Thursday, October 31, 2013

A New Creation

by Tim O'Brien

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

I have been a Christian for just over four years, and from the moment that I realized I was saved, this has been my favorite verse.  One evening I was reading my Bible just making my way through the New Testament, and I read these eye opening words: “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  The Holy Spirit pierced my heart with these words.  I stopped reading and just started to think about all that had changed in the past few months.  No longer was I going to the bar, no longer was I doing drugs, no longer was I cussing and using the Lord’s name in vain, no longer was I purposely deceiving my parents.  These old things had passed away.  What was even more amazing was that along with those behaviors passing away my desire for them was also gone.  In fact my heart was telling me that those behaviors were sinful.  My heart was different.  It was filled with new desires.  Desires for holiness, desires for Jesus, desires to know His Word, desires to serve His church,  and desires to love and serve people in need.  I had become a new creation.  I was in Christ.

This verse is essential in verifying one’s own salvation.  Are you new? Don’t be mistaken, salvation is not the result of behavior modification.  I don’t think that I am saved simply because I don’t outwardly sin as much as I used too.  I know that I am saved because I truly love Jesus and His Word and I desire to know Him better and to grow in holiness.  I think Ezekiel describes in most detail what occurred to me in Ezekiel 36:26-27, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”  God has given me and all true believers a new heart that desires to obey the laws of God.  The believer has been transported from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13).

Any time I share my testimony I use 2 Corinthians 5:17 to explain what God has done.  Now, for someone who has grown up in the church, this might not be a life changing verse for them because they have grown up avoiding the bad behaviors that I was engaged in.  Therefore, their transformation would not be as outwardly visible as someone with my background, but that does not mean that it is any less significant.  A lost sinner, dead in their transgressions has been made alive in Christ.  Major changes have occurred in the heart desires and attitudes of this person in the same way as in me.  

Do you love Jesus? Do you desire to know His word? Do you love and desire holiness?  These are questions that all believers can answer YES to.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

50 At-home Date Night Ideas

Date nights are such an important part of a healthy marriage! Life is super busy and it's easy to go through the month and not spent some time just loving on your spouse. I think some of the reasons we don't make date nights happen are: kids and money. Maybe it's hard to leave your little one or maybe money is just super tight right now for a myriad of reasons...but rather than letting these stop the valuable time with your spouse, maybe we just need to get a little bit creative. I know, it can be a very scary word, but I'm hoping with the ideas below you can find something that fits your style. Also, these ideas are just starting points and you can be as basic or creative as you'd like!

Babysitters can be expensive, but if you are having an at-home date night (not spending money going out to dinner or a movie, etc), maybe you can swing some money for babysitting, or (and we are totally going to try this when we have kids!) do a trade-off with another couple. Offer to watch their kids once a month and ask them to do the same for you. I've also heard of a group of 4+ couples doing this...once a month you host all the kids at your house, and each couple takes a turn, meaning the other 3 weeks you get free babysitting date night! I think this is a wonderful solution! Love it!

Tim and I take turns planning a date night once a month. So at the very least, I have to plan 6 date nights a year. For us, this works well. We don't have kids so we are able to have a lot of one-on-one time and quiet dinners out, so we actually "date" several times a week haha, but this one night a month is really special because it's kinda a surprise and it makes you feel extra special when you know the night was planned just for you with a whole lot of love!

So....check out these at-home date nights....and then surprise your honey with a special night in. Maybe start it out with a note on the fridge in the morning, a special txt in the middle of the day, or sent an Outlook event....just show your lover that this isn't a last-minute thrown together evening--you've been carefully planning a night to love on them! These ideas are pulled from all over, and from both men and women's perspectives, so see if something doesn't jump out at you! :)
  1. Play "Would You Rather?" You will learn a lot about a person that you never knew when they are faced with a crazy question . . .
  2. Iron Chef: Make a gourmet meal using crazy ingredients and pretend like you are on TV. Talk through your recipes like you are on a cooking show; this is sure to be a fun time. This is the love of your life who accepts you for however crazy you may be, so be silly and laugh! You can either make a meal together or divide up the courses between each of you and surprise the other with your savory creations and "TV presentation."
  3. Fa-La-La-La-La: ‘Tis the season. Make a date night full of all things Christmassy to get you both in the holiday spirit. Whip up some eggnog, put on the carols, and decorate the Christmas tree together (it’ll take two of you just to untangle the lights), and then power through the gift wrapping together. String up some mistletoe as a great excuse for a kiss every now and then!
  4. Give each other massages: Use Google or You Tube to learn some proper techniques and get to rubbing!
  5. Strip Trivia: Make it a hot night with this sizzling bedroom game. Tease each other with one steamy question at a time to set one another on fire!
  6. Movie marathon: Here’s a cozy way to spend quite a few hours together, nice and close on the couch. Buy popcorn, snacks, pull out a comforter and settle in for a themed movie marathon.Typically, movie marathons have some sort of consistent theme, so make sure to pick one. You can choose by actors, by theme, genre, or by decade. Best-case scenario, you get through them all in one hit. Worst-case, you fall asleep on top of each other. You can always watch the rest in the morning. (Get bacon and eggs while you’re out buying the popcorn, just in case.)
  7. Have a Video Game night. Seriously, your husband will think you are the best wife ever!
  8. Make It a Theme Night! Choose a theme and center everything you do around it. For example, if you choose an Italian theme, you could eat spaghetti and gelato, then watch a movie like The Italian Job or Life is Beautiful. Some other fun theme ideas: Mexican, Asian, Christmas, Kid’s theme, 1950′s (or any decade), et cetera.
  9. Hobbit night: dress up as hobbits, dance in your bare feet, eat hobbit food, and generally have a jolly time.
  10. Decorate mugs for each other: You can pick up mugs at the Dollar Store and use a sharpie marker to decorate it. It will be such a fun reminder of how much you love each other as you drink from it each morning (oh, how I love cute, cheesy love!)
  11. Living Room Camp-Out: Get anything you have that makes you feel like your camping out and set it up in your living room (i.e. camping chairs, turn off the lights and use flashlights, blanket…). Make tin foil dinners in your oven for the dinner.
  12. Blessing Night: Make a list of all the things in life you are thankful for and all the blessings you have been given. Make sure your spouse is at the top of the list!
  13. Crepes in Paris (no ticket required): Spend an evening in Paris right in your very own home enjoying create-your-own-crepes and creative spouse caricatures. So fun!
  14. Spa night: give each other facials, massages, candles, good smelly things, cucumbers, tea…could be fun and steamy.
  15. Go on a picnic: If it's warm enough, try to go outside (even if it's in your own backyard).
  16. Create a DIY Photoshoot:  When’s the last time the two of you were in the same photo? Using your tripod or Apple photo booth, snap pics together in various rooms of your home for memories you’ll never forget.
  17. Finger Foods: Have a finger foods only dinner and feed each other.
  18. Pushup-situp-pullup challenge: See who can do the most.  Exercise gives you endorphins!  Don’t like those? Try squats, jump squats, jump rope, anything to get your heart rate up, that you can do together.
  19. Kid-Free Slumber Party: Make a cozy pallet for you and your spouse on the living room floor [with] lots of blankets, pillows, snacks, and movies. It’s a little silly, but super fun and makes us enjoy the little things in life.
  20. Willy Wonka Night: dress up silly and make a meal with chocolate in every course…and watch Willy Wonka of course!
  21. All Dressed Up & Nowhere to Go: Pull out your nicest formal dress from your last cruise or even from your high school or college prom (if yours still fits.. good for you! I’m not even close to fitting into mine), light dozens of tea candles, and have a romantic, fancy dinner.
  22. Home Olympics:  Hop on on foot race, hula hoop contest, slide across the living room floor in socks. Have a prize for the winner!
  23. Out of Character: Dress up as an actor from a movie and pick the character for each other.
  24. Dr. Seuss night: How the Grinch steal Christmas (a.k.a. put away the Christmas decorations), watch the old 60′s Seuss movies, dress up as Seuss characters, and eat green eggs and ham.
  25. Dream Date by Design: Design your own Dream Date with an easy survey! Have your sweetheart do one also, to create two amazing dates!
  26. Color Block: Have a snack night of really colorful foods...see how many colors you can incorporate into one meal!
  27. Turn Your Bedroom Into a Love Nest: Fill the room with candlelight and other sundry romantic items and pretend that you are tucked away in a sumptuous hotel room or cottage somewhere.
  28. Indoor picnic:  It is what you make it.
  29. Karaoke Night - oh yeah! Find songs with lyrics on YouTube and sing your heart out. This is funniest if you can find some heart-wrenching ballads to belt out.
  30. Roast marshmallows: Over the fire pit or the stove.
  31. Dance the night away: It has all the intimacy of a club without the downside of slipping in spilled drinks. Rehash the days of the high school dance. Turn down the lights, turn up the music and be sure to dance two feet apart. Just kidding! Getting close is the point, and what better way to get close to your spouse than dancing in your own private gala?
  32. Go to the Prom:  Dress up and dance in the den with the lights turned low. Yeah, that’s cheesy.  But it was 20 years ago, too, you just didn’t know it.
  33. Practice Playing House: Do a good deed and have a bunch of fun all at once. Offer to give a friend a night off from their kids and spend your date night playing house. It’s the perfect opportunity to watch silly movies, do some coloring, play with Play-Doh, or play hide-and-seek in and around the house and yard. Then, once the little tyke is in bed, you can make out on the couch and be thankful this was just for the evening!
  34. Get a Taste of Another Culture: Google cultural recipes that you've never tasted, and then try them out!
  35. Chip and dip night: Pick one each and one together.  Vote on the best.
  36. Long Winters Night: Hot cocoa and a fireplace-no electronics. No complaints either, I bet.
  37. Write out the story of how you met (and fell in love): Better yet- video tape it! Your kids and future posterity will be so grateful and it is so fun to go back and read (or watch) years down the road. It’s amazing how much you will forget!
  38. Wine and cheese night:  You don’t have to drink wine. Or eat cheese.  Pick something, grab a small variety, try it out.  Feed each other.  Whatever.  Make it happen.
  39. Star Gazing: Sit outside under the stars and take in the beatiful creation around us!
  40. Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue!  Celebrate your lifelong commitment to your sweetheart with this “Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue” themed date! This date is a true celebration of love.
  41. Play Twister! See how tangled up you can get . . .
  42. Work a puzzle:  Flip pieces over for a real challenge.
  43. Play the Newlywed Game: See how well you really know one another. Have prizes for every correct answer.
  44. Have Breakfast in Bed: (even if it's a night date! Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite meals!). Pull out the TV trays and go all out!
  45. Host a Book Club . . . for two! Check out two copies of the same book at the library and discuss the book as you read it.
  46. Have a Homemade Pizza Night. Buy your favorite toppings and create a masterpiece!
  47. Break out the board games: Make it interesting by adding a rule that the loser of each game has to lose one piece of clothing. Guarantee your husband will play Yahtzee like his life depends on it just so he can win.
  48. Have a Fondue Night: Don't have a fondue machine? No worries! You can melt chocolate or other dipping sauces in a slow cooker or even on your stove top.
  49. Pop some popcorn and watch YouTube videos all night: Ask friends and family for recommendations or find some of the most popular ones.
  50. Bubble bath for two: Need I say more?
What at-home date ideas have you and your honey tried? :) Let's hear them!

I can't wait to try some of these out! How fun is this?! All 50 might not speak to you, but can you find a few? :) I certainly can find some! Now, let's pick one and start planning! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Girl Who Won't Give Up

by Nicki Koziarz
1. She gets up each morning and follows through with her commitments despite how she feels.
Her feet are firmly positioned into the day’s tasks. While quitting may seem like an option she refuses to become someone others or God can’t count on. Her heart understands that she must be found faithful in the small steps to be trusted with the big steps.
2. She approaches the Word of God with reverence.
She opens God’s Word and believes each day He has something to speak to her about. There’s no questioning spirit when a friend texts her a Bible verse. She listens to sermons and teachings and doesn’t think of the friend who needs to hear that message, she knows there’s something there just for her.
3. She longs for the grace of refinement rather than the grace of relief.
She doesn’t have a personal agenda to fulfill when she faces steps of refinement. In fact, she longs for the grace of refinement rather than the grace of relief because she trusts the process of refinement. She accepts the perspective godly people offer her in difficult situations. And she embraces the process of becoming better through her mistakes.
4. She chooses to infect the world with joy.
Though life seems to frequently dump on her, she chooses to not dump on others. In fact, she thrives on being emotionally generous towards others. The spirit of generosity that oozes through her infects joy into a seemingly miserable world. As a result, when darkness seems to gloom over her she can easily shoo it away by giving joy.
5. She has a spirit of unbreakable determination.
Though she may feel a little [or a lot] bent many days, she never lets her bending turn to a broken dream. She refuses to break her perseverance towards the things God has placed her on this earth to do. In the midst of her rejection that attempts to break her she thrives by standing firm on this verse:
“Create in me a pure heart O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
–Psalm 51:10

My Thoughts:

Do you give up when life gets tough? My generation is pretty lousy at "sticking it out," and the next generation is way worse. So many people my age have an entitlement attitude. They aren't going to lift a finger, but you had better wait on them hand and foot. Why do we struggle with persevering through problems? Why is it that our generation just can't seem to finish a job, and especially finish it well!? What happened to my generation?

(No offense, parents, but it's your fault. My parents' generation raised spoiled rotten brats. And these young adults are now raising children that are so horrifically worse. Temper tantrums are a normal occurrence at the store, hateful speech is common in our schools, and no one works hard because everyone is going to get a "participation ribbon" at the end whether they won or not. Parents have really dropped the ball. I always see these cartoons that say things like, "If I talked to my mom the way you talk to yours, I wouldn't be alive to tell you about it." LOL It's so true! Can I encourage today's parents to teach your kids values? Perseverance? Diligence? Hard work? Two of the hardest workers I know are my parents. They don't stop...doesn't matter if they are sick...or tired....or "not in the mood"...they do what needs to be done. Parents, please wake up and realize that your lack of parenting is raising entitled snots that don't appreciate anything or anyone and certainly don't care about anyone but themselves. You aren't helping them by waiting on them hand and foot, you are ruining them! :/ Please wake up before it is too late!)

This post shouldn't even have to be shared! It should be an understood that we don't give up...especially in our walk with God, but we've been raised to only do what "feels good" and certainly nothing that is unpleasant or hard. (At this point I would like to insert that my parents were wonderful examples of good, Godly character! :) I am very thankful for the character they instilled in me.)

The Bible is so full of examples of hard working men and women:

Nehemiah left a great job and went back to a broken city and built the walls back up, the whole time being attacked and ridiculed. (If that happened today, kids would run home crying to mommy!)

Noah was mocked and scorned for years while he worked intently on building the ark, but he didn't give up, and God saved him!

Ruth is the epitome of a hard worker! I love her story of faithful obedience and service to her Naomi.

The disciples gave up everything to follow Jesus, yet they served with unwavering hearts even when times were tough.

Esther faced a greater challenge than most of us will ever face, her life was on the line, but she followed through with what God told her to do through Mordecai. 

Colossians 3:23 - And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

2 Thessalonians 3:10 - For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

1 Timothy 5:8 - But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Ephesians 4:28 - Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

1 Corinthians 10:31 - Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Ecclesiastes 5:12 - The sleep of a labouring man [is] sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

Proverbs 20:4 - The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; [therefore] shall he beg in harvest, and [have] nothing.

Are you pickin' up what I'm puttin' down? lol The Bible has a lot to say about not giving up and working hard! :)

There's rarely an excuse to give up....and there's absolutely never an excuse to give up on something that God has directed you into. Let's put on our big girl pants, ask God for patience and strength, and then carry on!

Let's carry on for Jesus!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

10 Things to Love About Marriage

Her confession rather surprised me. She was a bit discouraged about this whole marriage thing. Coming from a daughter of mine, this was rather disconcerting. I mean, we’re certainly big fans of marriage around here, so it caught me off-guard. She said it’s because she keeps hearing about how marriage is all about hard work. How it’s not about your “happiness”. How you have to give up so much.

And hearing it put this way? It did sound rather bleak, I’ll admit.

She’s got the right idea though. Marriage does take work. It’s not about being happy – and you do give of yourself. But marriage can be rich and beautiful and satisfying too. In fact, I can think of all kinds of reasons to love being married – maybe a thousand or so – but beginning with these 10.

1. Finding a friend. Who would have guessed I’d find someone to share my heart and soul with? To find someone who would know me better than anyone else? I’m so grateful to have a live-in best friend.

2. Spending the rest of our days together. There’s something exciting – and reassuring – about the thought that the two of us will be together for the rest of our lives. We’re committed to this relationship for the long haul.

3. Sharing our nights. How can I tell her how wonderful it is to reach over and snuggle into his strong body in the middle of the night? To have him hold me tight when I’m anxious or sleepless. To enjoy the pleasures of married life.
4. Growing as a person. It’s true. I’m a better woman because of him. I can get away with more than I should because I’ll put my “best face” on for you. And, besides, you’ll probably graciously overlook my snarky remark, my grumpy response, and my inconsiderate late arrival (thank you for that, by the way!). But my husband will gently hold me accountable. I’m thankful for that kind of love too.

5. Walking by his side. Yes, it’s true. I enjoy being the woman at his side. Maybe it sounds funny, but I still get a thrill when he walks in the room. I’m his chosen lady and I love that honor.

6. Parenting our children together. Our kids are very blessed to have him as their father. I’m glad we get to do this parenting thing together because I rely heavily on his wisdom and direction. I also appreciate his encouragement when I’m feeling down as a mother.

7. Laughing and loving fun. So yeah, we have to work on our relationship. But it’s so much more than hard work. We have a great time together! He can get me laughing until I can hardly breathe. And we still enjoy pillow fights, private jokes, and plenty of wonderful adventures. Kissing is also lots of fun.

8. Bringing in the balance. Because he is strong in areas that I am not – in medical emergencies, for instance. He’s a real champion in a crisis. He also tends to keep clear-headed in emotional turmoil. Me? Less so (enough said). As you see, balance is good.

9. Enjoying the romance. While marriage is more than romance, it doesn’t have to be less than that either. We enjoy going for walks, sitting on the front porch swing, watching an old movie, and heading out for a hot date at Diego’s.

10. Being a light to the world. When out and about, we’ll often get stopped by someone who’ll make a comment about us. Not sure why, since all we’re doing is holding hands, laughing, and talking together? But people are drawn to a loving relationship. So we’ll enjoy the conversation, and from there it’s easy and natural to turn to Christ and the Gospel – the foundation of our love for one another.

So, for that dear daughter of mine, don’t go thinking marriage is only about a bunch of hard work. That it means throwing happiness out the window and giving up your romantic hopes and dreams. There are all kinds of reasons – a thousand or more – to look forward to marriage and a lifetime of loving each other. -Lisa Jacobson

My Thoughts:

Wow. We don't have any children yet, but this really made me think....what image of marriage do I give to others. When a person (married or unmarried) experiences our marriage, are they encouraged or scared out of their mind about being married? Are Tim and I an example of how fun and amazing a marriage created by God can be?

I love being married. It is seriously so incredible to wake up next to your best friend every day. It is this really special gift that you get to open every morning...again and again!
It amazes me how much we complete each other. In an area where I lack, he is strong, and in an area where he might need a lil help, I may be's hard to explain, but if you are married, you probably understand exactly what I'm saying! :) 

Some of my absolute favorite times of being married are when we are laughing...sometimes we just laugh and laugh about the silliest things. I love making memories with Tim, and I love the fun times we have. Laughter is a gift from God, and, in my opinion, is one of the most important ingredients in a marriage.

What do you love about being married?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Little Things That Say I Love You

Tim and I are celebrating 6 months this coming Sunday...and it absolutely amazes me how much love can grow in such a short time. I know everyone says it, but it's so hard to remember my life before Timmy. I think it's really important that we try to constantly show each other how much we love each other. Sometimes it's easy to get distracted by the craziness of life, and we aren't purposely not showing love, but it happens....accidentally. So let's redouble our efforts to show our man just how much we love him. Hopefully he already knows....but it never hurts to remind him :)

Showing love is something that Tim has really put a ton of effort into learning. He is constantly trying to show me love through little acts of love. He really listens and watches for things that make me smile. I have noticed his efforts more and more as time goes on and it makes me feel like a princess. He never complains about helping me with housework or putting away clean laundry, and he randomly shows up with flowers :) Makes me feel so special. Acts of love can be hard because we are naturally so selfish. Thankful that this is something my sweet hubby is really becoming a pro I write, he is downstairs pulling out the clean laundry because the timer just went point is made. lol

Came home to these on Wednesday night after a really long day at work (open house)...aren't they beautiful!?

Maybe you used to be really great at showing love and you've just gotten distracted by life. That's happens, but why not look over the list below, a special post by Club31Women, and pick a special way to show some love! :)

Go love your man!

 It's true. We've experienced some sweeping moments in our marriage.

Like when we exchanged wedding vows on a lovely September morning.

When our first precious child was born.

Or when we learned that our fifth child would never walk or talk.

When he threw me that fabulous party for my 40th.

Or when I found him unconscious on the bathroom floor. Praying that God would spare his life.

Oh, we've had some big moments to be sure. But there are many days, weeks, and even months in between all those. Sipping coffee, heading to work, running errands, making dinner, putting kids to bed, and snuggling into each other at night. Little bits of love tucked into the everyday of our lives.

102 Little Things That Say I Love You

  1. Telling him about my day. The ups and the downs.
  2. Hearing all about his happenings too.
  3. Holding hands. Any chance we get.
  4. Saying hello with a kiss.
  5. Not mentioning the bad breath.
  6. Curling up against his warm back at midnight.
  7. Sitting next to him in church.
  8. And nudging each other when the sermon particularly applies.
  9. Warming up his side of the bed.
  10. Or grateful when he's already warmed up my side.

  11. Sharing a cup of coffee. In the early morning hours.
  12. Calling in the middle of the day. Just 'cause I miss him.
  13. Taking turns getting up at night. With a fussy baby.
  14. Waking me gently. With his soft touch.
  15. Laughing at his jokes. Even if I've heard them all before.
  16. Smiling. Because he's come home early.
  17. Heading upstairs together to put the kids to bed.
  18. Thankful when he's the one who's willing to tuck them in.
  19. Texting a sweet little message.
  20. Or maybe a slightly suggestive one.

  21. Cleaning up the kitchen dishes together.
  22. Standing by him. When he needs a friend.
  23. Staying up 'til midnight wrapping Christmas presents.
  24. Slow dancing. To an old love song from the 80's.
  25. Bringing him an aspirin. Because he refuses to take ibuprofen.
  26. Praying for his protection.
  27. Winking at me. From across the room.
  28. Folding his t-shirts. Just the way he likes them.
  29. Helping me zip up the back of my dress. A little too slowly, if you ask me. *wink
  30. Enjoying intimacy. Even when we're both rather tired.

  31. Admiring his good looks.
  32. And hearing his "Hello, Beautiful" too.
  33. Allowing him to take the baby. So I can get some much needed sleep.
  34. Kissing him on the lips. And staying there a little longer than necessary.
  35. Graciously overlooking that mistake he made.
  36. Falling asleep in his arms.
  37. Waking up by his side.
  38. Praying over me. While going into labor with each child.
  39. Hearing him announce, "It's a boy!" and rejoicing together.
  40. And, "It's a girl!" and rejoicing again.

  41. Staying up late watching a romantic comedy. My pick.
  42. Attempting to stay awake for his action flick.
  43. Packing his lunch. Enclosing a little love note too.
  44. Blowing him a kiss as he pulls out the driveway.
  45. Listening to his goals and aspirations.
  46. Sharing my hopes and dreams with him too.
  47. Asking God to bless him mightily.
  48. Laying my head on his shoulder. Because I can. And want to.
  49. Cheering him up. When he's had a hard day.
  50. Fetching a bowl for me. When I lose my breakfast....for the 5th time that morning.

  51. Wiping out the whiskers from his sink.
  52. Offering his coat to me at the restaurant. Because I forgot mine.
  53. Taking a hot shower. Together. 
  54. Thanking God for this man in my life. 
  55. Rescuing me in the Target parking lot. Since the car battery died. Again.
  56. Leaning into him. While we're kissing.
  57. Telling me I'm gorgeous. When I'm wearing sweat pants.
  58. Spreading toothpaste on his toothbrush. Or he for mine.
  59. Sneaking a bowl of mint chip ice-cream. After the kids go to bed.
  60. Offering a prayer for me. When I'm anxious in the middle of the night.

  61. Trimming the back of my hair. That place where I can't quite reach.
  62. Scratching his back. Although it's not my favorite thing to do.
  63. Warming up my feet. With his own warm skin.
  64. Listening to the rain coming down. Simply because it makes such a beautiful sound. 
  65. Wrestling with the Thanksgiving turkey. When it's too big for the oven.
  66. Kissing the top of my head. Even when I've been snippy. No, especially when I've been snippy.
  67. Throwing pillows at me. Just for the fun of it.
  68. But getting him back laterBecause that's fun too.
  69. Hiking to the very top. Then looking down at the big, wide world together.
  70. Scouring the oven for me. Because I've let it go far, far too long.

  71. Searching for matching socks for him. In the dark. Before he leaves for work.
  72. Staying up all night at St. Charles hospital. Wondering if his father will pull through.
  73. Making plans for his mom to move in with us. When she no longer remembers who we are.
  74. Soaking in a deep bubble bath. The two of us. Or sometimes just for me.
  75. Taking the little boys for a hike. So I could have a quiet morning at last.
  76. Asking God to give him the strength. When he's hard-pressed with a deadline.
  77. Getting away for a few days. A romantic escape.
  78. Stroking my hair. When I'm troubled beyond words.
  79. Listening to him sing old Billy Joel songsDon't Go Changing.
  80. Slipping away to a nearby cafe. An Americano for him and a lavender latte for me.

  81. Letting him hold me. When I can't help but cry it out.
  82. Sharing a Scripture verse with me. When I really needed to hear it.
  83. Running out into a hailstorm. Trying to save the tomatoes from certain disaster.
  84. Holding the screaming child in my arms. While he speeds all the way to the Emergency Room.
  85. Feeling the immense relief. When we find out he's going to be okay.
  86. Taking me for a scenic drive. When I'm desperate to get out of the house.
  87. Saying goodbye to our eldest son. Knowing that this is what we raised him for.
  88. Handing me a tissue. As I weep on the flight back home.
  89. Attending the family reunion together. Wondering who's the crazy one.
  90. Reading aloud to each other. When it's just too good to keep to yourself.

  91. Sitting on the porch swing. Saying nothing at all.
  92. Playing cards with his folks. Because it means something to them.
  93. Saying I'm sorry. Because I really, really am.
  94. Laying awake on the hard dirt ground. Questioning how he talked me into camping in the first place.
  95. Waking up by a still, blue lake, green woods and a small campfire. Admitting it was all worth it. 
  96. Forgiving each other. For the hundredth time.
  97. Then letting it go. Another hundred times. 
  98. Hitting the snooze button. And pretending for a few minutes that we've nothing better to do than snuggle in bed.
  99. Telling the world how thankful I am to be married to him.
  100. Blushing. As he tells everyone what a blessed man he is to be married to me.
  101. Celebrating each anniversary. Truly grateful for every year we have together. 
  102. Saying I Love You. Every day. Because I do.
Yes, most of our marriage is been made up of these tiny little things. 

Small things that simply say I Love You.

In His grace,