Four years

Four years

Some days I want to say, “Four years? It’s already been four years?!” Others it’s more like, “Only four years? Feels like a lifetime…”

I met Husband almost exactly four years ago, when I first moved to Virginia. I was working as a writing coach at the university where I was just beginning my master’s program. He was working as a chef in the university cafe, managing the place in the evenings. We both worked the late shift, getting off at 9pm.

I barely remember the first time I met Husband. He came into the writing center to visit with a friend. We were introduced, but by the next time he came in I had already forgotten his name (oops).

He also made friends with another writing coach, my friend Rachel. More often than not, Husband came wandering into the writing center looking for Rachel, with a snack for Rachel, or a proposition for Rachel. Funny, though, how often he came looking for her on the nights she wasn’t working.

“Oh?” he would say. “She’s not here? Then, here, you can have this salad and garlic bread.”

It was good garlic bread.

A few weeks later he made plans to teach Rachel how to surf, and then asked if I wanted to come along as well. Funny how he scheduled the surf lesson for during fall break, when Rachel was making a trip home.

My first surf lesson

A few days after the surf lesson, we went kayaking. I was ecstatic to be making a friend in a local, not a transient student, but someone who could tell me where the best spots were and the best things to do. And he had kayaks, that didn’t hurt at all.

He was testing me, or so he would later admit. We kayaked for four hours that day, him wanting to see if I could keep up. Me just enjoying the opportunity to be out on the water.

That’s how it all started. Our friendship. Over the next few months there were a number of fun outings, breakfasts, and many, many late conversations at work.

Eventually I caught on. He asked me out. I made him wait three weeks for an answer.

Two weeks later we were talking about wedding dates.

Three months after that we were engaged.

Our engagement

Six more months and we were married. Exactly one year after that first surf lesson and kayak paddle.

Our wedding

Maybe that’s why the past four years feels like both an hour and a lifetime. Because it has all gone so fast, things have changed–are changing–at a rapid pace. And because of that, life today is so vastly different than it was four short years ago that it seems it must have always been this way.

I’m afraid the next four years will go just as quickly…more changes await us. Our first house, to start.

I want to stop and savor the moments. I want to go camping more. I want to sit and share a glass of wine more. I want to take long drives through the country just because. I want to do less and be more.

That seems my ever elusive goal.

Did I mention Husband first met my parents in the middle of a snow storm? In West Virginia? And we were all snowed into a tiny cabin together for three days? Another story for another time…

Snow storm

One month

One month

Has it already been a month?

Has it only been a month?

I can’t decide if it feels like just yesterday that you were laughing and smiling and telling jokes in our kitchen, or if it feels like a lifetime ago that we received the heart-wrenching news that you had been ripped from our lives.

Either way, we miss you.

It comes in waves, one day we are bolstered and anticipating the future, and the next we are on the verge of tears. Underneath it all is an indescribable sadness of missing you.

We miss your laugh, your deep voice, your indescribable joy. We miss your steadiness, your sacrificial love. We miss you.

Husband and I long for the day we will see you again. Until then, we must go on with the business of living…

With Michael at my wedding

But I will never forget this hug. We love you.

Two wonderful years

Two wonderful years

Dinner together

Three years ago this very week I went kayaking with a new friend. Two years ago today, I married him. You can read a little more about how that all evolved here.

Husband and I have had a beautiful two years of marriage–I find it impossible to sum it up in a single post. Over the past two years we have been stretched, we have grown individually and in unity, we have learned ever more what it means to put Christ at the center of our marriage, and we have learned to put our trust ever more in God to see us through struggles.

I can only pray for many, many more years of growing and changing and learning together.

In honor of what we consider a sacred commitment to each other and our Lord, we have taken every opportunity over the past week to celebrate, remember and simply be together…

Rose petals

Second anniversary

Flowers from husband

More flowers from Husband

Breakfast together

Last year we headed to the mountains to go camping, this year we stuck closer to home, spending a little time in historic Smithfield, Va.

Smithfield Station

Long walks with Husband

Kayaking together

A country sunset bike ride.

Delicious baked apple and ice cream.

A souvenir plaque from Smithfield adorns our bedroom.

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love

I know, I’m more than a little late getting to this one.

In my defense, I was in the middle of a battle graduate school when this movie was released (and subsequent increased book popularity occurred). In fact, my list of books to read grew longer and longer as I trudged through my texts. Then came freedom.

As soon as graduation was over, I grabbed the first in a stack of books I had collected over the past three years–enter Eat, Pray, Love.

Of course, by this time I had already seen the movie. In fact, it kept me motivated while working on a number of graduate papers and even my thesis. So I was beyond ready to try the book.

Similar to what I had discovered in the movie, I found within the pages of this book motivation, intelligence, discovery. Elizabeth Gilbert dared to ask, and seek out answers to, some of the most fundamental questions of human existence.

Life, love, pleasure, friendship, prayer, spirituality–nothing was too far out of her reach to pursue, and nothing was beneath her. I found her honesty and transparency refreshing. By the end of the book, she found herself in search of balance–a theme that I can more than identify with.

There is, however, one major disappointment with this book–Gilbert went looking for truth, but I don’t believe she found it. I believe that the answers to her questions are found not within ourselves, but with the One who created us and saved us–Jesus Christ. While I intellectually appreciate and even admire her quest and introspective boldness, I am saddened that she fell short of “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

In spite of that, Eat, Pray, Love is an interesting and thought-provoking read.

TC 3: Umbrellas

TC 3: Umbrellas

Am I allowed to be thankful for something as simple as umbrellas?

For many people, umbrellas merely mean rain, drizzle, bad traffic and things like that. And umbrellas mean that for me too. But umbrellas also bring back memories of the first kindling of love in my life.

You see, before I moved to Virginia, I really had no use for umbrellas. In undergraduate school I lived in Montana, where its so arid that it rarely rains. And then in Ohio I was working as a reporter, so I was already lugging around my messenger bag full of notebooks, recorders, camera, etc. I certainly wasn’t going to add anything as unnecessary as an umbrella to that.

Then I moved to Virginia just in time for fall. And Virginia in the fall is, well, wet. Especially that first fall, I think we broke a few records for rainfall those months…

I had commented to one of my new friends, a chef at the university, that I needed to get an umbrella to deal with all this rain. But, I told him, I didn’t want just any umbrella, I wanted a cute umbrella, a unique umbrella, an umbrella with style.

I don’t remember if it was days or weeks later, in fact, I’m not even sure if it was before or after we officially began dating, but sometime in the fall of 2009, we had one of the worst nor’easters I’ve ever seen. And it poured.

To my surprise, just before I had to walk out the door to head to class and work, a knock sounded. Do you know who it was?

It was the chef, holding brand new, brown striped umbrella.

And you know what? I smiled all the way I walked through the rain that day.

And today, as I walked through the rain into work again, carrying my brown striped umbrella…I thanked God for Husband and his thoughtfulness.