August 31, 2015

It's been a while. How are you?

Well, hello.

When last we spoke, you had just finished reading my Romantic Epic. As you're probably aware, four days after the final installment, my boyfriend flew up and proposed to me, thus becoming my fiance. We proceeded to have a not-long-enough blissful week of enjoying each other's company - when I wasn't working.

The story of how the night of his proposal went down is chaotic to say the least, but let's say that there were late flights, forgotten sparklers, and lots of spilled sparkling cider. His grandmother came up with him, and meeting her was fantastic. She could tell within minutes that Tim and I were a good match. "Tim is the boy version of Hannah, and Hannah is the girl version of Tim." It's really a quite accurate observation. We're different, but the same.

From that point, I managed to round up my bridesmaids, maid of honor, and matron of honor, as well as find a wedding dress.

From there, I went to Europe for two weeks, where I walked miles, and miles, and enjoyed so much bread. It was an incredible experience, but it was, I'll admit, partially overwhelmed by my excited for my trip to Florida that was coming three days after I got home.

I went to Florida for a week, and enjoyed absolutely every minute with the man I love. I met family, and friends, and church folk.

My fiance is an incredible man, folks. I love him more than I did a week ago, or a month ago, or two months ago. There is no man that I've known who I could be more excited to call my husband. I can't wait to live life with him.

So - I had a good month of vacation. Now, I'm home and busier than ever. I got a minor promotion at work, I got a second job, I'm planning my wedding, I'm looking for a place for Tim and I to live, I've begun running again, AND I'm in college again. There is, to state the obvious, a lot to do.

I'm thankful, though. I'm thankful that I don't feel overwhelmed. I'm thankful that the Lord is proving Himself to be true to His character, and is bringing things together seamlessly, in His right time. I'm thankful that my second job is something I can do from home. I'm thankful that I have a reason to not quit my job at the cafe. I'm thankful that I'm acing my class so far. I'm thankful that wedding plans are only a little stressful, and actually coming together fine. I'm thankful that I feel more organized than I do scattered.

This is a good season of my life. I'm thankful that this has been such a NICE year. Last year was the definition of hellish, and this year has been the opposite. I'm thankful that I trust the Lord again.

I am blessed.

July 10, 2015

I can't help falling in love - Part Four - CONCLUSION

"Wise men say / Only fools rush in / But I can't help falling in love with you..."

The last two and a half days of Tim's visit were a whirlwind. An incredible, beautiful, perfect whirlwind.

We went to church on Sunday morning, and I loved sitting next to this man that I was beginning to absolutely adore. He put his arm around me during the sermon, and it was exactly as I had imagined it would be the Sunday before. I saw us, sitting in that pew, together. It happened, and it was...perfect. I belong by his side, and he next to mine.

I don't remember exactly what the sermon was about, to be honest, but my father preached, and it was a message that I knew I needed to hear. When the time of an alter call approached, I knew three things:

1) I had a good thing in Tim.
2) I could acknowledge this, repent to God for my unbelief, and go forward with blessing.
3) I could acknowledge this, continue in my stubborn disbelief, and be in contention with God.

I knew that if I kept going forward the way that I had been, things would not go well for me. There is blessing when we believe, and trust God.

I didn't want to risk it. I wanted to be right with God. I knew that Tim was a gift, and I didn't want to ruin anything.

So, I went forward. I repented for my unbelief. I chose to trust God again. I felt new. I walked back to our pew, wiping tears from my eyes, and stood with Tim, who was misty-eyed, himself.

We left church, and headed to Maine. We held hands, and just before we reached Jill and Kate's home, Tim said this:

Him: There was something I wanted to say to you last night, but I got nervous.
Me: Tell me!
Him: I wanted to tell you that I like, like you.
Me: Awwww! I like, like you, too.

Let me set the scene of the night before, for you. Tim had been a dear, and made up my bed on the sofa for me (which he proceeded to do the following nights of his stay, and it was wicked sweet, and wonderful.) He took a shower, and I was laying in bed (read: sofa.) Before he went to bed, he leaned on the arm of the sofa, hovering over my head.

Me: Hey.
Him: What's up?
Me: (Reaches up and pats his beard.)
Him: Well, good night.

HA. Oh, my gosh. We still get a kick out of this whenever we talk about, because it was so random and hilarious! I didn't know what he was doing, and he didn't know what I was doing, and whatever it was was cute, and awkward, and when he closed the door to my room, and snuggled under my blanket, and smiled to myself thinking, "He likes me."

It was adorable, guys, okay?

Back to Sunday.

We spent the afternoon with Jill, and Kate, who, as always, were lovely hosts. Tim enjoyed being with them, and I'm thankful that they are in our lives. At one point, Tim was talking to Kate in the kitchen, and my mother and Auntie Jill wanted to know if anything had happened. So we grabbed dad, and all went outside to "look at the flowers," so that I could tell them about what happened in the car. I told dad that he should probably be prepared to have a more serious dad talk with Tim, because we were definitely on the verge of being in a relationship.

When Tim and I left the house, my dad's last words to him were, "We'll talk tonight." Not ominous at all.

We stopped by Starbucks so that he could meet some friends, and then went home. We had planned on going to the beach to look at the stars, so we pretty much just hung out until dark. We didn't leave before talking as a group with my parents, though.

Dad came home from the prison, and we all sat in the living room, and talked. We had an open conversation about courtship, about certain expectations, and basically got the green light to be together.

The best part of that talk was when Tim and I mutually expressed that we never thought we would find anyone like each other. Both of us had really given up, and neither of us know where we would be now if that week hadn't happened when it did.

Family talk was a success! Tim and I went off for a late night drive to the beach to look at the stars. We got a little lost, made ourselves Facebook official, and when we finally found the beach, discovered that it was a little cloudy, and really chilly. The blanket we brought with us was barely warm enough.

We huddled close together, sitting in a lovely state of bliss, talking...shivering...kissing. It was great. The best part is that we got kicked off the beach by a police officer, and our romance officially became like a Hollywood rom-com. We still laugh about it, and probably will for the rest of our lives.

We made our way home, and tried watching a movie - we watched a lot of movies. I believe it was Sunday, maybe Saturday night...that we stayed up till sunrise. No, it must have been Sunday. Either way. We were up til sunrise at some point. It was romantic, okay?

Monday was a rainy day, we took a road trip to Rhode Island to visit a family friend of Tim's. They are a lovely couple, and I loved meeting them. We had a really nice time together. On the way there, and on the way home, Tim slept a while each way. All I could do was keep myself from crying out of gratitude to God. I had a man dozing on my shoulder who was everything I had dreamed of. Who wanted to be with me, and thought I was fantastic just for who I was. I didn't deserve that! I didn't deserve anything. But I was blessed. And I was overwhelmed.

Monday night, though...that fateful night. Tim and I drove to Haverhill to pick up pizza. He had his arms wrapped around me as I drove, and we talked. I was sharing my heart with him about the place I had been in, about how he was everything that I had given up on. I couldn't stop myself from crying. I cry, okay? I felt Tim rub his face on my shoulder, after he had handed me a tissue, and he said something to imply that he was crying.

The actual timetable of the following moments is jumbled, because we were both feeling a lot of feelings.

He told me that he loved me.
I took a deep breath. I smiled, I shook my head in happy disbelief. More tears.
I asked him if he really loved me. He said he did.
I remembered what I had been told in my spirit on take him at his word.
And I knew I loved him, too. I knew that I would never find anyone else like him.
So I told him that I loved him.
And we cried.
The tissues are still in my car.

Before he went inside to get the pizza, he wrapped his arms around me. And I did what I only know how to do, now...I was honest, and straight forward.

"I only know how to just say things," I said. "But you should probably propose sooner than later. Talk to my dad about this."

He didn't disagree. We went home. The pizza made all of us feel gross.

Dad said his good nights, and I gave Tim a nudge to talk to him about what had happened. He stood up, about to do it, looked at me, I gave him a "you can do it" wink, and then he sat down. I can't blame him. It's a terrifying thing to bring up to the father of the woman you love. I told him that he didn't have to do it now if he felt it wasn't time, but encouraged him to not be nervous.

And like the incredible man that he is, he stood up, and went to talk to my dad. I don't know what they said to each other, but I told my mom what had happened. Tim and my father emerged from the room. I don't quite remember what happened.

I know that Tim and I cuddled on the sofa watching a movie for the rest of the night. And long after the movie ended. We didn't want the night to end. He was leaving the next day. It was awful. But we were in love. We are in love.

Tuesday came. We reluctantly parted ways. I watched Tim walk into the airport, and he kept turning back to look at me (I told you, it's like a movie, for real.)

So, now, we talk every day. In the late hours of the night, or the wee hours of the morning. Our record so far is six hours of video chatting until about 5 or so in the morning. SIX HOURS. And we probably coud have kept going, but geez, I guess we should get sleep?

It's amazing, guys. God is so faithful. He has been so faithful to us. We both know that this is nothing except a work of God, honestly. It's too crazy to not be God.

So, I'm thankful. And incandescently happy. I've found my true soulmate. The one my soul loves. I had a rocky journey to find him, but it happened. I can't wait to see what our future together holds.


Psalm 145:17-21

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will spesk in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise His holy name for ever and ever.

I can't help falling in love - Part Three

So, Tim is in Massachusetts. I forgot to mention a nice thing in the previous post from the night we sat in the apartment, talking. I asked him how he felt so far, and he said that he felt at home with my parents. Which was really neat. Onward.

Both of us will tell you, the first couple of days were awkward. He was quiet, I was awkward, and insecure, and a little crazy.

The day in Boston was long, and hot, and misguided, as most Boston adventures with me are. Tim was a good sport about it all, and frankly, all I could do was observe him and see what a great person he was.

He really has like, no flaws, guys. Anyway.

We dropped Sam off at her house, and headed to mine after a long day. We were tired. All I could think about was if this guy even liked me - just as a person, let alone romantically! So, I asked him. In the exuberant, exasperated way that I do, sometimes. "Do you even like me?! Are you still glad you came?!"

I knew I shouldn't have acted that way, but gosh, the guy was so hard to read! Throughout the day, I'd ask if he was having a nice time, and just got a "Yeah."

HOW CAN I WORK WITH THAT? I was still kinda nervous. Or a lot nervous. We both knew that just needed to break the ice.

He said that he wanted to spend more time with me, just us. So that he could get a better feel of how we are together. Totally legit. We got back to the house, and pretty much just went to bed.

THURSDAY. Thursday was a turning point for me. Tim, God bless him, chose to come with me to work. I was working a seven-hour day, and he was able to keep himself busy, but the poor guy - he was bored out of his mind. I felt so bad. He walked around Newburyport a little bit, found a neat antique shop. He laid in the grass by the boardwalk. He was tired, and I couldn't blame him. I felt terrible.

However, I had a really interesting encounter with the Holy Spirit that day. As I was working, and watching Tim from behind my espresso machine, talking to God about it all, I heard this still, small voice say to me:

"Hannah, take him at his word. Don't make assumptions. You have no reason to not believe what he says. Keep being yourself, and make him feel comfortable."

My attitude was based out of fear from the past, where I had learned to be manipulative, and that I was always bound to be manipulated. I had to read into things, I had to find hidden meanings...that's what I was used to. But I knew that this was sound. So I changed. I knew that if I kept doubting, and questioning, I would push him away. I didn't want to do that.

Tim got meet my Aunts that day, and we went out to a late lunch after work. As the meal was ending, I thanked him for paying.

"Of course," he said. "Why wouldn't I? I'm here for you." We looked at each other, and smiled. And I knew it was going to be okay.

We saw "Jurassic World" that night, and agreed to go with my parents the night night to help them with a New Brothers event.

FRIDAY NIGHT. Friday night is when I knew he was perfect. I'll just say it. I knew.

Prison Ministry events aren't the norm. Especially when you drag a poor guy along, who is out of his element. None of us would have been surprised or upset if Tim had just sat somewhere out of the way, and been on his phone the whole time.

But he didn't. Before we even left the house, and were getting ready, he was helpful. He jumped in. He did whatever he was asked to do, and then some. If he saw something to do, he did it. He was friendly to the guys at the house, he shook their hands, and handed out sodas gladly. He enjoyed listening to the people who spoke. He helped clean up. He was amazing. My parents and I noticed. I went to my mother and said that he was amazing. I didn't even realize how important it was that he was willing to serve until that night, and I saw him. I still can't believe it. I can, because he's absolutely wonderful, but I still shake my head.

That night, we ended up driving around, listening to music, and talking. We ended up across from Plum Island, at a dead end. We turned around, and went to Denny's to get some food.

We had a great time. We laughed a lot. We talked. It was great. And I can't confirm or deny it, but it was either Friday night, or Saturday that I held his hand for the first time. I couldn't wait any longer, okay? I really liked him. It was probably Saturday. No! It WAS definitely Saturday. For the following reason...

Friday night, when we got home, we watched "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." We watched it in my room, on his laptop. Sitting close together on my bed. The only way that this awkward position could be remotely comfortable was if one of us put our arm around the other. So I put my arm around him. After a while, he asked if I wanted to trade arms, and he put his arm around me. And its was great. And we laughed like idiots, because Monty Python is brilliant.

Saturday, we went to see an outdoor theatre at the state park in Newburyport. We both really enjoyed it, and he said the words "I like plays," and I probably swooned. I'm not gonna lie. We just chilled for the rest of the day. We sat on the sofa after getting back from the park, and talked about where we were at, how we felt.

He said that he really enjoyed my company. I told him that I really liked him. He said he really liked me too. It was adorable, and he was getting more comfortable putting his arm around me, and holding my hand, etc. We went out for hibachi that night, came home, and watched The Sixth Sense. He knew that I had tried watching it again recently, but couldn't finish because it was freaking me out. He promised to make me feel safe, and that he did. We had a great time.

Cuddling is great, guys. Now, I know.

I thought that this would be the last one, but Sunday through when Tim left really do need their own blog post. So...

To Be Continued...