The Most Wonderful Time…

For many, Winter starts close to Thanksgiving. It’s really cold, the sun only comes out for a short while, and the leaves have all dropped from their trees leaving them looking like poor little dead twigs. Snow may or may not fall, but you definitely know that it’s winter. It’s time for hot chocolate, thicker coats with sweaters underneath, and lots more time indoors.

For Louisiana, it’s still spring.

Here the sun is bright and always warm, the temperature may drop and it does feel cold, but if I still wear shorts and flip flops outdoors more often than not, it’s not winter. Sure the calendar may say December, but in my mind and my body, it just isn’t. I’m ok with that now, now that I’m heading home to Oregon to celebrate Christmas with my family, but let me tell you, the Southern Guy got an earful about how the weather wasn’t acting correctly to what I’m familiar with and what everyone was promising me.

Finally after several mornings of my coworkers asking if it was cold enough for me yet, (my continuous reply having been a resounding “No,”)  one of the paralegals said, ” Honey, Welcome to Louisiana.” It was then that I fully understood that I needed to relearn the weather because I am in the South, and we all know that the close you get to the equator the warmer it is for longer. So my mindset is more open about my new home, and my expectations are completely gone, because they were set to my Northern standards which just wont work now that I’m down here.

And then we had a “Sneaux” day (pronounced snow, it’s a Cajun joke…yeah not as funny when you have to explain it…sorry), where the rain would freeze on the outer layer and stay liquid on the inside so when it hits the water refreezes and the ice from the outer shell sticks… It SUCKED!

72865_10201964292683775_578756537_nThankfully I have an awesome boss, who didn’t make us stay at work for very long and it was a good thing too, the city started closing down ALL the bridges in the city. Well our city is split right down the middle by a river….so if you worked on one half of the city, but lived on the other side, you were gonna have a heck of a time getting home. So I tried using this time to run some last minute errands (groceries and such) and found out that people were treating this “sneaux” day (see what I did there?) as if it were a hurricane and stocking up on all and any food! The Southern Guy and I were out of luck, but thankfully I sort of prepared a head and had some food stockpiled for us. Our next problem came when the Southern Guy tried to get home, because his boss wasn’t checking on the conditions or something, all the main bridges were closed, so he had to go WAY out of his way to try to find a bridge that would still be open. Thankfully the boondocks bridge was still open and he was able to get home…

So moral of the story is, Southerners have NO CLUE how to handle cold weather. That day there were over 200 weather related accidents and at least 2 deaths in association with the weather, all because people thought they could drive like normal on the icy roads. 2nd moral is don’t go out when the roads are icy in the South, it’s safer for you inside no matter how well you handle the icy roads.

 

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“Ring”ing In the New Year

Alrighty everyone, I’m writing down the story of “THE PROPOSAL”, 1.) because I’m sitting here in the Dallas airport on Christmas Eve waiting for another 45 minutes before they begin to board my flight into Portland(!!!! Almost Home!) and “B” because I know there are those who I wont be able to tell the story to first hand. So here it goes;

The Southern Guy and I have been dating for the past 3 1/2 years, which is a good chunk of time so of course we knew we wanted to get married, and we were planning on it, but it wasn’t official or anything. (It’s not official until he asks, no matter how much you talk and “plan”) The only real things that were holding us back was that we had done a long distance relationship for the past three years and wanted some one on one time where we got to have a “normal” dating experience once I moved closer, and the Southern Guy wanted to graduate from college. So for three years we worked on the things keeping us at a distance, my schooling, saving up so I could move, his religious decisions, and our relationship in general. I finished college, moved back home and continued to save and talk to the Southern Guy about religion. I knew he was curious and willing to learn, my fear was what would happen if he never decided that he felt my faith was true, if that happened could we still be together? The Southern Guy was searching for something that felt like home and after 2 and 1/2 years and many lessons and questions, he made the decision to be baptized! I was so happy and so proud of him for having come to that decision without my pushing or him making it because of me. It was all him.

So I moved down to Louisiana to be closer to him and to try my hand at being an actual adult, and lets just say “real” life is not at all what I expected it to be. Yes it’s hard, but overall the things that you have no clue how to handle are the things that end up defining us, helping us to become the best we can be. I’ve found that when I just go ahead and try to make it work it generally does, unless the Lord has another plan. Things tend to not be as complicated as we make them out to be in our highly intelligent minds. Over-thinking things, I now believe, is the main cause for many missed opportunities. With this lesson I’ve learned in mind, going and just doing has become easier, but I digress.

So after moving down there ( I say there because I am currently not there, I am 30,000 some odd feet in the air trying to keep myself entertained), the Southern Guy and I enjoyed a slightly restricted dating life due to his schooling. He was working on finishing his last semester at the local college earning his bachelor’s degree, a goal that he had been hard at work for the past 4 years. (Yes he was one semester late graduating technically, but he did change majors a year ago so it was expected.) We worked around it and enjoyed just being able to spend time together doing chores, running errands, and sometimes going out when homework and life allowed. In the past 4 or 5 months we have grown even closer than we were before, and of course we talked about what would happen after graduation; aka getting married. The Southern Guy had a goal set that he would only get married after graduating because he wanted to know that the financial struggle of school payments and less time at his actual job wouldn’t affect his future family/wife. That was something that was definitely difficult for me to deal with, because my parents are all about, “If you wait to be ready, you will never be ready,” which is a great point, but I also think that all things in moderation. Even a good thing can kill if done in excessive amounts, eating, drinking, sleeping, anything really.

So we had talked about getting engaged and getting married, but were just kinda sitting on it waiting for a little bit of a more ideal time.

Apparently that time was after church on December 22nd, when the Southern Guy blindfolded me in the car before we left and drove around town. I have to give a little description of the blindfold; it was one that I had with me when I first went to college and I sprayed with my perfume and sent with his first package I ever sent him. At first I knew almost exactly where I was, I just have that great of a sense of direction (just kidding, but I did know where I was), until the Southern Guy took a left hand turn I wasn’t familiar with and threw me off. I didn’t learn until later that he was passing by the house his grandfather lived in until he passed, to gather a little bit of courage and say a quick “Thank You”. We then continued on our trip, me trying to not peek and the Southern Guy egging me on asking if I knew where I was. I was completely turned around when he parked the car and came around to help me out, but then I heard this odd twerping noise, almost like a parrot that has an issue with the song birds outside, it’s a sound they now use in some cross walks to let people know how much time they have based off how fast the twerping goes. I had only ever heard that noise outside of the campus where the Southern Guy attended school, so when he asked again if I had any idea where we were I asked if we weren’t at campus because isn’t that where the noisy crosswalks were. He quickly covered that up with a quick lie that they have those all over town, and because I love and trust him I accepted that statement as fact and was lost again. (True story, he lied to me but it was all in the sake of romance so I forgave him) He then led me around and up some wooden stairs, it was then that I caught on that we were at campus and going to this beautiful old southern oak that they had built a wooden platform surrounding it with benches. It was where we had our first real date. So he blindfolded me with the first thing I had sent him, and proposed in the spot where we had our first date! It was too sweet and thought out. On top of which his best friend and he had set it up that the whole thing had been recorded and taped!! So we now have those memories for forever! I never thought I would cry because it wouldn’t be such a surprise, and it wasn’t so much of a surprise what was happening, but where and how was too perfect. I have a truly wonderful man in my life, and I love him so much!

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Also the ring that he offered me that I now wear is made of parts of his mother’s ring, grandmother’s ring, and step-grandmother’s ring. Keeping it in the family, I was so touched when he told me and started balling all over again. The love I have received from his family is amazing to me, I don’t know how I can ever give back enough to them all, but I continue to try my hardest.

So that is my proposal story, my perfect, wouldn’t have it any other way, beautiful proposal that I accepted. That is how I get to ring in the New Year, with a new ring and a wedding to plan!

Northern Christmas

You never truly realize how much you miss home, your real home with your original family, until you go back for a holiday after being away for months. Even though the South is now my home, where I will live and start the newest part of my life with the Southern Guy, I will always call where my parents live “Home”. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new home down here, but the North will always be where my past is and where my home began. I was very blessed to be able to go back home for Christmas and spend some much needed time with my parents and younger sisters, Boo and Meesh. Meesh brought with her from Utah, her first serious boyfriend, The Asian, which was very interesting because I just got engaged, and she’s now in a pretty steady “serious” relationship (they aren’t planning on getting married any time soon from what I heard), and then my littlest baby sister Boo Boo is almost done with high school. We are all in very different stages of life, and it’s always been that we were close enough in age in general that what we were going through as individuals the others had, had at least an idea of how it felt. So it was very interesting that my sisters and I were so far apart in our different stages of life, I could still relate to both of them, but neither of them could really even imagine how happy, excited, and nervous I was. There was lots of girl time to talk about each of us and they had plenty of questions.

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It’s interesting how as we grow up and move onward with life how our relationships change in drastic ways, but they also in the same since stay the same. My sisters and I are closer than we’ve ever been, but our relationship is built more on respect now and our views of each other have changed to fit more appropriately to our age and stage of life. My little sisters come to me now asking questions and see me now as more of an adult and big sister in the sense that they trust me more and want to spend time together. There’s a friendship there that hasn’t been there since we were little, I take responsibility for being a bully when we were kids, but lets be honest, it takes two to tango.

 

Anyway, Christmas was amazing! It was wonderful to be home and be able to enjoy our time together doing chores and everyone fell back into  place as if two of us were still living there, rather than we had moved out and were living as adults, and one of us was getting ready to  take one of the biggest steps of their lives and get married. That’s what I love about my family, that no matter where I’ve gone or how long I’ve been away, I can always come back and I will always have a place to come home to. I will always have that net there to catch me.

 

My youngest sister, Boo, has had a hard time with her two big sisters leaving to grow up and start their lives as adults. She’s scared to make that jump herself, and for her it’s only a year and a half until she graduates and can start college. She kept asking me to talk to her or just listen to her about why she’s so scared about it all, that she feels like her safety net is becoming unraveled without Meesh and I there, that the net has become less secure and she’s on her own more and more. She’s scared of the unknown of becoming an adult and leaving home, a feeling we’ve all had at one point in our lives, but after we take that leap of faith we realize there’s nothing to be afraid of.

It’s that moment before the jump, the climb up to the point where you jump, all the thinking before hand, where you start getting scared and nervous. You don’t don’t know what is going to happen when you give into the urge to fling yourself from this new height, higher than you’ve ever gone. Will it hurt more when you land? Will others be there with you falling through the air? Will you fall or fly?

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We all have taken these leaps like little birds from the nest, and others have seen us fall and then in the distance start flapping and flying away. It’s that in between where all they knew was that we were falling and then we mysteriously start flying, that makes the experience even more scary because they don’t know how we went from free falling to gracefully flying. We forget that not everyone makes it on the first try, many of us have to get help, be picked up and taken back to the nest to recoup and then try again, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If anything it proves your strength in your determination to persevere. Eventually when the time is right and you are ready, you will take off on your own.

 

That was and is my advice to my little sister, that it’s perfectly normal to be afraid of the next step in life, to be nervous and excited about it all, and don’t worry if she fails the first time, just make sure to pick yourself back up so you can try again. The only true failure is giving up.

 

There were a lot of emotions during this Christmas trip, most happy, few were not, but overall we got to reconnect as a family and all of us were excited to start planning the upcoming wedding between the Southern Guy and I. More on that later…

 

 

P.S. Sorry it’s taken so long to get this post up, wedding planning is really hard long distance and I put blogging off for far too long. So I’m finishing the posts that I started way back when and adding them now.