Enduring All Things: 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reading Roundup April {2017}

This post contains affiliate links.

Hello readers! Welcome to another "Reading Roundup," the monthly linkup on the last Tuesday of the month, where we share what we read that month.

If you read my monthly goals for this month, you know that I was supposed to read two books and one devotional about marriage for the blog. Well, I actually missed one in that post. So I had four to read. I'm not sure why everybody seemed to ask me to review their books in the same month. But I'm not complaining!

Well, as of now, I've technically only read one of those four books in it's entirety. But I have confidence that I will finish all of the others by the end of the month. I am going to include all of them in this post now and I might come back and edit my reviews after finishing them if I feel the need.

The Empowered Wife: Six Surprising Secrets for Attracting Your Husband’s Time, Attention, and Affection by Laura Doyle

To put it simply, this book changed my life. A little over a month ago, I was contacted about being a part of The Empowered Wife blog tour. I was a little skeptical at first, but seriously this book opened my eyes to a lot of things I had been doing that could hurt the intimacy in our relationship. And what really changed my life was the fact that I would love to be trained in Laura Doyle's courses to become a licensed relationship coach. Read more here.

Called to Love: Experiencing Your Best Marriage Through the Words of Jesus by Alisa Dilorenzo

I was asked to be a part of this blog tour as well. This book was also fairly eye opening. I haven't finished it but I love the format and the simple truths Alisa draws out of the Gospels. She draws so many wonderful lessons about doing marriage God's way and using Jesus' example to love our spouse unconditionally. Read more here.

Becoming One: A 30 Day Devotional for Wives by Madison Weaver

Madison asked me to be a part of the launch team for her devotional ebook that will be launched on May 1st. While I haven't kept up with every day this month like I wanted to, I have enjoyed this devotional very much. I love the format she uses of sharing a scripture, a devotional thought, a prayer, and a journal prompt. She brings up some wonderful points about becoming one in the way God intends that really make me think. I'll write a full review on the first and link it here.

Prioritizing Date Night in your Marriage by Amberly Lambertsen

I haven't gotten to read as much of Amberly's ebook as I wanted to at this point. But the part that I've read so far about why and how to prioritize date night in every part of life has been so insightful. Of course I would expect nothing less from the brilliant Amberly (of A Prioritized Marriage). I will write more about this book in the next month. Right now through the end of May it's on sale for $7 in honor of date your spouse month! Click here to purchase.

What did you read this month? Link up below!
Thanks for reading!

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Tayler from The Morrell Tale

Charlene from Enduring All Things

Autumn from Stay Gold Autumn

How It Works:

  • Reading Roundup will happen the last Tuesday of every month! The linkup will be open for two weeks!
  • There really aren't "rules." This is free and open. We are book lovers and want to read about your books!
  • Link up a post of a book review you did from this month. Or, a roundup of book reviews you did this month.
  • Try to hop around and engage on other people's book reviews! Make some new friends!
  • Grab this pinnable image to put on the bottom of your post! (But, no pressure to do so!)
Reading Roundup

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Is Your Marriage a Covenant or a Contract?

This post is part of Alisa DiLorenzo’s Called to Love: Experiencing Your Best Marriage Through the Words of Jesus Blog Tour which I am so honored to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE. To read other posts on the tour CLICK HERE.

This post contains affiliate links. Called to Love will henceforth be referred to as CTL in this post.
First of all, I want to tell you a little more about this 40-day devotional. While Alisa Dilorenzo was sitting in a women's conference in San Diego in 2015, she realized she wanted to dream again in her marriage and in order to do so, she needed to heed the call to love her husband beyond what she was already doing. That's when God called her to read the Gospels again and there she found the blueprint for marriage.

Alisa says, "What I didn't realize until that encounter with the Gospels is that while you may not have a specific manual for your spouse, you do have the only manual you will ever need." (CTL, Introduction, pg. 14).
While I will probably write several posts about this book, today I want to focus on one chapter of the book. "Day 5: I want to do what I want to do," to be exact. And you know what's even better, the points Alisa brings up in this chapter coincide with a point that stuck out to me in The Empowered Wife. I already knew I wanted to blog about this concept so why not blog about it on this blog tour?

This concept has to do with treating your marriage as a covenant rather than a contract. A lot of people in our world today go into marriage with a mindset of...
  • I'll stay in this marriage as long as it works out for me. 
  • I will fulfill my part as long as you fulfill yours.
  • As long as you are meeting my needs and doing what I want, I will stay married to you. (CTL, Day 5, pg. 33)
  • I think you get the picture.
You see? It's a contract. And a contract can be broken. It can be severed if someone doesn't hold up their end of the deal. But that's not what God intended marriage to be.

"God told us to love others as ourselves, not only to love ourselves. God told us to serve, not to demand service. God speaks of covenants, not of contracts." (CTL, Day 5, pg. 34).
It was never God's plan for us to have every need met by our spouse. If we go into marriage expecting that, we will be disappointed. It was God's plan for us to love our spouse unconditionally. In sickness and in health. For richer or for poorer. For better or for worse.

You see, a contract marriage doesn't even logically make sense. You don't need to make vows for a contract. You don't need to promise to love when the times are good. That's the easy part. The point of vowing "for better or for worse" is that you promise to love him or her no matter what. You're not going to break the promise at the first sign of conflict. (or even the second or third - not ever).

"We allow the influences of the world to color how we see our spouse and how we see our marriage. It's no longer about our covenant but rather all about my feelings." (CTL, pg. 34).
Above I listed some concepts that make up a contract marriage. Here is what a covenant marriage looks like:
  • A covenant is initiated for the benefit of the other person.
  • It is unconditional, permanent, and sacrificial.
  • It deals with a lot of forgiveness.
God's way is a covenant. Marriage is to be a covenant between two people and God. We promised before God and friends that we would be committed to one another for life. And we meant it.

"Marriage God's way is radical. It's life giving. It's empowering. It's possible. It's all about the choices that you make. Today choose God's commands over the world's ways and watch what happens to your relationship." (CTL, Day 5, pg. 34)

So today I choose God's way. I choose a covenant over convenience. I choose to love my husband as I have been called to do. What about you?

*Disclaimer: I am in no way condoning that you stay with someone who physically abuses you or cannot stay faithful. So I suppose there are two "conditions."
Bestselling author Alisa DiLorenzo has written a new book about what it means to be Called to Love. Many call this book “inspiring” and “fabulous.” I call it a game-changer. You can grab a copy at HERE.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

#MyMarriageEndures on Instagram

Over a year ago, I started a hashtag on Instagram, #MyMarriageEndures. I changed the focus of my blog at the beginning of last year and started the hashtag to go along with it. 2016 was was a rough year and I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to with my blog. And as of now, only about four or five people have ever used the hashtag.

So this is me asking you to use it on any and all posts about marriage! Especially posts about enduring life together, working on your marriage, and getting over obsticles.

And I thought I'd share some of my favorite #MyMarriageEndures posts lately too. These women inspire me in so many ways. Especially when it comes to marriage!

A post shared by Lifestyle Blogger Brita Long (@belle_brita) on

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tips for a Successful Road Trip with your Anxious Pup

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RememberBeyond #CollectiveBias

If you know our dog Pip, you know he's the sweetest dog. All he wants to do is love on anybody and everybody. And he never makes a fuss about being crated or being told to get off the bed etc. He's also a little skittish. When we first brought him home from the shelter, he was scared of everything including bubbles and Pearson's guitar!

Now-a-days, he's not near as bad as that. He likes it when Pearson plays guitar and he'll run get his toys to play when he's in the mood. I think he trusts us and is more comfortable with us now. But he still gets super anxious whenever we travel. And he gets car sick on top of that.
Since the weather is warming up and we're getting closer to summer vacation, I thought I'd share some tips for traveling (especially road tripping) with your dog. Especially if he's anxious. Pearson and I live 600+ miles away from our families so we travel pretty far for holidays and vacations. We've sort of become pros.

But before we jump into that, be sure to check out this Kroger offer of $3 off Purina Beyond Dog Food, Pip's new favorite! (check the Beyond box on the left of the screen)

What/how to pack for your pup:

  • Food - We like to put Pip's dry food (currently Purina Beyond Simple 9 White Chicken & Whole Barley) in gallon size zip-top bags. This way we don't have to carry around a huge bag of food (we usually buy the big ones) and we can seal it up and not worry about it spilling everywhere.
  • Treats - We also put his favorite treats in a zip-top bag. This way we can bring multiple different types without carrying all the packages.
  • Toys - We can't leave home without his alligator that looks about 100 years old and a tennis ball or two.
  • Any medication your pup needs - Pip takes joint supplements and allergy medicine. Plus, when we travel he has to have medicine for his motion sickness. More on that later.
  • Bags for cleaning up after your pup - You don't want to be stuck somewhere on the road without these.
  • Food bowls - Bringing your own food bowls that your dog is used to helps make wherever you're staying feel more like home. It's just one thing you can do to make him feel a little more comfortable.
  • Water bottle - We always pack a specific water bottle just for Pip so on the road we always know what to fill up his bowl with.
  • Blankets - Again, we bring his blankets from his crate to make him a little more at ease.
  • Crate - This is sort of a given.
  • Leash/collar - Another given.
  • Seat-belt - I recently saw a seat belt attachment that can hook on a harness on your dog. Now I really want one before our next road trip!
I like to pack all of Pip's things in a small canvas bag and put it behind either the driver or passenger seat for easy access. Then we put his blankets in the back seat for him to lay on and collapse his crate and put it in the trunk to have when we get to our destination.

How to introduce him to new people and animals:

As I said, when we travel with Pip, he gets very anxious. Being in a different environment, for an unknown amount of time, especially just after being tortured in the car for several hours, can be very nerve wracking. This makes meeting new people and animals even more traumatic than it would be under other circumstances.
One thing to remember when introducing your pup to these situations is to not be nervous yourself. If he can see that you're worried about what he's going to do, he'll sense danger and be more likely to act out. Act natural and have full confidence in your dog's behavior.

With that being said, I wouldn't leave him alone with strangers. Especially children. Especially if he's not used to being around children. Introduce him and always stay in the room with him.
If your dog is anything like mine (and he probably isn't because Pip is one-of-a-kind), then he gets tired of playing with other dogs after a while and can get snippy. Pip is very much an introvert and enjoys meeting other dogs and playing for a while, but when he's done, he's done.

So I like to let him play with other dogs outside if possible. That way he has a lot of room to run away and even be by himself if he wants. As opposed to being locked in a house with the other dog. Also, if you can tell he's getting tired of it, let him go to your bedroom or something and have a break. There's nothing wrong with that.

How to handle his anxiety and/or motion sickness:

Make it seem like home. As I mentioned in the first section, bring his own blankets. And if you're gonna wash them before you leave, do it a few days early so he can get his scent on them again. Do the same thing with his toys treats and food and water bowls. We used to have a crate we only used for traveling. It was canvas and could easily fold up to take with us. But it was nothing like his normal crate at home and he tore through it on our first night away.
Make his food more appealing. When Pip gets anxious, he doesn't eat. He's gone 4 days on a road trip before without eating anything. Well, I shouldn't say he doesn't eat anything. He will eat treats. Just not his typical dog food. We've found that keeping his food in a central location like we do at home helps. Unfortunately that isn't always possible if you're staying in a house with other animals. Another thing that helps is mixing wet dog food in with his dry stuff. We've also tried putting treats in with the food but he just picks them out.
Give him motion sickness medicine. Poor Pip gets super car sick. So we give motion sickness medicine about thirty minutes before leaving and then again every 4 hours or so. We learned this the hard way. My family dogs growing up never got car sick and we took them on a 12 hour trip to see my Nana twice per year. So I was super surprised the first time Pip got sick! Anyway, get your dog to take the stuff however possible. As bad as it sounds, we've found that sort of shoving it down his throat works the best for us! Be sure to ask your vet before giving this type of medicine to your dog!

Purina Beyond Dry Dog Food at Kroger:

All of this seems like a lot of information. But it's worth it, right? Pip is very much a part of our family and I love that we're able to take him with us on most of our trips. Yeah pets can be expensive and they need a lot of stuff, and attention, and time. But Kroger makes it a little easier! They have such a great pet aisle that I have no reason to make another stop at a pet store. I get treats, toys, bags for clean up, and of course his food from Kroger.
I'm totally loving this Beyond line of dog food from Purina because real poultry (or meat or fish - depending on which one you get) is the first ingredient! There is no corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-product meal. There are no added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. All ingredients are safely sourced and it's backed by pet nutritionists!
During the month of April shoppers will be able to grab an exclusive digital coupon for $3 off any Purina Beyond dry dog food online right here (check the Beyond box on the left of the screen).

Have you ever taken a road trip with your dog? What tips would you add here? Have you tried the Purina Beyond products?
Thanks for reading!

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