Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love and stuff.

As you know, this past Monday was Valentine's Day! I'm not gonna lie . . . I was pretty stoked about celebrating our first Valentine's Day together as husband and wife! :)

On our first Valentine's Day together in 2006, I awoke to find this on my drive to school at RSU:

This year, I came home from work to a beautifully prepared dinner with candles, seafoood pasta, garlic bread, and sparkling cider! It was delicious and oh so perfect. :)

He's the best. :)

It is such an incredible blessing to be able to celebrate holidays together, and, really just to be married, after the struggles of long-distance. I was talking to a few other girls from our lifegroup and we had a conversation about the benefits of a long-distance relationship. While I am not denouncing the difficulty or challenges faced in a long-distance relationship, I do think there are some lessons and blessings that God teaches through them. So here's a little encouragement to any of you currently enduring an LDR (Shortened, sorry! Too much to type!).
First, when you are in an LDR, there is a bond of trust that must be developed. Our mutual trust of each other allowed us to be at peace even though we couldn't physically be a part of each other's day in any way. Over that time, our trust in each other grew, and I feel like that has significantly blessed us in our marriage as well as we learn to make decisions together because we trust each other's judgement. We proved faithful to each other in long-distance and continue to do so daily in our marriage.
Next, we developed an incredible strength to communicate with each other. Again, because we couldn't spend time together and hang out, we spent time communicating via phone and webcam. And thank goodness for webcam! I owe a debt of gratitude to the genius who helped develop that. But I'm getting off topic. :) I know some are in situations where even phone and webcam are privileges. But no matter the situation, we learned to be clear and honest with our words, because words are all you have (and the occasional goody box, of course) when you can't actually hang out. Again, as we live together and make decisions together, communicating (while it can still be a struggle) is a skill that we have been able to develop significantly over the last 4 1/2 years prior to marriage.
Another benefit I feel that Brent and I gained was God's gift of time.With both of us in school, and being apart, we were able to focus the majority of our time on school and our educations. We were able to grow independently of each other, towards the people God wanted us to be, without feeling pressure of time or purpose. We were able to develop lasting God-given friendships and work hard to achieve meaningful educations. Without the time-constraints of a regular relationship, we were able to dedicate our lives to God's purpose for us at that time. I look back now and think about how difficult it would have been to split time between Brent, my studies, my amazing friends, church, and family. I don't know how people do it! I count it as a blessing to have had the time to dedicate to all these things that were very important at the time and made me able to do what I'm doing today. God has a purpose for every season of our lives, and I definitely saw it during this time as well.
Finally, being in an LDR made marriage just that much more fun and exciting! We don't get bored or irritated with each other easily because, hey, we're living in the same place! That's just so cool. I don't feel like we take time with each other for granted because it was so far in between visits until that blessed day in July. :) I look forward to getting off work each day just knowing that I get to spend the evening with Brent.
So, I guess I rambled about that for so long because I want others to realize that God has a specific plan and reason for every trial in every season of your life. For those of you in an LDR, I know all too well the difficulty you face each day. However, being on the other end of it, I want you to know, without a doubt, that every bit of it is worth it. God will bless your relationship beyond what you can imagine because you have trusted him with this area of your life, even though it's not the easy road. Hang in there, friends.

I'd like to wrap up by saying thanks to Cheri for the award! :) That made me smile!

I hope each of you is having a lovely weekend and watching for how God is blessing you in your life!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Special guests.

Last weekend brought the arrival of my parents! They managed to escape the blizzard conditions (barely) and enjoy the blissful weather of Maryland (a heat wave compared to OK!)

A few people have asked how their visit was, and I always respond with "It was wonderful! But I'm exhausted because it seemed like we were going the whole time!" Indeed, there is much to see here! It has been such a big change to just be close enough to so many cool historical things. I like it! I'll share some photos from our adventures.

We began our day on Friday with the Air and Space Museum (part of the Smithsonian). There were some pretty cool things there, including a rock from the moon! I got to touch it! (Insert little kid excitement here) There were lots of big planes and rockets and stuff too. You'll have to ask Dad and Brent about those . . . I can't say I know much more except that there were . . . planes and rockets and stuff. :)

From the Air and Space Museum, we headed across the National Mall to the National Museum of American History. En route, we passed the U.S. Capitol Building! We noticed it was a lot warmer near the capitol than it was anywhere else with all that hot air! (Thanks to Brent for that one! teehee)

The American History museum was my favorite stop of the day. I just loved seeing all of the things that belonged to our former presidents. The coolest thing we saw was the hat Lincoln was wearing the night he was assassinated at Ford's Theater:

Another cool part of the museum for me . . . Julia Child's kitchen! Don't worry, she owned a KitchenAid Mixer as well. :)

Saturday dawned foggy and gray but we didn't let the drizzle stop us! We headed south to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. This was such a cool thing to see. Visitors are able to walk through the house and see so much of what was originally in the house. The back of the house overlooks the Potomac. I think this was my favorite stop of the weekend.

That's Mount Vernon behind us!

Back side of Mount Vernon overlooking the Potomac

The back porch of Mount Vernon

On Sunday, we went to church and then had lunch at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Luckily, it was a much nicer day, and we enjoyed walking along the water after a yummy seafood lunch. Sunday night was their last night in MD, and what better way to spend it than watching the Super Bowl?! Watching the Packers win was a nice way to end their visit. :)

Even with all the cool stuff to do around here, having my parents come and visit makes me wish we were closer to home so we could do this more often. Come back soon, Mom and Dad!