Monday, January 21, 2013

The Year Agos: Major Crushing

As I walked around the corner from my meeting, I squealed with delight over my best friend sitting in the office. This was her first visit to my new Tulsa home, and it could not have happened at a better time. I gushed on and on about how great Tulsa was, but,  most importantly, how cute this new boy was. I couldn't wait for her to meet him.

Driving to his house where we would meet him for dinner, I carefully gave Kaylee strict instructions.

"Watch him. Tell me what you think. Does he like me? Is he just being nice? Is he interested?"

I was very concerned, and this was a job only a best friend could complete. 

Dinner with him and his roommate went well, and then began the long drive out to the party. Adam had invited both Kaylee and I to this party where we were pretty sure we would not know anyone. (Looking back makes this even funnier because the girl throwing the party is now in my wedding and I am in hers. I love her dearly and am so thankful she is one of my closest friends.) 

Kaylee, being the amazing best friend that she is, took the backseat with Adam's unknown friend so I could have the front seat with my new crush. And thus began one of the funniest car rides of my life. Adam played some of his favorite band (OneRepublic) for me while I listened, ooohed, and ahhhed over how great they were. We giggled about various things and generally both felt extremely nervous.

Kaylee, on the other hand, listened to a long debriefing over weather balloons and breaking the sound barrier. She definitely won the best friend award for the night, taking one for the team.

After the party (which went well), Kaylee and I compared notes on whether or not he might actually be interested. We still couldn't figure it out, and I was going insane! 

Saturday was a new day with new invitations and communications to analyze. If I had known where this was all leading, I might have stepped back to take a breath and chill out. But, alas, I freaked out as was normal for those days.

We all went to a basketball game on Saturday night. On the way there, my friend Kim informed us about several things Adam-related. Most importantly, that he LOVED karaoke. I could handle that. 

The rest of the weekend pretty much flew by in a giddy blur. I was definitely crushing on this Delta guy I had met the week before. Where it would lead? I had no idea. Was I scared? Absolutely. But that didn't stop me from jumping in with both feet. Probably because the Lord had a much bigger plan than I did. He could see the next year, today, while I was stuck seeing the year ago. And isn't that almost always the case? 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Year Agos: Getting Giddy

When the phone rang with the unknown number, I somehow already knew who it was. But I ignored it because I was a guest in someone's home. This incredibly sweet woman had taken me under her wing, and we watched the Bachelor every Monday night. That night, I had stayed later than planned and was surprised by the phone call. 

The moment I left the house, I listened to the message from the mystery caller. And my heart stopped.

It was a boy!!

A boy called me. Even though it's what I suspected when the phone rang, the reassurance of the male voice coming from the other end of the line was enough to make my heart do weird things inside my chest.

"Hi. This is Adam Parkhurst from church. I got your number from Kelsey. I was just calling to see if you wanted to come watch "How I Met Your Mother" and the Thunder game with me, Spencer, and Kelsey. We're hanging out at my house. Call me back if you get this."

For the 20 seconds I was hearing his voice, I don't know if I could breathe. A boy called me!! 

So I promptly called my best friend... who didn't answer. I left a frantic, probably mostly unintelligible, message about how some boy from church had called me and I didn't know what to do. And then immediately called my other best friend. Who said... "Call him back." Oh. Right. I had to react somehow. Cue the vastly increased heart rate.

I dialed the number and waited for whatever would follow. And you know what? I don't remember if he answered or I left a message. I remember exactly where I was driving and what I said. (Because I had written the script in my mind before even dialing the number.) But the neurons in my brain were firing so quickly and erratically that I have no idea whether I actually talked to him or not. 

I remember saying I would love to hang out with them another time when my schedule permitted. And I remember going home and convincing myself that this kind man was just being nice to the new girl. I went to sleep that night reassuring myself that he was just a nice guy with no intentions.

Skip to Wednesday.

I didn't know where church was or which class to attend. I texted Kelsey, but she had other duties at church that night. I only had one other number of anyone who went to the same church. While hesitating for many minutes, holding the phone in my hand with the already written text, I finally sent it.  I let Adam know I didn't know where church was or where to go. So we started to set up a game-plan via text.

As I was texting him back, he called me, wanting to see if I had eaten dinner yet. I conveniently had not so we made plans to meet at Wendy's. 

Pep-talks from both best friends ensued and I made my way to an unknown place of town with knots in my stomach. I didn't know if I would even recognize him! 

But as I walked into the Wendy's, I saw him still in his work clothes, with a red sweater layered over a dress shirt. And oh. my. word. He was so attractive. My only thought as I walked into the restaurant? "I'm in trouble."

We talked all throughout dinner and then went to church. We ended up not sitting by each other, but that in no way meant we stopped looking at each other. Our eyes met across the circle many times throughout class that night, and every time they did I got a little more excited. He began class that night with a short thought and a prayer, and I thought I was going to fall out of my seat. He was so attractive! 

After church, a bunch of people went to Buffalo Wild Wings and we accompanied them. When it came time for me to leave, I very conveniently failed to mention I owned a GPS device and let Adam tell me how to get home. I left with instructions to call him if I got lost and text him when I got home.

I did get lost. I did call. I did text when I got home.

And I did get extremely giddy. This cute boy paid attention to me! But nothing could happen, right? I was just the new girl in town. He was just being nice. 

But it sure was fun to get giddy. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Year Agos: At First Glance

A year ago today, I had trouble finding the house. I was using my GPS, but it sometimes takes me to wrong locations. I stepped out of the car and began walking to the house when I heard someone call my name from down the street. Luckily, she had been there before and knew which house it was.

The email said to bring dinner with you so I stopped at Sonic before arriving. I clutched my Sonic bag as I walked into the unknown house with what seemed like a crowd of people staring at me. There wasn't a place at the table and I didn't know if it was okay to eat in the living room. Heck. I didn't even know who owned the house! So I quietly took my Sonic bag to the kitchen where I ate at the counter.

On the drive over, I had given myself a pep talk. 

"Be yourself. You have nothing to lose here. You'll make friends."

As I stood in the kitchen eating my Sonic and drinking my limeade, people I knew finally arrived. Familiar faces in a see of unfamiliarity. We sat by the fireplace before the devo started, talking and laughing as friends are known to do. 

They were explaining to me who everyone was and giving small backstories on each person when Kelsey said, "See that guy? He went to OC. Guess what club he was in." I barely recognized the guy from a party I had been to a couple days earlier at Kelsey's house. I remembered him being super nice and friendly to everyone.

So I guessed a couple clubs before Kelsey finally had to tell me...


The club known on campus for... well let's just say they weren't necessarily known for their saintly attributes. They were also the club that caused the most headaches in all my Spring Sing years.

There was no way this nice boy sitting across the room from me was in Delta. I had to talk to him. 

So I called him over. 
And I don't really remember the rest of the night after that.

I know we talked about music we liked. And I know this Delta guy and his roommate made fun of the way I said "limeade." I know I left my Sonic toy as a gift for the men who lived at this house. And I know as I was leaving the house I was on the phone with my best friend. I was saying goodbye to two of the guys who lived at the house (one being the Delta boy), and I hear this from the other end of the line...

"Who are you hitting on??"

I don't remember what I said. I don't remember what caused her to say that in the first place. I do remember leaving a little more hopeful that night. Maybe I would fit in here in Tulsa. Maybe I would make friends and find my niche. But thoughts of dating anyone were still pretty far from my mind. 

That is, until a phone call I received the next night...

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year Agos*: New Year's Eve

I wrote a post one year ago today describing my fall of 2011 and what would be the beginnings of my 2012. The post was short and sweet, seemingly because there was so much to fit in I couldn't possibly write about all of it. I wrote about OU games I had attended and different things that had happened with my schooling. About interviewing for a job, getting a job, and moving.

What I didn't write about, but probably should have, was the crazy mix of emotions fighting to overtake my poor heart. I was scared, hurting, excited, longing, anxious, and a whole host of other things. I ended my year of trust to begin my year of patience, knowing exactly what the new year would look like.

I would move to Tulsa, struggle to make friends, be taught lots of lessons in patience in my classroom and personal life, and long for the husband that wouldn't come for many years. I would rely on God while becoming a fully independent woman who would have to be patient waiting for her life to start. That was a year ago.

But today I sit writing this post looking at a diamond ring on my finger. I am sitting in a house with 2 roommates after celebrating life with an abundance of wonderful friends. I frequently have control over my classroom and am out living life.

Bottom line? 
I was wrong.

A year ago today, I had no idea what would happen to me. But my God did. He taught me to have patience in conversations, to actually wait for another person to speak and listen to them when they did. He taught me to be independent in a way that allows me to be dependent on Him and the beautiful people He has put in my life. He taught me to love myself regardless of who or what was in my life.

2012 has absolutely been the best year of my life. From start to finish. But a year ago today, I was preparing for the worst.

Good thing I'm often wrong and God is always right.

*This post begins a series of posts I will be doing entitled "The Year Agos." Specifically, I would like to walk through last January and February looking at how intimately God was working in my life to bring me to my future husband. Feel free to read along as I recount this tale for my future children and family to look back on to see the legacy of love God is building for them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Is it March 16th Yet???" or "The Reason I Finally Cracked and Joined a Gym"

I love Adam. I can't wait to marry him. But I could definitely do without wedding planning. It's even driven me to this:

 Yep. You're seeing that correctly. I've joined a gym. And I don't think it will be long before I'm addicted.

One hour of no mention of dresses or colors or flowers or venues or photographers or cakes or anything that starts with a "w."

I could definitely get used to that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Man of My Dreams

I got ready for my Friday night double-date with more anticipation and giddiness than would be considered normal for a double-date. But I had my suspicions. Could this be the night? Was I about to be asked one of the most important questions of my life? 

My excitement turned into confusion as a text from my best friend informed me she would be at a rehearsal dinner that evening. Wouldn't she be coming to Tulsa if this was the exciting night I dreamed it would be? 

My confusion grew as I arrived at the restaurant and half of the other couple was already there, waiting for the food she had already ordered for us all. After all, we did have to get to the movie (which I really had no desire to see) at 7:15. Both of our boyfriends were running late. As the minutes crept by, my appetite crept away. I didn't want to be disappointed - I was still on a date.

But then two people walked around the corner to sit at our table. Two people I was not expecting. Two people who had shared so much in my journey. As the two people, including my best friend (who had so conveniently lied), sat at our table I became speechless. 

I knew the time was here. I was about to start the journey I had been waiting for my whole life.

We quickly ate dinner before I was whisked away on my treasure hunt. Kaylee had given me the first piece of my map and my first clue and task. So off we went to Starbucks to buy a hot chocolate.
And then to the place I first met Adam. Waiting for me there was one of my dear, dear friends who had introduced me to that man the first time. A night I don't really remember due to the fatigue of my first day of school. As I hugged my dear friend, I thought back on all of those first months.
 Our first date.
 Our first months together.
 Getting to know how goofy he really was.
 Falling in love with a hard-working man.
Learning each other from the very beginning. 

Coming back to the present where I was experiencing the most romantic night of my life, I read the clue in that first exact spot I spoke with the future love of my life. And then off we went to the place of our first date. As we drove I remembered that night and how nervous we both were at the beginning. But how we decided to just have fun. Boy, did we have fun! We laughed and joked, flirted and told stories. We played Guitar Hero and he learned just how competitive I was.

At our next stop, I was presented with 3 men who have walked with Adam in his journey.
Can we just take a moment to notice the crazy amount of gold and maroon? One word: Delta.
Which made me start to think about the beginning and the way we each wove the other into our already full lives.
 Going to concerts with friends.
 Heading to political something or others. 
(I'm not really into the whole political thing.)
 Changing preconcieved ideas for the man my heart adored.
 Introducing best friends who allowed me to gush day in and day out.
 Making new friends and doing new things.
Being goofy while saying goodbye (and starting 2 of the absolute hardest weeks of this year). 

Bringing my mind back again, I headed off to a bookstore where Adam once so lovingly waited while I searched through hundreds of octavos. Upon arriving at the store, I was panicky. It was closed!! I wasn't going to get my clue! What was I supposed to do?!?

Then two people so dear to my heart stepped around the corner.
These roommates who shared all of college with me. Who held me while I cried wondering if a love story would ever happen to me. Who I watched say yes to their husbands while I cried tears of joy from them. They handed me the last clue which said I had to walk the last few paces alone.

This was it. He would be waiting for me there.

The tears started in the car and probably didn't stop the rest of the night. I thought about everything we had shared the past 8 1/2 months.
 Adam walking me all the way through the hardest training of my life.
 Falling in love with his family.

 Waking up at 5:00 AM to get breakfast on my birthday.
 Learning the other's reactions and feelings.
 Finding precious baby animals.
 Surprising him on his birthday.
 More family love. (I mean, really, aren't they just beautiful?)
 Celebrating 6 months together.
 Football games.
 Ice cream.

I arrived at the "X-marks-the-spot" to candles, roses, and romantic music. Walking the path, I discovered a treasure chest filled with gold coins. But, more precious than that, were the memories written on the coins. Treasures he had gathered from our precious time together.

After reading the beautiful letter he had left, I turned to face the man of my dreams. As tears filled our eyes, we were rendered speechless by the momentous occasion. Eventually there was nothing else to say or see and he knelt on one knee asking me the easiest question I've ever heard. I said yes and held out my hand waiting for that sparkly ring. We held each other as Jimmy Needham played. He sang in my ear.

We went back inside to squeal with all the friends waiting there. Ok, I squealed. He... talked? I was a little consumed with the squealing.

Riding back to my house, we swapped our different stories of the night. I called one of my best friends but had to hang up when I saw my parents car in the driveway. We walked into a house filled with our friends and family.

When I was little, I played wedding all the time, putting the armrest cover over my head as a veil. But, unlike many little girls, I didn't dream of how my wedding would look. I spent my time dreaming of the man I would marry.

I wanted him to be strong, funny, goofy, loving, hard-working, caring, and so much more. There was a time, especially in college, when I was convinced that man would never happen for me, but I am so glad I was wrong.

I am engaged to marry the man of my dreams. The man my parents have been praying for all these years. The man who makes my heart flip when he walks in the room. The man who loves God and loves me. The man who is going to share the rest of my life.
I. Can't. Wait.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Being a Teacher is Hard

And there is no way around that.

I feel like I hear stories all the time that end with the teacher saving some student's life or being the mother figure in the kid's life or changing the world with her music.

Let me clarify:

Yes. That happens. It's possible it has even happened already in my classroom. But, at least right now, at least for me, that is not the norm.

The norm looks more like this:

I walk into my school at 7:03 AM and already have 4 girls waiting outside my door for rehearsal. Early morning, no water, middle school girl rehearsal. Voices are whining and screeching and complaining rehearsal. Eyes are heavy rehearsal. Spirits are weary from the early hour rehearsal.

We sing through all our audition pieces and it is no surprise that only 1 of now 6 students has practiced since last week. I struggle through the songs with them, teaching notes I've taught at least a dozen times.

7:50 hits as the bell rings to go to class. I frantically head to the copier to make copies. Even though I was there until 5:00 PM the day before, I forgot to make copies. Again.

Copies in hand, I return to my first hour chaos. And chaos is usually the most appropriate choice of words.

I struggle, laugh, cry, sing, yell, and talk my way through 6 hours of classes. Six different times I let myself get frustrated. Six times I listen as my choirs and classes aren't quite where I want them. Some days it is six different times I lose control.

7th Hour comes and I welcome the silence that is Planning Period... until I look at the massive to-do list on the never-ending sticky on my laptop. 

And the reality is - I never get it done.
I never finish everything on my to-do list.
I always forget one so very important item.
I always feel a little more behind each day.

There is always something else. There is always an extracurricular activity I have to attend. Or a concert for which I need to prep. Or a fundraiser I need to count.

And when it all boils down this chilly Fall Break - I am tired. 

I am tired of to-do lists. Tired of the feeling of inadequacy that haunts me. Tired of the forgotten things sneaking up on me, making my stomach hurt.

Yes. Being a teacher is hard. But, using one of the most valuable tools I gained from my Pathways training, it is only hard. It's not too hard (although many days it seems that way). It's just hard.

And I can do hard.

So Monday I will walk into my school at 7:03 to the weary faces of middle school girls forced to wake up before 7:00 AM. I will have an all-day rehearsal on Monday, a concert on Tuesday, a fundraising delivery on Wednesday, and an all-day audition process on Saturday. I will be tired. I will feel inadequate.

But I will rest in the fact that my identity is not in the things I do and don't do at school. I am a strong, beautiful, confident woman who can make my own decisions because that's how God made me.

I will rest in the I AM who made my "I am" part of His story.