“Wilt Thou, Dear Princess Anna, be My Wife?” (Our Old-Fashioned Love Story)

Just joining me? Read the first parts here: Meeting My Man“Keep Thy Heart”A Flower Girl’s Prediction/ The Answer to My Prayers

The blissful days flew by. Then one day Joshua handed me a lovely copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and asked if I wanted to go down to our special spot by the creek and read poetry together.

How could a girl refuse that invitation?

We walked down to the creek together. I sat on a log that had fallen over the creek while Josh sat across from me and read lover’s classics like Sonnet 116, “Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments…”

Then Joshua handed me the collection and said, “Will you read Sonnet 79?”

Sonnet 79? I racked my brain trying to remember what it was about. I turned to it and started reading but could scarcely keep going. Each line described our relationship so beautifully. I couldn’t believe it. It was as if Shakespeare had written it just for us.

photo credit

I kept pausing in wonder, but Joshua urged me on. Not until I reached the final couplet…

“That I may love thee long as I have life,

Wilt thou, dear princess Anna, be my wife?”

…did the truth dawn on me. By then, Joshua was on his knee with a ring, waiting for my answer. Though dazed (and trying to figure out how on earth he’d gotten his poem published in a collection of Shakespeare), I managed to reply, “of course!”

He slipped the ring on my finger.

Later I learned the details*  but for the moment, I simply enjoyed the fact that my life and his would be forever intertwined in marriage.

*Joshua designed the ring just for me (after deciding that making it himself –as that involved experimenting with gold– was not wise.) He found matching fonts and “imposed” his poem on Shakespeare’s collection. (In case you’re wondering, after reading the real Sonnet 79, my totally unbiased opinion is that Joshua’s is way better!) 

The Answer to My Prayers (Our Old-Fashioned Love Story)

Just joining me? Read the first parts here: Meeting My Man“Keep Thy Heart”A Flower Girl’s Prediction

Just as my five-year-old sister was predicting my marriage to Joshua (and her star role as flower girl), my parents called me for a private meeting.

My curiosity was peaked, but I was fully convinced that Joshua was not interested in me. After all, he’d practically been ignoring me.

“Someone has asked to court you, Anna,” Papa said. That much I’d guessed. Who was the real question. I had already determined not to consider anyone else until Joshua was not only engaged, but married.

Mama and Papa told me they had been praying for my future and a godly young man had asked their permission to court me, etc. “Thanks, but who?” I wanted to know.

They finally said, “Joshua.” I could scarcely believe it.

They were fairly certain I would say yes. The moment I did, Joshua walked in the door.

A thousand questions flitted through my mind, but the answer to many nights of prayers was standing right in front of meI practically ran into his arms.

Then we talked. Really talked.

I learned that he had noticed me that day so very long ago, when I was only thirteen. He arranged Chinese lessons expressly so I could get to know him and go into the courtship as friends. He had been praying for me for years.

The following days were a blissful blur. I was in the clouds. The next day I nearly walked into a (moving) car at college as I reread a poem he had written for me.

On our very first real date, I emerged from the clouds just long enough for my frugal self to tell Joshua, “If you want to marry me, we can’t go out to fancy restaurants often. We need to save for a house.”

Tactful, huh?

Somehow, that didn’t scare him off. Over the following months, we spent many delightful hours together. I found poetry hidden in unexpected places, but his most romantic escapade came when he “rescued” me after I fell in the five-foot deep creek…and ruined his cellphone in the process.

To be continued next  Friday… 

Linked up at Finer Things Friday 

A Flower Girl’s Prediction (Our Old-Fashioned Love Story)

Just joining us? Here is part one and part two of our love story. 

As you know, I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about this amazing guy named Josh. The more I got to know him, the more I admired him.

Dreaming about Joshua was not all that filled my days though. Living at home with six younger siblings, life was never dull. I also attended a local college full time (with one of my very best friends–my younger brother!), studied for CLEP tests, took Chinese lessons with Joshua and worked 20+ hours a week. Life was full.

In late January ’06 something very exciting developed on the football front: the Steelers made it to the Superbowl. I could care less, but my dad and brothers were thrilled. We hosted a bunch of friends for a Superbowl party, among them Josh and his brothers.

Joshua ignored me the entire time, or so I thought. The Steelers won and in the midst of the jubilation, I didn’t notice him slip a little envelope to my dad.

Too many lates nights of studying had finally caught up with me. Later that evening I ended up in bed. For a whole week I hardly had strength to get up.

That miserable week was a gift from God.

The busyness of life had distracted me. Lying in bed I was able to refocus. For the 738th time, I gave my feelings for Joshua to God. I prayed about God’s will and what course my life should hold if Joshua wasn’t in the picture.

By the following Sunday I was better and we went over to a friend’s house after church for a Valentine’s Day party. Joshua had just returned from an out-of-state job, but made it too.

Once again, he avoided me.

While our parents were playing a couple’s game, some of us started a game called iMAgiNiff. It was my “turn” and the question was “What quality would Anna want in her children?” Six possible answers were given and from the list I picked “smart.”

Moments earlier, Joshua had walked into the room. Once the players revealed their answers, he looked at the six choices and said “I would pick ‘have a sense of humor’ for my kids.”

That was it. I was sure it was a subtle hint to kindly let me know he was not interested in anything beyond friendship.

Giving Joshua to God for the 738th time had not been enough. I was nearly in tears.

After we got home, my little sister Bekka (then five) said, “Do you want to know who you are going to marry?”

It was fairly plain to me who I was not going to marry, but not wanting to spoil her fun, said “sure. Who?”

“Joshua.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are. And I’m going to be your flower girl.” Before I had time to think up a good retort, Papa called me. “Anna, Mama and I have something to tell you.”

To be continued next  Friday... 

Keep Thy Heart (Our Old-Fashioned Love Story)

Read part one of our love story here. 

Though I knew of his existence, I first actually noticed Joshua when he went on a walk with his three-year-old sister. The battle in my heart had begun.

As a teenager I hoped that marriage was in my future. Until that day though, I wanted to keep my heart pure. If I stood at the aisle one day, I wanted to be free from memories of countless crushes. “Guard thy heart with all diligence,” said Solomon, “for out of it are the springs of life.”

A guarded heart is easier to desire than obtain.

photo credit

However, I found that if, when I started daydreaming about a guy, I prayed that God’s will would be accomplished in his life and that God would bless him and his future wife, the daydream ended.

That is, until I prayed for Joshua. Joshua was on my heart and in my prayers constantly.

Though he was always kind, gentlemanly and thoughtful, he never seemed to notice me. That didn’t make it any easier. A brief conversation, a glance at the book he had in his hand, or just watching him on the volleyball court and the battle began again.

He left to teach for six months in Taiwan and I thought that would make it easier. Though it “helped” not to see him often, “out of sight” was certainly not “out of mind.” The struggle continued.

I talked to my mom, who encouraged me to continue to do what I was trying to do, guard my heart. It wasn’t easy.

Then, the “problem” escalated. Joshua knew that I had been interested in learning Chinese for quite some time. After he returned from Taiwan, Joshua set up private lessons with a professor from China. He invited my good friend Rebekah and me to join him. We did. After a couple weeks, Bekah realized she was just too busy and dropped out. Now it was just Joshua and me taking private lessons together each week.

We managed to never set an official start time with the professor. Each week one of us had to call the other to figure it out. (You have no idea how much I looked forward to that call. Whether to start at 1:00 or 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon is a big deal, right?)

After lessons, we talked by our cars or headed to the library. He lived out of county so rather than making him pay the fee to join, I offered to check out books for him. As the weeks passed and we got to know one another better, I struggled more and more.

I was falling madly in love with Joshua, but didn’t know if he returned the feeling. My dad knew what a hard time I was having. He was about to step in to protect me (and make Josh get his own library card)

To be continued next  Friday… 

Our Old Fashioned Love Story

It’s been almost a month since my last Friday series (on How to Graduate College the Distance Learning Way) and I’m finally starting into another: our love story. 

Joshua and I are fast approaching our sixth anniversary. The past six years have been a delightful adventure. Three children and three years of law school later, I am even more grateful for Joshua than I was the day he asked to marry me.

Though I’ve wanted to write our love story for a while, I have hesitated for several reasons.

  • Unlike in the fairy tales, “happily ever after” is the main part of the story. Love stories delight me as much as the next gal. But the best stories are of those who have finished well.
  • God writes each story differently. I absolutely love the way He chose to write our story. But God is the Master Storyteller and each story is and should be different. How boring would it be if we all followed the same script?
  • I happen to be married to the most amazing man in the world and really, truly don’t want to make anyone jealous. Why Joshua wanted to marry me is still a mystery, but I certainly won’t complain that he did!

Our story is far from finished. If the unwritten chapters are half as good as the finished ones, I will die a very happy woman. Whatever the future holds, God has blessed our path abundantly so far and I think it’s finally time to share the opening chapters of our love story. But first, a definition….

Courtship: defining the term

Joshua and I had an old-fashioned courtship, complete with a drowned cell phone.

The term courtship carries so many shades of meaning. Before getting into our love story, I want to define what the term courtship meant for us: a purposeful relationship, blessed by the parents.

The modern era has ushered in an age of casual uncommitted relationships. Radical feminism claims the right for women to pursue whatever relationship they desire. To sleep with whomever they want.

In addition to being completely unscriptural, the belief that complete sexual freedom somehow elevates anyone, man or women, is wrong. Today, it is socially acceptable for a guy to date a girl and expect the privileges of marriage, but shirk any responsibility or commitment. In my opinion, that is not elevating anyone.

Courtship (or “dating with purpose” as some prefer to call it) is committed. Going into a courtship, guy and girl have an end in mind: to see if the other person is the one they are supposed to marry. Sometimes the answer is “no.” But a courtship is designed to protect you, as much as possible, from giving away your heart to anyone but the one you marry.

A courtship is also blessed by the parents. Antiquated as it sounds, parents should care about the person their child marries, fathers should value their daughter’s virtue. And, children should want their parent’s wise counsel. Obviously, not all situations are the same. Some parents are uninvolved. Some dads are loving and do care, but don’t think their daughter’s marriage is any of their business. Some parents are not wise, etc.

I am blessed to call one of the wisest and kindest men I know my Papa. I am so grateful for the part that he and my dear mother played in my love story.

Meeting my Man (Our modern, old-fashioned love story)

Joshua and I met at a conference when he was sixteen and I was thirteen. I don’t remember that. I do remember his sister, Crystal, who was with him.

Like me, Crystal is the oldest daughter in a big family. We talked and laughed. She was so cheerful and her eyes danced when she talked. Instantly, I knew I wanted to get to know her better, but  it was nearly a year before I saw her again.

We visited a new church and when we walked in the door, there was Crystal! I was so excited when my family decided to start attending her church.

Eventually, I learned that Crystal had a very cute big brother, but it was a couple years before I really noticed him: It was a lovely, mild summer day. Our families had both gone to a church camp for the week. On the way back from a peaceful walk, I saw Joshua walking with his youngest sister, Hannah. She was dressed in the cutest dress with puffed sleeves and a white pinafore and her golden curls bounced as she walked.

But Joshua is the one who caught my attention this time. Her little hand grasped his strong one and he smiled as she chattered non-stop.

All I could think was How sweet. Joshua would make such an amazing dad! 

Later that week, he shared his testimony and once again, I noticed. I noticed his passion for God, his love for his family and his humility.

To be continued next Friday… 

Creator of Unnoticed Wonder

It’s been raining all day. Actually, all day the past two days. And I’ve had a cold. So have my kiddos. They’ve wanted to be held all day.

That, plus the fact that I got completely caught up in trying to fix my RSS feed [want to subscribe?] without even asking Josh for help once, is my excuse for not having posted earlier. Even though I really meant to.

Anyway, instead of a real post, here’s just a few random thoughts, because well, Monday’s almost over and I’m tired.

Photo by Krystyna Szawlowska

All that working on behind the scenes stuff takes time. Lots of it. If I hadn’t gone on and on about it, few of you will probably even notice that it’s there. But it took hours and hours (at least it felt like it did!)

This made me think about Creation. It made me think about all the tiny desert flowers that no human eye will ever see. God made them. He sees them. They declare His glory. That’s purpose enough for their existence.

Our bodies are so incredibly designed, but even with all our modern technology, we’re still discovering just how intricate they are. The blood coursing through our veins, the tiny bacteria that fight within our bodies, how much of this do you or I really know about? How much of history has been ignorant of how it all works? Yet all these tiny cells and microscopic bacteria were crafted by our Creator. Isn’t it amazing?

We work and work on a task, whether it’s making dinner or tweaking a blog, and want others to notice (at least I do.)

But God created this whole vast world. We see little bits of it. We gaze in awe at tiny fragments of it. But how much of it goes unnoticed by us humans? How many flowers bloom and die without a glance from human eyes? How much of it was created simply for the glory and pleasure of our Creator?

We’ll probably never know just how much we don’t know. We certainly know enough to stand in sheer awe of our Creator!

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1, ESV

links to Women Living Well Wednesdays

Please Pardon the Hiccups…

….as we update the site.

I really should have thought of this before starting to post again, but it really needed to be done. So if you see a crazy landing page or the site doesn’t load or the links don’t work, please bear with me. Thankfully, I have an awesome husband who can rescue me from my computer mishaps.

Hopefully it will be all done by Monday. Wishing you a wonderful day of worship and rest tomorrow!

Rip Van Winkle or Where I Have Been

You handful of gracious readers that occasionally stop by probably wonder whether I overcame insomnia so well that I, following in the steps of Mr. Van Winkle, am just now waking up from a long hibernation (1 year, 4 months and 1 day to be exact.)

That would make for a thrilling story and wonderful excuse, wouldn’t it? But, alas, no.

I simply fell out of the blogosphere. I’m sorry. I should have left a note. Thanks for not giving up on me entirely.

If not sleeping, what in the world have I been up to? Well, making a baby for one.

Meet Daisy, our little bar baby.

She joined the family in July, just three days before Joshua took the bar exam. Which made for a crazy week. We survived, Josh passed and we’re all so happy to have law school behind us (minus the school loans) and a precious bundle of smiles and coos to fill up the free hours.

And to keep those school loans to a minimum, I’ve worked two part time jobs from home. Which also filled up the spare time. Once Josh finished school and began work, I quit one of the jobs. The other one is temporary and about over, so it seemed like the perfect time to start blogging again.

Much as I was tempted to start afresh with a brand new blog after such a long absence, it didn’t seem right. I started here and should continue here. This time determined to be faithful about blogging. Or to at least let you know if I’m going to take a year long break!

photo by Your Pic Photography

A Note to Would-Be Burglars

While beginning the task of packing for the summer, I started to worry about leaving our home for such a long time. What if someone breaks in while we’re gone?

I quickly realized however, that there wouldn’t be much to tempt a burglar. The laptops, my two pieces of expensive jewelry and the scrapbooks are coming with us. (Scrapbooks are on the most stolen list, right?)

We don’t have (or want) a flatscreen tv,  any consoles or video games or an antique collection and we’ve experienced firsthand a burglar’s opinion of our musical tastes.

Until our first Christmas together, we hardly gave burglars a second thought. Then on Christmas Eve when we went to get in the car for a morning service, the passenger door was slightly ajar. Looking inside, the seats were covered in papers from the glove box and a gaping whole replaced the car stereo. Not exactly the best Christmas present–for us at least.

To make it even worse, we noticed that the burglar had rummaged through the cds in the car. But as we put them all back it was clear that not a single one had been stolen. How insulting! What’s wrong with Gilbert & Sullivan, Ray Vaughn William’s orchestral arrangments or operas, pray tell?

After that, we religiously locked our car…until one night two weeks later. We forgot. Once again we had a visit. Apparently, the burglar was looking for the remote. He didn’t find it. Rose had claimed it as her own personal phone and hardly parted from it for months. Nothing seemed to be stolen, but when we got to church and reached for the box of Altoids, we realized we hadn’t escaped unscathed.

He stole our Altoids. Of all the nerve!

Moral of the story: Buy Altoids, but lock your car doors.

Note to would-be burglars: We’re even taking the Altoids with us. Sorry! Interested in Criminal Law? We are leaving a few textbooks behind.

photo by Penny Matthews

Home again

Be it ever so humble, few things are as comforting as coming home after a long trip away.

The munchkins and I had a wonderful time with family: scrapbooking, playing games, going to a wedding, and, of course, getting sick.

It was a busy couple weeks for Will. Not only did he learn how to crawl, but he tried many new foods.

We were so ready to meet Joshua after almost two weeks apart. Finals are over and he is a officially done with his second year!

We met in Arkansas to run a book booth at a home-school convention for good friends.  It was a busy weekend full of new faces, fun memories… and sore feet.

When we arrived home, I had just time to de-bachelorize the house before Will came down with chicken pox. Poor little guy. Crawling was forgotten. All he wanted was to be held.

Rose managed to avoid it so far but told me, “Next week, Will be better. Then I get sick and you hold me.”

I’m hoping to get back to regular blogging… if Will lets me. Holding him is definitely first priority!