27 Reasons

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Today, on the twenty-seventh day of January, Dan is turning twenty-seven. Since we’re all about numbers around here, I thought it’d be the perfect day to share 27 things I love and respect about Dan. I sat down a couple weeks ago with this idea, thinking it’d take me a while to compile that many reasons, but I had the list written in about five minutes with plenty more reasons left unnamed. So, here they are, in no particular order, the first 27 reasons that I wrote down for why I love and respect my husband:

1. He prays.

He prays for me every morning before work and we pray together every night before bed. He prays before meals and trips. He prays when someone gets hurt. He calls me and prays for me when I tell him I’m overwhelmed. He prays when we start to argue or have a bad night. And those are only the times when he’s praying out loud with me.

2. He kills bugs for me.

Even though it’s pathetic. He doesn’t laugh at me (too much) and he never shows me the dead bugs before he disposes of them.

3. He insists on eating dinner together as a family.

Our dinners are one of the highlights of the day because we have them together. Every single day.

4. He reads the Bible to our family.

After dinner every night, Dan reads a section from the Bible. The kids fidget and my mind often wanders, but I know this is a priceless gift to have a husband who so values God’s Word.

5. He’s a natural daddy.

When we got married I knew Dan would be a good dad, not because he had so much experience with kids (he had none) but because he seeks God and does what is right. I was pleasantly surprised the first time Dan held Lydia and so naturally started chatting away with her in his arms. I believe Parenthood has come more naturally to him than to me and I am so grateful for it.

6. He seeks God’s direction.

Any time any major decision has to be made, Dan prays and seeks God’s direction. This has led to so many blessings in our lives already.

7. He knows when to have fun.

Dan is almost as frugal as I am, but every once in a while he decides it’s time to splurge with a family-fun day. He’ll pick a restaurant or a meal we can make easily at home, treat us to a dessert, take us to a splash pad or Ann Arbor museum, and let the kids ride the bus. Family-fun days have become more fun than I can even handle so now we have to keep them a little shorter so Mom can get a nap.

8. He’s frugal.

Dan has no expensive hobbies or fancy toys. The biggest splurge we’ve ever made on him was for his gym equipment, which has already more than paid for itself in gym membership fees.

9. He gives gifts like it’s his job.

Dan does gifts right. He thinks long and hard and can choose one gift that will be so meaningful, useful, and long-lasting. One Christmas he got my my Bible, which is probably my favorite gift ever. This year he got me my camera after my old one had died shortly after Paul was born. One birthday he bought me a set of shirts and skirts to mix and match when all my clothes were stained from baby spit-up.

10. He is generous.

More than me! Dan loves to give where there are needs and he doesn’t hold back.

11. He tells me his dreams.

I do not take this for granted. Dan actually talks to me and tells me his hopes and plans for the future no matter how likely or unlikely they actually are. This means the world to me.

12. He keeps me informed.

Dan pays attention to the news when I just don’t have the time or dedication. He updates me on what’s going on in the world at least once a week. When conversations come up outside of the home, I don’t feel quite so much like an ostrich with my head in the sand because Dan has clued me in on what’s going on outside of our home.

13. He provides.

Even when work is boring, or hard, or tedious, or hard to find, Dan has always done whatever he needed to in order to provide for us.

14. He listens to me.

I talk a lot. And he never tells me to be quiet.

15. He wrestles his family members.

Perhaps the girls favorite activity is wrestling daddy, and no matter how tired, some amount of wrestling takes place almost every night in our home.

16. He’s social.

I don’t have to cut conversations short because my husband is rearin’ to go. Dan is often the one wrapping up conversations when I’m tired, hungry, and ready to go home.

17. He’s smart.

I had no idea how smart he was when I married him. Not just book smart, either. He’s just smart all over.

18. He exercises.

There were no “Freshman 15” or “Marriage 20” for Dan. Dan needs exercise and makes it a priority to live, move, and eat healthy. He also makes it a priority for me to exercise and acts as my personal coach, pushing me when I just want to be lazy. God knew I needed this in my husband.

19. He lets me sleep.

When Dan takes the kids so I can nap, that just makes my week.

20. He helps at home.

Dan doesn’t sit around complaining about how messy everything is. He helps! He prioritizes my spending time with the kids and if he thinks things are getting too messy or I am getting too overwhelmed, he is quick to step in and do chores so I don’t have to.

21. He is cautious with the kids.

So many times he has noticed some danger and pointed it out. I have inwardly rolled my eyes and thought, “You are being way too cautious. This is not necessary.” only to find out later that he was right. I have learned to respect his cautions and listen to them.

22. He keeps our priorities in check.

Play with the kids. Get outside. It’s ok if the house gets messy. Just make sure there is something to eat. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I am a huge fan of my husbands priorities.

23. He helps me make decisions.

Dan is always there to talk things through, give advice, and pray with and for me. I’m not sure I even could make decisions without him to fall back on anymore.

24. He’s hospitable.

We love having people in our home and we are learning how to be good hosts. I’m glad I’m in this together with Dan and not inviting people into a home where Dad just wants some alone time.

25. He seeks wise counsel.

Dan is not too proud to ask for advice from the authorities in our lives or from people he respects. And he listens to them too.

26. He’s athletic.

It’s kind of fun being married to the Dan Taylor, athlete extraordinaire.

27. He’s cool.

Dan’s always been cool. I have never been cool. I was just the smart, quiet nerd who some people might have thought was sweet. How I ever got to marry one of the cool guys, I’ll never know. Our differences in this area are especially emphasized when some upbeat music is playing and we both start dancing.

Happy Birthday, Dan! You’re the best in the world!

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The Story of Dan’s New Job

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A few week ago, Dan started a new job. I wanted to share this as a testimony of God’s provision and answers to our prayers concerning Dan’s work over the years we have been married so far. I believe this is only the beginning…

When Dan and I got married, we were both finishing college. Dan was working part time as a math tutor on campus with only foggy ideas about his career. He had considered ministry, but more recently, and after prayer, felt God wanted him to pursue a Master’s degree. So, Dan finished up his last semester and started a Master’s degree in math just as Lydia was born and spent her time in the NICU.

As a Master’s student, Dan was able to teach some classes and continued tutoring until summer. That summer, hours were low and we were preparing to live on our lowest budget yet, when Dan was offered an internship at a small engineering company in Ann Arbor. So, God provided the first real job of our married life.

Dan’s internship turned into a full-time job, but during that time Dan’s aspirations changed. He came home one night and said to me, “I think I want to start a business”.

I was doubtful but didn’t say much and just listened as he explained further. Over the next several months I came around and together we brainstormed countless business ideas. (My favorite was to publish a book entitled: 100 Businesses I Didn’t Start but You Should) Investing all of our future hopes into starting a business, while working in someone else’s business turns out to be quite challenging, and trying on the whole family. When Dan’s job ran out of work for him at the beginning of the year, it was a bittersweet transition.

Should he start a business now?

Should he try to change to a different field?

Should he get a PhD (this has been constantly under consideration over the past few years)?

What next???

We prayed and prayed and Dan applied and applied. He was eventually offered a job as a software engineer at a young, but growing, company in Ann Arbor. The day he accepted the job I was devastated, convinced that he would be stuck programming for the rest of his life dreaming of businesses that he would never start.

Through it all, we continued to pray. We prayed for wisdom and guidance, and we prayed that God would provide a more fitting, enjoyable job for Dan.

The software job wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t nearly as mathy or intellectual as Dan would have preferred, but the company invested in a ping pong table and the ping pong seemed to make everything a little better. Eventually I stopped asking Dan, “How was work?” and started asking, “How did ping pong go?”

We kept praying.

Then one day, so gradually and unexpectedly that I can hardly remember it, a small start-up contacted Dan on linked-in. While he was interested in their offer, he didn’t think he stood a chance at landing the job, so he didn’t even mention the upcoming interview with me until it came up during a Skype chat with his mom.

During the interview, Lydia and I prayed. We prayed mostly that, if this was a job God wanted for Dan, that he would land it whether he was qualified or not.

Dan came home that evening and told me they wanted a second interview.

The scene repeated itself. I don’t remember how many interviews Dan had, but it felt like a lot. Each time he would come home surprised and tell me they wanted to talk to him again. Each time he would insist he didn’t think he stood a chance at landing the job. Each time I became more and more convinced that maybe this really was a job God wanted Dan to take.

The day came for the final interview, but they didn’t get back to him right away. They didn’t get back to him the next day either. The next day, during the afternoon, I felt a strong urge to go and pray about the job. I spent a few minutes praying for the company, praying that Dan would be on their minds all day, praying that he would be the right match, praying that they would choose him. And when Dan came home that night he told me that they had.

We were in the middle of buying a house and skeptical about starting a new job. We didn’t want to do anything to slow down the housing process, but closing was almost a month away and the new company wanted Dan to start immediately. We talked it over with our mortgage lender and eventually decided Dan should start…that Monday. And he did.

This is the first time Dan has to check the clock to make sure he leaves work on time. It’s the first time he is invested and interested in the product. We love it. Protean is a small start-up, so they can’t offer all of the benefits of an established company, but they can offer other fun perks like generous vacation time and free lunches every day.

So now, Dan is a data analyst for the company called Protean. Their product, which they hope to launch later this year, is basically an all-in-one credit card that works with an iPhone app to hold all of your credit and store loyalty cards (anything you swipe, really). Dan’s job is to sort through all sorts of data and make meaningful graphs to display that data and help the company make good decisions.

Sometimes, when I need the car, we drop Dan off at work in the morning and pick him up at the end of the day. The girls and I have gotten to meet a lot of his coworkers and we’ve spent a little time lounging in the work area while we wait for Dan to finish. Lydia is already making friends for herself.

We don’t know if this job will last for one year or twenty, and we don’t know where God will lead us next. But after about three years of praying and waiting and wondering, we have seen God answer this prayer for a good (enjoyable) job for Dan, and we want to give Him the credit and the praise. (Even if there’s no ping pong 🙂 )

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Hapter Berday Daddy!

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Monday was Dan’s birthday.  Sadly, Dan’s birthdays have fallen into a pathetic pattern over the past few years, which goes like this:

1. Plan special yummy dinner
2. Plan special (probably expensive) healthy dessert
3. Try to buy a gift he’ll like
4. Be disappointed by a dinner that was not as good as anyone had hoped
5. Be disappointed by gifts that he didn’t really want
6. Be disappointed by a dessert that did not taste good enough to justify the time or cost

This year was the year I decided to break the cycle. I think it worked.

For dinner, we used a gift card and bought Qdoba. Tried and true. For dessert, we bought some coconut milk vanilla ice cream and blended it up with peanut butter and a dash of maple syrup to make peanut butter milkshakes. Delicious. For gifts, I asked Dan for a list and then spent a few weeks trying to trick him into thinking he was getting a bunch of gifts not from his list. And now…for the pictures.

We started with the cards, of course.

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Now for the first present…

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This was a reenactment of his surprised and happy face. The original was much more authentic.

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Lydia likes it too!

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It helps with sore muscles, sort of like a massage. It hurts at the time but feels better afterward…what Dan refers to as “good pain”.

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Abby doesn’t know what she thinks about “good pain”.

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Neither do we. But we love him.

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A bow for Lydia!

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(Somehow I forgot to take pictures of the gifts we got him. Oops.)

What could this one be?

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A new keyboard!

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Dan’s new computer setup. He loves it. Now he won’t have to get a sore neck staring down into a computer screen all day long.

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Dan and his baby girl.

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And his big girl. She wished Dan a lot of “Hapter Berdays” all day long)

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And his favorite girl.

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Happy Birthday Dan! We love you!