Category Archives: Blog Posts

Being Fearless in a Scary World

Fearless is a word that gets flung around far more often than I would have imagined when I began writing this post.  Merriam-Webster defines fearless as being without fear or being brave.  The truth is, we are all afraid sometimes, so perhaps a more realistic definition of the term would be to carry on despite the presence of those emotions.

Fear in itself is not a bad thing; experiencing fear is just one of the mixed blessings of being human.  And fear can be useful; it can stop us from rushing headfirst into dangerous situations.  It’s what we choose to do with our fears that truly define us.  Do you allow fear to take control of your actions, or do you strive to overcome that fear and take action in spite of it?

When you find a cause worthy of your attention, be it your own situation or something that affects others, do not let your fears prevent you from speaking out, standing up, or otherwise showing your support.  You, as an individual, are a person of value, and your opinion is worth being noticed.


rock sky woman
Do you stand up to your fears? Photo on

Stand up for yourself.

It can be hard to take a stand when you are faced with harassment, peer pressure, or verbal or physical abuse.  It may feel easier to just accept the unwanted words or actions, and hope you will fade into the background.  Perhaps if you don’t draw attention to yourself, it will just go away.

Deep inside a part of you knows that’s not likely to happen.  In dealing with harassment or peer pressure, the only solution to truly free yourself is to take a stand.  By confronting your tormentors, you may earn their respect or at least convince them to back down.  In dealing with abuse, verbal or especially physical, the best solution may be to simply remove yourself completely from the situation.  You do not deserve what you are experiencing, no matter how much the abuser tries to convince you otherwise.


hand lifestyles missions
You don’t always have to stand alone.  Photo on

Stand for a cause.

When you find an issue that you are passionate about, it can be difficult to openly talk about it to others, especially if you believe they will not support you or will not share your concerns.  Those feelings should not discourage you from speaking out.  Any cause that is worthy of your attention is likely to draw in others too.  Perhaps they are just as nervous about speaking out, but will happily join you if you fearlessly take the first stand.

There are numerous issues society faces today that need strong supporters.  One person alone is unlikely to achieve much, but by individuals taking a stand, and joining with others, a group can be formed that attracts attention.  Change most often comes when enough people come together to present a united front that cannot fail to be noticed by those in power.

One such movement in the media right now is the #Me Too, which is designed to fight back against sexual assault and harassment of women in the workplace.  As much as many of us fear becoming victims ourselves, it is only by standing together that we can hope to affect change.

We are only human and we all experience fear.  To live a fearless life we have to look beyond those sometimes crippling emotions and live our lives as the people we truly want to become.  Don’t let fear stop you from taking a leap, or a stand, or finding your voice.

Till next time,



Changing Life-Goals and Ditching Plans

I used to think that by the time I reached my mid-forties I would have the entire rest of my life mapped out.  I thought that at some predetermined point I would have a firmly set path in front of me, complete with clearly-defined goals and the steps required to get there.

The road to the hills
Each journey we take starts with one step. Photo by highlights6 on / CC BY-NC-ND

I started a career in the medical field, and though there were missteps and difficulties here and there, I managed to get where I wanted to go.  That vocation allowed me to support my kids while they grew up, finished school, and then began the pursuit of their own dreams.  One day, though, I realized the work no longer satisfied me, fulfilled me.  I asked myself, where do I go from here?

Life, I’ve heard, is not a destination, but a journey.  It follows then, that when one goal is reached, it’s time to set a new one.  Some people are lucky to find a career, a lifestyle they love, and are content to stay with that for the rest of their lives, and I say great for them!  However, I was not one of those people; after a while the job I held for so long became, to put it bluntly, boring.

I became aware that the aims and goals that I had when I was struggling with a young family in my twenties no longer fit my changing life now that my kids were grown and (mostly) on their own.  Eventually I decided to go back to school, and start on a new path, one that I had lacked the financial security and perhaps, the courage, to pursue as a parent of young children.  I decided to become a professional writer, something I’d dare only dream about before.

I still don’t have it all figured out, but somewhere along the way I realized that that’s okay.  Somedays it still feels like I take two steps forward and four steps backward on the path I have chosen.  I don’t expect I’ll ever become rich or famous, but I’m happy sharing my gifts with the world.

My life no longer has a completely set plan, but I’ve decided I really don’t need one.  All the changes, growth, and even succumbing to uncertainty I’ve experienced on this particular expedition, means I’m still alive, still growing, still becoming whom I’m meant to be.  I’m only forty-six after all; I ‘m optimistic that I still have quite a bit more untraveled road ahead of me, and I’m just enjoying the journey.

Here’s to hoping you all find your own path to happiness,


On Dreams of Spring

January often presents itself with disagreeable weather in many parts of the country, either frigidly cold or just gray and dreary.  However, I don’t (normally) allow this to bother me.  Why?  Because to me, January presents the perfect time to plan for the days, and seasons to come.

Winter Storm
Even a bleak winter landscape offers a promise of spring. Photo by Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 27 Million views) on / CC BY-NC

January heralds the beginning of a new year, with endless possibilities.  Instead of allowing the chilly temperatures and gray skies to get me down, I start planning the garden I will plant come spring.  Last year, I experimented with growing vegetables in pots in my back yard to protect them from an infestation of moles and an over-eager dog.  My “vegetable patch” produced mixed results, but left me more than eager to continue, and expand, my little garden this year. Not to mention, the recipes I can make with my homegrown produce.

January is also the perfect time to clean out clutter, and think of possible ways to reorganize, redecorate, and reorder my home.  My daughter graduates from college this spring, so it’s the perfect time for me to freshen up not only the guest room for visiting relatives, but the rest of the household as well.  I’m spending my free time pouring over paint colors to brighten or lighten up different spaces, and rethinking furniture arrangements.  It’s time to put the home décor magazines I horde to good use!

While many are struggling with resolutions or perhaps have already abandoned some, I’m picturing myself as I want to be this spring and summer.  I want to have to buy new clothes because much of my current wardrobe has become too large.  I want to walk into my former workplace and be noticeably thinner, as well as having achieved my goals for leaving in the first place (to devote myself to writing full-time.)

I’m reflecting on all the changes I’ve made in the last year, and the places I want to go and things I want to accomplish in 2018.  Will I get there?  Maybe.  The point is, January is the perfect time to hope, dream, plan, and take baby steps toward making this the best year yet.

Here’s hoping you can do the same!




My Favorite Female Action Heroes

Since we’re currently experiencing a significant cold spell here in the Midwest, I decided that it was a good time to veg out and watch some favorite movies, old and new.  As many of my readers will know, I am especially fond of movies that feature strong, independent female characters.  So I’ve come up with a list of ladies who can go toe-to-toe with the best of male action heroes.  In no particular order:

Alice, star of the Resident Evil franchise; this movie series is now six strong and while the films have not always received the best critical acclaim, there is just something about a female hero capable of killing zombie butts that always cheers me up.  Alice has been used, manipulated, kidnapped, and experimented on.  She has witnessed horrible misdeeds in the name of science, namely the development of genocidal weapons, and the deaths of friends.  Despite all this, she endures, she fights, and she continues to win battles against hordes of undead.  How many could withstand the pressure?

Leia Organa; once again a major player in this new trilogy of the Star Wars universe, we have watched Leia grow over the course of five films thus far, becoming the ultimate leader of the forces of good.  As a Princess, rebel leader, and General, Leia has devoted her life to undoing the wrongs wrecked on the galaxy by an evil organization that enthralled her own father.  She has kept the faith when her own family has fallen to the dark side, and when her personal life has suffered.  She has even (spoiler alert!) learned over the years to draw on the force in moments of danger.

Ellen Ripley: this reluctant hero of Alien fame has proven that nature favors survival of the fittest.  Through four movies her determination has allowed her to endure against an almost unopposable foe, an alien lifeform that parasitically draws on other species and embodies their best traits, making each successive generation that much tougher to kill.  Facing opposition not only from hordes of creatures but also self-interested humans, Ripley fights uphill battles to prevent humanity from becoming extinct.


Natasha Romanova, aka The Black Widow: a former Russian assassin, this feisty lady regularly faces battles on an equal footing with the mostly male members of The Avengers, making appearances in five movies to date and at least two more on the horizon, including a solo Black Widow film.  She uses her martial arts and weaponry finesse against aliens, demi-gods, and enhanced human threats to the safety and freedom of the world, all while flinging out quips and manipulating her targets with ploys that would put Mata Hari to shame.

Katniss Everdeen: this young woman from the dystopian society of The Hunger Games quadrilogy stood up to a totalitarian government and took her younger sister’s place in a cruel, gladiator-inspired competition to the death.  From the very beginning, she refused to bow to political pressure, eventually gaining the public’s support and becoming an icon for rebellion.  She fought for her life, and those of family and friends, in battles both physical and social.  Even when betrayed, she fought for what she believed was right, eventually defeating not one but two dictators.

Sarah Connor: the mother of the man who will save the world from computer control.  She finds herself in the unlikely situation of being hunted by a robot from the future, which has come back in time for the sole reason of preventing her son from ever being born.  Featured in three of the movies in The Terminator series, Sarah transforms herself into a warrior princess for the sole purpose of training her son John for the destiny she knows he must face.  She devotes everything she has to making sure he will survive so he can save the world, even going so far as to attempt to change time itself to save John from his fate.

Lara Croft: from the pixels of a computer game to the large screen, this female version of Indiana Jones is on a quest to save the world.  A member of English nobility, the beautiful Lara combines the brains of a scientist with the bravery and the bullets of a true swash-buckling hero.  She fights off treasure hunters and would-be evil overlords bent on world domination, all while trying to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance.  She will not let anyone stop her from doing what she knows is right, not even a former lover or the promise of eternal life.

Female action heroes, while getting often receiving less accolades than their male counterparts, are no less worthy of honor for their deeds.  This is only a small sample of the notable characters we can find on the big screen and beyond.  Perhaps it’s time to take advantage of the cold weather, and plan a movie night with your loved ones.  I’m sure you can make a list of your own favorite stars.

Till next time,




Make Yourself Happy in 2018

Today, many of us are dealing with the aftermath of the holidays-the cleanup, the diet guilt, the rush to exchange unwanted/unneeded items and picking up after-Christmas deals.  In this last week of 2017, many of us will begin reexamining what we’ve accomplished this year, and what tasks or goals we’ve not yet completed.  Many of us will begin to visualize a list of resolutions designed to improve ourselves, our lives, and perhaps our community as well.

As we speed towards 2018, I encourage you to set goals that are more encompassing than losing a certain number of pounds or including more produce in your diet.  I challenge all my readers out there to actively pursue that which will make you truly happy.  Instead of simply wishing for a new, better life or hoping to win the lottery; get out there and improve the life you already have.

1/52 ~ Resolution
The first step to a happier life is defining your goals.  Photo by Rachel.Melton on / CC BY-NC-ND

Take time to envision the aspects of your life where you are unhappy and think about what steps you could take to change them.

  • Are you not satisfied in your current job? Speak up to your boss, train for a new position, or consider finding a new one.
  • Don’t like your current house, but moving is not an option? Repaint, rearrange furniture, or take a home improvement course at a local adult education center.
  • Not happy with your appearance? Get new workout clothes (they may encourage you to hit the pavement or go to the gym) or get a new haircut or some new clothes.
  • Want to see real change in your community? Look around to find charitable organizations you could join, or support or start a campaign to improve local government or law enforcement.

Whatever it takes to improve your self-esteem and ultimately increase your self-worth is always going to make you happier.  These goals may sound too broad or reaching for some, but the key is there is always something you can do to improve any situation.  These improvements may only be apparent in the smallest of ways or one step at a time, but any step in a positive direction should offer some degree of happiness and encouragement to keep moving forward.

Think big-make a change that will make you happier; you’ll find that by improving your outlook on life, your loved ones and others around you will be affected by your positivity too!

Happy New Year and good luck with your resolutions!





Don’t Let the Holidays Stress You Out-Part 3-Food

Ache, Adult, Depression, Expression, Face, Female, Girl
Don’t let the holidays stress you out.  Photo on

Many of us are in the final countdown of making our holiday preparations.  Hopefully, you have everything well in hand for any and all celebrations you are contributing to or hosting.  If you’re not quite there yet, you might want to pay attention.  Here are some of my most hard-earned but important tips for getting through your holiday meals without having to resort to calling Mom at the last minute, ordering takeout, or simply having a meltdown.

Now is the time to plan.  Pull out your guest list, recipes, and grocery list.  Have you planned enough food for all your guests, or do you still need to set a menu?  Do you have enough dinnerware, cutlery, napkins, and serving pieces on hand?  Do you have enough casserole dishes/baking pans/cake pans, etc. for each dish you will be making?

Goose, Goose Breast, Fry, Food, Christmas Food, Feast
How prepared are you to feed holiday guests? Photo on

Is there enough room at your table, or can it be extended or can you add another table to accommodate all your guests?  Don’t forget about tablecloths and centerpieces!  Can you make room in your refrigerator for everything you will be making?  Now is the time to make any last minute decisions or alterations to your party plans, while you can still address them and before the last minute crush at the stores.

Don’t forget to thaw!  Unless you’re preparing a strictly vegetarian feast, more than likely you’ve already purchased a special meat main course for your holiday meal.  Whether you’re serving turkey or ham, or something else entirely, many meats come frozen from the grocery store.  Nothing stresses a holiday hostess out like attempting to prepare a main course that is still rock solid when you need to put it in the oven.  The time you will need to thaw your meat varies according to type and size, but most experts agree that slow thawing in the refrigerator is the safest method for any type of meat.  The packaging on your entrée will give you the weight and other particulars you need, and I’ve included links to assist you in your preparations.

To safely thaw a turkey for your dinner, check out this chart on

If you are serving ham, see this guide:

Establish a queue for the oven.  If you’re like me and only have one oven and a microwave in your kitchen, (yes, hubby, I still have my eye on that double oven we saw), it is especially important that you plan the order in which you will prepare food.  To save yourself time and headache on the day of your event, make any dish that can be done so; such as desserts, Jell-O salads, or any items served at room temperature or cold, either the morning of or ideally a day or two beforehand.

This early prep will free up your oven for side dishes, rolls, and your meat main course.  Still, you may need to be prepared to use the oven in shifts, so decide which dishes can go in at the same time, and what items will be fine either standing or sitting on a warming zone on the stovetop for a while.  If you’re really lucky perhaps you have a warming drawer that will hold extra food until you’re ready to serve.  Some dishes, such as mashed potatoes, can be transferred to a slow cooker until dinner time to help free up space on the stove.

Ask for and accept help.  No matter if you are hosting family, friends, or just acquaintances this holiday season, there is probably someone who will be glad to lend you a hand.  Don’t let pride get in the way of others’ assistance; it’s your show, but you do not have to be a one person army!  Perhaps they will do part of the cooking, or just allow you space in their oven or refrigerator during the preparation process.  Some of your guests may be happy to bring out a platter, fill drinks, or simply pass along information about where to leave coats or find a bathroom.  Graciously accept any offers of help you receive, because not only will doing so take some of the stress of you, it will also allow your guests the joy of having contributed to the celebration.

I wish you all the best of luck with your holiday celebrations, as well as blessings for the holidays themselves.  Merry Christmas!



Don’t Let the Holidays Stress You Out-Part 2-The Gifts

Ache, Adult, Depression, Expression, Face, Female, Girl
Don’t let the holidays stress you out.  Photo on

So much of this holiday season focuses on giving; obligatory or expected gifts to everyone and anyone we know, but also of our time and energy.  Planning, finding, and paying for holiday gifts can cause stress levels to spike. We spend way too much precious time at the mall and/or online, only to still not be done at the very end of the countdown leading up to Christmas Day.  While everyone’s list and budget will be different, the best thing you can do to alleviate holiday stress is make a few guidelines for yourself, and stick to them.

Don’t feel guilty about setting a budget.  It is far too easy to overspend this time of year.  By setting a budget for yourself, and adhering to it, you can enjoy the season without the worry of how to pay off your credit cards when it’s over.  Start with a list of the people you need to buy for, as well as the holiday meals you will be preparing, and what other expenses you need to account for, such as decorations, postage, and clothing for holiday events; and estimate how much you can afford to spend.

Queen Bee of Beverly Hills Designer Handbags Holiday
 There’s nothing like having all the holiday shopping finished!  Photo by queenbeeofbeverlyhills on / CC BY










Don’t wait till the last minute to shop.  Do as much as possible early.  The sooner you can start, the more time you will have to find the perfect gifts, and the less stressed you will feel to finish by December 25th.  My kids’ birthdays are in the summer and fall, so once their birthday parties were done, I often had leftover present ideas to consider for Christmas, and could be on the lookout for sales early in the year.

Craft stores and costume stores, for example, both run clearance sales in the summer, and department stores frequently have early clearance sales before the holidays to make room for seasonal merchandise.  Keep your eyes open, and your potential gift recipients in mind as you do your regular shopping.  You may find the perfect gift long before December.

If braving the holiday crowds in stores is not your favorite thing, try to do your shopping midweek, or early morning or late at night to avoid some of the traffic.  Of course, many of us take advantage of online retailers like Amazon, or options from places like JC Penney or Best Buy for ordering online to pick up in the store.  These services afforded by technology can really make life easier.

Homemade gifts are still a valid option.  Do you have a talent for knitting or baking?  Many of the people on your list may appreciate a custom, handmade original from you.  Consider doing a cookie exchange with relatives or neighbors; you can spend quality time together and share something everyone will love.  Instead of shopping for individual gifts for every coworker in your office, especially if it is a large one, consider bringing in a few containers of homemade treats that everyone can enjoy.  The care you put into such delights will most likely mean more to them than another coffee mug or Starbucks gift card would.

Share the love-give to those in need.  The holiday season is the perfect time of year to share with others, not that we need wait until now to do so.  There are so many people who are cold and hungry, who are lacking in necessities, or are just lonely, and that would appreciate being remembered.  Helping others brings a remembrance of the true nature of the season to mind, with the side effect of reminding us how fortunate we truly are.

Take your family to volunteer in a homeless shelter or a nursing home, dispensing food or just visiting.  Offer a word of comfort, or a warm coat or blanket.  Give to your local food pantry, or a verified charity like the Salvation Army or Redcross.   Consider making a group donation or taking names off a charity “giving tree” to buy gifts for a family in need, instead of exchanging gifts in your office.

Encourage your children to have realistic expectations for Christmas morning.  Children of all ages get excited about presents, it’s true, but children in particular sometimes want everything they see in the store or in commercials.  While it’s natural as parents to have trouble denying our darlings anything, another part of us realizes that more is not always better.  Develop a “wish list” with your children of what they may hope to find under the tree.  (Here is another place to keep your budget in mind.)

By all means, indulge your children when you can, but at the same time, it’s okay to set limits on the number and prices of presents they receive.  After all, most of us do not have unlimited funds or space to hold unlimited presents, especially if what the children really want this year is as large as a pony.

Explain in terms your children can understand, that Santa or mom and dad can only give them so much this year.  Take time to listen and watch your children in the months and weeks leading up to the holiday to find out what gifts they’re really interested in, what will keep them happy or involved longer than it takes to unwrap.

I hope these simple tactics will help you as you prepare for your own wonderful, chaotic holiday season.  Remember, the holidays are a magical time, perfect for spending time with loved ones and making memories that will last forever.  Don’t allow yourself to be too stressed out to enjoy them.  Next week I’ll tackle another “stress” topic, holiday food.

Happy Holidays,





Don’t Let the Holidays Stress You Out: Tips for a Simplified Holiday Season

Ache, Adult, Depression, Expression, Face, Female, Girl
Don’t let this season stress you out; enjoy it instead! Photo on

For many, the December holidays can be very stressful.  Between the shopping, wrapping, cooking, decorating, and events with family, school functions for children, church obligations, and office parties; sometimes we really forget to breathe.  I have decided this year enough is enough- I intend to enjoy my holidays, not stress over them.  My goal is to simplify my holiday by prioritizing, planning, and budgeting so that I can make the season both happy for my family, and guilt-free for the New Year.  To that end I will be sharing in a four part series my tips and plans for a stress-free holiday.

First up: My Tips for Low-cost/ No Cost Holiday Decorating:

Day 344 - Back Again
Bring out the decorations! Photo by Kelmon on / CC BY-NC-ND

Where will the tree go?  In my house, one of the biggest decisions I have to make each year is where to position Christmas tree(s).   Since most of our rooms are not overly large, this takes some work.  One option is to rearrange furniture to accommodate a tree. If this is not practical, consider putting up one or several smaller tabletop trees.  They can even be placed in multiple rooms to spread the joy around your home.

How will I decorate the tree this year?   In the past I have sometimes been ambitious and tried to keep all the ornaments on a tree to a certain theme or color scheme.  This can be a lot of fun if you have the time and money to sort and purchase the needed ornaments.  Otherwise, a tree can be just as merry by mixing and matching the decorations I’ve accumulated over the years in new combinations.

P.S.  If you have small children or curious pets, consider corralling small wrapped packages in a decorative basket or similar container until Christmas morning so they won’t be scattered/ misplaced/opened prematurely.  A basket full of colorful wrapped boxes can look very attractive, too.

What about budget?  Ask yourself; do I really need to spend a lot of money on decorations, or can I just use what I already have, maybe adding in a few new pieces?  My husband and I have acquired a pretty large collection of holiday decorations.  I may or may not even pull them all out in a given year.  It all depends on how much time and energy I have, and how much entertaining we plan to do.

How can I remake decorations look new without spending a lot of money?  Here is a relatively easy solution to make a centerpiece, wreath, or tree look new- get some floral picks.  Last year I refurbished a wreath that had decorated our front door since my daughter was small by cutting some of the ornaments out and replacing them with new “picks” I bought at Hobby Lobby.  Consider doing the same with a favorite centerpiece, or adding silk florals, berries, etc., to a decorated tree as “filler.”

What do I do about my furniture?  I took an existing solid-colored slip cover from storage and used it to update a floral sofa for Christmas.  The solid color is much easier to “dress” with seasonal pillows and throws, without spending a lot of time or money.  I also;

  • Draped garland over the window frames in the living room over existing treatments gave them a festive look, and
  • Swapped out the everyday serving tray on my coffee table for a shiny gold one for a very simple holiday update.

How do I keep my displays from looking cluttered?  Instead of adding holiday decorations to existing décor, swap out your everyday knickknacks for seasonal ones.  Simply store everyday items in in closets, laundry rooms, basements, or wherever you have available space, so they can be returned to the spotlight after season is over.

How do I decorate often-ignored spaces? Do you have red, green, or holiday themed towels? Use them!  Seasonal towels can be found everywhere this time of year, often for only a few dollars.  Put them in the kitchen, the powder room, wherever you need a little extra Christmas cheer.

What if I have extra money in my budget?  If you have money to spend on decorations, that’s great!  Invest it either floral arrangements like poinsettias or evergreens, that will enhance your existing décor and smell great, or on pieces that will be timeless and you will enjoy using year after year.

However you decorate, and whatever else you do this season, make sure that the result is something that makes you happy.  I sincerely believe that this is the season of joy and giving, peace and acceptance.  It is not the season of stress, worry, overspending, or guilt.  I hope these tips can help make your holiday brighter.  Please check in next week when I address the next item on my de-stress list-gift giving.

Happy Holidays,



Take Time to Give Thanks

Celebrating a holiday is the perfect reason to come together.    Photo by mgstanton on / CC BY-NC-ND

This week those of us in the U.S. celebrate the most iconic of American holidays-Thanksgiving.  This is the time of year we gather the extended family, demolish an overindulgent meal, and either play games or snooze in front of the TV (or both.)  Sometimes in all the hoopla to find the perfect bird, craft the most elaborate centerpiece, or out-do the relatives we may see only once a year in baking homemade treats, it is easy to forget the real meaning of both the name and the holiday itself.

What is Thanksgiving?  The name comes from an event that brought two groups of peoples of different colors and extremely different cultures together in a joint meal that celebrated the most basic of all needs-food, companionship, and freedom.  That we continue to commemorate this event almost 400 years later shows that we still honor both their sacrifices and their choices in choosing to live life as their consciences dictated.

Thanksgiving as a word is simply being grateful for everything and everyone we have in our lives.  Many of us are blessed with more than enough food, homes, material possessions, and choices for what we do with our lives.  We have family members, friends, and neighbors with whom we can share a meal or at least a phone call or Skype chat this week.  For many of us the excess is something we sometimes take for granted; but Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to remember, and appreciate all we truly have.

I urge you to take time to be thankful and share with others of your time and your abundance.  Help those in need through donations to a church or a local charity, or by volunteering at a food pantry or soup kitchen.  Give of yourself this week.  Above all, cherish the time and opportunity to spend with the loved ones in your life.

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!



Keeping the Romance Alive

adult silhouette love
Photo credit:

As this year draws swiftly towards an end, I realize somewhat to my amazement that my husband and I will soon celebrate our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary.  Our marriage has survived many ups and downs; including a cross-country move and raising two children, and somehow become a stronger relationship than we had in the beginning.  Of course, none of this happened without a lot of work, as well as a few angry words, and the occasional tear.  Over the years we have learned a few techniques that have helped us to stay close, and now I’d like to share them with you.

Talk to each other. In an age where many of us rarely put down our smart phones long enough to eat a meal, this simple advice is really not.  Couples need to communicate more than just through a text or tweet; they need to regularly discuss any number of subjects that affect them both.  Lack of meaningful communication can lead to misunderstandings, resentment, and frustration over problems that wouldn’t exist if a few simple words are shared.  Adding something such as a regular conversation over dinner or before bed can make a big difference in the attitudes both spouses have toward each other.

Do special things for each other.  Take time to “woo” your partner, not just with money or flowers, but by taking the time to be thoughtful.  Make your spouse’s coffee for them when they are running late in the morning or just because it will make them smile.  Pay them an unexpected compliment.  Place an online order for something you know they want but can’t seem to find in a local store.  Small, special acts of kindness can remind your spouse how much you care, and why they fell in love with you in the first place.

Date your spouse.  Any relationship needs nurturing to stay strong, and one of the best ways to do this is to make time to spend together.   Dating a potential partner draws two people closer in the beginning, and adhering to “dates” helps maintain that connection despite the craziness of everyday lives.

Scheduling a midweek lunch date or Saturday evening date night helps to maintain the relationship as a priority. Too often “adult” time falls by the wayside as couples are too busy or preoccupied with kids, household chores, and other commitments that require time and energy.  Couples need a chance to reconnect and simply be romantic partners, and not just mommy and daddy or two strangers who share a home and responsibilities.


While these tips cannot guarantee a couple will have a long, happy marriage, they can help address some of the issues that can commonly plague a relationship.  The best part is that they can be utilized by couples who are just dating, as well as those who have been married for decades like my husband and me.  But don’t take my word for it, try them out for yourself.

Thanks always for reading,