Enduring All Things: April 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thankful Thursday: Books About Marriage

If you've been reading my blog at all this month, you'll know I committed to reading 4 books about marriage and blogging about them.

I talked about The Empowered Wife a couple weeks ago. I talked about Called to Love on Monday. I will talk about Prioritizing Date Night in your Marriage tomorrow. And I will talk about Becoming One (aff) on Monday. Oh and I talked briefly about all four of these on Tuesday for Reading Roundup.

Today for Thankful Thursday, I want to talk about how thankful I am for books like this as well as the authors and bloggers behind them. I love reading non-fiction, self-help type books. I love reflecting on myself and my life and learning steps for improvement. And I love marriage, as I'm sure you know. So books about marriage are my cup of tea. I consider them a form of marriage counseling. I believe everybody can and should work on their marriage and I believe these type of books can be a great form of preventative counseling.

These women (and men but all the ones I've read this month were written by women) are brilliant. And I so appreciate their knowledge, wisdom, and willingness to write these things in the hopes of helping others.

I've learned so much this month. The 6 intimacy skills. How to heed Jesus' call to love my spouse. How to Become One and have the marriage God wants. And how to prioritize date night in our marriage. There were so many more lessons in each of these books than just the "title" lessons but that's too much to list here. Especially since I have written/will write full blog posts on each one.

So today, I am thankful for books about marriage (and their authors).

What are you thankful for this month? Link up below!
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

7 Ways to Keep Your Dog Happy While You're at Work

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

To piggy-back off of my post last week about traveling with an anxious dog, I wanted to continue the spring and healthy pet theme today.

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 - offer ends 06/29/2017)
For some reason, even though this post could be helpful any time of year, I always think about Pip's well-being more in the spring and summer. Since I only started working outside of the home last summer, I thought I'd share some tips to keep your dog happy while you're away at work.

ONE || Give him access to a window.

Pip loves watching the wildlife outside our patio door. It's a glass sliding door with vertical blinds so even when the blinds are closed he can stick his head between them and watch and whine and bark. I completely understand that you might not want to keep all your blinds and curtains open during the day while you're gone, but if you have something like this where he can peek through when he wants, he can be entertained. Or maybe you have a small window in the back of your house you wouldn't mind leaving uncovered. The point is, dogs typically love to watch squirrels and birds and it's a great way to pass the time.

TWO || Leave the TV on.

Pip doesn't pay any attention to the TV when it's on nor does he seem to care for music or anything like that. But I know some dogs do watch TV and others are calmed by a certain kind of music. I've even heard that there are cable channels for dogs that show animals playing or balls bouncing etc. Maybe your dog would be entertained by that!

THREE || Give him toys that make him work.

You could fill a hallow toy with food or peanut butter. I've done this with a tennis ball I cut open (just be sure your dog won't break up the ball and choke on the pieces). Or leave a chew toy or bone that he can work on for a while. Anything that can keep their attention. Maybe switch up the toys you leave out or introduce a new toy every once in a while to keep things interesting.

FOUR || Create a scavenger hunt with food or treats.

I read this idea online and I'm not sure how Pip would handle it. He's not really very food motivated but he loves treats. Anyway, the idea is that you hide some treats or food around the house in different spots for him to find.

FIVE || Just make him comfortable.

Pip has a big comfy dog bed right beside the patio door. He normally has a blanket or two by the bed as well. He knows this place is his and I know he won't worry about finding a place to lie down during the day. We also always make sure he has enough food and water before we head out the door in the mornings.

SIX || Make a doggy popsicle.

This is another one that I found online. If Pip was able to be outside during the day, this would be great! Unfortunately we live in an apartment and don't have a yard at all. Anyway you fill a bucket with chicken broth (or just water) and add treats, dog food, carrots, peanut butter, and anything else your dog likes. Then you freeze it over night. In the morning, take it out of the freezer and run it under hot water long enough for the chunk of ice to come loose from the bucket. Then let your dog go to town on the yummy popsicle full of treats all day!

SEVEN || Let him socialize in doggy daycare or play dates.

This probably can't happen all the time, but if you're really worried about your dog getting bored, switch things up every once in a while and drop him off at a doggy day care on the way to work. Also, be sure to socialize him on the weekends and when you can. Pip has some close doggy friends in the area that he loves hanging out with when he can!
In all honesty, Pip is pretty laid back and is pretty happy during the day when I'm gone. But I like to try to do a little extra to show that I love him.

Pets can be expensive and use up a lot of our energy, attention, and time. But Kroger makes life with a pet a little easier! They have such a great pet aisle that I have no reason to make another stop at a pet store during my busy day. I get treats, toys, bags for clean up, and of course his food from Kroger.
I'm still totally loving this Beyond line of dog food from Purina. This time around we tried the Beyond Salmon Egg and Pumpkin Natural Recipe Superfood Blend and Pip loves it! I love that real fish (or meat or poultry - depending on which variety 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!
Shoppers are 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 - offer ends 06/29/2017).

Do you typically leave your dog at home alone while you work all day? What tips would you add here? Have you tried the Purina Beyond products?
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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

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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!
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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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