How to Create a Family Night Your Kids Won’t Want to Miss

How to Create a Family Night Your Kids Won’t Want to Miss

family night

What happens on family night … stays on family night. At least that’s what we said the night I dramatically pantomimed changing my adult daughter’s diaper. It was the final round of Cranium. If my husband guessed correctly, our team would take the win. If not, it was sure to go to the other team.

In the last few seconds, he shouted, “Changing a diaper!”

I raised my hands in victory. “Yes!”

The other team groaned as my husband moved our player piece into the winner zone. My daughter got up off the floor, red-faced and raspy from screeching/laughing.

Now, whenever we decide to play a game on family night, her older siblings (and brother-in-law) always tease her with, “Let’s play Cranium.”

And she always spits back “No!,” much to their delight.

Creating a fun family night

Family night has been a thing in our family since the kids were little. Now that they’re all out on their own, they still love it. So do my husband and I. I credit family night for one of the main reasons we’re a close family.

It hasn’t always been easy. But I’ve learned some things (sometimes the hard way) to make weekly family nights an event they won’t want to miss.

1) Yummy food. If your kids still live at home, this is a night to put something special on the menu. When mine were little, they’d beg for pizza — an obvious way to make the meal fun for them.

There are other nights for “eat your vegetables” and “try it — you’ll like it.” Family nights are a great reason to put out those “Yay! Best mom ever!” foods.

Now that mine are young adults on a meager food budget, anything that isn’t Ramen noodles or Kraft macaroni and cheese puts a smile on their faces. I usually make this my night to put more effort into cooking dinner. It’s also our one dessert night of the week.

Whatever their age, choose a menu (or restaurant) that will be sure to lure them to the table.

2) Fun activity. Don’t let the night end with everyone slipping away after dinner and melding with their devices. Planning an activity keeps the conversation going, often getting into the deeper issues of life. We’re fond of board games, so it doesn’t take much to entice them to play a round or two. Sometimes we’ll hike at a local landmark or head to the nearby city park if the weather’s nice.

Some weeks, like Easter week, we’re simply exhausted. Those are great times to head to the theater or rent a movie to watch at home. This weekend, my heart melted when my youngest curled up next to her dad on the couch like she did as a little girl.

3) Safe conversation. Speaking from some of the most painful parenting lessons I’ve ever learned, I highly recommend saving the difficult conversations for later. Most issues can and should be dealt with individually, but if it’s truly a family matter, we schedule a family meeting.

We work hard at cultivating positive interaction, with more encouragement than correction. For me, the work is especially hard, since I didn’t grow up in a positive environment; too many times I’ve repeated the mistake of being too harsh with my children. Often, it takes intentional work on the parents’ part to create a supportive and affirming family environment.

I’ve watched the work pay off not just on family nights, but throughout the week as well. Recently, one of our adult kids sent us all a group text before a big job interview and instantly got 100% response with many variations of, “You go, girl!”

One Small Win: Whether your kids are just barely old enough to sit at the table, or if they have dining room tables of their own, family nights are a great way to create great memories and foster closeness.

family night

And if you ever find yourself playing Cranium and draw the “pantomime changing a diaper” card?

Do it with gusto.

Your family will be talking (and laughing) about it for months to come.


Lyneta Smith is an inspirational writer and speaker who lives with her husband near Nashville, TN.  Some of her favorite things to write in her planner: date nights and family time with her adult children. She’s owned by a frisky Boston terrier and a tortoiseshell cat. Connect with her at www.lynetasmith.com.

Eat Out and Save Money? Yes, Please!

Eat Out and Save Money? Yes, Please!

eat out and save money

Have you ever thought, “We should eat out less often — for the sake of our wallets and our waistlines!” Maybe you tried tracking your purchases, keeping almonds in our purses, and beating yourself up. But nothing ever seems to work. What if I told you I could eat out and save money?

A restaurant tax

I decided to do something drastic. I instituted a surcharge for each meal I didn’t make at home. It was a bold move, but I can do anything for a month, right?

I told myself I could eat out or order in as often as I wanted, guilt-free. However, as long as each time I did, I tucked away an equivalent amount of money in a special envelope.

  • A $10 trip to the Burger House now cost me $20.
  • Thai food for the family meant spending $90 instead of $45.
  • And a frou-frou coffee drink was $8, not $4.

To keep myself honest, I imposed a non-negotiable rule: my “tax” was due at the time service was rendered. If I didn’t have the cash to put into my envelope immediately, I couldn’t place my order. It’s difficult enough scrounging through the nooks and crannies of my purse and minivan to find money for a burger on the run. But now I had to find twice as much.

I assumed this experiment would drastically reduce how frequently I ate out, because eating out is expensive, and I had just doubled the cost.

A surprising result

At the end of the month, I removed the bulging envelope from my desk drawer and held the stack of small bills in my hand, curious to see how much I had collected. My heart beat faster as I counted: $185, $190 — I was holding over $200! A mix of emotions swirled to the surface.

Embarrassment — Do we really eat out this much?

Shame — How did this not “cure” me of eating out?

Concern — Had I forgotten to pay a bill?

But those emotions were eclipsed by excitement: We spent $200 eating out last month AND we had an additional $200 saved!!

That means, at least for last month, I could have spent $400 in some other way, if I had chosen not to eat out at all. At the very least, I had $200 in my hand that I could still choose to spend intentionally. The options were endless — all because my experiment failed!

Or had it?

Spending money intentionally

How much money do you spend eating out each month? Is there something you could spend that money on that would give you more satisfaction? Maybe. Or maybe not. How will you know if you’re not intentional?

eat out and save money

One Small Win: Try imposing your own restaurant tax. You may eat out less frequently. You may eat out just as often. At least you’ll be making an informed decision. Either way, you’ll gather far more money than you’ll ever find by foraging through your car.


Kendra Burrows has a passion for tending her earthly and spiritual gardens. Some days they overflow with blooms, other days the weeds seem to prevail. In either case, Kendra strives to mindfully recognize God’s grace in her life every day, and to encourage others to tend and nurture their own beautiful gardens.

Kendra is joyfully married with three great kids and son-in-law, and two other lovable nuisances (pets). She lives in Eugene, OR, and teaches psychology at the local college.

Connect with Kendra at www.kendraburrows.com.

Invite Joy to the Table: Tips for Making Dinner Fun

Invite Joy to the Table: Tips for Making Dinner Fun

invite joy

I love the idea of dinner—the coming together for conversation, connection, and a shared table. I like the idea of food and conversation happening around the kitchen table, filling both our stomachs and our hearts. The idea of roasted chicken, fresh from the oven, mashed potatoes, and fresh green beans displayed on an impeccable table with candles glowing makes my heart sing.

That’s just not what dinner looks like at my house.

What my dinner table really looks like

Allow me to set the stage. It is 6:00 pm. It is the “losing it hour.” It is the end of the day and everyone is tired and hungry. The rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is trying to stay warm in the oven without drying out while I warm up the leftover rice and defrost some green beans that have just a touch of freezer burn. The table is littered with crumbs, scraps of paper, and eraser bits. I sit the food on top of it all so we can just eat already. My husband arrives home from a long day and, well, we’ve all had a long day.

We pray and begin to eat. And so it begins. Someone is chewing too loudly. There’s too much lemon pepper seasoning on the green beans. “She looked at me funny” is a constant refrain. Our questions about school end up with answers like, “We did math” and “I liked recess.”

At your house maybe the baby is throwing food and refusing to eat or maybe you are still waiting for the tardy teen to arrive. It is always something. Dinner is burned, attitudes are keeping things lively, or the disagreement from the morning has decided to return for the “losing it hour.” And on a really great night you get all three!

Invite joy to the table – a new way to do dinner

I am on a mission to rescue dinner from unrealistic expectations. My goal is smiles and the rest is just details. To begin this mission I bought three tins of jokes. I wanted to introduce a different expectation—one of connection through fun—and, at the very least, keep the grumpy at bay. For the most part it has worked. The eraser bits are still on the table, the chicken is dry, but we have smiles! About a week after starting this new way of dining my son checked out a book of jokes from the school library for us to enjoy at dinner. I call that winning!

Rescuing dinner from expectations has led to dinners full of fun. Grumpy still joins us for dinner every now and then of course, but we’ve stopped setting a place for him and instead have invited joy to the table.

Here’s a few more ideas, some I have tried and some I will implement soon to give grumpy the boot and invite joy to a place at our table.

– On Sunday nights we watch America’s Funniest Videos while we eat an easy dinner. There is always belly laughter and I LOVE IT.
– Grab some trivia cards from a board game and just ask the questions – no pieces or game board needed.
– Serve dinner that is only finger food – easy for the one prepping and fun for all.
– Buy or make some fun placemats.
– Speak with accents.
– Eat dinner with chopsticks. (Make chopsticks easy for kids to try with this tutorial! http://www.instructables.com/id/Chopstick-trainer-with-only-a-rubber-band-and-ch/)
– Turn on some music and allow it to set the tone for your meal. Are you having Mexican? Turn on some Latin tunes. Having grilled cheese for dinner? Jazz genre, of course. Have throwback night and introduce your kids to the music you listened to growing up.
– Eat a picnic on the living room floor.

One small win: Make dinner fun again by releasing your expectations. Introduce fun at dinner tonight in a way that your family will enjoy. Invite joy to the table.

invite joy


invite joyYou can read more from Bethany Howard at bethanyhoward.com. She writes about finding fuel for joy and growth in the details of the daily. Her greatest leadership exercise has been her roles as wife and mom to three. She is a graduate of Leverage: The Speaker Conference.

Taming the Paper Piles with Amy Carrol (Vlog)

Taming the Paper Piles with Amy Carrol (Vlog)

Taming the paper piles

Paper, paper everywhere! Do you have more paper piles in the form of mail, bills, and notes than you know what to do with? Amy has a simple system to help you tame the paper monster.

Today Amy shows you her notebook system she’s used for several years to help tame the paper piles. It was especially helpful when her kids were small, but even now she uses it to organize papers and keep everything she needs at her fingertips.

One Small Win: Make a family notebook to corral your papers.

Amy Carroll

Amy Carroll

Amy Carroll is a speaker, writer, and International Initiatives Coordinator with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s the author of Breaking Up with Perfect as well as the director and coach of Next Step Speaker Services. Amy and her husband live in lovely Holly Springs, NC with a bossy miniature dachshund. You can find her on any given day texting her two sons at college, typing at her computer, reading a book, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner.

Share life with Amy at www.amycarroll.org

Clutter-Free Parenting: Managing Expectations and Compassion

Clutter-Free Parenting: Managing Expectations and Compassion

clutter-free parenting

I can just hear you now: “Clutter-free” and “parenting” in the same sentence? For real?

Well, not so fast. Clutter-free parenting is not a one-and-done proposition. When my children were little, I took delight in the nice, neat shelves in my basement, holding up totes clearly marked with clothing sizes. I was also Y2K ready (dating myself here), and had organized shelving stocked fully with massive quantities of food for pending disaster, enough to feed a small country. Yes, some of you are judging me right now while others are in awe.

Okay, so I have my skeletons in the closet of overdoing things when it comes to organization. I readily admit that maybe, just maybe, my focus on being clutter-free and organized bordered on being a little neurotic. Notice the past tense in that last sentence.

Clutter-free parenting as your kids grow older

Making five little people do their chores was stressful, but it does not compare with four college kids who all have jobs and school and a creative twelve-year-old who reenacts Curious George episodes again and again. Somehow the college “adult” status has a built-in entitlement that they just simply cannot do chores nor participate in the clutter-free schooling environment of days gone by.

A little background might help here. I home-educated all of my children all the way through. Yep. I am one of those. I delighted in purchasing books – LOTS of them – and organizing it all. Until … Until our lives were interrupted by a tragedy that transformed our very existence.

Suddenly the pet peeves about clutter really did not matter anymore. Just making my kids happy, just surviving, just trying to maintain some level of cleanliness, that’s where my focus shifted.

Balancing compassion and expectations

The problem with that state of living is that if we aren’t careful, it becomes our new norm. Kids are smart and realize this. The compassionate heart of mommas can, um, enable their disobedient behavior with excuses. I confess I have done this many times. I rationalized in my brain that it was cruel to stress them out with the burden of having to actually chip in around the house. They had a past pain that somehow overruled maintaining a clutter-free zone.

Now I have four kids, all with jobs and in college. “I’m an adult now,” several of my children have informed me. I mused over what those words meant as college textbooks were scattered all over my dining room table, kitchen table, coffee table, well, actually EVERYWHERE! “Mom, I have to work.” “I don’t have time to rinse the plate off.” “Gotta go.” The enabling side of me felt compassionately that it was just too hard for them to be expected to do 5-10 minutes of chores. They were stressed. But then, so was I. I work too.

The climb back to a clutter-free zone with children is not completely victorious. We fail and sometimes give ourselves space and grace when times get really hectic. But we don’t stay there.

When I am tempted to feel guilty and mean about expecting children who live in our home to pitch in, I am reminded that allowing clutter to reign in our lives and in the lives of our children is actually not kind.

One Small Win: Holding kids accountable to a standard that fosters peace can set the foundation for their lives to be clutter-free in their mind and homes.

So to our children who are now young adults, my husband says, “You’re right – you’re an adult now . . . act like it!”

“A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel.” Proverbs 29:21

clutter-free parenting


Denise Pass is an author, CCM artist, worship leader and speaker from Fredericksburg, VA, where she lives with her amazing husband and five children. Denise is passionate about writing devotions and music that foster unshakable hope and healing in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Her ministry, Seeing Deep in a Shallow World seeks to be a compass grounded in Scripture and a place where real problems meet real, transparent faith and needed answers in Scripture.

You can read more about Denise’s ministry, Seeing Deep, over at www.denisepass.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Message in a Bottle: How a Simple Jar Can Help Grow Deep Family Connections  (Plus a Book Giveaway!)

Message in a Bottle: How a Simple Jar Can Help Grow Deep Family Connections (Plus a Book Giveaway!)

Once upon a time I thought if I could make enough spreadsheets, post enough lists, or structure my planner enough, then I could build the scaffolding for smooth, meaningful days. I imagined days where love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control could just spill right out of my heart.

Turns out “fruit” doesn’t grow on spreadsheets. Nothing against lists, mind you. But through God’s gentle teaching over the past several years, I’ve embraced the natural rhythm of days and grace in the midst of busyness.

It’s a beautifully confounding idea that the miraculous is often present in the mundane. A moment setting aside a scrambling schedule in order to kneel down, look a little one in the eye, and just listen to what is on their heart, is worth all the crossed-off lists in the world.

In short, I’m learning that the “small” can be momentous. That the moments make the days. And that it’s the humblest things that make life the richest.

How a jar can unify your family

Take for example the idea of a simple jar and a few pebbles. What if these everyday things could help unify your family throughout the day? What if it weaved hearts together? Here’s what I propose:

1) Find a jar, bowl or vase.

2) Obtain a group of pebbles, glass gems (as you might use in a fish tank or for the game Mancala), or other memento—one style or color for each person in the family. Even just a slip of paper with each person’s name written on it would do the trick.grow deep family connections
3) Each morning every person takes a pebble of another person’s chosen color. Slip it into a pocket, lunch box, brief case, purse, pencil box or backpack. Gather before parting ways for the day to talk about prayer requests for the day.

4) Throughout the day, whenever that person comes across the pebble, it’s a prompt to say a quick prayer for the person it represents, and whatever they might be facing in their day.

5) At the end of the day, take a moment to go around and debrief about the day. Each person asks the person whose pebble they drew how their day was. Then let them know how or when they were prayed for.

6) Finally, deposit each of those traveling gems into your chosen jar. Over time, the intermingled pebbles (or other items) serve as a visual reminder of how cherished each person has been in thought and prayer.

grow deep family connections 

A message in a bottle

In my research for the newly-released Message in a Bottle Romance Collection, I’ve come across some incredible stories of objects and messages in simple vessels. This is just one way to make a living message of your own and create a beautiful tradition.

grow deep family connections

For a chance to win one of five copies of that book, tell us in the comments: What is one simple but important message you would love your family to carry in their hearts each day?


grow deep family connectionsAmanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of Truth, and spinner of hope-filled tales. She spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family, who love a good blanket fort and a stack of read-alouds. Give her a rainy day, a candle to read by, an obscure corner of history to dig in, and she’ll be happy for hours. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Bespoke: a Tiny Christmas Tale, a contributing author to the newly-released Message in a Bottle Romance Collection, and enjoys connecting with her readers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Embracing Our Sweet Spot: Living out Our God-Given Talents

Embracing Our Sweet Spot: Living out Our God-Given Talents

embracing our sweet spot

HURT:

Maybe it is the new year, but I’ve plugged along with decluttering my cupboards. Then one day, while at a friend’s house, she asked me to grab something from under her kitchen sink. Upon opening the two doors I found literally five items (if that) inside a bare white cupboard. It was beautiful. My jaw dropped.

I immediately envisioned opening the doors underneath my own kitchen sink. Cue the shower scene music from the movie Psycho. Eek, eek, eek… I have a billion items under there. I own every cleaner under the sun and then some. My heart was deflated. I left her house feeling completely terrible about my own organizing capabilities. Wondering, what is wrong with me?

HOPE:

The next morning I was ramping up to work on a design project but my organizing ability was spilling over into my work and making me feel insecure. I read my daily devotional. It talked about how God uses us best when we are operating in our “sweet spot.” In fact, the devotional quoted my go-to verse.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

This verse always reminds me Christ gives me the strength I need, especially whenever I approach a challenge and in spite of all my weaknesses.

But this time when I read it, in light of the words in the devotional, it occurred to me: Christ accomplishes much when we need his strength, He can accomplish so much more when we are leaning into our strengths and operating out of our sweet spot. The place where we are supposed to operate as opposed to operating out of this place that isn’t unique to us, it isn’t where we are gifted.

HEALING:

I sat down to start the design project I felt to inadequate to accomplish. I ended up painting a picture inspired by flowers found on my morning walk. I must admit, I have not painted a true watercolor in years, and I was scared. What if it didn’t turn out as I envisioned? I am guilty of not even doing something if I don’t think the end result will turn out perfectly.

But this time, recognizing only Jesus is perfect, I mustered up my courage and his strength. I sat down to actually do the work I was called to do. God sparked in me my passion, my very own “sweet spot.” When I witnessed his creation through me I knew without a doubt I was doing what he called me to do.

embracing our sweet spot

I cried, tears of joy that resonated in my heart. “I am an artist.” I had been so defeated about not being organized and I hadn’t embraced my true calling in a really long time. I am an artist. I work great in organized chaos. I may not have a completely bare cabinet, but I am truly gifted in art. Now that I found my sweet spot, I will be brave with my God-given talents and no longer wish I was someone I am not. Someone I was never created to be.

One Small Win: Christ accomplishes much when we need his strength, He can accomplish so much more when we are leaning into our strengths and operating out of our sweet spot.

embracing our sweet spot


embracing our sweet spotJulie Landreth has a passion for healthy and thriving relationships – especially in marriage and friendship. She is a speaker and a “wife coach” who loves sharing with women her passion for prayer and ways to actively cultivate a thriving marriage.  She leads a growing number of women in San Jose, CA, through her curriculum: Consistency and Persistency: The Art of Praying for your Husband.

Having been married 12 years, she and her husband have cultivated a marriage filled with intentional love, effective communication, sustainable fun, and a date night every Friday night for the last nine years. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her nine-year-old son who shares many of her artistic talents. Follow her on Instagram: @julielandreth.

Simplifying with Seasonal Planning

Simplifying with Seasonal Planning

seasonal planning

Planning out goals for the New Year can be both exciting and overwhelming. There are SO many opportunities, the world is our oyster. So we often start strong, ambitious; thinking this is the year we’re going to do all of the things.

But then reality sets in and we realize maybe we can’t do everything, but if we can’t do everything can we do some of the things? Anything? Or do we get stuck in the overwhelm?

How to utilize seasonal planning

I’d like to suggest a better way of planning out our goals. It’s what I call quarterly or “seasonal” planning. One of the greatest changes in my life has come from shifting my perspective from chasing “balance” in my life to embracing seasons.

I’ve learned that I don’t really believe in “balance” when it comes to time management. I think it’s a good thing in theory but balance implies some kind of equal distribution of time, energy and resources. And in reality, that’s just not possible. We don’t divide our 24 hours into equal parts where all of our roles get the exact amount of our time, energy, and attention. That would be balance.

Really our lives are made up of rhythms and consist of seasons.

By seasons I mean seasons of life sure, but also annual seasons; winter, spring, summer fall.

Every season brings with it opportunities and limitations and when we work within a seasonal framework we are better able to maximize our time.

I would guess that your calendar also moves with the seasons whether you are intentional about planning projects and goals around them or not.

If I break my calendar into four quarters, that gives me four unique opportunities to work on goals and projects. When I plug in opportunities and limitations based on seasons I have a better idea of how to maximize my year.

Let me give you a few personal examples based on some of my own seasonal opportunities and limitations.\

Spring:

Opportunity– our school year is wrapping up so I have more time to focus on work projects.

Limitation– my youngest plays baseball so on Monday and Friday afternoons I have to plan on getting him to practice, but I also have a window of time to run errands or read a book while waiting for him. I know this commitment will be over before the summer begins so I can plan accordingly.

Summer:

Opportunity– kids are out of school and we usually plan a vacation during this time. There is ample opportunity for play and rest. It’s also a great time to tackle larger home projects.

Limitation– because the kids are home I have to get creative about keeping them entertained while I work so I often use this time to plan and grow by taking a class or attending a conference rather than take on new work projects.

These are just some very simple examples but you can see how taking into account our family’s seasonal responsibilities can affect how much I decide to add to my schedule.

Perhaps you have your own seasonal opportunities and limitations. They may include:
• work deadlines
• family celebrations, holidays, birthdays
• health limitations (think seasonal allergies)
• seasonal church or ministry responsibilities
• conferences or classes
• vacations
• back to school and end of school year events and responsibilities

seasonal planning

One Small Win: Spring is just around the corner and it might be a great time to consider your own rhythms and seasons and the role they might play in how you plan out the rest of your year.

DOWNLOAD: Click here to download a quarterly planner.


seasonal planningZohary Ross is a life coach, speaker and author of the Aligned Parenting Workbook. Zohary is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to have clearly defined “most importants” and live out their values and priorities. Connect with Zohary at http://zoharyross.com/.

Get in the Word: 3 Steps to Scripture Memorization

Get in the Word: 3 Steps to Scripture Memorization

scripture memorization

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase Scripture memorization? I used to associate that with “Super Christians.”

I’d look at my friends who regularly memorize God’s Word and think:

I’ll never be able to do that.
I’m just not disciplined enough.
I can barely remember my important phone numbers.
I’ll just stick to prayer. I can do that one.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? You’re not alone.

A few years ago, motivated by anxiety and desperate reliance on the Lord, I finally gave scripture memorization try. Let me tell you — memorizing Scripture has transformed my spiritual life and relationship with the Lord! I learned by trial and error, but once I settled into a grove, I realized that Scripture memorization was all about a simple three-step process:

1. Choose a line or passage that is MEANINGFUL TO YOU.

Why is it so natural for us to memorize our favorite songs? Because something in the lyrics resonates with us. If you turn on the radio and try to memorize the first song you hear, you’ll probably struggle. In the same way, it will be difficult to memorize a random piece of Scripture. All of God’s Word is precious, but choosing a piece of Scripture that sticks out to you will be most effective for memorizing.

During this difficult season in my life, I found comfort in Psalm 23, so that was the piece I chose to memorize.

2. Write it down with pen and paper.

Okay, call me old school, but there is research behind memory and the physical act of writing something down in your own handwriting. It really does help with the memorization process!

3. Recite chunks of your handwritten passage out loud to yourself.

The key here is repetition and speaking out loud. Again, there is research about memorization and auditory recitation. You only need 5 minutes before bed to recite your passage. Add a little more each night until you’ve memorized the entire scripture, including the reference.

That’s it!

I’m convinced that after your first successful memorization you’ll be hooked! You’ll see that despite the message of the little voice inside your head, you CAN memorize scripture, and you’ll reap the benefits of hiding God’s word in your heart, as it influences your every day life.

Pick a passage that resonates with you and start memorizing tonight!

http://www.kathilipp.com/2017/02/steps-scripture-memorization/

“You word is a lamp upon my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105


Kelsee Keitel is a graduate student, writer and speaker, living in Indianapolis, IN, with her newlywed husband. She is passionate about cultivating sisterhood through vulnerability and introducing young women to the freedom and abundance of life in following Christ. When Kelsee is not snuggled up with a book and sipping tea, she can be found experimenting in the kitchen or chatting with her mom.

You can read more about Kelsee’s ministry, Detangled&Free, over at kelseekeitel.com or connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

The 5 Senses Guide to Sex

The 5 Senses Guide to Sex

senses guide to sex

My husband and I are fans of the book The Five Love Languages, by Gary D. Chapman. Our love languages relate to more than just the day to day, but it also impacts how you approach your sex life.

The 5 senses guide to sex

It came as no surprise my husband’s love language is physical touch, and knowing this caused me anxiety because I thought physical touch just meant sex and I needed to be ready for it at any time. I took a risk and asked him about it. To my surprise, we talked about sex in a productive way. It wasn’t easy at first, but over time I gained confidence. Together we learned sex is more about the journey than the destination. One way to enrich the journey is through the five senses guide to sex.

Sound

Sound is not only about what you say to each other, but also how you say it. Let your tone and inflections be gentle; try greeting each other with kindness or a soft word after a long day. Create a good vibes playlist on Pandora or Google Play to set the mood. Our men listen for our verbal cues ,so it is important that you provide verbal sounds or whispers to express how much you enjoy your husband in the moment.

Taste

Taste is more than things like brushing your teeth or chewing gum for a fresh taste. It’s also about the food and drink you share together. Think about how your lips taste, or how your body tastes, especially after a work out. Go ahead and rinse the salt off!

Smell

Smell is an aroma that is pleasing to you and your spouse. Try lighting a candle, using a pleasant smelling lotion, or spraying fragrance that he loves.

Touch

Touch is about caressing, massaging, holding hands and skin-on-skin contact. Always kiss while saying hello or goodbye. Wear something that feels soft. Put clean sheets on the bed so it’s fresh.

Sight

Sight is about getting out of the loungewear and feeling good because you know you look good. Text each other throughout the day to let your spouse know you are thinking of him and can’t wait to see him. Before you part ways for the day linger a little longer between changing clothes, make sure you catch each other. Or while you’re out shopping make a stop at the lingerie store.

Later, put on an impromptu fashion show and he helps you decide what to keep and what to return. If it helps set the mood, replace one of your bulbs in your bedroom with a red bulb. Maybe it is just the signal you need to help you both get in the mood. Lastly, schedule it. Honestly, when I look at all the things on my schedule for the day and I see “sex” pop up, it is a visual cue that helps get me prepared well in advance.

senses guide to sex

One Small Win: This list is just a small start, but I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and let one or all of the senses be your guide. The goal is to build and/or enhance physical intimacy in your marriage.


Julie Landreth is a speaker and a “wife coach” who loves sharing with women her passion for prayer and ways to actively cultivate a thriving marriage.  She leads a growing number of women in San Jose, CA through her curriculum: Consistency and Persistency: The Art of Praying for your Husband. Having been married 12 years, she and her husband have cultivated a marriage filled with intentional love, effective communication, sustainable fun, and a date night every Friday night for the last nine years. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her 9-year-old son who shares many of her artistic talents. Follow her along on Instagram at @julielandreth.