Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What Kind Of Love...

Last month a dear friend of mine celebrated 60 years of marriage.  I remember him saying not long after that he was still getting to know his wife. What kind of love has that much staying power? What kind of love goes beyond just sticking around or tolerating each other? What kind of love keeps on loving right to the end? 

This proves that every couple no matter how long they have been together must take the time to break new ground.  Not just finding and defining some new characteristic trait or quality about the other, but applying what has been learned to better the relationship and strengthen the bond.

Over the past 7 days Brenda and I took the time to talk about our lives together and the direction it has been taking over the past 10 years. Much has been accomplished helping newly married loved ones remain grounded and their households become more functional. We've encouraged them to take an individual assessment of themselves in order to determine if they are really being true to self and to their union.

There comes a time when we all must decide to do an about face, look back from where we have come and look ahead to where we are going and adjust the sails and point the rudder toward our intended destination. What else is there but to stand at the helm and drive on undeterred and undistracted until the goal has been reached?

The Lesson: Instead of going with the flow, which is so easy to do, we at times have to cut through the oncoming waves. Swim upstream against the tide. Break against the wind. Ride into the storm in order to break new ground.  We come out of it realizing that what we thought we had is nothing in comparison to what we now have because of what put into it. An ancient book filled with conventional wisdom calls it loyal love. 

What is loyal love? It's the kind of love that is aware that it must be tested. It prepares itself to be tested in order to learn to endure. And as it is tested it seeks to prove itself loyal. With each storm it is like a barnacle that remains attached no matter how fierce the weather. It is like the entangled weeds of the sea. Unshakable. Loyal love holds on in order to complete a well defined task and purpose in relationship to the object of love. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Congratulations November Brides and Fiancees

If you were proposed to this month or were married congratulations November brides and fiancees.

Who doesn't like a warm sticky cinnamon bun fresh out of the oven. A hot brewed aromatic coffee made from roasted coffee beans. A fluffy blanket and a warm body to cuddle on a cold frigid night. A hand to hold and arm to cling to during a noon stroll. This month is all about true commitment and the little things couples do that add warmth, spice and stickiness to their union.  I'm 52 years of age and my wife Brenda is 53. We have been married for 33 years. No previous marriages. We recently celebrated our Anniversary October 25th 2013 surrounded by the most beautiful fall foliage ever.

While we both enjoy event planning like reunions and family night as well as speaking and officiating weddings ceremonies. Brenda is the more outgoing free spirit and organizer. I am the creative one who happens to like to write. I enjoy working on projects and parties with her, but I don't mind spending long hours working alone in the home office. My wife on the other hand is the kind of person who likes to get out and go. That said, we could easily miss spending meaningful time together. To remedy this we make it a  point to call each other each day and ask how the day is going and explain what we are doing and the progress  we're making.

We plan our meals and exchange an expression of endearment before ending the conversation. She calls me Booh. I call her Baah. In addition we don't let anything get in the way of our Friday evening date night. Because we are both frugal we will plan something simple like a picnic and stroll around the reservoir or listen to oldies but goodies in the car with the top open. Or watch a movie or two at home sharing a bowl of popcorn or chips.

Brenda engages in secular work in addition to community work. She said, " I deeply appreciate it when Mark does the cooking, serving and dish washing. It makes me feel that I'm cherished and appreciated and that my share of the work is not taken for granted. Our little dates keep the tenderness, closeness and warmth in the relationship. I love it when he holds my hand even if he's just walking me to the car."

Mark runs an online business and does much in the way of ministering to a local congregation. A work spanning three generations. In addition his parents are dealing with the challenges that come with aging.  He said, "My aging parents have been ill for some time now, requiring multiple operations and ongoing nursing. This can take a toll on a person. I really appreciate it when Brenda accompanies me to visit my parents. She contributes a lot in the way of being empathetic and upbuilding. It makes me feel supported and that I'm not alone dealing with this challenge."

Mark and Brenda are also authors of the book Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide and Keepsake and the book My Keepsake Wedding Planner.  Mark says, "Brenda does not know it but she started these book by compiling event planning notes useful templates and documents for her  gatherings. I just added content based on our life's experience.  The fact that we both worked on several projects together makes me feel that we did not come together based on mere attraction put to make two parts a whole. Focusing on our similarities and being empowered by our differences gives us a kind of oneness. I love that about us."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Congratulations October Brides and Fiancées

Happy 33rd Anniversary Brenda. October. It's the most beautiful time of year for us. A time to get warm and cozy by the beach or snuggle up by candle light at a secret hotel suite. This past weekend by wife and I celebrated out Anniversary and took a meaningful walk down memory lane by way of video, music and nostalgia. But what made it so enjoyable was remembering a request.

Remember The Request

Some of the best gifts ever given were of requests long forgotten. I remembered brenda's request to make a video of the family growing up. She remembered my request to make a playlist of our favorite oldies from the time we first met to the present. And then we sighed, snuggled and as is said in Africa our hearts laid down. At the moment that's what Scamper our cat and distinguished member of the family seems to have in mind while I multitask on two computers. One to write this blog entry and the other to create a family video scrapbook - Part II, Our Granddaughter. It's something Brenda has been asking for and I refuse to put it off a day longer. As mentioned a few days ago I completed the first of these video scrapbooks.

The Book of Life

The first was an anniversary gift to Brenda.  I call this series of video scrapbooks 'The Book of Life' series. When completed it will take the viewer from my family heritage in the motherland to our life in america. I hope to share it with the next generation and those to come and leave a trail of identity, hope, reunion and assurance.

What I love about this project is you can create it to play on your lightweight iPad or tablet. Here's an idea... You can prop up the tablet on the candle lit dinner table for two and let the video say it all and then when the video is done play your favorite tunes while sequencing through family photos and memorable scenic spots enjoyed then and now.

Anniversary Commemoration Ideas

This project will be an ongoing one to say the least. The first edition was an anniversary commemoration presented to my wife of 33years.  It will be shared again with the rest of the family on my fathers next wedding Anniversary and an update later on my next anniversary. It will include interviews, maps, home video, news clips, newspaper clippings and photos as backdrop to narration and my own music compositions. That said take the time to create a playlist of music that marks special times in the life of your relationship together.

She Said Yes

Brenda played the music playlist of our lives and added memories of the times when we first heard or danced to each song. There is a country song on the list titled "She Said Yes" and "We Danced."  Although I introduced Brenda to slow romantic country music, I had not heard these two songs in a few years. It was a real surprise.  Brenda said yes under the stars just outside her front door after I walked her home on a warm summers night and proposed.  It was then that our dance of life together began. On October 25th we both said "I do".  To all of you who said Yes or "I do" in October, congratulations and happy anniversary.

Wedding Gifts 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Congratulations September Brides and Fiancées

Congratulations to those married or to be wed, as well as those engaged in September?
This is your month to tell us how he proposed to you.

Why I love September

Light gusts of wind sweep up swirling golden leaves as the sweet scent of pine cones and pungent fallen apples fill the air.  It's a virtual fest for butterflies, sparrows and other creatures great and small. The time of harvest as arrived and with that it's time to carefully store away a fruitful season of growth and memories.

Did You Know?

Did you know that. September begins on the same day of the week as December every year. September means 7. That said, It was originally the seventh of ten months on the oldest known Roman calendar. The ninth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with a length of 30 days. 


September's birthstone is the sapphire. Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide. Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper, or magnesium can give corundum blue, yellow, purple, orange, or a greenish color.  With its Mohs hardness of 9, second only to diamond, is one of the most wearable of all gemstones.

Birth Flower

The birth flowers for September are the forget-me-not, morning glory and aster. 

Tell Us Your Story

Whether you were proposed to in the month of September or were wed tell us your story and send it to someone you love.


The "7 Days Before The Wedding Countdown Planner Checklist Bookmark"  Makes a great gift and can be used as a printable graphical template for many different craft projects. 
  • Print it on a commemorative T-shirt.
  • Print it on a fabric neck scarf.
  • Print it on a fabric hair scarf.
  • Send it to all the Brides-to-be you know.
  • Print on a tall mug (cut in three sections).
  • Print on a slim poster.
  • Print on sticky paper for a scrapbook countdown timeline.
  • Print and stick to the side of your monitor display.
  • Print and wrap vertically around your bed post
  • Print and wrap vertically around your Ficus Tree
  • Print and hang ornamentally from your chandelier
  • Print and attach to the side a your wall poster.
Right click and save the image to a file.

Find vital wedding planning checklists in the newly released wedding planner and organizer Fimark's My Keepsake Wedding Planner.

Fimark's My Keepsake Wedding Planner.
Enjoy the May and June Bride Special for a limited time.
List Price: $29 Now $26.65 here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

7 Keys To Making Your Marriage Last

What are the seven keys to making your marriage last? Here are some helpful reminders to work out long before you say, ''I Do." 

1. Don't settle for a lasting marriage. Build a lasting, loving one. That means there are times we must put our own feelings aside and be more considerate, forgiving and kind. Do for him or her what you want done for you. In other words be an example of a love that lasts. Discuss the reasons why you do what you do and note the benefits.

2. Good marriages are built by good people. While you want to be appreciated for who you are changes in your own viewpoint will need to be made in order to accommodate your marriage partner and let him or her into your live. You will need to learn to give them needed space and take on the necessary qualities to become more of a compliment of the other.

3. You and your spouse will make mistakes. Minor and major. Understand how your mistakes impact your mate emotionally, mentally and yes, financially.  Find out how mistakes can alter their plans for the future and even alter the way that person functions in life and provides support to you. A single apology may not be enough for long term losses. Learn how to undo the damage done and pick up the broken pieces while mend the relationship as best you can. 

4. Remember that marriage is a legal partnership and with any partnership there are business contracts that must be adhered to. Honor your agreements. If you are a wife and must work a secular job to supplement income remember the contractual reasons why you are there and live up to them. Instead of building a life outside the home, center your life around the one who vowed loyalty, friendship and commitment to you, your mate. Know the difference between secular ambition and loving marital commitment.

5. Marriage is companionship. A companion is loving, protective and supportive much like a gentlemen's gentlemen. It is no compromise of gender to be similarly supportive to the one who plans to spend his or her life with you. But companionship is also about nurturing and taking the time to enjoy the memories of the times your shared, seeing good for your hard work.

6. Marriage is friendship and true friendship is everlasting. 

7. Remember that marriage is more than living or rooming together for convenience sake. Marriage is making a commitment to love, care for, honor and subject oneself to the other. 
It about confirming your love by putting up with and dealing with the problems and challenges. Commitments that last are a constant affirmation of ones love, approval and worth. 

Almost 2 thousand years ago similar words were written to families in the Roman Province of Corinth. 
"Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury.  It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."
-1 Cor 13:4-8.