Monday, May 31, 2010

Please Note...

there is a difference between STRESS and being OVERWHELMED.

For example, synonyms of STRESS include: trouble, anxiety, TENSION, worry or strain

                                                             synonyms of OVERWHELM, however, are things like: submerge, engulf,      flOOd, bury, or my personal favorite, "steamroller."

(do not ask me how steamroller, an obvious noun,
is a synonym for the verb overwhelm, 
but I like to think Webster knows what he is talking about)

Right now, my to-do-before-I-do list is rather long. It's so long I finally broke it up in the remaining 4 (!!!!!!) days left before the wedding. I am engulfed, burried, flooded, submerged, &etc by a list of things to do, but the tension and worry that I would be feeling if I were stressed is not present. I AM EXCITED!

synonyms of excited include:
exhilarated, THRILLED, enlivened, 
enraptured, psyched, ELECTRIFIED
or simply enthusiastic
Other informal phrases include: "As high as a kite," and "fired up"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

10 Days Left...

And I'm a bubble of excitement. I cannot believe how quickly the wedding has come!!

Our pre-engagement relationship/courtship/whatever-you-want-to-call-it lasted exactly 8 months. He proposed the on our 8 month anniversary. When June 5th gets here we will have been engaged for 313 days-- just over 10 months. We had a lot of friends and family members griping about such a long relationship before marriage-- 18 whole months and THEN a wedding!(... at least on my side of our guest list. There seems to be a movement toward shorter relationships, and quicker engagements, especially in home school circles.)

But a realization hit me about two weeks ago, and I continue to smile when I think of it: I had a whole eight months to call him "my boyfriend" and nothing else. I had a whole eight months to enjoy him, and only him, without talking about a wedding, and making plans for a home, insurance, a second car, monthly income, medical decisions and all the other reality that hits once engagement comes. Those eight months were beautiful.

Then I will have had 313 beautiful days to say "I am engaged." I've had the fun and excitement of counting down every single one of them, and having people groan, laugh out loud or sigh with delight when I number off the days left. I've had this pretty little ring on my finger, and just this pretty little ring. Nothing else. Do you know how small the number of women with just a diamond ring on their finger is? Most have a wedding band and a diamond, or nothing. We've had 10 wonderful months to plan a wedding, study and enjoy each other, and plan for our future together.

I would never wish for it to have all gone by more quickly. I already can't believe how fast time has flown.

Granted there were times where we said to each other, "What were we thinking? 10 months!?!" But actually those times only came two instances that I can clearly remember. The first was right after we were engaged. Early September came and we were sick with love. We talked about getting married over fall break in October. Then on January 2nd, after my sister's wedding. Then in March over spring break. The second time was in January and February when we had our longest separation ever. Usually our visits were about 4 weeks apart-- some happy times they were less, very few were they more. But when he left January 2nd, our next visit wasn't planned until March 14th- 10 long weeks away. I had counted on a surprise that never came. It was miserable. On top of an extended absence January Term was Daniel's busiest school month ever, with classes every day, all day Monday through Thursday, and studying and preparing for the next morning's lecture every morning for 3 long weeks. When regular classes started again he wasn't as busy, but scheduling took some time to work out. Then there were just so many nights we would finally get to talk and he would fall asleep from sheer exhaustion. I cried myself to sleep several times during those two months, and missed him like I never had before.

Yet those times passed, and here we are. Our home is nearly ready. Our wedding bands are sitting in their respectable boxes, waiting to be opened. My dress is nearly ready. His suit, vest and tie (I hope) are hanging neatly pressed on his closet door. All the arrangements are made for the week of the wedding. The final touches are being made.We're just waiting!

I never expected to get married young. I thought for sure I'd be in my early twenties at least. Getting married young was my sister's dream. He came much sooner than I expected-- all the fretting and nervous prayers I'd cry as a restless young girl make me smile and shake my head now. If only I had known how quickly it would come.

Similar thoughts fill my mind when the surreal emotion overcomes me: I am getting married in ten days!!!! It seemed so far away. And I shake my head and sigh. If only I had known how quickly it would come.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Patient Leader

Tuesday and Wednesday morning of this week my mom and I cleaned and organized the house down in Charlotte. We left late Monday afternoon with a U-Haul trailer full of hand-me-down furniture (many thanks to Uncle Joe, Aunt Kristin and Mr. and Mrs. Crist!) and boxes full of household stuff-- gifts from bridal showers, and things I've picked up or been given along the way. My brothers could not believe I had so much stuff. :) We arrived very late, slept in, and then tackled the main rooms of the house. 

After we did the deep cleaning, and cleared out the clutter (I discovered I am marrying a pack-rat), a couple guys from church helped Daniel move in the big furniture, but it was left to the two of us to arrange it as we wanted it.

In the midst of moving the couches I discovered another lovable quality about my husband-to-be. We were left alone to pull the finishing touches together Tuesday evening, and decided to try to move one of the smaller couches to our room, in hopes of using it for private devotions, or reading together at night. We made it through the long hall way and up the first short flight of stairs, and then quickly realized the couch was much too long to make it around the corner and up the next staircase. My arms were already burning, and my hands were aching from the weight of the couch, and there was no possible way to set it down where we had it.
"I'm not strong enough for this Daniel!"
His voice was patient and tender when he replied, and asked me if I could just try to lift the couch over my head, so he could get it over the banister.
It was as if his strength gave me strength, and though not with perfect ease, I lifted the couch over my head and held it there while he pushed it over the banister. 

Getting it up the rest of the stairs wasn't out of the ordinary. Then, as we were setting it down at the top of the stairs, he looked at me and smiled, "You know, you look really beautiful right now."
I was in his hoodie with second-day hair pulled into a messy bun on the back of my head, with only mascara on, and certainly didn't feel it, but he gave me butterflies anyway.

I cannot imagine, looking back, how awful it would have been to have him yelling at me, "Just hold it up! Don't set it down! Stop whining!" Instead he was patient. He was a good leader, and the response of my heart at that moment was to help him. It was all I wanted to do, no matter how hard it was. I told him later it was as if our wills had become one; and as minuscule as the project was, together we got a glimpse of the power we will have as a couple when he selflessly leads, and I joyfully submit. 

And it was beautiful. Period.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our Story - Part XII

Daniel double majored in philosophy and religion, so naturally, during the four months of their friendship, Ashlee learned more names of old, dead guys than she ever thought existed, and more about eschatological theories than she really cared to know. One of the men that did spark her interest, however, was Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher in the mid 1800s. His belief that it took a “leap of faith” to know God became a common theme in their conversations. So, with Kierkegaard in mind, Daniel closed his letter,

“Will you take this leap? If you do I will be here to catch you.”

It was certainly to be a leap, yet very steadily over the course of the days between the time the letter arrived and his planned visit, God was working in her heart. Each day the conviction grew more and more sure, but the decision certainly didn’t come without struggles.

In his letter, Daniel suggested that the turmoil she would face in making this decision would not be primarily external, but internal; the most difficult object to overcome would be her own heart and emotions. As the days passed she realized more and more how right he was.

The thought that with the beginning of a courtship marriage could be within two years’ time, made her anxious. She wasn’t sure she was ready to be someone’s wife; she wasn’t sure she was ready to leave her childhood behind. One of the most difficult things to consider was her younger siblings. Her heart literally ached when she thought of not being home to see them grow and mature. But would she deny this man the desires of his heart (and perhaps the desires of her own heart) to stay home and love children who already had a mother and father. Would she be denying herself the blessings God could have planned for her through a family of her own, if she refused Daniel only on account of her little sisters and brothers? Maybe she should just tell him, “Not yet.”

Angela, always one to be completely honest told her flat out, “It’s selfish of you to say, ‘no, not yet’ just because you’re uncomfortable with the fact that you may leave home eventually. If everything else is telling you yes, then you shouldn’t torment him with waiting.”

And sometimes, many times a day, her heart did leaps and bounds across a cloud-dotted sky of dreams. Wonderings, ponderings, dreamings of a beautiful, glorious future. There have not been two weeks in her life that were more prayer-filled, or more quietly spent that these. Her mother was especially gracious in allowing her that extra time alone. She read (Ferguson’s Discovering God’s Will) and prayed and journaled, a lot, a lot, a lot. During those two and a half weeks she wrote over 11,000 words in her journal—27 8 ½ by 11 pages. All on one topic. All about one man.

When the count down hit one week remaining, and she was still certain she would say ‘yes’ despite some lingering hesitations, she signed online and smiled to see he was on. The day was rather melancholy for more reasons than one, and she was wishing for the space between then and Thanksgiving to evaporate so she could tell him her answer and be happy, encircled in his arms. She set her status to an old hymn, and he followed suit. She quickly realized a hymn battle had begun—who could pick the best hymn? They went back and forth for some time, with his hymns always speaking truth right to her heart. That was something she missed about him, and longed for again—to hear truth spoken to her in a way that she knew no other person was able to do. Impulsively she set her status, “I miss you.”

Daniel inwardly did a triumphant dance and replied, “B-) ----------<@” (it’s a digital rose, twist your head). But then she felt nervous, changed her status to a line from Amazing Grace and signed off.

A few days later, while working, she put up a new song that she had heard from Disney’s Anastasia.
 “We were strangers starting out of a journey, never dreaming what we’d have to go through. Now here we are, and I’m suddenly standing at the beginning with you.”
She meant it, but his eyes were never supposed to see it. They did though, and he called his best friend to have him google it for him. They were singing happy tunes all that day, “Dan, man, Dan! You’ve got her. You’ve got her man!” his friend told him.

His spirits were certainly heightened, so he wrote her a second letter, and had another friend send her a special song to woo her some more. These things only made her happier. She felt like a silly school girl waiting for summer vacation.

                                                           be continued...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Forever, ever after

So some things are just happy by nature. Bubbles, silly putty, a cup of hot tea, carriages, candles, berries, clouds, sunshine, dandelions, puppies, and babies, of course. I love happy things, so naturally I included some of my favorites in the wedding.

Bubbles for the send-off: the best for pictures, and they pop when touched so you don't have little scratches from bird seed on your arms and neck. :)

When I said I wanted a horse drawn carriage my fiance, mother and most of my brothers all groaned. But I remain ecstatic about this idea, and the pictures and memories it will create. I was hoping to get Friesians, the most beautiful horse ever bred, but the only Friesian stable around this area was already booked for my date in the opposite direction of my wedding-- there was no way they could do both. :-/ But, I'm satisfied with the white Percherons I found.

I think cupcakes are the best wedding trend ever right now. Who wouldn't want to eat one of those??