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FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Marriage/ Sponsored

Reclaiming Date Night


Todd and I have had date nights as long as we have been married, which is going on almost 20 years! We were super faithful with date nights before the kids were born, going out once a week and having at least one elaborate date once a month. We lived in the Chicago during our first 2 years of marriage, so there were plenty of places to go to & choose from for date night. Once we started having kids, we moved back to Nebraska and date night turned into every other week, as paying babysitters got expensive. Grandparents were awesome with helping watch the kids, so some months we got to go every week. Whether it was every week or every other week, it was a priority for us.

The past year or so we have found it more of a struggle to get out on a date night on a regular basis.  Having teenagers keep us very busy on the weekends, and my health issues this past year really kept us from going out much.

Now that I am feeling more like myself, we have started going out on date nights on a more regular basis.  It is still hard with teenagers, but keeping our dates short so we can run them around town is better than no date at all!

We keep our date nights pretty simple.  We both are foodies so we always go out to eat.

Here are reasons date night is important to us:

~It allows us to really ‘see’ each other. There is something quite romantic about sitting across from my man and seeing the one I committed to spending my whole life with. Life can pass so quickly, so slowing down to really look my Todd in the eyes, connect with him, and listen to him with no distractions is important and time very well spent.

~It causes us to pause and ‘be’ instead of ‘do.’  We are together every day doing all that life brings our way. It is so important to just be together and slow the hustle that life brings.

~It is fun.  Life can bring some pretty heavy things along the way, so taking the time to have some fun is important to us.  Fun for us means connecting emotionally & of course, eating great food!


We love LOVE food.  My Todd especially loves sea food, so recently I initiated a date night and took my man out to Red Lobster for their Endless Shrimp. He is usually the one who initiates and takes me out, so this was quite fun to change things up a bit and take him out. We had the BEST time.


The evening really was perfect. The weather was in the upper 70’s and the sun was just starting to set as we drove to dinner.  I wore some new booties that I just got and threw on some jewelry to add a little sparkle to my casual outfit.  Gotta look good for my man!


We were surprised at how busy Red Lobster was, and worried that the wait would be long, but despite all of the people who were there excited to eat some sea food, we were seated within minutes.


Red Lobster is the world’s largest seafood restaurant company, headquartered in Orlando Florida, with over 700 restaurants in the United States and Canada.  Red Lobster is focused on delivering freshly prepared seafood at reasonable prices.  It was obvious on this night that Red Lobster is where their guests come to satisfy their craving for great seafood!


Our waitress was super sweet and immediately took our drink orders.  We ordered two of their new beer-based cocktails, that are available exclusively during Endless Shrimp & paired perfectly with our Endless Shrimp dishes.  One was called the Seaside Shandy and the other was the Angry Lobster. Hands down my favorite was the Angry Lobster.  Bold and spicy, the Angry Lobster features Anger Orchard Crisp Apple Cider, tropical fruit juices and a kick of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.  I had no idea I was about to taste a drink that was so good that I would be thinking about it a week later. It was so good I had to text my sister to tell her to go to Red Lobster and order one ASAP.  It was like tasting fall in a drink — the cinnamon apple flavor was so delicious!  To. Die. For.


Both cocktails are served in a beer can-shaped commemorative glass with the Red Lobster logo & are sold with the purchase of a cocktail.


When it was time to take our order, the waitress was really great at her job and answered my questions before I even asked them!  We knew we were going to order their Endless Shrimp, which is going on now and for a limited time at Red Lobster.  This year, you can choose two out of 5 shrimp preparations for your initial order, and then you can enjoy as much shrimp as you would like, any way you want it, and can mix-and match different preparations.

These are the dishes that are only available during Endless Shrimp:

~NEW! Pineapple Habanero Coconut Bites — coconut shrimp bites tossed in pineapple habanero sauce

~Teriyaki Grilled Shrimp — classic guest favorite and back by popular demand, grilled shrimp brushed with soy-ginger glaze

~Hand-Breaded Shrimp– Hand-breaded shrimp friend to a golden brown.

~Garlic Shrimp Scampi — Oven-broiled shrimp in garlic, white wine and butter

~Shrimp Linguini Alfredo— tender shrimp in a garlic Parmesan cream sauce on a bed of linguine


I started out with the Pineapple Habanero Coconut Bites, and the Teriyaki Grilled Shrimp.   I loved the sound of the Pineapple Habanero Coconut Bites, but was worried it would be too spicy for my wimpy palate.  Our waitress told me they could put the sauce on the side, but that it was not overly spicy.  It ended up being my favorite of all, and it did have a bite, but boy, was it good with the sweetness of the coconut shrimp.  I also loved the Teriyaki Grilled Shrimp.  My first 2 choices ended up being my favorite.


Todd started with Shrimp Linguini Alfredo and the Hand-Breaded Shrimp. He got a refill of the Pineapple Habanero Coconut Bites, and I got a refill of Hand-Breaded Shrimp, but I was getting super full by this time.  We had already enjoyed the Cheddar Bay Biscuits that Red Lobster is known for.  I also had a salad which was really fresh and green, topped with their Blueberry Balsamic dressing–yes, it was as good as it sounds.


Todd and I were enjoying conversation when a couple of familiar faces walked up and greeted us.  My Todd is Programs Director at a non-profit organization called City Impact.  He works with young people and 2 of the students we have worked with were there working the room as host and hostess.  They were so professional–they were dressed sharply in all black and were communicating discretely with other team members through their headsets.  They were busy with things like setting up tables, seating people in a timely manner, & bringing a high chair to a family with little ones.  Todd and I were so happy that they stopped by to say hi and we beamed with pride at the way they owned the room and made service flow so wonderfully.  That was a fun surprise.

We did save room for dessert and ordered the Chocolate Chip Lava Cookie as suggested by one of Todd’s students. It was really yummy.  I can’t ever have dessert with out a cup of coffee, so I ordered a cup of decaf and it was delicious paired with our dessert.

It was so nice to just sit and enjoy great food with my husband.  We had great conversation, just catching up on life and even setting a few goals for our family in the future.  We ended up super satisfied and headed home to snuggle up and watch some of our favorite television that we had recorded earlier in the week.  I love finishing date night curled up together in our cozy home!


What about you?

Have you ever eaten at Red Lobster during Endless Shrimp?  If you do go during Endless Shrimp, use the hashtag #EndlessReasonsContest on social media to share your reasons for loving Endless Shrimp and be entered to win daily prizes throughout the event.

What about date night?  Do you need to reclaim date night?  How often do you and your significant other go out on a date? What do you like to do on dates?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Love/ Marriage

24 Ways To Be A Helper To Your Husband


Helper: One who gives assistance or support to another, making life more pleasant or bearable.

“It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. I will make him a helper.”– God Genesis 2:18 (emphasis added)

So, how do you feel about being a helper?  I’ve always been okay with the term, as on of my gifts is acts of service, so helping people is something I love to do, but I know many women who struggle with feeling like this title is ‘less than’ or inferior.  My struggle is different.  My struggle is remembering who I am called to be and putting the energy into it.

If you do struggle with this word, it might help to remember that the word Helper, is actually a precious word that God uses to describe himself!

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you. Isaiah 41:10

In this verse God is assuring His people, telling them not to worry, because He will be their helper.  He considers it a worthy calling, so I do to.

I’ve recently had a reawakening when it comes to wanting to be the wife God has called me to be.  This has come along my heart for a couple of reasons.

I am just coming out of a season where I was quite sick for a long period of time.  It has taken months to get back to myself, of which I really will write about soon, (let me reassure you that I am still in remission, much of the sickness has come from ongoing hormone treatment and side effects from that treatment) but I was so sick that I went inward, and really could only focus on getting through everyday.  It was quite a selfish period…not really… but kind of.  I did my best to give as much as I could each day, but physical and emotional illness caused me to not be able to give like I was used to.

The second reason is an amazing couple I know and who I wrote about, that recently went to Heaven.  They had the marriage I think we all long to have.  They were best friends and just did marriage so well!  Here is a quote from Terri…I must share as it just hit me so hard how beautiful her thinking and way of living was.

“‘You become what the most important person in your life thinks that you are. “At the end of Ty’s life, I want him to be able to say, ‘Terri was the greatest earthly blessing in my life – the best thing that ever happened to me – and that I’m a better man because of how she loved me. And that’s the goal that I live with every day. That’s how I want to love this man.‘”

Now that I am able to focus more on others, and I have a very tangible example of what a great marriage looks like, I am very excited to start by focusing on my own and the one that is most important to me…my Todd.

In doing that, I have been reading a book and the beginning chapter talks about being a helper.

It is not really doing something, but being someone.  An identity that I want to keep in the forefront of my mind. It is a worthy calling.

I ask myself: Do I make my husband’s life more pleasant and bearable? Does he depend on me? Can he now that I am feeling better? Have I communicated this to him?  Does he feel my support? How do I react when he asks me to do things for him? What are things I do or can do to accomplish this?

Lately I have been able to practice the answers to these questions as it is my Todd’s most busy time of year.  He works for a non-profit organization as a programs director and also as an after school reading center director.  This week and next he is just swamped and has needed me to step up and take care of things he normally would take care of.  This plays out practically in lots more time in the car for me…rides for our 3 girls in the evenings that he would usually give.  It also looks like me going to teachers meetings alone and being quite proactive in being the main parenting figure right now, at least during the week. I hope he is starting to feel the unconditional support as my attitude in doing this purposefully and cheerfully is still pretty new. It’s not that I was unwilling before, it is just that now I want to do it in a way that makes him feel confident that the house can be run well even when he is working extra hours; and that he has a wife who is capable of picking up where he needs to let go.

Honestly, the past 2 months this would have been really, really hard to do as my health was so precarious, but thank our sweet Lord I am stronger now and able to really be proactive in my new convictions.  I am so thankful for better health!

I must admit, not only did it take a change of health, but also a change of heart. It is so easy to become apathetic and not want to change.  My motivation came from seeing the beauty of a marriage done God’s way, and I will forever be grateful for such a beautiful example.

My new attitude will not always come easy.  I know there is an enemy of our souls that wants to bring fear, disobedience, scorekeeping, contentiousness and cause me stumble over pride. I will not let him win.

So what does being a supportive, pleasant, bearable, dependable helpmate look like for me?  How am I going to live this out practically?

Well, I plan on asking Todd specifically what is most helpful for him.  But in the meantime, I know him well enough to know where to start.



A few steps I’m taking in being a supportive, pleasant, & dependable “Helper”:

I will soften my face when I look at my husband.

I will smile at him, even if only with my eyes.

I will be attentive, acknowledging when he walks in the room.

I will be attentive, without putting pressure or expectation on him to be attentive back.

I will hug/kiss him hello and goodbye.

I will give him time to decompress and do ‘Todd’ things when he gets home.

I will do my best to make him feel special to me, like I’m his biggest fan.

I will exude warmth.

I will not share with him all that has gone wrong with my day the minute he walks in the door.

I will pray “Lord, please help me be willing to be willing.”

I will have my closest friends ask me about how I am doing in being “helper”

I will continue give my heart only to him and no other, with protective barriers up against all others.

I will not compare him unfavorably with others

I will work on making our marriage bed the warmest place known to the both of us.

I will use words like “good morning” “have a good day” “I love you” “how are you?” “need anything?”

I will look for ways to make him feel special in my presence

I will find ways to let him know he is of great worth to me

I will figure out how to best communicate how much I respect what he does and who he is

I will be committed to all of this even when I don’t feel like he might deserve it at times.

I will love and treat him as the man I know he can be even if he is having an off day.

I will choose to see the good.

I will make “deposits” into our marriage, more than “withdraws.”

I will pick myself up and try again, even if I ‘drop the ball’ in these goals.

I will do all of this through Christ, who is the only one who can fully and perfectly love me in the way I long to be loved.  As I grasp how very head over heals in love God is with me, I can then love others in the same way.


What about you?  Does this list resonate with you?  Does it make you fearful or nervous? Are you already doing most of these things? What are your experiences? What are your thoughts?

5 Minute Fridays/ FAMILY/ Marriage

Lost In Love


{participating in 5 Minute Friday-write for 5 minutes, with a prompt.  Unscripted. Unedited. Real.}


The minute I heard that the 5 Minute Friday words prompt was LOST,  this old school song popped in my head.  I remember singing it as a teen, wondering if I would ever be lost in love.  By golly…I am.


{Song Lyrics}

I never needed love like I need you

And I never lived for nobody but I live for you
ooh babe lost in love is what I feel when I’m with you

Maybe it’s the way you touch me
with the warmth of the sun

maybe it’s the way you smile and I come all undone
ooh babe lost in love is what I feel when I’m with you

{My Words, spurred on by the lyrics}

I once was lost, but now I’m found. God found me, then he gave me you.
My need for Him is evident, as is my need for you, for two become one.

I live for Him, He shows me how to live for you–flesh of my flesh.
I am lost in love when I’m with you.
Your kind eyes, they meet mine. Your eyebrows up in question, wanting to know my need.
If not, they squint when you smile, forming wrinkles in the corners–my favorite.

I kiss these lines, so familiar. I love how you smile with your eyes.

Your touch, always gentle, just like you. Your hands on my arm, my hand, my leg.
Holding, creating warmth, a touch that acknowledges and speaks without words.

Even when I push away, these days of meds that are just too hot,  your eyes still look at me with warmth.This is when I’m undone, when you love despite what comes in between, despite my shortcomings, despite battle wounds. When I’m most love lost and you still come forward, these are the moments I’m lost in love.

{Song Lyrics}

Baby ooh I get chills when I’m with you
oh baby my world stands still when I’m with you
when I’m with you

I never cared for nobody
like I care for you
and I never wanted to share the things I wanna share with you
ooh babe lost in love is what I feel when I’m with you

Baby ooh I get chills when I’m with you
oh baby my world stands still when I’m with you
when I’m with you

{My words, spurred on by the lyrics}

I think of all the life we have lived, the moments between us that only we know, & I get chills.

You have made my world stand still in the most stable way. You have chosen me, day after day.

You are mine, there is no one else for me. You get me, even when I don’t get me. You know more than any other. You have and will listen to my sharing; a listening ear, none can compare.

Yes– I know love. I am lost but never will lose.  When this world stands still long enough for us to look and see, we glimpse not two but One. I once was lost, but now I’m found.