Tuesday, February 21, 2012

POST #6 Good intentions and the Beginning, Again

So I made some well-intentioned comment about ahem... (whispered) "14 posts on love" a while back, and while I believe one should "swear to their own hurt, and change not," this obviously doesn't apply to one's blog, does it? Anyhoo, I have been knee-deep in homeschool research for next school year. Truly.

February 19, 2000, Nathan drove me to the beautiful nearby Guntersville Lake, and he popped the question. And he kissed me for the first time. There are two audiences reading this: one, saying "What?! You kissed before the wedding?!" (to you, I'm sorry I've let you down) and the other, saying "What?! You didn't kiss until you got engaged?!" (to you, I'm not sorry I've let you down- haha!) In the interest of full disclosure, neither of us had ever kissed anyone before and neither of us were impressed with that first experience. Let's just say, there were no sparks or heel-lifts. Maybe we were just too cold to feel anything. It was February, after all. At a LAKE. He gave me a beautiful engagement watch with a personal inscription on the back. It was a bit large for my bony arm, but my uncle was a watchmaker, and he had it display-worthy in no time :o)

Back I went to college. I had some incredibly ridiculous notion that I MUST have a Spring wedding. And that Spring was obviously out, since I was in the middle of a school semester. So we waited 14 MONTHS to tie the knot! Not my recommendation for anyone, by the way. Did I mention 'incredibly ridiculous?' All for the colors I wanted in my pictures?! Sigh.

After that semester, I began working at my old job at a Spanish translator to pull together some funds. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, and my goal was not to walk down the aisle with one either. So we went as frugal as we could, and I paid for a lot of it myself. And then there was the blessing of the produce manager who happened to love the church I was to be married in, who gave me the finest of fruits and veggies of the season. A whole buggy full for $25.00!!!

We spent weekends together as much as we could, spending many hours walking and walking and talking and talking! And putting together puzzles. And playing Rook by the hours with the Greg Makcen family. Those were sweet days.

April 7, 2001, we were married on a beautiful SPRING day! I found out that day from my grandmother that it was also her and my deceased grandfather (Ponder Frederick)'s anniversary. That held a special significance for me as I never had to privilege to know him. My other grandfather passed away the Monday before my wedding. Dad Brown momentarily stepped on the train of my dress, the flower girl and Bible bearer (who wore WHITE socks with his black suit- agh!) fussed all the way down the aisle, my cake leaned, the candles leaned, my sister Chelsea vomited from stress (she's going to kill me- good thing she never reads my blog ;o), and the day was still perfect.

And just before they all waved goodbye, my 80-something year old aunt popped her head between ours and began giving me the 'birds and bees' talk. Yep, just perfect! ;o)

Almost 11 years later, I'm still learning and growing in this amazing thing called love. The commitment is unconditional for us, and the joy of learning about each other is still happening. And just in case, you were wondering (which you weren't, of course), the kisses have definitely improved ;o)! And that was the beginning!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


The Decision

My first semester at college was busy. A mercy I must say, since I had a lot on my mind. When Nathan's birthday came around in October, I knew it was time. We had never told each other that 3 word phrase, the "I love you!" We had decided not to say it unless we were absolutely sure, and we were planning to marry. So I threw that bombshell into my one letter of communication for the semester. Then that reciprocal phrase ended up in my little mailbox, and the roses came and the phone call of one very relieved young man. That Christmas was the best I'd ever had. What a joy to have finally found the one, to never have to look again. To never worry about the decision of marriage again. And he held my hand. And it was oh, so sweet.

He flew me home from Hobe Sound in February for my birthday, and his secret engagement plans (more on that later). As Heather Dickinson mentioned in her love story post, this was all pre-9/11. There was always something so poignant about those last few minutes at the gate, at the window. And something so thrilling about watching your love's plane land safely and looking for them to come up the ramp. Such sweet memories that hanging out at baggage claim don't seem to be able to create...

Thursday, February 09, 2012


And then it all fell apart, and then it all came together

Nathan and I dated for a couple of years. We spent hours on the phone and less hours together in person. He was a busy engineering student at UA, so a lot of our relationship was long-distance.

(By the way, long-distance relationships get a bad rap, so let me just say: They have more pros than cons in my book. So much time communicating, learning to communicate, ironing out the relationship without the distraction of sexual temptation. What is accepted as 'the way it's done' in the area of physical affection in dating relationships is not healthy... That's a whole can of worms I'd better not touch right now ;o)

The summer of '98, I went on a TLC trip to Bolivia. That meant one week in Boot Camp in the South Floridian wilds (with snakes and armadillos), followed by 3 weeks traveling through and ministering in La Paz. God had been poking at my heart for some time- you know, that little stick He uses to stir up restlessness and concern. Ugh. Tim Keep preached a message during Boot Camp regarding putting God first, total surrender of our desires and plans. That was the service that God asked me if I would be willing to give up Nathan for Him. I remember my response clearly, "I'll give you everything, anything you want, but please, please, please, don't touch the guy." After 3 weeks away with virtually no contact with Nathan and lots of contact with the Father, His request couldn't have been any clearer. This was a test of my character. So I did the right thing. And it was horrible. No guy wants to hear, "God asked me to break up with you." Never comes out right. I never thought I'd see him again, nor did I have the Father's permission to even dream of that possibility. I began making plans for attending Bible College, preferably not the one his parents worked at (at 18, that seemed HUGE and very awkward), and for working with Spanish translation ministries. I even had an application in at a college in Texas where I was planning to transfer after my time at Hobe Sound. Nathan was far, far away.

My senior year of high school was ghastly. I had peace in my heart regarding my decision, but a huge, great hole for Nathan that only seemed to get larger and larger. I was beginning to suspect that God was placing a love for him in my heart, which I thought was horribly unfair, since I was never going to see him again. (Turns out that Nathan was having a very similar experience around the same time, although I had no clue.)

At his mother's request (who did have a clue), he attended my high school graduation, and then at my mother's request (who had a pretty big clue about my heart), our family's 4th of July get-together. We walked and talked all around a huge ballfield of people with lawn chairs, blaring country music and fireworks. We both felt that God might be re-opening the door for a relationship that put Him at the top, but we weren't sure. We decided to spend the fall semester (my first college semester) praying about it, with just one contact allowed for Nathan's birthday in October (my request). I do remember one rather awkward moment, when he asked me specifically if I thought we should get back together. He had walked me to my car in the rain, and was holding the umbrella over the open driver's window as we talked. I blurted out, "If I date you again, I'm going to marry you!" I was mortified, rolled the window up as fast as I could, and sped away. Awkward:o)