Friday, December 4, 2015

Twenty-three Years Ago Today...

To my Man,

Twenty-three years ago today we went on our first date. You know this better than I do, being the one of us who is comfortable with the calendar. We didn't know that twenty-three years ago though. We knew so very little then. We really only knew that we'd end up together. We just weren't sure how it was going to happen. We were all butterflies-in-the-belly and less feet-on-the-ground in reality.  Twenty-three years ago we went to a movie as a couple for the very first time, after spending a semester becoming best friends...all these years later I'm so glad that we still are ... both. 

I call that a victory. 

Twenty-three years ago, victories don't look like what they do today. Back then a victory was scheduling a few classes together in the business building and getting to spend time together in class. Now, a victory is scheduling a meal together and getting to talk about our very separate days. Then a victory was a good movie at my place, curled up on the couch with a pint each of Ben and Jerry's, today…well, we still consider that a victory... only now the couch is a bit more crowded. 

We had no way of knowing then, what our life together would look like but we had some hopeful ideas and some far off dreams. Now, here we stand in that far-off  looking back for a moment and I'm just so thankful. 

I am so thankful to be yours. 

Honestly, I don't think we'll ever be voted Marriage All Stars or anything like that because...we ARE, after all, us. You, the right-angle-loving, routine-living, order-craving, detail-focusing, list-checking, life-planning one and me, the scatter-brained, angle-bending, list-losing, big-picture-dreaming, order-wrecking, anti-calendaring one. That the dear Lord put us together, is real testament to His creativity and general sense of humor. 

Twenty-three years ago, I might have dreamed of a life full of fiery romance and nail-biting adventure but these days I'm so much more grateful for our current reality. The one in which I tell you that all I need is for you to come home every night and you chuckle as if to say that the standard I've set is a pretty low one. But is it really? Isn't it in the daily things where victories secured? Isn't it in the often and always where hearts are knit and mended and where the important parts of life are lived?  Therein, lies the romance. 

I ask for everyday and you've faithfully given that and then you've filled those days with the kinds of adventure two college kids on their first date twenty-three years ago could never have imagined.

Thanks for asking me out. 

It was a brave move. 

But not nearly as brave as having come home every. single. night. twenty-three years later.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

When You Are Not Feelin' All Advent-y

We began our Advent celebration last night around the table after a long day of school and errands. We'd ordered pizza for dinner because the Thanksgiving leftovers had run out along with my desire to produce anything more from the kitchen for a time. My Man had instructed the kids to clean off the dining room table so that "in a while we can do Advent." Then he set about paying the bills and getting the paper of our lives in order.

I was working on a season related project and the kids, after finishing their task, had migrated to the couch in front of the TV and had begun watching a show after a bit of fussing about what to watch at all because "there is NOTHING on!"

One child was particularly angsty because we'd made all indications that we'd be decorating the Christmas tree today and we'd not gotten nearly that far and she was both disappointed and determined that progress would be made before she was sent to bed. Her determination added a special challenge to our evening.

I was so over the day. The LAST thing my heart wanted to do was lean into this season of love and togetherness and my family gathered around the table humming Silent Night.

Ok, we don't ever hum Silent Night, but we do log some time around that table and I wasn't feeling it. I'd eventually found the beginnings of tree decor and Kate and I were making slow progress and soon my Man appeared with the Advent wreath and four sorry looking candles in his hand— he was on his way to the Christ candle to finish the set. Soon the call went out, "OK everyone, come in here for Advent!"

We gathered, I handed out pieces of fudge, given us by a friend, to fuel our focus. There was a new Advent book this year and it is simple and clear and easy
We spent ten minutes together all pondering the message of hope from Isaiah—our reading from last night. There was a candle with a flame and a happy child chosen to light it.

There was a seven year old reading the Scripture and stumbling over a word or two from behind bangs that need some attention. Fudge was eaten, prayer was offered, and the smoke from the extinguished candle marked the end of our celebration. 

We didn't do it perfectly—we cannot. 

We didn't do it grandly—we know not. 

We didn't do it eagerly— we were not. 

But there remains the simple practice of simply showing up and doing a thing and last night we just did that — we did the least.

It was plain and simple and soon over. We gathered and pondered the Hope of the coming Savior and we left the table a little more hopeful and a little more inclined to be less about ourselves and what we felt like (or didn't) and more about the reason and Giver of our Hope.

...I wish there were ten or a dozen Christmas-days in the year; for there is work enough in the world, and a little more rest would not hurt laboring people. Christmas-day is really a boon to us, particularly as it enables us to assemble round the family hearth and meet our friends once more. Still, although we do not fall exactly in the track of other people, I see no harm in thinking of the incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus.
~Charles H. Spurgeon~

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