November 25, 2010

Snapshots of Thankfulness...

I love Thanksgiving.  That's no secret.  But I hate change (also no secret).  So how does this Thanksgiving-loving-change-hating girl fare when her favorite holiday must be spent in an entirely different place?  I think I'm faring just fine, thanks. :)  This is the first year I haven't spent Thanksgiving with my family in Chicago.  My mom makes the best Thanksgiving dinner I've ever tasted, and we have such rich traditions that ooze comfort and warm fuzzies.  Yet this year, thanks to the greed of commercial airlines, I stay in Florida, with my other "family."  I miss my family and the warm fuzzies, but I'm not complaining.  In fact, I thought I'd be a lot more homesick, but I think the combination of a sunny, 84 degree day and the palm trees outside my window have made it just different enough from my traditional Thanksgiving that I'm somehow comfortable making new memories.

And so I got up early, baked an apple pie while watching Miracle on 34th Street (everyone knows that's the movie that kicks off the Christmas season), and I am now watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as I type.  Today I will have Thanksgiving dinner with BF's family (gulp), and later scour the ads with my "family" as we graze on leftovers.

And this departure from tradition is just fine with me, mostly because God has helped me have an attitude that's in keeping with the day: thankful.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  Here are a few snapshots of what I'm thankful for this year:

A God who is sovereign: I didn't want to spend my week off on the couch in respiratory distress.  But somehow God planned it that way, perhaps so I could remember my dependence upon him, or maybe so those in my life could remind me why I'm thankful for them.  I don't know why, but it reminded me of God's sovereign hand in every part of my life.  I'm thankful that he is in control of everything, and therefore I don't need to worry about anything.

BF: Picture this-- I had not slept the night before.  I had been coughing so much and so violently that I puked.  I could only croak, and my hair was in the fuzziest, nastiest bun.  My face was flushed and I was in a post-fever sweat.  There's a knock at the door, and standing there is BF, holding a big bouquet of bright flowers and two bags of get-well-food.  And after seeing me like that, he still wants me to come to Thanksgiving dinner today.  Enough said, right?

Friends: Picture this-- I was walking up the stairs to my apartment when I got a giddy, loopy phone call from my sisters.  Was I home, they wanted to know, and could they come over?  Moments later they're standing at my door, with goofy grins.  They pop inside and simultaneously shout, "We're pregnant!"  I simply stared at them in disbelief-- I didn't believe they were, and I also couldn't believe they'd think I'd believe them.  They laughed, and no they're NOT pregnant.  Then they produced a "friendship ring."  The three of us now have matching metal flower rings that must be worn AT ALL TIMES (oops, guess I'm a bad friend).  We then reclined in the living room and cackled together as all sisters should. 

Those are just three brief snapshots of what I'm thankful for, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.  My family, my job, and the youth ministry are also things for which I'm very thankful. 

So however you're spending Thanksgiving this year-- whether you're with family or friends or are alone; whether you're enjoying old traditions or making new ones; whether you're healthy or ill, rich or poor, tired or rested; I pray you will find your own snapshots of what you're thankful for this year. 

Happy Thanksgiving. :)

November 21, 2010

Making a List of "Rights"...

I have found that while It's somewhat easy for me to write about my inmost struggles to all of face-less cyberspace (or really, the fifteen or so who may or may not read this blog), I am reluctant to write when someone else is involved (a.k.a. BF).  So while I've been itching to write, I haven't figured out how to strike a balance quite yet.  But I did think of something today, as I was fading in and out of sleep on my couch, between hacking coughing fits and feverish sweats (too much information?  Sorry).

I don't keep a record of wrongs, but I do keep a record of "rights."  And let me just say I've been enjoying a lot of "rights" recently.  I'm not used to someone taking care of me.  Yes, when I'm in Chicago, my parents are really good at that.  And Bestie, Bestie Jr., and their respective husbands take care of me as much as they can.  But having someone in my life who cares about the little things is completely new for me, and frankly, it's humbling.  It makes me feel not good enough, too selfish, and undeserving.  Here is a quick list of "rights" that BF, who claims to be as deep as a dinner dish but I say is like unpeeling the layers of an artichoke, has blessed me with recently: giving me a Snoopy get-well-soon card, cough drops, and vapo-rub (cute, right?); changing the oil in my car (not an easy task, let me tell you); taking me to a Bucs game (my first pro football game); a private golf lesson (and being really patient); actually wanting to spend time with me despite my weirdness; lots of free food; remembering that today is our one-month of dating. :)

So, in case you're wondering, I'm enjoying life right now.  It's still new and a little difficult to get used to, but it's good. :)

Also, it's Thanksgiving break, so YAY.  And there will be a bit more blogging due to the whole no work thing.

November 12, 2010

A Very Big "First"...

I have a confession to make.  Over the last few weeks, I have experienced many "firsts."  But I haven't blogged about any of them, as much as I wanted to, because nothing was official.  But now it is.  So here's my list of firsts:

First second date
First time I didn't run from a guy who showed interest
First DTR that ended with a smile
First boyfriend

What?! you shout, What is this about a boyfriend?!  Would you like to know how this happened?  Good, I'll tell you, but only the condensed version.  I did not meet him online.  I did not meet him at the grocery store.  I did not meet him through a mutual friend.  It turns out, he was under my nose the whole time.  Or, as Bestie Jr. put it (here edited for content... hahaha), "He was under your nose like the stache under his nose."  Bestie's husband likes to rub in the fact that long ago, he told me I would find someone right under my nose, but I told him he was wrong.  And I believed it.  Turns out, I was wrong (Get your fill of those words now, Bestie's husband, because I won't say them very often-- not to you anyway).

It turns out that I was friends with a great guy, and that over the past few years I've had the opportunity to serve with him in ministry and get to know his character and laugh at his insanity.  Apparently, we were on each other's radar for basically as long as we've known each other.  Which to me, is really funny.  Who knew?  Certainly not me.

I don't really know how it happened, it just did.  At some point we started facebook bantering, which some people claim was flirting and I claim it was NOT.  At least not at first, anyway.  Regardless, it was fun.  And then I think I texted him (I know, can you believe it?)-- but only to make fun of his mustache.  Maybe it was the stache that brought us together because then we started texting often, then every night, then all day every day.  And then he asked me out and we began dating on the sly, until we made it "official" on Sunday night.  It's real now, but only because facebook says it is... just kidding.

Let me just say that through this whole process, I have wanted to blog so badly.  I have had to learn so many lessons I never expected to learn.  I thought I had a handle on this whole "trusting God" thing.  Turns out I was so wrong.  But I'll get into that another time.  I'll get into my struggle with fear and trust and all of those goodies that I've never experienced in this way before.

So now begins an adventure.  I have never done this before, ever.  I will make a lot of mistakes.  I have no idea what to expect.  I know I will fight my own fears again and again.  But I'm excited.  I'm still a little shocked that this is happening-- and that the Lord has answered prayers I've had for a long time.  I always wanted a relationship that grew from friendship.  Check.  I always wanted a relationship with someone with whom I served in ministry.  Check.  I always wanted a relationship with someone who loved the Lord more than anything else.  Check.  I always wanted a relationship with someone who could make me laugh a lot.  Check.  Actually, I could check off a lot of things on my checklist.

What encourages me more than anything is the fact that I know I didn't seek this out.  The Lord brought us together somehow, and whatever he has for us will be good for us and glorifying for Him.  I'll keep you posted... because even if I'm no longer single, I still have single girl issues that will be working themselves out in this relationship.  Fortunately, BF (henceforth he will be called) is patient with me.  Which is another thing on my checklist.  Check.

November 4, 2010

I Have a Dream...

So there's this dream that Bestie, Bestie Jr., and I share: a waterfront summer home.  This is a dream that has evolved over the last year or so, but the general idea is that someday, when we all have an actual home and broods of children, we will buy a fantastic summer home together (because in this dream, of course we have enough money to do this) and we will spend much of the summer as one big, happy family.  We haven't decided where this will be, but the places thrown out there are: somewhere on Lake Michigan (my vote), Maine, somewhere in New England, and North Carolina (by the water).  I'm not sure how Bestie and Bestie Jr.'s husbands feel about this, and I don't know how my husband will feel about it as I do not have a husband.  Nevertheless, we girls are dreamers, and we are excited at what our imaginations foresee.  It's more than just the idea of a summer home; it's the idea of creating a big family out of friendships, the hope of future fun memories, and the dream of always being near to one another.  So let me share this dream with you, because we all should have some sort of impossible dream for which we can hope and plan... so maybe this will inspire yours.

This may not be what the summer home looks like for Bestie or Bestie Jr., but in MY mind, this is what we'll have (I have collected these images randomly over time, so I don't know where I got them... so if you know the source, please enlighten me):

It will have a light, airy feel, like this.  There will be lots of fresh whiteness with pops of color.  We will dry the linens on the line and let them get bleached by the sun, and we will leave the windows open so the breezes can blow the curtains.

And we will have a gigantic dining room table at which all of us will sit, like this.  We will have fantastic grilled meals (mostly because one of us is a chef *cough-Bestie Jr.'s husband-cough*) and pass around the food and have random conversations and laughing fits.  "These mashed potatoes are so creamy!"

There will be many porch-like lounging/eating areas, as we will enjoy looking out onto the water.  I anticipate lots of great conversations here.

The kitchen will look like one of these or a combination of the two.  This is where the culinary magic will happen.  It will be much messier.
Of course there will be a breakfast nook, where sleepy heads will enjoy their rise-and-shine.

And the living area would be something like this, only full of people and probably messy.

There would be three separate wings of master suites for the three sets of parents, and maybe the rooms would look something like these.  They would all have a fantastic view of the water, and maybe even a door onto the wonderful aforementioned porch.
There would be two sets of bunk rooms on the top floor; one for the boys and one for the girls.  They could get as rowdy as they want, as long as they keep it there.  That is where our children will become best friends.  And maybe we'd have a guest bunk room too, on the first floor.  In a screened-in porch, because why not?!

And at the very tippy-top, maybe there would be a cool room like this, and I may or may not do painting there.

There's your glimpse at one of my dreams: a waterfront summer home with my sisters and our families.  Someday, maybe it will be a dream come true.