’re done!  

A Simple Appetizer to Please Everyone

Simple Appetizer - Tomato Mozzarella and Pesto

What would make this simple appetizer better?

Some fresh basil… (but I didn’t have any. Oh well.)

And sometimes I like to drizzle a basil-infused olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar over the tomato and fresh mozzarella…

If I’m not sure whether people will like the olive oil or balsamic vinegar, then I just serve it on the side along with the pesto as another “side”.

Providing these options makes this appetizer useful because if someone doesn’t like pesto – they don’t need to have any… or if all someone wants are the baguette slices, they can dip them into the olive oil…  See? It’s simple. It’s easy.

Oh, just have fun with a simple appetizer that anyone will enjoy.

If you’re interested in something special, you could make your own Pesto… Here’s an easy recipe from Marzia at Little Spice Jar for Basil Pesto!

Homemade Basil Pesto from Little Spice Jar

Marzia says about her husband: 

Anees, my husband, has a long, drawn out theory that chocolate is actually a vegetable because it comes from a cocoa bean, this ladies and gentlemen, is why I married him!

He is also the mastermind that handles all the tech bits of Little Spice Jar, for this and countless other reasons, i’d be lost without him.

I love it when husbands and wives work together on good stuff!

What’s your favorite simple appetizer?

Link to a recipe on your site, if you have a suggestion. I need more ideas.  😉 

A simple appetizer to please everyone - slice some tomatoes and fresh mozarella - add pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar - pair it all with a great baguette - so easy and simple


Busy Couples Can Encourage Together – 10 Quick Ways

Busy Couples Can Encourage Together – 10 Quick Ways

Busy couples. Are you and your spouse busy? If I were calling out that category in a room full of couples, would you raise your hand?

Even if you belong in the “busy couples group” you can still add value to others. You and your spouse can have an impact greater than the two of you – you can make a difference and it doesn’t need to take hours and hours.

10 Ways Busy Couples Can Encourage Others

Your marriage – your relationship as husband and wife – can bless others. Here are 10 quick and fun ways to add value to others even if you’re one of those busy couples. 

Play & Pray with Someone – Think of 2 or 3 people – they could be seniors in your church, or single moms/dads, or even friends you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe you don’t have hours to spend with these precious people, but as one of those busy couples you can spend 20 minutes doing this activity! Give these 2 people a quick call and ask, “Are you home tonight? Can we drop by for 15 minutes?” If you get a positive response, then grab your UNO cards and drive/walk to their home. Play one game of UNO (yes, just one), and then ask if there’s something you can pray with that person about. Pray together. And leave. :-)  Simple and quick. You’ll get astonished laughter, and they’ll want you to stay longer… but don’t. Just Play and Pray. Carry on to the next person. You and your spouse will be energized, and those you visit won’t quite know what happened, but boy-oh-boy will they talk about it for a long time. busy couples can make a diffeence by visiting someoen to play a game of uno - just one game - and pray with them - make your marriage make a differenceWash A Car – You might be one of those busy couples, but with this idea you can get a little exercise and still bless someone… Think of a single mom/dad or a widow within your neighborhood or church family. Gather soap, buckets, sponges, and drying cloths, maybe even a water hose and connector… everything you need to wash a car. Call ahead to be sure they’re home, and ask if you can drop by. Head over, and wash their car! As you clean the vehicle, treat it with special care. Seniors especially appreciate this little gift of your time and effort.

busy couples can wash a senior's car as a date night random act of kindness - use your marriage to make a difference

Donate 20 Items to a Food Pantry – Together! Set a budget, and shop for 20 non-perishable food items at your local grocery store, or even online. Take turns choosing the item – have a conversation about the food you’re choosing and why. Then drop your purchases off at a local Food Pantry or Soup Kitchen that day or later. You don’t need to wait for Thanksgiving, or a special holiday to make a difference in your local community or church… today works!

date night for busy couples to make a difference - giving non-perishables to a food pantry

Penny a Plenty – Use a jar to collect your pennies – and dimes, nickles and quarters if you choose – from your pockets, car and purchases for a month. Then early one morning go for a walk together (or late evening) and leave heads’ up pennies (or any change) on the sidewalk every so often…  It’s a treasure for others to find, and give someone a smile.

date night penny trails busy couples create as a random act of kindness

Popcorn Surprise – Buy 2 boxes of microwave popcorn. Open the boxes and attach a note saying “This popcorn is a Random Act of Kindness from us to you – Enjoy!”  to each packet. Grab a roll of packing/painters tape, and map out your local RedBox machines (There’s an app for that.) Tape one or more to each RedBox. busy couples leave popcorn for a random act of kindness

Roses by the Dozen – Buy a dozen roses (or 2 dozen), and go to a shopping mall parking lot. Give a rose to older ladies and moms with kids. How many people rarely receive a rose? Too many. You can make a difference in the life of a young mom who is struggling to parent, or bring warmth to the heart of an older person. It’ll take all of an hour…

busy couples give roses and add value to others - enrich your marriage by encouraging others

Dessert Delight – When you’re out at your favorite restaurant, choose a family or another couple, and send over dessert(s) to their table. Tell your server that you want to keep your identity a secret. It’s a simple act, but powerful.

send a dessert to a couple or family - busy couples adding value as husband and wife to others

School Supplies – Set a budget. Go together to your local Target or Walmart or order online, and buy a bunch of school supplies. Crayons, pencils and pens, notebooks, stickers and glue… let your imagination wander. Pick the items you loved as a kid. Talk with your spouse about your school memories…  When you have them collected, go together to deliver them to a local school. If you already know a teacher, then arrange to take the supplies to his/her classroom. Even as a busy couple, you can provide for your community and make a student’s life and a teacher’s day better.
donate school supplies - as a busy couple you can make a difference in lives
Sticky Note Encouragement – Write notes of encouragement on 3M post-it notes at home. Then take a trip to the library and put them into library books to cheer the hearts of the next reader. Choose the books you leave notes in carefully – match the note to the sentiment of the book. You might be one of those busy couples, but you can come up with encouragement… right? Say thing like: “I hope this book makes you smile.”  “We hope you have a great weekend.” “We’re praying you find joy in what you’re reading.” busy couples can write encouragement notes

Candy Bar Care – You’re one of those busy couples, right? I imagine you meet with many people who give you a hand, or make your life easier, but you might not have a chance to say “thank you”. Here’s your chance! Make a list – together – of all the people you see regularly, or those you might not see, but do you a service. Think of your mail carrier, your pharmacist, vet, dry cleaner, grocery store clerk, church secretary, toll booth operator, barrista,  trash collectors, (you get the idea). If you’re having trouble making this list, then mentally go through your day/week, and consider everyone you meet on a regular basis… Now purchase candy bars, attach a note of “thank you”. If you can, deliver them together. If it’s not possible to deliver them together, divide the candy bars, and text your spouse each time you drop off one… busy couples can say thank you with little gifts of candy bars

All these ideas would make great Date Night activities.

Use your time together to bless others, and let your marriage – your 2 into 1 – make a difference!

10 Quick Ways Busy Couples can encourage together and enrich your marriage

Enrich your marriage – husbands and wives leading meaningful lives. – Just some quick ways to encourage others… together!

This post has a bunch of affiliate links – by purchasing with these links Rob and I receive a few pennies with no extra cost to you. Thank you – it’s very much appreciated. Truly.

Learning at a Blog Conference

Learning at a Blog Conference

Learning is a part of our differentiating Value of Discovery as a couple, so when an opportunity arose to go to my very first blogging conference, I was exhilaratedWe quickly decided to grab the opportunity – but I must tell you, it was a feat of teamwork to get us on the road within 2 hours!

Exhilaration = Fun + Fear

Robert and I drove to Atlanta for the Blog Life University 2016 Conference — Atlanta, the capital city of Georgia, is a city of  almost 500,000 people. Here’s a tweet from one of the speakers – Carissa Rogers – to show you a gorgeous view of the city…

Learning from the Speakers

The line up of speakers and their topics was diversified. I didn’t know any of them, so it was an adventure with no clue what to expect. I got value from them all – and three of them gave me “ah-hah!” moments. I’ll be shifting and experimenting here on EncourageYourSpouse using the different ideas…

If you’re a blogger – or want to start a blog – I’d recommend attending next year’s conference. It was small enough to meet and speak with many other bloggers, yet had valuable content from the speakers. Mellissa Llado is the organizer – and she announced at the end of the conference that planning for #BLU 2017 is in the works! There’s lots of learning to be done!

Learning from the Sponsors

Liquid Romance – Chateau Elan – a winery and resort.

What a treat to taste a few samples of their Muscadine wines. Keri from ButterandBeats captured our experience so well! 😉

Muscadine Wine – (information from Elan’s website) “Often called “America’s First Grape,” muscadine grapes in hot climates of the southeastern United States. Many nutritionists have found muscadine grapes are loaded with more healthy compounds than other much-touted foods such as blueberries, goji berries, green tea, redwine, and dark chocolate. Muscadine grapes and their seeds are one of nature’s best sources of antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties. Compared to other grapes, muscadine grapes have 40 times more resveratrol — the polyphenol found in redwine that is proven to benefit cardiovascular health, blood sugar levels and the aging process.” Click to learn more.

This resort and winery would make a great get-away experience for an anniversary! (Hmmm… maybe Rob and I need to do a little on-site research and write a post? :-)  )

 Dixie Crystals – A SWEET sponsor

Theo 6 monthsI can completely see myself doing their “Kids in the Kitchen” recipes and art/science projects with our grandboy as he grows! (Ah, Theo – just you wait… We’ll be doing so much discovering and learning and you’ll love it!)

Hey Grandparents! Take a look at their Kids’ Cookbook in the picture below – it’s a binder, and every month you’re mailed a new recipe! What a way to be the “fun” grandparent, huh? 😉

On Friday evening Dixie Crystals sponsored a party where the attendees could make sugar scrubs – and the winners of their Sweet and Southern Dessert Contest were announced.

 Learning from the Attendees

This was really my first time being in a room filled with people who do what I do – write and publish online. Some are food bloggers, and some are lifestyle bloggers. A few have specific niches such as creating courses. I know that at least one other person at the conference writes about husbands and wives, although I missed the opportunity to introduce myself. :-(  Learning from these women was invigorating.

It wasn’t until the second day that I thought about all these women and their relationships. Most were married… How did their spouses support and encourage their work? At least three of the speakers work fulltime with their husbands in the online business they began. (Their husbands have given up their profession, because it made more sense to work in their wife’s online endeavors. Now that’s putting encouragement into action!)

So, I asked a few of the women I was sitting with, “How does your husband make it easier for you to do what you do online?” 

Melissa from Serendipity and SpiceThe organizer of this blog conference, Mellisa Llado of Serendipity and Spice answered, “He keeps me laughing when I’m stressed.”

The event was a great success (at least it seemed to be to a newby like me 😉  )  I can only imagine the stress involved in planning this kind of endeavor.

Heather from Totally Tailgates made me smile when she quoted her hubby, telling me he says, “Write it, shoot it, do it!” — Now that’s encouraging, right?

Robin and Michael SmithAnother husband and wife team who attended were Robin and Michael Smith – Robin writes for a few blogs, in addition to working fulltime. She brought her hubby along to learn about blogging. He also makes her writing easier by helping along.

 

If (when) I find myself at another conference, I’ll definitely up-my-game, and arrange to interview many more men and women! I’m guessing every husband and wife story will be fun to hear and I’ll be learning a lot more.

What was Robert doing?

So what was Robert doing while I was at this conference? He drove us to Atlanta, and while I attended the conference, our roles were reversed – he spent a quiet two days working on his computer, and leading a conference call in the evening from the hotel!  When each day was finishing, he’d pick me up, and ask me about my day, and what I learned and who I met…  Usually he’s the one out-and-about and I’m the quiet, introverted soul.

Yes.  Roles were reversed, for sure!  I guess I can do it once a year or so. :-)

What do you like most about conferences you’ve attended?

Are you usually the extroverted spouse – attending events, and socializing? And if you’re not, how do you cope with the role reversal?