Day 62: Ice Cream Sandwiches

November 30, 2011

The other night, you saw a Carl’s Jr. ad featuring their ice cream sandwich. You said that it looked delicious and you really wanted it. Last night, instead of buying you an ice cream sandwich, I made you one. First, I made chocolate chip cookies from scratch for the 2nd time in my life (see day 42). Then, I created this beast:

I made one for everyone else as well. They were so big! Before we ate them, we were making fun of how small Carl’s Jr.’s ice cream sandwiches are. But afterwards, we decided that it’s probably good that they aren’t so big, because we all felt a little gross finishing off ours.


Day 61: Romantic Dance

November 29, 2011

For my 61st act of love, I wanted to dance with you in our living room to a song from our wedding: UB40’s “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love with You.” I was actually nervous and embarrassed about asking you to do this, because the whole thing seemed overly sentimental to me. You kind of like things that way, though.

After setting up the song, I walked over to where you were sitting, put my hand on your shoulder, and just stood there. “Do you need something?” you asked. “Me? Uh . . . how are you doing?” I responded. “Good, thanks.” I continued standing there with my hand on your shoulder. “Hey . . . ” I said.  “Yes?” “Do you want to dance with me to one of our wedding songs?” You hesitated and looked confused, but said okay. You seemed a little embarrassed as well.

I started the song. We approached each other, both of us smiling nervously. I took your hand and drew you close.  As I put my arms around you, you broke into laughter. “What?!” I said. “Sorry! Let’s try again,” you said. This time you contained yourself. We started dancing and it was so very awkward (which is not atypical–neither of us know how to dance). We tried to take it seriously for a few seconds until you said, “What is this? The Wonder Years at prom?” At that, we both burst out laughing. For nearly the entire song, we tried to reel in our laughter, but couldn’t. We switched from one awkward dance move to another, laughing so hard at times that we couldn’t breathe.

Finally, our laughter died down. You snuggled up close to me and put your head on my shoulder. I started stroking your hair as we danced and the music played “Take my hand/ Take my whole life too/ For I can’t help falling in love with you.” Then, your shoulders started shaking. “Is she crying?” I thought. They started shaking a little more violently. No, you weren’t crying. You weren’t so overcome by the moment that you couldn’t contain your emotions. You were trying to cover up your laughter! “You’re laughing!” I said. With that, we laughed uncontrollably until the song ended. “That was fun! We haven’t laughed like that in a long time,” you said. I agree. Although this act didn’t end up being as romantic as I intended, it was totally worthwhile.


Day 60: Church Testimonial

November 28, 2011

Yesterday during church, the pastor let people stand up and give testimony to something that they thank God for. I knew he was going to do this, so I planned on standing up and saying something about you. However, when the time came, you’d stepped out to feed our baby. I stood up anyway and said, “I’m grateful for my wife and I’m looking forward to the time we have together . . . Where did she go, anyway?” I wish you were there to hear it. Maybe you heard it from the cry room. I’m not sure. At any rate, I decided not to tell you that I did this. You’ll learn about it here or through some other means.


Day 59: Love and Respect

November 28, 2011

Five years ago, we attended our first marriage conference: the Love and Respect Conference (loveandrespect.com). We loved it so much and it had such an impact on our marriage that we decided to attend a marriage conference every year; but, we haven’t attended one since (oops). We need to. Right now, we can’t because we have a newborn. Given that, I decided that we could at least listen to a conference from home. So, on Saturday I asked you if you wanted to start listening to the CDs from the Love and Respect Conference. You said yes. We listened to the first CD called “The Crazy Cycle.” At times, we definitely fall into to the Crazy Cycle: my lack of love fuels your lack of respect and vice versa. I’m anxious to listen to the CDs on the Energizing and Rewarded Cycles. Perhaps I’ll learn new ways to love you that I can incorporate into 365 Acts of Love.


Day 58: Wife Appreciation Day

November 26, 2011

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I dedicated all of yesterday to showing you that I appreciate you. I started by making you, and everyone else, pancakes for breakfast. I put your pancakes on the “You Are Special Today” plate, with butter, peanut butter, thawed strawberries, and syrup–made by me–on the side. I also made you coffee with cream and sugar. By the way, you told me yesterday that you no longer take sugar in your coffee. We’ll see if that’s still the case when you read this a year from now. After we ate, I washed the dishes and put away the food.

For lunch, I took our family out on a picnic (in November! I love you, California!). While we were eating, I had everyone say something about you that they appreciate. I said I’m thankful that you take such good care of our children. Our oldest daughter said she’s thankful that you love her. Our middle daughter said, “Dear God, I’m thank you for my mom and dad. Amen.” Our newborn came up dry (and after all you’ve done for her).

In the afternoon, our oldest daughter and I presented you with thank-you cards, along with your “flowers” for the week (this week you chose a miniature Christmas tree). Finally, for dinner I made you your favorite meal: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Dang, look how domestic I am.

I meant to end the day by cleaning up the living room and kitchen for you, but I just couldn’t–my exhaustion from the day got the better of me. You seemed to enjoy Wife Appreciation Day because you kept saying that you really like your new husband. Maybe we’ll make it a post-Thanksgiving tradition.


Day 57: “I Thank My God Every Time I Remember You”

November 26, 2011

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I came up with a list of 100 things about you that I thank God for. You haven’t seen this list yet.

1. You’re the girl of my dreams.

2. You encourage me to grow in character.

3. Your own character encourages me to grow in character.

4. We get to learn and grow and struggle together.

5. Your strengths are many.

6. Our strengths and weaknesses complement each other.

7. You have a child-like faith in God, while I’m always questioning, always doubting, never satisfied.

8. You make me relax, though I want to keep going all the time.

9. You make me have fun.

10. We can be silly with each other.

11. You’ve believed in me all these years that I’ve been pursuing my dream.

12. You haven’t once questioned my vision.

13. You gave up much to let me follow my dream.

14. You haven’t complained once that many of our sacrifices are a result of my pursuit of my dream.

15. You’re patient with my shortcomings

16. You pray for me, that I’ll become like Christ.

17. You want me to lead you.

18. You want me to romance you.

19. You invest greatly in our marriage.

20. You love doing devotions with me.

21. You love to pray with me.

22. You long for a great relationship with me and won’t settle for mediocrity.

23. You smile and nod when I talk about philosophy and theology.

24. We have a great connection.

25. You’re warm and tender with me.

26. You haven’t become bitter with me, even though you have reason to.

27. You continually forgive me, even when I fail in the same areas over and over again.

28. You don’t keep a record of wrongs.

29. You love giving gifts to others.

30. I see the fruit of the Spirit in you.

31. You’re glad when others are glad.

32. You care more for character/spiritual growth and wisdom than money and things.

33. You want people to know Jesus.

34. You have a heart for the “down and out.”

35. You want to feed and clothe the needy.

36. You have a heart for orphans.

37. You cry for the needs of orphans.

38. You pray for orphans.

39. You want to adopt.

40. You’re gentle.

41. You’re sweet.

42. You’re kind.

43. You’re friendly.

44. You’re easy going.

45. You welcome new people.

46. You show love even to strangers.

47. You’re (almost) always joyful.

48. You don’t worry even when our circumstances look bad.

49. You trust God in bad situations.

50. Your anger isn’t long lasting.

51. Your patience is.

52. You never boast about yourself.

53. You encourage others in their talents.

54. You love God.

55. You long to know God.

56. You long to know the Bible.

57. You want to continually fellowship with God’s people.

58. You’re hot!

59. You have a  great body.

60. You have deep, beautiful, brown eyes.

61. You have great lips that I love to kiss.

62. You have long, curly, brown hair.

63. You love our children.

64. You want them to know God.

65. You teach them about God.

66. You pray for them.

67. You take great care of them.

68. You give up your wants and sometimes your needs for them.

69. You have a great relationship with your parents.

70. You do much to foster that relationship.

71. You want to see your brothers and sisters grow in maturity and their knowledge of God.

72. You get along well with my family.

73. You want to see my family often.

74. You have a great laugh.

75. You think I’m funny.

76. You laugh at most of my jokes.

77. You love life.

78. You almost never stop smiling.

79. Your smile is infectious.

80. You like to watch movies with me.

81. You like superhero movies.

82. You watch movies I like with me, even though you hate most of them.

83. You go on hikes with me even though you hate hikes.

84. You want to look good for me.

85. You tried running, just so you could run with me.

86. You tried P90x with me.

87. You love the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant.

88. Whenever we move to a new place, you’re able to make it feel like home.

89. You’re artistic.

90. You want to develop your artistic abilities for God’s glory.

91. You’ve gone camping with me, though you dislike camping.

92. You share a dream with me to travel the world.

93. You graciously agreed to get a minivan, even though you thought it would make you look old.

94. We share a love for The Chronicles of Narnia.

95. You tolerate my love for LOTR.

96. You recently started reading A LOT.

97. You’d rather be with me than with friends.

98. You like to try out different chocolates.

99. You like to try out different cheeses.

100. You wanted to marry a guy like me.


Day 56: An Early Christmas Surprise

November 24, 2011

Every year for the past several years, we’ve bought new Christmas music for Christmas. By now, we have a decent variety of styles and singers, from Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra, to Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban; from Olivia Newton-John to Jewel; from Ella Fitzgerald to “Celtic Woman.” This year, we exchanged the Christmas music we bought you for a Disney Christmas CD for the girls. I thought that was sweet of you. So yesterday, I bought you a Christmas CD featuring “today’s top country artists.” You love country music and I noticed we don’t own any Christmas music by country artists. Your CD should arrive at our house in the next few days. I’m trying to keep it a secret so you’ll be surprised when it comes. (I’ve kept this blog a secret; certainly I can keep a CD a secret for a few days.)

Speaking of country music, I must confess something. I no longer hate country music with a passion–I tolerate it. I think it’s because you’ve hammered it into me for years. What’s worse, there are a few songs I like. In fact, a couple of times, you caught me liking certain country songs. For example, one time you turned the station on the radio from one such song and I asked you why you turned it. You said that you were tired of that song. “You can turn it back if you want.” “I’m okay,” you said. “You don’t need to turn it because of me.” “Really, it’s okay.” “Okay, turn it back because I want to listen to that song!” These songs are few and far between, though, so don’t get any big ideas.

 

 

 

 


Day 55: Giving You a Break

November 23, 2011

Sometimes, getting you to take a break from our kids is like getting a cat to take a bath: neither happens without a struggle. On day 51, I tried to give you some time to relax without them but you wanted us to all go out together. That was fine, but breaks are good on occasion. Well, last night, I strongly encouraged you to take one.

When I came home from work, I asked you if you wanted to go read at Starbucks while I watched the kids for a while. Even though you thought it was a great idea and you hugged me for suggesting it, you said, “That’d be fun, but not tonight.” After much conversation, you agreed to staying home and doing something, while I took the girls out somewhere. Before we went out, I looked after the kids while you took a shower. (An uninterrupted shower is actually a big deal when you have three kids under 5.) You came down from your shower and said “Wow, that break was great. Why don’t we all stay together tonight?” “I think you really need this, honey,” I said “You’re right, I do. Okay, take the girls out.” But even as I walked out the door with our kids, you asked if I could leave just one. Eventually, though, I made it out the door with all three kids. We bought soft serve ice cream and hung out. After about an hour, we came home. You loved your break! You made yourself some popcorn and read from Kipling’s The Jungle Book. You looked refreshed.

Later that night, I tried some funny business–I asked you if you’d do the dishes for me, with this thought in my head “Certainly she’ll do it. Look what I did for her earlier.” You said you’d do them, but that you couldn’t get to them until the morning (which was true). “I guess I’ll do them,” I said. As I washed the dishes, I struggled to gain the right perspective on the matter. I know that I should give without expecting to receive, and that by expecting something from you in return, my act wasn’t completely selfless. I pray that God makes me willing to give you everything, even my life, without expecting anything from you in return. I think that the key to loving you in that way is being most satisfied in God (see day 49).


Day 54: Forgiveness

November 22, 2011

I’ve caused you much pain in the course of our marriage, whether intentionally or not. My tongue is one of my primary instruments in this regard. Sometimes I say something careless and it causes you pain. Sometimes I say something mean, whether premeditated or not, in order to cause you pain. And a few times in our marriage, I’ve said things so hurtful to you that, even now, I bow my head in shame as I consider them.

Last night, I sat you down and listed these and other sins I’ve committed against you and asked for your forgiveness. You forgave me. I then asked you whether you could think of anything else for which I needed to ask for your forgiveness. You couldn’t. But you brought up some wrongs you’ve committed against me and asked me to forgive you. I forgave you. When we finished, I laid my head on your lap as you sat on the couch, and I fell asleep. I don’t know whether our forgiveness talk had anything to do with this, but my sleep was deep and it was sweet.


Day 53: Through the Looking Glass

November 21, 2011

For yesterday’s act of love, I read the first chapter of Through the Looking Glass to you. Both you and I have read this book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland before and enjoyed them.

Also, you went to the store yesterday to pick up a few things and brought back a coffee for me from Starbucks. Your face beamed with delight as you gave me my gift. Since I started 365 Acts of Love, you’ve been more inclined to do kind/loving things for me. These things have been unsolicited and seemingly without expectation of reciprocation by me. Is there a connection between 365 and your kind acts? Maybe.