Saturday, April 25, 2009

Visit to Hocking Hills State Park

It is finally warming up here in Ohio. Last Saturday the temperature rose to a balmy
70 F. Miriam and I were up for a Saturday adventure, so we decided to visit Hocking Hills State Park, about 1.5 hours south of us. Ohio is a state where the Great Plains meets with the foothills of the Appalachians. By the time you drive you drive 1.5 hours south of here, there are more hills everywhere.

We would love visitors. Should you come, we would like to take you to see a few nice areas around here. Here are some pictures of the park. There are some nice waterfalls and caves. One tiny little stream suddenly makes a dive for what seems to be 200ft.
The waterfalls tend to dry up as summer comes, so now is a great time to visit.

This is the first waterfall that we saw
Another small 2-stage waterfall.
Old Man's Cave. For those of you who know my old man charactor, yes this is the true name of the place.
Another picture. The cave overhang is really large. The scale of people to objects gives you an idea of the enormous size of the cave and overhang.
Looking back at the small stream near the cave and the walking bridge to cross the stream.
Another picture that gives you a view from the bottom at the stream to the top of the cave. You can walk to the very edge on top. But be careful.
Miriam loves to climb rocks at the park. Hey Lydia, we know were to take you when you visit

Another beautiful waterfall. People enjoy playing in the water in the shallow stream area fed by the waterfall. Waterfall, zoomed in picture.
A lot of people came from different places to enjoy the weather.
Ash Cave, look down into it. Look at the small people below. You can see the waterfall. It is a little stream that runs over the cliff.

Having gone down all of the steps to get to bottom, here is what the view upwards looks like.
There is Miriam, at the bottom. Feeling the temperature of the water. We went to Dairy Queen afterwards. Miriam got a chocolate blizzard and I got a Starkiss. I love those.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Things I Love about my Husband!

I hope you enjoyed reading John's post describing what a wife looks like. He made many good points in his kind post. I would like to touch upon some of the things he brought up and close with a list of things I love about my husband.

Having a husband like John is something that I do wish for all my unmarried friends and sisters. John is much more than another handsome guy (though he is that!). He more than fit the basic requirements for a potential husband: a growing Christian, one who enjoys people and children, a hard worker, and one who can lead me.

He also has a depth of care for me that touches me deep inside. At times I feel so unworthy of his love and don't know how I can possibly love him enough in return.

I think John was right in his post about how a wife perceives herself. Her husband does indeed have a huge impact on her perception. I have been blessed with a husband who not only understands this, but who is quick to compliment me. He lets me know that he likes how I look and more importantly how he perceives my heart. His acceptance and delight in who I am definitely has a positive impact on how I see myself.

I don't feel that I am as good at communicating the depth of my love to John. I have trouble putting my love into words without tearing up and crying. I don't like emotions and have worked all my life to keep my emotions in check. So if I start to cry, I am apt to discount my emotions or tell John that he's going to have to ignore me for a bit so I can get over it. He is so understanding and holds me and tells me that he loves me and is glad that I'm his wife. Before we married, he read that wives will cry sometimes and so is simply accepting of my weaknesses. He will laugh along with me and even tears up himself if I cry.

I hope that as time continues to pass in our marriage that I will get better at expressing my love to John in words. That's not my natural "love language" to use in showing someone how I care for them. I think I tend more to like to be with someone or do something for someone. For example - I like to make lunches, ensure dinner is on the table, wash the clothes or do other chores for John because of my love for him. But I want to learn to express love the way that John hears it best (one of which I think might be in words of affirmation).

I have so enjoyed sharing my life with my husband John. We spend many hours of our days separately at work, but enjoy spending our evenings and weekends together eating dinner, enjoying the outside, working on taxes, having guests for dinner, going to church, spending time with friends, traveling somewhere to visit friends or families, or just spending time with each other. John is very easy-going and willing to drop his plans to enjoy the outside or go somewhere with me. As I have a tendency to get very focused on whatever task I have decided must be done, his fun-loving side helps me to find my own!

This post is somewhat rambling, but I will finish with my own list which contain just a few of the many things I love about my husband!

In John I see one who:
1) Loves Christ
2) Is growing in Christ
3) Is dedicated to a church that believes the Bible
4) Loves children
5) Has a good sense of humor
6) Is responsible
7) Treasures me
8) Can lead me
9) Enjoys some of the things I enjoy and is more than happy for me to pursue things that he might not even totally enjoy (like riding roller coasters)
10) Has goals in life that I want to spend my life supporting
11) I can laugh with
12) Likes to talk (especially good for me since sometimes I a bit too quiet)
13) Takes good pictures (great for scrapbooking or as memories)
14) Can be serious about important matters
15) Works hard
16) Loves his family
17) Enjoys helping people
18) Likes to be around friends
19) Is willing to save and be fiscally responsible
20) Loves me!

I am so very thankful for my wonderful husband!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What does a wife look like?

April fools day has recently past, and I wanted to do something that surprised my wife in a nice way. Since my wife is here most of the time when I am, it is not so easy to write a blog on your own wife's website without getting noticed. She was at a Tupperware party when I started this article.

Before I get started with the contents of this article, I would like to suggest a new name for April Fools Day. May I suggest "April Surprise Day." Most of what happens in honor of April fools day amount to surprises anyway. I think that surprises of a nice nature are better than a surprise of a mean nature that could offend and hurt someone.

As Miriam knows, I love to surprise!

Okay, now on to the real topic. What does a wife look like? Okay, some of you at this point are saying, "why is this the topic of discussion?" How about the topic, "how does a husband look?" Well, I can try to give you a picture of how I look. Here is one.
So how do you like it? :-) I think I really look nice in this picture. I am smiling nicely. I actually think I look handsome!!!! (I have been told that a lot more lately :-) I am a good person. But if I would stop here and look at you with the expectation that you should agree with my self assessment of myself and agree that my self assessment is perfectly without bias, I think you would look at me with a funny expression on your face. I think if you kept looking at me, you would start to think that I looked like a hot-air balloon at 2000 ft in the air. The point is that self assessment is not always accurate. This fact becomes even more true when you get married. Your faults will get noticed. An if one expects that in marriage that your weaknesses should never ever be pointed out, I think marriage will be disappointing for the one with that expectation.
So, due to my inability to give an un-biased opinion of how I look, I am going to discuss "What does a wife look like?".

Well, there are two answers to this question: (1) there is the wife's perception about how she looks, and (2), the husbands perception of how she looks. Since I am the husband, I can only answer part (2). I do think that an honest and thoughtful answer to (2) will give the wife the ability to have a more accurate assessment of question (1). I wonder if it must be difficult for some married women to understand what you look like when you cannot see yourself without a mirror. However, I believe that if the husband is even half-way good at communicating, he will be able to help his wife understand what she looks like.

If giving an honest assessment is the goal, communication is not the starting point. One needs to understand the true condition of human kind. We are all sinners in need of a Saviour. For those of us who have invited Jesus into our lives as Lord, we are counted as "righteous towards God through Christ's atoning work of death at the cross and resurrection in place of our sins." However, we, in of ourselves, are not perfect.

I think that as Christians, we like to get to the point where we dub ourselves as spiritually mature. We've made it. We are now perfect. I never do anything wrong and never will need to confess any sin to God or anyone ever again. This type of attitude will render one to be completely incapable of giving an accurate assessment of how his wife (or her husband) really looks. I can tell you that what has made our marriage already stronger are those moments after we have done wrong against
each other when we repent of those wrongs to our spouse and ask forgiveness.

I have heard a lot of people say, "you will never totally understand your husband", or "you will never totally understand your wife." This is true, yes. But, I think this is not necessarily a helpful thing to say, because it encourages people to think negatively, "you will never understand your husband", or "you will never understand your wife." Never, you say?

I don't think that is true. There is truly much that can be understand about your wife. There is truly much that can be understand about your husband. If one acknowledges the true condition of the human heart, it will allow you to understand much about your husband, and your wife.

So what does understanding your wife have to do with conveying to her how she looks? Everything. I have always believed that a persons physical looks are due to two things: (1) a persons outward, physical looks, and (2) the inner person inside. I truly believe that (2) has a lot of influence over (1). I have always believed that "overall looks" is heavily influenced by who a person is inside.

My family liked to go to the mall every so often when I was a younger. I remember that me and my brother would sit down on a bench in the mall when we ran out of things to do and others were not finished shopping. My brother and I used to look at the girls going by. We would observe different girls going by and rate their looks on a scale of 1 to 10.

I truly felt that girls who appeared to be kind hearted truly looked physically better than those who looked mean spirited. You girls reading this article are probably starting to feel that you are being picked on. I will try to make up by saying this is also true for men too. When I first noticed one of my now best of friends, I spotted him in my refrigeration class at University of Illinois. I suspected he was a Christian, and later on, got to introduce myself at a extra-curricular Christian college group.

A true understanding of who you are in the Lord, coupled with a Christlike love for people around you, will cause people to notice your looks. "Let your light so shine..", as Jesus said. The end of that verse concludes, "so that they may give glory to God in heaven." If people see that type of light in you, they are going trust you more when you tell a person how they look. I need to have That Light, so that I can truly help my wife understand more fully who she is, in Christ.

So John, you ask, how have you been enabled to see how your new wife Miriam looks? Well, when I first saw her pictures, I felt that she was a fun loving person with a very genuine personality. I soon learned that whenever I wrote a letter to her, she would always write back. I felt that she was a good looking girl when I first visited her in Alabama. After that first visit, I drove back to Illinois with a particular word in my mind that I thought is well descriptive of Miriam. "Dedicated." I enjoyed discovering how important her family and church friends were to her, and how she was dedicated in using her time to serve them. At work she also was dedicated to helping her company succeed. My appreciation of her grew to the point where I couldn't imagine anyone else to be my wife. God lead from that point, and now, here we are today.

And now, I get to see what a wife really looks like. There have been many times when I have come home to an empty home. But now I have so much. Miriam is a real girl, and a real wife. All men should aspire to marry a woman like Miriam. And all woman should aspire to be a wife like her as well. That is my truly un-biased opinion. It is fun having a wife like Miriam.

Having a beautiful girl with a good heart as a wife has been a real treat these seven months. I now understand why my Dad took so many pictures of my Mom. During our engagement, I wanted more than ever to have a good camera to take great pictures of Miriam.

As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words. So my camera is a handy tool. Here are some pictures of "what does a wife look like?"
Miriam, at the zoo. She looks most natural with a backpack strapped on.

Miriam, smiling very nicely for the camera while John tries to get her to smile by saying words like "chocolate", or "roller coaster". I think she is really thinking that I am being funny.
Miriam, smiling really nicely as she rolls out rotis at camping. She is sporting her skills at smiling, plus she loves me taking pictures of her, plus we are at camping, which she really likes.Miriam eating something chocolate.

Miriam showing her "dedicated" look. I think that some would try to point out that she is simply looking "focused". But I would say that it is a "dedicated focus."

Miriam, looking cute when fiddling with her sowing machine.If you are looking around for Miriam and can't find her, then maybe try looking up. You just might find her climbing up a tree.

Miriam has a passion for children. Any quality girl will have a passion for children. She just happened to marry someone with an equal passion for children as well. Just ask people in my church.

Miriam shopping and looking for the most ounces per cents. It is a blessing to have a wife who is diligent with money. If you unmarried guys find a girl like this, marry her.