I have found that in my marriage, as the years have rolled on and Jon and I have become a better unit with a clearer sense of purpose together and a keener sensation of having become “one” organism, I am very nearly overwhelmed at the prospect of how to express what he means to me in a wrapped gift.
I cannot any longer simply walk into Best Buy and find “just the thing” for him.
And as I was knitting everybody else’s gifts, one might expect I would knit up something for him.
The trouble with that is that his dear mother, Elza, is among the most outrageously talented knitters on the planet.
She knits fabulous Norwegian sweaters in four or five colors, while watching television and chatting with guests, and jumping up from time to time to check on dinner.
Her work is always beautiful, and I cannot compete.
All this is meant to explain why my gift to Jon was not a sweater, but this little book.
It’s a book of quotes and thoughts and ideas from books I have read over the past year and also from really great blogs and websites where Puritan passages are still alive and well, and sermons are recorded, and hymns are written up like poetry, and it’s all available for our great edification.
The idea for this project began last year as the kids and I were redoubling our efforts to keep our copy books more diligently. I found that there were so many little passages and quotes and verses that Jon would have loved.
Then my good friend Jeanine mentioned that her pastor’s wife had made something similar, and she gave me some good ideas and encouragement.
So I started a book for him, with a date at the top of each page, going through the year, so that he has a page of something encouraging to read, to kick off his day at work, or maybe for a little moment with coffee later on.
Jon is faithful about always having an hour in scripture every morning at 5:30, and with that in mind, I used scripture for only about half the days in the book.
When I used scripture, I used Psalms, written in their entirety, long passages from Ephesians and Philippians, some pages are headed with topics like “Wisdom” “Forgiveness” “Grace” or “Speech” and have verses which apply to these subjects.
The rest are full of the thoughts of people like Thomas Watson, Jeremiah Burroughs, J.C Ryle, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Calvin, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Flavel, Octavius Wnslow, Charles Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, GK Chesterton, CS Lewis, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards…….and many more good theological thinkers. I used ten or more of the poems from The Valley of Vision .
There are also days filled with quotes by Aristotle, Plato, EB White, Confucius, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Julia Child, Bill Cosby, Calvin and Hobbes, Andy Rooney, PG Wodehouse, and there is even a day (April Fools Day I think) which is dedicated to ridiculous statements made by Jennifer Lopez.
So, I believe that all bases are covered.
It’s not a beautiful book, not in a really artistic sense. It’s full of quotations and wise words from other people, and there are only a handful of pages which I wrote entirely on my own.
I want to just say that the one who got the greatest gift here was not my sweet husband. It was me. During the year of writing this book, as we made some really hard decisions for our family, the daily work of putting this book together sometimes compelled me to look for wisdom and comfort for myself in the places that were hard for me and for us, and I found such great comfort in the scripture studied topically, in the wise words of puritans who had already thought through many of my questions, and in the words of the Valley of Vision and Spurgeon and Edwards especially.
Wives out there, here is a great project that will bless you richly, and hopefully it will bless your men as well.
But you better start it soon……a year is almost what it takes to do a nice job on a book like this.