Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities: four

Just a few weeks before project ended, I came to the realization that our time left in Clearwater was short.  I didn't want to go back to Clemson yet, I wasn't ready to leave.  That night, I quickly decided that I would sacrifice being in bed by 10pm to spend some extra time with the people I had so easily come to love.


I headed out to pool, the unofficial hangout place at our motel.  There were several students sitting and standing around talking, laughing and enjoying themselves and I easily joined right in.  Why hadn't I hung out before? I asked myself realizing how much fun I was having.  Oh yea, work starts at 4:30am...that's why. Oh well, gotta live sometime.


Tonight it just didn't matter to me that I was going to be dead tired in the morning.  I could always take a nap when I got home from work and I wanted to soak up as much time with my friends as possible.  


As the evening continued, I found myself sitting in a group next to James Bush. I watched the way that he talked and his mannerisms.  He made me laugh and feel at ease almost instantly and began to wonder why I hadn't really talked with him before.  He loved the Lord, he was kind and smart, funny and certainly handsome, but I had never made the effort to get to know him.    


At first, we were hanging out in a group of friends, but as the night wore on and students started heading to bed, James and I began talking just to each other.


I didn't know much about him, but I realized very quickly that he was easy to talk with.  He had a way of making me feel comfortable and as I sat there I not only wanted to hear what he had to say, I wanted to tell him about myself too.  We talked about all kinds of things that night: family, hobbies, what God was teaching us, friends back home, college, funny things that happened on project and in our lives. 


Before I knew it, the last few students headed to their rooms to go to bed.  I had completely lost track of time.  In fact, I hadn't even thought about it once since I had started talking to James.  I was learning so much about him and thoroughly enjoying his easy going company. 


What time was it anyway?


I glanced down at my watch that read almost 3 am. THREE am?  How in the world was I going to get up in an hour and half for work? 


I didn't want to say goodnight even though I knew that I had to.  I was going to be tired enough as it was! 


James sweetly walked me over to the door of my room.  Somehow we had gotten on the subject of old tv shows and I laughed when I told him I felt like saying goodnight at our motel was kind of like the end of the Waltons where they were all in separate rooms and you hear them say goodnight to each other as the lights go off.


He smiled and just looked at me for a moment.  I blushed. Did he think I was silly for saying that?


Then he broke the silence, Goodnight MaryEllen, he said with a wink as he started to walk away.


I grinned and murmured,  Goodnight Johnboy, as I slipped into my room.


Two of my roommates were still awake when I walked in the door smiling from ear to ear.  


What's going on?  They asked with big grins.


What was I supposed to say? We were just talking. I lost track of time. You only live once. Isn't he dreamy?


None of those sounded right.  Instead, I answered, I don't know.  But I'm pretty sure they knew from the huge smile that I could not seem to wipe off my face...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities: three

It didn't take long for me to love being on summer project.  I didn't feel lonely like I thought I might. Instead, I had already made lifelong girlfriends that I could be vulnerable with and who pointed me towards the gospel in every situation.  I didn't spend the summer wishing I was at home, but kept thinking, I hope this summer never ends. And I started to believe that God was working in my heart and had led me to project for a reason. As I thought back to my apprehension about going, I could no longer identify with those feelings.

God was definitely teaching me new things and renewing the meaning in things that I already knew.  I was learning how to live in more genuine community, how to lead a group of women, how to share the gospel clearly, how to rely on the Holy Spirit and a host of other life-changing things. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, I got to know that guy from Kentucky a little better. His name was James Bush and he spent the summer working for a piping company.  In fact, every co-ed team or activity we were on, he seemed to be with me. We were put on a scavenger hunt team together, went bowling together for tacky bowling night, ended up on outreach team together and were in the same family group.

Scavenger Hunt

Switching shoes during bowling. I call that flirting.

Tacky Bowling
Outreach Team

Family Group
But mostly I just watched him intently from afar.  He would tell you that I "made eyes at him" all summer and that's true, but I just wasn't really sure what to think about him.  We didn't really have any in depth conversations and we didn't really hang out outside of the groups we were in most of the summer, but I was definitely still attracted to him. 

Unlike many of the students on project, I never stayed out late and hung out around the pool.  My bff Shannon and I had been working at Chick-fil-a for the summer.

We had to open most mornings.  And that meant leaving for work around 4:30am! Yikes! What were we thinking?  Surprisingly, we not only survived, but made the experience really fun.  We definitely had some interesting co-workers and lots of free food! The perk of working so early was that we got off really early too and had most of the afternoon free, but by the time evening rolled around, we were more than exhausted.

A few weeks before project ended, I decided to stay out late one night by the pool and I'm so glad that I did...

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities: two

I pulled into a parking lot in Columbia, SC to meet up with some other students who were also traveling to project.  My parents felt better about me going if I wasn't driving the 10 hour trip on my own and I felt better knowing that I would at least get to know someone before I got there.

I slowly got out of the car and awkwardly starting talking to a few of the students and their parents who were dropping them off.  Surprisingly, we got along quite easily, knew some of the same people and I started to feel a little bit better about the summer ahead.  We packed into the cars and continued the trip to FL.


There were a few other girls from SC that I immediately liked and I realized that we actually had a lot in common.  What I didn't know is I would find some amazing friends on project and two of my closest ones were in the car with me.


That night we stopped in Daytona to sleep at one of the girl's houses and drive her to project.
SC people...and Jessica :)

That night as I fell asleep, I started thinking, maybe I would make some really great friends.  Maybe I wouldn't spend the summer wishing I was back home.  Maybe God was going to do something great. 

The next morning we pulled up to Sunrise Resort North in Clearwater Beach, our home for the summer.

It wasn't like any place I'd ever stayed, but it had its own tacky charm.  Staff members in bright blue t-shirts came up to the cars to help us get our things and find our rooms.  I was SO relieved to find out that I would be rooming with Heyward, one of the girls that I had traveled with.  Our room for the summer was tiny.  It had a microwave(which would call for creative cooking!), mini-fridge, a bathroom where you could take a shower, use the toilet and wash your hands at the same time and some very funny decor.  There were no real curtains in the room, just shades and someone's painted on interpretation of a curtain above the window.  There was tacky stenciling on the walls.  Home.  It didn't look anything like my home. But it would have to do.


That evening we all had dinner around the pool. I started meeting more people. There were only 10 guys there and about 30 girls. Not good odds, I thought,  it won't be too hard to not be distracted this summer.  


But there was one guy who immediately intrigued me.  He was very good looking with curly brown hair and he was from Kentucky. Had I ever even been to that state before?  From afar I could tell that he had a good sense of humor, he was already making everyone around him laugh.  


But It didn't matter, I wasn't here to find a boyfriend.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

37 weeks!!!

I made it- I'm full-term!!  Yesterday, James took me to the park just to get me outside a little bit.  We put out a blanket right near the car and just soaked up the nice weather while reading.  It didn't last too long since I can't lay on my back or my front and laying on my hips causes some really bad pain.  So, I had to sit up without anything to lean on the whole time! Blah.  But, it was really nice to be resting outside instead of in and the weather was beautiful! I can't wait until I am allowed to go walking again since that's what I really wanted to do!


So, here I am at 37 weeks {he snapped a quick pic when we got up to leave}:

Here's hoping this baby comes SOON!  We are both SO ready to hold our little guy...and I wouldn't mind being off bed rest too :)


-R


ps- our little boy has gone from the size of poppyseed at week 4 to a WATERMELON now!  Crazy :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A tale of two cities: one

{I give full credit to Mr. Dickens for the clever title.}


It was just a few weeks before I was supposed to pack up my car and drive all the way to Clearwater Beach, FL for summer project with Campus Crusade. 


As I sat in my dorm room at the end of my sophomore year of college, I began thinking- 
How in the world did I let my Bible study leader talk me into this?  I've spent summers away from home before, but to go to a new state without a soul that I know from Clemson, I must be crazy.


It was a very last minute decision for me to go on summer project and I hadn't even finished raising the support I needed to be able to go.  I sat there that night praying if God didn't want me to go that He would not provide the rest of the support in time.  And I secretly wished that He wouldn't.


My Crusade friends were more excited for the opportunity ahead.  More than once someone told me, "you might meet a really cute guy this summer or your future husband."  It was usually in a joking sense, but I knew it had happened before.  My best friend came back from project the summer before with a steady boyfriend and while I appreciated their sentiments, I had already decided I was not "looking for love" in Clearwater.  I told several of my friends, "I will NOT come home with a boyfriend at the end of this." I wanted the summer to be without distractions and I knew that if I went hoping to find love, I would spend the whole summer thinking about it.  So, I put the notion completely out of my mind.


The school semester came to a close and I headed home still wondering what God had in store for me.  I had a few weeks before I had to be down in FL, but I was still waiting to see if I would even be going.  The day before our final support was due, I got several checks in the mail.  God not only provided for me to go,  I had more than I needed.  I suddenly had a nervous feeling in my stomach.  I knew that it was confirmation that Clearwater was where I needed to be, but I still had my doubts.


So, I packed up my things for the summer, said goodbye to my parents and got into my car. 


I still didn't know why I was going to FL.  I didn't know what God had in store for me. And I certainly wasn't excited about not knowing anyone when I got there.   With tears streaming down my face, I pulled out of my parent's driveway and headed south.  I prayed as I drove-
God, please let this summer be about you and me. I want to grow and learn and lean on you more. Open my heart to what you have for me and please don't let me be distracted by anything.


The summer ahead ended up being nothing like I had anticipated.

Friday, March 11, 2011

bed rest: day 9 musings

I may or may not be certifiably insane when I finish with this bed rest thing. I feel absolutely horrible for people who have to do it for months and am praising God that it's not that long!  I'm not sure I could make it.  My sweet husband said today that he wants his wife back and I very much agree.  He didn't realize how much I do around our house to keep it tidy and homey. I keep trying to remind myself that it's just a few more weeks at the most, but it's still incredibly depressing....BUT I know the Lord will sustain us through this time, so I am clinging to that!


I'll be 37 weeks tomorrow.  I am going to try to get a very quick belly picture since I haven't in so long.  I feel like I'm huge, but compared to many pregnant people I see, I'm really not that big.  


Our church is memorizing Romans 8 during the lent season (a verse a day) and even though I won't be able to be there, we decided that we are going to try to do it.  I used to memorize so much scripture when I was younger and I have really gotten out of the discipline of it.  The memorizing started on Wednesday.  I've got verse 1 and 2 down and need to learn 3 today.  Thankfully, I already knew verse 1, so it was an easier start than I'd planned!  I'm praying God will give us the stamina to finish the challenge (since 40 verses seems pretty daunting!).  


Last, but not least, check back later for the start of my new series...which I still can't think of a name for!


-R

Thursday, March 10, 2011

bed rest: an update

Thanks so, so much for all the sweet thoughts and prayers! We are really appreciating them!


Bed rest update:  I went back to the doctor today.  I feel like I practically live there!  Anyway, this visit was filled with better news- my blood pressure was back down!  Geez!  The good news is that my doctor thinks that bed rest is really helping and I'm not heading toward preeclampsia currently like she thought.  The bad news is that that means I still have to stay on it! Blah!  But, I really can't complain (as much anyway) because she okayed me to do some new sitting up things like going to the movies or even possibly out to eat as long as my bp is normal before I go.  I still have to have James check my bp daily and I am not allowed to do standing activities like cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc.  Surprisingly, I really miss those things and just being able to do what I want. But, I feel a little bit encouraged with what she said and the chance to get out, even if it is just a little!  They won't be inducing me early as of right now- we are just going to wait and see.  She thought there was a good possibility that he will come early on his own!  Boy, would I be happy about that! Oh, and I don't have to go back for another week! Yay! So, that's the latest!


If you read yesterday's post, I have been thinking about things to blog about since I'm confined to the couch and I had an idea: I have a friend from college that has been writing out her and her husband's story in a series called "Texas Heart" and I LOVE reading it.   Plus, they just had a precious baby girl!  Seriously, she is such a great writer and so I know ours wouldn't be quite as good, but I thought it could be fun!  I know a lot of people who don't know about how James and I met and ended up getting married when they find out that we didn't go to college together, we aren't from the same hometown, and we had no mutual friends prior to us meeting! So, what do you think?  Is that something you would be interested in reading? :) Would love your honest thoughts!


-R

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

bed rest: week one

I am 36 and 1/2 weeks pregnant and officially on bed rest until little T makes his appearance.  At last Wednesday's appointment my bp was back up and while it's not high enough to be considered preeclampsia and I have no other signs of it currently, the doctor thinks it could easily head that way.  It was really sad to leave my appt. and go pick up my mom from the airport only to tell here that I could not do ANYTHING except lay on the couch or bed while she was here:(  And even though it was hard for me, it was SUCH a HUGE blessing to have her come right when she did.  The Lord knew that we needed her badly.  She spent her 6 days here hanging out with me, finishing our chair cover, washing baby clothes, teaching me to crochet (which is helping to keep me sane), running errands, cooking dinners for us and cleaning!  And she was a HUMONGOUS help!  Thanks mom- I am not sure we would have made it through this past week without you!!  Don't you want to come back sooner? :) We decided to wait on painting the furniture for Thomas' room- I will get to that one day when I am home with him!


So, it's officially been one week since I have been stuck on bed rest. And yes, I do mean stuck. :)  I've been back to the doc once for a quick check- my bp is still elevated when I am up and about, but since I didn't see my doctor, I didn't get a lot of questions answered.  Hopefully on Thursday I will have an idea about if they will induce me early or at least a bit of a timeline since I'll be full-term this weekend!!! Thomas is doing well- healthy and heart-beating at 140 bpm- praise the Lord! I have another ultrasound to check on him on Thursday and I am pretty excited to see him again! :)  


I think the hardest thing for me so far is having to ask for everything that I need.  My mom and James have been so incredibly sweet to take such good care of me, but I never realized how hard it can be to accept such a great amount of help.  I think the Lord is greatly humbling my spirit during this time.  Now that my mom is back home, our community group has offered to bring meals for us so that J isn't having to cook each night on top of everything else!  It's such a blessing to see the body of Christ taking care of us and we love them dearly!  


So that's what has happened here in the past week!  Whew...  


We are definitely even more anxiously awaiting the birth of our son now since I will be on bed rest until he comes!  And we appreciate your prayers during this time!


I've thought about some new things I might blog about while I am down for the count.  I mean, I've got the time, right? :) More on that to come...


-R

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nestle, what were you thinking?

I am a lover of Butterfingers and so is Thomas:)  They just taste SO good. It's a wonder that I haven't gained a million pounds from eating them!  So, naturally when they came out with these and I could get them for FREE, I decided to try them!
My professional review: they totally fall short

Seriously, they are more of a cookie-like texture and I don't like it!  Not worth wasting 170 calories on for sure!  At least they were free so no harm done.  J likes them ok, so he will probably finish them off, but he agrees that they just aren't as good as the original. Isn't that always the way?

Anyway, I am headed to the doc for a checkup (they are coming every week now!) and then to the airport to pick up mi madre!!!!!!

-R

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blogger's block continues...

It's true. I have a million things I could blog about, but when I sit down to do it, words don't come.  As a result, I've been pretty inconsistent the last week or two.  Maybe it's partially because I can't finish a sentence anymore without forgetting what I am talking about?  Silly pregnancy hormones, I will NOT miss you!


I've officially entered month 9 of my pregnancy which is pretty difficult to believe and I'll be full term (37 weeks) in a week and a half! Looking back, it seemed like it was never going to end when I was SO sick and now it's flying by!  I finally ordered the decal for above Thomas' crib and my mom and I are going to work on painting some furniture for his nursery while she's visiting this week.  Here are some before pictures:


The desk was mine growing up and the dresser was J's.  The plan is to take off the existing hardware, putty the holes,  paint both pieces a pale green (possibilities below) and re-drill holes for knobs instead of pulls. I will share some fun pictures when we finish!  

Maybe this color?
Or this one?

It's too hard to tell on the computer, so I will be going to Home Depot (maybe tomorrow?) to look in person! Both of these might be too dark.  We'll see!

Like I said, my mom is flying in tomorrow afternoon and we are SUPER excited to have her:) I've got lots of fun plans and I am going to enlist her help to get ready for the baby- like making some meals for the freezer, painting, finishing the chair I started recovering and washing baby clothes! YAY! Oh, and she is going to teach me how to crochet!!! Hopefully we'll get in a little shopping and girlie fun too:)

-R