Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can't Waiting...

I listened to a girl once talk about how we often are "can't waiting" for life to happen. And that if we spend all our time "can't waiting" for the future, we will never truly enjoy the present. While I whole-heartedly agree with her, I don't think even Christmas Eve as a five year old beats how how much I "can't waited" for my wedding day. Between the stress of wedding planning and the excitement of spending my waking and sleeping moments with my love, I felt like four months would never go by fast enough.

Planning a wedding was definitely stressful, but I loved it. There were many days I found myself so surprised by the fact that it was really my turn, my wedding, and it felt so normal and natural to be planning it.

Brad was a great support, both at giving an opinion when desired, and getting out of the way when he knew I had made up my mind. And we would never have gotten through it all without our own personal wedding planner/older sister. Trish flew down in April to help get things started since she knew she'd be busy having a baby once it got closer to the wedding. I had no idea where to begin and she just picked up the phone and started calling reception centers, flower shops, cake decorators... you name it, she had called them all and set up appointments within the week she was there.

Jean took full responsibility for the reception in Georgia, which was a wonderful blessing because I did okay planning one wedding, but I couldn't do two.

My mom did a wonderful job of stepping in where she was needed, and stepping back when she disagreed with our plans (because let's face it... mother and daughter don't always agree on what a wedding should look like). She was very, okay mostly accepting of my decision to be a dark-haired bride, and she helped make sure the wording was perfect on our invitations. She also spent HOURS pouring over websites with me looking for the perfect bridesmaid dresses, and helped talk me into trusting my gut and getting "my perfect dress", even though I was too tired to try it on again, and nervous about alterations.

Brad and I continued our long distance relationship for a month after the official engagement, and then he moved down to Centerville to be close while we planned out the wedding. We spent every waking moment together that we weren't working, and it was such a blessing to be able to have that time together before the wedding so we could get to know each other day to day, and not just on the weekends.

Time felt like it dragged on for those four months, but we had some great times, and now that I look back it seems this past year has flown right by us. It's been fun to go back and put photos together, watch videos, and relive so many precious moments of the past year. And I realize that my friend really was right about "can't waiting". After marriage, the wedding has happened, the anticipation is over, and a new journey begins. I love the new journey, and I'm grateful to be on it. But I'm also glad I didn't "can't wait" so hard I missed out on the excitement of anticipation. It made the next step that much sweeter.

Waiter, There's a WHAT in My Soup???

Since Brad and I have now moved far, FAR away from our loved ones, I decided it was high time I started dropping at least an occasional post about our adventures here in Florida. But in order to go forward, I feel I must go back several months to capture the rest of 2011 because it was quite a year!

Of course since Brad and I are married, so it's only logical it started with an engagement, which started with a proposal. And what a proposal it was! Brad had it planned out from about the beginning of the year... and he had the ring for probably a good month before the official proposal took place. I am very impressed that he carried it around for so long without cracking.
I headed up to Idaho for his first Comic Frenzy (a comedy improv group at BYU-I) performance on March 3rd, and since he and Emily were in a play that weekend, it didn't seem strange that my parents were coming along for the weekend too. I realized looking back I should have been suspicious for several reasons, but Emily and her roommates did an excellent job of allaying any suspicion and my mom acted way to normal for there to be mishief afoot. She's the worst liar I've ever known.

The final improv game was called "Waiter" and required a member of the audience to come onstage. I knew something was up I was "randomly picked" from the crowd and brought onstage. My hunch was definitely confirmed when the suggestion needed from the audience was something that would fit in the palm of the hand, and the entire audience yelled, "A RING!!!"
Sure enough, each of the members of the team took their turn coming up while I politely said, "Waiter, there's a ring in my soup." Each would give some sort of pun to go with the "ring" suggestion, until finally Brad came up to the front of the stage where I was sitting. I looked up at him and said, "Um...waiter, there's a ring in my soup?"

"Oh that's where I put it!" He exclaimed while pulling the ring out and getting on one knee. The audience cheered and then fell silent while he first said in a quivering voice, "this is going to be a lot harder than I thought!" But he asked the question, and of course I grabbed him and kissed him, and said yes.

Mom and Dad there with us to celebrate

My weekend roommates and Brad's partners in crime

Brad and I just after the proposal

Oh and as a side note... he had a horrible mustache for a play he was in. I did not think he would actually propose while he was still sporting the stache. Boy was I wrong.

I finally found one copy of the video that was saved somewhere other than facebook. Unfortunately you can't really see any faces in it with the bright lights. But you'll get the gist of it...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ask and ye shall receive...

After my last attempt at a relationship, I was praying one night and I said something like this:
"Um... here's the thing, I really can't see myself finding the right guy in Utah. I'm not saying I think I need to move, and who am I to put geographical limitations on Your plan, but I'm just saying... I'm at a loss, so can You please help me figure out how to find this elusive man?"

Not kidding. That's about it, word for word. About a month later I booked my flight for DisneyWorld. My parents and I were going down to see Emily. While I wasn't a Disney enthusiast, I knew it was probably the only time I'd ever go to DisneyWorld, so why not when I could get in free, see my darling baby sister, and stay in a hotel someone else was paying for?

I got in Wednesday afternoon and enjoyed a lazy day by the pool while Emily and my parents played at the park. As I watched all the families and retirees hanging out I thought to myself, this is the last place a 32 year old girl would meet someone. Everyone here is vacationing with their families, and it's not exactly the place single people my age go scouting out dates. Not that I was hoping to meet someone, it was just one of those passing thoughts.

Later that night I met up with the family and we headed to Downtown Disney for a little dinner and shopping. As we were sitting at dinner, Emily's friend Brad decided to stop by to say hello (I'm pretty sure he just wanted to show off how cool he was to Emily's family, and to show Emily his new watch). I was immediately impressed at his wit and humor, and his sweet glasses. He was also incredibly friendly. He offered to take his free time to drive us to Universal Studios because we didn't have a car, then managed to hang out with us for another hour, wandering around and shopping with us. I thought nothing of any of this because he was WAY too young for me, but as he walked away I mentioned, "He's such a cute guy. Why aren't there guys like that my age to date?!"

Emily explained he was 25, which was still too young but suddenly the idea of "Brad and Rachel" became a little bit of something to joke about for the next day. Except that throughout the next day Brad was sending texts to Emily asking questions about me, and I found myself really wishing we could run into him again...

By the end of the day Brad had invited himself to hang out with the family that Saturday, and I was more than happy with that idea. I managed to see him for a few minutes in the car ride to Universal, and we spent a few hours together at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday. That was the last I saw of him that weekend, and I figured by the end he'd realize I was old and boring and not even into Disney, and that would be that. And there were no opportunities to spend time together without three other sets of eyes and ear. So I figured that might be the end, but at least it was fun to feel a bit like a teenager with a crush again.

That wasn't the end... completely undeterred by my "old age" and lack of enthusiasm for Disney, Brad managed to acquire my phone number and immediately started texting me the first night I got back to Utah. We were texting non stop the entire week, and within a few weeks we were talking twice a day on the phone. I flew back to Florida in December to figure out if all that was happening was just something I was creating in my head, or if this guy was really as perfect for me as he seemed.

Brad picked me up at the airport for our "first date" and we drove to Planet Hollywood for dinner. As we got to the top of the steps a friendly "cast member" was there to take our picture. As we got into our pose he asked, "So are you boyfriend and girlfriend?" There was a slightly awkward pause, and then Brad very decidedly looked at me and said, "Yes!" I was impressed he was willing to jump right in and make the decision for us, even if I was a little nervous we both might feel differently by the end of the weekend. We didn't. It was a perfect 4 days, even with its imperfect moments. Brad told me he loved me as we watched the fireworks in front of the castle (and of course I reciprocated). We didn't let go of each other the entire weekend, and we laughed and played and maybe even kissed once or twice (it might have been a few more times than that).

There have been many moments when I've wondered how this could possibly work. Especially as I dropped him off at BYU-Idaho for the first time and realized I am 32 years old and I am dating a boy in COLLEGE! But it does work, and it's amazing.

As I look back on that prayer I realize that God is so good. I don't believe that I met Brad in Florida simply because I prayed to meet a boy out of Utah. But I was finally truly open to whatever opportunity it was that God had in store for me, no matter how illogical it may be. I definitely didn't think that one brief encounter at a sidewalk table would change my life forever. But that's what makes life so beautiful. It never goes according to plan, and yet... it goes just the way it should...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Time to Every Purpose

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace
--Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

At a time when I was a little discouraged and unsure of my path, I had a very dear friend tell me that for someone who believed in God I seemed to have very little faith. He did not share any of my beliefs, and somehow that made his frank observation hit home. The reality was, it was time for a new path, but I had been afraid of veering off my current path because it was what I had known. So I stepped to the edge of the cliff and jumped, knowing that God would send me in the right direction. And 5 years later, I still know as clearly now as I did then that God absolutely came through in the most amazing ways.

Recently I have been thinking about my current path, and whether I'm again walking a path based on the fact that it's comfortable and safe. There is security in having an income that provides for all my needs and many wants. But could there be a new plan that will give me greater joy? Is that scary? Yes. Could it be painful? Definitely. But there is a time for every purpose. Life is full of changes. And I'm grateful that I can turn to the Lord to help me know when it's time for change, and that He will see me through, no matter the challenge.