Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Graber Update

When one has spent the last three years with the steadiest 8-5 job/ routine one can imagine, quitting one's job takes some getting used to. 

Shane and I moved to Wellman (Kalona area).  However, we had some last minute changes to our game plan. 

It goes like this: Last January (Ten Months ago!) Shane and I were asking ourselves what it would look like to stay in the Des Moines area for another year or two. We thought about it, we prayed about it, and we came to the conclusion that April was too soon for us to move, but a year from April was too long for us to stay. We had to re-sign our lease if we were going to stay, but we didn't know how long we were actually going to stay. 

In February we settled on 6 months more, and turned in our new lease that would expire on 10/31/2018. So, we've known this was coming for a long long while. We spent some of our spring time looking for houses and figuring out finances. After checking out a lot of houses and finding nothing in our price range that didn't need major fixing upping, we decided we would purchase half of a duplex Shane's parents were building as a rental. It was in our price range and wouldn't need any fixing. 

Shane began working for a new HVAC company in June as a "Part-time" employee.. meaning, they needed him for summer help but knew he'd be leaving in October. 

Just after I turned in my official end date at my job, Shane's job asked what it would take to get him to stay to December. Our duplex isn't done being built so we talked, we discussed and Shane chose to extend his contract with his Des Moines company out to Thanksgiving in November, with the exception that he will work Fridays at Graber Heating and Air in Kalona. 

So, this past Saturday we moved all but some of our belongings to our new, unfinished house and returned ourselves to Des Moines. Shane continues to work while I alternate cleaning and scrubbing down our empty little apartment and reading a book while sprawled out on the carpet in the living room. Even now as I lean against the wall, sitting on the floor, I wish we had a chair or a couch or something, but it's not a bad gig. 

This weekend Shane and I will move the remaining items (Like the coffee pot and the folding chairs)  to our new place and next Wednesday will start our great adventure of living in a hotel and traveling back and forth to Kalona. We will live in a hotel from Sunday nights to Thursday mornings while Shane works in Des Moines and then we will work our Fridays and Saturdays in Kalona. 

After having traveled most weekends since before we got married, we thought that October would be our great month of settling down and not spending all of our money on gas tanks. As it turns out it is totally the opposite. We're not sad about it, though. If ever there was a time to have your company put you in a hotel for a month, it would be now, while we have no children and have more than enough experience living out of a suitcase.  

Obviously the meals part will be the trickiest thing. We will be bring our Instant-pot with us and mastering all the things. We also will be saying yes to any one who would want to take us in and feed us supper in the Des Moines area during that time. We will have our breakfast provided but no kitchenette or anything.. so it will be an adventure. 

On the weekends we will be staying at my sister's house in North Liberty that is in the process of being sold.. so we're not actually sure if we will be staying very many weekends there, but that's our current plan, basically. 

We will officially be in the Kalona area during the week times by the end of November. We are hoping our new place is finished being built by then. :)

So, If you're in the Iowa City/ North Liberty/ Kalona area, hit us up on the weekends. If you're in the Des Moines, Ames, Ankeny area during the week day, have us over for supper, we would not complain. :) 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Beach Ball That Couldn't Stay Under

I slowed down blogging two years ago when I started dating my now husband just because I wasn't about to just blog about this guy I was dating because that would be weird. Somethings just shouldn't go on social media.. ya know? And then of course, we got engaged we got married, we moved to a new place and never got internet. So that was my main thing. But also, some really awful hurtful things happened/ were said to us shortly before we got married and that's something something to blog about either so that just created writer's block altogether. Like.. what do you even write about? Your day-to-day routine?

Since it all happened amidst the whirlwind of wedding things and big life happenings, rather then sit down and process what was said and what happened, it was easiest/ seemed best at the time to just shove it in a box and pack it all away in a closet, much like some of our beautiful wedding gifts that we will get to take out when we buy a house. Shoved to the bottomest, darkest corner of my mangled, gutted heart. I'd like to clarify that Shane was zero part of the hurt, at least he did not inflict it or cause it or provoke it. Although, him trying to see the very best in all humans including the ones who had done the hurting DID lead to SOME little marital conflicts about taking sides.

Let me tell you kids, if you get the opportunity to start your marriage without some horrible ugly flesh wound in your heart, do that thing. Because, it wasn't something that my husband could just make better. He tried. He's good at fixing things. Let me tell you, the knob on our closet door was loose when we moved in and since he didn't have a washer to put behind the bolt he drilled a hole in a nickle and that fixed it pretty good. He has re-installed and re-wired THREE of the light switches in our apartment and is on such good terms with our apartment handy-man that Brian (We're on first name basis with him now) is perfectly happy if Shane just waltzes into his shops and snatches up the part or lightbulb or whatever he needs to fix the next thing.

Anyways, good all fix-it Shane couldn't fix the fact that someone I had once counted as a friend had damaged and mangled me so completely. Which, also, love your friends guys.. but if you get some sort of warning sign that one of them might be going feral.. you should probably cut them off the two years before that happens...back when they were showing the signs and not the two years later after they say and do the awful things that are the very worst last memory of them.

So, here we are 14 months later. That's an awfully long time to go as a broken person who has to keep shoving it deep down just because you haven't had the time or know how to deal with that. Like, I've realized, there are some things in life that take very intentional moments to dig out and get rid of but, when you're first married, you just want to soak in every moment of the happy stuff.

Still not good right. While I would say that Shane and had a very blissful first year of marriage, we had never, and I mean NEVER had a single conflict in our relationship prior to that whole "whatever you would call the whole thing that transpired over the course of a couple weeks with the former friend." Literally never. We had been REALLLLLLY good friends for the 3 years before we started dating and we almost didn't date because it was too perfect and we didn't want to ruin it. And our dating relationship was perfect. Again, not a single disagreement, not even on where to eat for supper. But then, the thorn in our side showed up and stuck a wedge between us.

Our blissful first year of marriage has been 99% conflict free. Just like the diamond I wear on my finger. The tiny 1% of any conflict has been 100% related to the THING. Because I was hurt and Shane was hurt and Shane dealt with it because he's perfect and I didn't because I felt a little bit like God had something to do with it. And that sucked.

In an effort to resolve the thing, Shane and I sought some wisdom from some people we trusted and we prayed about it and then we met up with the offending party to resolve the thing and it got worse. I felt a little left out to dry after that whole thing. Half of me felt like God had to have been there because I said none of the cuss words that I had in mind the previous day, but the rest of me felt like God wasn't there at all and I had been completely left to the wolves.

So that's a hard place to be. I suddenly got a good glimpse/taste of how people can come to a KEY stake-in-the-ground moment to say, "This is where God left me and I that was it." And I'm not about to say that I gave up Christianity or my relationship with the Lord, but I put a lot less effort into the whole thing, that's for sure. I mean, Shane and I have read a chapter of the Bible together every day since we started dating. SOME DAYS.. we haven't, but over all.. we still do. We've read almost the entire Bible together.

I used to prayer journal, though, but I have temporarily retired that. Shane and I pray together every night, which has been mostly me listening to him pray and chipping in on "amen." It wasn't until this past February that Shane surrendered to the fact that he wouldn't be able to fix anything and made me start praying for the offending party myself. It tasted like vomit in my mouth, asking the Lord to look after them and bless them. It was like a punishment, my husband waiting until I had muttered out some sort of pray for OP before he would pray something more substantial.

But it worked, or is working. Little by little I've given a little bit more to the Lord and I've hated OP a little bit less. My heart is becoming less and less likely to irrupt in anger and bitterness and depression if the topic is broached somehow.

My dear, sweet mother-in-law recently did a thing I have not managed in 14 years. It was 14 years ago that I was in a car accident that mangled half my face. While they stitched me back up they managed to stitch in tiny shards of glass in the process of re-attaching my ear where it had become detached. I picked glass out of my face for a couple years until all that was left was deep in my ear. And there it has been.  I got my ears pierced like every other normal girl with normal ears does. My one ear could never hold an earring more than a day or two. The glass would always click again the earrings and get infected instantly. Plus, my ear is mostly swollen scar tissue anyways and an earring can barely hold the back on it without it falling off. Anyways, Recently, within the last couple weeks, I decided to start wearing earrings, just for fun.

The normal thing that always happens and has happened the last 12 years is that after a day or two, my ear swelled past its normal swollen self and became its infected self since the glass inside was all irritated. BUT, this time, I could tell.. it was surfacing! Shane's mother (I was at her house at the time) got out a needle and a light and successfully extracted 3 pieces of glass. TINY.. TEENY TEENY TINY pieces of glass. You could only see if the light caught it just light to make it glimmer. After letting the infection heal and my ear go back to normal size, I put earring in again and for the first time in all the years I've had earrings, my ear did not swell, it did not bleed, it did not hurt. I can currently squeeze my earlobe and there's not pain. Literally, I have lived more years of my life WITH glass in my ear than I have lived without. What a feeling!!

Anyways.. all that is to say, I'm working on getting out the shards of glass from when my heart was mangled by snow globe full of good memories shattering into a million pieces when my no longer friend decided to be a no longer friend. I've been letting the Lord have the deep dark corner of my bitter little heart and it's making a world of difference.
I think I've held on a little bit hoping that my former friend would magically snap out of the feral, totally-not-themselves state they're in and be the person I wanted to be friends with 5 years ago. But that's just not a realistic expectation. So there's a point where you just kind of have to lay them to rest with the good memories and hope to see their good side on the other side of eternity.

So that's where I'm at. I was a bottled up broken person trying to hold all of my honest broken feelings under the surface like a beach ball and that wasn't working out. Now, I'm on the mend and I'm ready to tell the world all about all of my feelings again.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Draft 156

Being a country girl at heart, there are few things I find more peaceful and relaxing than a windless sunset and the smell of fresh cut grass and wild flowers while listening to the gentle chirp of little bugs and birds. Being a  current city girl, I have come to find the woosh of vehicles passing by and distant lawn mowers buzzing down grass it's own sort of peaceful. Mostly because it is 3:30 on a sunny afternoon and I am outside on my balcony over looking my uneven parking lot and the office building across the way and not sitting in my office and I rarely do get to see the sun much between the hours of 8 and 5.

There were times in college when I'd get out of class at 2pm and the weather would be just warm and sunny enough that I'd fall asleep on the hill on the side of the Pentacrest while watching the CamBuses drive their routes. I don't miss the stress of finals and papers, but I miss the summers, for sure.

Anyways, getting older is a funny thing. I have two wrinkles forming in my forehead between my eyes from furrowing my brow at my computer and squinting in the sun these past couple years. I never considered Botox in my youth, but I can't say it doesn't cross my mind now. I've also got circles under my eyes that no amount of sleep seems to take care of.. so I wear make up now. I mean, I wore eye liner and mascara before, but now! Now I have to put on some primer and foundation and then coverup and blush  and things like that. My husband is constantly telling me, "Honey, you look fine as you are, " Which I believe him for the most part, but we're in a social media world these days, gotta fake it to make it, right?

On top of that, I've ceased plucking my gray hairs, since I'm facing balding as the alternative to gray, and my swim suit has long sleeves and a turtle neck lest my arms freckle any more. Not that I intended to rant about how vain and shallow and self absorbed I am.. I don't care ALL that much, but I am realizing that there is a BIG difference in my now self and my young teen self that started this whole blog.

There's kind of a moment where you wake up one day and realized, "Woah.. I'm a real live adult now." My Husband and I get to pick out insurance plans together and shop for houses and research mechanics and dream of owning a yard so we can push a mower and own a grill. I'm very content with this stage of life. It's predictable and quiet and fairly care-free.

In the 155 drafts that sit in the "Probably will never get posted" section of my blog life, I've done a lot of thinking about life navigating and growing up and being mature. 
 My heart seemed to bounce back quicker in college. I mean, You meet a lot of people in college that you can be your best friend for the tiniest amount of time and then they turn out to be awful people that you wouldn't be friends with now if someone paid you. 

In college it's easy to brush off someone being rude or unkind because you're young and you haven't built your street cred yet and they haven't learned how not be rude and unkind. Now if I meet someone who is rude I just assume they're an awful person in general because we're all at a point in our life where if you're having a bad day, you don't get to be rude to people. If you have any ounce of maturity you put on your big boy pants and make sure no one else has the day you're having.

But there's a lot of really immature people in the world I've found. 

But, I get it, too. Life is full of snow globe moments.. the really wonderful, beautiful happy moments that a picture couldn't even capture so you put it in a snow globe in your heart and sometimes you get it out, shake it up and remember how magical it was. And sometimes the snow globe falls off the shelf and shatters into a million pieces. Out of nowhere someone attacks you with every kind of insult and put down and every good moment you remember with them is just a million shards of glass ripping your heart to pieces. And every good moment you'd imagined your friendship would hold in the future are just snow globes that will sit empty for the rest of your life. 

That's the stage of adulthood I'm in. Draft 156 because in drafts 140-155, I wanted to be transparent and say "Life is really hard and people can be really mean" but you don't get to write a detailed blog about the day the snow globe fell off the shelf.

The glass in my earlobe from a car accident a few years back has recently started to work its way out.  

The tiniest pieces of glass take the longest time to surface and broken snow globes take a lot of recovery time. 

The good news is that there are moments when you stop and listen to the cars and the lawnmowers and birds and the maintenance man on his golf cart and you can breath in the warm, asphalty air and realize it's been over a year and the Lord is still good, and the blessings out number the brokens and for all the snow globes that fell off the shelf, there have been a million and one better ones to take their place.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Kind Of Christmas Letter/ Life Update thing.

I realized, recently, that I started this blog in 2010 when I was a sophomore in college... and I should probably just let this thing go.. lay it to rest or something. BUT, at the same time.. idk.. it's a nice little 'share-my-thoughts' avenue without a facebook post.

Anyways.. quick touch in since the last little blog diddy: Shane and I got married! Like.. almost 6 months ago.. but woot! ...woot? Do people even say that any more? I dk. 

I'm at this odd place in my life where I'm probably supposed to be a refined adult. Most people my age have a few kids under their belt and a house and things like that.

I have gray hair. Three of of them.. three hairs. I've given up pulling them out when I find them because I'm also somewhat suspecting I may be going bald.

Anyways.. marriage. Marriage is good! I recommend it to everyone. Weddings are also very fun!!! People should have more weddings. Not that the months leading up to our wedding didn't come with their fair share of trials and difficulties.. they surely did with a few things out of left field that left us baffled and bewildered. We survived, however, and spent a lovely week on a cruise ship in the Bahamas

We made friends with a dolphin. Dolphins are nice. We like dolphins. 

People should go on cruises. They're great! I super recommend cruises. Anyways.. That was months ago. Now is now! We live in Des Moines and find life to be an absolute thrill. We enjoy times we get to sneak out of Des Moines and see the stars and the sunset. When we stay in Des Moines we enjoy watching the sunset reflected off the office building across the parking lot from us. We watch people work late from our living room window and they watch us back. Usually if I see them look back, I close the shades. 

Shane does HVAC here in Des Moines and has grown his knowledge on installation. If you need any duct work or plenum or G20s installed.. he knows how. I'm not saying he has time.. but he knows how. He also, occasionally, will go back to help good ol' Graber Heating & Air so they don't forget he exists. (That's not true.. they probably won't forget he exists, but it sounds funnier that way). 

I continue to work at good ol' MetLife Investors in West Des Moines. At just over 2 yrs, its the most consistent life I've had since I was 17. It's something, for sure. It's a real gear shift to go from moving and changing schedules every year to doing the same thing every year. I was pleasantly surprised to find I've actually grown in my knowledge of state forms and requirements and rules and things. A broker challenged me on a thing and I knew enough to push her back and demand she follow the rules... in a nice way. I try to be nice on the phone, usually. You know? But! I've learned that the investment world is where people get pushed around and you want to be the one who does the first pushing. 

Besides that, Shane and I are figuring out our lives together. We were told that the first year is the hardest. We have so far had one disagreement on when is proper to show up for a basket ball game when warm ups are involved and also a disagreement on appropriate "lounge about the house when there are house guests" attire. While I will admit that both discussions lasted entirely too long (probably at least 15 minutes) I wouldn't consider them to have been especially difficult, so I haven't yet come to believe that the first year should be especially hard. However, we are only 6 months in and maybe all the trials are in the second half. 

We have fallen into a steady routine with our chores and responsibilities. The most wonderful surprise I had when we got married was that all of the sudden, my laundry basket would magically become clean and all the things hung up and put away. When things I needed would go missing, it generally meant they were just put where they belong.

When I was 13, I went through a brief phase of keeping my room clean and my laundry done every week on the button. It was.. short lived at best. My sweet, sweet husband, however, is very keen on making life easier by doing things right away (What a novel idea), and thus, before I even notice there is laundry to be done, it is already cleaned and put away.

No worries, though, I will resume the laundry thing when I have become a mother who stays home all day and delights in laundry and cleaning things. (Actually, I'm quite worried for motherhood some days as I'm hardly able to keep my OWN life in order, I shall be very curious to see if I could manage some other little life on the side). 

Anyways, in the theme of learning to be an adult, Shane and I did an adult thing and bought a new car! Well.. kind of a car. 

I'm not entirely sure what it is.. it has as many seats as a car but it looks like a van. 

But! It's all-wheel drive and it makes me feel very at ease when it comes to all the snow and slush on the roads these days. Shane's faithful Dodge Intrepid with just over 225000 miles on it is for sale on Craigslist.. You may buy it if you want. It has a little hole where a buck shoved its antlers into the hood and a little crack in the coolant pump.. but it's a good little car.  It has a 100% rate for attracting a permanent spouse if you need one. Not that I was attracted to his car first.. but I'm a Dodge kinda girl, I didn't mind that the man had an intrepid. Anyways.. So it was natural we got a Dodge Journey. 

That brings us all to now. It is January and usually sub zero. It is during this part of the year that I have to remind myself that not all of life is dismal and depressing. I usually come to this time of year wondering if I'm behind in my whole life or not. Wondering if I should be living where I live and working where I work and all the things. Of course, this year I have a kind husband who listens to me question all the things and encourages me to hang in there, maybe take up painting again or learn a new hobby.

In the meanwhile, We look forward to going on a grand adventure at the end of the month. We are going to Oregon to get better acquainted with the 10 nieces and nephews I inherited along with Shane's sisters and brothers in- law while we put reality on hold for a little.

We have short list of mansions and museums and things by the coast to do, but we will be rather content to just sip warm things and make pleasant conversation from the comfort of their homes. A little break from the everything in life will be rather a delight, I'm sure. 


Thursday, April 20, 2017

100 Days to Go

It's the 20th!! Shane and I have enjoyed a full month of being engaged and have somehow managed to tackle all the main details and only have "What-shade-of-gray-pants-do-we-make-our-groomsmen-wear" left... we think. Hopefully we haven't missed something huge, but I think most things are squared away. 

For sure we have the main things like the Bride/Groom/ Pastor figured out, which is basically all you need at the end of the day, right? 

Shane and I found ourselves in the court house for the county in which our wedding will take place and I had forgotten to put my ring back on after my morning shower and we brought my baby sister along as our witness. Shane nearly almost married Eva instead as the sweet county notary person passed all of the paperwork over to her to sign as the bride. She just turned 17 so she legally can be married in state of Iowa, BUT that would have been a disaster, so I very quickly stole that paperwork away from her and only let her sign on the witness line. *phew*. I mean, I know Shane has a baby face, but c'mon... 

Anyways, we have 100 days to go, which seems like a lot now that we have everything figured out, but everyone has advised that we enjoy being engaged for a bit. I don't mind that. We originally tried to figure everything out in the first 2 weeks of being engaged, and we ALMOST did it.. but then our we felt a little smothered and wanted more to ask about each other's days than, "Have you thought about what color unity sand?" or "what size of envelopes do we want?" or "What TEXTURE of paper do we want for our invites?" "What type of cupcake paper do we want?"  ...... Let me roll my eyes dramatically for a second. 
Okay, for real though, wedding planning.. it's a beautiful thing. It's not my forte or most favorite thing and I'm thankful I'll only have to do it one time in my whole life.

All Wedding planning aside, I move this weekend!! Out of my home of 2 years. TWO YEARS! This is the longest I've lived anywhere since I graduated high school and moved away from my parent's house. I would honestly love to throw out 80% of my wardrobe and have an excuse to update my professional wear and all that, but some how between wrapping dishes and crock pots and listening to music files for wedding stuff, I lose all motivation to pick up every article of clothing and make a decision. It's not that I don't have time... the motivation thing is my big killer there.

Speaking of Motivation... I think I suddenly got way older somehow as I'm literally FEELING every night that I get less than 8 hours of sleep. I'm sure all moms out there are chuckling and saying, "Oh honey.. JUST YOU WAIT.. you don't even KNOW what tired is yet." That's fair. But, this year, the New Years Resolution that has stuck so far has been to spend more intentional time in The Word and sitting still before the Lord. I go to bed at 10, I wake up at 6 and I spend an hour of quiet waking up with coffee. However, sometimes I dont get to bed until 10:30 and I cannot get myself to get up before 6:30. Maybe I need to program a coffee pot by my bed or something.

Minor things, minor things. Last night my friend helped me move some of my stuff over to my new apartment and things felt a little more real. I forgot how much I hate moving. And as an extrovert, I'm more anxious than ever about living alone. Even just having someone in my living room with me without talking is better than nothing.
Anyways, that all I got. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Proposal: How it happened

Here it is! The whole story:

Shane and I have spent our entire relationship taking turns making the 2 hour drive back and forth to each other's resident cities, with Shane being extra sacrificial and making the 5 hours drive back to my Parents' farm in Storm Lake.

Our weekends are typically scheduled MONTHS out and filled with MULTIPLE things. Which, for the weekend Shane had our engagement in mind, it was technically his turn to come to Des Moines and we didn't even really have that much of plans. Shane just told me there were some hiking trails he wanted to show me with some geocaches along the way.

I had a particularly AWFUL week between work and some other things and had cried basically every day that week. I was exhausted, I was emotionally spent and was easily convinced that a 2 hour drive with Des Moines in my rear view mirror would be worth it either way. By the time Friday rolled around, I didn't much care that we basically had no plans.

My sweet sister, Pearl, and her gracious husband have been my sweet hosts when I come into town to visit Shane. On this particular weekend, they were out of town but still allowed me to sleep in their basement and make myself at home. I arrived to their home around
7pm and Shane had prepared a candle-lit dinner which he had made himself and presented me a box of chocolates as a "sorry you had a rough week" thing. I briefly thought "THIS MIGHT BE THE NIGHT AND I"M TOTALLY NOT DRESSED CUTE FOR IT." But we just had an easy conversation and he easily made me laugh and the rough week was soon forgotten. After dinner we sat by the fireplace and talked a little about our summer plans and future plans and at 10pm, Shane said goodnight and I went to sleep and he locked the door on his way out.

Shane showed back up at
7:30 and we helped ourselves to Pearl and Jeff's espresso machine and sat by their fireplace while we tried to wake up a little better. (I guess Shane had gotten up at 6am but I had no idea). It was a cold and cloudy morning and I would have been content to just spend the morning by the fire with our coffee. BUT, Shane kept insisting we aughta go on a hike and work up an appetite for lunch, and the geocaches would be a fun adventure. He made me breakfast while I stuck in my contacts and put a little makeup on my face. Honestly... it was one of those mornings that the last thing I wanted to do was attempt to look cute or go out in public. BUT, my little sister had recently told me that I was probably at a point in my relationship with Shane where it wouldn't hurt to try and look a little bit nice all the time.. just in case.

I noticed Shane didn't want any breakfast.. which isn't completely unusual, but a little odd since he's been more into eating breakfast lately. I wasn't aware of how cold the weekend was supposed to be and had only brought along a light, peacoat.. which was hardly appropriate for hiking in 36F weather. BUT, off we went and when we arrived at the bottom of this wooded, hill area I was convinced in my mind that we weren't getting engaged since Shane was acting completely relaxed and casual and we were.. hiking.

We got out of the car and I immediately almost froze to death and questioned Shane if we were actually going to be doing this when it's this cold. He said, "uhm.... well, if it really is too cold we can go back to Peff's if you like." (We combine Pearl and Jeff and just say 'Peff) I had no idea he'd gotten up at
6am to set up his little proposal spot and he gambled quite a bit offering to turn back before we got going, but! I'm a determined kinda girl, and we'd driven all the way out to the hiking spot, I decided we may as well.. as long as we got walking real fast to warm up.

We use and app on Shane's phone to find our geocache location and he was the one navigating when we got ourselves into the woods. He kept making weird turns that weren't very direct towards the closest cache and when he decided to skip one that was 20 feet off the path I thought he was being a little ridiculous so I took his phone and decided to lead the way myself. And he found it first.

In my mind I didn't think it was fair the Shane usually always finds the things first and thus I kept his phone and was determined to find the NEXT one first. Shane kept trying to tell me that getting on the path would be way more efficient and we'd get there a lot faster, but, it was way more direct to just plow through the sticks and fallen logs and not use the path.

What a patient man, guys. He let me plow through the bush, down into ravines, up onto hill crests, over 3 fences and up a tree to find this other geocache that was some 300 yards off of his target location. Fortunately for him he had taken back his phone along the way, before his friend Taylor texted him to ask if he'd proposed yet.

After finding the second geocache and getting my hair stuck in the branches of a tree and being completely numb and frozen from over an hour of hiking through this Indian Burial Mound forest, Shane was able to convince me to get back on the path and finish up the day.

We rounded a bend while coming down the path and there was a wooden overlook and I noticed immediately that there were roses set up on it. My initial thought was that someone was supposed to be getting engaged there and we were about to crash it.

I hesitated and told Shane we aughta go a different way so as not to interrupt the happy couple that were supposed to be getting engaged.
He just looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and suggested we take a closer look.

And I realized it was us.

I was in complete shock as Shane led me out to the middle this dock where he had set up roses in the shape of a heart with roses on every post and lining the walk way. He had me step into the giant heart with him and told me that the last 8 months of dating had been the best of his life and he would be very honored if I would spend the rest of my life with him. And he got down on one knee and presented a beautiful wooden box.. that he claims he opened right away, but in my memory I just remember there was writing on the wooden box.
BUT, I was more focused on his face and giving him a hug and the ring part was completely forgotten. I do remember him showing it to me and thinking it was beautiful and saying "yes" and being so completely shocked and feeling like the world had stopped moving and that I was suddenly the smallest creature on earth.

At some point Shane slipped the beautiful ring onto my finger and then we gathered the roses and took our freezing cold, numb and shaking selves down the hill to the car and started calling all of our friends and family.

And that's literally how we spent the rest of the day. Sitting in front of the fire place calling people, telling the story over and over. Between his 6 siblings and their spouses and my 9 siblings and their spouses and all of our grandparents and friends.. it took hours. And before we knew it, it was time to make some strawberry shortcake to take over to his parent's for supper.

I would say it was one of the most magical moments of our relationship, but there have been a lot of magical moments. More than we can count.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Engaged: The Back Story

I've been meaning to type this up on "The Knot" and where ever else it needs to be, but almost every time I sit down with my computer, I start going through all the nitty gritty details that need to be ironed out in the next *deep breath* 122 days.YIKES.

Anyways, here's our story:

I could tell you about the day of the proposal, but I've hardly gotten to talk about us this whole time, so I'm going to start a little further back.

Back in good ol' 2014. We'd met through mutual friends, he had helped my sister move across town one summer and was at a 'thank you' dinner at her house afterwards. I also was there and met him for a whole 1.5 minutes before I was off to a church meeting of some sort. But, he some how stayed showing up with my friends and our paths stayed crossed.

If you followed my blog at all in the spring/ early summer of 2014, I was a wild adventurer, saying yes to everything that sounded crazy. I was going to be moving away from my home city of 5 years and I was determined to squeeze every ounce of adventure out of the place.

Climbing trees, exploring grave yards, accidentally discovering a cult temple and attending a prophet summit, Shane was always there. He was our man that made sure we didn't get ourselves in too much trouble, but he was also climbing the same trees and getting the same awkward stares from the locals on our cult tour. (We did get a tour).

We were the bestest of all friends. Our group was perfect and I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

I was the first of our perfect group to move away. Taking a job back home, driving for my father and chasing down cattle lots and foaming pig pits and saving Iowa one manure sample at a time.

My closest friends stayed close, calling and texting me from afar... they were my life lines. My sweet encouragement, my daily manna. Shane being one of them. There were no romantic feelings, just the deepest and profound appreciation for a simple, "How was your day?" Friends.. those words are life.

Anyways.. weeks became months, and as the months came and went, and my life began down its new path. Here and there, I'd venture back to my friends in Iowa City and 
Shane and I really came to  enjoy time with each other. Our friends noticed there seem to be a little more to us than we cared to admit. We both didn't want to cross that line. Our friendship was perfect and we weren't about to ruin that on FEELINGS and things .After a couple more months, and a lot of pressure from some of our friends, I admitted in a text my feelings were a little more than just the friendzone box and Shane called me up to say he was right there with me. BUT, it didn't feel right at all.

The months I'd been away from Bible study and friends my age had taken a toll on my walk with the Lord.. my heart was just sad.. in the deepest places. I missed my friends, but I missed the Lord the most. Shane and I decided then wasn't the time and maybe we'd talk about it again in a couple months.

And that was that. After that phone call, I felt like I had just laid to rest the most wonderful friendship I'd ever had. He went off to Bible school and all communication and adventure stopped cold.
And when he came back we had one conversation that solidified my fears and all hope was put out. We weren't going to go down that road. We agreed to pull back and not cross that friend-only line if we could help it. And something in me died a little.

But the Lord had better things in store anyways. I moved to Des Moines and started a whole new life and made new friends and the Lord pursued me passionately. Which is what I needed more than anything. No one tells you that when you are thriving in ministry in college and have 100+ friends that you can hang out with all hours of any day, always have someone to sit with at church, everyone knows your name, you know every street name and short cut in town.. and then you graduate and move away.. no one tells you that it's like wiping out on concrete while rolling blading full speed. All momentum stops instantly. And that thriving, heart full-of-Jesus feeling doesn't necessarily come with you when you move away from EVERY.SINGLE.FRIEND who knew you and loved you when your heart bloomed its fullest.

Be warned, sweet college students, life is different on the other side. Not bad, just different.

ANYWAYS... I digress.

Life in Des Moines didn't fully settle down. With out a job, I was a free bird and traveled every moment I got. But in all that crazy tornado, God reached into the deepest places of my heart and made me whole again. There were no distractions and God had all of me where He wanted me. During which time I asked God, "why" a million times. He only ever answered with , "Wait."

And more months went by and somewhere in there, visiting my remaining friend back in Iowa City, our paths crossed here and we settled back into our friend group, gently. Us three original friends, who'd visited the cult during their prophet summit and hopped through barbed-wire fences and been spot lighted by Amish in a thunderstorm. And all was right in the world again.

And then some time around January of 2016, Shane and I's friendship did what it had done before.. become the best of all friendships and same passions for adventures and the Lord settled back into easy conversations and shared laughter. We also share the same love and enjoyment of a certain computer game called "Age of Empires" and would google hangout while battling civilizations and when our games would end, we'd stay chatting about everything until we'd finally realize we aught to sleep. It was a perfect friendship. He was wise and kind and easy to laugh with and talk about life.

Although, I was worried that we might end things all over again if we weren't careful. But somewhere in the back of my mind I thought, "well, there's no one in the world like Shane, and if he's not my guy, I might just never have a guy." Shane kind of set a standard for 'Godly, adventures, humorous, competent man" that had yet to be matched by any other I'd ever met.

My best friend was going to be married in June and the few months leading up to that we filled with stress at work, obligations and travel plans and no signs of stopping anywhere. Shane kept hinting here and there that we needed to "talk"... seeing as how our last "talk" ended our friendship.. I told him he'd have to wait until after my friend's wedding as I could only handle one thing at a time.

He ran off to Africa to plant churches a few weeks before my friends wedding (Go figure) and I realized in the time I couldn't communicate with him at all that I had, indeed, let my heart cross our strict 'friends-only' policy.

His brother was getting married the week before my best friend and we all headed back to good ol' Kalona to see it. And there was Shane, looking like he'd just come out of the bush in Africa (Because he did).. a member of the bridal party. My heart skipped a little seeing him in the distance and I kind of hoped my friends and I could all sneak out of the wedding before we had to socialize too much.

But, Shane caught up to us before we made it out and said, "Fern, don't leave yet, I brought you something." And he pulled me aside and pulled from his bag chocolate from Amsterdam. Because he remembered in one of our previous conversations that I had a friend in college go to Amsterdam promising to bring back chocolate and not doing so. And it wasn't even airport chocolate... he had gotten on a train, left the airport, and found a chocolate shop in Amsterdam.

Be.still. my. heart.

He didn't even explain it really.. he just.. gave it to me.

And I saw him again a week later, at my best friend's wedding. We had one final adventure with our three amigos before we hugged Anne goodbye as she took off for a job in Florida.

And there Shane and I stood, in my parking lot, me a fresh mess from saying good bye to Anne and thinking our "Talk" would be another, "Yo.. we can't even be friends ever."

We went up to my apartment, sat on my couch, and Shane took a deep breath and asked to take me on a date. I think he included in his speech that after much prayer and consideration, he'd come to the conclusion that there wasn't any other girl in the world for him. And thus started the happiest months I've lived thus far.

---Engagement story to come-----