Monday, December 12, 2011

Dear Bryan

Dear Bryan,

I have been putting off this post all day because I still as I write am not sure exactly what to say.  I feel like I need some grand gesture to send off my project and labor of love for you for the last year.  As I reflect back on what I learned, I know this: my love for you has not changed except to grow exponentially with each passing day.  I don't know that I have managed to make sweeping changes in myself as a wife, though I know that I am no super-wife.  I believe that I have become more considerate and more aware of you and your needs and have learned to put us before me as part of my natural way of thinking.  I hope that I am providing a good example of what a wife should be for our daughter and that I am giving our sons ideas of the good things that they can expect from a marriage themselves one day without setting them up for expectations that their wives would hate me for :)  If nothing else, we can say that by the end of 2011, our regular side dish for steak has become mashed potatoes instead of boxed mac and cheese.  Knowing my lifelong aversion to potatoes, that should count for something right??

In all seriousness, my project may have ended today, but my ongoing desire to continue to improve my abilities as a wife has not.  I strive and pray to notice you more, to be attentive to your needs and desires, and to make us more important than me.  I am also striving to strengthen my personal relationship with my Savior, knowing that He must always be first in my life but that he gave you to me to be my second.  In 2012, I hope to continue to grow together as a couple, and it is my prayer that our growth will be in Him as much as in each other, for in that, our greatest strength must surely lay.

I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that you are the thing I am most grateful for on this earth, and my prayer each night is that we will one day celebrate our 50th anniversary together with all of our children by our side.  It is my fondest wish in this world, and I intended to enjoy each day with you that we are granted together, hopefully to that amazing landmark milestone and beyond.

Even after a year, I still cannot express to you how much I love you, but I promise to never quit trying.

You are my best friend, soul mate, and I love you so much.

I am ever yours,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

Dearest Barney,

It is the holiday season again, and it has been so fun so far this year.  The children have loved Christmas this year, from putting up Christmas decorations to counting down on the advent calendar, the anticipation and joy in their faces has been so wonderful.

Christmas is always one of my favorite times of year with you, as I love the giving and receiving of presents from you, with each present designed to show our love and make the other one happy.  My "big" present to you this year is a wheelbarrow, with one each for both of our oldest children as well.  I love seeing you outside working in the yard with the children in tow.  It makes our new house feel like home in a way that our first house never quite did, even though it was very much our home.  There just feels like more of a sense of homeownership with this house.

I have several other odds and ends for you as well, but the other "big" gift that I have for you this year is a book of all of my writings and letters to you over the past year.  I will do one more post after this one, and then I will be hitting my one year mark, which will signal the close of this project, though certainly not the close of my determination to more carefully focus on you as a daily goal for the rest of my life.

I love you far more than I have ever adequately expressed in this project.

I am always, yours,


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Little Sickie

Dear Barney,

I have been sad to see you suffering from the seasonal stuff that hits us all from time to time, especially during the winter season.  I hate it when you are not at 100%, though I hope that I do a good job of taking care of you, just as you do for me whenever I am the one who is ill (which is definitely the more common dynamic as your immune system seems to withhold the common bugs better than mine does).

I wish you warm soup, a comfy bed, and blessed silence in which to recover.  I wish you lots of sleep, a full recovery, and a strong constitution.  I wish you hot chocolate, snuggles with me, and hugs from your children.  In short, I wish you whatever would make you feel better this week.

Rather than writing a long letter, I am just going to go and try to make as many of those possibilities come true as I can.

you are my most beloved, and I am, always, yours.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Family Ties

Dear Barney,

This concept was formed at your family's house, and we find ourselves there once again.  I believe that there has been a great change in my relationship with your family over the past year.  Whereas at the beginning of the year, I felt like an outsider, by this visit, I feel as much a part of the family as you are.  I have not only this project but the games that we played with your family to thank for this transformation.  While the games were really fun when we first started last year, they grew quickly and overly competitive causing many sour feelings rather than the positive relationship bonding that originally occurred.  So, as you know, on this trip, we decided not to bring any games with us, and then, for the first time since I have been part of the family, we have also failed to play any other games the entire week we have been here.  I was nervous about this coming here, finding in the games my best connections with your other family members.

However, my fears were unwarranted.  I found places to belong, not just by your side, but with your mom and sisters, the guys, and with the children.  I have found a niche that is uniquely mine and feel that I am accepted by all and am viewed as adding value to the family in the same way that any of the other in-laws are.  While that may seem like a childish thing to say to you, for most of our marriage that has not been the case, and I am so glad that it finally is.

It makes me feel more connected to you, and it makes me happy for our children who will (hopefully!) never have to sense any kind of divid or rift between us and our extended family.

I love you so much and am always devotedly yours,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm Thankful for . . . Well, All of It

Dear Barney,

We are closely nearing the time for Thanksgiving, and I am reflecting on all that I have to be thankful for.  When this year first began, I had no concept of how difficult of a year it would be for me.  It has been my most amazing, challenging, and life-altering year of my life, no question.  It has made me think more and grow more spiritually, and it has seen more self-reflection than probably a good ten other years of my life combined.

I recently read a short story where the protagonist said, "Somehow, usually by accident, you experience joy.  And the problem with joy is that it binds you to life; it makes you greedy for more happiness.  You experience avarice.  You hope life will go on forever."  This year has brought not just joy but a total awareness of the avarice of wanting my life to continue forever and a total dread of the knowledge that there is not a chance that will happen.

I have been spending the last quarter of this year coming to terms with that fact and working to transmute the joy I feel for my earthly blessings (specifically, you and the children) into a better and stronger relationship with our Lord, who is the giver of these blessings but who has too often been overshadowed in my heart by the very blessings that He bestowed upon me.

The road has been rocky, but I am so grateful for the trials of the heart that I have gone through because I truly believe that God is using them to reveal to me his true plan for my life and to build a better relationship with me.  And that can only mean that I will also be a better wife and mother as it will put me more securely on the path which He intends me to take.

I love you more today than I did yesterday, but I hope that I also love you more wisely today as well.

Always yours,

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Always Your Cheerleader

Dear Barney,
First, I am sorry that it has been so long that I have written.  The anxiety that I wrote about in my last letter continues to impede on my nights, taking up too much room and pushing out the room where the more important things, like writing you, should be in my life.  I know that you don't understand the type of anxiety that I fight, but I really do promise that I am fighting against it every day and seem to be making at least some small progress.  I don't want to look back on the life that I am given and see that I wasted the precious time that I have with you worrying about what life without you would be like.  That is no way to treat such a precious gift.
The anxiety really settles in mostly in the evenings, and during the days, I am seeing the amazing work that you are doing for your company.  I cannot believe that you have single-handedly written your own dictionary with over 500 financial terms.  And, when you told me that you were going to create a series of videos, I was quite mystified at the idea.  But here you are several hundred slides and nine presentations later.  Your dedication to the task at hand as been unreal, and it is something that you should be so proud of.
I might not understand the content of what you are working on, but I clearly understand the quality of the work that you are producing, and I have no doubt that once unveiled, your expanded version of your company is going to be a huge success.  I am so excited to see the finished product.  While I love my job, I have never done anything that equals the scope of the project you have undertaken all of your own volition.  You are amazing, and I love you so much.