Cookies and Milk

One night after the kids went to bed Mark and I had a little date. We shared some cookies and milk and talked and talked. It was so fun!

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Coca-Cola Date

The air was thick. It was that summer humidity. I didn’t mind it because of the slight breeze. Sitting on a little swing next to Mark in South Korea, we each sipped on an 8o.z. Coca-Cola. After a long day of teaching kids English, it felt good to sit, to talk, to think.   

The smiles and laughter we shared each night will always crackle joy in every corner of my mind. I will always treasure those little dates we had.

As I remembered those times, I couldn’t help but get these little soft drinks at the store. So that we can once again sit on a little swing outside and enjoy the fresh air, Cokes, and summer love.

The Reading Date

The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more you learn, the more places you’ll go – Dr. Seuss

Date Night Idea #7: Read a good book together

Reading stretches both the imagination and mind. Books can excite, inform, and create different worlds and experiences. Stories can take me to faraway lands, or keep me on familiar soil. As black letters are penned onto a white page, we are given secrets of past generations. What a fun way to see what geniuses left for the future generations. What a privilege to gain knowledge through another’s mind.

Some of Mark and I’s favorite memories together have come from reading together. We have gone through books like Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, and Pilgrim’s Progress. We’ve also read some from C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. And we’ve even tried our hand at Sherlock Holmes.

Grab a good book and read aloud to one another. Make your favorite hot drink and snuggle up on the couch. Reading together makes for a great date night.

Want more Date Night Ideas? Find some here.

Date Night 101: Questioning Aslan

“Go forth seeking adventure. Open your eyes, your ears, your mind, your heart, your spirit, and you’ll find adventure everywhere.”- Wilferd A Peterson

I love date night! Every week I can’t wait to spend time with Mark. It is such a great way to reconnect, talk, and simply enjoy being together. I love date night because marriage is worth fighting for. As we open our hearts to one another, we will find ourselves on a grand adventure. I am so thankful that the Lord created marriage because this is another way we can know Him better.

Date Night Idea #6: See A Play Together.

I raised both eyebrows when my dad told me that he was bringing in actors from England to put on a play about C.S. Lewis, because I love plays. I instantly knew this would be a fun date for Mark and I to go on. Mark normally plans our dates, but my husband being the generous, thoughtful man that he is agreed to take me when I suggested it. He knows that I revel in the scripts, the drama, and the acting. I can’t help but love the cheerful abandon of the actors. I love the enthusiasm, and the expressions.

As the night approached for the play my excitement grew. Here is Mark and I at the play.

Nigel Forde, an English playwright, wrote this script especially for my dad’s production. It was so neat.

Here is the fun set. The had a big picture of Aslan and a wardrobe that looked like it was straight off of the movie, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I didn’t get to see my dad very long because he was hosting the play, but I grabbed him just long enough to snap a photo.

Want More Date Night Ideas?

p.s. I’ve been entered into the circle of Mom’s top 25 funny moms for 2012. If you’d like to vote for Pencilled Daydream you can click the icon below. Once on their site, scroll down until you see Owen’s picture, and then click the thumbs up button to vote. You can vote once a day and no registration is required. The contest ends in 11 days.

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Date Night 101: What If It’s Cancelled?

“True Commitment is a real, even an active, virtue- not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it.”– G.K Chesterton

What if circumstances threaten to cancel your date night?  Maybe the kids are sick, or you can’t find a babysitter. Maybe there isn’t enough money in the bank account for a nice dinner. Or maybe you simply can’t get out of the driveway because the weather is bad. What can you do to redeem the time and make the most of your date night?

First realize poor circumstances don’t cancel date night, they simple invite you to be creative in your commitment to date your spouse. Second, understand that no matter what the situation is at home, you can make the most of it. You can still date your spouse even if you have to stay home.

Date Night Idea #5: Enjoy A Date Night At Home.

Right on your very own couch you can make new discoveries about your spouse. The key to a date night at home will be intentionality. Be intentional about sitting and talking after the kids are down for the night. Or be intentional about brewing some coffee and talking as if you were at Starbucks. Maybe you’d rather cuddle up and watch a movie together. Or maybe make a romantic dinner. Why don’t you get out the candles and everything?

The only warning I would caution you with is, don’t allow being in a familiar place distract you or interfere with your date. Act like you are on a real date. Don’t let the bills on the counter come on your date. And don’t let the computer crash your party. Be intentional about being together. Make the most of the time you have.

Ideas for a date at home:

  • Make a candle light dinner for two.
  • Brew some coffee and enjoy talking on the couch.
  • Cuddle up and watch a movie together. Don’t forget the popcorn.
  • Play a game together.
  • Ask each other questions and study your spouse.
  • Get chinese takeout or order a pizza.

Want More Date Night Ideas?

Now It’s Your Turn:

  • What are some of your favorite date night ideas?

Date Night 101: Anniversary Edition

Mark and I have been married for four years today. In four years, I’ve learned a lot about being a wife. I’ve actually attempted to cook a couple of times, and I’m proud to say that we actually ate a few of the meals I’ve made. Thankfully Mark isn’t picky (at all) or I would be in big trouble.

Marriage has not only helped me learn to cook and clean, but it has helped me get to know Mark Baker a lot better.

I’ve learned that Mark is a morning person and I am definitely a night owl. As a result, I should not try to have a heart to heart with him at midnight even though I am wide awake. The poor guy is a great listener and tries so hard to stay awake, but most likely he will end up passed out on his pillow before I’m done talking. Sometimes I know he’s probably slobbering on his pillow, and yet I keep talking. I need to read more verses about being slow to speak.

I’ve learned that Mark is a very diligent and self-disciplined man. He is a great servant leader, and he truly loves the Lord. I’ve learned a lot about Mark and about marriage, and we’ve been able to have so much fun together. Here are some of the highlights from the past four years.

First we got married and then Mark and I went on fun adventures all over the world. A few of our favorite places to visit were Israel, Egypt, Cozumel, and South Korea.

Soon after some of our travels, we both graduated from college.

After graduation, we both got jobs and bought a house. (I almost spelled horse right there, but thankfully we didn’t buy a horse, because I don’t know what we would do with one of those.)

With a house full of rooms, we figured we needed a few children. It is crazy but I have been pregnant three times in our four years of marriage. Elias and Owen are a blast, and we are so thankful for their lives. We still miss our first little baby, but we will rejoice when we get to be together in heaven.

Mark and I have attended the same church our whole marriage which has been an incredible blessing. We’ve been mentored by older and wiser couples, and have been challenged by the word of God. We are so thankful for the body of Christ.

Mark has his first real teaching job. He is doing what he loves by teaching Bible and English. I also have my dream job by getting to stay home and take care of my sweet blessings.

We’ve been able to do a lot together and are so thankful for January 4th 2008. On January 4th, God united us. On that day we committed to stay together until death separates us. In a culture like ours that has such a low, casual, or even a take-it-or-leave-it kind of an attitude about marriage, many believe that marriage is solely about making oneself happy, or feeling in love. This may seem ludicrous to many people, but marriage is not about staying in love, it is about covenant keeping (John Piper, This Momentary Marriage, 102). Marriage is “about portraying something true about Jesus and the way he relates to his people” (26). A man and a woman joined in marriage represent the relationship between Jesus and the church.

I am so thankful Jesus has brought Mark and I together because it has helped me know Him more. It has helped me understand his love for his bride- the church. It has helped me understand that God is a great covenant keeper. My prayer for our marriage it that we would faithfully keep the covenant we made on January 4th.

Because today is Mark and I’s anniversary, I wanted to share a fun date night idea that we do once a year.

Date Night Idea #4: Watch Your Wedding Video/ Remember Your Vows

It is so easy to forget the words that we promised each other on our wedding day, so once a year Mark and I will pull out our wedding video and remember the vows we made. We always end up laughing about all the crazy things that happened at the wedding, and how nervous we both were. Watching the wedding is a great reminder of the commitment we made.

So for a date night, pull out your wedding video. If you don’t have a video, look at your wedding pictures and remember the vows that you made to one another. It is really fun.

“What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).

Date Night 101: Reminiscing/Prayer Date

I desire to grow closer to my spouse, and I continually want to encourage others to grow closer to theirs. I love the idea of date night. Setting time aside for each other once a week can be so refreshing. My idea for this month came from this quote.

“Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet. Every marriage moves either toward enhancing one another’s glory or toward degrading each other” – Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III

Date Night Idea #3: Go On A Reminiscing/Prayer Date

What I mean by reminiscing is recalling how God has moved in your marriage. While we love our spouses as they are, it is fun to see how God uses marriage to change people. Talk with your spouse about where you started. Remember together how far the Lord has brought you. This could be in dealing with conflict, in your love, in your friendship, in your ability to understand one another, etc…Talk about when you first met each other. Chat about your wedding and how you barely knew each other, but how you are so thankful you found each other. Discuss where you’d like to grow personally and then as a couple. Reminisce!

Reminisce, but don’t stop there. Before the date is over spend some time in prayer. Ask God to continue to grow each of you. Pray that the Lord would make you more like Jesus and ask for the strength to love each other well. God loves marriage and prayer is one way you can enhance your spouse’s glory instead of degrading them.

Date Night 101: Hot Chocolate Date

In the beginning God made men and women different. But somewhere along the way, two of those polar opposites noticed each other. A man began to pursue a woman, and that woman slowed down enough for him to catch her. Before they knew it they had walked down an aisle and said “I do.” On that day they were officially declared husband and wife. And on that significant day, God did something. He made the two become one and they would never be the same again.

On January 4th, 2008, God made Mark and I one. On January 4th, God put Himself on display by uniting two different people. Now it is Mark and I’s responsibility to tell the truth about who Jesus is with our lives and with our marriage.

Pastor and author, John Piper says in his book This Momentary Marriage that, “Marriage is not mainly about staying in love. It’s mainly about telling the truth with our lives” (26). The reason marriage is so important is because “it’s about portraying something true about Jesus Christ and the way he relates to his people. It is about showing in real life the glory of the gospel” (26).

Because this is so important, I want to share fun ideas that will help you connect with your spouse. Some of these may seem light or even silly, but it is good to have fun with your spouse. And if you invest in your marriage, you will never regret it.

Date Night Idea #2- Go on a Hot Chocolate Date

Last week Mark and I went on our first Hot Chocolate Date of the year. This idea was so fun to me because we could either go out and get Hot Chocolate together or we could stay home and have an inexpensive date night.

We recently bought a fire pit which made the perfect setting for our Hot Chocolate date.

While enjoying the crisp evening air, we decided to make S’mores.

Mark built an awesome fire. I could have stared at it all night.

Date Night 101

They told me it would be the end of the world as I knew it. Nearly sending my right eye into a full on twitch, I couldn’t help but believe them. After all they were the ones with experience. They were the ones who actually had kids. They were parents.

I heard things like, “Sleep now… while you can!” This was usually followed by an evil chuckle. Once they recovered from their vicious laugh they told me to enjoy my last few months of freedom and to go and do the things I enjoyed because it is all about to end. Life as I knew it would be over. At the end of nine months, a bundle of joy would be placed in my arms and would take over my whole world… or so they said.

Among the various “dooms day is approaching” instructions that I received, I found a great piece of advice. A friend told Mark and I to set up a date night. They told us to set aside a consistent day of the week and be together. As Gary Thomas says, “a good marriage is not something you find, it’s something you work for” (Sacred Marriage 133).

Mark and I just so happened to start this new “date night” tradition when Elias was three weeks old. We’ve been doing it ever since and have had a blast each week getting to reconnect, talk, and laugh our heads off.

Because I’ve found Date Night to be so fun, I’m going to start giving you date night ideas. This will be a new feature once a month on Pencilled Daydream.

Idea #1 – Put together a family photo project.

A few weeks ago, Mark and I decided to do a family photo project on our date night. We are slowly redecorating our living room, and this was a great start. After talking over dinner, we picked out pictures and went shopping for a frame.

I put the pictures together.

Mark with the finished product.

Our family room is starting to look more like a family room thanks to our date night activity.

What are some of your favorite date night activities?