the reality of what being engaged long-distance actually feels like

Being engaged long-distance is tough, I’m not gonna lie. Don’t get me wrong, though. Because I absolutely love being engaged and it’s a huge improvement over long-distance-and-not-engaged-yet. (Having a date to countdown until helps – 146 days, peoples!) Still, knowing that I haven’t seen him in two months and that I still have another three months until I seem him again isn’t the most joy-filled reality. Even though that’s a challenge, the hardest part of being in a long-distance engagement is actually the realization that, for me, getting married means moving away from everything I’ve ever known. I love my fiancé and I absolutely want to spend the rest of my life with him, but my roots are deep here in Los Angeles. I’m excited to move to Chicago, but I don’t want to leave at the same time. I want to be with Austin, but I don’t want to leave my family. I miss him now, but I’ll miss my family after the wedding. My family, my friends, my job, my church are all here, but my future husband is there. I want to get married and move to Illinois, but I don’t want to leave the place that I have called home for my entire life. As my fantastically astute brother, Connor, pointed out, (in his Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert voice, of course … whether or not he was doing his smolder will not be disclosed at this time)

“You know, I can’t help but notice you seem a little at war with yourself here.”

Yeah, just like that.

That’s the moment I realized that being in long-distance engagement while dealing with a bombardment of emotions feels a lot like when Rapunzel left her tower for the first time. I’m currently sorting through the convoluted emotions of missing Austin, trepidation about the change that is coming, wanting to spend as much time with my family as possible, realizing that I’m leaving them, missing Austin more, figuring out how to do this whole we’re-engaged-thing, understanding that all my friends are here and not there, not knowing what to expect, excitement for what is to come… Anyway, it looks a lot like this…

Oh wow. I’m engaged!

Oh my gosh. I’m actually engaged.

I get to plan a wedding!

Oh… I need to plan a wedding.

Wait. What’s my logical basis for this decision?

Why am I even asking that? Of course getting married is the right decision. Duh. End of discussion.

But… but… but… that means leaving.

I get to leave and go on an adventure!

California is my home. Here. I am never moving.

Yay! In just a few months I get to move!

Being engaged is the most terrible time of being stuck waiting in-between.

Being engaged is the Best. Thing. Ever!

 Why isn’t this easy?

Hey … maybe it’s not supposed to be easy.

But, you know what? It’s all going to be worth it.

from the middle of the month of thankfulness

November is traditionally a month of thankfulness. I want this thankfulness to be more than some traditional obligation, though. It’s a month I’m thankful for and am thankful in. Today marks the start of my final month in my teenage years. One month from today, I will turn twenty. As a result, I’m feeling significantly reflective and philosophical this morning. Part of me feels so ready to leave this season behind me and another still clings to the last bit of the years-that-were-then. God has orchestrated this season and I will focus on thankfulness for the one I’m leaving behind while still remembering to look forward to the one that is ahead. It’s a dichotomy, though, and I find myself wanting to leave and yet aching to stay at the same time (more on this later.) In the midst of it all, my mind is still mulling over recent memories of early-morning San Francisco with my friend Naomi and art museums with Jenn and Josh. Memories that deserve to be documented in more worthy ways than this simple sentence. This is a month of thankfulness. Thankfulness for finding peach pie for the wedding. For the opportunity to vote for the first time. For afternoon trips to the movie theatre with Connor. For my parents’ twenty-first wedding anniversary. For early-morning runs. For baby smiles and converse sneakers and “I love you”s. For the marvelous man whom I’m marrying who showed me the beautiful empty bookshelf that is just waiting to be filled with my books. For finally beating him at Words with Friends. That really was significant; I promise. However, as amazing as all those moments and people and things are, more than all of that, I am thankful for grace. Beautiful, precious grace that strengthens and sustains and refreshes me when I know how much I need it and when I forget how much I constantly do. What a great God to provide us all with the grace we need to live each day for his glory. As I read during my devotions this morning in my copy of Valley of Vision,

Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess,
but not more than is found in thee,
the divine Treasury in whom all fullness dwells.
To thee I repair for grace upon grace,
until every void made by sin be replenished
and I am filled with thy fullness.
May my desires be enlarged and my hope emboldened,
that I may honour thee by my entire dependency
and the greatness of my expectation.
Do thou be with me, and prepare me for all
the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity,
the losses of substance, the death of friends,
the days of darkness, the changes of life,
and the last great change of all.
May I find thy grace sufficient for all my needs.

Have a blessed month, my friends, filled with the joy of the Lord and thankfulness for his mercies that are new every morning. Great is His everlasting faithfulness.

the time i got engaged

So, remember that time I got engaged? Yeah, I know that it’s been a long time and I sincerely apologize for that. Since that ring has been on my finger, I’ve been on four flights, had houseguests three times, went to a conference, and attended the wedding of one of my absolute dearest friends. Not even to mention wedding planning on top of all of that. Needless to say, blogging hasn’t exactly been top of my priority list.

Still, the week surrounding August 19th, 2014 was a rather significant one in my life and it’s one worth writing about … even if it is a bit later than I would have preferred.

(photo credit: the great romance)
(and yes, there are more photos of the proposal. they will be posted on our new blog soon.)

We spent a lot of time at the beach while the Harrisons where here. Bonfires and boogie boarding and body surfing and swimming in the waves. There was windblown hair and terrible sunburns but it was a beautiful beach-filled summer week.

We drank enormous amounts of coffee and tea and our neighbors brought over cream puffs to celebrate the night Austin proposed. Oh, those cream puffs…

My Nana and Poppop gifted our families an amazing dinner to celebrate the engagement. The food was the best and time spent together was precious. There were a lot of us all crowded around that table, but the loudness and the laughter felt beautifully familiar.

They gave us a free dessert because we told them why we were celebrating. Can’t argue with that.

There was the day Austin and Curtis came to work with me. While I sold yarn, they played checkers and chess. Gosh, I love these two.

…and then there was the day when we went with my parents to make our registry.

There was much laughter involved and I got distracted far too easily, but it was completely and utterly fabulous.

Then, on a blissful summer’s night, after the rest of the Harrisons had departed to go back home, Austin came with us to the Hollywood Bowl to see John Williams in concert.

The program was phenomenal this year. Star Wars is always a winner, but this year we also heard Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, and Indiana Jones, among others.

We explored Barnes & Nobel and Connor and Austin got distracted on our way to locate the wedding section by How To Be A Gentleman books.

When we weren’t running around bookshops or going to concerts or visiting friends and family, we knocked out a lot of wedding planning too. Picking the music, the venue, the colors, the style … It was such a blessing to be able to get so much done while Austin was here because, since he left, I really haven’t been as on top of things as I should be. We’re getting married in five months. It’s hard to believe that three months have already passed since he proposed and I am thankful that we still have plenty of time to get things done even though I’m tremendously excited to marry him.

He’s in Illinois and I’m here in California. We’re getting married and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around this is actually going to happen because it still feels so far away. One day. It will only be one day and, after that, everything will be different in the most amazing way. This isn’t about the wedding, though. It’s about honoring Christ as we embark upon The Rest of Our Lives. Some moments will be glorious and some will be challenging, but they will all be beautiful, even those moments of painful sanctification.

In April, I am going to be a wife. Right now, however, I am in the midst of the in-between season that is engagement and it’s the most wonderful thing and the most difficult thing at the same time. Still, I am thankful for where the Lord has me as I prepare for where He takes me in the future.