Day 4: A Surprise Snack and Why Learning Preferences is Helpful

Hello from our 9th day out of town! We’ve been in Charlotte for the past week with my family, and are spending our last couple days with Mike’s parents before heading home.

Two things we’ve learned:

  1. It’s basically impossible to keep up with the #31creativeways challenge while on vacation.
  2. It’s basically impossible to keep up with the no-TV-watching challenge while on vacation.

It’s been 4 minutes since I last watched TV, having walked away from the Lifetime movie my mother-in-law and I were getting into so I could focus my attention on finally writing this blog entry.*

*Okay, so I’m actually listening to the Lifetime movie while I write. I have to know if this movie about a girl suspicious of dating apps is going to end up being a horror film like the movie that came before it about the babysitter who wanted to destroy the perfect family. So it’s been, like, 3.5 hours since I last wasn’t watching TV.

I also haven’t given much thought to loving and encouraging Mike intentionally as we spend time with family, visit with friends, and attend midnight release parties for “the new Harry Potter book” (having read the book, I’m of the opinion that this book feels more like fan fiction than canon). And it’s been a rather unique week in which lots of discussions and prayers* revolve around the future. This means there is less loving Mike intentionally and more Mike loving me unconditionally as I occasionally fall into emotional black holes. Another blog entry for another day, am I right?

*I haven’t kept up with praying daily, but we’ve prayed together a couple times this past week. That’s something! It’s hard for me to pray when Mike and I are working through things together and I don’t see his point of view. Perhaps that’s another reason why praying for him daily is important. I think it’ll help me to consider things from his perspective and for his best interest instead of just my own. 

Although we’ve taken a break on activities over vacation, I was able to complete Day 4 the Wednesday before we left. I’d actually read about this activity in advance, so I was ready to respond when inspiration struck. Noah and I were at the church. I’d had a meeting, so Mike had agreed to watch Noah for me. After the meeting, I’d loaded Noah up in the car and pulled up to the stop sign at the parking lot exit. It was then that I remembered Day 4’s activity: make a snack for your hubs.

What I did:

Here’s the deal. I’m not a big “make food” kind of person. Mike isn’t home during ideal snack times. I don’t pack his lunch. (He hardly packs his lunch, either. The fact that we need to eat somehow takes both of us by surprise three times a day, every day. It’s a miracle Noah is still alive.) But there is something I know he loves, so I decided to improvise. Instead of turning right toward home, I turned left toward the nearest Starbucks.



If you want Mike Paschal to know you love him, you buy him his latest favorite Starbucks beverage and a warmed blueberry muffin. The man was ecstatic. His face lit up when I showed up outside the door where he was meeting, S’mores Frappuccino and muffin in hand.

What I learned:

It’s easier to come up with ways to surprise Mike like this when I know what he enjoys! And one quick way to know what he enjoys is by familiarizing myself with a few of his favorite things. I’d texted him a couple days before this activity so I could be prepared (without him catching on to what exactly would be coming). Here are the few questions I asked:

What’s your…

  • Favorite breakfast?
  • Favorite lunch?
  • Favorite dinner?
  • Favorite snack?*
  • Favorite beverage?
  • Favorite candy or travel snack?

Simple. 🙂 I feel like I’m getting to know Mike all over again when I get updates on things like this.  And there’s nothing more exhilarating than seeing the excitement on his face when I surprise him with a little something I know he loves. With that said, I totally suggest you take this idea and run with it this week. Ask one of your people about their faves. Spouse, significant other, friend, family member. Do something for them. Make their day. It’ll be fun. 🙂

*Confession: Mike didn’t actually have the Starbucks drink & pastry down as his favorite snack. His response to that question was spinach dip, but ain’t nobody got time for that I know how much he loves his Starbucks in the afternoon, so I went with that instead.

Next time: a spontaneous evening that was not part of the #31creativeways challenge, but might as well have been.

Day 3 = A Time to Laugh (a.k.a. Snaps All Day)

A few weeks back Kirsten took on her first job since becoming a mom. It had been about 10 months since Noah was born and she was nervous. The job was babysitting our neighbor one to two times a week. The best part about this job is that she gets to stay with Noah while doing it. While it’s nice for her to be able to stay home while working and be with her son, there are still stressful days. She is, after all, taking care of both a one-year-old and a two-year old!

Always laugh when you can. It’s cheap medicine.

~George Gordon Byron

So today (Tuesday, and her day to babysit), I wanted to keep her laughing and smiling. Whether the day was stressful or they were having a great time at the park together, laughter never hurts a situation. So for Day 3 of our #31CreativeWays adventure 🚀 laughing was a main priority for the Paschals. So…Read More »

Day 2: Thoughtfulness = Starbucks Tea, Smores Frap, and a Movie

Today we embarked on Day 2 of our #31CreativeWays adventure 🚀 and it ended quite well. I headed in for work this morning (being Monday and all) after we had a great weekend as a family. We started up this whole website over the weekend with Saturday and Sunday off which made it much easier to really dive into it, write, and spend time together. I knew that today could prove a challenge heading back to work. Over the years I have learned something about myself. I get all fired up on the weekends and make lists of things I need to do. May be a list of chores to accomplish during the upcoming week. May be a list of days that I will run, cycle and workout each week to get back in shape. Or a list of books I want to read over the next three months. No matter the list, when Monday hits I tend to postpone that list for a few hours of Netflix instead. Today I didn’t do that. Today I chose to stay strong and take this #31CreativeWays adventure one day at a time.Read More »

Day 1: Prayer… The Guy Version

So about a year ago Kirsten read a book co-authored by Alyssa Bethke which she loved. Kir soon found out that Alyssa hosted a podcast with her husband, Jeff, that she began listening to. She brought me into the listening experience while on a road trip. It didn’t take long at all for me to be hooked. Now, one year later, we picked up the latest book from the Bethkes titled 31 Creative Ways to Love & Encourage Her/Him. There are two books in the set, one for the husband/boyfriend and one for the wife/girlfriend. Yesterday, we kicked off the 31 days with a few other goals in mind. So in case you haven’t read Kir’s first post on our new blog, check it out here! One, she can write so good!  Two, she explains our goals (no TV watching included…) in more detail.Read More »

Day 2: A Lesson in Communication

It was a sunny, peaceful morning. Noah was napping. Mike was enjoying a cup of coffee and reading a book. I was heating up my cup of tea and had just finished praying for my husband again.

Day 2’s activity was similar to Day 1. And today’s prayers for Mike transitioned to prayers for our future. However, in my prayers for the future, I focused more on the impact they’d have on Mike and prayed for specific opportunities for him to draw closer to God. Usually, and especially in seasons of scarce prayers, I find myself mostly throwing out prayers for my own growth and spiritual walk. Today’s prayer felt refreshingly less self-focused, and having Mike at the forefront once again brought to mind how wonderful he is in so many ways.Read More »

31 Creative Ways to Love and Encourage Him: Day 1 – Prayer

Mike and I are big fans of Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke. Jeff is a speaker, and both are authors and have a youtube channel. They have two children, live in Hawaii, and Mike and I have a lot of fun following their vlogs and podcasts.

Recently, Jeff and Alyssa wrote short his-and-hers books called “31 Creative Ways to Love and Encourage Her” and “31 Creative Ways to Love and Encourage Him” that are meant to help bring intentionality (and its accompanying joy, fun, and life) back into dating or married relationships. I’m going to be COMPLETELY honest right now… I knew about them, but didn’t take the leap to buy them until I learned about this contest they were holding to win a trip to Hawaii. Buying the books was one way to increase your chances, so… yeah… ulterior motives. 😉Read More »