Love and Birthdays

Thirty. By this time in life, I’m married, have a kid, and my husband is halfway done with residency. When my birthday was in November, DrH really showed off his super sneaky and thoughtful side. Before my birthday, I knew something was up. In the morning, I walked into the kitchen to find a 50-balloon banner on our wall and the letters strung to make up the phrase “HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY” (I love surprises). All were quite colorful (I love bright colors, too). Around lunch, DrH was talking about a timeline. He got on my computer, did some things, and presented me with the Zoom meeting…where all of my extended family was waiting! DrH presented me with my present, “from all [my] friends and family.” He looked at the screen and said, “You all know what this is, and Anna’s going to open it right now.” What? Both sides of my extended family knew what this gift was? The box contained BIRTHDAY CARDS (my love language is words of affirmation). My dear husband had gotten a hold of so many people, and they all sent me birthday cards! My bucket was full. Over the next few days, a few stragglers came in and I got to read almost 150 birthday cards! I don’t cry or tear up when things are happy or sad. If anything, I “mist.” Well, there were a handful of cards that definitely had me “misting!”

The letter “R”

Now, DrH’s birthday is exactly two months after mine, so I had some time to plan. He only has January and February left to take any more vacation time he has left until June (the year resets with the school year). We got back from vacation on Wednesday night, and he got his 2nd Covid shot after Lydia was in bed. His birthday was Thursday! After he got up, we ate breakfast, and I gave him his “intro” for what I called “Doug’s 30th Birthday Quest.” It basically said he’d have to travel to each place, and complete an activity before he received the next clue. Going back to the car would unlock his next birthday present. It all made a lot more sense in my head than how it actually panned out. However, it was a great day! First, DrH, Lydia, and I met his friend Boyung at his work and we played some cards (DrH’s love language is quality time). Next, Lydia had a doctor appointment. DrH could not figure out why I scheduled her that day of all days. Well, as we were checking out, the ladies at the reception desk asked five trivia questions. Little did I know that in high school, DrH was in Hi-Q, where he had to study sports statistics and such! No, he did not know who won the superbowl in 1991 (NY Giants), but he knew that the Green Bay Packers won in ’92. Who even knows that stuff? Lol. He did tell me that the trivia was fun! The next clue led us to Jenny, our nanny and neighbor. She gave Doug another present and his clue before she took Lydia for the rest of the day! Next, we went to our church, where one of the pastors did an in-depth study in Hebrews for half an hour (DrH has told me that he enjoys discussing the Bible and such). The clue he got there led us to go pick up his birthday cake that I’d asked him to order earlier that week (because what if I had picked the wrong one? Wasn’t risking it). On the fridge where his cake was being stored was a riddle. Smarty pants DrH figured out the answer after a few moments. The final clue led us to his favorite restaurant, Panera Bread. We swung through the drive thru and went home to eat. Now, DrH was not feeling all the best that morning, but he said he did appreciate the effort I put into it! After nap, we packed up Lydia’s and our overnight bags. We went to a hotel in town! Big thanks to all who helped out in this fun day, especially our parents, who funded the hotel and food for the day. Eating food from a fancy place was nice!

The MN Twins!

I wrote all this to tell the people that helped me out how the day went. DrH and I dated long-distance (between 7-9 hours) the whole time we were dating, so we started talking about everything. After getting married and realizing how much we didn’t quite know about each other, we started reading books like “5 Love Languages” and more recently, “How Full Is Your Bucket?” Being married to someone with a chronic disease is so not easy, and we’ve found out that by surprising each other and showing love to one another in different ways, we can keep moving forward, together. We’ve never gone this far out of our way for birthdays, but 30 is the first decade we get to start together!

How can you find ways to love those around you? Your friends? Neighbors? Parents? Kids? Do you know the 5 love languages? What’s yours? What’s theirs?

Spritual Gifts and Serving One Another: my revelation

1 Peter 4:10-11: 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

 

So, I was reading this the other day and thinking a lot about it.  I know how to serve others with my gift of music: I teach it and am as patient and as loving as I can be with the students I have.  But what about my gift of writing?  How am I supposed to serve others with this wonderful hobby I’ve always had?  So I prayed about it.  I recently finished a book of Christian fiction, and I’m really excited about it.  I am going to try and get it published.  Is it just me who wants it to get published?  Or is it God’s will that the story that came from him is shared with others without me emailing it to them? (And therefore, sending updates when I finish them?)  My greatest desire is for him to work through words that I have written to advance his kingdom and teach others about himself.  I am so super excited when I hear someone telling me God is showing them something through a story I have written or through a blog I posted.  “Lord, give me an opportunity,” I prayed.  I didn’t really know what the opportunity would be.  I hoped that by some miracle and probably out of selfish want that someone who works for a publishing company would hear about my story and want to publish it right away.  But that’s lame and unrealistic.  Knowing God, things won’t be that easy.  But sometimes, he’ll surprise us.  The very next day, my mom asked if I would write a Lenten Devotional for church this year.  It was just a ransom thought she’d had.  Oh, my goodness.  An opportunity to serve with my writing?  Okay!  I told her about my prayer the night before, and she laughed.  God has been quite amazing.  I still want to get the book published, and I realize I still have some editing to do.  I’ve never had anything published before and feel like this story is finally worthy (unlike the mostly kid stuff I wrote before).  But what do I know?  And besides, I’ve already talked about this in a blog already.  (See previous)

To God be the glory forever and ever, amen.  How else can I serve people?  I have discovered I like encouraging people and letting them know I care and am praying for them.  I messaged a friend the other day and said I was thinking about her and praying for her, asking what I could pray specifically about.  I am a huge “words of affirmation” person, and that’s how I show love (5 Love Languages).  God gave us the gifts and talents we have to serve on another.  How great is that thought!  What gifts do you have, and how can you serve others with it?

Anna