Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Life Happened...


After my last got a little crazy. 
I had a wonderful time with Joel. I  continued to enjoy a few weeks of bike riding, farmer's market adventures, and general summer merriment. Two weeks later, my dad had a really serious stroke (my blogging went here to his caring bridge site instead of my usual blog). We had been out on a bike ride when things just went sour. Two nights in Ames hospitals then a life flight to the Neuro ICU in Iowa City had us pretty shaken up. 

Life stood still. It was like watching from a distance while another family went through chaos and terror -- but it wasn't someone else. It was me. And my family. All of the little things I had been so worried about before - traveling, missing friends, wondering if Joel was going to propose - they seemed so trivial. We trucked on...making trips to Iowa City until my dad got released from their Neuro ICU then back to Ames to see him enter inpatient rehab at the hospital. He stayed in inpatient care for a little over a month. We visited frequently to chat and encourage him as he started the journey to recovery. 

Two weeks after my dad's stroke, Joel proposed. 

The back story is that Joel had set up a time to have dinner with my parents and ask permission to marry me. The dinner never happened because the date that was set was just days after my dad's stroke. Joel loved me and my family well through that trial. He listened, served. and represented what a Godly man he is. 

My mom and dad encouraged Joel to still propose, even though my dad was still in the hospital recovering. They didn't want my dad's health to be a barrier to something wonderful happening. 

August 10th, I said yes to Joel's proposal. We settled on a winter wedding date and started planning for a December wedding. 

In that 4 month span, I gained 3 more nieces and a nephew. Ha - my sister in law had twin girls the last week of August, then she and my brother's adoption waiting game finally came to an end. 

I spent a month and a half living up in Ames with my dad while my mom was out of the country. My mom was in the Congo with my brother trying to get his two kids' adoption documents finalized so they could come home. A process we initially guessed to take a few weeks turned into 40 days of praying, waiting, and trusting God to move. 

I flew out to the East Coast to present an Account Review for the main account I work on the first week of October. It was a great opportunity to stretch my comfort level and strengthen my analytic portfolio. I was terrified, but it went really well (better than I expected!). 

Joel and I made it through another turnaround for his work. I saw another great friend get married -- Amy and Dan are on the left. They got married in November. Amy and I work together -- we had a great time planning winter wedding concurrently. I've been so encouraged by her. 

Our whirlwind 4 month engagement passed (rather quickly!!), and we got married December 14th. Highlights of the day were sunshine, a bit of snow falling, my dad being able to walk me down the aisle, my brother performing the wedding ceremony, and the 16 piece live band at the reception. 

(wedding pics by Libby Asay Studios)

THEN Joel and I went on a honeymoon to Punta Cana. 
Went straight from our honeymoon to Christmas in Iowa with my family. 
THEN drove up I-35 to our new house in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
We've spend the past few weeks getting our house to feel more like a home. It finally does. 

My life is full. Gloriously full. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sweet Summertime

The day finally came! After the epic paper chain countdown at work -- I got to see Joel. My co workers were so fun to celebrate the happy day with me!! Joel and I spent all of Memorial Day weekend together. Fun times including his cousin's wedding, two different days out on the water (I got up wakeboarding!), finding some new favorite restaurants in Minneapolis, brunch with my best friend Steph and her husband, and a 3:30 AM trip to the airport to send me off on my next program.  
Mary and I spent 16 days in sunny Puerto Rico for our program. I was super thankful to be paired with such a fun co-worker for such a LONG trip! We made it through unscathed. We were both DEFINITELY ready to be home once the trip was done. 
When I got back from my trip -- Joel and I had another weekend together! I'm getting spoiled with all of the together time this summer. No complaints here -- I'll soak it while I can. He makes wakeboarding and wakesurfing look a LOT easier than I do. He's a pro! 
BIKE RIDES! What? I like bike riding?! Yes, I do. Most recent favorite thing has been the Taco Tuesday ride. It's a nice 16-17 mile round trip ride from the South side of Des Moines to Cummings, IA. The special treat?! Fat Tire beer on draft and Tacopocalypse tacos as a reward. 
I had no idea that Thursdays at Jasper Winery were such a big deal--but they are! I went with friends and saw the crazy lines of cars waiting to park. 
More Bike Rides. We survived (BARELY) the WAR Ride from Waukee to Redfield and back. If you know me at all, you probably know that I don't do so well in super hot/humid weather. Add my longest bike ride to date to upper 90s weather with a head wind? Yeah - those 39 miles felt like 80! Having a boyfriend that can ride like a pro a few short weeks after getting a road bike is good for my pride. I definitely took a long nap after the ride. Fun bonding time with Joel and Helzer, though. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Jesus continues to remind me of his faithfulness. 
  • Seeing Melissa be pregnant (with TWINS) and now waiting with my brother for the two adopted kiddos after years of waiting and praying. Crying out to God to answer -- he was answering. in HIS time. 
  • In my moments or days of doubting if I can handle a long distance relationship -- He reminds me that no, I can't - but HE can. A long distance relationship will continue to stir fear, insecurity, and loneliness every moment I focus on ME. When my eyes are on Christ as my fullness, Christ as my future, Christ as my timeline, Christ as my identity, Christ as my goal -- then my fears or aches to know what's coming fade. I know that my future is to pursue Christ. That is more than enough. It's a lesson in learning to loose my grip on knowing all and leading my future and letting Joel lead us. It's laying down my pride and my fear of what is to come, and trusting Joel to lead me through it as we pursue Christ together. 
  • Spring is finally here. Well - kind of. Spring sort of got left by the wayside with the MAY snow storm and quick ushering in a week later of 90 degree temperatures. Even if it's delayed, even if it's not by my timeline, even if it makes me laugh--- the season do change. They come when the time is right for the creator of the universe. He is faithful. 

The last month in pictures: 

Site visit to Cancun

So beautiful!! 

I could get used to this...
Work fun
Wine and Canvas- fun, moderately stressful for  'type A' folks (read: all of my coworkers and me)

Helped throw a bridal shower for a co-worker -- hosted at my apartment. 
Sangria station!!

The lovely bride is on the right - Jess! 

Epic baking fail...but I got a new oven out of it!! It pays to take lots of pictures -- my cupcake failure picture helped convince my property management company that my oven really was broken. 

Wedding weekend for aformentioned co-worker


Baby shower for my sister in law and a weekend of family fun. 

59 days of waiting to see countdown is now at 3 more days. I'm VERY ready to actually get to see him in person and hug him. I'm so thankful for technology that has allowed us to keep talking /seeing eachother / texting / video messaging etc throughout this season apart. It has caused a few semi-awkward moments (what? Me? no I'm not taking awkward selfies repeatedly -- I'm actually sending a video message to my boyfriend. I didn't see you on the sidewalk. I usually check for other people so I don't have an audience.). 

There are only 3 RINGS left on my "days til I see him" paper chain countdown :) 
Flowers from him. They came the day of the snowstorm (see next picture)