Two Minutes a Day Doing This Will Change Your Marriage!

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In my weekly hunt to find marriage teachings and encouragements I can present to our marriage class, I came across this absolute gem that has the power to transform any marriage. It comes from Gary Thomas and the website Homeward.

Gary has a new book entitled “Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything for your Marriage”. While working on the book, Gary interviewed a woman who told him about an amazing marital “exercise” she put into practice. She spent an entire year working on her husband’s Christmas present. She kept a journal that recorded something she was thankful for about her husband that particular day. These were very specific, day-by-day accounts of what the husband did and why she was thankful to be married to him:  things like, putting up the Christmas lights when it was very cold, coming home and playing with the kids after a long business trip even though he was obviously tired, that kind of thing.

When she gave her husband the journal he immediately sat down and read it in one sitting. Later, when recounting this gift to a friend, he told him, “Reading that journal makes me aspire to be the man she thinks I am.”

So, you’d think that the real winner here is the recipient of the journal. But, if take a closer look, you might think differently. See, Gary tried this little marital “exercise” himself, taking a few minutes each day to write down something positive about his wife for which he was thankful.

Gary says that because he had to find something new to write about every day, he had to watch his wife throughout the day, trying to “catch” her doing something wonderful, or making sure he remembered something positive that she said. So, he was always on the lookout for the best, her most excellent qualities and characteristics. If he saw something displeasing, it wasn’t relevant to me, so he’d forget it and keep looking for the good.

He says it changed the way he thought about, looked at, acted toward, and spoke about his wife. He says it was an early gift to his wife because it changed the way he treated her, appreciated her, and spoke to and about her. And it was a gift to him to be reminded and filled with such gratitude that he’s blessed to be married to a woman who gives him something new to praise every day.

As you might remember from THIS post of mine, there is so much good to see in others, in circumstances, in everything, IF we just take the time to look for it. And if you take the few minutes to write down, every day, the positives you can find in your spouse, you just may take your marriage to the next level. Try it!!

I’ve Started a New Job

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(photo: www.livethelife.org)

 

So, many of you might have been wondering why I’m cutting back on my usual daily podcasts. Well, I’ll tell you. I have accepted a job with a non-profit organization called “Live the Life”, which works with local churches in the communities they serve to…among other things, reduce the divorce rate. They do this by helping to establish and promote marriage ministries largely in local churches.

The job I will be tasked with is to help reduce the divorce rate in Panama City and Bay County by 50 percent. Did you know that Panama City has more divorces per capita than any other city in the entire country? That’s right, Panama City is the divorce capital of the United States.

Why is this such an important mission? Because in communities  where there is marital success, children enjoy better physical and emotional health, greater success in school and there’s lower rates of crime, domestic violence, and teen pregnancy. Conversely, where there are great rates of marital failure there’s more domestic violence, more sexual assault, higher delinquency and crimes, higher rates of suicides, and many societal ills.**

I could really use your prayers as I embark on this mission. I feel like this job is an answered prayer and would allow me, God willing, to make a huge impact in our local community, and possibly neighboring communities as well.

Meanwhile, I will be doing my best to keep bringing you encouragement, inspiration, and practical tips through this little blog and podcast. Until then, THANK YOU in advance for your prayers. May God richly bless you and your family!

 

**Source: Administration for Children and Families, Health and Human Services, Washington D.C.

 

Take the Love Style Quiz!

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Like it or not, when we enter into marriage with someone, we bring baggage. Some of us bring LOTS of baggage. All our past hurts. All our struggles. So many of those come from our past and how we grew up.

You may have heard of “The 5 Love Languages” and you can take the quiz to identify YOUR personal “love language” RIGHT HERE. Up until now, that quiz was one of my favorite tools to help couples grow closer and for marriages to really thrive. I mean it is so important to love someone the way that they want to be loved. Empathy and understanding are crucial to any marriage.

I think I have now found a tool that may be more effective than even the love languages in understanding your spouse. It’s called the LOVE STYLE QUIZ. When you can identify your own “love style”, you can start to work on those deep seeded issues that continue to plague you and your marriage. What’s more, when you discover your spouses’s “love style”, you can empathize with them as they work on their own issues.

What’s cool about the quiz is that it not only helps you identify your “love style”, but it also offers tips and resources to help you deal with all that baggage from your past. So, go ahead and take the quiz RIGHT HERE. And in case you are wondering, my predominant love style is “The Pleaser”.

You knew I had issues, right?

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How One 25-Year-Old Earns $400K A Year While Traveling The World

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So the big trend these days is to find a subject that you know a great deal about, figure out how to make money off that online, and travel the world while you rake in the cash. Of course, it sounds too good to be true, and if it IS true, it’s only true for some people. That’s true of alot of stuff, but for the people this guy above, if you are passionate about pursuing your dream, and you do it with dogged determination, it IS possible.

I found an incredible story on Forbes.com about Johannes Larsson, a Swedish innovator (and that guy pictured above) who is a  self-proclaimed marketing guru, and passionate traveler who at just 25 years old runs a financial comparison business that earned him over $400,000 of passive revenue last year.

 

The author of the article interviews Larsson and asks him key questions about his success. I would highly encourage you to read the two page interview because it is full of fascinating stuff, like how Larsson has been at this since he was 15, but didn’t hit the right formula for what he’s doing now until he was the the ripe old age of 22. And how he has a team of over 20 people who work for him, and they are what’s called “intrapraneurs.”

Here are some of my takeaways:

**He surrounded himself with people who are on similar paths to motivate him, help him grow, and keep him accountable.

**He narrowed his search for employees who understand what he did, knew his business, and wanted to take on the risk of being an intrapreneur. that is, people who are paid for their performance, per task, or in shares.

**He lives by one rule: do something productive, or something that you enjoy, or both… but never find yourself in that gray zone where you’re doing neither.

**Create your “dream team” asap. Even if you can’t afford experts, find people with the right mindset, educate them, and encourage them to rise like stars.

**Learn and execute. It’s common for people to either learn too much and execute too little, or learn too little and execute too much. This balance is very powerful and important to keep in check.

**Only consume information that you can apply to your business or situation today. For each book you read, video you watch, or podcast you hear, write down a takeaway on how to apply that knowledge–otherwise it’s useless.

**Lastly, make it a habit to go outside your comfort zone and don’t let fear hold you back. You’ll be sure to succeed if you can constantly do what most people are too afraid to. Becoming an entrepreneur changes your perspective, and once you’ve succeeded (no matter how long that takes), you’ll see that anything is possible.

 

 

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Why We Should All Strive to “Go The Extra Mile”

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A former radio boss used to tell me, “Logan, don’t just do your best. Do what is required.” That’s just another way of saying, “go the extra mile when you need to.” Do you ever finish a job, whatever it is, and then think to yourself that you need to do more? That’s going the extra mile. Do you ever do something for someone in need, and then realize that they need more than they originally asked? That’s going the extra mile.

Sounds like I’m “going the extra mile” in telling you about the extra mile.

It’s probably because there is so much value and joy in going the extra mile. I came across a little article that show five examples of people “going the extra mile.” According to the article, “when people do more than they have to, and do so with an attitude of generosity, they give of themselves in ways that lift all of humanity. The heart grows tender when we extend ourselves beyond what’s expected. Going the extra mile is a vital ingredient that lifts our mood, allowing hopefulness to rule.”

There are so many ordinary, everyday , unassuming folks who love to bless others without expecting anything in return. Some people call it “making a deposit in your emotional bank account”.

Take a moment to think of all the people in your life each day that you can “go the extra mile” for. If you really tune into the needs of others, you’ll find endless examples. Again, the formula is simple:

Do something nice for someone. THEN, do something ON TOP of that niceness to make it extra special.

Here are some examples:

When you give someone a book, write a note on the inside cover.

When everyone’s funneling through a busy doorway, hold it open for the whole line of people.

When you’re arranging a meal for your friends at your place, invite someone you’ve never had over.

When you’re grocery shopping for your family and find a deal that requires you to buy extra, buy it but give the extra to your neighbor.

When someone asks you to pray for them during the week, pray with them right then too.

These are just a few of the ideas I found HERE

Someone very wise once told me that it’s not a blessing until it’s passed onto someone else. Don’t just keep it for yourself, pass it on. Pay it forward. GO THE EXTRA MILE.

You’ll be glad you did!

 

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7-Year-Old Florida Girl Saves Family From House Fire

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“And a child shall lead them”. How many times have we heard that one? Well, in this case it’s true. According to WEAR in Pensacola, Tracy Durant said she remembered the fire safety tips she learned in school when her family’s Escambia County home caught on fire.. The fire broke out when Tracy’s 13-year-old cousin, Shemaiah, was cooking on the stove.

“It looked like when the stove was on and it came up top and then it kept getting bigger and bigger,” Tracy told WEAR of the flames. “I didn’t want us to get killed.”

Little Tracy’s parents weren’t home at the time, so she ran to a neighbor’s house for help, asking to use their phone to call the fire department. Everyone was able to escape the home, including Shemaiah and their 11-month-old cousin. Shemaiah was taken to a local hospital in serious condition but is expected to survive, WEAR reports.

Tracy’s grandmother  told WEAR that the family is proud of Tracy. The little girl praised her teacher for her fire safety skills. “She said one day I would be a hero,” Tracy recalled. “I wanted to start practicing now.”

God bless little Tracy and her family. Please pray for them as they recover from this.

This story does remind us all to take inventory and ask if our family would be safe from fire. Do you have the basics of fire prevention like working smoke alarms and a fire extinguisher? Do you have a fire safety escape plan? If not, get one RIGHT HERE. 

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Just ask little Tracy.

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5 Unexpected Moments You Should Handwrite a Thank-You Note

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If you’ve been listening to this podcast and reading my blog, you already know that there is GREAT power in gratitude. It can transform your day, and if you practice it every day, it can make you a much happier person. In fact, on every one of my business cards for this venture is written one of my favorite quotes “It’s not the happy person  who is grateful, but the grateful person who is happy.”

It’s so very true, and so when I came across a cool little article from Huffington Post, I just had to share. You see, gratitude doesn’t just have the power to transform you, it can a transform others as well.

Showing gratitude in just the right way at just the right time can be one of the most valuable gifts you can give someone. So, here are 5 Unexpected Moments You Should Handwrite a Thank-You Note:

1/When a co-worker is there for you. Do you have someone at work that takes the time to give you a listening ear, a caring heart, a hug, or a laugh? Show them you really appreciate them with a little thank you note on their desk. It will let them know just how much you care.

2/To your parents for doing more than you ever realized. What’s the most thankless job in the world? You guessed it—being a parent. From going to countless sports events to helping with homework night after night. Write a heartfelt thank-you note to your parents for giving you a beautiful life, loving you unconditionally, and teaching you more than you know. You can’t imagine the impact it will have on them.

3. To your everyday helpers. Think about those day to day people that help you function in life: your dry cleaner, your mailman, (here in Florida) your pool cleaner, or your babysitter, whoever. Leaving a “just-because” thank-you note is the perfect way to foster your relationship with these everyday helpers in your life and show them that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

4. To your best friend who is there for you every day of the year. Sometimes we forget what’s right in front of us. Let your best buddy know how much you appreciate them by dropping them that unexpected note that’s both silly and sweet. Don’t forget to throw in a cool or fond memory that sticks with you.

5. To that teacher who stuck with you all these years.We all have mentors and people in different stages of our lives that lift us up and help us pave the way into our future. Some of the most impactful people who helped you along the way are those teachers who are still in the back of our minds. Why not reach out and send a note to them at school, thanking them after all of these years for the support, good advice and guidance that has helped you become the adult you are today.

We all have the ability to unleash great power with just a little gratitude. Go ahead and do it today. It will brighten your day too!

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The Benefits of Loving Like Jesus

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One of THE best books I’ve ever read is called “Jesus Prom: Life Gets Fun When You Love People Like God Does” by Jon Weece. It’s really a primer on how to get in the habit of loving people like Jesus did. The book’s author, Jon Weece, has so many wonderful nuggets of truth like “As adults, we’ve become a culture of human doings, when we were designed to live as human beings...the verb to be is a verb that flows from the blueprint of our Designer.”

At the heart of this wonderful little book is how to put love into action. Jon Weece says “one of the best ways to start a conversation is with a question: Is there anything I can do for you today? It’s quite biblical, really. Paul exhorts us to “share each other’s troubles and problems” (Galatians 6:2 TLB).

Weece says “the alarm on my phone rings at 3:16 every day in honor of John 3:16. Jesus died so I can live. So at 3:16 every day, I sent a text or an e-mail to someone I know, letting them know that I love them.

It’s really pretty simple, the more loving you are to others, the more love you will receive.

Weece is the head pastor at Southland Community Church, and every year that have what they call “Jesus Prom”, it’s basically a night for folks with special needs to enjoy the FULL prom experience. The Tim Tebow Foundation offers something just like that, called “Night to Shine”. One one night, churches across the world give a once in a lifetime experience to tens of thousands of these honored guests.

For my Bay County, Florida friends, If you’d like to be part of this weekend’s “Night to Shine” event, they probably still need male volunteers to help make this night truly special. For more on that click HERE

I hope you can volunteer. I hope you can read this book. Because wouldn’t the world be a MUCH better place if we all learned to love like Jesus did?

 

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Doing Disney On The Cheap!

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Our family lives in Florida, and if you have kids that grow up in Florida, you will try your best to make a trip or two to Disney World. Granted, Disney makes it a little easier to do that with their annual passes, but still a trip to Disney, if you’re not careful, can totally wreck your budget.

So, my wife Leanne (a veteran of many trips to Disney)  posted a very cool blog entry on her favorite travel hacks for the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Again, I would encourage you to read the entire article, but here are some of the highlights:

1/Park Passes. Tickets are a small fortune but there aren’t many ways to get around that one. One thing we do in order to save on tickets is to buy the cheapest season pass available and plan to make our one Disney vacation into at least 2 vacations. If you time it right, you can use the tickets the first year and then go back a second year before they expire to take advantage again. That cuts your cost in half!

2/Getting There. If you live within driving distance of Orlando, then obviously that’s your cheapest option. If you must fly, take advantage of Southwest‘s awesome promotional flights. They often discount round trip flights to under $100 round trip. Even better, sign up for their branded credit card and receive bonus miles that you can use to purchase tickets for free (taxes not included). Delta also offers nice sign up bonuses on their American Express branded cards. You can also sign up with Delta for their dining program for free or shop through their online portal and get bonus miles without a credit card or having to fly.

3/Accommodations. Lodging is the next big expense on your trip. We have stayed both on and off Disney property.  Staying on property is great when you don’t have a car because Disney takes care of all of your transportation (including from the airport). They have an extensive bus system that runs throughout the resort, as well as the monorail, which runs between some of the higher end resorts, Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The disadvantage to the system is that at some of the resorts, you will have to wait a while for the buses and may share a bus route with another resort which can prolong your travel time. Staying on property also means you will not have access to off-property dining, grocery or convenience stores. You can, however, bring some food items as most properties now have at least a small refrigerator in the room. Others have microwaves as well. The food courts have toasters and microwaves that can be used by anyone.

We like to stay off-property for the most part so that we have access to restaurants and grocery stores. Our favorite place to stay is Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort. You can get a great price on these condos if you look on VRBO or look for people selling their timeshare weeks. Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort is actually located on the Disney property, though not owned by Disney. You can rent anything from a studio to a 3 bedroom condo that includes a full kitchen, laundry and an amazing jetted tub to rest your feet after all that Disney walking! The property has several pools, a lazy river, water slides and mini-golf. There is a grill area for grilling out and several restaurants and bars on site. Be aware this is a timeshare resort so they will bug you when you first get there to sit through a presentation, but that’s not required.  You’ll need a car unless you pay extra for the bus provided by the resort. Another area that is our favorite to stay in is the Lake Buena Vista area. There are multiple hotels in the area and several chain restaurants. Best of all, it is located about a mile from Disney Springs so you can take an extra day (or two) to visit Disney without having to buy a ticket to the parks. There are amazing shops and restaurants at Disney Springs along with street entertainment and more. It is so fun to just walk around with an ice cream and people watch. Plus it has the world’s largest Disney store and a huge Lego store. I like to use Priceline to find a cheap hotel for us to stay in Lake Buena Vista. I often use Name Your Own Price when I want something really cheap. We once stayed at a hotel in the area for $36 a night and that included breakfast!

4/Food. I have already covered the on-site microwaves, refrigerators and food court conveniences. Another trick that we like to use is to bring crock pot meals. I have never tried to use a crockpot in a traditional hotel room but we have used it at the cabins at Disney and at the Bonnet Creek resort. This is by far, the easiest and most convenient way to cook dinner for your family at Disney. Trust me, you will not want to cook at the end of a day spent walking all over the parks. A crockpot meal is perfect because you can put the ingredients together in ziplock bags before the trip, freeze them for travel and then dump them in the crockpot each morning before you head to the parks. When you return, you have a healthy, delicious, home cooked meal and you don’t have to fight the crowds at the restaurants or eat greasy food all week. Breakfast items are easy to pack and can be eaten in any hotel room and lunches can be made and taken into the park. We almost never buy food in the parks because that’s a pricey proposition.

Hope this helps you have a fun-filled, memorable time at Disney without breaking the bank!

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Man with Alzheimer’s Forgets He’s Married, Proposes and ‘Weds’ Wife Again in Tearful Ceremony

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I know first hand the day to day struggle of caring for a loved one with declining memory. My father came to live with our family back in 2010 after he had been afflicted with dementia, and those were some of the most stressful, but also some of the most joyful and bittersweet times of my life. You never knew what each day would bring, and it taught us alot about flexibility and sacrifice.

There’s a wonderful story in People.com about Michael and Linda Joyce. Alzheimer’s disease has taken Michael memory. But there’s one thing he’s remembered after all these years: he’s head over heels in love with his wife, Linda.

68 year old Michael was diagnosed with the illness in 2010, and has forgotten that he and Linda married in 1984. So, he proposed to his wife again — and the New Zealand couple wed a second time near a picturesque lake in their Frankton neighborhood.

“He got up, but he looked different. He looked quite anxious, like he was trying to tell me something. I jumped up and I held his hand and I said, ‘What’s wrong, darling? What are you trying to say?’ ” Linda tells PEOPLE, noting that Michael’s ability to speak is very limited. “He said, ‘Will you marry me?’ I was absolutely blown away … I said, ‘Of course!’ and his eyes filled up and he held me.”

Last Saturday, they renewed their vows in front of their loved ones in an emotional ceremony.. “When I had to repeat my vows, I was very emotional and my voice broke,” she tells PEOPLE. “I said I was going to love and honor him through sickness and through health, ’til death do us part — and that’s the part that choked me up.” Linda says, “I was overjoyed, overwhelmed and very ecstatic. I really was. I was elated,” she says. “Michael was completely relaxed and happy.”

She says, “It’s been very difficult physically and emotionally. You’ve always had this partner that you shared everything with. Decision making … I don’t have that with Michael. I have to make all the decisions for both of us because he doesn’t have the ability to communicate verbally. There’s no conversations between us anymore,” she tells PEOPLE.

She adds: “If I lost him I’d be absolutely, totally devastated. He’s my world.”

This story makes us all reassess what love is truly all about. God bless you Linda for your sacrifice and all the wonderful care you show your husband. We should all hope to be so blessed.

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