Make Memories in 2018 – Don’t add to your stuff!

Make Memories in 2018 – Don’t add to your stuff!

Make memories – don’t add to your stuff. Living in 282 square feet for more than three years has taught Robert and me that we don’t need as much stuff as we might believe we do…  but the memories we’ve made over the last years are priceless.

I encourage you and your spouse to think about what you could give to each other, your family and friends that would increase their “memory bank” – not their clutter.

Make Memories in 2018

What gifts could you give to your family, spouse, and friends that are designed to make memories? Try these!

1 – Classes or lessons to learn a new skill.

Ask a few questions to determine if there are any skills your spouse has always wanted to learn but hasn’t taken the time to explore. Consider:

  • horse-back riding
  • gourmet cooking
  • scuba diving, sailing or paddle boarding
  • rock climbing or parachuting
  • chocolate making
  • photography or videography
  • flower arranging or pottery making
  • yarn or fabric work – knitting, crochet, sewing, weaving, etc.
  • sports – golf, tennis, racketball, swimming, kick-boxing etc.
  • dance – swing, ballroom, line-dancing, etc.
  • computer skills – html, css, website design, etc.
  • writing – fiction stories or a book, or a children’s picture book
  • gardening – raising vegetables, nurturing orchids or succulents, herbs, etc.
  • landscaping – adding a pond, or rock walls, a putting green or orchard to your space
  • music – learning an instrument or joining an ensemble, or group to sing
  • health and fitness – tai chi, heart-healthy cooking, yoga, lifestyle makeover, etc.

Instead of adding stuff to your space, why not make some memories together while taking a class? You could attend something local or use YouTube or a streaming service!

Grokker is a valuable site with lessons in some of the above areas. Get unlimited Grokker Videos for 14 Days to try it out!
Free Basic Membership Available

Use the 1 to 10 Test!

When Rob and I want to see how the other feels about a certain activity, we ask each other…

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel about ______”

If you use the 1-10 Test to determine how your spouse feels about a certain activity, you’ll be much more likely to hone in on a winner!

Take it one step further – ask if your children & friends want to join you in making memories!

You don’t need to do these things with only you and your spouse. (Although that’s always fun, too!)  Invite others to join you! We’ve had some really fun times with other couples and their children.

2 – Memberships

What about the gift of regular explorations? Consider memberships at:

  • museums, and art galleries
  • sports, historical or theme parks
  • national or state parks

Having a family membership for a year at a park or museum means you can gather with your family and friends on a regular basis for a low-cost memory-making event. It takes the planning and cost off the table, and just allows you and those you love to explore!

One of the best things we ever did with our children when they were pre-teens was to have a membership to the Ontario Science Center. Another family also bought their year-round membership and though it was an hour away, we’d go exploring monthly. Our children (and the other family’s children) are now adults, but it remains one of their favorite memories. When our son and family visited Canada he even added an excursion to the Science Center to share those memories with his wife and baby boy. Memories are priceless and continue to add to the legacy you leave as parents!

3 – Gift Cards

Now, I’m not talking about the generic Walmart or Target or Amazon gift card… (although everyone does appreciate receiving those too!)

What about a gift card to a movie or a favorite ice cream shop, or to play a round of mini-golf, or bowling? Think about a favorite restaurant or a symphony experience. Make a memory with an event!

Groupon is often a great resource when looking for an event style gift card.

We love to make memories with our adult children and grandboy!making memories - ferguson 6

4 – Subscription service for consumable delights!

With this kind of gift think about the five senses – and you can arrange for gifts for more than the holiday season…

  • monthly flowers  – delight your spouse with a bouquet of flowers from Bouq’s 

Bouqs 728x90


  • Wine! Rob and I have tried a new startup called Bright Cellars. It’s a wine subscription that helps you learn what kind of wines you like. It alleviates that deer-in-the-headlights feeling when looking at aisles and aisles of wine in the store – we wrote about the idea here.

Take the Bright Cellars quiz and discover wine you love!

Here’s a video of our daughter-in-love unboxing our first order!

Increase your memories – not your stuff!

These are just a few ideas for things to give to your loved ones to make memories in 2018. Some of them are affiliate links, which mean Rob and I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Have you tried any other “memory making” experiences that had a great impact?  Leave a comment and share!

ideas to make memories with your spouse and family - not clutter


Words Matter – What words surround you and those you love?

Words Matter – What words surround you and those you love?

Words Matter – your words, the words you read, and those you hear. Words matter to your spouse, to your children, to your guests and everyone you love. The message you give to those in your home shapes their day – their view of life and their understanding of what is important.

Words Matter – What are you doing to make a positive impact?

Is Facebook and social media the prevailing force in your life or the lives of those you love?  

We have a friend who is being deliberate about her words on Facebook. She is a mature lady, a Christ-honoring widow, and an example for me. She became specifically disturbed by all the negativity on her Facebook feed and decided she’d do something about it. Personally. Actively.

She began a deliberate campaign many months ago to post at least one positive thought each day.  Many people (online and in person) remark on her active choice to be optimistic. Recently I overheard a friend speaking to her about all the positive posts and how much it means to this friend…

We all can change our Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels to reflect what is good, true, and positive. I’m joining my Christ-following, widowed friend in her online campaign… 

I challenge you too! 

Enjoy the moment - Item 2003725 - Great Big Canvas by Daphne Brissonnet Serene Moments IV Wall Art - Words MatterBut social media is only one way we consume words…

What words are in your home?

What forms of media are a part of your mental consumption?

Which shows do you watch or stream? Are they building you up — or pulling your mood down? How do you feel when you’ve finished watching these programs? Do you feel energized and positive about your life, world, and future?  If the television is on, it’s having an effect on everyone in the house – not just those who are actively watching.

What books or magazines are you reading?

Words Matter - This book is what is on the table beside my chair - you might guess where my thoughts are...

This book is what is on the table beside my chair – guess where my thoughts are…

Are you learning something new that will make a good impact on you, your spouse, your family and your community? Remember, even a book left sitting on the table influences everyone by the artwork on the cover. The influence might not even be conscious but it’s there. (Do you have a Bible? Does it have dust on it, or is it piled under every other book?)

What pictures are on your walls?  What’s on your ‘fridge?

Rob and I have been house/dog sitting in quite a few different environments over the last 3 years. Every home is unique and what is displayed is a choice they’ve made at a particular moment in their life. Is it still relevant for them at this time?

Rob and I have felt “at home” and comfortable in all the spaces we’ve stayed in… and we do take note of what’s displayed. (It’s hard not to!)  Some displays have even impacted what I write about here on Encourage Your Spouse or post on social media.

Are you in your house right now – as you read this post? 

If you’re not at home, think about your rooms.

What words/art would impact everyone in your home?Words Matter - Be Happy Wall Art by Jennifer Pugh Item 1988111 at Great Big Canvas

We’ve found a site with all kinds of art – including inspirational art with words. Click here to explore. Maybe this Christmas your “home” could have a gift under the tree with words to encourage, inspire, uplift and motivate! Words matter!

Or maybe for the upcoming Holidays including Thanksgiving, you want to gift your family, adult children, and friends with something that will inspire them? All the photos on this post are from This is one of the affiliates we’ve chosen to highlight for unique gift giving options. Other gifting options we’ve found are for wine and for tea! (It’s kinda humorous that a teapot I like has fun words.)

Below are a few other pieces of art from we think would have a positive impact on you and your spouse.

I think it’s cool that they’re available in a few different forms, including, of course, framed and unframed of various sizes, but also as a wall peel, printed on a reusable vinyl with a special adhesive that sticks to walls without harming them. The wall peel format would be good for Rob and me in our little house-on-wheels. (Hanging photos and traveling don’t go well together!)

Words Matter - The Teaching of Kindness by Cherie Burbach at Great Big Canvas - item 2496431

Words Matter - Gratitude Changes Everything wall art at Great Big Canvas Item 2406109 by Stephanie Ryan

Words Matter - Guide Me Wall Art by Dennis Frates Item 1988082 at Great Big Canvas-

What are the favorite words you have on your walls?

Leave a comment with what you want to influence your spouse – your family – and guests! With your comment, you can impact us too! 😉 Words matter!

Words matter - what is hanging on your walls and is it impacting your family

728x90 banner




Chai Tea Comfort Date for you and your spouse.

Chai Tea Comfort Date for you and your spouse.

Chai Tea comfort date – it’s a comforting drink for you and your spouse in autumn and winter. (It’s comforting in spring and summer, too, of course!)   Have you ever tried STASH Chai tea? You’ll see it in the grocery store… but only one or maybe two varieties of Chai are available there. When I explored the STASH website, I was blown away by the variety of Chai teas!

Rob and I are fans of Chai Tea

To us, Chai tea tastes like Christmas in a cup!

I didn’t realize all the varieties available:

  • vanilla chai – it’s a rich and creamy, naturally decaffeinated chai tea. With a splash of milk and sugar, it feels (and tastes) like a delicious dessert – without the calories!
  • spice dragon red chai – it’s a herbal blend with Rooibos, a South African herb also known as red tea, combined with clove, ginger root, and sweet cinnamon to create a unique, caffeine-free sweet and spicy chai.
  • ginger fire chai – A touch of fiery ginger adds a kick, yerba mate provides an energizing element, and cinnamon lends a nice spicy finish. The subtle sweetness of vanilla balances out the overall flavors.
  • green chai – Chai Green blends green tea with cinnamon, whole cloves, cardamom, ginger root and sarsaparilla.
  • and more – including loose leaf Chai tea blends an K-cups!

When we want to have a quiet and simple date night (in our little-house-on-wheels, on the road, or while we’re house/dog sitting) it’s so easy to pull out two tea bags and brew a cup for each of us. 

Date night doesn’t have to be expensive – you just need to enjoy what you’re doing!

Give your spouse a gift of comfort – try some Chai!

Have you and your spouse ever tried Chai tea? Even die-hard coffee drinkers enjoy Chai tea because of its unique flavors. This is no namby-pamby, colorless experience! Our adult children also enjoy Chai – and we love to share a pot of the “flavor of Christmas” as the days grow shorter, and the nights get colder.

It makes a perfect gift — buy a new mug and add a few Chai Tea varieties as a gift for your spouse… along with a coupon to invite them on a “Chai Tea comfort date”! It’s unique. It’s tasty and warm… just like you! 😉

A Mug filled with Comfort – Invite your spouse for a Chai Tea Date!

A date doesn’t need to be expensive!


Chai Tea Comfort Date – give your spouse an invitation!

Is there a “Date Night” on your calendar? Now’s the time to schedule one!  

(There are some gorgeous Tea sets on Stash’s site! – click to see!)

Mugs From DaySpring – True-Noble-Lovely-Pure Mugs

This post has affiliate links – if you choose to buy we’ll receive a few pennies at no cost to you – thank you!

Need more date ideas for the autumn?  Try these!


How to Show You Value Your Spouse – 10 Point Marriage Tune-Up

How to Show You Value Your Spouse – 10 Point Marriage Tune-Up

How to value your spouse with a 10 Point Marriage Tune-Up? Is this necessary? Doesn’t marriage just “happen”?

Oh, yeah. Marriage can just happen.

There are those husbands and wives who let marriage “happen”… and then years into their relationship they realize they’ve grown apart. They don’t have anything in common. Or these couples look at the person they live their life with and say, “Is this all there is?”.

If people gave the amount of attention to their vehicles the way they do to their marriage, that vehicle would stop working. It would run out of gas, and oil. The brakes would fail. The headlights would go dark. You’d never drive around in a car with no headlights, with dirty spark plugs, with broken springs, or cracked windshields, would you? Why would a marriage relationship need less attention than a vehicle?

Your marriage needs more attention to its working parts than your vehicle does. It’s not easy. And if you’re in a time of sputtering, and your marriage tires need a top-up of air, then we want to encourage you to try some small stuff. Simple stuff. Give it a try…

Give it a 10 point marriage tune-up.

10 Point Marriage Tune-Up -10 ways to show you value your spouse and keep your marriage running well

Invest in your marriage relationship – tune it up!

A few years ago we created a series of articles on this concept – 10 posts about 10 ways to show your spouse you value her/him. This year we’ve updated these posts to make the series more rich and robust! The links to each post are below – click on each image to go deeper.

Show respect- value your spouse - Match your tone & words to your body language - 10 point marriage tune-up - number 1Click to go deeper!

Brag about your spouse - which qualities do you admire about your spouse - download a free resource to make a list - Encourage YClick to go deeper! – 2 of 10Wait - let your spouse finish their thoughts - 3rd of 10 Point Marriage Tune Up - Encourage Your Spouse -Click to go deeper – 3 of 10Be on Time for your spouse. Show you value her or him - 4th of the 10 point marriage tune up seriesClick to go deeper – #4 Click to Go Deeper – 5 of 10Click to go deeper – 6 of 10Honor your spouses family of orgin including their quirks and qualities. Be positive. 7 of 10 points Marriage Tune Up to encourage your spouseClick to go deeper – 7 of 10 Share your schedule with your spouse - show you value their contribution to your life together - 8 of 10 point marriage tune upClick to go deeper – 8 of 10Appreciate your spouses personality to show you value her or him. 9 of 10Click to go deeper – 9 of 10Ask for and accept help from your spouse - you are the dream team. 10 of 10 ways to value your spouseClick to go deeper – 10 of 10

Make your marriage a priority and value your spouse!

If you ignored your career, and never learned anything new, you wouldn’t progress… you might even find yourself without a career.

If you ignored your vehicle, never added gas or oil, never replaced the spark plugs, you wouldn’t be able to drive it.

Does your marriage have less value than your career or your car?  This 10 point marriage tune-up isn’t hard – it just needs a bit of attention! Don’t procrastinate.

Don’t wait – NOW is the time to pay attention to your marriage relationship!

I’m thinking I’d like to make this into a series of 10 marriage tune-up emails – one a day for 10 days… what do you think?

Would that be more useful? Leave a comment…

Good Questions Lead to Great Conversations

Good Questions Lead to Great Conversations

Good Questions. When we mentor couples, we encourage them to ask each other at least one good question every day. Why? Because having deep and satisfying conversations are vital for a growing relationship.

Great conversations begin with good questions. 

Maybe you’re feeling a bit lacking in the “good question” ability department. If you are, that’s OK.  Even we’ve had those dry spells where we can’t think of a “safe” topic. 😉

Here are some resources to build a repertoire of good questions:

  • The Byerly’s have 365 questions you can download and print. That’s a whole year! Click HERE.
  • Use Proverbs so spark some conversations. Click HERE
  • These are some of the best fun questions and thoughtful questions we’ve compiled from other bloggers. Click HERE

What if you can’t ask good questions?

We know you’re busy. If it’s not possible to print out these good questions, then here’s another option:   Dayspring’s Conversation Starter Jar  –  this is the first time we’ve seen something like this already created for you!  

Good questions lead to great conversations - encourage your spouse

We’d rarely suggest buying something if you can make it yourself, but there are instances when you might not have the time or the inclination. If that’s the case – then this product is perfect for you. It’s a pretty jar. There’s a lovely inscription from 1Thessalonians and 60 questions already printed and cut up.

This Jar filled with Conversation Starters is part of a sale until August 22, 2017 – take $20 off any $40 purchase and get FREE SHIPPING in DaySprings Secret Sale. Go to the SECRET SALE page to see what else is offered… (You have celebrations coming up, right? We  won’t reference Christmas – don’t worry.)  We’re affiliates for Dayspring which means if you purchase we’ll receive a small commission at no cost to you and we really appreciate and thank you for your support.

Build your conversational “bank” as a couple!

Don’t wait.
We’ve seen too many couples who walk through their marriage with nothing to talk about – they feel like they’re growing apart and don’t know how to “fix” it.  Here’s one way!

Grow your ability to ask good questions and you’ll have deeper, more satisfying conversations that will lead to a growing and healthy relationship. Lead a meaningful life as husband wife!

Encourage Your Spouse! Good questions will bridge your conversational divide!

Good Questions Lead to Great Conversations - 3 resources to encourage your spouse with good questions

Good Questions lead to great conversations - here are some resources to begin those great conversations with good questions.