Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You Go, Girls!

I'm not much for holiday-ish posts because, quite frankly, I don't post very regularly anyway. So I guess it's somewhat ironic that I'm posting a holiday-ish post on a pseudo-holiday: "Sadie Hawkins Day." If you don't know anything about this role-reversal idea, you can click on the link above for an overview of its history. The basic idea is what I'm writing about, though--girls pursuing guys. Or at least showing interest in them.

I want to encourage the young, unmarried women in my life to feel free to step out and make it clear you're looking for a romantic relationship, if in fact, you're at an age and maturity level to pursue a marriage-bound relationship. (For now, we won't get into what I think that means.) 

I want to tell you a little bit about my thinking and my real-life "love story." If you know me at all, you likely know I've been happily married for nearly 6 years, now, and Jonathan and I have two adorable little boys. That also means that I was single until age 28, though, and I'd likely still be single if I were the type to sit around and wait for God to drop him in my lap! Not that being single for life is necessarily a bad thing, but if that's not what you want, I just want you to realize that it's okay to go after your dreams!

For those of you who don't know, we actually met on a Christian "dating" site called "Christian Cafe" (the link takes you to their site). Despite the constant jokes we make about "not being able to trust anything you find online" and "you get what you pay for" (I was only on a free trial--Jonathan had a paid membership!), I really think that how we met is great for the thinking person, for several reasons:
  • You have the chance to find out what the other person believes and to see if you're philosophically compatible before physical attraction and all those related goopy emotions can get in the way.
  • You literally have to learn to communicate with one another because basically, that's all you have.
  • You don't run as much of a risk of "wasting time" building a relationship with a guy who isn't interested in more than "hanging out" since travel is often required for an in-person meeting.

Like anything else, you need to be cautious because, like my dad mentioned to me, all you know about a person you meet that way is what they tell you. You do need to check up on that.

For those of you set on waiting for a guy to make the first move or waiting for God to literally drop him in your lap, I wonder if you feel the same way about a degree program or career. Did you wait for those to come to you, or did you get out there and pursue what you desired? Just sayin'.

Here's how it worked for me. When I went on Christian Cafe, there were about 3,000 guys. When I narrowed the search to "Baptists" and those who don't drink or smoke and were within a few years of my age (and taller than I am, and maybe a few more qualifiers), the field narrowed to 30. Two of those guys were in the church I was attending at the time (that was a little awkward). I messaged several of them and asked them to tell me what they liked most about their church. (Not very romantic, I know!)

My Jonathan replied to that message in a very thoughtful way, and thus began our first weeks of dialogue (or grilling each other, however you want to term it!). He was a youth pastor in Oregon at the time, and I was teaching at a Christian school in Michigan. We had both attended Bob Jones University for 3 1/2 of the same years, but we'd never met. (We're still finding out about mutual friends and acquaintances--crazy!) Our first phone conversation was in April 2005, he flew out to meet me in June, and I flew to Oregon in August, which is when he officially proposed. We were married in March 2006.

Nearly six years later, I'd consider us one of the many on-line love success stories! God has taken us up and down some windy roads, but we're thankful to have each other and, of course, our two little balls of energy!

I'll tell more of our story in another post, but the main point of this one is to encourage those single Christian girls out there to feel free to make a move, today on Sadie Hawkins Day, or any day!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Our Home Sweet Parsonage--A Pictorial (& Video) Tour

Well, I figured that if I kept waiting until everything was completely decorated and how I want it, I'd be waiting until my hair's completely gray (and no, I don't have ANY . . . yet!), so I settled for doing this when it was at least clean.

It's been just over a month since we moved here to Linesville, and we absolutely love it here! After getting completely out of boxes in just a few days, some minor illnesses and just plain L-I-F-E has gotten in the way of my big plans of getting completely settled in within a week. You'd think we'd have this whole moving thing down to a science by now, but the whole moving-out-of-state deal comes with some extra challenges like new bank accounts, insurance, drivers' licenses, etc., etc., etc. Oh, well.

We absolutely love our new church family and have had so many opportunities for fellowship with them, starting the day we moved here. We had 3 or 4 different offers for people to watch our boys during while the big stuff was coming in, and after I dropped them off at another home, I came "home" to about a gazillion (okay, maybe just a couple dozen, but still!) helpers that had already unloaded the majority of our belongings. They even helped set up and make our bed and unpack about half my kitchen. They'd burned a lot of boxes before we left to go down the road to the church for a fabulous dinner prepared by others in the church.

I must admit: It was a little odd having people whose names I didn't remember (and had met only once or twice, in the past couple months) asking me where to put furniture pieces in a house I'd briefly toured in late November, but hey!

Without further adieu, here's the grand tour of the first floor:

When you come in the front-ish side door (there is a front door, but there's no real access to it--weird, I know), you come in through (drum roll, please!) the coveted spacious mud room!

If you were visiting in person, you could sit down and take off your shoes or boots (depending on the day of the week or time of day, this crazy winter!) and then hang up your coat on either the wall-mounted rack behind the door, to your right, or on the rod to your left. Either way, you'd then want to follow that well-placed carpet remnant to your left to what was once the side door.

Once you walked through it, your view would be something like this one, with the arched doorway slightly to the right of being directly in front of you:

Don't you just love the white trim and chair rail against the tan walls?! We do! And note the berry swag you can barely see above the arched doorway--I just had to put in that Pennsylvania touch--along with candles in my windows, of course!

The window-type opening above our extra-long sofa leads to the kitchen, so it's a semi-open layout. (And yes, I know that there's a hole in my photo arrangement--like I said, I'm not done yet!) By the way, to the right of that incompletely decorated wall is the door to the pastor's study.

(As a side note, we are adjusting to his working from home again, never mind the first-shift-ish and somewhat flexible schedule--there are both positives and negatives to all of that. It's especially hard for the boys to understand that when Daddy comes out to get a cup of coffee or something, he's not really home. One way we've tried to explain it to them is to tell Caleb that the play room is his office. I love it when he tells me he's working in his office! lol Then, today, he told me that the kitchen was my office. How cute is that?!)

Moving on, if you were to look to the right of the door to the study, here's what you'd see:

If you stood in front of the door to Jonathan's study, here's the view as yo look a little to your right (just past the arched doorway you saw before):

In the top right corner, you can see our nonfunctional front door in front of which is the staircase to the upstairs, which includes three bedrooms (two of which are very spacious!) and a large full bath that includes a ton of storage. (Maybe I'll give you a tour of that sometime next month. . . . if there's any interest.)

Standing at the same spot, here's what you'd see if you looked a little to your left:

You can see the (second) door you came in, there to your left. And sure, it's a little quirky to have a window to my mud room, but that's obviously where the house once ended. Besides, window treatments are in the works, and I just love having that informal but highly functional entryway!

Might I point up our new electric fireplace? It's my Valentine's Day/Anniversary/Mother's Day/probably a few other holidays gift from my man! Ain't he the greatest?! We had the TV on the bookshelf you already saw, until we bought that last week, and now the pictures need to be rehung because they don't look quite right, but that's okay!

Okay, back to the tour. If you turn to your right and walk through the arched doorway, turn to your right, and you'll be in my kitchen! It's not huge, but it's not tiny, either, and there's plenty of cabinet space--woo hoo!

Past that is our dining area. It's a little too white for my taste and the valances were here when we came but don't quite match my not-yet-hung decor, but alas . . . these things do take time! Anyhow, if you were to walk through the doorway and look to your left, this is what you'd see:

Walk along the counter on the left and look back the other way, and here's the view:

If we moved the buffet, we'd have room to use all four leaves to extend our table for plenty of guests. By the way, that back door is functional, and it leads to a small cement landing with a few stairs to the spacious, evergreen-shaded back yard.

Why don't you walk over to the side window (the one not along the same wall as the back door) and look out. Here's what you might see (depending on the day, this odd-ball winter):

Yes, there is a creek and plently of wooded space out back--such a great place for two boys to explore as they grow up! Now, jump back in the window, and turn toward the kitchen, and you'll see one of my favorite spots inside the house:

I must give credit to Jonathan for this brain child--if we hadn't used this little nook as a coffee corner, I'm sure it would be wasted space--speaking of space, this place has TONS of storage, like the cabinets placed below the coffee pot!

Back through the kitchen, I must point up a feature I just love--no, not the old-fashioned phone--the pantry! I've never had one of these before, and I just love having the extra space to stock up on food. Our church family did a pretty good job of getting us started out with plenty of canned goods and some easy meals, so some of those are still in there, too.

Okay, going back to the living room, when you came through the arched doorway, you turned right to come into my kitchen. If you'd gone straight, you'd go into a small full bathroom (sorry, no pics--it is clean, though!).

If you looked to your left, you'd see our basement door (it's unfinished and has a low ceiling, but we're grateful for the storage space and washer and dryer down there). Like all the interior doors downstairs, the door to the basement has a fabulous vintage doorknob with a (working) keyhole you can peek through, like this one:

To the left, just past the basement door, is the door to my favorite place in the whole house--the play room! (Originally, this was one of two bedrooms in the house--so glad they added on!) But we'll save those pics for another post. For now, you'll have to settle for the sneak peak in this very amateurish, completely unedited 4-minute video tour linked here.

Thanks for popping over to see our new home. We're very grateful to the Lord for providing it and to Calvary Baptist Church of Linesville for all the hard work they've put in to keeping it up for nearly 6 years without a pastor to live in it.

Hope you'll visit in person sometime, friends! Just give me about an hour's notice, and I'll even feed you. :)