Saying Yes

Twelve years ago today, sweet BB got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. That story is here. Little did he know, what he was really asking was “will you travel internationally with two kids while you suffer through the flu?”

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Marriage for us has been a series of yeses. Some hard, some easy, some beautiful, some through clenched teeth. Some hard fought, some with tears and trepidation. Some with jumping up and down joy.

Will you make a home with me?

Will you adjust your family traditions?

Will you go into debt with me?

Will you stay up late arguing with me?

Will you laugh with me everyday?

Will you be tender with my heart and fears?

Will you encourage me when you don’t want to?

Will you sit in hard doctor’s visits with me?

Will you love my family through hard times?

Will you tell me I’m beautiful when I’m not?

Will you forgive me when I am unforgivable?

Will you provide for us while I follow my dreams?

Will you eat 7 foods for 30 days with me?

Will you sell everything and move to Rwanda with me?

Will you stay up all night with my sick kids?

Will you wake up covered un my sick kid’s vomit?

Will you make love to me when you are beyond exhausted?

Will you take risks with me?

Will you listen to me talk about work for hours and hours?

Will you let me tell you what to do (sometimes)?

Will you forgive me when I am late coming home from work (just got that text!)?

Will you continue to say yes to me even when it’s hard?

I admit. I often say no. I often want to say no. But I will keep trying to say yes. Because that’s what I said on that gorgeous sunny day May 11, 2003 even though I had no idea what I was getting into!

 

First came love, then came marriage

BB proposed to me on a Sunday afternoon in May of 2003. I reluctantly went to his apartment after being really mad at him for ditching our previously scheduled date that morning. When I arrived, he was standing in the middle of his apartment in his tuxedo. There was a chair surrounded by flowers. I could not have been more in shock had an elephant been in the room.

He told me to sit down. I started laughing in a really unattractive, uncontrollable way. He got down on one knee and said words I cannot remember. He popped the question, and I said “what?!?!” Then he whipped out a ring! I could not believe he had a ring. That was the most shocking part. I figured he had just come up with the idea to propose that morning (he’s not much of a planner). Eventually I got around to saying yes in between hysterical hyperventilating.

We were married exactly 5 months later in a gorgeous outdoor ceremony at my grandparents’ house and had our first fight as a married couple on our way back down the aisle and our second on the dance floor. It’s been marital bliss ever since. (You buyin’ it?)

Oh my. It’s been a road. It’s still a road. But I would do it again in a heartbeat. He is the love of my life. I love him for who he is and who he will be. I literally cannot wait for him to come through the door every day. I need to tell him every moment of my day (he loves that!!). Nine years ago I barely knew him, and today I’m still excited to learn more. He is endlessly interesting to me and makes me laugh constantly (not always with him, of course). I feel pity for all other people who are not married to him.

Happy anniversary to my knight, my hero, my lover, my friend.

Anniversary posts – Before Dating

We interrupt this last series of serious posts for a little lightness this week.  Thursday is our nine-year anniversary, so I will have a few posts about my sweetheart.  I think he needs a blog name other than DH.  Not that most of you don’t know who we are, but I don’t want people to be able to google his name and find all of his personal info on this blog.  He’s very important, you know.  Hmmm, what should I call him?  I kind of want to call him Prince because that’s what I often call him around the house.  But does that make you think he’s a slightly adrogynous pop singer? Or an entitled, spoiled monarch?  Perfect!  Prince it is.   Just kidding honey!  OK, it’s decided.  From here on out, BB will refer to my sweet, darling, nameless husband.  For those keeping track, Lucy is our dog.  She’s a terror and deserves a series of posts of her own.

For our first anniversary post, I’m going to take you back in time, to the time BD (Before Dating). BB and I were both students at the music school.  I was a new freshman having moved from a small farm town, and I had my heart set on becoming an international opera star.  BB was a mature (in my mind), older, first-year graduate student who wanted to be a classical singer but didn’t like opera.  Because BB had not studied music in undergrad, he had to take a lot of intro classes, thus putting us in the same classes.

I can’t say for sure the first time that I met him.  This memory has not been engraved in my mins.  I can tell you when I first realized he was super hot.  It was a really cold, snowy Chicago day, and I was standing in the school lobby.  BB came in wearing his big puffy down coat with his bright blue Reebok hi-top shoes and his 1985 stone-washed jeans (yes, it was 2001), which were rolled up since he had just gotten off his bike.  He pulled off his hot pink stocking cap to reveal his hot mess of thick brown curls sopping wet from a shower and a sweaty ride.  He bent down to get a sip of water, and it was lust at first sight.  You just had to be there.  I wish I had the technological ability to figure out how to post pictures to this blog, but I am a literary type and can’t follow directions.

So when did I determine that he was a lot of fun to hang out with?  BB’s closest friend in those days was also new to this music school and was a year ahead of me.  We’ll call him Nisky, because that’s what BB still calls him.  Nisky and I were friends as well so it didn’t take long before the three of us became friends.  In one class, the three of us generally sat together in the back.  Now, this class was awful and boring. To pass the time, BB and Nisky would pass inappropriate, vulgar drawings back and forth to each other to try and get each other to laugh out loud.  Often, these drawings would also end up on my desk as they attempted to break me.  I have always been a sucker for potty humor.

Another thing you have to understand about BB is that, at this time, the music school was not filled with your typical cool kids.  We were dorky, artsy types.  Not generally jocks.  Not particularly attractive or charming.  BB, former frat boy, having come from a normal four-year “real” college experience at a big university in the Southeast that had an actual football team, with brothers in San Francisco, old enough to drink alcohol, and having traveled Europe three times over, was the coolest thing I had ever seen.  Guys like that did not normally talk to me, let alone pass graphic drawings onto my desk and tell me that he thought I was the smartest person in the whole class.  [I know, he was pretty smooth.]  By the time I went home for Spring break my freshman year, I told my mom that I was going to marry him.

But that wasn’t all that was unique and charming about BB. Midway through the year, he invited me to attend a weekly Bible study at his apartment.  [Again, this guy is smooth.]  At the time, I was a recovering Catholic.  After 12 years of Catholic education and no real happiness or joy found there despite a lot of effort, I had sworn off religion for the joys of college freedom.  However, when a super hot older guy invites you to his apartment, you go no matter the pretext.  [If a future daughter is reading this, you should definitely NOT go, even if it’s for a Bible study; just ask your father about his motives.]

At those Bible studies, I really got to know BB as a person.  I got to see his heart.  He would open up to Romans and preach for an hour straight.  There were about 3-5 regular attenders.  Most of the attenders were Christians so maybe it wasn’t revolutionary stuff for them.  But I was hearing the gospel clearly for the first time, and I liked it.  Before long, I was home re-reading passages myself.  BB started giving me rides to the study, which gave us time to talk.  I was getting hooked on two beautiful men who changed my life.

 

 

Civil Rights Tour 2012

We are back from an awesome vacation to Tennessee and Alabama.  What an amazing trip filled with blessings from God, spiritual invigoration, intellectual stimulation, marital rejuvenation, and gastrointestinal delight.  (can you tell I’m working on expanding my vocabulary?)  Seriously though, the trip had it all.

We left on Tuesday morning and drove to Nashville (or Nash-Vegas, as my husband calls it).  We stayed at the Best Western downtown and walked to the strip.  We had some delicious bbq and then watched some live music at The Stage.  Wednesday morning we drove around Vanderbilt and then on to Birmingham.  In Birmingham, we toured the Civil Rights Institute, walked by the 16th Street Baptist Church, ate at Green Acres and stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast.  Thursday, we drove to Montgomery, saw the State Capitol, and visited the Dexter Ave. King Memorial Church and parsonage where the Kings lived while he was the pastor.  Our tour was conducted by a woman who is a member of Dexter Ave. and was while King was pastor.  She had some great stories to share!  Friday morning we had an amazing personalized tour of the First Baptist Church (and met Johnnie Carr’s daughter and son-in-law.  Johnnie Carr was a friend of Rosa Parks and a major Civil Rights leader – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnnie_Carr.)  We also toured a really cool ministry called Common Ground that works with kids in a lower income neighborhood in Montgomery (http://www.commongroundmontgomery.org/).    Then we drove to Selma and saw the site of Bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights Museum.  Saturday, we drove to Memphis and went to the incredible National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, walked Beale Street and ate delicious ribs.  After an uplifting time of worship at the St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, we drove to St. Louis to spend the evening with family.

These are just the facts, but the experiences and the feelings from the trip are hard to put into words.  We were face to face with the reality of racism in America, and it was not pretty.  We also met some incredibly inspiring and wise people who lived through the movement.  We were also convicted to take a serious look at our lives to see where we are turning a blind eye to (or actively engaging in) discrimination (based on race or anything else).  It’s so easy to look at the past generations and say that they were ignorant and we would have never acted in that way, but that’s just not reality.  We kept asking each other – where would we have been?  (And thus, where are we now?) Scary questions to ask.   I have so many thoughts on this stuff, but for now, that gives a taste.  The most important thing I learned was that this history is incredibly relevant and worth of exploration.  Those struggles and the current, ongoing racial struggles are now going to be mine more than ever since they will be the struggles of my children.  Turning a colorblind eye is no longer an option.

God so blessed us on this trip.  Historically, we have not vacationed particularly well, but we had some major breakthroughs on this trip.  One major change we made was budgeting.  We set a really realistic and firm budget that gave us lots of freedom to spend without worrying that we were out of control.  We also spent a time of time talking through our list of  life discussion items and worked on our 2012 Family Business Plan.  Plus, we got to celebrate our good news of court approval!

More to come…