about robert  by Bekah   28 Jun 2005

I will start by saying that Robert is the greatest HSB in the whole world! (that's honey sweetie baby to you) Now whether he would like that broadcast to the world in this way, I don't know. But there it is!

I don't know if my ode to Robert will be as organized as his beautiful words to me, but as you heard him say above, organization is something I am working to improve. :) I will do my best to convey the depth of my love for him, and tell you about some things I appreciate about him (not a comprehensive list, that would be even longer!). But as he so eloquently put it, "Maybe you can only experience it for yourself."

This is because there is honestly no one I've met who is like Robert. And if you know him at all, you probably agree! I am definitely blessed to have such a special, well-rounded, talented husband. I am always thinking of ways that I want to be more like him! He is the man who:

  1. Does things well,
  2. Cares carefully for people, and
  3. Closely follows after God.
Does things well
It's funny that I'll start out with this one: Robert has great attention to detail. I always thought highly "detailed" people were, well, kind of boring (disclaimer: mainly that the details were boring, not the people). But Robert has shown me the light – the clear, crisp light of detail. Whether it's the opening of a new bud in our landscape, the shining of our 1963 stove, the discovery of a new sound Clarissa is making, or putting a finishing touch on our webpage, Rob knows how to make things excellent. Another way to look at being detailed that helped me to appreciate it is that Robert has childlike wonder and excitement – just like kids notice every detail and exult in every new thing. That is how he stays entertained so well!

He put it in perspective for me when he explained his great carefulness and attention to detail as "I just like to make old things new." Not just look new, but truly be in their original state, the way they were designed to look and work. Robert takes joy in making old things new again (like our house), but not new in a plasticky, fake way – genuinely new, like they were "in the beginning."

This brings me to Rob's perfectionism (not used in the negative sense, although like anything, it can go too far). Rob longs for things to be perfect again (and he even thinks of a better design in the first place – making things better than they were new). He truly does want the world, including himself, to be like it was at creation. Fresh and brand-spanking new, everything working like it's supposed to and everyone loving like they're supposed to. Robert will truly love the new earth when Christ comes to reign.

He excels at making things excellent, but somehow the engineering, exacting side of his brain usually doesn't overshadow or consume his relational, artistic side. This is the lifeblood of our relationship! When the practical things are taken care of and we are "functioning," he can woo me with his friendship and song. It's interesting that I often work the opposite way, needing to be inspired and filled with art to feel like I can work on being functional. So we sort of feed each other back and forth, as long as I make an attempt to be practical/functional and he makes an attempt to be artistic/fun (because if not, we might get stuck in a holding pattern where he is doing all the work and I am having all the fun!).

If you know Robert at all, you know that he is talented. He can make me melt with a song on the piano or guitar, and he has a depth of knowledge in music with his music theory background and almost-music degree. He is great with tools and woodworking, and has an aesthetic eye for design and décor (we definitely picked out the color schemes for the house together!). Of course, he's good at landscaping and upkeep of our "grounds," but also encourages my input and growing love of horticulture. He takes great care in painting the rooms in our house, and I do appreciate it, although it definitely takes much longer than just slapping the paint on.

But don't get caught up in the details! Rob is well-rounded! He is definitely a visionary, a big-picture person who sees the possibilities and the way "things could be." He can get frustrated with the status quo or those who are only caught up in the "way things are." It would make me crazy to be able to dream about the possibilities (which I do), but also to be a skilled detail person and also see how to get there!! (but be limited by time, money, not being the CEO of State Farm) Hee hee. But he handles it pretty well, and is still sane somehow.

I thought if I describe a possible typical day, it might help you understand Robert better.

He gets up late (his one flaw), wishing he had gotten more sleep (sleep is vital for his big brain). If Clare is just waking up, he goes to get her for me to nurse her. After putting on his robe etc. he bounds down the stairs (once he sees the sun is out he is much more energetic) and goes straight for his coffee grinder. While attempting to create the perfect cup of coffee at home (one of his life goals: to get it as good as the coffee shop machines), many scenarios are running through his mind. Is it the water? Should I grind it coarser? What if I use the filter and THEN the coffee press? While he is doing this, he's also eating his granola (excellent granola, of course, shipped from Wisconsin) and making his lunch (with the best lunchmeat lovingly picked out by his wife, who is always trying to figure him out, or even better, homemade sliced beef or turkey (a rare treat).
Now remember, I'm not saying he's picky, just in the pursuit of excellence. If I haven't come downstairs yet, when he goes to get ready he usually checks on me to see if I need water or anything. If she's done eating when he goes downstairs, he also might take Clare and put her in the exersaucer and talk and play with her while he is breakfasting in the kitchen. While he is getting ready, he is analyzing how we can update our bathroom or how he can get a closer shave or how we need a new shower curtain. Then he uses his natural salt block deodorant (no cancer-causing aluminum) and licorice-tasting toothpaste. Then he puts on his $$ but highly functional shoes after finding an outfit in his neatly organized closet. Aside: Once after I put a folded (by my standards) sweater away, Robert started singing the "One of these things does not belong here" song. I told him he could do his own laundry if he'd like, which shushed him! Back to the morning...once a week he has e-team and encourages and prays with those guys, then he drives to work, thinking about the Lord and how he wants to spend more time with Him, and about the car and how the turn signal doesn't work but at least we got that annoying loud tire fixed. At work he is constantly thinking of better ways to do things, and assisting agents with their problems, and then driving home he is thinking about politics and morality as he listens to Christian talk radio. Comes in to greet Clare, takes her on a promenade "around the grounds," and thinks about what the plants need and how it should rain soon. He looks longingly at the rock pile that he wants to make a rock wall and patio with, but goes in to find his wife still chopping vegetables for dinner. Changes, maybe has a snack, and helps wife with dinner. Enjoys dinner (usually), and we talk about the day, and then he might help give Clare a bath or change her for bed. Or play the piano. Or we might go for a stroller walk. Then he usually works on his schoolwork, finds me in the basement folding laundry so helps me with that, and shuts down the house. Then we might have a half hour to read or reflect on the day, and he falls in bed dead-tired. This routine isn't always the same, sometimes he might chop wood or work on the garden or work on plastering the dining room, but this just shows how he is faithful and well-rounded and always wanting to make things better.

Another way he's well-rounded is how he's spontaneous. He is definitely willing to drop a plan (that's not necessary at least) to go to Dawes and hike around, or rent a movie, or just jump in the truck and drive. He does like structure and order, but not at the expense of art and fun. Here are some other talents:

  • Expertise with computers
  • Handy with home improvement projects and repair (has had numerous successful plumbing projects and only one "flood") :)
  • Deep and intellectual with complex issues
  • A wonderful cook, & chopper!
  • Passionate about making the world a better place
  • Yet not afraid to get his hands dirty
  • Anyone want to steal him away from State Farm and hire him? :)

I love how Robert is thoughtful – he knows the best way to do things because he thinks it through. He's also observant, which allows him to be sensitive to others and combined with his intuitiveness, would have made him a superb detective. He is very hard to surprise!! One other thing he does well is lighting up a room with his warm (at times mischievous) eyes and gorgeous smile.

Cares carefully for people

In an e-mail while we were dating (one of the few advantages of long-distance relationships), Robert told me "In my lifetime I've seen that one thing seems to supercede all others – that is *relationships.* Relationships with our Lord; relationships with family, with friends, forming relationships with others. People, obviously, are one of the primary reasons we're here. And it's fascinating, the dynamics of those relationships, and how they really do play a major, major role in our lives, and help to form who we are. And, like I said earlier, I don't believe (and you know this) that God intended for us to go it alone. Yes, there are times that it needs, and will be just Him and us. Even so, there should be that underlying support of our relationships – aside from our ongoing relationship with the Lord – that says, 'We're here...and we're behind you, and we're here solely because we love you, and demanding nothing from you. We love you no matter what you do, what you choose to do, and are going to see you through no matter what.' This about sums up his high view of the importance of relationships!

Robert has a huge strength that I highly respect (since it relates to one of my weaknesses). He does not seek to please people, but is comfortable with what he can offer just by being himself. This means that he is able to focus on pleasing God instead of man, which is awesome, and just what I need to see! It's refreshing to be with someone who doesn't feel like he has to conform to all the social norms (of course, it's also challenging when I really want to conform to social norms like sending a gift and it's not feasible for us at the time).

Another refreshing thing about Robert is that he is a lot of fun! He loves to do daring things like dirtbike riding and backpacking (including some climbing around on rocks). But because he is talented at them, he is not reckless, which is a blessing. He likes to share these "loves" with me, too! We share a lot of interests like music and nature, but he encourages my interests in dance, writing and horseback riding. He probably watches more movies than he used to, since I like to do that. But I am much more into gardening and landscaping since I met him! He is even fun to go shopping with. I love to laugh together, sometimes just hanging on each other, doubled over laughing. Half the time we are goofing off and messing with each other it wouldn't even make any sense to someone else, there are so many silly private jokes (good burp, Clarissa!).

He's also got a heart for his coworkers. Numerous times he has come home with heart-filled concern for a coworker's marriage, health or other hardship, and we will pray for that person. He's always joking around with them, helping them (often with their computers), and encouraging them in different ways. His coworkers look to his example, see him as a leader in developing new tools to make their jobs more efficient, and respect his knowledge about their field.

He is intuitive and a good "people person," very skilled at reading where people are and responding appropriately. Robert always knows the right thing to say! He's socially savvy-not in a calculating way, but in a very natural way. He's good at reading what is appropriate for different situations, and what is necessary to say and what isn't, which I highly admire (again, because this is a weakness of mine--putting my foot in my mouth or explaining too much).

Also, because Robert is patient and so good at reading situations, he is very respectful to servers in restaurants, other drivers, neighbors. He really tries to believe the best of people and not give in to a prideful reaction if something goes wrong (Even as I am trying to "assert our rights"). I'm constantly thinking, "What would Rob do in this situation? What would he say? How would he handle it?"

This takes me to Jesus. I can honestly say Robert is the one person on Earth who most reminds me of Jesus Christ. Even while living in the same house with him 24/7!


Family is Robert's deepest passion besides Christ. He is so committed to being the husband and father God is calling him to be. I remember when we were dating Robert telling me that he felt God specifically call him to be a father (in general, since we were not engaged or anything). I thought that took a lot of faith since he wasn't even married yet! But I definitely respected his conviction. He is also a good son to his parents and mine, a nice brother, and a helpful grandson.

One way he loves his family (Clarissa & I) is to serve them. He's the biggest servant I know! Robert is very diligent with running the house. He is on top of those lightbulb changes! He doesn't hesitate to jump in when I ask him for help, or when he sees a need (like doing dishes or vacuuming-my husband likes vacuuming! Doesn't mind it anyway. Handy because that is my least favorite. I'd even rather clean the bathroom, which he has not done since we've been married, unless the toilet overflows. TMI?). He's already cutting wood for this winter, since our woodburner has cut our heating bills by 2/3. He set up a standard of serving me while we were dating, when he would cook with me, go to the laundromat with me, or help me set up my office so I'd get off to an organized start with my first job.

He is also very caring and careful to attend to Clarissa's needs. He excels at being a daddy: Bringing Clare to me at 3 in the morning to be fed, dealing with cloth diapers and homemade wipes, helping to give her a bath. Besides all the practical help, he is just plain fun. He gives awesome horsie rides, reads books, tickles Clare with his kisses and prickly beard, makes her toys much more fun than I do during the day, and gets her laughing and squealing in no time.

Robert is very concerned for her welfare-is the sun in her eyes? Is she too hot/cold? He puts my pilates mat underneath her cloth play gym so she doesn't bang her heels too hard on the wood floor. He even puts her to bed, reading, praying and singing "Row Row Row Your Boat" and "Jesus Loves Me." Even though he's on the praise team, he says those are the only songs he knows!

Just like he knows the best way to do things because he thinks them through, Robert knows the best way to be my husband. He is thoughtful about how to treat me, how to listen, even how to improve on his weaknesses. He would say he has trouble with being compassionate at times, but just the other day he responded to a situation I was working through with those beautiful words: "I can see why you would be frustrated." It was just what I needed to hear-not solutions or the way I should be feeling, only empathy. He thoughtfully and carefully and sensitively works to be the best husband he can be, with the help of the Holy Spirit. His artsy, creative side allows him to be very romantic (when he wants to, and because I know he's good at it I definitely encourage him to exercise that gift!), and loves to surprise and delight me. He sent fresh Ohio strawberries when I was on a Campus Crusade summer project in Virginia Beach, and took me on the most fantastic dates for the 2.5 years we were dating and engaged. Sometimes I wish we were dating again! (Wait, no I don't). :)

He is also extremely patient with my weaknesses, like when I'm grumpy in the morning or my body aches. He challenges me to be real with him and with God and to grow each day, but is there to comfort me when I have a bad dream. Robert is forgiving when I hurt him, and is good at keeping our relationship clear of junk. It can be hard to be totally honest and vulnerable, but he leads us in keeping a clear, pure relationship. If you are a man, :) I encourage you to take advantage of Robert's counsel. He has given me the most wise counsel I have ever received! It blows me away because it is so subtle at times, and other times it is a real lifeline. But it is always from the heart, and contains the Lord's truth and grace. He definitely has the gift of wise, godly counsel.

He is a homebody for sure, and likes his home and family. He is finishing up his degree for his family, working hard at online classes. I used to associate "careful" with "anal," but through Robert, I found out firsthand that it really means "full of care"-that you matter, should be handled carefully and treated with care. This makes him so sensitive and responsive to his family's needs!

Closely follows after God
Robert challenges others to be real in their spiritual walk, and to follow closely after God. He does this by word and example, as he simply follows God. This is probably one of Rob's biggest strengths: He doesn't make things more complicated than they are. He truly believes the simple truth that God loves him, Christ died for him, and gave him new life. He doesn't waste time doubting and backpedaling, but has seen what God's done in his life and wants to grow deeper. And he is really passionate about others growing in their relationship with the Lord, especially his brothers. He is a leader, encourager, and exhorter on praise team, not just musically, but relationally. He wants his brothers on the team to be excellent on their instruments, but even more so in their lives and families. He wants people's faith to be real and deep. As he said in an e-mail about leading the youth in prayer and praise time, "I believe that this group of students can begin to set the tone of worship for the rest of SHBC. Let it be a fire with deep embers."

Even though Robert takes a straightforward approach to things, he's not deluded; of course he realizes and accepts when things are complicated. He knows there will be hardship, and even expects things not to work out at times. He has the most realistic assessment of situations I've ever seen, probably because of his ability to see the big picture (looking back, I wish he gave me his realistic assessment of how long our house updates were going to take! Or maybe he did and I didn't believe him).

Robert is also sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading. He has had deep times of intercessory prayer, and intuitively senses when people need to be prayed for. He pays attention when God puts someone or a certain family on his heart.

He loves the ebb and flow of life, and appreciates simple things like the seasons and the weather, good food, order, clean laundry (tough for me because I want to make everything complicated and busy!). This really makes him able to praise God with his whole heart, and to be grateful for each day. He is clear, pure and straightforward in his relationships with others and with God (unless he is joking-then others can't tell if he's serious or not). But his candor is refreshing!

He is who he is, and doesn't feel he needs to explain everything or figure out what others are thinking, or try to control situations to make himself look better. Again, it's refreshing.

He is also patient in his relationship with God. I want instant growth, and big, flashy types of obedience, where everyone sees it and can "admire" it. He accepts the process, and even embraces it. He quoted an Oswald Chambers to me as I was searching for my "life purpose," and Chambers said, "It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. If we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious." Robert definitely lives that out, and it is so humble, and real.

Robert wrote a note to me after a year of dating that sums up his patient, mature view of the Christian walk:

If you were to sit and stare at these plants, you would not see them growing. -But, over time, month after month, they would begin to change, grow, and develop into maturity. This past year has been a year of growth. Though, when magnified, it would not seem apparent, roots of maturity and growth steadily go deeper. I'm looking forward to getting to know you even more-as we water and care for what Christ has freely given us. Your Brother, Robert

Just a reminder: Rob is pretty easy to please. He is very content simply when his belly is full. If you ever want to make his day, just give him a pork Chipotle fajita burrito, with pinto beans, sour cream, and medium corn salsa. Or make him some green beans with ham hocks. Or ginger beef brisket. Or give a pound of Stauf's dark roast coffee. Good food is definitely a simple pleasure for him. And THAT is Robert, in a BIG nutshell!