Monday, March 29, 2010

A Year, For Real?

On April 1st, 2008, I walked into Alex City FUMC as their new Arbor Director. I was told during the interview/hiring process that it was down to me and one other person. Little did I know on my first day of the job, that one of the first people I would meet was that "other" person and would soon be my husband.

Evan was working with the after school program at Alex City FUMC when he applied for the job at The Arbor. He continued to work for the church after I was hired. When I came on the scene, it was a stormy day that forced Evan and his 5th and 6th graders to find shelter at The Arbor. When they arrived, they found a girl who was frantically trying to read emergency manuals and find Tallapoosa county on the TV map encase a tornado planned to take a trip through town. When I introduced myself to Evan and asked for his assistance, I had no idea what he was thinking in his head, which most likely sounded something like this..."Why in the World would they hire this crazy woman over me. She doesn't even know where we are on the map!"

After a month of working, getting to know my new community and conveniently parking next to Evan daily, I was asked to "hang out" with Evan's group of friends. Even though I was suspicious of sabotage, they were my only chance of having friends within a 30 mile radius. Conveniently, my first outing with friends became a lunch between just Evan and myself. I quickly realized I was on a date. I also realized I was comfortable around this man that looked like Hulk Hogan with his blonde curly hair and handlebar mustache. After having Bar-B-Que, we took a stroll down to Wal-Mart (which means we saw most of the town and started numerous rumors). I was hosting a sports banquet that night but when it was over, Evan let me follow him to a friends house where I met a large group of strangers (who offered me ice cream and macaroni). I met almost every friend Evan has that night. I realized then, that there was a core group of good and goofy people around town and that I desperately wanted to be a part of their circle. I had only know Evan for a month and it was the first day I had been with him outside of work, but I couldn't deny my growing love for him, his passion to serve and his friends (that soon took me in as one of their own).

By the end of May, I had decided to "dual church" on Sunday mornings. I would worship at the church where Evan and I both worked and then speed down the road to 6th Street Baptist where Evans family attended and where he also served as Youth Minister. The night before my first dual worship experience, Evan and I spoke on the phone about how this would be a significant step in our relationship and there would be no turning back. The town would know we were dating and we would have to endure whatever came from that (he grew up in this town and people were very protective of "their Evan" and were suspicious of the "new girl"). After making it through both church services and meeting what seemed like a million people, we boldly took our relationship a step farther; I jumped in Evan's Jeep and headed straight for the town's Amphitheater that was hosting Kansas in concert! I will never forget following behind Evan, to our spot in the grass, at the Kansas concert. The entire town, literally, was in attendance and I could feel stares at the back of my head the entire night.
By mid June, we were expected to be found together. It turns out that Alex City FUMC ended up getting both of us by hiring me as their Arbor Director. Evan became my second hand at most activities and I became his sidekick for his youth events. By this time, we knew each others families and my parents had forgiven him for the streak of blue that was in his hair when they first met him (yes, a streak of blue...who does that)?! In July, we celebrated making it through our busy summer of work by taking a trip to the beach with his sister, Genae, and our friend, Justin. I wonder while Genae and I shared a bed, clothes and sunscreen that weekend, if she had a hunch that I would become her sister-in-law within a year?
August, September and October flew by with our busy schedules. It was obvious to us both that we had found our last first date. I thought I would be scared out of my mind when I realized I had found the right person for me, when actually, it seemed natural (which I guess was a hint to us both that we were doing the right thing). By Thanksgiving we were engaged and I had taken my dream job at Camp Sumatanga (my parents later told us that they knew we wouldn't make it to New Years without a proposal).
In January I moved a few hours away to start my job and then God showed off by providing Evan a job at Sumatanga as well. God took me on an adventure to Alex City to meet Evan and then He quickly took us both to Sumatanga, but this time, our adventure was together. Evan moved and began work in March and our beautiful wedding day followed on April 4, 2009. We were married 1 year and 3 days after we met. I was the type that would date the same guy for a year and 1/2 and then debate if he was right for me or not. Evan was the type that didn't date for long because he wasn't going to date anyone he couldn't see himself marrying. Needless to say, when I found myself in love after only a few dates and he found himself dating for several months, we knew that we were it. I married a man that wasn't "my type." It was the best decision of my life.
This Sunday, we will celebrate our One Year Anniversary. We are thrilled to share our marriage day with Easter this year (you can't one up the Risen Lord). We keep hearing that the first year is the hardest and that it gets easier from here (the people that say that obviously haven't ran a summer camp with their spouse).
It feels like just a few weeks ago that all of our friends and family joined us at camp to worship at the chapel and eat great food by the lake.
I hope I never forget the beauty and joy of our wedding day. I hope I never forget that curly haired man with a handlebar mustache (that we quickly got rid of, mind you). I hope that on the days when we are at each others throats that we remember the time we spent getting to know each other and that beautiful day in April of 2009. I hope we never loose that feeling of quickly falling in love and knowing that we have someone to serve the Lord with for the rest of our lives.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I can't begin to explain the peace and love I feel this morning. I am certainly dragging my feet and my mind isn't with the program yet, but I wouldn't change the busy and tiresome weekend for anything!

I had the extreme blessing to serve as Lay Director for Young Adult Chrysalis #66 this weekend. Chrysalis is a weekend get away to focus on the love and grace of Christ. These weekends aren't like any other retreat because it launches its participants into a lifetime of service and a community that lasts a lifetime as well. Chrysalis has become a fundamental part of my life.

I originally joined the Chrysalis/Emmaus community in 2004 when I participated in my original weekend. At that time, I didn't know just how much love and work went into making the event happen. Now, 6 years later, I have been on the other side and know that the love that goes into the event trumps the work (and it is a lot of work).

This weekend, even though I was the leader, I was much more of a follower. Each committee took on its own life and once the participants showed up, they didn't need me. I was able to worship and fellowship with the 27 beautiful "caterpillars" (aka participants) and other team members in the conference room. I felt like it was my first time to experience the love all over again. God showed us all our true beauty and worth that can only be found through Him.

Saturday will forever go down in my mind as the highlight of the weekend. It was a day so special that there are no words to describe it. It is something I will never forget. All I can say is that there were 51 of us that got to simply experience Heaven. Yes, I said Heaven!

"I am my beloved's and my Beloved is mine." Song of Songs 6:3

Then I heard the voice of the Lord Saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8

"Behold He comes riding on the clouds, shining like the sun at the trumpet call! Lift your voice, it's the year of jubilee, and out of Zion's hill salvation comes!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Life's Blessings!

What a week!

I have been beyond honored in the last week to share in the memories of two of the biggest days in the lives of a few of my friends.

First, our friends Maria and Ben brought a perfect baby girl into the World! Ann Shepard Murray came to meet everyone on Wednesday afternoon (and was looking quite comfortable in the arms of strangers by Thursday morning). The only person more beautiful than the new born was her mother, Maria. Maria is always beautiful but you could see the love for her child on her face. The entire family seems to glow! The miracle of birth simple blows my mind!

Then, this weekend, Evan and I were privileged to take part as bridesmaid and groomsman in a special wedding between our friends Whitney and Eric (now the Miller's)! Eric and Evan have served side by side for years in youth and music ministry and they are now able to stand side by side to encouraging each other in their marriages. Whitney was one of the first to take me in when I moved to Alexander City and didn't know a soul. She quickly became a kindred spirit and I was beyond honored to stand beside her while she said "I do."

Both of these occasions have left me to think about the blessings of life.
Evan and I have been married for almost a year and taking part in Eric and Whitney's ceremony gave us a reminder about what marriage is all about and just how special our union is.

Spending time with Ben, Maria and Ann Shepard gave us a look into the future (the far future for those of you who are determined for us to get pregnant).
I am not ready for children yet, but seeing Ben and Maria with their new little one made me smile at the thought of being a parent one day.

When life starts rushing too fast, it is nice to have a reminder of just how blessed we are and see how God is working in the lives of others. I know there are miracles around us everyday, so I challenge you (and myself) to find them in both the big and small things.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snow Day

Yesterday the sun was shinning, a breeze was blowing and it was 60 degrees (the day I found perfect for a drive).

Today, clouds cover the sky and snow covers the ground.

Once again, I find myself in awe of how God works and how silly he can be with the forecast. I have seen it snow at Sumatanga before, but toady I've witnessed the most accumulation since we moved here a little over a year ago. I decided the World deserved a pick-me-up of just how beautiful things can be.

Here are a few shots of the lovely place I call both work and home.

Side note-we also took the picture for our Christmas card today! We may be 9 months early but it is never too early to get ready for Christmas!

Monday, March 1, 2010


I never get sick of being surprised by how amazingly beautiful God's creation is. It is a beautiful day for a drive and I am about to take one!

There is no reflecting on this blog entry but there is a challenge to enjoy the beauty of the day!

Most days we complain that it is too cold, too hot, too rainy or too dry. It isn't often we realize that the day is just perfect (it isn't often that we don't complain about something). Although today requires a bit of a jacket, it is a perfect day! The sun is beaming, this birds are singing and God is shining down on us, no matter the situation!

Now, get outside and enjoy the air! If you don't have time, then clear your mind and forget about what worries you and embrace your drive home, drive around town (or wherever it is that you are driving to) long enough to enjoy what is around you.