Friday, October 10, 2014

The Proposal: June 21

Well I said I'd post soon! And now I can actually say I followed through. When life settles down, I sure look forward to starting back into blogging on thrift finds and sewing and food... but I'm a little caught up in love land at the moment, and I'm sure you don't mind me telling you how Chris proposed. 

So here it is, as told on our wedding website from kinda a third person point.

The past year was full of phases when we frequently said, "this is crazy". And all of it led up to this one moment that will start the craziest chapter of all. So why don't we tell you about that moment!

We frequent a certain coffee shop in good ol' downtown Gresham. Naomi has been going there for years for coffee dates and personal reading time. Chris spent a decent number of hours there while hard at work searching for a job after moving to Gresham. During Chris' first visit we spent hours there getting to know each other, and it became the place we go to just hang out. 

Chris had made Naomi think that he was too tired to do anything much that Saturday. So he sat back and made her think she was calling the shots. The morning was relaxing - we made brunch together and read out in the sun. As the afternoon rolled on, we went to run a few errands that Naomi needed to do. The plan was to end up at the aforementioned coffee shop and read for a long relaxing while.

When we arrived Chris went to order Naomi's drink. Little did Naomi know that he had snuck the ring in his pocket. Oblivious to what was happening, Naomi was chatting with some friends who just happened to be there (not knowing they were there for the sole purpose of distracting her). During their conversation, Naomi noticed a guy sitting in the corner across from her strangely engrossed in his camera ... but then was distracted (once again) by another friend who also happened to be in the coffee shop, doing "photography work" for his job.

Conversation moved on. Chris rejoined the group and sat with Naomi on their favorite couch. The husband of their friends had received a phone call and came back to tell his wife that his sister, was shopping in Gresham and needed help with a dead car battery. "We'll be back in 10 or 15 minutes," they said. Naomi thought it was strange since she thought, Doesn't his sister live in Portland? Who in Portland shops in Gresham? However, with their leaving, Naomi jumped at the chance to call a friend back who she'd missed a call from earlier. It was going to be a long phone call so Chris momentarily panicked. He came up with some weird babbling, stuttering, (stalling) noises in an attempt to get off the phone, so she hung up to ask what he needed. 

(Thankfully) Chris didn't need to come up with much of an excuse, because a barista brought out a mug and handed it to Naomi, saying, "Here's your Americano." Naomi was super confused:

Why is this a mug? They always use to-go cups. And why is this so light? Where's my coffee??? Oh wait - cute! There's pictures on this mug... Wait? These pictures are of us? Oh how cute! She thought Chris had given her a thoughtful gift. (Naomi loves mugs!) Until she moved her fingers that were covering the bottom half of the mug - there it read, "Naomi... Will you marry me?"

She went into shock, asking a multitude of half questions, "What are you...?" "Where did...?" "Is this a...?" "What's happening in...?" and she finally landed on, "Are you really proposing to me right now?"

Chris responded with, "Yeaaaahhh." (Insert the tone you hear when a 10 year old says "duh")

Chris pulled a ring box out of the mug and opened it with a giant smile.

After Naomi realized she was sitting in silence for a few moments she said, "YES."

Hugs and smiles followed... and more hugs! And the whole world said... "Aaawwwwwww"

Psalm 37:4-6
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
Commit your way to the Lord;trust in him, and he will act. 
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Best Story So Far: Part 3 (Up Til Now)

Photo Credit: David James Visuals

Yep. I'm still alive. And feeling a little guilty it's taken me so long to finish this story. 
Sorry for the cliffhanger! 

In case you need a recap:
Best Story So Far: Part 1
Best Story So Far: Part 2

Last I mentioned in this love story, I was flying down to meet my boyfriend's family in Cali. I think I'll pause here and go ahead and tell you. His name is Chris. And at this point, we have both expressed our love for each other. It wasn't cheesy, and it wasn't cliché. It was a beautiful conversation. And that's all I'll say about that: At this point, we love each other.

I was nervous to meet his family. I'm a pretty confident person, in general. But this was different. I was embarking on a weekend packed with tons of new people, in two different towns, from 3 different eras in Chris's life... Gearing up, I had determined to not get overwhelmed... after all, he had already done this part in my stomping grounds!

The whole weekend went so000 well, not to mention how much fun I had and how many amazing people I met. 

The weekend concluded with conversation about "closing the gap" geographically between us. Long distance was difficult. And while we'd only been experiencing this for a few months, both of our intentions were long term. 

The Move. 
I know it may feel like I'm cutting things out, but I know no other way to embark on this next chapter without just diving in. Two months after my trip to California, I was making a second trip. I flew down to spend a little more time with his parents before... 
He Moved Up To Me. 
Yes folks... Christopher packed his bags just over 6 months after we met, and made the drive with his crammed-to-the-top 4runner to a new home, just a 5 minutes drive from me. 

"Pursuing" has reached a whole new level here.
He moved. For me. 
Thinking back as I type those words, it still makes me gasp. 
He packed up his life, he moved his life, to pursue a new life... With Me. 
I cannot grasp it. But I sure am grateful. 

The Wait.
There was no job security, so after a week of settling into the basement he rented, he dove right into the job hunt. I've never in my life seen someone so dedicated to having a well planned out cover letter and intentional resume. 
I was being so impressed by his work ethic... just to find work. So many days of buckling down at coffee shops, surfing the internet for available positions. Resume after resume after resume. No responses. Resume after resume after resume. **Crickets**
He hit about 3 months and finally got a couple interviews. One that even repeatedly called him back for another. But on the final round, they chose someone else. 
**Crowd yells "BOOOO"**
So, resume after resume after resume, he continued faithfully pounding the pavement. 
Then it hit about 5 months of no work. 
We'd been covering this in prayer. Where was a job? Why was nothing panning out?

The Desire.
All the while Chris is job searching, I've been prayerfully waiting. I'm already sure that I love this man, and I know that he loves me. We both entered this relationship on the knowledge that we were dating with the intention to marry, both fully aware God could split us at any time, but that clearly wasn't how it looked after all this answered prayer. I desired to get married, just like I did four years ago when I started praying for my future husband (Wherever he may be).

So, I'd begun to pray for patience. As much as I wanted to be married, I didn't want it to be just in my timing. I wanted God's timing. And I wanted (Lord willing) Chris' timing. 

The Provision.
As people so often say, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." A friend connected Chris with someone Chris had known before he moved. That friend had a friend in a company with a job opening. With a resume, a letter of recommendation, and 3 interviews later, Chris found himself starting a job, 6 months after he'd moved to Oregon. 

What a huge answer to prayer. As we'd thought, "Has the Lord forgotten us?" He responded with providing a job. Thank You God!!!

The Life Change.
Chris started his job the first week in June 2014. If you don't remember. He wrote that first message to me on facebook, June 15 the year before. As the first few weeks of a new job passed, it was quite different. I grew very grateful for the 5 months Chris and I had had together with all his free time. We got to drop things and go on random outings, whenever we wanted. We'd had 5 solid months of spending tons of time together and getting to know each other without silly things like "grown up" schedules. Hahaha. (Yes, I work. But basically right by the coffee shop he parked himself each day and I get off early enough to have quite a bit of the day left.) So this whole both having jobs thing, took some adjusting. 

But it wasn't long until there was a whole new life switch to adjust to. 

Christopher, my boyfriend... Proposed.

Just over a week to the year since we started talking.

And a journey that started a year before became one that would be the change of a lifetime.

I will post soon with the proposal story. But until then... 
I'll just be off wedding planning with just under 2 weeks until wedding day already.

So... Now you can see why it's taken so long to finish the story... I've been plugging away at pulling a wedding together in somewhere around 4 months time. 

Isaiah 40:31
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings like eagles; 
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Snail Mail Never Fail

Remember the day's way back when you were 10 years old and your friend 
sent you an invitation to her birthday party and the envelope was full of 
confetti and sparkles filling the beautiful card. 

Or your pen pall from the summer camp you went to, 
wrapped a single dollar in their letter and told you to catch the ice cream man 
next time you hear that faint glorious music coming down the street.

Or the week before your birthday when all the out of town grandparents 
and aunts and uncles would start sending well wishes your way.

and so it goes went...

As your mom brought in the mail, you watched her flip through. 
As she pulled out a pink envelope and called your name out, 
you jumped off the couch and snatched it out of her hand. 
Jetting to your room, you flopped on your bed and started kicking your legs 
back and forth in the air as you gently quickly tore open the envelope.

Oh the good ol' days! 

Snail Mail totally never fails to excite me.
(minus the being an adult and getting credit card offers every week.)

Even more than receiving, I love to send snail mail.
So if I'm ever praying for someone or wanting to check in with someone and hopefully
encourage them, who better to trust to deliver your note, than jolly ol' USPS.

Something I've found myself doing this year is praying through our church directory. 
I don't always know what's going on in people's lives, but there's always something to 
pray for people over. So when someone comes up, and I pray, I try to send a note too. 
At the end I almost always sign off with "John 16:33" which became a verse 
I turn to often from the very beginning of my relationship with Jesus. 

I was given a great deal at Tiny Prints recently and couldn't pass it up.
This website is so much fun, too! I found a card I love and got to personalize it.
What else could I do, but put my trusty encouragement verse on there!

I love how they turned out, and am already using them!

Galatians 5:13
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Best Story So Far: Part 2 (You're A Real Person)

If you haven't read part 1 of "The Best Story So Far"... You need to do that!

Hopefully you're caught up on the events that unfolded last summer that took me from Single-and-ready-to-mingle into a quick bout of Mingling and right into Can-I-have-yo-number?

If my memory serves me correctly I left you by saying I sat on the phone
for 3 hours chatting up a random Californian guy who I'd met on handy-dandy Facebook two weeks prior to said phone call...

Yes... That's about right.

We talked about the most random of small-talk topics; from comedians we laughed at, to where we’ve lived, to the go to don't-know-what-to-say topic of ... the weather.

The incredible intentionality shown on his part at the end of the call was what really got me interested. Wrapping things up he said, "I'd really like to call you again. Is that ok?"
After an affirmative from me, he went as far as to tell me the day and time that he intended to call again. Umm? Talk about considerate, especially for a girl, who by nature asks a thousand questions a day about why, when, where, and how for just about anything.

Being Pursued.
Just like the first call, he again called when he said he would.
Maybe it seems really tiny, but this impressed me.
And he continued to impress me as I began to feel, dare I say, Pursued.

Had God heard me? Hadn't I prayed to be pursued? But as it happened, I couldn't help but try to suppress the excitement. I was still in constant prayer, "If this isn't for real, just cut it off now. I'm not messing around. I'm looking for a husband, Lord!" But at this point I was at least gaining a friend. I hadn't overly invested. And I was doing what any cautious-with-my-heart girl does: checking in every so often asking myself, "If I stopped talking to this guy today, would I be hurt?" I looked back in my prayer journal just now, and I literally wrote down a prayer, "Protect my fragile heart, Lord. I'm trying so hard to trust You."

I could read on and on in my prayer journal to remember every word that I prayed, but I don't have time to type them all out. But I will say this, God answers prayer so much!
As I prayed against fear of making myself known to someone new, the Lord opened the Word and showed me 2 Timothy 1:7 and I was reminded that fear is not from the God I serve, but from my enemy. So as this guy pursued me, I see now … so did God.

Real People.
After a few weeks of chatting online, phone calls and Skype calls, the conversation turned to the thought of an in-person, real-life meeting. There'd been jokes all along that this was some elaborate prank on our friends part and that the other person didn't actually exist. Although we laughed at the thought of a giant practical joke, the reality was that we hadn't actually met each other yet and knew that phone calls between two people are much different than in-person interactions or even group interactions ... so there were a lot of unknowns.

We'd both been straight forward that this friendship couldn't really move into being more until we'd met in person. And, just 2 months after my post on Singleness, a friend's-friend's guy friend  (yeah, I meant that) was flying up from California to meet me. Shock didn't set in until the morning he was going to arrive.

Were we insane?

No, we'd both been praying this whole time ... And as I'd been shown over and over, God answers. So on the way to the airport to pick up my new friend, I zipped by the house of the girlfriend who connected us for a quick, Get-It-Together-Naomi pep talk.

The evening was fun with the couple that is half to credit for introducing us, and was followed the next morning by a hike of a local waterfall... During which I realized I was a total lunatic for choosing to take him on a hike and become a sweaty-hot-mess for our first in person date we'd ever go on. But sweaty or not, it was nice to not be on the phone for these conversations. (Photo above)

The falls was followed by many conversations with much deeper getting-to-know-you than we'd been doing on the phone. The weekend was great. I had actually accepted that I'd started to like this guy, and by the time he flew home I was now in shock that we had officially assumed the title of "Dating" each other exclusively.

Yep, I said it! I had a boyfriend... In SHOCK?
I was!

Can't Stay Away.
Well, it wasn't even 2 days after he'd visited that he was booking his next trip. The shock continued. He already wanted to see me again? I was just adjusting to being pursued online, but this was a whole new level. Only a month after the first trip, I once again found myself at the airport picking up my ... boyfriend.

The weekend, again, was so fun. Long distance was tricky, and because the opportunity didn't show itself very often, he braved the adventure of meeting my parents. I was darn proud of him for doing this on his second trip. I'm not sure I'd have had the courage quite yet. The 3 days passed too quickly and I was saying goodbye already as I dropped him off for his flight.

Talking a bit more we decided that I needed to meet his family as well. We started planning for me to fly down. Both of us were disappointed that we were going to have a 2 month gap in seeing each other. But at least we could call every day, and Skype fairly often.

I'd been getting excited for a weekend with my mom about a month after his 2nd visit. It was my mom's idea, and I jumped at it! My mom and I are pretty close and we hadn't spent much time together lately so she told me to block out the entire weekend to go have fun together, but she kept the rest a secret.

I showed up at her house that Friday afternoon. I had no idea what she had planned, but I was ready for a yummy lunch out followed by some sort of girly adventure. Little did I know that my mom is very good at being sneaky. I walked into her dinning room only to jump back and hide around the corner out of shock. HE was sitting at the table. Just smiling. I turned to my mom... Just smiling.

"Surprise," They both said.

Have I mentioned, I love being surprised... He nailed it!
(He had even texted me that morning to say he was out of the office again like the day before, and wouldn't have service if I tried to reach him...What a sneak! It was because he was flying to see me.)

They all got a good laugh. He and my mom had been scheming since they met a month before this little surprise.
And so the third visit was again, more fun than the ones before.

The month after flew by and I climbed onto a flight to California, ready to meet the family. We'd now spent 3 weekends together, going on 4. My “liking him” had turned into more.

Where was this going? What had we started?

Like I said last time, I could say so much more. 
I could type every detail (but won't). Come back soon for the rest of the story. 
It really is the best I've ever had the honor of sharing and being a part of as well.

2Timothy 1:7
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Next List

The fun things about this outfit:
Bracelet - Free, Pants - Thrifted, Shirt - Thrifted, Wedges - Target

I know it's hot every summer, but I always forget.
I'm just over here in the Great Northwest, chillin' in the rain for 9 months...
It's 84 degrees outside. 

All that to say... I've found that I'm running out of tank tops.

And in an effort to keep you on your toes, I will now start on a complete topic change:

I had a pretty darn productive weekend! I marked everything off my list except 
two thing. The only problem is that those two thing encompassed all my 
household tasks and so my residence currently looks like five 3 year olds are 
running a circus here... and no 3 year old has ever even been in here... sooooo yep. 
That's going to need to be at the top of the next list I make, right above 
"Buy More Tank Tops"... and I should probably do that pronto.

Proverbs 6:6
Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Better Than The Movie: It's a Real Thing.


The fun things about this outfit:
Dress - Old Navy Sale!, Shoes - Ross, Necklace - Free

Do you ever get to that point where there are so many things on your To-Do list that you really start leaning towards the thought that none of them matter, let's just sit down and read Harry Potter?

Yep, life is feeling a little like that lately. Fortunately, I've been able to keep on task...
But let's be honest... I actually am busting my way through this Year Three book!

Yea, you read right! I'm reading the third Harry Potter book. My goal this summer was to get through 2 of them, and as a non-reader type this makes me very proud to be able to say I'm almost done with the third... And it's only July!

If you're a reader, you probably say this all the time. 
But if you're like me, a non-reader, screen time type person, you probably hear this all the time.
"The book is WAAAAAYYY better than the movie!!!"

If you are my kind of human, you hear this and scoff. 
"Who cares." 
"The movie was great." 
"Shut up, you book worm! Your making me feel unintelligent."

But over the past year (literally starting on my last birthday, July 21,2013),
I started reading... and kept it up.
It all began with a little Chronicles of Narnia that was a surprise package 
in the mail from the Cali guy I started telling you about HERE.
I'd started the series and got stalled when I couldn't find the next book.
We'd just begun talking and I never would have expected this little mailbox treasure.

I finished those quickly, and with a growing love of holding a book in my hands 
and having my eyes roll along the hills the words on printed pages were creating. 

So now, as I have officially ended the Chronicles and 
begun young Potter's journey through wizard school, I am finding myself saying....
Yep, you guessed it...
"The book is WAAAAAYYY better than the movie!!!"

I'm joining that band wagon people. Slow down a bit so I can jump on!

Anyone reading any books lately I should read next?
I'm scared to say, but I think I'm making a list.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Best Story So Far: Part 1 (Online Meet & Greet)

(Photo from winter... no, I'm not wearing scarves in this heat)

A love story, told and retold.
It will never grow dull.
It will never get old.

As I begin, I wonder how many times I'm going to walk away, come back/reread, and edit this post. And that's all I will say rather than count them all and then tell you the ridiculous number. It will be many, because I want to get this post just right: An accurate report of the events, a wonderfully dream worthy story, and pointing to the Master-Mind behind it all.

It All Began with a Post:
Little over a year ago I wrote a post called Singleness: Getting Personal Up In Here about the struggles,  pains, joys, lessons, and all other randomness I had, spilling my guts about the topic of being single. It was the most vulnerable blog post I'd ever written and I encourage you to read it before reading this post any further. 

It was packed with things I rarely discussed with anyone. (mostly because I attend a church full of people/friends who are married and starting or well into building families.) I sat quietly filing away information on diapering babes, potty training, dealing with sassiness, and good disciplining technique. I often fielded comments wondering why I wasn't married yet (as if this was my desire) followed by mention of some "great guy" to hook me up with (which was never followed through on by said mentioner). Please don't misunderstand. I love these ladies, these families, these kiddos. I'm just pointing out that the chapter of life I was in, was very different. And I longed to be married to a man of God and share life on this earth with him.

When it Rains, it Pours!
The singleness "novel" was posted on a Friday (June 14, 2013 to be exact). By the time the weekend was over, 3 different friends had connected me with 3 different guys. Two had started with, "I showed my guy friend your post" and ended with, "he's going to write to you on Facebook."

I found myself laughing when I prayed, "Lord, is this some sort of sick joke? Four years I've prayed for a husband, now 3 guys are supposedly going to write to me? What is this? Why are you getting my hopes up?"

So one per day wrote. And I answered them all. I know what you're thinking... 3 guys at once huh? Who do I think I am? Don't worry, I thought the same thing. It freaked me out. And I was in constant prayer. I asked the Lord to "Make things clear. If none of these guys were my future husband, just make them losers for goodness sake." Then I got brave. I asked the Lord, "If one of these guys IS my future husband, give him courage to pursue me even if I resist. Give him stamina to stick with it, and please please please, guide us both... because this is just weird... Facebook? Really God?" (Yes. I prayed that)

No, No, Hmmm, OK.
So this furry of multi-chatting online was short lived.

I met up with one guy quickly who lived in town. I'm sure he's a great guy. But we didn't hit it off. In a recap with the friend that connected us, we both had way different impressions of each other than what she has of either of us. But God knows what He's doing. So that was the end of one chatty-mc-chatterson.

The next nearest guy, just a town away, suddenly had a death in the family which made him unable to invest in trying to get to know someone "online," so he graciously informed me of this, and bowed out. I was bummed. I hadn't gotten to know him well, but he sure was cute. But, again, God knows what He's doing. And less-chatty-mc-chatterson was also bid adieu.

Then there was this randomly connected guy friend of a friend's friend. (yep... reread that if you must). He lived a whole state away in the big CA. I thought to put the least amount of effort into this because what are the chance of things working out. A) he's in cali... B) we met on facebook.

But this guy kept writing to me. So I kept responding. Then he'd write again. And so would I...
Who was this chum? Why is he pursuing me so much, but with so gently and full of kindness? Oh wait... Did I pray to be pursued even if I resisted? I am confident my God answers prayer. But this is just strange... isn't it? Or... is it?

A short while past. He gave me his phone number and convincingly said, "a phone call would be nice." And without thinking I replied with mine... within seconds I said... Don't Call Me.
It freaked me out. What had I done?!?!?!?! I hardly knew this guy a week! Now he has my digits. Oh! No!
His reply: No problem. I'll see how you feel about it in a week.

A week passed in no time and mid conversation online, he says, "So, How do you feel about a phone call?" So impressed by his persistence and complete accuracy with the 1 week check up, I said, "Ok"

He called that weekend and...

We talked for 3 hours.


I could say so much more. I could babble and babble. But come back soon for the rest of the story. 
It really is the best I've ever had the honor of sharing and being a part of as well.

1 John 5:14-15

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
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