Day 153: Love Does Not Envy

February 29, 2012

Last night, I prayed that God would make me the kind of person who does not envy and asked him to show me ways in which I envy you. I need to deal with the envy in my heart, since love is selfless and envy stems from selfishness. Additionally, if I allow my envy to foster, it might lead to bitterness, resentment, anger, and hatred toward you. That would not be good.

Speaking of envy, our oldest was so envious that I took you on a helicopter ride to see whales that she was angry with me. She didn’t want to talk to me or even look at the pictures of our trip. Poor girl. Maybe some day, she’ll have her turn.


Day 152: Asking for Forgiveness

February 28, 2012

Monday, as I reflected on what needs of yours to fulfill, I realized that I’d been harsh with you lately regarding a certain issue. It’s in my nature to be forthright, especially with people that I know well. But that forthrightness sometimes manifests itself as harsh and offensive speech. That’s exactly what happened here. So, for my act of love, I apologized to you and asked for your forgiveness.


Day 151: You’re Beautiful

February 28, 2012

I actually forgot to commit an act for you on Sunday. So I committed my 151st act of love on Monday morning.

A few days ago, we were watching something on our laptop when you told me that I never tell you you’re pretty. (“Never” in your language means “not often.” We would’ve fought much less over the years had I learned that as a newlywed.) This really irritated me, though I don’t think I showed it. I began to think of all that I do for you through 365* and was even tempted to show you the blog. Then, I calmed down and said, “I think I tell you you’re pretty quite a bit, but I’ll work on saying it more.” You then said that in addition to not often telling you that you’re pretty, I’m not specific enough when I do. You said I should mention what features of yours I think are pretty.*

After thinking over your comment some more, I realized you were right: I don’t often tell you you’re pretty and I don’t make my compliments about your beauty specific. So on Monday, I wrote “You’re beautiful” (and some variations of that) on 10 different notecards and placed them in various spots around the house. The trouble is, I forgot to follow your advice about being specific. You noticed. I’ll try to work on that, honey dear.

Thanks for voicing your criticism. Though I didn’t like hearing it at first, it’s good to know what I can do to improve. Also, it’s good that you’re open enough with me that you can tell me what it is about me or the way I act that’s bothering you.

*This was one of the dangers of 365 that I mentioned in an earlier post. I want 365 to be a free gift to you rather than leverage for me.

*Your comments weren’t out of the blue, but quite called for given the context of our conversation, which I didn’t reproduce here.

Day 150: Our Valentine’s Date

February 27, 2012

On Saturday, I took you whale watching by helicopter for our date. (What’s up now, Ben Flajnik?) This was the first time we’d been on a date since the baby was born in August and the second time we’d been out alone! It blessed us so much and renewed our relationship.

Before we left, I watched the girls so you could get ready. When you were done, you came downstairs looking stunning in the dress I bought you. I’m honored to be married to you–a woman incredibly beautiful in body and soul.

At 11, your mom and sisters arrived, having graciously agreed to watch our three girls so we could gallivant around (and above) the countryside. After kissing our girls goodbye, we left on our date. First, we stopped by Trader Joe’s so I could buy you a single, red rose (the purpose of which is explained below). Then we went to Joe’s Crab Shack in Ventura for lunch:

The view from Joe's Crab Shack

Our appetizer, with you so nicely modeling proper dipping procedure.

Our gargantuan entrees, along with your rose

You ate there a decade or so ago with some friends and you’ve asked me to take you back since we’ve known each other. It’s about time I listened to you.

After our amazing lunch, we drove to the airport in Oxnard where we hopped on a helicopter for our tour. Initially, I planned on taking you on the most basic tour (as our budget allowed) over the beach, but our generous tour guide upgraded us to the whale watching tour for nearly the same price! We were both unbelievably excited: I’d never seen whales in the wild before and neither of us had been on a helicopter.

Before we took off, you thought you might be terrified of the flight. But you ended up being more excited than scared, in spite of your death grip on my hand (which still hurts, thank you). When we got out over the ocean, we sighted at least six humpback whales. Here are a couple:

The flight was beautiful and meaningful. I’ll never forget it:

Over the beach in Oxnard

As for the rose, in the spirit of The Bachelor, I intended to give it to you if you impressed me on the date. 😉 As you know, if a girl on The Bachelor is denied a rose on a one-on-one date, she takes a limo home. And the bachelor might send someone home for any reason. This one’s too emotional. Limo ride home. That one lives in Houston. Limo ride home. This one’s plain annoying. Limo ride home, limo ride home, lonely limo ride home. I’m not saying I blame the guy–he has to narrow down his options somehow (though I might blame him for going on the show in the first place).

But what about you? Did you get the rose? Or did I send you on a lonely minivan limo ride home? Well . . . [CUE SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] you got the rose. And, you’ll always get a rose. For better or worse, as long as I live, you’ll never ride that limo alone. (Give me grace for that, O God!)

Day 149: Your Valentine’s Rose

February 25, 2012

My act of love for Friday will happen today–I’m getting you a single stem rose for our date.

Yesterday, I took our oldest daughter on her Valentine’s date. We went to Starbucks, ordered some drinks, then sat and talked and played games. I even gave her a Valentine’s card in which I asked her to be my Valentine. She blushed and said, “Yes,” with the cutest grin on her face. That’s one date down. After yours, I only have one more to go (the littlest is too young for a date, though our daughters insist that I take her on one).

Day 148: Your Date Card

February 25, 2012

On Thursday, I snuck outside our house, then knocked on the front door. When you answered, I gave you an envelope, which contained this “date card” (inspired by The Bachelor):

In case that's unreadable, it says, "Join me this Saturday and love will lift us up where we belong."

I want to be clear that Saturday’s date is a one-on-one, not a group date. We go on too many of the latter.

Day 147: Your Valentine’s Dress

February 23, 2012

Yesterday you received a dress from Amazon that I secretly ordered for you for Saturday’s Valentine’s date. I was curious to see your reaction because you almost never like the clothes I pick for you. You opened the package, pulled out the dress, and shrieked with delight. So far, so good. But—and this unnerved me—you smiled nervously when you tried it on. “Do you like it?” I asked. “Yeah,” you replied hesitantly. “Oh, man. I wonder if Amazon does returns,” I thought. “Tell me the truth. Do you like it?” “No.” So, we sent the dress back having found that Amazon does returns and ordered the dress of your choosing with two-day shipping (thanks, Amazon Prime!). Here’s the one you chose:

I’m not putting up a picture of the dress I originally bought in case it’s truly hideous.

Ideally, I wanted to surprise you by showing you the original dress for the first time on Saturday. But that seemed too risky: I knew that you’d wear the dress whether you liked it or not if I gave it to you then. And I didn’t want that. Oh, well. The date’s still going to be great!

Day 146: Hot Chocolate by the Kindle Fire

February 22, 2012

Yesterday I told you to wait in the bathroom for a few minutes while I prepared a surprise for you. (I’m not sure why I chose the bathroom. I guess you could’ve waited in the bedroom.) While you were in there, I made a trail of rose petals from the bathroom door, down the stairs, and out the front door to our patio table. On the table I set two cups of hot chocolate and our Kindle Fire, which was running a fireplace app. I then knocked on the bathroom door and told you to follow the rose petals to your surprise. You did and found me standing by the table inviting you to have hot chocolate with me. You accepted the invite (phew!), so we sat under the stars sipping hot chocolate and admiring how real the fire looked. At one point, you felt the Kindle’s screen and said, “Wow! The fire’s even warm!” I laughed and told you that the Kindle’s always warm when it’s on.

Maybe I should make some saccharine comment at this point about how you kindle the fire in my heart. Nah, I’ll refrain . . .

Day 145: Keepin’ It Real

February 21, 2012

For yesterday’s act of love, I looked for a need of yours to fulfill, then fulfilled it.

Currently, everyone in our house is sick. And as of Friday, we started a new cleaning schedule. Well, last night it was your turn to clean the bathroom, but you weren’t feeling well. Given that we’re trying to make this cleaning schedule habitual, I didn’t want us to skip a night. So, I cleaned the bathroom for you and let you rest on the couch.

In doing this, I’m tempted to think highly of myself. Yet a few things should keep me from this. First, I cleaned with a slightly smug attitude, rather than with joy in serving you. Second, I felt some contempt for you, knowing that you were lying around (sick!) while I slaved away at your job. Third—and here’s the doozy—I came downstairs in the middle of cleaning and said, “Are you going to sit there all night? The house is quite a mess.” Finally, in cleaning the bathroom, I simply did what I ought as Christ’s unworthy servant (Lk. 17:10). (I inserted the word ‘unworthy’ after some hesitation and with a bit of a cringe. Haha! Oh, me!)

Instead of reacting negatively, I should’ve cleaned with complete joy (I did feel some joy), knowing that you were resting and I was serving you and my Lord.

PS: I nearly posted this after finishing the second paragraph. Talk about revisionist history!

Day 144: Your Love Is Kind

February 20, 2012

You’re such a kind person that it amazes me. So yesterday, I thanked God that he’s made you kind by his grace. Then, I prayed that he would increase your kindness and bring you opportunities to be kind.

He answered my prayers. When I came home in the afternoon for a break from work, you let me play with the kids while you prepared a great meal for us. Then after we ate, you let me take a short nap on the couch before I went back to work. Thank you so much.