Wednesday, March 28, 2012

IDEAS for General Conference with Kids!!

This weekend is General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!  For those of you who are not sure what I'm talking about, this is when our church listens to our prophets and apostles speak.  I'm just craving inspiration and also doing fun things with the kiddos.  Here are some ideas:

OPEN GIFTS WITH EACH APOSTLE:  Last General Conference, I just cut out pictures of each apostle/prophet from the previous General Conference Ensign issue and attached them each to a gift.  Some were treats, others were fun activities, and many were things we already had around the house.  I bought just a few new fun things.  So, everytime an apostle went up to the pulpit, Brayden got to find the present to open!  It turned out to be really fun!!


ACTIVITY PACKET: Bingo cards, Ties to color and messages to write down according to each apostle, word search, matching, coloring pages.   CLICK HERE for pdf.

MORE BINGO & COLORING PAGES:  I love these!  CLICK HERE to view.

CONFERENCE PANCAKES:  Isn't this a cute idea to make tie pancakes?!  CLICK HERE for my absolute favorite, healthy pancake mix.  I love when Conference weekend is full of family and lots of YUMMY FOOD!  Maybe you could start a family tradition of having some of the same foods each time.


KING BENJAMIN TENT:  We love the tradition of "camping", in backyard or inside the front room :), on the Friday or Saturday night.  You can talk about the story of King Benjamin and how the people listened to the prophet's message in their tents!  ... you could also also make tin foil dinners in the oven, smores in the broiler, have flashlights and stories...








CONFERENCE PENNIES: One mom put together a jar of pennies and a "Conference Store" full of little prizes.  Her daughter got a penny for each key word she heard... like temple, prayer, Christ, love... At the end of each session she got to buy stuff.  Maybe you could have a page with pictures and words so they would know what to listen for!




APOSTLE CARDS WITH FUN FACTS:  CLICK HERE for pictures.  Some moms print and laminate pictures of each of the prophets/apostles with interesting facts on the back.  Here are some sources for the "fun facts": leader biographies (from LDS Newsroom), Personal Stories (from the Friend magazine), or Apostle Cards (from Sugardoodle).

YUMMY WORDS:  Another Mom has bowls of goodies each with a different gospel word.  When the kids hear the word, they get a treat. You could even put a picture of the word too! 

CONFERENCE CINNAMON ROLLS: One mom makes yummy cinnamon rolls as a tradition each Conference weekend.  Here is the recipe:  
2 cubes of butter (1 cup)
2 c. milk
1/2 c. tap-hot water
2 heaping tbs. yeast
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
7 c. flour
1 egg, beaten
brown sugar (for sprinkling on the dough before rolling...I use between 1/4 and a 1/2 cup)
cinnamon (about 2 tsp.)
Dissolve yeast and the warm water, set aside. Melt butter in microwave. Warm milk in microwave. Combine butter and milk. Add the yeast to the milk mixture until well mixed. Add the beaten egg.
Slowly add the remaining ingredients and mix until dough separates from the bowl. Knead the dough for two minutes on low speed. Let the dough rise. Roll out into two rectangles. Butter dough and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins (optional...I don't do raisins).
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Frost with butter-cream frosting:
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar
3-4 tbs. half and half (I just use milk)
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Slowly add half and half (or milk), while beating until you get a smooth, spreadable consistency.

SET UP the "CONFERENCE ROOM": Another mom makes her front room special by moving the couches and coffee table to better point to the T.V. (so this idea is only for those who can access it from home).  She gets it all ready the night before with a big sign, quiet crafts/activities set out, a yummy breakfast planned, and maybe even some decorations.  She says, "They look forward to General Conference almost as much as Christmas. They love waking up Saturday morning to see our family room transformed into a 'Conference Room.'"

HAVE FUN THIS WEEKEND!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finding an ounce of hope in "SURVIVAL MODE" :)

Are you too living in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)?!  Our messy house has just been driving me bonkers lately, so I thought I'd post about IDEAS to maintain the home while in the midst of raising all these little people!  This is NOT a post about how to have your home always clean and straightened!  Oh boy, that seems completely out of our realm of possibility right now and just not worth it... our kids would have to be watching TV all day every day for that to happen :). Children are the world's best mess makers, and it's super tricky to find some sanity through the ongoing cleaning saga.  I never intend to overwhelm you with my big lists :)... I just hope to share with your my research and then let one or two ideas INSPIRE YOU!  Here are some SOLUTIONS that I've learned from other mothers, books, and also from researching online:

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON:  When raising lots of littles I think it's unrealistic to expect  your house to be usually clean and straightened.  Sometimes I scan the mess and think "This is proof my children are learning!"  But we have to have a certain level of cleanliness to physically and mentally function.  Some seasons of life like when pregnant, with babies, preschoolers, or when really stressed or busy with things - you just never feel like you can ever keep up.  Other seasons get a little more manageable. 


BOND AS A FAMILY WHILE DOING THE MUNDANE:  One of my favorite family life college courses was one where my beloved professor taught - we have family work so we can bond as a family.  Even though the work of maintaining a home can typically drive us totally nutty, notice the values of working together.  Try enjoying a little more laughing, connecting, and teaching as you clean together!


ONE LOAD A DAY:  We're not there yet.  But, doesn't it sound great to throw in one load of laundry each day and actually put it away (that's the hardest part for us).  I know this would help a ton if we just did it.

"IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO CLEAN IT NOW, YOU PROBABLY WON'T HAVE TIME TO CLEAN IT LATER":  My mother-in law learned this phrase when she was so busy raising 6 children close together!  Learning to take a minute to clean up a mess as it happens really helped her - getting in the habit of quickly rinsing off dirty dishes or cleaning trays or spills from lunch. I'm just not quite there yet in my survival mode life, but it already has been inspiring to help me make little improvements.

SOCKS & SHOES BY THE DOOR: We've started to store socks and shoes in a box right by the front door.  It has been so helpful!! 

ONLY EAT IN HIGHCHAIR/TABLE:  My mother-in-law also learned to be consistent about only feeding her children snacks and meals at the table or in highchairs. Oh man, I know this would help me.  Also, my sister in law with twin boys changes their diapers in one designated spot.

DAILY ZONES: I've tried the trick of assigning each day to a different "zone" of the house or a particular task like the kitchen floor, the computer area, the bathroom...  I tried this twice and both times it only lasted for one week :).  But maybe it would work for you and your current season.


SOMETIMES, JUST FORGET IT:  Since being in a much smaller place now that's not really livable, many days I just say "whatever!" and we leave the messes and go play - the zoo, the library, the bookstore... just anywhere but home :).  I think I really could be cleaning and organizing 24/7 and still feel like I can't keep up with the house, the laundry, the dishes....  I really thrive in a home of order and cleanliness, but at the same time I also want to enjoy the moments and create memories! 


HIRE A CLEANING LADY :) Ok, we are not anywhere near this possibility yet!  But, I do know some moms who hire a maid to come in like once a month... to do some deep cleaning.  All these mothers strongly value the importance of teaching their kids to work and clean super hard too!  Even with some help, there is always TONS of cleaning that needs to be done.  I just think it's brilliant (if ever possible) to get some help with your tasks to gain more sanity and invest more TIME elsewhere.  



Here are some cool FLYLADY.NET ideas.  Go to the website to learn more! 
  1. SHINE THE SINK:  Flylady recommends to get all the dishes cleaned and put away each night. In the morning a shiny sink is there to greet you!  This doesn't always happen in our house, and you know, it will be okay.  It's a great idea though.
  2. DAILY DE-CLUTTER for 15 MINUTES:  Set the timer, and go to work!  Maybe you could even reward yourself when the buzzer goes off.
Pottery Barn Wall Organizers... maybe someday :)  For now
we use diaper boxes and $1 plastic bins from Walmart!
HAVE A PLACE for CALENDAR, KEYS, PHONES, CHARGERS, "RETURNS", "TO BE FILED", BINS FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY, etc:    Look at your "Hot Spots" - where all your junk tends to collect - and observe what organizers you need.  Having a spot to throw found items for each person has been so helpful!  I also took our old huge white board, drew a monthly calendar outline with a fine sharpie and wrote "To Do" and "To Buy."  It has been a life saver - along with a paper monthly calendar too.  I now have near the door a box for "return" items.  We've all got lots of papers/bills and such so finding a system for that can be great like a "to be filed" place.



cute idea







JOB CHARTS: Kids need something tangible - a list with circles to fill in or a print out of pictures for little ones to cross out.  Many moms don't allow their kids to play with friends (or do something fun as a family) on Saturday until their jobs are done.  With just my little toddlers, I just focus on trying to MAKE IT FUN...


MAKE CLEANING WITH CHILDREN FUN:  Go to playlist.com to create a free, fun compilation of favorite songs to blast while cleaning!  Talk and laugh as you clean.  Label toy containers with pictures of what goes in each one, so your children can better put things away.  Once I created a "cleaning tool kit" for Brayden where he had his own set of cleaning gloves, a plastic tool for scraping junk off floors, a scrub brush with his name on it, his own sponges, ... it's amazing how excited younger ones can get when you give them ownership and make it fun!

TRAIN YOUR KIDS TO CLEAN:  click here to read a post about"THE PARENTING BREAKTHROUGH" by Merrilee Boyack.  I totally recommend her book to help you know how to train them to work and also to be independent.  She has in the book this awesome list of what each age should be able to do!



*I hope there's maybe ONE IDEA here that sparks your interest.  Good luck!!  You're welcome to share what has worked for you in all your cleaning craziness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas!

We LOVE this new recipe... Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas! 

For me, it's all about finding the right recipes and we've suffered through lots of trial and error :)  But this one is SO worth it - not even hard to make.  I got this from  thesisterscafe.com and melskitchencafe.com


6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (3  limes)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and cubed (3 small chicken breasts or 2 large)
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded from the block
16 ounces green enchilada sauce 
1 cup heavy cream (to lighten them up, melskitchencafe has substituted sour cream with good results) - I felt 1 c. was way too much, so I just used 1/2 cup - they were yummy but a little thick for me.  I've also tried them with just the sauce with some extra honey lime mix and cheese on top which turns out great.  I love to throw together some guacamole like mashed fresh avocado, salt, lime juice, and perhaps cilantro if I have it on hand. 



DIRECTIONS:
Mix the first four ingredients and toss with cooked, cubed chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour (I tossed mine together in a ziploc bag in the morning and let it sit in the refrigerator all day). Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and extra marinade.  Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top!  Serve with guac and chips.  Y.U.M.M.Y.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

CHOOSING HAPPINESS...

ablogaboutlove.com

I have been so INSPIRED by this blogging couple in Brooklyn, NY!  They both come from very difficult divorces, found each other, have struggled with ongoing infertility, and they write a very powerful message. Love them!  I was having a hard day yesterday and tuned into THIS RADIO BROADCAST interviewing this couple about "CHOOSING HAPPINESS."  Really, you should listen (less than 30 minutes long).




Here are some of their popular posts:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

To those who get your VERY BEST and your VERY WORST

Isn't it interesting the dynamics of marriage and family life?  It's a place where you are COMPLETELY EXPOSED - you are truly known for who you are.  Those people that you LOVE the most get your very best... but they also get your very worst!  For example, Brayden lately has not been taking naps, which means when 4pm rolls around... it's major cranky time!  It's interesting as the parent how impatient we can get when our children are being impatient.  It's so natural to start getting upset and to start lecturing... and that usually leads to more tears and tantrums.   Sure I want to teach my children not to throw things or throw raging tantrums when they are mad... BUT, yesterday was different...  I FIRST stopped.  I got down on all fours and said, "Brayden, looks like you need a big hug!  It's hard sometimes."  I was amazed - he quieted down for a moment, still sniffling, and nuzzled into me saying a pitiful "yeah."  I just wonder if sometimes the GREATER LESSON I could be teaching him is "Mommy will love you.  Mommy will understand you.  Mommy will be by your side, even when it's hard and even when you're having a really hard time."  I won't remember this during every tantrum and sometimes it's just TOUGH, but hopefully I'll have more and more these moments where I show EMPATHY and TEACH  about appropriate BEHAVIOR.  I need to remember how it's hard to handle my own emotions too when I'm tired, and hungry, and grumpy :)

Marriage, unlike other casual relationships, tests us to our very core and requires Christ-like attributes like forgiveness, love, understanding, patience.  When you are in a moment of frustration, remember... nothing you say will be helpful or effective unless the other person can feel LOVE behind what you say.  People react not nearly as much to the exact words you say but the intention and FEELING BEHIND THOSE WORDS.  When I am being short or irritable, I so appreciate the times when Steve CHOOSES to respond in a different way.  It's the easy and natural thing to be offended when someone is offensive.  To be rude and short with people who treat us in a similar way.  BUT, what if in that moment, we were stable as a person and saw the "offender" as someone who NEEDS MORE LOVE and understanding.  It's the HARDEST thing for us humans to do - to respond with love and compassion and understanding when we don't think they deserve it, but I believe that this is a more beautiful way to live.   Thank you Steve for putting up with me and loving me even when I'm not at my very best. :)  I love you and Brayden and Hailey more than air!  Thanks to you three for being patient with me as Mommy learns!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The REAL Mother I've Become...




Oh the days while pregnant with my first.  I just had graduated with my college degree in Child Development & Family Life!  I scoured through books on sleep training to breastfeeding to learning how to become an official baby whisperer and "baby wise".  My husband kindly sat through 20 painful hours of Hypnobirthing classes and practiced all the positions during our "Labor Relaxation course."  I had him come to my lactation class, even though he was the only male in the whole room.  I even had us become "Red Cross CPR/First Aid Certified" just to be prepared :).  I can't even remember a thing we learned of course but just how we were the only ones there voluntarily!  With tours of the hospital and the changing table all set out, I thought I was so ready to become a mother.

Vivid in my mind were the expectations of what kind of mother I wanted to be.  A mother who...

actually got ready each day and looked super cute 
had patience and strived to live in the moment 
had a beautifully decorated home and cooked healthy, delicious meals 
took her kids to the library each week and continually taught them in fun ways 
wouldn't let my kids watch TV the first two years
breastfed my babies at least 12 months :) 
kept a consistent schedule and found time for personal fulfillment 
had well-kept kids with clean clothes and combed hair.... the list goes on and on

So here's a glimpse of what life has really been like this week...
As I look around the room I see milk spills on the table from days ago, oozing laundry piles, a gross casserole dish that took every second of my "personal time" during naps, old diapers that oh-so-need-to-be-taken-out, dishes so high in our tiny sink that you can't even begin to wash them, never being able to find a pair of the same socks, and rice remnants scattered across the floor because Brayden played with a bucket of rice while I was desperately trying to "get something done" and our vacuum broke right in the middle of cleaning it up.  We've watched Tangled for the upteenth time and Baby Einstein music is often ringing through my head.  If I manage to take a shower, I don't always have time to do much makeup and I am lucky to find something to wear that's both cute and clean.  Sometimes I worry that my toddler is going to turn into a giant cracker or a bag of fruit snacks since we are often on the go.  The print out of our assignment to talk in church this Sunday (which I haven't begun yet) somehow got permanently laminated to our kitchen table.  Which in a way is nice because I know I won't lose it!  We're back in diapers after a day of attempting potty training, and we were late to "library toddler time" but at least we made it!  About to run into the library, I quickly changed both kids diapers since thankfully our car is currently full of "treasures" and luckily extra diapers and wipes were included.  I gagged, being a pregnant mommy, and hurriedly stashed Brayden's mother-of-all diapers under the car wheel to throw away later.  As soon as I got home, I realized I forgot about that full diaper and drove right across it....

You're either totally disgusted and horrified at reading this (and therefore feeling better about how great you're doing)...  or you're thinking - "I'm not alone!"
As soon as Brayden started to walk and play well on his own, I had a stage of time when the house was actually pretty clean and I felt somewhat in control!  But then, we had another, and the seemingly eternal baby stage - incredibly cute yet greatly demanding - presses forward.

 I've learned that I'm far from that mother that I envisioned long ago, yet I've also discovered that family life holds life's most supreme joys.  I'm just completely tickled that my little lady just started walking and just beaming that Brayden can now say his entire ABCs!!  Even though I'm often wiping noses and putting on the continual procession of meals, there's precious moments that make. everything. so. worth. it.  Strengthening our marriages and cherishing these beautiful children God has given us really is life's most astounding experience!  I will never "have-it-all-together" but here are a few things I have found helpful:

1.   Focus on your STRENGTHS.   Anna Quindlen said, "The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."  Each of us have unique gifts, I believe God-given gifts, that we can use to bless our families and the world around us.  Your abilities will be different from the mothers on your street or in your churches, but deep down - you have special nobility and greatness within.  Use those beautiful gifts right now and say "whatever" to the slew of abilities you currently covet.  

2.  Trying to find ways to THRIVE, not just survive.  Don't you often feel like you are in "survival mode" especially while rearing lots of little ones?!  Motherhood is a tremendously important and selfless work, but we need to remember who that self is.  What are some basic needs you have... emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, and socially?  See where you are struggling right now, and maybe pick one or two things this week to help take care of YOU.  This can give you added energy and strength!

3.  Daily vow "I'll TRY AGAIN tomorrow."  The beauty of life is we can keep trying again... we all lose our patience, we all have moments when we're not quick to forgive or be kind, we all face challenges.  Gratefully, children are pretty resilient and we are continually growing and learning which is all part of the refining process of parenting!  Good thing we get to go to sleep each night - even if we close our eyes with sorrow and regrets, we can wake up refreshed to try again.

4.  PRACTICE CHERISHING the moment.  Some moments are just exhausting and some moments frankly are boring at times.  But, I believe in the POWER of REMINDING ourselves to get down on all fours, to look our precious children in the eyes, to drop what we are doing and completely give our whole selves to them, to find those teaching moments, to laugh so hard our bellies hurt, and to soak up all the love and complete joy we have for our precious children.  We're definitely not going to "cherish" each day, BUT we can practice having more and more of those joyful moments.                

*I'd love to keep writing to put off this mess that needs cleaning and to pour out my soul encouraging you in this most paramount work, but I'll just end with one more thought:  Most likely you're not always the "mother" you once had envisioned, but YOU DO have GREATNESS within you.  You're not alone in all the motherly mayhem - it is a pretty crazy life that we live :).  But, it is also the greatest, most influential, most irreplaceable role on the entire planet.  You can't ever do it all, but you can KEEP ON doing the things that matter most.

Much Love,
Mindy

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

7 Motherhood Ideas that I LOVE!

I know I've told you already... but I adore this woman - Shawni - and the whole inspiring Eyre clan.  CLICK HERE to see her post  "7 motherhood ideas that I love."  Here are some fun ideas, most of wish I don't do now but dream to do in the future!

1. Movie Night: Each Friday night they pop popcorn, make chocolate-chip cookies, and watch a movie!

2. Interviews: Shawni's dad started a tradition of having a little one-on-one "interview" with each child once a week.  She explains, "He'd ask all kinds of questions. He'd help us figure out our goals. When we were really little he'd write the initial of our best talents on each of our ten fingertips.  He'd make us feel so great about ourselves. He'd ask what he could help with.... [she goes on to share] This is a tough thing to carry on with my kids because I'm not anywhere near as organized or as amazing as my dad. But I do enjoy writing occasional letters on my kids' fingertips and I have cornered them for an 'interview' on occasion. This year I've decided to try to do interviews on our monthly lunch dates, which is the next idea..."

3. Lunch Dates.  I LOVE, LOVE this idea for taking each child out of school lunch hour every now and then!  Shawni tries to do once a month.  Sure you may still have toddlers/babies tagging along, but it's still that child's "special day."  They get to choose the fast food place and you get some essential one-on-one time!  

  4. Mother's Day Letters.  I too feel so passionately about record keeping, and I'm sure it will get even crazier and harder to keep up on it as we have more kids.  I love writing them "notes" in their journals (of course not nearly as much as I would like!) of the strengths I see in them, of funny stories, and of how much I love the little things they do.  Shawni started a tradition of asking for a few hours each Mother's Day to sit down and write each of her kids a "love note" where she writes "how much I love them at every stage and what I've noticed about them each year." These are precious letters to compile and keep forever!

5. Clean Ten.  She says, "Whenever things get really cluttery...(ok, pretty much a few times a day) we just say "clean ten" and the kids have to each pick up and put away ten things."

6. Late Nights.  Shawni explains that "'Late Nights' are when the kids get to rotate each getting a turn once a week to stay up ten or fifteen minutes later than the others. They eat this up. It's such a short amount of time, but they think it's the luckiest thing ever when it's their turn and we love to give them some undivided one-on-one attention."

7. "Happies" & "Sads"  At dinner time you each take turns saying your "happies" (best part of your day) and "sads" (worst moment of the day)!  I've tried doing this at bedtime which can be fun too.  She says it's a great way to get some details and more of a discussion than just describing their day as "fine" or "bad." LOVE ALL THESE IDEAS! THANKS TO SHAWNI!

Monday, March 5, 2012

"Just LOVE them!"


I'm the type of person who is ALWAYS ASKING more experienced parents for ADVICE.  Since I'm still a young mother and experience is life's best teacher, I find WHOEVER I can ... older moms at the playground, old grannies at church, even strangers on airplanes, mothers in the doctor's waiting rooms...  Interestingly, I typically get pretty much the SAME ANSWER! ...

"JUST LOVE THEM!"

And honestly, usually I'm thinking to myself ... "Really, what a cop out!, Everyone loves their kids, Come on, give me some real ideas and advice!"   After 5 years or so of doing this, I'm starting to wonder... Do these women have a point?  Do they understand something powerful that I'm only beginning to grasp?!

In a moment of feeling powerless working in a special needs Guatemalan orphanage one summer, I asked the director of an NPO bringing wheelchairs - "What really can I do to help these children?!"  And he also said, "JUST LOVE THEM."  I thought - wait a minute! what about communication boards, what about teaching sign language, how can I improve their sad lives?  I couldn't give them a loving parent which they of course desperately needed, so I tried to give them all the love and attention I could muster.  Maybe that man knew that every child has a BASIC NEED to feel loved, accepted, taken care of, to feel that they belong.    

Lately, I've been inspired to put this to the test with my little ones.  For a week now, I've experimented with...

And reading this fun library book:
        
And it has been so interesting!  Maybe when our relationship is STRONGER, they are more likely to FEEL BETTER and LISTEN a LITTLE MORE to what we say.  Sure we need to teach our children right from wrong, and I'm not suggesting in the least to be a permissive parent.  Research shows HIGH EXPECTATIONS coupled with HIGH LOVE/WARMTH are the ingredients for the healthiest parenting.  But perhaps one of the greatest lessons we can give to our children is the knowledge that we LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY.
Just try it out - LOVING MORE - and see if all those older women had some wisdom after all :)



Friday, March 2, 2012

How NOT to FALL OUT OF LOVE


Remember when you were dating your spouse... you were completely attracted to each other and totally in LOVE!  Remember when you just couldn't stand being apart for too long?!  On cloud 9, you had found your man and were having a blast!  Most newly marrieds see a relationship that will LAST.    But, the reality is just about the majority end in divorce.  On top of that, several marriages who have "stable," committed relationships do not label their marriages as "happy."  If you are looking at this blog, I'm assuming that you want to fight for your relationship!  You desire not only to make it LAST but also to make it continually more HAPPY and HEALTHY.  Today I listened to a podcast by Matt Townsend - a fantastic relationship coach - who works with clients who come to him often saying "I've fallin' out of love."  Matt assures that every single marriage has problems, but you CAN make an effort to STRENGTHEN your relationship. He went further to explain the THREE PHASES of LOVE:
  





"I could wish for you nothing better than a good marriage, a happy marriage, a marriage fruitful in the sweet and satisfying things of life.  Your marriage will not be excellent if it is marred with argument, if it is filled with disrespect one for another, if there is any lack of loyalty or devotion to one another.  CHERISH your SPOUSE as the greatest possession of your life and TREAT him or her accordingly.  MAKE IT YOUR CONSTANT GOAL to ADD to the HAPPINESS and comfort of your companion.  Never permit yourself to let down in your affection, or your respect, or your faith in one another."  - Gordon B. Hinckley
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