A Generous Grace

ideas on practical spirituality and loving each other

Freebie Fridays Infographic: How to Be Your Spouse’s Wingman

freebie infographic how to be your spouse's wingman

This infographic is based on this full-text post, Ideas to Be Your Spouse’s Wingman. Print it here!

And catch more on the Freebies page!

 

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Pretty, Please: On Longing for Beauty

So I’ve been presenting our church’s announcements lately. Which y’know, wouldn’t be that big of a thing if they didn’t…tape me. So far, every Sunday, I shrink a little in my seat as the monitor enlarges my prerecorded face to two feet tall. True, I see this little video as a distinct hospitality, inviting people into our church’s activities and community, making them feel welcome and relaxed, maybe even laugh a little.

But it’s time for me to admit some straight-up immaturity on my part. (I’ve written about my gnarly body-image issues before. )After seeing meticulous beauty all the time on TV, it’s hard not to succumb to the eyes of our culture’s usual bait-and-switch, our love affair with an attractive veneer.  I hone in on my flaws: My crazy-curly hair is pretty set on doing its own thing. The woman doing it before me was probably a size 4. And could we position the camera up a little so my chin doesn’t look so double-y?

I’ve heard actresses all have that one body part they’re self-conscious about. They might even procure a body-part double for a revealing scene. Maybe I latch on to those stories a little too hungrily. I guess I’m thinking we all have that similar appetite: for genuine, unflawed beauty.

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Talking to Our Kids about Yet Another School Shooting: “Is my school safe?”

 

The horrific news from Florida has all of us reeling. It’s leaving far more questions than answers in its wake. And it’s possible your kids are contending with some of the same questions we as parents are: “Is my school safe?” (If it helps, Keys for Kids just posted this devotional story to read with your kids.)

A few thoughts as you consider what to say to them.

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10 Easy-peasy, Promise-You-Can-Do-This Dates at Home (Just in Time for Valentine’s Day for All You Procrastinators!)

The finish line is in sight: The kids are headed to bed. Did I mention your knuckles are grazing the ground?

Aren’t you feeling creative? Romantic? Well. If I was thinking about something other than settling in for some Netflix–yes, romance sounds nice. Creativity sounds, um, exhausting. 

So let’s make it easy. Super-doable. (Hey,  this as much for me as for you.) Let’s stoke the fires of romance with the little energy you’ve got left.

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Parenting: Great Expectations

It needs to be said. Blogging about parenting can feel a little like heading for an outhouse in a snowstorm, y’know?

Because honestly, there’s waaaaay too much I don’t get right. (And aren’t we all a little skeptical of the people who seem to be doing it with Pinterest perfection?) Sometimes I pull up a chair to blog about parenting and I’m thinking, Which failure shall I blog about this month?

From the beginning, I think God’s had it out for me to shake up my (firstborn, overachieving, idealistic) parenting goals. As in, pretty soon after those two little lines turned pink.

Something tells me you’ve got your own parenting expectations that kind of vaporized in the presence of real children. Goodbye, baby wash commercial. Hello, price-club paper-towels-that-double-as-ottoman.

Today, I’m posting on my friend Kristen Welch’s site, WeAreTHATFamily.com, about what to do with all of our expectations as parents. Want to think about it with me? Hop on over and check it out.

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52 Fun, Easy Ways to Flirt with Your Spouse

  1. Text something sweet, sexy, thankful, or playful: Thanks for all you do to get us all out the door in the morning. You still take my breath away.
  2. Check your spouse’s calendar, and then kidnap her from work for a quick lunch or an afternoon romantic matinee.
  3. Bring his favorite coffee shop treat home.
  4. Leave a steamy voicemail.
  5. Load the dishwasher for her. (Trust me. It works.)
  6. Invite him to take a shower with you.
  7. Get a little “handsy” in the kitchen.
  8. Lay your head on his chest or tuck beneath his arm while you watch your Netflix fave.
  9. Compliment her in front of a friend.
  10. Pick up her favorite snack at the grocery store.
  11. Grab her hand while riding in the car.
  12. Encourage him about something he did well at work.
  13. Wrestle.
  14. Borrow the kids’ Nerf weapons.
  15. Encourage your kids to thank her for something she’s done for them.
  16. Write him a love note.
  17. Make her a homemade card.
  18. Give him a massage.
  19. Write her a sappy (or funny) poem.
  20. Read her a love poem. (Ideas here.)
  21. Rub her feet.
  22. Make him a compilation CD of songs that express your heart and relationship.
  23. Give her a scalp massage.
  24. Take a bath together.
  25. Buy her flowers.
  26. Kiss at every stoplight.
  27. Ask to hold her hand.
  28. Play with your kids together.
  29. Light candles.
  30. Wear perfume and pretty underthings.
  31. Speak her love language (free “cheat sheet” here).
  32. Clean up your bedroom.
  33. Take care of that one thing that’s been weighing on him.
  34. Make up a goofy song about her on the fly.
  35. Overlook something he did that was stupid.
  36. Call her to tell her something about your day.
  37. Advocate for her.
  38. Plan a date in.
  39. Remember one of your favorite lovemaking memories, and whisper it in his ear.
  40. Go on a walk.
  41. Paint her toenails.
  42. Thank him for something unexpected.
  43. Listen to her. Ask good questions. (Ideas here.)
  44. Initiate fun sex.
  45. Tell her about a memory you love from when you were dating.
  46. Pick up a bag of her favorite candy.
  47. Play a little jazz while you cook together. Grab her hand and dance for a moment.
  48. Develop a code for talking when the kids are in the room about possible lovemaking.
  49. Come to bed naked.
  50. Go stargazing.
  51. Pick up a small gift that will delight and surprise.
  52. Pray together.

Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering.

The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.

Henry Ward Beecher

I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.

Song of Solomon 7:10

Give us your ideas in the comment section! How do you flirt with your spouse?

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Adore: 5 Ways to Easily Do More of What You’re Made to Do

So last night was one of my favorite kinds: date night. I won’t gush too much. But suffice it to say I don’t take for granted being married to my best friend. I love tucking myself under his arm at a movie, laughing at the jokes together, wandering around a bookstore and laughing at off-the-wall titles, sharing real conversation that changes us right over the tops of plates from our favorite salad bar. I guess there were probably a few productive parts of the evening, but mostly we just get to enjoy each other. To revel in being an “us.”

Ask any widow, anyone who serves overseas, anyone who’s just sent their child back to college: There’s a luxury to simply being with the people we love.

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An Open Letter: When You’re Tired of Doing the Right Thing

faithfulness tired of doing the right thing
Hey.

I was there just this past Saturday, too. Felt like it had been a year of keeping my head down, doing the right thing with a hopeful smile. Or maybe some tears. I’ve mentioned this last year my struggles with feeling powerless; with the tension of not living some dreams.

I may have even scrawled the phrase tired of a “Yes, sir” life in my journal this past weekend.

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31 More Things to Be Thankful for Today if You Live in the Developed World

Missed the first post? Grab it here.

So many of us are experiencing new heights of irritation with and alienation from our own nations’ government. But consider this post an opportunity to shift our eyes in gratitude. When I’m struggling to feel content here, I think of my African friends’ perspectives on just what abundance we drink in every day.

Today’s and yesterday’s posts, rather than reinforcing the misguided, often arrogant notion that developing-world countries are horrible places to live, are simply invitations to be grateful with me about what we have…but generally did not create for ourselves.

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31 Things to Be Thankful for Today If You Live in the Developed World

So many of us are experiencing new heights of irritation with and alienation from our own nations’ government. But consider this post an opportunity to shift our eyes in gratitude. When I’m struggling to feel content here, I think of my African friends’ perspectives on just what abundance we drink in every day.

Today’s and tomorrow’s posts, rather than reinforcing the misguided, often arrogant notion that developing-world countries are horrible places to live, are simply invitations to be grateful with me about what we have…but generally did not create for ourselves.

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