Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Fools! We are together... (3 years later)

We call our 'start date' April 1st.  That was the day he was released from the hospital, and the day I could no longer lie to everyone by saying that I did not like him.  If you have no idea what I mean by the hospital- defiantly check out the start to this love story.

We began dating and said form the get go that this was casual.  I did not want to do something long distance and we were just a couple months away from him leaving for Ecuador for one month, 2 months of summer in different states, and then his semester in China.  We were both actually planning on going to Greece/Italy for January, but the trip fills fast and there was no way to know if we would both go.  Besides, I thought that we would be long over by that point.

A few weeks into dating he told me that he loved me.  I made him take it back.  I cried, I yelled, I was mad.  He was not allowed to love me.  I had been broken before and did not want this to continue on.  He tried to take it back but it was a little late.  Just before the end of the year I realized that I was not broken and that it was ok to let someone into my life.  While following through a devotional and book about being captivating to God I learned how to love and be loved.  It was then that I fell in love with John.  We decided that we would continue together as long as it was fun.
A serenade in my dorm- her is such an amazing musician!

Summer came and he went to Ecuador.  It was a challenge to communicate, but we did.  During this time I also went on a 2 week camping trip (it was a class, no joke!).  During this time I wrote down everything I wanted to share with him.  I loved him.  I missed him.  I was able to open up with a couple of people to get my thoughts out and talk through them.  I was so in love with him.  While playing a game of 'hot seat' where you disperse an uncomfortable amount of information about yourself I was asked if I thought he was the one.  I did not know what to say.  "Too soon to say that" was my answer, but it was only after I had stopped myself from saying yes.

I went to his house to pick him up from the airport when he returned.  I drove to his parents house and met them, then chilled with them for a few hours before his flight arrived.  I was so relieved to see him.  My heart melted as he came down the escalator.  I was almost in tears and all else faded into the background.  I will never forget the hug he gave me.  This was when our relationship went to the next level.

Us at our best friends' wedding!
For the rest of the summer we drove back and forth the 2.5 hour drive each weekend to be with each other.  One night while we were out to eat he looked at me and said "marry me".  I wanted to say yes, but there was no way I could.  He stopped and apologized, it was like it was word vomit.  He just said what was on his mind.

Then came the semester.  He left for China.  There was a 13 hour time difference.  I was taking 21 credit hours (not including labs)- the university only allows a student to take 17.  I threw myself in to school work and for the first time in my life got all but one A.  Each day I would get up early to talk to him before he went to bed.  And each night I would stay up late to talk to him during his break in class.  We spoke 2 times a day, every day starting in October.  There was a time when I was at my breaking point and wanted to give it all up.  He called my phone and left the most loving and encouraging message.  I wrote it all down to keep forever, and I listened to it almost daily for those months.

By the time the semester was wrapping up marriage was on our minds.  We knew we had good communication, we made it though the time apart.  By this point we had spent more of our relationship in separate countries than together.  The true test would be once we returned if we would be able to get back to normal.

From December 26th, to January 28- we never spent a second apart.  We both went to Cincy, Indy, Chicago, Greece, and Italy.  It was wonderful.  It was challenging to spend so much time with one person.  We fought a bit, and on the way home I was in tears as I was not sure we should be together but I wanted it so badly.


Our favorite place in the world

Romantic date night in Rome
It was as if we had never been apart when we reunited.  Getting back into the normal routine was no problem.  Things were wonderful!  We were talking more and more about marriage.  I told him that I wanted the proposal to be a surprise to me- I didn't care anything else, just that I did not know that it was coming.  We started to look at rings in February.  And on the 28th he shocked me by proposing!

My parent's house after he proposed

I am very blessed to have such a wonderful man to call my husband.  Our journey has been unique and exciting.  I am loving every minute of it!

Want more details about the journey from proposal 2/28/09 to wedding 5/29/10- let me know!  I plan on doing more love stories leading up to our one year anniversary- but have a few more stops I could make along the way!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

i've got a bad case of puppy love

My pup has been so sweet recently.  We started taking him to obedience class and he is doing great.  He is so smart!!  (Best pup in the class!)  We also have given him some more freedom in our house.  He used to be confined to the living room (it is the biggest section of our townhouse).  And was only allowed to play if we were in the room with him.  We started to leave him alone more in the room, and opened up the kitchen/dining room to him. 

He is very happy to be able to look outside through the glass doors now.  With the new freedom he is running when he wants, then sleeping on the couch next to us while we watch tv (or I blog).  He has decided that he does not like his doggy bed, instead he thinks that the love seat is his.  (as seen above)

I am almost worried that he is suck because he has been so good lately, but he still has his puppy moments.  I am in love with my furbaby.  I am so glad we got him!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Alright- I am sharing another give-a-way with you all.  You have to realize that I am spoiling you.  I should keep these things to myself (better odds that way) :)

This one is care of Kate over at Love is Everywhere.  She is hosing a give-a-way for Lap of Luxury who designs wonderful hats, headbands, and necklaces which are all handcrafted crochet items.  Very trendy!

Check out Adorable Kate sporting the look!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

a concussion (3 years earlier)

this is a story about a girl, a boy, and many hours in hospitals

3 years ago I was in Greece with my university choral.  We were traveling there for spring break.  One night we were singing in an old beautiful church near Macedonia.  I was feeling ill and after the performance I went upstairs to try to rest and find some sugar before  I passed out.  Finally the 'go-ahead' was made for the chorale to change.

I heard the guys coming- 3 of them.  I stopped to see who it was.  There in the middle was the boy I liked.  A handsome young man a year ahead of me.  And a dear friend of mine.  He and I locked eyes- and he bounded (or leaped) up the stairs towards me then- BANG- SMACK.
me and the cute boy in Greece

He hit his head on the low hanging ceiling then smacked down to the ground.  He was out cold.  Our other friend thought he was joking and picked up his hand and dropped it to the ground.  But it just made a thud.  He was unconscious.

Now by this time word had spread that we were allowed to get out of dresses and tuxes so others were on their way up.  Our resident EMT (No joke, there was one in the Choir) came by his side as our resident doctor and nurse made their way up to him.  I just stood there, watching- giggling actually because I had no idea what to do.  I was freaking out.

He was taken to the ER by our guide and a church member.  (Remember, we were in Greece, no English going on there.)  The rest of us went back to our hotel on the beach near Mt Olympus.  I could not sleep.  I just wanted him to come back so that I would know he was ok.  I was so scared.  By our dear friends reminded me of the sleep I needed.

Apparently, while he was at the hospital he kept saying my name over and over, and asking for me.  But I did not learn this until much later.

Over the next few days I stayed with him.  He would randomly pass out as we walked around.  (Post-concussion syndrome as he was later diagnosed)  We sat next to each other as we drove through the entire country.  Since he had his sense knocked out of him he decided to tell me that he liked me.  I was a freshman in college on an international trip, with a boy I had just spent the entire week with.  He did not like me, i was just the girl that was there.  (and that is what I told him).

When we returned he had to be hospitalized again.  This time, I stayed with him.  I was the one contacting his parents.  I was the one going to the various tests with him at several different hospitals.  I stayed next to his bed.  I never left.

On April 1st he was released and we had dinner in the dinning hall with our friends.  It could no longer be denied.  We were more than friends.  I never left his side after that concussion 3 years ago.  And now we are living happily ever after wonderfully married with our new puppy.

our happy family

I am so glad he got the sense knocked out of him and decided I was worth his wonderful love.

(check back on Thursday for what happens after April 1st)

A Favorite Thing

Joining up with Freda over at One Day.  Check out this photo challenge:

A Favorite Thing

Children's Literature.  I love kids books.  I love reading them, teaching them, and using them in everyday life.  I love them.  This is a picture of part of my bookshelf my senior year of college when I had just moved into my apartment.  By the end of the year the entire apartment was filled with stacks of childrens books!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

100 ways to love your husband

I cannot take credit for this one- Marriage Missions is bringing us this gem!   The ones I am working on the next couple of weeks are in bold.

Discuss this list with your husband. Ask him to check the ones most meaningful and then arrange them in order of importance to him. Use this list as a basis for learning his views. Your relationship can be greatly strengthened as you use these suggestions —but keep in mind that they are only suggestions, and not all of them have to be used. (If interested, there’s a list under the “Romantic Ideas” topic which gives husbands 100 ideas, as well.)

1. Respectfully communicate with him.
2. Let him know he’s important to you.
3. Purposefully try to understand his feelings—even when you disagree with him.
4. Show interest in his friends giving him some time with them if they’re trust-worthy.
5. Let go of the small stuff. We all have annoying habits and preferences that are different from our spouse’s. (Dave Ramsey)
6. Tell him you both love him AND like him.
7. Either show interest in his hobbies or allow him space to participate freely. (Dave Ramsey)
8. Protect his dignity on a daily basis.
9. Be tender with him realizing he has feelings also.
10. Foster an atmosphere of laughter in your home. Look for ways to laugh together.
11. Try not to make sudden major changes without discussion and giving him time to adjust.
12. When you go out on a date together don’t bring up problems—have fun instead.
13. Focus on what he’s doing right, instead of focusing so often on the negatives.
14. Show interest in what he feels is important in life.
15. Give him special time with you apart from the children.
16. Recognize that the first few minutes after a spouse comes home often sets the stage for how the rest of the evening will go. So try to make the first few minutes a positive experience. (And then ease into the negative if it’s necessary.)
17. Give him half an hour to unwind after he gets home from work. Your evenings will be much more enjoyable. (Dave Ramsey)
18. Don’t allow any family member to treat him disrespectfully. Be the one to defend him to any family member that dishonors his place as your husband.
19. Compliment him often.
20. Be creative when you express your love, both in words and in actions.
21. Talk with him about having specific family goals for each year to work on to achieve together so you will both feel closer to each other as a marital team.
22. Don’t over commit yourself. Leave time for him.
23. Extend God’s grace to him and be forgiving when he offends you.
24. Find ways to show him you need him. (I have always been Miss Independent, this one is very challenging)
25. Give him time to be alone. (This energizes him to reconnect at other times.)
26. Admit your mistakes; don’t be afraid to be humble. Peel away your pride.
27. Defend him to those who disrespectfully talk about him. Remember that love protects (1 Corinthians 13:7).
28. Respect his desire to do well—not his performance.
29. Rub his feet or neck, or scratch his back after a hard day.
30. Take time for the two of you to sit and talk calmly (schedule it when necessary).
31. Initiate going out on romantic outings (when he’s not tired).
32. Email him when he’s at work, telling him how much you love him.
33. Surprise him with a fun gift of some kind that he’d really enjoy.
34. Express how much you appreciate him for working so hard to support the family.
35. Tell him how proud you are of him for who he is (giving him specific reasons).
36. Give advice in a loving way — not in a nagging or belittling way.
37. Help your husband to be the Spiritual head at home (without “lording” it over him).
38. Reserve some energy for him so you’re not so tired when he wants you sexually.
39. Don’t expect him to do projects beyond his natural capabilities.
40. Pray for him to enjoy God’s best in life.
41. Take special notice for what he has done for you and the family.
42. Brag about him to other people both in front of him and even when he’s not there.
43. Share your feelings with him at appropriate times (but keep it brief when he’s tired—sometimes men can feel “flooded” by too many words).
44. Tell him 3 things you specifically appreciate about him.
45. Honor him in front of the children (differ respectfully in private when necessary).
46. Give him time to unwind for a little while after he comes home from work. Arrange ahead of time to take your “time out”, giving him a few minutes with the children.
47. Get up with him, even when he gets up earlier than you want to and pray with him. (Hopefully you can go back to sleep afterwards. If not, it’s a sacrifice worth making.)
48. Be his “help-mate” in whatever ways you sense he needs it.
49. Do some shoulder-to-shoulder activities with him (like watching a movie or taking a drive together) without talking. Sometimes men just like to BE with you and not talk.
50. Be a student of his ways so you show your love in ways he best comprehends it.
51. When your husband is in a bad mood give him time to recover. Don’t crowd him.
52. Help him to finish his goals, hobbies, or education when your see he needs it.
53. Treat him as if God has stamped on his forehead: “Handle With Care.”
54. Work to get rid of habits that annoy him.
55. Be kind and thoughtful to his relatives. Don’t make him choose between you.
56. Don’t compare his relatives with yours in a negative way.
57. Thank him for things he’s done around the house. (It means a lot to men).
58. Don’t expect credit for all you do for him. Do it as “unto the Lord.”
59. Make sure he agrees with everything important that you’re planning to do.
60. Do little things for him— let him sleep in, bring him coffee and/or breakfast in bed, etc.
61. Don’t belittle his intelligence or be cynical in your words with him.
62. Initiate sex periodically. And respond more often.
63. Sometimes let him enjoy his day off work without having to “work” at home.
64. Get to the point in your discussions. Spare him details unless he wants them.
65. Discover his sexual needs.
66. Surprise him with a 15 second kiss when he gets home from work.
67. Wink at him from across the room when you’re out at a group function.
68. Give him the benefit of the doubt when he mis-speaks.
69. Don’t quarrel over words.
70. Be kind and courteous with him. (Don’t be kinder to strangers than to him.)
71. When things go wrong, instead of assessing blame, focus on how to do better.
72. As a kindness, don’t say, “I told you so.”
73. Try not to argue over money. Peacefully discuss future expenditures instead.
74. Take him out on dates—pre-planning all of the details ahead of time.
75. Hold his hand and snuggle up close to him at times both at home and in public.
76. Praise his good decisions; minimize the bad ones.
77. Tell him you love him more often.
78. Put love notes in his pockets and brief case.
79. Sit with him while he’s watching TV—even if the program doesn’t interest you.
80. Don’t expect him to read your mind. (Family’s are spared grief when a husband isn’t required to read their wife’s mind despite the fact that the wife thinks he should.)
81. Periodically, give him time with his family alone.
82. Check with him before you throw away his papers and stuff. (He may view them as more important than you realize.)
83. Work to keep yourself in shape in every way.
84. Let him express himself freely, without fear of being called stupid or illogical.
85. Carefully choose your words. Remember to “speak the truth in LOVE.”
86. Don’t criticize him in front of others—keeping his dignity in tact.
87. Visit his childhood home with him.
88. When you’re angry, express it in respectful ways. Don’t give the silent treatment.
89. Pray for him.
90. Make him homemade soup when he’s sick.
91. Look your best—dress to honor him and make him proud to be seen with you.
92. Support him when someone tries to put him down. Be his best cheer leader.
93. Don’t disagree with him in front of the children.
94. Take him for a weekend get-away without the children.
95. Cheer his successes whether in business or in other areas of everyday living.
96. Graciously teach him how to demonstrate his love for you.
97. Give him coupons to redeem—maybe for a back scratch or a shoulder rub.
98. Buy him a gift certificate to his favorite lunch spot and put it in his wallet.
99. Hide notes for him around the house where only he will find them.
100. Thank him for just being himself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Newport Aquarium and Hofbrauhaus

Last week hubby and I decided we needed to get out of the house.  No, we don't have kids so we should be able to go out whenever rihgt?!  wrong- do you remember being newly married and trying to create a savings account with one income, it's not so easy.  We bit the bullet and went downtown for a day out.

The Newport Aquarium is located in Newport, KY (aka, Downtown Cincinnati, OH).  It is on the river front in a fanstastic area.  It is also located next to our favorite resturant in all of North America, Hofbrauhaus.

First we hit up the aquarium... 

Crazy Camo Guy                                                          Hubby with a MASSIVE gator


Feeding the fish                                                                Shark Feeding time!

Shark Feeding

Shark Feeding!

This shark dove on the fish!                                          Hubby petting a shark!

Otter training 

Then we walk around the little shopping area there.

Then we headed to Hofbrauhaus for lunch/dinner (or as we call it- Linner).  We tried to be budget friendly, so we got one meal (they are very filling), a bowl of chili, and one liter of beer.  (Beer is only served by the liter and half liter there).  So with splitting the meal with two people we ended up with a fabulous linner for under 30 bucks!  Looking forward to spluring ther for Hubby's birthday (on his parent's dime) this weekend!

Images of HB are from their website.  This is a traditional German Restaurant and is a duplicate of the one in Germany.  We hope to pilgrimage there some day. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day!

did you know that...

  • Every day 4,000 children die from diarrhea caused by unsafe drinking water, poor hygiene and sanitation. 884 million people lack access to clean drinking water and 2.6 billion people live without adequate sanitation. Women and girls shoulder most responsibility for collecting drinking water and walk an average of 6kms a day.
  • Water availability and sanitation is the world’s largest contributor to disease and death – more than malnutrition, malaria and HIV/AIDS combined.
  • The United States has only made a limited effort since enacting the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 to prioritize safe water, sanitation and hygiene issues in developing countries.   5 years have passed and still no strategy.
  • Ethiopia has 71,388,440 people without adequate sanitation and 49,895,000 people without access to water. 
  • Water and sanitation related sickness is the leading cause of children death – more than malaria, measles and HIV/AIDs combined. 55,000 Ethiopian children under five will die each year from diarrhoea. Ethiopia struggles with a high risk of infectious disease due to waterborne diseases.
  • Ethiopian local governments and communities can only make limited improvements to water access and sanitation because these problems are under-financed.

There are things we can do to help.  
  1. Get informed.  Educate yourself about the needs that are out there.
  2. Get others informed.  Link up! If you hold the knowledge and no one else sees a problem the next tasks will be difficult.
  3. Do something.  Check out a few organizations (creditable) and see what kind of help they are asking for.  Key one to look at Lifewater International
  4. Check out Rebecca's awesome post and an action call at her blog Ethiopia-here we come!
  5. Txt SERVE to 85944 to donate $10 to the need.  ($10 will be added to your phonebill, money goes to Lifewater, safe and trustworthy)
  6. Go deeper.  You are educated, you have given to the needs desribed (your money, your tithes, 1 latte a week, etc), now go deeper.  Get political.  There is more to be done.  

Information and images from this page come from The World Walks for Water, and Lifewater International.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

beautiful children

I teach at Sunday school each weekend.  I work with Kindergarten and 1st grade.  Before we begin we have a child pray for us.  This was the prayer today that sent me to tears:

"Pray for the people in the hospital, that they get better and it wont be hard on family, and for the people with no food so they won't be hungry, and Africa because they don't have water and people are sick because there is no clea- water. Amen" - Annie, age 5.

I wondered how she knew this.  The hospital thing I understand.  We talk about praying for the sick, but how did she connect how the families were hurting.  The people with no food I understand because of the talk and work at the Healing Center.  Where in the world did she learn about, and then think of, the people in Africa dieing because there is no clean water.  I was shocked and burst into tears at the loving heart of the child who just wants to love people the way Jesus has. 

I was able to speak with the little kindergartner and her mom and our way out.  I asked her where she learned about the people in Africa.  She said that she 'just knew'.  I talk to her mom and told her about the prayer and shared some other information that is out there right now with World Water day right about the corner.  Her mom doesn't know where little Annie came up with this fact, but was eager to share more with her.  It was fun to make a new connection with a child.  I look forward to sharing it with my father-in-law when he returns from Africa on Tuesday (World World Water Day) from his time there providing clean water and hygienic education.  

For more info on Water Week as I call it check out these links:
Lifewater International
Lifewater- Water Crisis
The World Walks for Water                

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Brenda Photo Challenge (3-19-11) BEFORE AND AFTER

I am on the cheap so I use Picnik which is free online.  (Also, super easy since most of my pictures are already on facebook which it is attached too)   

Note- Before is posted above the after in ever case

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC 2011 

 Samuel Morris Statues, Taylor University 2007

Honeymoon, Jamaica 2010

Puppy, Ohio, 2011

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