Monday, September 25, 2006

How can I creep you out today?

I don't just make people uncomfortable, but I can make them fear for the safety of themselves and their children.

A couple of weeks ago Ben and I were at a Chick-fil-a and there was a young couple there. They were probably close to our age. I noticed them because the mom was wearing combat boots, fish net stockings and a mini skirt. Not an outfit you normally see at a Chick-fil-a or on a mom.

Last Friday Amberly and I went out to eat and wouldn't you know it, the punk rock family was at the restaurant too. There were no fish nets this time but I definitely recognized them. This is the point were I made a fool out of myself.

The dad looked at me with a puzzled look and asked "Do I know you from somewhere."

I blurted out, "I saw you at a Chick-fil-a one time." Because that's what normal people do. They remind people that yes, I was the creepy girl staring at you at that restaurant 3 weeks ago and yes, I remember you and yes, it is a coincidence that we happened to be eating at the same place again!

The dad's look turned from puzzled to scared and he replied with, "ummm.... no..... I don't think that's it...."

"Did you go my university?" I asked.

"No. I go to the Tech School."

"Oh I live near there. I drive by it all the time. Maybe that's where you've seen me." I said further implying that I am stalking him.

The mom at this point isn't really sure what to do. I soon put her at ease by commenting on how cute her baby is. And that I would love to kidnap it.

I actually left that last part out but it was implied by my evil laugh and the frantic rubbing of my hands together.

Well I didn't actually do that either, but I'm sure the mom could envision me doing that...while hiding in the bushes near where they live.

The freaked out couple soon moved to the other side of the room and probably discussed whether or not to call the cops. Amberly leaned over to me and said "You are so strange."

Yes. I am. And I don't even mean to be.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'll just wake up from this, right?

I think faith and trust in God is easy. When life is easy. I once took a spiritual gift survey and it told me that I had the gift of faith; trusting in God when other people find it hard. Looking back, I don't think my trust in God had truly been tested at that point.

My mom was recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. It's a cancer of the plasma cells. This has been testing my faith. My mom rarely gets sick and what's the deal with her getting cancer? It scared me. How do you deal with cancer? People in my family don't get cancer. We don't get speeding tickets, cavities, F's or cancer. No. Cancer is for other people. Other people besides my family. People who aren't like us. Other people get cancer. Other families deal with cancer. Not us.

And then one day it hit me: We are now the other people.

And it scared me.

And I had a hard time trusting God. Didn't He know my mom can't get cancer? I need her to help plan my wedding. Work needs her to take care of customers. We need her to make home, home. She doesn't have time to get cancer. There's a life to live, God, what were you thinking?

And all I could do was cry and pray. People had to remind me to trust in God. He had a plan and a purpose for all of this. He still loved my family, even if we were now "the other people". I had to put verses on my computer and my desk to remind me that God was still in control.

One night last week our family got together to pray for my mom. And it was then that I finally accepted that God had a plan for this. That there was a reason for this pain. And maybe it was to bring one person to Him. He loves people enough to allow His children to experience pain to bring someone to Him. And that gives purpose to the pain. This would draw someone closer to Him, and even if it doesn't - Christ is our eternal hope. This is not an interruption of life. It is part of life and one with different opportunities that we cannot waste. God has given me a peace about this now.

Please pray for my mom. The doctors are confident that the chemo should knock this into remission. Pray also that we all learn to trust God more.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Super Cat

Do you see that cat? It's on top of the door. He's just chillin' on the little 1.5 inch space on top of the door. Why? Because he's a cat and that's all the reason he needs. How did it get there you ask? Well I didn't put him up there.

He jumped, no, flew from the dresser. What a crazy cat. And then he jumped down without knocking over anything on the dresser. I watched him. It was amazing. I should be able to somehow make money off of this cat....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Engagement Story - Part 2 -

I wrote out all of the details of “Part 2” and I sounded like a crazy. So you get the condensed Andi-doesn’t-sound-like-a-crazy-woman version.

After we finally got engaged and things started to settle down I started to feel sick and freaked out. I couldn’t believe that I was engaged! The thought that maybe I was making the wrong choice scared me. There was nothing in Ben and I’s relationship that made me think that I was making the wrong choice, I was just plain scared. Ben was so great throughout all of this. He was so patient and took off work to sit and talk things through and pray with me.

On the third, and probably hardest day of all of this drama I had a great conversation with my Mom and she gave me the best advice about all of this. She said “Are you just laying on the couch crying?” I was. “Then you are just letting this fear control you. GET UP AND DO SOMETHING. Talk to someone about this. Find a book to read about it. Be proactive.” And that’s when it clicked. The peace I had about marrying Ben on Saturday was not a lie. I had just been focusing on the fear. . I wanted to fight through the fear for us. And after that I knew we were going to be ok.

That night we went and talked with my uncle Dave, who’s a pastor, and he assured me that I wasn’t crazy – I was just taking this decision very seriously. Uncle Dave gave us some great advice and a couple of books to go through that could help us talk about some things before we get married. I loved it. I had a book. With chapters! And discussion points! We had a plan!

It took a while for me to physically feel better, but the fear had subsided. Throughout this whole thing prayer played such a huge role. God continually gave us comfirmation that this was of Him. He reminded me to trust Him. While this whole ordeal was a crazy emotional rollercoaster, I do believe that it brought me closer to God and Ben and I closer together, which makes it all worth it.

And now, I am excited to be marrying Ben. So very excited! And 9 months seems so far away...

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Engagement Story - Part 1 -

Hello! I am back. Hopefully this post is a little more coherent than my last one. Ben has gone back to school and I have a little bit of free time to write about the engagement story. It’s a long story so this is only the first part of it. I had to beat everyone else’s story so here it goes….

First off let me say the Ben completely and utterly surprised me. I had no idea this was coming. None. I knew Ben was thinking about proposing and that this summer was the “make it or break it” summer for him. We had also talked a little bit about engagement this summer, but I was convinced that the soonest Ben would propose would be Christmas break. And since I had until December to get everything about marrying Ben all worked out in my head, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking or praying about it. I didn’t want to focus so much on marriage that I didn’t enjoy dating Ben. You need to know these things in order to understand…

On August 26th, 2006 Ben and I were supposed to go to a local park to get pictures of each other before Ben went back to school. I fought him on this because I figured we had enough pictures of each other, why do we need more? Apparently this caused a lot of frustration for Ben because he really just needed an excuse to get me to the park and I wasn’t buying it. MWAHAHAHA. Amberly was also in on it all and before Ben picked me up she decided that we need to go over what I was going to wear. She and I fought over how dressed up I should be. I should have gotten a clue then – but I just figured she was weird. I was late getting ready because we couldn’t agree on a dress and I didn’t have time to let my hair dry properly so it looked like crap. Curly crap on my head. I was breath-taking. But I did wear make-up and I had a cute outfit on so I didn’t look completely repulsive and scare Ben away. Which is good because I want him to stick around.

The whole ride over Ben was acting really weird which was making me really grumpy. When we got to the park I noticed this blanket in the back of his car and asked him what that was for, he said the trunk was dirty and he wanted it to look nicer; I totally didn’t buy that lie and kept bugging him about it. Finally, exasperated with my persistence, he said “there are flowers under it. I was going to surprise you with them when we left.” Which was the truth, but I didn’t believe that either. I am such a trusting person.

We walked to the butterfly house and we passed this little arbor that was really pretty. I told Ben that we should get pictures there and he suggested we come back. So we walked around the butterfly house and Ben kept getting frustrated with how many pictures I wanted to take of the butterflies which I didn’t understand because, pictures, Hello!, that’s why we came.

Anyway, we walked back to the arbor and as we were walking there Ben got really, really quiet and I could tell he wanted to say something so I asked him what he was thinking about. He barfed out a whole bunch of stuff about marriage and husbands and wives and love. It was good stuff but seemed really random and out of the blue. I smiled and nodded and gave my two cents worth and then we took some pictures of us.

After a little while Ben started to play with my hair and started to sing me “Have I told you lately that I love” and that’s when I knew he was going to propose. See we hadn’t told each other we loved each other or shared our first kiss at this point. We had decided back when we started dating that we would save those for engagement if we ever got to that point.

So Ben sang the song and then got on one knee, pulled out the ring and said, “Andi will you marry me?”

And I started crying and said, “I don’t know.”

Yep. I said I don’t know. To the man whom I loved and had just asked me to marry him.

Ben just froze and said “Really?” And I cried harder and said, “I really don’t know.” I hated what I was doing to him. Hated it. I felt like dirt. You aren’t supposed to feel like dirt when you are proposed to. You are supposed to feel loved and happy. But there I was ruining both Ben and I’s proposal.

We moved to a more private place and I explained why I couldn’t give him an answer. My relationship with God hadn’t been the greatest in the last couple weeks and I knew there was unconfessed sin in my life and there were areas of my life that I wasn’t surrendering to God. There was no way that I was in a place in my life that I could make a big commitment like “yes I will marry you.” And Ben got hurt because I wasn’t right with God.

While we were talking it started to rain, which was fitting, I felt on the outside what I felt on the inside. Ben was so great through all of this. He agreed that I couldn’t make a decision like this without praying through things. He told me that he respected me for it and that we would work through this. I asked for a week to give him an answer.

Then we headed back to my apartment. He gave me the flowers he had under the blanket and dropped me off at my apartment that was filled with pictures of us. Amberly had put them up while we were gone. As soon as he left I just sobbed. I knew that I had already committed to God that He would be first in my life and He is relentless in His love for His children. I couldn’t commit to Ben when I wasn’t keeping my commitment to God. I couldn’t hurt Ben like that.

So God and I talked and I cried and confessed and surrendered. And I knew that no matter what happened He would always be there for me. I may have messed this up – but God still loved me extravagantly. During this time I also talked with my parents and Amberly and after a while I had a peace about all this and I could give Ben an answer. I could finally say YES! When I told my Dad I was going to go back and talk with Ben he said “Now, you be NICE to Ben because you have not been nice to him today.”

When I got to Ben’s it had been 3 hours since he had proposed to me. We sat down and I started explaining what had happened in those three hours and he wouldn’t look at me. When I asked him why he told me it hurt too much. I felt like dirt again. I don’t ever want to hurt Ben like that again. I finally got to the part about how I knew this peace was from God and something in Ben clicked and he knew it too. At that point he hugged me, told me he loved me and kissed me for the first time. And then he went and got the ring and proposed a SECOND time. I know. He must really mean it. And this time I answered “Yes, with all my heart YES!”

It was after this second proposal that we got to finish everything that he had planned for us. We danced to a CD he made for me. We finished the puzzle of us that he had made (he was giving me a puzzle piece a day up until this point) and we discussed all the pictures in my apartment about the different times in our relationship.

The rollercoaster was slowing down. We were engaged. I was happy and excited and it all felt so surreal. I couldn’t believe that I was going to really marry this wonderful, godly guy that could make me laugh and I felt so comfortable around.

And then that night I started to get sick and the rollercoaster started all over again…..