While sifting through my inbox in my email this morning, I realized that Andy expresses his love for me in more ways than I was paying attention to. And then that got me thinking about all the ways he shows his love in our daily life right here in our home. And then THAT got me thinking of the ways he shows his love for me outside of our home too!
Have you ever heard of "stumbleupon" on the internet? Andy "stumbled upon" it a few years ago, and when he is just sitting and vegging on the computer, he will "stumble" the web. It's just a website that you start out by hitting a button called "stumble". It takes you to random websites that coincide with a list of your interests that you picked before you began. It is easy to get caught up in, and you read and see all kinds of really interesting stuff! If you want to share something with someone, you hit the "share" button, and then enter an email, and that person will be able to see what you found. Andy sends me about 3-4 stumbles a day. And it is in these stumbles that I stumbled upon yet another way that he expresses his love for me. He sent me the following picture:
My favorite flowers are roses. He sends me virtual roses all the time! I save them in my pictures and use them as desktop backgrounds. Everyday I can see the flowers he has sent me. Some may say that's the easy way out from the real thing, but I love these pictures!
And on Valentine's Day, this virtual card was waiting in my inbox:
I love how this particular picture and phrase interested him enough to send it to me!
He also stumbles upon a lot of inspirational sites with great stories. When I read these stories and then look for the deeper meaning from Andy, it is never hard to find. Read this story and I bet you'll find the story hidden with the story too:
Don't Hope Friend....Decide
By Michael D. Hargrove
While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life changing experiences that you hear other people talk about, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly.
This one occurred a mere two feet away from me. Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.
First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, "Me, too, Dad!"
Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son's face in his hands said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.
While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.
After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I've saved the best for last," and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed, "I love you so much!" They stared at each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be.
I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married?"
"Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those," he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face.
"Well, then, how long have you been away?" I asked.
The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile.
"Two whole days!"
Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he'd been gone for at least several weeks, if not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!"
The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "Don't hope, friend...decide!"
Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!" With that, he and his family turned and strode away together. I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, "What'cha looking at?"
Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!"
Did you like it?! When I read it and just stopped at the story, I thought, "yeah, that was nice". But as I was about to delete it from my inbox, I stopped and thought about why he sent it to me. He knows that I absolutely love it when he takes more than just a second to look into my eyes. He knows that I love it when he gives the kids attention but then turns to me like I'm really what he's been waiting for. He knows I love that kind of tenderness. And so that story made him think about me. When I have those days when I feel like he just doesn't pay attention to me or really hear me, I try and remind myself of the way HE shows me he does, not the ways I WISH he did. I am not wrong, he is not wrong, we are both just DIFFERENT. And that's good!
Today Andy went to Portland to meet with a friend of his brother's that wants some misc. carpentry work done on his home. I was soo glad to see him leave...but not because I was sick of him being home since being unemployed! haha! No, not at all. You know how it is when your man is not busy doing something? He helps me out here at home A LOT, but does things differently than me, and I have this horrible way of getting a little grouchy about that. Yep, I admit it. I get grouchy. :) I also hate watching him day by day, not have something to do. A man needs something to do. He goes places in his head that I don't like when he's out of work and has "nothing" to do. We have been here too many times before and I know it doesn't take much for self-esteem and self-worth to plummet. So today, I was very happy to watch him get up, and get ready to go do "man-stuff". But before he left, he did these things while I slumbered in bed for just a minute more: got up with Little Man and got him his much-
needed wanted milk sippy cup; let the dog out, started up the coffee and got the wood stove up and running to warm up the house; when his shower was done and the coffee was ready, he made his to-go cup and my stay-home cup. He made sure I was all set for the day before leaving. I have been sitting here on the computer ever since he left. :) It is in the little things that he shows and expresses his love for me.
And then there are the times he shows me how much he loves me when he's not even in my sight. The other day when I went to work at the small christian school my kids attend, I slipped and fell in the driveway. I was fine, just a bruised up knee. But I was really worried about my back. It has been one year since my surgery, and a simple fall could really mess me up. So I tried to fall "rag-doll" style, all relaxed. It worked, because my back is fine. After work, I came home and told Andy about it. Within the hour, he was putting on his boots and told me he would be back soon. After almost 2 hours, he returned, looking like he had been doing some manual labor. I asked him where he had been and what had he been doing? He had gone to the town gravel garage, filled his truckbed with sand, and then spent the rest of that time over at the school, throwing sand with a shovel on the whole driveway! It is a huge driveway, and he did the whole thing. The school relies a lot on parent and family volunteers, and our friend/principal was very thankful! Andy had "recruited" Mr. Smarty Pants and another 11th grader to come help. That act of kindness was just like Andy to do. He is so thoughtful and generous all of the time. When he told me about it, he said, "now my baby won't slip and fall when she goes to work anymore." For me! All for me.
So today I am thankful. Thankful for a man that doesn't always know how to tell me with words, how much he loves me. That would get boring after a while!! It has been said that when we feel down, feel lost, afraid, and sad, that we should then Serve Others. Helping others when we are feeling so bad, can only help you feel better! Andy does this everyday for me, and doesn't even realize it. Thank you LORD, for the man of my dreams.