Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Food: Friend or Foe?

I've decided that I need to be posting more regularly, like back when I first started this blog over a year ago. So that requires less serious topics at times, which those of you who have been gagging at all my emotional touchy-feely stuff lately will hopefully appreciate. Although I don't think that many of you are well, many in number. So now I'm rambling. On to today's thought.

It's rather silly really, but food has been on my mind a lot lately. Being a college student tends to get you the stereotype of always being hungry. I have one explanation for that, and I won't expound to point of insult, dining hall food. It leaves a lot to be desired. Since I've started working some evenings that require I miss dinner the dining hall is kind enough to pack me a sack lunch of my request for dinner. I get the feeling I'll be getting sick of Peanut Butter and Jelly by the time this semester is over. I hope our finances are such that Andy and I will have a few more choices than that, or I might go nutty (pun intended). I will admit that I'm rather bitter about my college not offering a meal plan. It's all or nothing here, and frankly, some days I'd rather have nothing. It would certainly be nice to only pay for say 10-15 meals a week and be able to cook in my room or elsewhere for the others. But if I do that now I feel guilty because I'm paying for food that I technically already paid for in the dining hall. I feel the same guilt when I don't make it to breakfast before class in the morning. Like somehow I've shorted myself and haven't gotten my money's worth.

As poor of a cook as I am (well actually it's just lack of experience) I do look forward to having our own home (apartment/home same thing) and cooking dinner most nights. Thankfully Andy is a great cook and a patient man when it comes to my cooking. I just need more experience and time to know what I'm doing. I don't cook bad things, I'm just limited as to what I know how to cook. 5 months from now we'll have been married for 3 weeks and hopefully neither one of us will be malnourished. Yes, Andy's a good cook so I could just let him cook, but something inside me, the nurturer and wife I guess, wants to do the cooking. We'll see if I still feel that after many trial and error meals.

There's also the issue of my eating habits. They vary quite a bit from Andy's. Yes, His are better. I will shamefully admit to being a picky eater, but I am trying to get better. Andy is ever encouraging me to try more things, and for him, well I'm working on it.
I've given myself a time frame of before we have our first child I need to be eating healthier and eating a larger variety of foods. That's my goal anyway. And like most things in life, it just takes doing. Which reminds me, I should go finish my homework.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Counseling, Flowers, and Valentine's Day

As I typed out the subject for my post, it suddenly occured to me that all three words have to do with my beloved Andy. I shall explain them in due time of course.

First of all, counseling being short for "Pre-marital Counseling" which has a pretty serious and joking tone about it at the same time. I think often our culture views Pre-marital counseling as something to get your marriage license cheaper or for less meaningful reasons. I choose to think of it as well, I'm not sure. It's definitely nice to get a big break on the cost that Minnesota requires to get married, but it's more than that. Andy and I had our first session of counseling yesterday, and it was really good. We started out by filling out a basic application/questionnaire kind of thing, which did ask us why we want to get married and what we expected out of counseling. And it was neat to discuss and learn about each other as well as see that we do share similar thinking on some important things such as mentioned above. I think overall though, it helped the reality of marriage sink in. We've been doing a lot of focusing on our future marriage lately, rather than our future wedding. I've noticed that marriage doesn't have to be as scary as I first thought.
I find myself lately buying and reading books that have "wife, marriage, love, etc..." in the title out of a desire to learn and grow, not out of fear of failure and misery forever. If there's anything I think Pre-Marital Counseling will do for Andy and I, I think it will keep our focus on God and assure us more every day that we are supposed to get married. I love that man, and as he drove out of town tonight, and I had to turn into school, I found myself hopeful for that day that he will become my husband. I also prayed for his safety as he drove home, for I don't know what I would do without him. He really is the love of my life.

As for flowers, I seem to be engaged to a wonderfully romantic man. Last week as we celebrated Christmas with his family (Yes, it was the middle of January, don't ask), he presented me with a much needed and desired 3-hole punch. Seriously, and it's what I wanted. And not only did he get me one, but he went all out and got the deluxe push handle version, where you just have to push one handle down and it does the work for you. Yes, I thought it was sweet. But he seemed to think it wasn't romantic enough, so I was also presented with the most beautiful bouquet of red roses I have ever seen, they reminded me of velvet.
Last night after he picked me up from work he took me out to eat for pizza. The restaurant was a pizza place and an ice-cream shop in one, I just thought they both sounded yummy. He remember how last week in South Dakota I wanted Ice cream so bad but we didn't have time to stop. Pretty sweet. And today, when he picked me up from work, there was a bouquet of flowers waiting on the truck seat for me. I love that man, not just 'cause he gives me stuff, but because he thinks about me when I'm not around, and shows that through those things.

Valentine's Day is almost here. I always thought it was a pretty useless and depressing holiday. Or else it was a test to see how satisfied and content people were being single. And now that I'm approaching my first Valentine's Day as part of a couple, I realize what a big deal it's NOT, except to single people. Yes, it's an excuse to go out together and celebrate love, but seriously, the only people that have pity for single people are well, single people. I don't look down on singles this year and go "Oh poor dears, well just have fun" or whatever the standard line I always heard was. No, if there is one thing I could say to my "table for one" friends out there, it's this, be patient, you will not be single for one day longer than God wants you to be. I know, easy for me to say from my "table for two" view, but really it's true.
I know, in this season where everyday you're reminded that you're not with "the one", it's hard not to feel lonely. Well, I've got news for you, being part of a couple can be lonely too. You've got to work at it just as you do your friendships with others now.
And so, I have no other words of wisdom but this, ask God. What for specifically you ask? Well, that's the tricky part. Mostly I would say ask God to let you be what you need to be now. And please, oh please don't waste time evaluating every guy out there to see if he's "the one". You'll waste so much time and energy and lose so many friendship possibilities in the meantime.
My request to God was always this, even though I was scared to even voice it for fear of telling Him what to do. I asked to be surprised. I had been hurt and wanted to be surprised by love. I wanted "the one" to find me, not the other way around. And frankly, God answered that prayer. Andrew was a surprise to me, and one that didn't seem right. "The one" was a joke...it wasn't him. Until I saw him for the surprise from the Lord he was, and the perfect valentine for me.
So, all that to say this, know that there is nothing wrong with you, and frankly, I think you're wonderful.
Yes, in some ways valentine's day is easier this year, because I don't have to worry about a date or if "that guy" (who last year wasn't Andy, as I said, I was surprised) will use this as a chance to share his feelings. But really, God's best is worth waiting for. Valentine's Day will come and go, for many years to come, but waiting for God's best is always timeless.

God's best is priceless and indescribable. People ask me why I love Andy. I'm always at a loss for words because how do you describe true love? There are no right words. But this I know, I love Andy because he's God's best for me. He loves God and wants me to love God with all my heart. I love Andy because he's my Andy, and I choose to love him. I love him because he's the one God has given me, there's not better way to say it. I love him because I'm me and he's him, and God surprised us.

So here's a "ahhh" story to give you a little encouragement that you just never know this Valentine's Day. Last spring, maybe late March, early April, I was sitting in Mr. Hudson's office (my advisor) talking about school and classes for the next fall and basically what I was going to do with my life, when my cell phone rang. I had forgotten to turn it to silent and when I looked at the caller ID my face must have had a funny expression because Mr. Hudson asked what the deal was. As I hit "ignore" on my phone I explained that this guy had been writing me for about 9 months and calling and just being a good friend, but I didn't know what he wanted and I didn't want to waste my time on a guy that was just a good friend. He gave me some advice and I went on my way shaking my head at this situation. Well, like I said that was about 9-10 months ago, and yesterday as I sat in Mr. Hudson's office receiving pre-marital counseling with "this guy", I had to laugh. Who would have ever thought 9-10 months later I'd be in the same office preparing to marry that "good friend". Only God did. I could never have imagined or dreamt up such a scenario, it was just too unbelievable and he was just a "good friend". That's why I can say that God's ways really are better than our ways. Because my imagination can't keep up with God's plan for my life.

So trust God friend, and let Him surprise you. It's worth it.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Wedding Plans, 2006, and Life

January 2nd, 2006.
This is the year that I'm getting married. If you had asked me last New Year's, I would say there was no way I would be engaged to the man of my dreams next year. I didn't even know what he would be like. And now, this is the year I get to marry him.

I'm home for Christmas break through the rest of this week. It's been really good to be home for 3 whole weeks, but they have been some very fast weeks. Last year Christmas break dragged on, this year, it's flown by. It was awesome to have Andy around for five days last week. I get to see him again this week, but it's pretty amazing how all I want is to spend every day with him.

My extra attention over the past 2 weeks has been taken up with wedding plans and all that goes with it. I admit though, I'm really bad at this whole wedding planning thing. I'm getting my act together, but frankly, the problem is that I feel like I'm in over my head and very overwhelmed by the whole thing. Somehow, even though I've said time and again that it wasn't true, I feel like everything has to be perfect and I have to please everyone. Thanks to a conversation with one of my good friends on Saturday, I think I've got my head on straight again. Stuff doesn't have to be perfect, just perfect for me. Not even perfect though, it just needs to be the way I want it. Not in a selfish all-consuming way, but in a way that is practical but fulfills my dreams as well. In reality, if I could have my way, I would just get to show up at the church all ready to go and walk down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams. I really don't want to elope, I do want to have a wonderful and special wedding, I just want everyone else to have to do the work for me. I know, that is selfish. :-) The thing that keeps me excited about all this is that it will make me Andrew's wife. That's definitely a goal worth pursueing.

And so this is life. And it's going to change more with every passing day, but that's okay, for the most part these are exciting changes. It's an interesting process, getting ready to join your life with someone elses. It's more than just wedding plans and apartments, etc. It's about joining two hearts, souls, minds, and lives with each other. It leaves me in awe of God's perfect plan. God was the one who said "It is not good for man to be alone", and I for one am very glad that it is so. One of the songs we will be having sung at our wedding is "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris, and it's so true, how beautiful is the love for each other, but how much more beautiful is the love Christ has for us.

And so, as 2006, this wonderful year, gets underway and I bury myself in wedding plans and more homework soon, I find myself thankful for this life, and for the man that I get to share it with very soon.