Six years ago, on August 5th at 2:00 p.m., Nick and I exchanged our wedding vows in front of our friends and family.
Six years later, on August 5th at 2:00 p.m., Nick and I ran as fast as we could to take a nap as soon as we got both kids down for their naps. My how things have changed.
As I’ve reflected back over our 6 years of wedded bliss, some highlights come to mind:
- Being blessed with two beautiful children. I’m convinced that becoming parents has the potential to bring you so much closer to your spouse and also has the potential to make you want to rip their face off. Thankfully, Nick and I have experienced more of the feeling closer and less of the ripping each other’s faces off.
- Fulfilling a lifelong dream by traveling to Australia for Hillsong Conference (summer of 2007). On a serious note, our lives were changed, our minds were blown, and our hearts were stirred to crazy levels. On a lighter note, I knew our marriage was strong after we survived sleeping 12 nights in a twin bed in his brother’s study abroad dorm room.
- Enjoying holidays to the fullest. Whether it’s Christmas, birthdays, or Labor Day, both of our families know how to celebrate. Any excuse to not work, eat good food, watch sports and/or holiday-themed movies, and make new crafts are cause for great joy around here.
- Leading worship together. Even though I’ve recently had to take a break, it has been an absolute joy and honor to continue to have a variety of opportunities to lead worship alongside Nick. I’m so proud of him and the way he has faithfully stewarded and developed this amazing gift God has given him. While our kids are small, it’s been my honor (albeit difficult at times) to support him by staying with the kids while he goes to worship practice and leads 4 services each week. Let’s face it…my vocal skills are probably better suited for the Veggie Tales version of “Jesus Loves Me” anyway.
- Cheering for our favorites. Whether it’s Tulsa football, Thunder basketball, Team USA, or our favorite cast-off on the latest season of Survivor, Nick and I love to root for our team. We’ve made lots of great memories over the years attending games, hosting watch parties, and dancing the most epic celebration dances ever when our favorites are victorious. We’ve also supported each other in times of mourning after devastating losses.
- Laughing all the way. We have experienced some hilarious moments and several that were not so humorous. Regardless, we’ve continued laughing…until our bellies hurt…and often times until I entered my state of emotional confusion and started sobbing uncontrollably. Just another reason, I’m thankful for my hubs…he loves me despite my moments of crazy.
I’m looking forward to many more years of memories with my amazing husband…the father of our kids, the pursuer of our dreams, the light in my life, the spiritual head of our household, my biggest fan, and the joy in any occasion. I love you, Nick!!!
I am not a runner. I’ve never been a runner and never believed I could be a runner. When I played basketball in 8th and 9th grade, we had to run a mile everyday. It never got easier for me. It was hard EVERYDAY. I’ve secretly dreamed of being a runner…admired people’s posts on Facebook about the runs they “crushed” everyday…clicked through pictures of friends completing any number of races…and thought to myself, “must be nice…too bad I could never do that.”
As I’ve referenced several times before on this blog, this past year has been a crazy journey for me. One of the biggest parts of the journey is redefining myself…trading out what I’ve believed to be true about myself for the TRUTH about who He has created me to be. He didn’t create me to be insecure or to sit back and watch others pursue and achieve their physical goals. He created me in His image and gave me this body which is a temple that I can take care of and use to bring all glory back to Him.
Honestly, I don’t really know where I first heard about The Color Run. I read through an advertisement and watched a few videos. Yet again, I found myself sitting there thinking to myself, “I wish I was a runner. I wish my life allowed me to have that kind of fun.” To run a race is a desire I would never share with anyone because I was embarrassed of it. I felt like if I told anyone I wanted to run any kind of race, they would take one look at me and politely encourage me while laughing on the inside.
One evening back in March, though, while we were sitting at the kitchen table after dinner, I let the cat out of the bag to Nick. I told him I had something crazy to tell him. I’m sure his mind was racing with the possibilities of what would be coming out of my mouth.
With my head slightly hung, I looked up and quietly told him, “I kinda want to do The Color Run.” You know what his response was? He got up and danced around the kitchen with excitement and said, “Let’s do it!” I was completely caught off guard, but really encouraged by his enthusiasm. We decided to sign up that night so there was no turning back and I was officially on my way to completing my first 5K.
As another point of accountability, I texted some friends and family to tell them that we would be running The Color Run and extended the invitation for them to join us. Our dear friends, Jonathan and Vivi, took us up on our offer and signed up for the adventure with us. Vivi and I shared much of the same sentiment as far as our view of ourselves and our inability to participate in a 5K. It has been nice to have her by my side to commiserate with me when I felt nervous, anxious, or was just plain freaking out about what I had signed up to do. I know that I am very blessed to have friends who will share in every part of our life’s journey…even running a 5K!
I downloaded a Couch to 5K app on my phone and started training 13 weeks before the race. When I started my training, it was hard for me to run 1 minute without stopping. But as I continued, I actually found myself starting to enjoy it! I loved that I only had to commit to 30 minutes 3 days a week. Let’s face it…life as a stay-at-home-mom with a toddler and a baby is busy and unpredictable. This training regimen was very doable for me! Thanks to the stomach flu and a vacation, my training did get a little sidetracked for almost 3 weeks. This set me back quite a bit, but the 5K was quickly approaching so I just picked up where I could and kept pushing myself. Because this was my first official run, I set my goal to be as achievable as possible. First of all, I wanted to finish. Second of all, I wanted to do it in less than an hour.
Well, I am happy to report that not only did I finish, but I finished in well under an hour AND ran the whole first mile (12 minutes) without stopping! This was a HUGE accomplishment for the girl who could barely run for 1 minute back in March. Nick was so supportive. He stayed right with me the whole way, encouraging me the whole time, and made sure that I knew how proud he was of me. As we approached the end, he grabbed my hand and held it until we crossed the finish line.
The atmosphere of The Color Run was so celebratory and fun. There were people of all ages, shapes and sizes, and physical abilities having the time of their lives as they participated in the run. There wasn’t any pressure to perform…just a lot of encouragement to have fun and be carefree. Unfortunately, we had to miss out on the highlight of the day…the color cloud…because I had to get home to feed Gabriella (the joys of a nursing mom!). This is the reason Nick and I were able to stay fairly clean…most of the color happens after the race is over. Regardless, we had a great time! We achieved our goal which was to finish and have fun. And…we’ll be doing it again next year…that is, AFTER we complete a few other 5ks between now and then. Shhh…don’t tell anyone, but I think I might be hooked 😉
Last week, we hosted a going away reception for my sister, brother-in-law, and niece. Chad has accepted the position as the BCM director at UCO in Edmond and Rachel will get to be a full-time stay at home mom AND ministry wife. While I’m very happy for them and this exciting new journey, I’m also very sad. I will miss having them so close!
Preparing decorations for a party is fun and easy thanks to my Cameo!
We ordered the cupcakes from Sam’s. They were delicious AND cheap!
My very talented friend, Karen, graciously offered to help with the party if I needed it. I took her up on her offer and I’m glad I did. She made the adorable bandana bunting and did a great job!
Gotta love the mason jars and dried flowers…a perfect addition to any party decor!
The reception was come and go. We had a nice, steady flow of people that came by to say their goodbyes.
Brynlee has grown quite attached to her Cammie after living with them for almost a year!
Faithful friends from Liberty who have journeyed with our family through a lot over many years!
Brynlee was more interested in touching the camera than taking a picture…
Gabriella loves any opportunity to get quality time with her Auntie Shan!
I’m going to miss seeing this little bundle of energy several times a week 😦 If you need me, I’ll probably be on the road to Edmond…
Six years ago today, Nick proposed to me. Nick did an amazing job planning and preparing for a very detailed and special engagement process. We got engaged back in the dark ages when Facebook was just for college students and we had a total of like 50 friends. As I was reflecting on the amazing significance of today for Nick and me, I realized that many of you may have never heard our engagement story. So…I’m sharing it today! I wrote this detailed summary the day after everything happened to include in a scrap book that I made to commemorate this special day. Here’s the story from my 25 year old, newly engaged self…
On this lovely Tuesday afternoon of my Spring Break, my mom and I were watching the movie “Prime” while Nick was at work. Nick text messaged me to see what I was doing. We messaged back and forth a few times and then he told me to go check my e-mail. This didn’t seem unusual to me because he has done that before. I got up and went into the computer room. My mom asked where I was going and I told her that I just had to check my e-mail really quick. Little did I know, I would not be returning to my movie. I saw the subject line of “The movie can wait…” and my heart leapt into my throat. I continued reading and said out loud, “Oh my gosh!” My mom came in and was asking me all these questions. I kept telling her to shut up because I knew that she already knew everything that was going on. I finished the e-mail and my mom informed me that we had to wait 15 minutes until 3:45 to leave. This allowed me some time to change out of my track suit and throw together a semi-decent outfit. I got ready and then called my 2 sisters to tell them that the fun had begun. Nick’s ‘Posin (proposing) Scavenger Hunt was in full swing… My clue said “A long time ago I flicked a rubber band at you. ‘Go get ‘em Tiger!’” Our senior year of high school, Nick was the NHS President and I was the Vice President. We were having our first meeting with the officers at the beginning of the school year and our sponsors asked if everyone knew each other. Nick said, “I don’t know you,” and flicked a rubber band at me. So, I was off to Broken Arrow to retrieve my next clue.
I was freaking out on the way to Broken Arrow. My mind was racing and I had to keep telling myself…”This is it! You’re getting engaged today!” We pulled into the enormous campus of the high school and drove all through the parking lot. They were on Spring Break too so the parking lot was pretty empty, but of the few cars there, none of them looked familiar. I was confused about where I could find this clue on this enormous campus. I knew that the specific time that Nick was talking about happened in the library but I really didn’t think the clue would be there because it is right in the middle of campus. After driving around the whole parking lot, I called Nick to get some help. He just kept telling me to use my clue so I figured I should head to the library. I noticed a Jeep parked near the library but I didn’t think anything of it. We got almost to the door and my favorite teacher from high school, Mrs. Hayden, stepped out of her car to give me my next clue. I immediately started to cry because I hadn’t seen her in over 2 years and I knew when I saw her that Nick had really taken some time and thought to make everything perfect and meaningful. We hugged and exchanged a few words before she sent me on my way with my next clue which said, “The story continues…go to the place where we had our Celebrations and never lost our Focus.” Nick and I were very involved at the Baptist Student Union during our 4 years at TU. Every week we had an event called Celebration on Sunday night and one called Focus on Wednesday for lunch. So, I was off to the BSU at TU to retrieve my next clue.
I was using my time in the car to keep my sisters updated but the majority of the ride was pretty quiet. I think I was in shock and my mom was too excited about what would happen next that she was afraid to say anything because she didn’t want to spoil any surprises. It seemed like forever but we finally got to the BSU. I was dying to go to the bathroom so I walked in, asked them to wait, and ran to the bathroom…it actually was a great opportunity for me to be alone and take some deep breaths to let this all sink in. I came out and Steve and LeeAnn Lewis, our BSU directors, were there to give me my next clue. Chris, Nick’s brother, was also there along with some other students that just happened to be hanging out between classes. The third clue said, “K, this is clue number fee, four, fie, see, SABEY! Let’s just say at this place, you can do no wrong, but you can only do…” During my student teaching, there was this little 1st grade boy named Jake who had just gotten a cochlear implant and was beginning to speak. We were working with him on his numbers and that is how he counted. Every time he said “Sabey!” (seven), I just thought it was the cutest thing. Well, I came home and told Nick about it and he said that “Sabey” sounds like a pet name. Since then, that is how we have referred to each other…Sabe, Sabey, etc. The name stuck. I also had another hint…”you can do no wrong, but you can only do…right (Wright Elementary—where I teach). So, I was off to Wright to retrieve my next clue.
I spent the entire ride to Wright trying to figure out who would be there. I didn’t know if it would be my principal, one of the many women I work with, one of my students, or even the teacher that I did my student teaching with. As soon as I could see the parking lot, I was delighted to see Mrs. Perkins’ car. Mrs. Perkins is a 4th grade teacher and her classroom is next door to mine. I have really enjoyed getting to know her this year. On Friday before Spring Break, Nick had come up to the school to visit and I saw him stop by Mrs. Perkins’ class to say hi. I had a feeling that something fishy was happening but I couldn’t figure it out. I asked her after school if she knew anything and she acted totally clueless. As soon as she got out of the car, I said, “I knew you were up to something!” We had a fun little chat and she gave me the next clue. It said, “Sabe, Good Job! You are on the home stretch. I bet you’re thirsty. Wanna get our favorites? I’m payin, but you gotta go to the right one. K, I’ll just tell you. 91st and Memorial. Don’t speed.” My family is addicted to drinks from Sonic and we have sucked Nick right into that addiction. Our favorite drink is a large diet vanilla coke. So, I was off to Sonic to retrieve my next clue and a nice cold drink.
I spent the entire time on the way to Sonic trying to figure out who would be there. I was secretly hoping Nick would be there to get the drinks and take me away to propose to me in private. I was a little overwhelmed by the idea of it happening in front of people. We pulled up to Sonic and I was scoping out the place trying to find a familiar car. I saw one that looked like our friends’ car, but as we got closer, I realized it wasn’t their car. I said, “I don’t get it.” My mom asked what I didn’t get and asked if I saw anyone familiar. When I looked closer, I saw my sister, Shannon, sitting at one the picnic tables. I was so excited because she had just left to go back to OSU after her Spring Break and I was really sad that she wouldn’t be here for the whole event. I had no idea that when I was calling her with all the updates she was in Tulsa! Shannon handed me a gift card with instructions to buy drinks for my whole family. With this information, I started to prepare myself for this to all happen in front of our families. I was getting really nervous! My next clue said, “There is a treasure awaiting you. X marks the spot. It is where the heart is…what you may ask? Your final destination.” Well, home is where the heart is. So, I was off to my house to retrieve my final clue.
There wasn’t much of a drive between Sonic and my house and I was a nervous wreck. When we pulled up to my house, I saw the cars and knew that my family and Nick’s family were all at my house. We pulled into the garage and Shannon directed me inside. I immediately heard the song, “From Here to Eternity” by Michael Peterson. I have been saying since my freshman year of high school that I wanted that song to be incorporated into my engagement. As soon as I heard it, I started to cry. There were rose petals and votive candles everywhere. I was SO overwhelmed. I didn’t get it at all…the rose petals were leading me to my mom’s antique chest where my final clue could be found. I was more concerned about all the people watching me, all the pictures being taken, and trying to find my Nick! I kept saying, “where is he? I’m so scared. I’m so nervous.” Shannon told me to look in the chest. I thought I was looking for my ring. I had forgotten about the final clue! I finally found it and had no idea that Nick was standing right behind me. At the end it said, “I should be behind you now. Look up.” I said, “I’m scared!” So Nick leaned down, put his arms around my waist, and helped me to my feet. He said (from what I can recall), “We made it, Babe. Today, March 21st, is the first day of Spring. It is a new season. It’s been a long journey but we finally made it.” Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said, “Yes! Of course!” I was stunned by the ring and equally excited about the light that came on in the box when he opened it! There wasn’t a dry eye in the house…
After everything calmed down and everyone wiped their tears away, I spent some serious time staring at my ring. It was the exact one that I had picked out 3 years ago. I love it! I was showing it off to everyone! Nick had ordered food from Zio’s so our families could share dinner together. We spent that time discussing the whole process of planning and preparing for this event. I was so impressed with all the thought that Nick had put into this and how symbolic everything was. While I was enjoying the family dinner, I was dying to get away from people. Nick mentioned that he didn’t plan anything for dessert so I immediately suggested that the two of us run to the store to get something. That was a great chance for us to get away from the crowd, take a deep breath, and squeal about being engaged. When Nick’s family was preparing to leave, Zal said, “Well, now it’s time to start planning a wedding!” Sydney suggested that we go ahead and have the wedding the following week! Just talking about the wedding took my breath away…I couldn’t believe it was finally here!
I loved everything about the whole event but my favorite part was the day. Nick specifically chose Tuesday, March 21st because it was the first day of spring–the beginning of a new season of growth and renewal. In December, Nick had gotten a new worship cd. We were on our way somewhere and we heard this song about a new season. We listened to it over and over because it spoke to us so clearly. With all that we have been through, we are both so thankful for a new season when we can let the things of the past fade away and focus on the new life that is blossoming all around us. We went out to dinner with some of our new friends, Iman and Karen, the following night and I practically gave a sermon about how much that song had ministered to me. When Nick was trying to come up with a plan for proposing to me, he said he kept hearing that song over and over in his head for about a week. Finally, it came to him…a new season! That’s when he decided to propose to me on the first day of spring. I later told Nick that that was so meaningful to me because he has provided me with a mental outlet. Every time my mind starts to wander back to all the things that we have had to struggle through in the course of our relationship, I can remember that our relationship is now founded on the hope of a new season. There is no reason to focus on what is behind me when there is nothing but beauty in front of me.
Here we are on our wedding day…August 5, 2006
So…there you have it. The amazing story of our engagement. I’m so thankful that we began that new season six years ago! It has been a wonderful journey.
On this day eleven years ago, Nick and I decided to make official what everyone was suspecting and assuming…we became boyfriend and girlfriend. On that night, sitting in the living room of his college suite in Lafortune dorm at TU, I had no idea where this path would take us. Now, eleven years later, enjoying a wonderful marriage with two beautiful children in a comfortable home in Broken Arrow surrounded by amazing friends and family, I’m so thankful we took the leap that day. It definitely wasn’t an easy journey…there was lots of drama along the way…but we stuck together…
and I’m so glad we did.
Nick had this weekend off from leading worship at our church, so we had the honor of attending Celebration Sunday at my parents’ church, Liberty Church. Liberty has Celebration Sunday once a quarter to have baby dedications, baptisms, new member recognition, among other things. It’s a really neat time for the church family to come together and celebrate these exciting milestones with each other. On this particular day, we got to witness the baptism of my new brother-in-law, Neal, and the dedication of my niece, Brynlee. It was a very special time! I’m so glad we were able to be there!
We started off our day with a family breakfast at the Broken Egg Cafe. Reuben was EXTRA excited about a whole day with Daddy!
When you are baptized at Liberty, you can select who you would like to baptize you. This is a really neat tradition. In this particular baptism service, we witnessed fathers baptizing their children, the children’s pastor baptizing a child who had gotten saved at VBS, a friend baptizing a friend, and my dad baptizing his son-in-law. Each person is also given the opportunity to share a bit of their testimony. After each baptism, the congregation claps, cheers, and gives a standing ovation. It’s such a WONDERFUL celebration. (I personally enjoyed the fact that my dad was dressed in a Tulsa Basketball t-shirt while he baptized Neal.)
Through tears, Bro. Paul, the pastor of Liberty Church, took a moment to point out how special it was to be dedicating my niece Brynlee Anne. Ten years ago this summer, my sister was diagnosed with cancer, and at that point, we weren’t sure that we would ever have the opportunity to celebrate a dedication of one of Rachel’s children. What a special moment to stop and thank God for His healing in my sister’s body, and the wonderful miracle of Brynlee Anne.
We had a wonderful time celebrating the amazing fathers in our life this weekend. On Saturday night, we got together with my side of the family for a nice dinner and hang time then spent Sunday evening with Nick’s side of the family. I have always known that I am beyond blessed to have a trustworthy, dependable, God-honoring, sensitive, invested, supportive, and loving Dad (just to name a few of his AMAZING qualities). I can’t imagine how my life might be different without his presence. As I watch Nick develop as the father to our son (and daughter on the way), I am equally grateful that I can see those same qualities developing in him. I am thankful that Father’s Day is an easy day to celebrate, and not one that brings about pain, depression, regret, etc. I am blessed and do not take it for granted!
Reuben got all dressed up to celebrate Daddy on Father’s Day
Nick requested a yellow cake with chocolate icing for dessert on Father’s Day. Well, I got in too much of a hurry and tried to get the cake out of the pan before it cooled all the way. This was the result 😦 BUT…it tasted AMAZING.
We took a nice walk to the neighborhood park and splash pad on Sunday evening. Reuben loves playing outside ESPECIALLY when his Daddy is there 😉