Monday February 15, 2010

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day.

While I do think that this holiday is much over-commercialized and over-emphasized to a large extent (I suppose that’s mostly personal preference, so don’t whack me over the head ~ we’re all entitled to our own opinions on these types of things)… I think marital romance can never be over-emphasized.

Now, of course, I happily married a romantic. He’s not the type of block-head husband who needs See’s and 1-800-Flowers to remind him to show me how much he loves me. We don’t need a specific Hallmark holiday to remind us of our passionate love for one another. Or of our tender love for one another. Or of our enduring love for one another. We live it out in our daily lives together. And we are so thankful for God’s blessing upon our marriage, and for giving us our love for one another. We give all the praise and glory to Him for the beauty in our marriage!

But, regardless of how beautifully we live a life of marital romance on a day-to-day basis, it is nice to have a few yearly opportunities (a poke with a pin, so to speak) to really go out of our way to show each other something special. Something unordinary. (Again, my husband & I do this kind of thing on days other than Valentine’s Day and our anniversary — we’re not limited to twice a year — but we also don’t neglect those days for reminders.)

I have previously posted about our real-life romance. How we don’t need fancy, expensive dinners out. Or weekly movie dates. Or a dozen roses delivered on special days. Although all of those things are undoubtedly nice and delightful, and we do indulge in such things on occasion.

But Valentine’s Day in our home is homey. And private. And lovely.
And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
This year it included (but was not limited to): Steven writing me a poem, he made me dinner, I made dessert, we lit candles, looking at our wedding pictures, and we spent hours in one another’s company just being reminded of the beautiful thing God gave us when He covenanted with us on our wedding day.

So, sure: Valentine’s Day is over-commercialized & unnecesssary.
But I would never say it isn’t lovely & worthwhile.

I love it. 🙂

Husby grilling in the rain.

A port reduction sauce he concocted.

Delicious grilled lamb chop! The marinade was excellent.

Adding the finishing touches.

I turned the lights up for the photo, but we ate by candlelight.

Unfortunately this is the best pic we got of us together! Ack…

Wednesday January 13, 2010

He is half part of a blessed man, left to be finished by such a she;
and she a fair divided excellence, whose fullness of perfection lies in him.

My true love’s name is Steven
. He has red hair, thick and straight. His eyes are a great color – they change from blue to gray to green, depending on the day, the weather, and what he is wearing. His hands are the perfect size, not too big and not too tiny. They are rough & calloused just enough. His ears are slightly elfy, just almost kind of pointy. I love that. And his lips offer soft & gentle kisses (and occasionally sassy ones…), a quirky upturned corner when he’s just about to smile, and they always house wisdom & kindness. He loves jeans and sweaters. He loves hot cocoa and beer (but not together, please). He is a natural teacher, a sacrificial leader, a playful father.

I love this man.

I’ve been meaning to post about him for days. And I’m just now getting to it. My friend Erin posted about real life romance today, reminding me just how badly I wanted to post this. So here I am. 🙂
I love to brag about my wonderful husband.
The way he loves me even when I am unlovely totally melts me.
How he loves me right through my tears and ashes.
He cooks me dinner for Valentine’s Day, and on occasional other days when he knows I need it. Or want it.
Sometimes he surprises me with flowers for no particular reason at all.
He emails me from work and always says what I need to hear.

This man knows me. He knows my weaknesses and my strengths. He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly. But he’d never let on about the latter two things. (He likes to praise me.)
He loves it when I dress up, spritz on a little perfume, and buckle on my classy black heels.
But he also loves it when I am in raggy jeans, a sweater, and have my makeup-less face framed by a casual ponytail.
And yes, when he says I am beautiful, he means it.

He doesn’t like mascara, so I gave it up.
Have I ever mentioned that?
He loves my red eyelashes.
Even though he almost has to squint to see them. 🙂
He reads with me or to me, he holds me close, he lets me be alone, he rubs my shoulders, he washes the dishes, he changes the grossest diapers (and remember, we do cloth diapers so it’s a little more intense than simply tossing it in the trash)…
I don’t have to tell him what I need. Most of the time he already knows (sometimes before I even know myself). Not always. He isn’t perfect. And no, he can’t read my mind.

But he loves me.
With his words.
His actions.
His body.
His heart.

This man truly lives out his wedding vows to me.
He attempts & desires to love me as Christ loves the Church.

He works hard.
On the days when his job is easy, and on the days when it is back-breaking and brain-bending.
He provides for us, by God’s grace.
Even when he was laid-off last year, he worked hard to find a new job (a better job), pounding down doors when he needed to, searching and knocking and seeking. And God rewarded him.
He continues to reward him.

My husband comes home for lunch now, almost every day. It is a rare treat. And sometimes, yes, I have to rearrange my schedule to be here with him during lunch hour. And sometimes he rearranges his lunch hour so I don’t have to rearrange mine. 🙂

He lets me sleep in, not only after his alarm goes off but after he leaves for work. He knows my frame.

He loves to take me out for occasional coffee dates, or sometimes out for dinner, or even on weekends away.
But most of the time, he loves me where we are.
In our home.
At the table.
On the couch.
Cuddled in bed.
It doesn’t matter where.
Or when.
He loves me when I am smiling, happy, playful, delighted.
He loves me when I am weeping, rending my garments, crying out to God, even despairing.

Most of our what-you-might-call-a-date “dates” involve Netflix dvds, our nice fluffy pillows, and a bedtime snack. Ice cream. Popcorn. Tea. Drinks. Whatever we’re craving.
And -oh yeah- a friend mentioned game dates. We do that a lot! Especially on weekends during nap time: we love Carcassone, Settlers of Catan, and Bananagrams. These make for times of super sweet fun.

Other dates are what I like to term “family dates” for we take along our sweet little son – we go on walks, we eat pastries at the local family owned bakery, we grab a fast food meal & enjoy the rare greasy goodness, we walk randomly through toy aisles at a local store… We love these dates. We love being a family.

We don’t need weekly movies, fancy break-your-wallet meals, or private serenades.
We love each other daily.
In the little things, in the big things.
Noisily or in silence.

To be honest, much of our newlywedded (yep, I’m calling that a word!) days have been filled with great sorrow and grief. I grew up thinking that my happily ever after would be much more Cinderella-esque. Naive and probably stupid, I didn’t expect my first 2 1/2 years of marriage to be filled with burying five children, and the unique challenges involved therein. Right from the get-go (since Covenant died a mere two months and three days after our wedding), we had to learn to live with and love each other through the good times and the bad. In sickness (of heart, in addition to body) and in health. If I’m honest with you, I would have to tell you that I didn’t think we would face “the bad” or “in sickness” until many years later. But God had other plans.
God has taught us, through taking us through many fires in our 2 1/2 years of newlywedded bliss, that true love isn’t just blatantly evident when you are wearing pearls, smiling, holding hands during a sunset, and you’ve just signed the bill for an $87 dinner.

Our newlywedded bliss is blatantly evident (in fact, we’ve been told so many times) when we sit in the back pew at church, weeping through the hymns and trembling during the prayers – holding hands while wiping each other’s tears.
It is evident when his strong arms wrap around my shoulders after a bittersweet ultrasound, and we are weeping in the middle of the hospital.
Our love is also evident when we behold our tiny children, hold them in our hands, and view a very physical evidence of a very physical love – and we bless our God together, through personal waterfalls, for giving us these beautiful little children who bear our image as well as His.
This bliss is never more evident than in our most vulnerable moments – private or public.

I never knew that grief would be one of the earliest and strongest threads in the tapestry of our marriage, that would stitch us together and bind us so tightly in love.

This is, most decidedly, from the hand and by the grace of God.

Our bliss involves getting our fingernails dirty.
It means loving each other every day, no matter what grime is there.
It means lovingly getting through that grime together.
It does include dates in our backyard in the rain.
And wandering through the toy aisle at Wal-Mart.
And homemade-by-husby Valentine’s dinners with little handcut paper hearts strewn around the table amongst about a dozen candles.
And having my hair dried for me at night when I’ve gotten out of the shower and it’s just too cold to sleep with a wet head.

True love, our own newlywedded bliss (a whole 2 1/2 years into it), is all of that.
And so much more.

I love this man, my Steven.
And he loves me.

I’ll leave you with the beautiful words (that I could recite myself) of Anne Bradstreet, “To My Dear And Loving Husband”:

If ever two were one, then surely we. 
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee. 
If ever wife was happy in a man, 
Compare with me, ye women, if you can. 
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold 
Or all the riches that the East doth hold. 
My love is such that Rivers canneot quench, 
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense. 
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. 
Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Friday October 16, 2009

Charlotte, you tagged me! And what do ya know, it’s my first tag, too. 🙂 Pretty crazy!

Charlotte has a lovely blog about her family, and I love seeing pictures and reading stories about them and their homeschooling efforts. I have known Charlotte since before I can even remember, since we grew up in the same church. I think one of my favorite things about her when I was little was when she worked at my dad’s office, and I would love seeing her smiling face and getting a hug from her when I’d stop by to see my daddy. 🙂
So anyway, here I am — obliging with my answers to the survey about my sweet husby & me. 🙂

What are your middle names?

Timothy & Joy
♥How long have you been together?
We’ve known each other for 3 years
Had a long-distance relationship 4 months
Short-distance relationship 1 month
Engaged 3 1/2 months
Married 2 1/2 years… so far!! 🙂

♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating?
Oh, umm, that’s really a trick question for us.
We met online on a reformed singles website… so it wasn’t exactly dating…
and it wasn’t exactly official for a while, but it was always with “that” intention…
so I don’t know. 🙂
Let’s just say like two months. 🙂 Except I think it was more like one month!

♥ Who asked who out?
My dad asked him out. Haha! lol. Just kidding.
No seriously. Dad wrote to him. He wrote to Dad.
Then I wrote to him. He wrote to me.
Over and over and over and over and over…
Until he came to visit.
Then he asked me out.
Over and over and over and over and over…

♥ Who made the first move?
Well, let’s see, he moved across the country for me. 🙂
That counts, right? 😉
He said “I love you” first.
He made the first effort to hold my hand right after he proposed.
Our first kiss, later on, was kind of a mutual thing — simultaneous, you could say. 🙂

♥ How old are each of you?
wifey is 25
husby is practically 27

♥ Did you go to the same school?

♥ Are you from the same home town?
Haha, we are now!

♥ Who is the smartest?

He is more intelligent.
But I am more detailed.

♥ Who majored in what?
wifey- music and liberal arts
husby- religious studies and biblical christology
♥ Who is the most sensitive?

Isn’t that obvious?
The always-hormonal wife. 🙂

♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Starbucks. 🙂 Or McDonald’s! Not even kidding.
♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?

Umm… to the Mediterannean (but that was accompanied by extended family).
Alone… to North Carolina.

♥ Who has the worst temper?
Neither one of us has much of a temper.
Go ahead with the redhead jokes.
We prove them wrong. 🙂
♥ How many children do you want?
We’re working on our fifth. 🙂
♥ Who does the cooking?

Me, oh pick me! 🙂 I love being mistress of the kitchen.
But on Valentine’s Day, I hand over the apron.
And he always makes a delectable feast.

♥ Who is more social?

Not really sure. We are about equal.
For the most part, we love small gatherings.
Double date type things.
Mostly we sincerely love just being home and being together as a family.
Not that we don’t love parish fellowship nights or parties. Cuz we do. 🙂

♥ Who is the neat-freak?

That’d be me.
I let him have his study to himself.
I don’t tidy it, clean it, or anything.
The rest of the house is definitely neat-freak-maintained.
It’s been a lifelong habit, and so far I haven’t let it go. 🙂

♥ Who is the most stubborn?

We prefer to think of ourselves as staunch and committed. 😉

♥ Who wakes up earlier?
Husby’s alarm always goes off first.
But lately I’ve been lying there awake before that even happens.

♥ Where was your first date?

Depends on what you mean by “date.”
The first time he bought me something was in a resort town by a lake 1 hour east of our hometown.
It was a sweet little independent coffee shop.
The type that serves free trade coffee.
We sat on bar stools by the windows, drinking coffee, people watching, and talking for almost four hours.
<<<happy sigh>>>
I think the first time we went out for dinner alone was downtown at a bistro type place
the night he proposed to me.

♥ Who has the bigger family?

Same size immediate family.
I have more extended family.

♥ Do you get flowers often?

Define “often.”
He loves to bring me flowers for “no reason” every so often.
Most frequently roses. 🙂

♥ How do you spend the holidays?

Since his family lives 3000 miles away, we are usually with my family for at least part of each holiday.
We love the family traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas especially.
We do lots of reading and feasting and singing and smiling.
We have candles and music and crackling fires.
And snow. Oh we love the snow!

♥ Who is more jealous?

We’ve never been jealous of one another.
We don’t have to be.

♥ How long did it take to get serious?

Well let’s see… not long. 😉

♥ Who eats more?

Usually the husby.
But not always. 🙂

♥ What do you do for a living?
wifey- mistress of the domain, helpmeet, devoted mommy
husby- family head, loving daddy, adoring husband, computer guru at a Bible software company
♥ Who does the laundry?
Definitely me.
♥ Who’s better with the computer?
Hah! That’s another no-brainer.
He’s a computer guru, remember? 🙂

♥ Who drives when you are together?
Husby does 99.8% of the time.
♥ What is “your” song?
At our wedding it was “Love Like Ours” by Steve Tyrell.
But our family song since then has been “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper

Meggan, Krista, and Laura. 🙂