We’ve been musing together for a year here. Thank you for joining me! Here is a look back at the top 5 most-read Musings:

1. Not Everything Lasts

2. 30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years

3. On Being a “Yes” Mom and Lessons Learned

4. Perspective

5. It Begins


Works for me: The Spouse 4 Gift Formula

cmas tree

Christmas is coming! Are you ready?

I don’t know about you but we try to keep the presents from holding center stage in our celebration.  They are, however, a part of it.

There are all sorts of suggestions on how to give gifts to your children– 3 gifts to represent the Magi’s gifts, 4 gifts (want, need, wear, read), no gifts and donating or giving to others instead– but what I want to know is: what does one give a spouse?!?!?!

I think there are a few people who do well at this, you know, the ones with giving gifts as a love language.

Then there is the rest of us. The ones who said “lets not do gifts” but then, suspicious that the other spouse did rushes to CVS on Christmas Eve to find something…anything.  Or the ones who bust the budget on a completely misguided attempt at what they wanted or needed.

Why is it that the ones we love most and know best are the hardest ones to choose a gift for? Argh!

This year, I am saying “no more!” to my gift giving frustration and I am offering my formula to you in hopes that your gift-giving and Christmas celebration will be more relaxed and enjoyable as a result.

**A few notes: Consider this formula fodder for brainstorming,a place to start.  Each gift can be adjusted to fit your budget (from on-the-cheap to extravagant) and personality (if he doesn’t like to read, ignore the book suggestions…unless he might like an audio version).  Also, as a wife, I wrote this thinking about my husband but I believe the formula would work just as well for husbands to choose gifts for their wives.**

The Spouse 4 Gift Formula –

1) A gift for him as a man. This could be something he needs or wants (like clothes, shoes, a book) or something for his favorite hobby (fishing rod, golf balls & tees, a specialty tool) or something you know he likes (gift card to his favorite restaurant or store) or an item for his collection. This is where you really consider his tastes and interests, things he has mentioned wanting, and how he likes to spend his time.  You could stretch this category to include something he may need for work.

2) A gift for him as a Christian.  It is important to encourage our spouses in their personal walk with Christ, so give a gift that does that. Print out & laminate verse cards for the passage he wants to memorize, a devotional or Bible study book, a new Bible…maybe even arrangements to attend a Men’s Conference.

3) A gift for him as a husband. Plan a special date night or a whole year of dates, find a book you can read & discuss together (so many options here! Could be about marriage or any topic you are both interested in or the latest fiction bestseller or a classic), create some “love coupons” or buy something for you to wear for him…not gonna go any further on this one, I think you get the idea.

4) A gift for him as a father. Plan a family fun day, a gift card or supplies for an activity he can do with the kiddos (model to build, puzzle, bowling, movie…) framed pictures for his desk at work, put together a Hero kit. This is a great time to have the kiddos make or choose a gift!

That’s it.  Now I haven’t told you exactly what to give but hopefully I’ve given you a starting place to think about your man and ways that you can bless him in each area of his life.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Don’t forget to came back after Dec 25th and let me know what you gave. 🙂

A Journey of Thankfulness – wrapping it up

I am thankful that I took this journey.  I did not plan out in advance what I would write about, I expressed thankfulness for whatever came to mind each day. At one point I wished that I had not even started…I was feeling more grumpy than grateful. I wondered if anyone would notice if I quit. Then I remembered why I started this– to purposely focus on the things I have to be grateful for.  It is not about showing off how grateful I am, it is about learning to be thankful as a daily habit. That is why it is called a journey.

And I’m thankful that I took it.

I am so blessed.


A Journey of Thankfulness – day 6

I’m thankful for the right to vote, to have a say-so in how our country is run. This is not a blessing to be taken lightly. Whether you are liberal, conservative or something in between, go vote and be grateful for our freedoms as you do.

I am also thankful for the peace that comes from knowing these truths:

Daniel 2:21 He [God] changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes kings [and presidents]

Proverbs 21:1 A king’s heart is like streams of water in the Lord’s hand; He directs it wherever He chooses.


A Journey of Thankfulness – day 5

In addition to blogging my Journey of Thankfulness, I am also participating in a photo challenge called #gratitude30 from Positively Present. Each day there is a word prompt to inspire a picture and a moment of gratitude, especially for ‘little’ things. I’ve enjoyed the challenge. Today’s blogpost was inspired by yesterday’s word: clothing


I dislike laundry. Actually, I don’t mind doing laundry since all I have to do is move the pile into one machine and then to the next and I know the job will get done. What I dislike is the part that isn’t done by machines…folding! I would rather clean the toilet! Cleaning the toilet takes a couple of minutes unlike folding laundry which gobbles up hours and hours of my life. ; Now that you know where I’m coming from, let me get around to the thankfulness part of this post…

I am thankful that we have clothes. If we had no clothes we would not have any laundry and instead of whimpering about folding I would be crying for my unclothed children, for no washcloths & towels to clean ourselves with, for no sheets to sleep on or blankets to keep us warm. Perspective, eh? So today, as I attack Mt. St. Laundriousness, I am counting blessings instead of basketfulls left to fold. I’m thanking God for our washer & dryer that put up with a great deal of abuse and keep on steadily cleaning & drying load after load after load. I’m grateful that we are able to pay the electric bill to run said appliances. Not everyone lives this way, in fact, I doubt that I’m stretching to say we are the minority. Thus, folding laundry transforms from a dreaded chore to a luxurious pastime.

I am so blessed.


A Journey of Thankfulness – day 4

I am thankful for my kiddos! The past 8 years have been a crazy roller coaster of hilarious moments, scary illnesses, sweet hugs, and sleepless nights. I haven’t “loved every moment” but I do love my kiddos!

Patrick – I’m thankful for my oldest son. He is all-boy-tough with a sensitive soul. When I’m having a bad day, Patrick never fails to draw me an “I love Mommy” picture and give me a hug. He loves his role as big brother; he reminds the other kiddos of the rules, takes care of Eric and likes to teach his siblings.


Cade – I’m thankful for my second-born. Cade has a curiosity and a thought process that often astounds me. He is a helper and a hard worker and has a strong sense of justice. Even at his young age, he is concerned with telling people about Jesus…which keeps me challenged!


Aubrey – I’m thankful for my girl. Aubrey lives with intensity and determination. She is all about multi-color nails and picking the right shoes for her outfit but she is also not about to be outdone or left behind by her brothers. She loves to snuggle up in my lap or help me in the kitchen.


Eric – I’m thankful for my baby…although I suppose I have to stop calling him that since he turned 1 today! Eric is such a happy baby, his smiles and giggles are quite contagious. I love seeing his little personality emerge. And I love that his favorite thing is to snuggle up with Mommy.


I am so blessed.

A Journey of Thankfulness – day 3

I knew I’d be late getting some of these posted…didn’t expect to fall behind so quickly!

I am so thankful for Owen. He is not just my husband, he is my hero. (I’ve got the t-shirt that says so!)

He loves me & listens to me…and puts up with my issues. He offers me the security of acceptance without judgement. He works hard…not only to provide for our family but to create & maintain a business that honors God. He loves God, ya’ll, and is constantly seeking to live a life that glorifies God.

He is an awesome Dad. He loves our kiddos, plays with them, encourages them, teaches them, and includes them in his stuff. Believe it or not, he can take all 4 kids to the grocery store and come back with not only everything on the list but kiddos who say they had lots of fun!

He folds laundry, vacuums, and folds laundry…and not because I ask him to, its just what heroes do. He keeps the yard mowed and takes out the garbage.

There is so much that I could share, so much I am grateful for about Owen, but I’m going to stop here and simply say…

I am so blessed.