1. You get to see where you came from. I turned 34 on Friday and realized that I remember when my mother was 34 years old. But instead of making me depressed, I actually felt better. I mean, my mom is loving her life right now. Her kids are grown, her grandkids are cute, and she’s pursing her dream of writing professionally. At 34, I see I’ve got a lot to look forward to.
2. You get to see where your going. Dan was gone on my actual birthday. We celebrated the night before and I made plans for a pizza/movie night with the kids. The funny thing was how the kids kept trying to make the night special. I didn’t have cake, so Jesse wanted to put candles in my dessert pizza. None of my gifts had been wrapped since Dan took me shopping and my mom gave me money. This didn’t seem right to Ada. She wrapped up a tube of lip gloss that was ALMOST full and threw in a small package of SweeTarts. At 34, I see I’ve got a lot to look forward to.
3. You get really fun stuff. Gold earrings (from Mom’s money) mean I can wear earrings again – I have very sensitive ears which translates to needing more than $10 to buy earrings! A stylish gray scarf, coordinating gray pants (think Audrey Hepburn), and a night out with my husband means I’m recharged and refreshed. 3/4 a tube of pink glitter lipgloss means I’m the best-loved 34 year-old in my house! : )
My husband’s younger brother visited this week, thrilling my children and giving my husband a longed for piece of home. It was actually his brothers that I met first. They won me over with their boyish sweetness and made everything super easy for Dan! His Dad and Mom and sister were pretty great, too; I knew them all before I knew Dan.
Last week one of my Bible College students referred to the time before she made solid decisions to live as a Christian as the time when Jesus courted her. That made a lot of sense to me. Do you remember those days before you actually made up your mind to associate yourself as God’s? How did Jesus court you?
For me, it was by showing me His family, the Church. I grew up in a wonderful Christian home and a great Bible believing church. My parents’ friends demonstrated lives of true faith in many different forms: as professionals, as missionaries, as ministers, and as everyday people just trying to do right. None of them were perfect, of course, but they loved me and they loved God and I knew that. It was like God was showing me how great this family could be if I wanted in.
Dan’s family did the same thing, wooing me with their affection for each other and their interest in me. Now Dan and I are hopefully building the same kind of culture in our home, a place where other people want to be.
It is an analogy I had never considered: the way God courts us. Can you think of anything that God did before you started living as a Christian that looking back you would consider an act of courtship? How did God win your heart?
Today is your fifth birthday! This is a picture of you around the time when we all started calling you “Ada Bean” – do you think you look round and cute like a little bean? That’s what we all thought.
Now you don’t look at all like a bean. You are tall and slender and graceful. You still walk on your tip-toes like a dancer. You love dance class. You also love school. For your birthday you asked for a white board for your room so you can play school. You tell us that when you grow up you want to be a doctor and a police officer and a mom. I think you will be great at whatever you want to be!
Your real name, Ada, means “beautiful addition”. Daddy picked that because we were a little surprised when we found out you were going to join our family but we knew it was going to be perfect. I picked your middle name, Jewel, and I was right: you are a treasure!
You are the second mama around here. Your Daddy and I love to watch you trick Macy into eating her Cheerios. I think the way you help Claire off of her tall chair after supper is so nice. You are a good little sister, too. Jesse likes telling you jokes and playing games with you. You are good company for him.
I love it best when you sing songs that you make up yourself. They are always wonderful songs about love and happiness. I hope you never stop writing songs and singing them for us!
Well, it is finally your special day. We’ll eat pizza and decorate a giant cookie with red frosting and heart-shaped sprinkles. I think you must be one of my favorite 5 year-olds EVER!
I had the strangest dream this week. It was like a romantic comedy I’d never seen before, and my husband and I were the lead roles. Of course, as dreams often go, we weren’t married. In the dream we were just friends with some kind of romantic attempt in our past that didn’t quite work out. You know how dreams are – I knew all of this without it being explicitly explained. Anyway, at some point, after a failed attempt at another relationship, Dan surprised me with a video montage of our lifetime of friendship. In the video he had all our friends and family members speaking on camera (aka, an Oprah special) about why we belonged together and how perfectly we were matched for each other.
I woke up with that satisfied feeling you have after watching a circular Hollywood love potion. It was a cute movie (in my dream mind). I also woke up with a new crush on my husband. It was the opposite of that icky feeling you have after waking up from a nightmare and you can’t really tell for a little bit if someone really did just fill your room with snakes or if that was probably just a dream.
Nothing in our relationship actually changed. For all I know, I went to bed frustrated with him for some stupid reason or another, but in the morning I woke up different. The only thing that had changed was the way I had been thinking about him.
This is the power of emotions to maintain passion in a committed relationship. My sister says I have an uncanny ability to have movie-like dreams with subjects of my own choosing. I did manage to have some pretty sweet dreams about me and Kirk Cameron back in the day, but I didn’t plan this one about Dan. And channeling my emotions of good doesn’t have to be about a dream. It could be about a conscious decision to remember the feelings I had when Dan and I first met. Or about the choice to write him a love note even when I don’t feel necessarily loving. When I make the decision, my emotions start to follow.
My little sister got married here at this park in St. Joseph. Isn’t it beautiful? For Christmas I printed copies of this picture and put it in a nice frame. My thought was that every time she walked by it, even though it is just a landscape, she would remember the feelings of that gorgeous August day. It would stir the emotions of new love even when her love grows older. I know it makes a difference. My grandpa has never failed, in over 60 years of marriage, to take my grandmother out to dinner on their anniversary, even if it is just cold sandwiches at a diner. Decisions make a difference and the strength of our marriages (or other committed relationships) will be the beneficiaries. Dream on, sisters!