Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways . . .

I was very touched by my husband’s list of ten things he loves about me. And as he said, this is a gesture we reciprocate for each other because, let’s face it; it’s easier to focus on the negative than on the positive in our lives.

I’m not sure why. I think it has something to do with our psychological make up.

My psychology professor in college performed a little experiment for us once. She chose a girl from our class to be “complimented.” When she came in the room, everyone had their assignment about what to say to her.

“I really love your hair today.”

“Those shoes are so cute.”

“I like that shirt.”

Stuff like that.

But one person in the room was given a negative comment to say to her.

“What’s wrong with your hair? It looks weird today.”

When the teacher called on her to ask what people had been saying to her when she came into the room, the first thing she mentioned was the negative comment. And she had a hard time remembering all the nice things people had said, because the negative stuck so firmly in her mind.

And honestly, I think we fall into the same trap in our marriage. I know I struggle with focusing on the perceived negatives – you didn’t take out the trash, you left the window rolled down in the car and it rained, I just mopped the floor and you tracked mud on it – when I should be focusing on all the wonder things my husband says and does each and every day.

So here’s my list and I hope you’ll take the time to focus on all the positive attributes of your spouse, too.

Ten Things I Love About My Husband:

1. He brings me chocolate without my even having to ask.
2. He supports my goal to establish a writing career.
3. He is a great father to our children.
4. He is willing to run errands most husbands would balk at.
5. He massages my scalp for hours when I have a migraine to help ease the pain.
6. He helps around the house when I ask, but doesn’t stress out when the house is a mess.
7. He listens when I need to vent, even if a big game is on (thank goodness for DVR).
8. I have to stand up on my tip-toes to kiss him.
9. I fit perfectly in his arms, even after all these years.
10. He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman on earth, even when I’m grungy and gross.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Romancing the Laundry

Why is it that a husband helping out with household chores is so sexy?

I know someone wrote about the Five Love Languages back when we started this blog. Is one of them "household chores"? I'm just kidding. If I remember right, there is one about "doing things" for your spouse.

That one is a biggie for both me and my husband. For hubby it is more about bringing him a glass of water, or cooking dinner, or running an errand for him after work.

For me, it is helping out with the dishes, laundry, or just taking out the trash when it gets full. I appreciate those things SO much, because it makes my life easier. And most of the time they don't take that long to do.

Another one of the love languages that is a biggie in our household is Affirmation. We both try to do a good job of telling the other person that we appreciate them. I know there are times that I do better at this than others. Mostly when I'm consciously thinking about it. :) Sometimes, though, when I see something on TV or hear someone at work talking about their spouse, I think to myself, "I'm so glad I married Luke." Then I'll usually try to call him and tell him before I get too busy.

I know when I get those little phone calls or text messages, they brighten up my workday. It is just a nice feeling to be loved, and so easy to do for the other person. I'd better go call Luke now...

Friday, March 27, 2009

One Dude's Perspective on Romance: Positives and Negatives

Scott here again.

It seems after a couple has been married for many years, or even a few short months, all the negative traits you ignored, or that had not surfaced early in the relationship, gradually emerge in the marriage.

As some of these perceived negatives become relationship issues, we have found that the best course of action is to address them openly and honestly, rather than let them fester beneath the surface.

Another thing we do is consciously focus on the positives in order to break the cycle of negativity.

So I have made a list of ten things I love about my wife. This is a list she also makes, and we deliberately share our lists with each other so we know how the other feels. Her list will be up in her Tuesday post.

If you find yourself focusing on all the negatives in your spouse, try to stop and take a moment to remember all the reasons you fell in love in the beginning, and concentrate on what you love about them now.

Scott A. Stewart

Ten Things I love About My Wife:

* Her pouty look when she needs me to do something for her.
* When I hold her, she’s still a perfect fit.
* Her hair; the look, the smell, the touch.
* The way she cares for others, and never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings.
* The way she hates to see others ridiculed or made fun of. She believes that words do hurt and never wants to see that happen.
* Her smile when someone (hopefully me) makes her laugh.
* Though she is no domestic goddess, I love when she cooks for me.
* I love that she is so good at making the tears of our children go away.
* That she really believes in having a strong family.
* That she has a genuine love of our Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Golfing or dancing? Now there's a tricky question!

Opposites attract it’s true, or at least so as it applies to my husband and I. I will be the first to admit that I am in no way shape or form a sports fanatic. He loves them. I swear I think that man of mine can quote stats from any sporting event ever invented. Somehow he knows the coaches, the players, the number of games won vs. lost. I, on the other hand, don’t have the slightest interest in anything sports related.

With one exception. The Ohio State Buckeyes. What can I say? I’m a born and bred Ohioan and frankly it’s in my blood. There’s no changing it, no erasing it and no thwarting a diehard Buckeyes fan. Frankly I feel bad for my neighbors down here in the south. They just don’t understand me! Ah well…it gives them plenty to shake their heads and talk about as I hang my Buckeye banner and wear my scarlet and gray. To each his own, I say.

As for any other sport, forget about it. I don’t want to watch it, or be close to anyone who sweats while they’re playing. Ugh! And yet, I live with a household full of males. Go figure! God certainly has a great sense of humor!

Now I applaud any woman who bonds with their hubbies over sports. Not me. Huh-uh. No way. Even when I’m watching the Bucks play, it’s a lonely deal. I don’t want my “guys” analyzed, stats quoted or a play-by-play commentary from my own peanut galley as the Bucks work their way to a win. I want to scream at the TV without my family looking at me as if I’ve just lost my mind. A tough gig, I know, but I can handle it!

Back to the topic at hand… So how do I manage to make this sports thing work in my marriage? Trade off!

A few years ago, I wanted to take ballroom dancing lessons in the worst kind of way. However, the minute I said the word dance my husband cringed. Honestly, I think my husband would rather have drug-free dental work done rather than to go dancing. He’s not alone, I’m afraid. Ask any man to take you dancing and they run for hills. Truth be told though, the feeling’s mutual for me at the thought of doing anything sports related.

However, my thought is, a couple that plays together, stays together. So I made him a deal. I’d go golfing if he’d take me dancing. Thinking I got the sweet end of the deal, because let’s face it, how hard could hitting a little white ball across the field, really be?! I marched right out and signed us up for dancing and golf. I pictured myself dancing and twirling in my husband’s arms for years to come and golf would become a distant memory.

No so. Let’s just say, we spent more time laughing about timing, sore feet and my love for twirling much more than we ever did Cha-Cha-Cha-ing our way across the ballroom. As for golfing…I still have the clubs, the cute golf shirts and I do go to the range every once in a blue moon with my boys to shoot a bucket of balls. But don’t you dare ask me to chase a little white ball for 18 holes! It’s not going happen anymore than if I asked my husband to take me to a dance club to Tango in front of a crowd. He’d rather die!

The bottom line is, try something new. Meet in the middle. If he loves tennis and you want a yoga partner, take a couples class together. It doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment, it’s for fun. And isn’t that what this is about? Adding a spark to your marriage, laughing so hard you can’t breathe and building memories that both of you will cherish? Of course it is!

So get out there, go skydiving, snowboarding or square dancing. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something you both love to do. If not, you’ll have lots of fun trying!

As for us, we’ll keep meeting in the middle. Compromise is a big word in our household. In fact for our anniversary we’ll be trying something new again. Guess what it is…if mud, trails and 4-wheels came to mind, then you’d be on the right track!

Until next time, here’s to keeping the fun alive in your marriage!

Many blessings & much laughter! Amy

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oldies, But Goodies

Hello, everyone!

One of the little known facts about me, or maybe it’s well known . . . I don’t know . . . anyway, I am a huge fan of old movies. If I didn’t think it would put my dear husband in a coma, I would probably spend every spare moment that I wasn’t reading a book watching a movie.

And I happen to love old movies. Now, when I say old I mean thirty years ago and beyond. (So sorry if that offends any of our mature readers, but I figure if it lands on TCM, then it falls into the “old movie” category.)

I have compiled a list of my favorites, and they are in no particular order, except the No. 1 movie really is my favorite Golden Oldie of a movie.

Now, my husband is a fan of a couple of these movies. He really likes Sabrina, and he likes Barefoot in the Park.

Don't get me wrong, these movies are no The Godfather, The Godfather II, or Cool Hand Luke, but as far as "chick" movies go, these are the ones he can handle, maybe even smile at.

I can get him to cuddle on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a couple of drinks if these movies are on. (I am a big fan of couch cuddling, by the way. Not only is it affordable, but I get to hang close with my man and we get to laugh together.)

On the other hand, Hubby can’t stand Bringing Up Baby because Katherine Hepburn’s character wrecks the Cary Grant character’s life, drags him through all kinds of trouble with her screw-ball antics, and never really apologizes for any of her outrageous stunts.

To me, that’s what makes the movie great and they wind up together in the end. Yay!

But anywhoo, these are my favorites, and you can feel free to add your personal preferences to the comments section.


1. The King and the Chorus Girl – Fernand Gravet & Joan Blondell
2. Father Goose – Cary Grant & Leslie Caron
3. Sabrina – Humphrey Bogart & Audrey Hepburn
4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – George Peppard & Audrey Hepburn
5. Bringing Up Baby – Cary Grant & Katherine Hepburn
6. Fools for Scandal – Fernand Gravet & Carole Lombard
7. Barefoot in the Park – Robert Redford & Jane Fonda
8. Hello, Dolly! – Walter Matthau & Barbra Streisand
9. Guys and Dolls – Marlon Brando & Jean Simmons
10. Born Yesterday – William Holden & Judy Holliday

Monday, March 23, 2009

Basketball is Romantic???

My husband is a huge college basketball fan, so this weekend when March Madness began, he was in heaven. He watched almost every game (with some comments about why some of his favorite teams have to be playing AT THE SAME TIME), and highlights, and commentary on ESPN when there weren't games to watch.

I don't consider basketball (or most sports!) terribly romantic. But I enjoy watching it on occaision, and the Big Dance has become something of a tradition for us to watch together.

We both like to fill out our own brackets and joke around with each other about who is winning, who picked the better teams, etc.

And, you have to admit, the players seem like they take their game up a notch for the tournament - they give it everything, not worried about getting hurt or looking foolish. They just want to win (which is a whole 'nother topic!). This makes the games much more interesting to watch. Not to mention nail-biting, hair-pulling and stomach-clenching. And Luke's team (Kansas) is still in it!

This is definitely one of the ways we've brought friendship into our marriage - which I feel is a necessary component of sustaining a long-term romance: finding things to do together. Watching basketball isn't my favorite thing to do, but it is pretty fun and hubby feels loved that we can watch it together.

And then when it's my turn, I get to have my chick-flicks. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What matters most

My husband is big on projects--tackling a major cleaning job, reorganizing the garage, sorting through the junk in the attic, painting the house. As long as it doesn’t involve extreme carpentry or plumbing skills, he can usually handle it.

The problem is, when he comes up with a project, he usually--somewhere along the way--needs my help. Like this month he decided it was time to paint our bedroom. So off to the paint store we went, pillow sham in hand for color matching purposes, and bought the paint.

Next thing I knew, he’d gotten out the “moving men” (you know, those little orange disks you put underneath furniture so it slides across the carpet). I went downstairs to find most of my bedroom furniture in the den and couldn’t find my sock drawer for two days.

To make a laboriously long story short, last Friday and Saturday we painted the room, lemon-oiled the furniture, and finally got everything put back together on Sunday afternoon.

But all the while I was thinking, “If only we put as much effort into our marriage as we do with these projects, we’d have a pretty awesome relationship!” I’m reminded of something I read once in a book on time management, how we expend our energies on the urgent rather than on what’s important.

A hole in the roof is urgent. A leaking toilet is urgent. A dead car battery is urgent. Your boss leaning over your shoulder demanding that report is urgent.

Your marriage is important.

Think about it. Two years, five years, twenty years from now, what’s really going to matter?

Yes, do what you must to keep your home and job on track, but put your best energy where your heart is. Your marriage deserves your highest creativity, your greatest effort, your strongest commitment.

I think I need to go take my own advice. Catch you next month!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Couples who volunteer together - stay together!

I just finished reading an article about Chuck and Dottie Gauntlett, a local couple who are both in their 70’s, and who spend much of their time helping others. It’s a combined effort they both truly love. Chuck is a retired military man, serving in both the Army and Air Force. Dottie on the other hand is a retired nurse.

Many would think that this couple should be spending their time walking on a tropical beach, snorkeling with the fishes or hightailing it through Europe. Not these two. Instead, this couple volunteers much of their time for the Habit for Humanity.

Chuck and Dottie volunteer in almost every stage of the development of a home. From the construction to the dedication they actively work to help other couples build a life and a future together.

And what do they do once those responsibilities are completed? Why volunteer elsewhere….of course! Dottie can be found at her church sewing quilts that will later be donated to those in need while Chuck can be found volunteering for a disaster relief team.

Now how’s that for retirement?

I love reading articles about people like Chuck and Dottie Gauntlett. They’re guiding lights to those of us who are a little younger, whose nest isn’t quite empty yet and are in the throes of raising kids. The Gauntlett’s lead the way by showcasing a marriage that has worked together, played together and now volunteers together. This endearing couple proves that by doing something that they both enjoy they not only build a strong marriage they also help their fellow man.

A lesson, I dare say, we all could learn.

So let me challenge you and your spouse to find a volunteer activity that you both will enjoy doing. Whether it’s working with an organization to feed hungry children, sorting donations for a local food bank or like the Gauntlett’s you nail 2x4’s to build a new home for a young couple, get out there and do something!

And when you do, drop me a line and tell me about it! I want to know what you’re doing and how it’s changing your marriage.

Until then – God bless! ~ Amy

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Dating Game

Hello everyone!

Glad to be back with you today. I had planned to tell you how my date with my husband went over the weekend while we were visiting my mother.

We had planned while she watched the kids to go out for dinner, and since she lives in a rural area, we were going to do the old high school date routine and go sit out under the stars while the radio played and we'd talk about our dreams and future plans.

Only one small problem . . . there was no date!

The kids are still getting over a bout with the flu, and Mom just didn't think she could handle all three sick kids on her own. And I don't blame her for that. I'm their mother and I don't think I can handle all three of them on my own when they're sick.

So we called my brother to come over and give Mom a hand so Hubby and I could be on our way. But after we told him where we were going for dinner, my brother got all excited.

That's his favorite restaurant!

Couldn't we drive over (the restaurant is 30 minutes from my mom's house), and pick up enough food for everyone?

Uh, well, that kind of defeated the purpose of us going out alone on a date.

He reasoned we could go on a date any time, and that he was starving, and now that he had that restaurant in his head, no other food sounded good to eat.

So being the good sister and brother-in-law that we are, Hubby and I drove over, picked up dinner for everyone, and brought the food home. But unfortunately, in absolutely no way, shape, or form did our delivery service resemble a date.

And I have to say this totally bummed me out. Before we left for my mom's house for the weekend, we had the date night all worked out with her.

Now, the kids being sick didn't help the situation, but still . . . I was really looking forward to our simple, quiet time alone to stare at the sky, hold hands, and feel like teenagers again, but minus the crazy hormones.

So this week's planned romantic date was a bust. We'll have to see how it goes before my next post.

I hope you are all trying hard to work special time with your sweetie into your week. As I am discovering in my efforts to be more deliberate with the romance in our marriage, it's not easy!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Romance on a busy schedule - take 2

The busyness at work continues...

Luke definitely fanned the romance this past week by bringing home dinner a couple of times, doing dishes and laundry, and just all-around being encouraging.

We did find time to watch Australia on DVD together this weekend. I am a sucker for romantic movies, that's one of the first things Luke noticed about me when we first dated.

Our first kiss was during Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (okay, not totally a romantic movie, but there is a romance thread!).

He took me to see Pride and Prejudice (2005 version) three times in theaters.

One of our cheap dates during college was to curl up and watch movies together.

Of course, I have to give in part of the time and let him watch his adventure/shoot-'em-up/suspense movies sometimes. It only seems fair. Oh, and during sports season (football and basketball, mostly), his guy movies get pre-empted by the sports watching.

Necessities for movie-watching romance in our house include 1) comfy couch; 2) popcorn and/or sweets; 3) blanket for Lacy (he keeps it so cold in our house!!!), or substitute a snuggly lap dog; 4) holding hands.

Wonder if I can get away with watching a girly movie this weekend...? Probably not, thanks to March Madness. ;)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day Trippin' - A daily dose of romance

Ok ya’ll, remember how I talked about our family’s love of road trips and trying new places to eat? Well we did just that today. We headed up to the Hammett House in Claremore, Oklahoma and enjoyed a late lunch. A little slice of heaven can be spelled, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie. I’ve included a picture so feel free to drool to your heart’s content. And yes, it really is as big as it looks…7 inches tall!

As for the romance... I love having my hubby next to me as we head out for a new adventure. The excitement of breaking away from our normal lives and trying something different draws us closer while giving us the opportunity to share what’s going on in our hearts and minds.

But this time our car ride was quiet. No talking. Or at least very little. I can’t say why, we weren’t mad, the kids weren’t fighting and we haven’t seen much of each other lately because of dear hubby’s travel schedule. So we should’ve had every reason to spill, but instead we chose this day trip to simply sit back, enjoy the scenery and each other’s company in silence.

Now ladies, there’s a lot to be said for being comfortable enough with your spouse that you can spend hours in the car together, not say a solitary word and yet still have a wonderful time. Talk about true love!

We had a delightful day. The weather was perfect, the food delicious and we rounded out the day by taking in the Will Rogers Memorial. A fun day for everyone!

Now that we’re back home, relaxing in the final daylight hours of the evening I feel blessed to be married to a man whose company I enjoy whether we’re busy chatting or whether we’re quiet and contemplative. And well, it’s a major bonus that he’s willing to spend hours in the car just to share a piece of heaven!

Should you feel the need, based on the picture, to duplicate our trip, take a peek at the Hammett House website. http://www.hammetthouse.com/

Until next time,
Many blessings ~ Amy

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A few days away

Dan and I went to a writing conference in Louisiana this past weekend--well, I went to the conference and he took me. He is, and always has been, so supportive of my writing. And he does enjoy being on the sidelines at conferences. Many of my friends spot him before they do me. He was impressed with his first one because he says there aren't many professions where people go out of their way to help their competition. :)  He lets me do whatever I need to and he finds things to do on his own, but is always there for me. 

And I love having him with me. Conferences are always busy times for me, seeing old friends, meeting new ones and learning all kinds of things. They can also be exciting, stressful and very tiring--all at the same time. But it's just a good feeling to know he's there and to be able to talk to him about what is happening at the end of the day.  It is also a time for us to have some time for ourselves. We went to dinner together one night and that was a nice break. The drive there and back gives us that special time to talk about the things we don't always get around to talking about at home, and we come home feeling a little closer for getting away--and I appreciate him even more for being so supportive.

For those of you who've thought about taking your husband with you to conferences, I'd say try it at least once. It can be a really special time for both of you. He'll come home with a better understanding of just what it is you do at them and you'll come home loving him for just being there for you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fireproof - Never Leave Your Partner Behind - Movie Review

The Studio Blurb: “A movie…A marriage…A movement! At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter’s adage: Never leave your partner behind. At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules. His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt is ready to face his toughest job ever…rescuing his wife’s heart.

My take: When this movie hit the scene, I’d heard rave reviews from many of my friends. Fireproof was being shown in churches around the country including mine so I was eager to see its debut. Alas, a sick child prevented us from attending. So when the DVD hit our local Christian bookstore I jumped at the chance to own it and watch the movie with our family.

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! From the title to the rolling credits, the resounding theme was repeated and made clear: In marriage, you never leave your partner behind, especially in a fire.

How appropriate for such a time as this. In today’s world where everything and anything including marriages, are disposable, Fireproof showcases exactly what happens in a marriage when the “forever death do us part” becomes more about husbands and wives who stop focusing on God’s will for their marriage and become more in tune with the world’s philosophy of self-satisfaction and immediate gratification.

As I was watching the movie I began taking notes of tidbits that caught my attention that I think prove extremely valuable in keeping our marriages healthy and the romance alive.

1) Make Jesus the most significant part of your marriage - Take time to pray over your husband or wife, allowing Jesus to guide, protect and grow your marriage. If you are not a believer as was Caleb Holt in the movie why not give Jesus a chance? Find a new church and get connected and learn more about what God says is good for you and your marriage.

2) Don’t forget to say “Thank you Lord” - Outside of making Christ your Savior, this is so important. In the rush of daily living all of us have the tendency to forget our blessings, from our health, our lives and most importantly, our partners.

3) Fireproof your marriage – As the movie so adequately states, fireproofing your marriage doesn’t mean you won’t go through the fire but that together you’ll be able to withstand the fire. How? Invest in it with all your heart. And when times get tough, don’t take the easy way out and run for the door. Find a trusted friend, family member, pastor or counselor who will have your marriage’s best interest at heart and one who will work with you to help put out the fire in your marriage.

4) Finally, watch this with your entire family. My daughter’s away at school so she wasn’t present for the viewing however, let me tell you from a mother’s perspective just how amazing this was to watch with my sons. Even at their pubescent, hormonal ages where iPods and gaming stations reign supreme, both of my boys were glued to this movie. They were captivated of course with the fire scenes but also they watched a movie that showed a young man in the midst of a crumbling marriage work diligently to save it from destruction. They saw how Caleb Holt destroyed his computer because of “parasites” that were luring his attention. They watched Caleb woo his wife with prayer, honesty, integrity and a whopping dose of the God Lord above! How cool is that?!

If you haven’t seen Fireproof go get it, pull the family together and watch this dynamic movie. Also, should you want to take the 40-day Love Dare that Caleb takes in the movie, check out http://www.fireproofyourmarriage.com/

Many blessings! ~Amy

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello, everyone.

Since my last post we have had a run of the cold and flu virus being passed around our house.

My husband, the children, and I have all been down at one point or another over the past week with a cough, runny nose, congestion, and fever.

Not exactly the ideal situation for romance when you’ve been up for 36 hours at a time with sick kids, and then fall ill yourself.

And thankfully Hubby was sick for a couple of days, then it was my turn, so we were never knocked out at the same time.

So what does any of this have to do with romance?

Well, not much. As I said, it’s hard to feel romantic when you’re blowing icky stuff into a tissue or coughing so hard it feels like a lung is going to pop out.

But . . . I have to say that all the non-romance of the last week has really made me think hard about how much I was enjoying the tiny embers we were creating over the last month. And how much I miss them.

Since starting this blog, I have been very intentional about the romance in our marriage. We are both re-developing an awareness of each other, and are making an effort to nurture the growing sparks of passion we felt in the early years as husband and wife.

So this past week of no time for anything except medicine, Kleenex, and bed-rest has made me realize how much I miss giving and receiving various forms of affection with my husband.

It has also made me more determined than ever to put that extra effort into romancing my spouse. And hopefully he will be so inclined as to reciprocate with romantic efforts of his own.

This weekend, and throughout the week, we are planning in some way, shape or form to make time to be alone together, and to share little bits of love and affection.

I hope each of you are able to do the same; take time to be together and show your love for one another, however that may be.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dinner for two - Recipe for romance

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon with roasted fingerling garlic-rosemary potatoes & grilled asparagus

Dear Readers,

Since I’ve revealed our love of a couples night dinner I thought I’d share one of our easy delicious dinners.

Items needed:
Oven preheated to 450*
Gas or charcoal grill – medium high heat

2 Salmon steaks marinated for 1 hour in 1 cup of teriyaki sauce –
We use either Yoshida’s Gourmet Teriyaki sauce or Very Very Teriyaki by Soy Vay
Aluminum foil – use this to create a flat cooking pan with edges curled

2 lbs. washed fingerling potatoes
chopped garlic
crushed rosemary
salt & pepper
olive oil

1lb. Asparagus
4-5 slices prosciutto
salt & pepper
olive oil

To ensure that all items come out at the same time, I prep the grill and oven at the same time. Please keep in mind that the seasoning such as garlic, rosemary and salt & pepper are added to your own specific tastes. I tend to add a dash of this (garlic & rosemary) and a smidge of that (salt & pepper) and a splash of olive oil. But feel free to add as much or as little as you see fit.

Toss the potatoes, garlic, rosemary and seasonings in the olive oil, place on a baking sheet and throw into the oven for approximately 35-40 minutes.

Approximately 20 minutes into the potatoes roasting timeline create a baking tray out of 3 sheets of aluminum foil. Curl the edges so they are about a .5-inch tall. This will prevent the marinade from spilling when you flip the fish. Keep in mind the tray should be large enough to hold the salmon and some of the marinade. Put the “fish tray” on the grill. Cooking times vary with the fish depending on whether you’ve bought thick steaks or filets. But typically the fish will cook in about 10-20 minutes. Flip the fish only once. This fish is done when it can be flaked with a fork.

As the fish begins to cook it’s time to prep the asparagus. Make a baking tray for the asparagus using 3 sheets of aluminum foil. Curl the edges to prevent the olive oil from spilling onto the grill. Set aside. Trim the ends off the asparagus and wash & dry. In a bowl, toss the asparagus with a little olive oil and the seasonings. Pour into the aluminum tray. Top the asparagus with the prosciutto and lay the tray on the hot grill. You will only need to

*** Be advised that as the fish cooks the teriyaki sauce will caramelize and tend to burn. I find that if I’ve added a fair amount of the marinade then about the time I’m ready to pull the fish off the grill the marinade will have cooked down to a wonderfully gooey caramel sauce that I love spooning over the cooked fish.

Keep an eye on entire meal. As the potatoes finish their cooking time, so should the asparagus. If the salmon isn’t quite done and the veggies are, turn off the oven, leave the oven door slightly ajar and pull the asparagus off the grill and slip it into the oven to stay warm until the salmon finishes.

***Please note: You’ll need tongs and an oven proof plate so you can pull the aluminum trays off the grill and onto a sturdy surface (the plate) otherwise, the aluminum foil will crumble and your meal will fall at your feet. Bummer!

Serve all these yummies up on a beautiful table setting for two, pop the cork of a beautiful glass of white wine and enjoy! Typically I serve an Albarino white by Nora or a Pinot Grigio by Santa Margherita. Either way, I hope you’ll enjoy this meal with your loved one.

If you try this recipe or you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you. Until then, here’s to keeping the romance alive in your marriage!

Many blessings ~ Amy

Thursday, March 5, 2009

After Thirty-Eight Years

How do you keep the romance alive in a marriage after spending thirty-eight years together?

That's a good question. It isn't always easy and as always you have to work at it. And there are times you don't do a good job. I think after you have been married a while you develop a solid friendship which can be so important through the good and tough times. My husband is my best friend. I know him well to the point I can tell you what he will say a lot of the times. But that can be a problem in some marriage. How do you keep things "new and fresh."

One of the ways is I have us do things that we've never done before. Not long ago we went zipping (on a line) around the treetops in a jungle. That was amazing. When I wasn't clinging on for dear life, the view was awesome. (The picture above could be me but it isn't. However, I did something just like it. I just can't find my pictures of it.) Or we went swimming with sharks and stingrays. That was amazing, too, although I kept watching out for Jaws.

So what are some of the things you can do to keep your marriage alive, especially when you begin to know your spouse so well you can finish his/her sentence?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Love Notes

Hello, everyone.

I recently picked up a book on romance: 1001 Ways to be Romantic by Gregory J.P. Godek.

It’s actually pretty good. It’s not a hard read, and the content is laid out in the simplest of terms:
1. Blah, blah, blah.

2. More blah, blah, blah.

(And I say blah, blah not because it’s boring, but because I don’t want to get into trouble with copyright issues for using his material, etc.)

But this book is filled with over a thousand ideas (obviously) from grand: a marching band in the front yard; to small: gaze into each others eyes . . . often.

So I flipped through the book and chose something at random, something simple . . . slip a note into the book he’s reading, telling him you love him.

That was easy enough to do.

He’s always reading a book, so I jotted off a quick message, “Just wanted you to know: I Love You,” and snuck it in between the pages.

Then I waited, and waited, and waited.

I began to wonder if he would see it. Would he realize it was from me, or just throw it away since the book is from the library?

And if he did find it, would he say anything? My hubby is sweet, but not known to mention details on . . . well, anything. Would this be just another piece of paper his wife scrawled on, or would he recognize it as a gesture of love, and know that he’s in my thoughts?

Well, my answer came when one of the twins came bursting into our bedroom where I was working on a manuscript. My husband followed him in and dragged him out so I could continue working, but stopped before closing the door.

“And I love you, too. Thanks for the note.”

I smiled, and he smiled back.

So I’ll keep trying ideas from the book each and let you know how they go.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Busy busy busy

The last two weeks I have felt a lot like the fish in the Disney movie Little Nemo who says "just keep swimming, just keep swimming"!

Busy season has officially begun. And although it won't be as bad for me as it is for our poor tax professionals, it wears me out. Runs me ragged. Exhausts me. Every year. Thank goodness it only lasts about 6-8 weeks (for me anyway).

During this time of year, I definitely don't feel like taking time to think about romance or what I need to do to keep Luke happy. So of course that is a big red flag for me that I need to be on my toes to make sure I am not neglecting my marriage right now. Sure, the housework can suffer a little. Cooking, what's that??? Unfortunately I can't ignore the extra work, it's required.

So what do I do?

The best I can.

Last week was a particularly difficult one. I only managed to drag myself out of the house for dinner with Luke on Friday, and then because I knew I could sleep in a little on Saturday. We were able to really tune in to each other and listen, and had some great conversation.

And then jumped into the rest of the busy weekend. I met with my writer friends on Saturday (desperately needed!!), in between loads of laundry. And about half of Sunday was spent in worship and family time with my extended family. I did get a little "me" time slipped in there, too, and a few hours of work. Yuck. I hate working on the weekends.

I can still feel it this Monday morning - I'm stretched a little thin. Because my hubby is such a GUY, he probably will need more than a hint, but I'll definitely be informing him tonight that I'll require some special treatment this week.

Wonder what he'll come up with? Last year he made a special dinner and cleaned it up all on his own. I'll report back in next week and let you know.