March 31, 2014

Our Wedding

We picked our wedding date—and it was just 10 weeks away!

Every week, we were busy figuring out details, moving my things over to our home, buying things, registering, etc. It was crazy busy! But with a lot of help from friends and family, everything pulled together … and it was beautiful.

Dave was kind enough to let me put my favorite color—red—everywhere!

After getting ready separately that morning, Dave and I couldn’t wait to see each other! This is our first glance on the morning of the big day.

Surrounded by our wonderful friends and family, we said, “I do.”

And that’s just the beginning of our happily ever after!

March 29, 2014

Our Engagement Story

Just a few days before Christmas, Dave and I sat on the couch in his living room. We were exchanging Christmas gifts. I gave Dave a pair of driving gloves and a card. Dave said, “I got you a lamp—it’s in the other room. I wanted you to see it all set up.”

Okay, I thought, a lamp. Cool. (It might sound strange that I believed Dave when he said this.  :)  As a bit of background, this was actually a possibility…because I do really like unusual lamps and Dave knew that!)

Dave told me to close my eyes.

He guided me into a room softly brightened with Christmas lights strung from the ceiling. When I opened my eyes, I didn’t see a lamp like I expected!

I saw tables covered with our memories. There were red (my favorite color) roses in elegant vases, lit candles, pictures of the two of us, and—best of all—every letter I had written to Dave while we were dating.

Then, I noticed the handcrafted sign on the wall, which read, “Will you marry me?”

My hands flew up to my mouth and tears filled my eyes. “I have a confession to make,” Dave said. “I didn’t get you a lamp. And when I said I was with my parents last night, I was actually with yours…asking their permission to marry you.” Then, Dave knelt, holding in his hands a gorgeous, glittering ring nestled in a small black box.

Dave asked me to marry him.

And I said yes!

After that, I couldn’t say anything for a full 10 minutes—I was overwhelmed with the greatest joy. It reminds me very much of this quote from Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare: “Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how much.”

March 26, 2014

Dating Dave

Dave and I quickly became each other’s best friends … and then more than that!

That summer, we were each other’s dates to many friends’ weddings. We went bowling and miniature golfing and took picnics. We spent time at the beach. Dave also knew that I loved plays, so we went to see “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. What a great show!

Near the end of summer, we said “I love you” for the first time. And, about a week or so after that …

… I came down with mono!


The following three weeks were agony. I wanted to see Dave, but I didn’t want him to see me like that! I couldn’t stay awake for very long, and even talking and eating were exhausting. I had the most horrible sore throat, too. Dave stopped by and dropped off a care package for me—including throat lozenges and “The Princess Bride” (the perfect movie to watch when you’re sick!). Mono was the sickest I’ve ever been.

When I was well enough, Dave took me to a local fair. I was thrilled to get out of the house and even more excited to see Dave! I was still pretty weak, but Dave took good care of me. That fall, we watched baseball and hockey games (which Dave patiently explained to me so I could understand what was happening!).

And we spent time getting to know each other’s families. Read about our engagement story here!  :)

March 25, 2014

How I Met Dave

I never would have guessed that I would meet my soul mate, best friend, and future husband online. But that’s exactly what happened!

Online dating is a little weird. I basically set myself up on blind date after blind date … and most of them didn’t go that well! Here's a tip for online daters: I found out that it’s really important to meet in person as soon as possible to discover if you have a connection. Talking online gives you a VERY limited view of a person, and often isn’t all that accurate. So, it soon became normal for me to suggest meeting up shortly after striking up conversations with men—in a public place, of course!

I had some really strange dates in the years before I met Dave. One was with a guy who had named his car and talked about it like it was a person. Another was apparently so intimidated by me that it was impossible to carry on a conversation! And then there was the guy who tried (unsuccessfully) to get me to pay the bill for our dinner, including his meal. (What?!!!!)

Needless to say, I was a little cynical about online dating after these experiences, but I felt it was important to keep putting myself out there.

Then, one day, Dave and I started chatting online. After a couple of weeks, I suggested we meet up. I didn’t know much about Dave, but I knew he was really into sports—especially hockey! With that as a starting point, I didn’t think we’d have that much in common, but I was (very happily) wrong!

During just our first hour of in-person conversation, we discovered shared a common passion to make a difference in the world … and to live out our faith in God in really practical ways. I remember that we talked quite a bit about my recent trip to India and my experiences there. Dave was the best listener and such a great conversationalist. And I instantly loved his deep voice and blue eyes. I knew I wanted to spend more time with him!

I remember a fleeting thought crossing my mind: Wouldn’t it be crazy if this was my love story? If I would someday be telling this story—even to future generations? But I had no idea that I had actually just met the man I would marry! Read the next chapter in our love story here.

March 23, 2014

Confession of Faith

I first heard this confession of faith from the Renovare Community when I was in college. You know those Hallmark cards that hit straight to the core of what you want to say—but says it better than you can? This is what I would call  something of a faith “Hallmark card” for me.

“This day I put on Jesus Christ.
I choose no other Lord.
This day I walk with him
and he walks with me.
This day I fasten close to me
that same Jesus
who came to us as flesh and blood
and was himself baptized
in the Jordan River.
He died upon a cross to rescue me,
and broke free from death,
its Conqueror.
He ascended into heaven
to return the more certainly.
All these truths and their power
I fasten close to me today.
I resist my own selfishness and sin.
I refuse to live as a slave to riches,
pleasure, or reputation.
I reject Satan and all his lies.
This day I put on Jesus Christ.”

- Confession of Faith from the Renovare Community

March 22, 2014

My Movie Shelf

As part of my spring cleaning, I cut back on the number of DVDs I own. I only kept my very favorite movies. These are the ones that made the cut:

  • The Princess Bride – Dave gave me this classic when we were dating. I had come down with mono, and this is a great “sick” movie.
  • Tangled – “Frying pans. Who knew, right?” Best Disney movie. Ever.
  • October Baby – I cried. Both times I saw this in theatres.
  • Father of the Bride I & II – Hilarity. Pure hilarity!
  • Pride and Prejudice (2005) – A quick version of the classic tale by Jane Austen.
  • Pride and Prejudice (1995) – The much better (and longer!) version.
  • The Young Victoria – I LOVE this movie. I feel like it’s such an undiscovered secret. If you haven’t seen this yet, watch it!
  • Jane Eyre (2006) – Best version of this story I’ve ever seen on film. Brilliant adaptation!
  • Persuasion (1995) – Gotta love the “letter scene” in this one!
  • Persuasion (2007) – A bit more drawn out, but I love the way the story is told.
  • Sense & Sensibility (2008) – This story is awesome! Another Jane Austen classic. Noticing a trend here?  :)
  • Pirates of Penzance (1983) – This movie has some of the greatest soprano singing I’ve heard.
  • The Scrat Pack – Features my favorite animated character, Scrat (from Ice Age).
  • The Emperor’s New Groove – This movie is too funny. Seriously.

March 20, 2014

International Day of Happiness

Today, I discovered a new holiday—just when I thought I’d heard them all!

Today is International Day of Happiness. No, I’m not kidding. The UN has made this official.

Also, despite the icy roads and *gasp* snow falling today in good ol’ Michigan, today is also the first official day of spring! I have heard some birds singing outside, but I’m sure they’re not celebrating spring yet.

In fact, I think they must be all yelling at the bird that led them here so early. With beaks chattering, they’re twittering, “Bob, you call this spring?!” “That’s it!!! Next year, Quasimodo is leading us back.”

So, anyway, whether you’re a friend—or simply a friend I haven’t met yet—happy International Day of Happiness to you.

(Why does that sound redundant? Lol.)  :)

March 19, 2014

Anniversary weekend!

We had a fabulous time during our anniversary weekend!

We drove to a nice resort (picking up some of our favorite junk food on the way!). Dave reserved a really fancy room for us. It was the first time we’ve ever stayed in a place that has a Jacuzzi right next to the bed. So cool! Loved that!

At the resort, I discovered a new flavor of Hudsonville ice cream, and I have to say, it is DELICIOUS! It’s called "Sleeping Bear Dunes Bear Hug." With chocolate ice cream and chocolate-covered cashews, it’s a definite win for chocolate-lovers!

Dave enjoyed sliding down a pretty wild (from my perspective, at least!) slide at the indoor water park. I opted to gently float around a slow-moving river instead.  :)

We also spent some time at the arcade. Not surprisingly, Dave proceeded to soundly beat me in just about every arcade game we played, including skee ball, basketball hoop shooting, and air hockey. Dave is an AWESOME roller hockey goalie, so it was my mistake to challenge him to air hockey.  ;)

But I did survive longer in the arcade game where we had to shoot aliens and save people—so I guess that counts for something?  :)

On our final night at the resort, Dave came down with the flu. Ugh. Thankfully, we were planning to leave the next morning already, so at least we got to enjoy most of our lovely weekend together before illness struck!

March 17, 2014

Four Pet Fish

Well, folks, we've done it.

We've joined the ranks of those with pets! Our four fish are neon tetras -- and with that bright blue stripe down their sides, I think they're some of the prettiest fish I've ever seen!

Our four fish are Mo, Curly, Rapunzel, and Fat Albert.

(Note: We started out with three neon tetras: Mo, Larry, and Curly. Dave's a big fan of The Three Stooges, so the name choices were easy. Sadly, Larry died after a particularly traumatic water-changing in the fish tank just a few weeks after he arrived.)

Mo is the largest of our tetras and always seems to be the first to notice when we drop their food flakes into the tank! Curly and Mo hang out together a lot, and I'm thinking that's because they were part of the original "threesome" and are more comfortable together.

Rapunzel and Fat Albert are still pretty new to our tank. Rapunzel is about half the size of Mo, so she's easy to pick out. We have a castle and a bunch of plants in our tank, and Rapunzel's favorite place to hang out is right at the top of the castle--near a collection of towers. After spotting her there time after time on the first day she joined the tank, I couldn't help but liken her to a princess in a tower. Thus, she was named Rapunzel.

Fat Albert is one of the first to notice food flakes falling from above. He's not the biggest fish in the tank, but he does have the biggest gut. And when he first joined our little group of tetras, he ate like he'd been starving for weeks. Poor thing!