Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

Sunday, February 13, 2011

So, last night and this morning went even better than I could have predicted, and we haven’t even gotten to our actual Valentine’s Day celebration yet!  

I told Ceecee after dinner that I had gotten the ebook about relaxation massages and that I wanted to give her one.  I did everything just like it said.  I warmed up towels, warmed up the massage oil, lit candles, and put on a cd of relaxation music.  I told her to just lie down and I would take care of everything.

Later, after she went to sleep, I spread the confetti all over the loft and placed the piece of paper with the “Official Notice” on the floor as though it had been slid under the door from the outside.  I knew she would find it in the morning and she did.  The idea was that she would get up, find the confetti everywhere and feel happy.  Then, she would pick up the notice and get scared that it was something bad, but quickly realize what it REALLY  was.  

That was exactly how it happened, and she loved it, but she playfully gave me a hard time for scaring her.  It really did look like a court paper at first glance.  

Later this afternoon, we are walking over to the theater to see Beauty and the Beast, and then I’m cooking at home tonight.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It’s been extremely slow at Macy’s.  Part of it is the weather.  Part of it is the time of year.  Part of it is that I work the evening shift and most of the furniture sales happen during the day shift.

That’s ok.  I’ve been using the time to get ready for Valentine’s Day.  

While it’s slow, I’ve been searching websites for creative Valentine’s Day ideas and I’ve found some great stuff.  I don’t want to do the usual card, flowers and go out to dinner this year.  I want to do something in keeping with the changes in our lives and our marriage.

I want to show my love to my wife in a deeply personal way, that touches her soul.  I don’t want to just do the obligatory, “It’s Valentine’s Day, so I have to try to impress her with what I buy,” I want to give her a gift of myself.  I want to make a memory this year.

One site I found is www.theromantic.com.  This is Michael Webb’s website, and I found him through Mort Fertel.  He has all kinds of great romantic ideas, not only for Valentine’s Day, but for any day of the year.  He also has a number of ebooks for sale, and I bought and downloaded some.  

One of them tells specifically how to give a full body relaxation massage.  One of them is a collection of romantic coupons that can be “redeemed” throughout the upcoming year.  I sweet talked a lady in the jewelry department of of one of the little metal watch boxes that say, “you and me” with hearts on the sides of them.  You’re supposed to get one when you buy a certain kind of watch, but I got one to put the coupons in.  

I printed them off on some red, pink, and white sheets of paper and cut them out.  I took the leftover parts of the paper and made some confetti out of it.  The best part, though, is the idea I found of serving her with an “official notice.”  

On a heavier stock piece of paper, I typed “Official Notice” in large, bold print at the top.  I then tried to make it look like a legal summons by stating, “in the matter of the marriage of…” and starting each paragraph with “whereas.”  Each of those paragraphs was actually a declaration of one of the many reasons why I love her.  

Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year, so we’re going to mainly celebrate it on Sunday, instead.  We don’t like to fight the crowded restaurants and we love to cook, and Ceecee has asked me to make her a seafood dinner this year.  We are also going to a theater production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” on sunday afternoon at our local University.  It’s my wife’s favorite Disney movie, so the timing is perfect!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

 

Another of God’s little blessings as we woke up to a totally unexpected white Christmas this morning in Clarksville.  It was the perfect kind, with a very gently falling snow and just enough to look pretty without being enough to cause any disruption.  We’re just hanging out here with Ceecee’s family for a few days, eating good food and enjoying the hospitality.

Taylor called this morning.  He got to talk to us and to many of the relatives who are here.  A lot of them are former military, so they were able to encourage him and give him advice.  He seems to be doing so much better and is looking forward to his graduation.  He told us some things he wants us to bring.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The drive to Tennessee today was fun and uneventful.  We had a small Christmas this morning with just the two of us before we got on the road.  We opened our stockings (yes, Santa still fills them even with no kids in the house) and exchanged a few gifts.  Even that was part of the restoration tour as we exchanged cycling jerseys we had bought for each other.  The meaning in that gesture was something that only we would understand and it also kept us pointed toward next August’s Tour De Cox, the day we will also renew our vows as the culminating moment of the restoration tour.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yesterday I made Irish stew for the first time and it was much better than I even imagined.  We just found a recipe and decided to give it a try.  It’s definitely a keeper!

The 12 days have been a real blessing this year.  Sometimes in the past, they have been stressful.  Money has been tight, or it’s been difficult to find things.  This year, I’ve really been able to sense God in all of it.  It’s been fun and so easy to find just the right gifts.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yesterday, we did a small holiday meal with Angie and Ian and my parents, along with a small gift exchange. Most people spend the holidays with their families, and Ceecee and I have kind of made it a tradition to get away and spend them by ourselves. This year, we are radically departing from that.

We did the meal with our local relatives yesterday, and we will be going to Tennessee to spend Christmas with much of Ceecee’s family there. We’ll come back and then head to Kansas to spend a few days after with Ceecee’s Mom and Step-dad and two of our daughters. Taylor is still at basic, but we did get a call from him the other night and he sounded much better. We set it up for him to call while we’re in Tennessee for Christmas, so he can talk to a lot of the family.

Ceecee received a gift from the daughter she put up for adoption and who has recently come into our lives. It was a picture frame with a baby picture in it and it meant a great deal to her. It will really be something to meet in person, which I’m sure will happen before too long.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I was thinking that I would quit Macy’s as of the end of the year. Second jobs are a problem at tax time, so if I was done by New Year’s, at least we would only be impacted for one tax year. Between Dillard’s and Macy’s this year, I think we’re going to end up taking a bath on our income tax.

Anyway, notice I said I was thinking of it. As in past tense. Now, it looks like I’ll be on at least into the early part of next year. Not a big deal, but it allows us not to worry about all the travel we’ll be doing over the next few weeks and will help with the extra expenses of Christmas.

The 12 Days have been fun so far. No huge gifts, although the second day was kind of a big deal. I bought two tickets to the musical, “Chicago.” Ceecee had such a good time going to Cats that I decided I want to take her to the theater more in the future. Each year, our local little theater does a Christmas play and this year it was “Miracle On 34th Street.”

Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned my lesson yet, and I waited too long to buy tickets. By the time I went to the box office, there were no longer any shows left with two seats together. Since we weren’t going to go and not sit together, we missed it. Thus, the Chicago tickets for the second day of Christmas. See, the play isn’t until April, so it’s kind of lame that she gets them now and they literally sit somewhere for four months. On the other hand, it shows that I won’t let them slip away and that I know how much this means to her to be able to go.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Last night was date night. After dinner, we walked to the new downtown movie theater. It’s a bit more expensive than the other theaters in town, but the convenience of the location makes it worth it.

We started our 12 days of Christmas tradition 2 days early this year. Last year, we didn’t celebrate the 12 days. I suppose we didn’t really celebrate at all, since neither of us were sure we were going to continue on with our marriage.

Anyway, we usually start on the 13th of December because that day gives us exactly 12 days prior to Christmas for me to give gifts. I give her one thing on the first day, then 2 of something the next day, then three and so on. I’m not really sure how or when we started this, but it’s been a part of our marriage for many years.

Last year, Ceecee said I didn’t have to do the 12 days if I didn’t want to. I didn’t. I regret that now, but I can’t go back and undo the past. All I can do is love her the best way I know how from this day forward.

The gifts don’t need to be big or expensive. She doesn’t care about that. Her love language is receiving gifts and to her, getting a gift means that I am thinking of her and doing something tangible to show that she is loved. Today it was a hat from Aeropostale. Sometimes it’s candy. Sometimes it is something expensive, like jewelry. It really all depends on the budget we have and the things I find.

Oh yeah, back to the original point. We started early this year because we’re having Christmas on the 23rd this year due to travel plans. Instead of having to try to take the 11th and 12th day gifts along in the car and give them to her somewhere else, I just moved it up 2 days so that we will finish on schedule as though the 23rd is Christmas Day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

For some time now, I’ve been lusting after the new Bianchi road bikes at one of the bike shops in town. Today, I finally got one. My wife has a Masi, so we both have Italian bikes now, but I’ve just always had a thing for Bianchi.

We’re having a very small thanksgiving meal with some family this weekend, because we’ll be taking the Restoration Tour to Chicago on Wednesday and be spending the actual holiday there. We also are taking part in an outreach our church does where they give you a list and you go to the store with a plastic bag and you buy all the ingredients for a traditional holiday meal except the turkey.

Everyone brings their bags to the church and another local charity provides the turkeys. Needy families are identified through the public schools and they are sent an invitation to receive an entire meal for their family.

Ceecee and I don’t usually shop at Wal-Mart because we find it very aggravating. We finally decided that instead of complaining about it, we’d just quit going and shop elsewhere. Today, we shopped at Wal-Mart for our bag from church, mainly because we could get everything in one place and they want everyone to get pretty much the same stuff, so no one feels slighted.

The store was really crowded as usual and there was little or no service from employees, as usual, but it didn’t bother me. In the past, I would become upset and very negative and my wife would often get the brunt of it, even though I never meant for that to happen. Today, I have a new peace inside and I realized that it just didn’t matter. It was pretty nice to go through the whole Wal-Mart experience and be able to keep smiling.

It’s little things like that, as well as the big things that continue to show that I’ve really changed. Not just on the outside, but on the inside, where the changes are real and permanent. Anyone can temporarily change their behavior, but that’s only an outward change. Willpower can only take you so far. Only God can truly change a heart and I’m so thankful that He has and that I let Him.

I always have to laugh at the irony that Ceecee and I often spend “Black Friday” on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. The so-called Magnificent Mile is probably the country’s third most famous shopping street, after New York’s 5th Avenue and Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive. The irony is that we have almost no interest in black Friday, and certainly none in giving up our sleep to go after “door busters” and other such sales.

The reality is, we are there to spend a holiday with each other in our favorite city, not to shop. We go for romance, food, sightseeing, and making special memories, not to stand in line in the wee hours in hopes of purchasing things that we don’t really even want. It just strikes us as funny that we usually stay in a hotel that’s either on Michigan Avenue, or within a block or two, not because it’s Michigan Avenue, but because it’s central to so many of the things we enjoy in Chicago.

While others are preparing to go to great lengths to spend lots of time and money competing to buy material possessions, we are preparing to sleep late, eat a leisurely breakfast, and then go sightseeing, stopping in at a few stores if we so desire, but with no real plan for the day. We have nothing against people trying to get a good deal, or getting a jump on their Christmas shopping. We just have an entirely different agenda, and the fact that we are often right in the very heart of some of the most intense shopping you’ll find seems almost comical.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. I especially hope you spent time with who you love and were thankful for what you have. Whether you bought anything today or not, I hope you have much to be thankful for. Those black Friday purchases likely won’t last or bring fulfillment, but your relationships certainly may.