Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sixth Anniversary

Our sixth wedding anniversary is this Sunday, so I want to take a few minutes to write a tribute to my husband.

Five Reasons Why I Love Marcus (in no particular order)

(1) He is a Renassiance Man. He is talented and knowledgeable about such a wide variety of things. First there is sports: I have never, ever seen him perform badly in any sport. I know I am slightly biased, but in the many games I have watched him play, he is usually the best or one of the best in the game. (He always claims that he can't play basketball, but I've never seen him so I can't comment one way or the other.) Second, he is so knowledgeable about music. I especially appreciate this because I knew very little about any genre of music except Contemporary Christian before I met Marcus. He introduced me to a fascinating world of recorded song: classical, rock, oldies, pop. When a song comes on the radio, he can often name the title and artist within the first few notes. He taught himself to play guitar and I really enjoy listening to him play. On top of music & athletics, Marcus can figure out how to do just about anything around the house. In the past few years, he has successfully: installed a new dishwasher, replaced a thermostat, tiled a living & dining room, installed pet doors, built several fences, replaced a door (complete with door knob and lock), repaired a broken heater, painted our whole house, replaced rotted-out siding, built a wood kennel for the dogs, installed a a garbage disposal and done hours and hours of tilling, planting, watering & fertilizing in an effort to cultivate a new lawn from nothing. None of these things are amazing in and of themselves, but it is amazing to me that someone who is so "booksmart", also has the hands-on talent to do all of this. (Also impressive that he has had the time and motivation to get these things done in the midst of medical school and residency.)

(2) He gets excited about God. Dozens of things excite me: Pottery Barn Kids, a new shirt, our beautiful kitchen, a new project, a new recipe, a pedicure, and on and on the list goes. Marcus, can take or leave all the little stuff. He often says that Ecclesiastes is his favorite book of the Bible because he deeply connects with the truth that EVERYTHING in life is meaningless except as it relates to family & God. Nothing gets him pumped up like a great worship service with other believers who are passionate and excited about the Lord. He also gets very animated when he is dreaming/planning some new venture for the Kingdom (planning a series of Bible classes he is going to teach, sketching out the structure for an organization to aid evangelism, etc.) I'm very grateful that the spiritual leader of our family is a man who's treasures are stored up in heaven.

(3) He is a superb father. Superb is the perfect adjective for this. He is a better father than I ever imagined my children would have (and I have a pretty vivid imaginination...I had pretty much every aspect of my life thought through and planned by age 12). Marcus loves our boys more than anything, but I would expect that out of any good father. Beyond that, he is just plain great with them. He makes a conscious effort to give each of them loving attention immediately when he comes home from work. From the moment he walks in the door, he is talking to Caleb, asking about his day, and making funny faces at Ethan to make him laugh. He is a natural teacher, and is constantly telling Caleb how things work and showing him how to use various tools and complete various tasks. He always asks for a play-by-play of what the three of us did each day, and is very interested in every funny little story and every new accomplishment. He is also, and probably most importantly, very committed to requiring good behavior. Before he leaves for work in the morning, he and Caleb have a little talk about how important it is for Caleb to be obedient and helpful to Mama throughout the day, and how proud it makes Daddy to get a good report when he comes home. Marcus rarely lets bad behavior get by when he is around, and is completely supportive and involved in every aspect of how we are teaching Caleb to make good choices. Every night, he puts Caleb to bed on his own...they read books for thirty minutes or more and then often rock for another fifteen or twenty minutes. Lately, he often takes Ethan and rocks him down after Caleb is asleep so that I can get dinner cleaned up and housework done. He does his very best to use all of the time he has with the boys to bless them with his love and attention.

(4) He complements me. (He compliments me, too, but I'm talking about complements with an "e".) Part of my personality is that I consider relaxation and having fun something that only happens when everything else is done. Unfortunately, when you have small children, "everything" almost never gets done. That's where Marcus comes in. He thinks anytime is a good time to relax and have fun, regardless of what the house looks like or what commitments we have that evening. Marcus' easy-going pace, as much as it aggravates me sometimes, is actually the one thing that forces me to slow down. When I am stressed, he has the ability to take a couple of things off my plate and help me realize that I actually can get everything else done in the time allotted. When I get discouraged, he rubs my back and reminds me that I am loved and that whatever is discouraging me won't feel so intense in the near future. I am Wind: constantly in motion and sometimes unpredictable; he is Water: calm, consistent and only mildly effected by the changes in the wind.

(5) He dreams big and doesn't fear failure. I've seen this in so many ways and it stands out to me because I am the opposite. I am afraid of failure, and throughout my life I have backed down on certain ventures because the probability that I would not succeed seemed too great. Marcus is not daunted by statistics. In medicial school, he felt God's leading toward the specialty of radiation oncology. Radiation oncology is an extremely competitive specialty, and the majority of medical students who try to match in this field do not succeed. When he first shared his desire to pursue this specialty, many people close to him expressed concern about the level of competition and the specifics of the field and suggested alternative paths. Marcus was not to be detered, though. I am so proud of him for that. Because of his tenacity, he is now in a medical field that allows (and will continue to allow) him to prioritize his family over his job. And on top of that, he enjoys his work and is extremely good at it. I know now what I didn't realize then...that he would have been miserable in primary care because of the faster pace and longer hours. I thank the Lord that he had the courage and faith to do what he believed was right. There are other things that Marcus dreams of, some that seem difficult and even unreachable to me, but this experience has taught me that fear of failure is a foolish reason to resist pursuing a dream. I look forward to the coming years and the dreams that we will see come to fruition together.

I have learned so many things from my dear husband. Here are a few that come to mind:

(1) You actually can go on vacation and have fun without cleaning the house from top to bottom first.
(2) Home improvement projects must be done slowly and with attention to detail, even if that means that they take five times longer than expected.
(3) Attitude is everything (sorry for the cliche, but Marcus is so good at reminding us that its time to "reset")
(4) Music and dancing set the heart free.
(5) No matter how bad the house looks, it can be made presentable in under 30 minutes if that's all the time we have before our guests arrive.
(6) Sincere appreciation is a far better change-motivator than suggestion.

Thank you for all that you have taught me and all that you are!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The past few weeks, I've been acutely aware of how blessed I am to have my two boys. When I think back to the years of infertility and all of the uncertainty that haunted me during that time, I am awed by how God has blessed me. Even though many things about having two young children are challenging, frustrating and exhausting, I am somehow staying above that mentally and remaining much more aware of how incredibly precious the boys are. Most days, I feel at peace and content for the majority of the day. That is something that I could not have said very often in my adult life. Even when Caleb was an infant, I was often ridden with anxiety about doing everything "right", and that robbed me of fully enjoying him. Now, as I'm sure all first-time mothers do, I've learned that there is no ordained formula that is "right", and everything about parenting is trial and error, so I'm a lot more relaxed this second time around. I was also very burdened by the barrage of advice when Caleb was a baby, and now it just slips right off me because I have a lot more confidence in my mothering skills. In many ways, it is more fun to care for two than for one. (The exception to this is when they both really need me or really want to be held and I have to choose.) But other than that, Caleb enjoys Ethan so much, and Ethan loves watching Caleb. I enjoy watching their relationship blossom and encouraging the love they will have for each other. Don't get me wrong, there are certainly times when I think I can not take another minute, but I am just awed by the many hours that go by where the three of us are in harmony and thoroughly enjoying being together. God has truly blessed our family in so many ways this year. We are thoroughly enjoying Marcus's much more relaxed schedule and have already gotten used to doing things as a family every weekend. We often joke about this being our first taste of "normal" life in the six years we've been married (work M-F from 8-5), and we are LOVING it!