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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Four Things a Husband Should Do for His Wife

Today Dan and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary. Dan took a few days off of work, and, as I mentioned in the last post, we have a lot of fun planned. So, I’m not making any promises about when the next update will come. In the meantime, I’d like to celebrate this fourth anniversary by sharing four things my husband does for me, four things every husband should do for his wife.

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He loves me.

I have a problem. We call it the “goldfish syndrome” and I’ve read enough marriage books to know I’m not the only wife who has it. No matter how creatively, lavishly, romantically, or frequently Dan tells me he loves me, I forget.

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It’s not always that I forget. The problem is really that I stop feeling loved and so I start to believe I’m not. Or sometimes I know that Dan loved me…at one time, but what if it changed? What if he stopped? So Dan has his work set out, but he is constantly, faithfully, patiently reminding me of his love for me.

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He leads me.

I really enjoy having Dan as a leader in our home. It has become my second nature to ask his opinion on everything. Picking out fabric for Abby’s quilt? I asked Dan’s opinion. (He picked out the backing) Trying to figure out a new schedule? Ask Dan. Feeling like I’m doing a bad job at keeping a home and raising the girls? Go to Dan and get some input.

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But it’s not just when I ask that Dan leads. He leads us in so many areas of our lives.

Spiritually – he reads the Bible to us after our meals and prays with me every night before we go to sleep
Financially – he earns us a living even on days when he would rather do anything but go to work
Emotionally – he holds it together when everything else seems to be falling apart
Decision Making – he always gets the final say, although he appreciates my input, he’s not afraid to make the call
As a Dad – Dan doesn’t just leave me to raise our kiddos. Even when they are less than four pounds and growing in an isolette in the NICU, Dan is a present and loving father (and a really good one too)

There are so many ways Dan is a leader in our home, I couldn’t list them all if I tried.

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He helps me.

Maybe if I was perfect I could do it all. Manage and keep a beautiful home (all the time). Teach and train the girls. Feed and diaper the baby. Clean and fold laundry. Plan and cook meals. Keep track of our budget and all our finances. Correspond with friends and relatives. Plan doctor visits, vacations, and dates. Exercise and get plenty of rest. Even while kids are sick, babies aren’t sleeping, and we live in transitional sorts of places.

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Since I’m not perfect, I can’t do it all by myself, and even when I seem to be accomplishing a lot, I’m known to have occasional break downs. But Dan doesn’t expect me to be perfect or self-sustaining. He helps me do my job as I help him do his. We’re spouses, but we’re also partners, teammates, and friends.

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He spurs me on.

Dan and I first started talking at a time when I was discouraged and far from home, but learning good things from God. He started emailing me once in a while to encourage me, pray for me, and ask what God was doing in my life. My God’s grace, Jesus has stayed the center of our relationship through all of the transitions and changes over the past four (plus!) years. Dan is the one I go to first with my Bible questions, thoughts, and troubles. We pray together and seek God together. He’s my husband, and he’s my leader. He’s my helper and my friend, but he’s also my brother in Christ and always will be.

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First Month of Thankful

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It has already been more than a month since I started keeping track of a blessing-a-day, and what a month it has been! Little did I know when I started this project that I would wrap up my first month living in a new home and house-hunting. The past week has been very busy with last minute packing, moving, cleaning, rearranging, and unpacking, but I’ve managed to keep my resolution so far and I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I’ve been learning along the way.

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1. I am so very thankful for my husband and kiddos. Can you tell? The munchkins make it in to the majority of my pictures and even the ones that don’t include a munchkin usually represent a moment that did involve one or both of them. While two little ones make life busy and sometimes overwhelming, I certainly am grateful for my girls and wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. Not clean floors or grown-up conversation or free time or sleep or anything else! As for Dan, I’ve been resisting the urge to write down “Dan” or “time with Dan” or anything of the sort, saving those ones for special days. No repeats allowed, you know.

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2. I love weekends! I actually keep a journal and during my quiet time each day I try to write down at least three things I’m thankful for. One Friday I looked back and realized that “Friday!” was making the list over and over (exclamation mark and all). I love Fridays because once Dan comes home from work, he doesn’t leave me until Monday. (I do not love Mondays). Saturdays are my Dan day. Sundays are nice too, but with church we spend more time talking to others. My “Fridays” haven’t made it into a picture yet because it feels too easy. I’m trying to make myself be specific.

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3. The real lesson I’ve been learning is that it’s just not enough to be thankful for one thing a day. I can quite vividly recall fuming in frustration one afternoon. I was standing in my kitchen looking out at the messy living room, upset that the day had gone so terribly. There was not a grateful bone in my body as I stood there and this lesson hit me. It wasn’t working. Not that day anyway. And I realized that it’s not enough to make a little list of blessings, even if you do it every day. I want my life to be one of continual gratitude and joy, in each moment, in each difficulty, trusting God and rejoicing in the blessings He’s given me. I am learning to count my blessings and trust God’s long-term plan. It’s not quick or clean or easy, but I can see that God is making me a more grateful person. But I always come back to the place where I am so thankful that it’s not based on me at all but on what Jesus did for me. I’ll never be good enough. This project is just another way that God is showing me I’m not and never will be. Thank God I don’t have to be. He is.

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And so wraps up one month of twelve. One month closer to my 27th birthday. One month behind me filled with little happy moments. Eleven months to go.

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