Girls, Chill Out

I really didn’t know what I wanted to blog about today. There’s the whole Trayvon Martin deal, but I think enough people are talking about that. There’s our pending marriage, but I’ve talked about that a good bit. There will be plenty more to talk about later on. So I’m going to choose one of my favorite topics: dating. Girls, get ready because I’m probably about to step on some of your toes. Guys, get ready because for once it’s not all going to be your fault. However, remember that the majority of the time it is your fault. (Kidding, of course) Let’s begin:

A date. Why does that freak so many of you girls out? I’ve been in these circles. I’ve talked with you about boys. The majority of you are boy crazy. While you would NEVER admit it, let’s go through a boy crazy test.

1. Do you think about what it would be like to have a boyfriend more than once a week?

2. Do you have “crushes” on more than one guy? Aka your heart speeds up when you’re around him?

3. Does your heart yearn for some guy to ask you to a fraternity function even though you’re “so over frat parties”?

4. Do you talk about guys with your roommates or friends every day?

If you’ve answered yes to all four of these questions you are, in fact, boy crazy. For those of you who answered yes to 2-3, don’t fool yourselves. You’re boy crazy too. Now that that’s established, let’s move to my point: You guys sit around a talk about guys, think about guys, want to be around guys but when one asks you on a date it’s like the heavens and earth collide! All you’ve wanted, even though you’d never admit it, is to go on a date. But now when a guy FINALLY gets the courage up to ask you, you have to call your mom, talk to ALL of your friends, pray and fast for a week, make pro/con lists and sometimes even talk to his friends to “see what he’s thinking.” STOP IT. I will say it again, STOP IT.

By no means do I claim to be a dating expert. I definitely made some mistakes and fell into the same traps you did. However, I can look back and see those traps and I’m begging you to not go that route. Here is my dating advice: Go on the date. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure a single date doesn’t mean he’s proposing marriage. {Note: If you are 100 percent, absolutely positively without a doubt positive that he is NOT the one. Zero romantic interest at all. Ever. Then please say no. But if there’s a chance, one date won’t hurt.}

We’ve been wrapped into the hyper-spiritual phenomenon where a single date has now been turned into this MAJOR life decision. I am not saying that you shouldn’t pray over your decisions, relationships, etc. However, I really don’t think a first date requires a weeklong time of fasting and praying. It is ONE date. Girls, stop thinking that you are SO perfect and flawless and lovable that by going on one date with this guy that he will fall in love with you. And then you’ll have to break it off and his life will be ruined. He’s a big boy now. He’s a man. He’s asking you on a date knowing that there’s a chance it won’t work out. You won’t ruin his life by saying no to a second date. And if his life is ruined by this, then good thing you didn’t go on a second date.

On to my final point. Know how it feels to ask a guy to formal? Know that pit in your stomach, could barf feeling? You’re nervous that he might say no. Or that he won’t like you. Or that it could be awkward. Well, now imagine that it’s not just a single night of dancing with lots of friends and it is just the two of you doing things that YOU plan and pay for. That’s what guys go through. We think it is SO painful to ask guys to be our dates, but what if you had to ask them on REAL dates? See what they have to go through? Realize that they have it rough. I know I would HATE having to be the one to initiate everything: the first date, the “I like you” talk, the “Are we bf/gf?” talk, the first kiss, etc. It’s hard. Cut them some slack. I’ve heard people complain about dinner and a movie. What do you propose? What exactly is there in Auburn? Dinner and bowling? Dinner and a walk? Trust me. He’s nervous enough because you’re pretty and you smell nice. Him taking you on a date is big deal. Don’t complain to your friends because he took you to Olive Garden instead of Provinos. It’s spaghetti. Get over it.

In conclusion, chill out. Quit putting so much pressure on yourselves and him. Go on the date. Be yourself. Remember that he’s put a lot of thought and time into this. He’s had to work up the courage to ask you. And even driving to get you, he’s having to build up the courage. Remember, you are pretty. That instantly grabs him. But also remember, he’s an adult. He knows it’s a first date, not marriage. Girls, just chill out.

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‘Nuff Said


For those of you who were at Passion 2012, remember this? For those of you weren’t, be ready to cry. This morning I woke up and without even realizing it was singing this song. Through all of our trials, suffering, sighing, excitements, joys, etc… How great is our God?

Here are some passages I’ve been really loving lately. I like to call them my chicken soup for the unemployed soul.

All my longings lie open before you, O God; my sighing is not hidden from you. {Psalm 38:9}

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. {Luke 12:22-33}

Funny, Funny

Let me tell y’all some funny things.

First funny thing. My future hubs registered for a blow torch. That’s right. You heard it. We are registered for a blow torch at Home Depot. Why? To set things on fire. Not for creme brulee. In Josh’s words: because it’s a blow torch. It sets stuff on fire. We can’t use it to light birthday candles. It would scorch the cake. However, we can have a fire (if by chance we have a fireplace in our future home), burn secret-containing documents (because we have SO many of those) and pretend that we’re blowing fire. Picture it: Josh stands and opens his mouth and I’m behind him with the blow torch. No one would ever know!

I'm not positive if this is the actual one we're registered for, but yes. Something like this will most likely be in our future home.

Next funny thing. Josh writing thank you notes. The way we’ve been doing this whole thank you note situation so far has been I write to my family/friends and he writes to his. Not that we don’t have mutual friends, but basically I write to girls, he writes to guys. Well, Sunday I left him four thank you notes to write. Only four. First, it took him at least double the time it took me. He puts LOTS of thought into it. Second, his notes are themed. For instance, sweet friends Drew and Adam gave us a Shark iron. Josh’s note follows (paraphrased. I didn’t memorize it.):

Dear Drew, 

Thank you so much for our Shark iron. It will be useful in navigating the dangerous waters of wrinkled clothes. I am so glad that we can FINish this semester together. Your friendship has snatched me from the JAWS of loneliness. 

Another funny thing. Me trying to workout with Josh. Last Wednesday I went to the gym with him. I had already worked out once that day, but wanted to spend some time with him so I basically just stayed on the treadmill the whole time. (Not running the entire time. Let’s be real.) Then on Sunday (after eating a mega-monster cone of mint Oreo ice cream at Brewsters on Friday, bbq, M&Ms and strawberry shortcake on Saturday) we decided we’d exercise. According to Josh it was a “light workout.” My arms beg to differ. We did all sorts of dumbbell exercises, machine exercises and triangle pushups. This is more than my little arms could stand, but I WOULD NOT give up. I did everything he did in my own weight range, of course. Luckily he conceded his original intentions to run on the treadmill for a walk after our arm exercises. Here I sit on a Tuesday, two days after we worked out, and my arms are STILL aching. It’s the meaty part of my shoulder. It literally feels like I got 17 tetanus shots. I’m not normally a major complainer, and I do sometimes enjoy exercising but Dang!

Last funny thing. Josh and I going to the park. Saturday we picked up my Project Uplift kid and took him to breakfast. Then we picked up a friend’s puppy and took them to the park. Note: dogs are a great ministry tool. Within 30 minutes, we had picked up 3 Asian children and their moms. We didn’t even have to say a word. Also, Josh and I have had our eyes and ears peeled for a younger guy to take my Project Uplift kid next year. We wanted a freshman guy so he could stay with Ty from 6th-9th grade. He also needed to be someone who would be intentional to share the gospel with Ty and continue to teach him how to be a gentleman. Well, we found him! Answered prayer! Saturday I turned to Ty and said, “Hey! We found someone to take my place next year.” His first response: “Is it a guy?” Me: “Yes.” Ty: “Good.” Burned. Burned by my 5th grade Project Uplift kid.

T- 47 DAYS

Did yall know that today marks 47 days until JRB and I get married?? 47 days!!! In the spirit of matrimony, I thought today could be the day I blog on the proposal. Josh’s story will be a little different from mine (just slightly), but guys’ sides usually are.

Set the stage: On Saturday, August 27 I went to Taylor Hamiter’s (the coolest kindergartner I know and a pro flower girl) birthday party. She had lots of sweet, little friends there and those sweet, little friends’ parents were also there. One set of the parents were Taylor and Tamara Teel. Josh and I have known them for a while now, and they are best friends with Trace and Cassie Hamiter. Well, after we left the party, I got a call from Tamara. She told me that she and Taylor had met this sweet college couple that had been going to First Baptist Church in Opelika (where Josh and I attend and are getting married). They wanted to introduce them to Josh and me over dinner on Sunday night, and she asked if we could come. I, of course, said yes and got directions to the house (Taylor’s parents).

Josh and his friend Brady after setting up and practicing our engagement.

Sunday rolls around, and Tamara texts me to tell me that dinner had been moved to 6:30. That was perfect for me because I was exhausted and that gave me an additional 30 minutes of nap time. {I later regretted this nap time because I didn’t shower or do my hair. Had I known I was getting engaged I would’ve tried to look a little better. Oh well, you live and you learn.} When Josh came to pick me up, we both were wearing baby blue shirts. Cool, right? But he said it’d be fine, and we started driving. When we got closer to Taylor’s parents’ house, I began instructing Josh on when and where to turn. Once again, had I known I was getting engaged I probably wouldn’t have done that since he had been there at least 2-3 times already. Whoops!

As we’re driving up, Josh exclaimed, “I see a deer!” and veered off the driveway into this grassy area. I was flipping out because I couldn’t see the deer, but he kept insisting it was huge and was right there. He then told me the deer ran back into the woods, but he kept driving straight. I’m a stickler for punctuality. I LOATHE being late, so when Josh kept driving I started getting onto him. I was like, “Josh! We’re already late, and this is weird. We can’t just drive through their woods!” So he stopped the car, put it in park and got out. I instinctively followed all the while protesting. Finally Josh just goes,” Paige. C’mon. Just walk with me. It’ll be an adventure.” I’d like to say I knew right then that this wasn’t really a dinner with the Teels, but I was extremely naive and fooled so I just obliged.

Side note: Whenever Josh and I would talk about getting engaged I used to always joke with him that he was going to propose in the oddest, most intense way. I told him that I just knew I was going to end up being sweaty and bloody by the end. I mean, the very first time he asked to a fraternity function (it was Farmhouse formal), he wrote a poem and with a knife stuck in in the top of a tree. So I had to the climb a tree to retrieve the note in order to say yes. 

As we’re walking through the woods my leg gets scratched and begins to bleed, thus proving that I would bleed whenever we get engaged. As we come to the end of the woods, I see that there’s a big pond with a dock. On the dock Josh had put a couch, candles (done in orange holders because our first kiss was in FH under orange Christmas lights. He said he was redeeming the kiss since it wasn’t uber romantic.), and flowers (this was the first time he had ever bought me flowers.) We hopped in a canoe (I’m shaking) and Josh paddles us over to the dock. The whole time we’re in the canoe I’m going, “Is this just a normal date? Are you sure?” And he is assuring me that he just wanted to do something nice for me, and it IS just a normal date. Sneaky, sneaky.

Notice the orange candles. Who’s a romancer? Josh is!

My letter. Similar to the one two and a half years ago way up in a tree.

When we get to the dock though, I see a letter folded and stabbed into the side of the dock. (Remember how he asked me to Farmhouse formal??) Well, I begin shaking, ask him if I can take off my Chacos and attempt to read the letter. I did sorta read it, but none of it was making sense. My mind was just racing and all I could think about was how he had told me this was just a normal date and we weren’t getting engaged any time soon. I was trying to talk myself out of it because I didn’t want to let me heart go there and then this actually be just a normal date. BUT I read in the letter, “your Dad made me promise him…” I just gasped and said, “You talked to my Dad??”

This is my “You talked to my Dad?” face.

At that point, Josh took my hands and said some really sweet, sweet stuff. He quoted 1 John 4:9-11:

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. “

He then said the magic words (while on a knee of course),” Will you marry me?” And I honestly don’t remember saying yes, but I think I did at some point. I stooped down to hug and kiss him and ask him every question imaginable. Then we realized my ring wasn’t on so we did that before we prayed together. I was really afraid he was going to ask me to pray because I knew that if I did I wouldn’t be able to get words out. I was so overwhelmed with excitement and joy and disbelief that my mind was going 90 to  nothing. But in 47 days this sweet, sweet engagement will be over, and we’ll be MARRIED!!

Why yes I will marry you.

Best. Hug. Everrrrrrr.

My Heart Today

I lean not on my own understanding
My life is in the hands of the Maker of heaven

I give it all to You God trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me

There’s nothing I hold on to
There’s nothing I hold on to
There’s nothing I hold on to
There’s nothing I hold on to

I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open
I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open

This is my heart today. As most of you know, right now Josh and I are jobless, which is TOTALLY ok. The Lord has been so faithful through all of this, and we really are fine. We aren’t freaking out or questioning God, our plan, etc. This season has done nothing, but increase my trust in God and led me to complete surrender. While each day is different and some days are harder than others, this really has been a cool time of total surrendering. If you remember, this is why the blog is named Miraculous Maze. We are walking through this maze (obstacles including job situation, where we’ll live, etc.), but while walking through this present maze we are continually reminded of the marvelous, miraculous God we serve.

So, have a listen. I love Will Reagan and United Pursuit Band. It’s just easy listening that leads you to worship! And please continue to keep our pending marriage, lives together and job situation in your prayers. All prayers are graciously accepted!

Engagements and Naming Cars

Yesterday the greatest thing happened. WE SENT OUT OUR WEDDING INVITATIONS. I am so so thankful for my sweet roommates, maid of honor and mom for helping me stamp and assemble them. Josh even got in on the work by helping us make sure that each person on our guest list was accounted for by an invitation, a tedious but needed task. Then he and I went to the post office and dumped them in the big, blue tins. As soon as we finished he goes, “Welp, no turning back now.” And I said, “Yea. That’d be pretty embarrassing.”

They have two kiddos now!

They got there in a weird way, but they did make it to marriage.

This brings me to my point: saying, “Yes,” to a proposal should be a more concrete, serious decision. By all means, I know that the majority of engagements end in marriage, but there are a lot that don’t. I’m thinking of The Bachelor here.  There have been 16 seasons and only two marriages. So roughly 12 proposals were accepted and then broken off (I’m accounting for the one guy who didn’t choose anyone and the couple that is still together). Before Josh and I got engaged we discussed the meaning of engagement and how it is a time of preparation. Yes, it’s a time to plan a wedding, but really it is for preparing for your marriage. That is one thing many girls (especially Auburn girls) miss. We glorify weddings and then forget there’s a lifetime of marriage after that awesome event. While, yes, the wedding is awesome (so pumped. 52 days left.), the marriage is more important. It is a binding, forever covenant making you and your future spouse the image of Christ and the church. Do you see how HUGE and POWERFUL and SERIOUS that is? It’s so fun to look at rings, dresses, venues, cakes, etc. on Pinterest and stalk people’s wedding albums on Facebook. I’m guilty. I do that. It’s not inherently  wrong. But it is when you lose sight of what the engagement and marriage really mean and symbolize.

I’m sure many of you know people who have broken off engagements or are ring hungry. To the ring hungry, stop. That stupid. My thoughts on breaking off engagements, at least you didn’t use a wrong to fix a wrong. What I mean is if you wrongly accepted a proposal and you know without a doubt that this man or woman is not right for you, then breaking it off was the right choice. As previously discussed, marriage is a covenant meaning it’s forever. Don’t make this covenant if you know without a doubt it’s the wrong choice. I sincerely hope and pray that NO ONE will ever be faced with that decision, but please don’t get into a marriage just because you feel “forced to.”

Ok… change of topic. Way less serious. Do you remember that post “Weird Week” when I told you Josh got a new car?? Well, that is still very true. However, we need help naming her. The car is a silver Mitsubishi Lancer. Josh says he only drives cars that are girls, so it has to be a girl’s name. We’ve thought of Loretta, but that just doesn’t seem perfect. Help us out!! Send us ideas for car names!

Hilltops and Valleys

I am SOOOOOO excited to be back to blogging. For today I just want to catch everyone up on what we did:

Amplify. For those of you who didn’t read JRB’s post about Port St. Joe, you should! I was completely blown away by how amazing he did. Really. For those of you wondering, his post is a display of the reasons I’m marrying him: loves Jesus, quirky/funny, manly. What else does a girl need??

This was my third (Josh’s SIXTH) Amplify, but each year is special and different and the Lord works is awesome ways! This year we got to see several people come to know Christ and the gospel was spread like crazy. I was on a construction crew, and we worked on a trailer that had caught on fire. It’s an extremely sad story, and now the family is left with no insurance money to get a new trailer. Thus, we were given the task to make a charred trailer into a livable trailer. Quite. Difficult. And EXTREMELY frustrating at times. We moved every piece of furniture, food, clothing, decor, etc. out of the house, ripped up the carpet, tore down some sheetrock and the ceiling, washed ash off the walls and cleaned it all up. I learned a lot about myself, relying on the Lord for strength/motivation and about home repairs!

Josh was a construction LEADER (Yea, that’s right. He’s the bomb) His team was a demolition team aka they got to knock down, tear up and demolish houses. If this wasn’t the perfect job for JRB, I don’t know what would’ve been. This is the point where I start bragging on him so get ready: HE IS SOOOO COOL. Y’all, I had people from my team, his team, people I don’t know telling me how he was taking sledge hammers and knocking down beams and kicking down walls. Literally, girls told me,” Your fiance is so manly! And he loves Jesus. I see why you’re marrying him.” My response, “You’re dang right! You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know.” If there was ever any doubt about my safety next year (which there wasn’t), I’m definitely not worried now. His team (comprised of some of the finest, if I do say so myself) took down TWO houses in only two days. That’s absolutely remarkable! Each day he’d come back to the houses we stayed at and be completely covered with dirt and soot. Even the inner lining of his lips were black, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder. What girl doesn’t like other people recognizing how incredible her fiance is?? This girl sure does! In other words, Amplify was definitely a high point of Spring Break. Major hilltop!

Josh with pals Jeffery, Austin and little boy that I don't know. This isn't even the dirtiest Josh got.

Before.

Going... Yes, this is Josh knocking down boards with his feet.

Going.. Yes, Trace connected his truck to the house to pull down the roof.

Gone.

These pictures were taken by the incredible Maggie Smith. Thank you, Maggie, for letting me use them and for being diligent to actually take pictures, something I am dreadfully bad at.

After Amplify, I went home because I had some wedding stuff to do and Josh watched NCAA Div. 1 wrestling finals. Those of you who follow him (You should if you don’t. He’s funny/informative.) on Twitter are probably well aware of this. I also went home because my mom had a doctor’s appointment in Birmingham. She got her yearly checkup/mammogram about a month ago, and the doctors called her back. We were all very nervous about her getting called back, but obviously none of us wanted to freak each other out so we kept it together. So Friday my mom, her friend Mrs. Jan and I went to Birmingham for her appointment and some much needed retail therapy. PRAISE REPORT: EVERYTHING IS FINE. MY MOM IS CANCER FREE!! You never realized how special it is to say that until you’ve either overcome cancer (thankfully we didn’t have to go through that) or you’ve come close. For all of you out there with moms battling/overcoming cancer, bless you souls! I cannot imagine how hard/scary that must be. If you are like me then it’s like, “Mess with me, but don’t mess with my mom.” Really. I just can’t imagine what it must be like to have a sick mom or to not have a mom. All I can say is the Lord is so good and so sweet, and this valley can be a hilltop!

Friday (same day as my mom’s appointment), the wedding invitations were supposed to be finished. Guys, I was SOOO excited. These invitations really aren’t that intricate or extremely artsy. If anything, going into wedding planning the invitations were the things I cared least about. Well, boy has that changed! I started working with some people on them in November and they are just now getting finished. Friday when they were supposed to be printed, the print shop messed them up and then didn’t have enough paper to fix them. So they had to order more paper and postponed them until Monday. Then, yesterday I didn’t like the way the envelope was so I was corresponding with my mom and the man at the print shop through email and phone calls. At one point I knelt my head down on my kitchen counter and just cried. Definite. Valley. But the good news is they are printed. They are going to be mailed asap. And JRB and I are still getting married. So…. Hilltop!