Day 92: 1/4 Done

December 30, 2011

Yesterday at noon, I finished one quarter of my project here at 365 Acts of Love. (Because 2012’s a leap year, I’m doing 366 days of love (my blog title’s so misleading!) and one quarter of that is 91.5. You get the leap day for free, by the way.)

So, just for fun, I was going to send you a love text at noon yesterday. But I got caught up in my work and didn’t text you until 2. Oh, well. Here’s what I texted: “i love u 24/7/364 . . . I mean 365. and 366 on leap years.” I guess the text would’ve been sweeter if I hadn’t joked around, but you thought it was funny.

In reality, I don’t love you 24/7/365–or, at least I don’t act lovingly toward you 24/7/365. I often act selfishly–very selfishly–in our relationship. But, I’m working on it and trying to rely on God’s grace. At the very least, I want to want to act lovingly toward you all the time. And I believe I want that badly. Though that’s worth something, loving you consistently from a loving character is where it’s at.


Day 91: Romantic Dinner #2

December 29, 2011

For my 91st act of love, I treated you to a romantic dinner in our home. I planned on making the dinner myself, but work got in the way so we shared the responsibility. We made crockpot pork loin, potatoes, and vegetables.

Last time we had a romantic dinner, our kids ate with us. This time, I did what I could to make sure it was just the two of us (there’s only so much you can control with a baby in the house). At 8, we put the kids to bed and (wonder of wonders!) the baby fell asleep too. I then set the table up with your flowers for the week (which I’ve been consistently buying, but not blogging about), a candle, and our dinner. I also set the computer to play the 10 songs I bought you from your iTunes wish list (at that point, you didn’t know I bought them).

We started eating dinner and the music started playing. “Do you recognize this song?” I asked. “Yeah, I know this song.” We continued eating. When the next song came on I asked, “How about this one?” “Yeah, this song’s good.” By the third song, you began to wonder why I was asking: “Did you buy some songs from my wish list or something?” “Yes, I did!” “You went through all that trouble for little ol’ me?!” you replied in a slightly Southern accent. (I had to retrieve the wish list from an external hard drive, so it wasn’t simply a click of the button.) “Yeah, I did it because I like ya.” You started tearing up and thanked me. Who knew you’d like that act so much?

After dinner, I brought out a piece of cheescake for us to share. I started to feed you the dessert myself, being mockingly romantic. But I pushed the fork too far in your mouth and made you gag. After laughing that one off, I let you feed yourself. When we finished our dessert, we enjoyed each other’s company on the couch for a few minutes. Then, our baby woke up. So the three of us enjoyed each other’s company.

Later in the evening, our four-year-old daughter called me up to her room. She asked, “So, did I hear something about a romantic dinner?” “Yes.” Then she asked in an accusatory tone, “Are you going to a restaurant without me?!” “Ha ha! No, we already ate our romantic dinner . . . What’s a romantic dinner, sweetie?” “I don’t know,” she said as she shrugged her shoulders and laid back down to go to sleep.

With a great ambience, 3 sleeping kids, and a nice dinner and dessert, I’d say romantic dinner #2 was a success.


Day 90: iTunes Wish List

December 28, 2011

For my 90th act of love, I bought you 10 songs from your iTunes wish list. You’ve compiled quite a list because buying music hasn’t been a priority for us. What has? Oh, I don’t know . . . paying for food and rent. Anyway, I worked this purchase into the budget so you don’t have anything to worry about.

Yesterday afternoon we went out to spend your clothes money. After looking through store after store, you bought the shirts you found at the first store we went in: Express. A few times, you were tempted to spend your money on the girls or me, but you overcame. (You tend to spend money on others that’s designated solely for you. That’s very kind, but such money is designated for you for a reason!) I’m proud of you!

Whenever we shop in the area by Express, we stop by See’s for some truffles. We typically get a few samples for free and then buy a few. But this time, we didn’t go in  because we didn’t even want the free samples. Our Christmas festivities did a number on us.


Day 89: Clothes Money

December 27, 2011

Not long ago, you told me that you need new clothes. So yesterday, I withdrew our entire clothes budget for January out of the bank (I realize it’s still December). When I came home, I took you aside and said, “I know you need some new clothes. Here’s some money. Use it to buy clothes for yourself and only for yourself.” You started to say thanks, but something I said or some look I gave made you laugh. You tried to hold it back, but ended up showering spit on my face instead. (I give you money for clothes and that’s how you thank me?!) We both laughed hard. After we gained our composure, you said thanks and gave me a hug.


Day 88: Watching the Baby

December 26, 2011

Your default is to take care of our baby. If I don’t offer to help you with her, you don’t often ask for it. On Christmas, we went to your parents’ house. I didn’t want you taking care of our baby all day instead of spending time with your family. So, for most of the day, I took care of her. You noticed and I was glad.

I’m so thankful for your family, by the way. They’re thoughtful of us, they’re extremely hospitable, and they love being with our kids. I enjoy spending time with them and am happy that I gained them as a family when I married you! I hope we never take their kindness for granted.


Day 87: Morning Coffee and Hot Chocolate

December 25, 2011

When I took our oldest to the store on Friday, she wanted to buy you something special, but I had to tell her no. So on the morning of Christmas Eve, I woke up our older daughters and asked them if they wanted to do something special for you. Both of them shot up in bed with a huge smile and said, “Yes!” We went downstairs and prepared some coffee and hot chocolate for you. Then I cut out a heart from red construction paper and the girls and I wrote you a Christmas note on it. We put everything on a plate and took it upstairs, woke you up, and gave it to you.

After we were done, I took the dishes to the kitchen. On the way there, I dropped one of the larger cups and one of the smaller cups. They shattered on the ground. Good thing these cups didn’t have sentimental value. The larger one was only a cup we got when we were first married and use only for special occasions and the smaller one was only a cup in a pair of special cups we got for our daughters. That was a close one! [I thought you knew not to let me carry anything breakable. Will you ever learn? 😉 (Seriously, though, I’m so sorry about the cups. I feel terrible!)]


Day 86: Favor from the Lord

December 24, 2011

Yesterday, I printed out Proverbs 18:22 on cardstock: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” Then, I put it in an 8-by-10 frame and presented it to you. For the cardstock, I used a color called “French Vanilla,” which turned out nice I guess. That’s a whole lot of light colors in and around that frame, though. It might’ve been nice to mix things up a bit with a brightly colored background.

Once again, our oldest daughter wanted to help with your surprise, but this time she kept it a secret. She asked me what the sign says and I told her. Then I said that I made it to let you know how special you are. When I took her to the store later, she really wanted to get something for you because she “really wanted to let mom know how special she is.” I like that!

I chose this act of love to benefit the both of us: I wanted this frame to be a consistent reminder for you and for me that you are a gift from God. Now, each time one of us passes it by, Proverbs 18:22 will be deeper ingrained into our minds.


Day 85: Family Day

December 23, 2011

You hate hiking with a passion. But when we were dating, you gave hiking a shot for me. I took you to a waterfall, which was at the end of 3 miles of uphill walking. Although you hated the walk, you loved the waterfall and the flowers I picked for you along the way. After that experience, you told me you would never go hiking again. We’ve hiked many times since!

Yesterday, I decided to work through the evening so I could take our family out on a hike during the day. How is this an act of love, since you hate hiking? Well, I picked an easy trail (or so I thought) with a cool destination: the ruins of an abandoned castle. Everyone, including you, was excited about doing this and happy that I took the morning/afternoon off of work. In fact, maybe I should clarify: you don’t hate hiking altogether, just the tough hikes; you even like hiking when it’s easy.

I unknowingly took us to the wrong trailhead, so we ended up hiking two hours up switchbacks with 3 kids under 5 and without finding the castle. I carried one or both of our older kids most of the time and you carried our youngest the entire time. We kept thinking that the castle would be over the next hill, but we were always disappointed.

Finally, we stopped for a snack at the top of one of the hills and enjoyed a tremendous view. Some bikers stopped to talk with us, so I asked them about the castle. One of them said we had 1.5 miles to go as he pointed to the top of a ridge in the distance. I asked him if there was an easier way. He said, “Yeah, you can drive to it” (!). Then he clarified by saying that you can park within a 10-minute walk of the castle. That must’ve been the place I thought we were going.

So, we hiked to our car, then drove to the other trailhead. We walked literally five minutes on a dirt road to get to the castle. The castle was awesome! Our girls had a great time climbing on walls, walking in fireplaces, and talking about what kind of princess used to live there.

To reward everyone for being so great even though our hike turned out to be tough, I took us all to Chili’s (which served a double purpose because we made it our oldest’s birthday dinner).

I wish I could take you out on a hike alone (and I will someday), but such is our station in life. We don’t mind so much, though, because we love spending time with our kids.

PS: I just talked to you about our hike. You said you had a blast.


Day 84: Renewing My Mind

December 22, 2011

Last night, I attempted to ingrain the characteristics of love into my mind by memorizing I Corinthians 13:4-7. Here it is, from memory (except I drew a blank on the word ‘resentful’):

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I’m saturating my mind with a correct understanding of love, in order that I might be transformed into the kind of person from whom loving acts naturally flow (Rom. 12:2). (There’s more to transformation than this, but renewing your mind is certainly part of it.) I don’t want to commit loving acts for you through gritted teeth but from a loving heart (not that the latter is characteristic of the way I act).

 

“Love must be sincere” (Rom. 12:9).


Day 83: Whatever You Want

December 21, 2011

Yesterday, I texted you this: “if there.s one thing i could do for u tonight what would it b?” You responded: “Man I love this new husband.” After thinking about it for a while, you said you wanted a back massage. I figured you would say that. When I agreed to give you one, you texted, “Wow. Impressive. Yep, thats my man!!! :o)” Funny that you sounded surprised, as if I would offer to do something for you then refuse to do it when you accepted. When I got home, I gave you your massage, which you heartily enjoyed.

I must say that I don’t enjoy giving you massages. However, I’m disliking that activity less and less because I’m doing it more and more. Something similar happened with my dislike of tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. I knew they were good for me, but I didn’t eat them because I was repulsed by them. One day, I decided it was silly that I wouldn’t eat these healthy foods, so I attempted to change my appetite for them. How did I do this? I ate them, in little portions and with other foods, gradually eating them more and more and in larger portions until I could tolerate them. After many painful experiences (I won’t go into details; I’ll just my gag reflex was involved), I now like these vegetables and sometimes crave them. I systematically changed my desires (and sensations) by subjecting them to my reason and will. I’m now doing the same thing with my dislike for giving massages. I know you enjoy them, so I’m submitting my desires to what I know is good and acting in accordance with that good. Though there’s more to changing your desires than submitting them to your reason and will (e.g., God’s grace is involved), this is part of the process.

PS: You walked in while I was writing this post. Eek! I don’t think you saw anything.