Monday, March 19, 2007

Mad about Harold

I just really dig this guy, and I love "us"!

Friday, March 16, 2007

One month

So one month ago today, I experienced the most wonderful first date with the most wonderful man I have ever met. It was the most perfect first date, better than I ever imagined a first date could be.

Harold and I met last fall, through a website called Plenty of Fish. It was a free dating site that a friend of mine told me about, and I figured...what the heck? I had no high expectations, as I had been on many an online dating service, and never met anyone there that I actually wanted to pursue anything with in real life. However, I figured I might catch a fish worth keeping at Plenty of Fish, so I gave it a shot.

Harold and I started emailing shortly after I joined. However, I had stipulated in my email that I only wanted to meet men within 75 miles of my zip code (a stipulation I would later learn Harold had to work hard to get around in order to communicate with me...), so while I was interested in Harold, I concluded he just lived too far away from me. So, he went his way and I went mine. We kept in touch, but pursuing anything more than what we already had was not a thought in our minds at the time.

After a few months, our roads lead us back to each other. We started emailing each other on a regular basis, then we started talking online. We soon began talking on the phone, and we would talk for hours. It is still not at all unusual for our phone calls to last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Anyway, the more we wrote and talked and learned about each other, the more it was clear that there was so much more there than we saw before.

We wanted to meet. We talked about a few ideas for when and where to meet, and then the most wonderful thing happened. Bob came out to play! Bob, who only comes out to play every couple of years, was going to be playing at Short's Brewery. It seemed like the perfect place for Harold and I to meet for the first time. If nothing else, we would at least have good music, right?

I remember feeling so incredibly excited and nervous as the day approached. I knew what to expect from him up to that point, but there were so many variables that would come into play once we met in person. What if there was no chemistry? What if we just didn't gel as well face to face? With nervous anticipation, I finally met him.

It was amazing. It absolutely could not have been more perfect. Once I realized Harold was not "slow" (there is a funny story behind that, which I will share someday), we had a wonderful night. The ambience was perfect, the conversation was captivating, and we shared incredibly intimate moments as we wrote our thoughts down in my journal. Now our first date is immortalized in writing...I read those words now, and we were both so beautifully shy yet raw in our expressions. It was, and is, a wonderful thing.

We said goodbye that night, knowing that something very important had just begun between us. In the month that has passed since, we've been on more dates, spent more time talking on the phone, emailing, text messaging, and learning each other. It has been an inexpressibly wonderful month, and I look forward to many, many more months...all of which will be inexpressibly wonderful in their own ways as our relationship grows and changes over time. Right now, we are in that sunshine-and-lollipops, "getting to know you" stage, with an ever-deepening appreciation for each other, growing to cherish each other more deeply with each passing day. We are savoring every beautiful moment of this journey.

I am thankful for every heartache I've had before meeting Harold, because it has made me able to love him better and truly appreciate him for who he is and all that he means to me. He is the man that I never knew how much I missed until I found him, and now I can't imagine being without him.

Happy anniversary, sweetie

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The New Guy

Way too tired to write too much...but this photo is too good not to share. We call it "Sushi Drunk Love". He introduced me to sushi, and I introduced him to my camera phone, and I do not think I've ever seen a picture of two people more happy to be with each other and sushi.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Baptism Sunday

I love "baptism Sunday". I've grown up observing baptism Sundays, and they are always a unique experience. Once upon a time, I didn't so much enjoy them, but once I walked in obedience and finally was baptized myself, observing them wasn't nearly so convicting. Now I can enjoy them.

I love baptism Sunday, because it is a chance to meet the family. God's family is so varied and colorful. It is always exciting for me to listen to the varying testimonies about where people were before they knew Christ, and where they are now, and why they finally decided to be baptized. Some folks had been Christians only a short time before they were baptized. Others had been Christians for years, nearly an entire lifetime, before they decided to be baptized. Some made the decision to be baptized out of their zeal for their new found faith. Other decided to be baptized out of that same zeal, tempered by a season of struggling followed by a season of humble obedience.

Some of God's family come from a fairly pristine background, in which their biggest problem was deciding whether or not they could smoke a cigarette and still be a Christian. Others come from a history of deep drug addiction, imprisonment, sex addiction, alcoholism, etc...and yet, there they stand, made new in Christ. One thing is clear...regardless of where we came from, we all came from "stuff". The stuff we came from may have been different, and some war stories are more thrilling to hear than others (if we're being honest about it), but whatever the stuff was, it was significant enough that it once stood between us and God. God had to help us reach through our stuff and take His hand before He could pull us out of the stuff we were stuck in.

I am consistently amazed by the grace of God. Sometimes, we don't make a clean break from our stuff. We cling to it, not necessarily out of stubborn disobedience, but because it is familiar and comforting and we don't even realize that it's stuff that is keeping us from deeper union with God. Certainly, people will point an accusing finger and call us evil, backslidden, deceived, and so forth...but God's grace is even bigger than the opinions of His children. God's love and grace are big enough to swallow our stuff whole, and still use our flawed and fumbling selves for His purposes.

A couple of nights ago, during a conversation about something entirely other than stuff, I learned of an impact I had one someone's life that was quite unintentional. I learned that my life, flawed and fumbling though it was, had an impact on someone else's life in a way that helped that person see the love of Jesus in spite of the judgement and accusation they so often received from Christendom. That person is so wonderfully and gloriously unashamed of who they are, and they still have the audacity to proclaim a love for Jesus and Truth. Such stuff, which is not stuff, is not well accepted by those are dealing with their own stuff. At any rate, the time in my life when my relationshp with this person was most thriving was a time in my life when I had a lot of stuff. I was not the kind of person I thought a person had to be to be used by Jesus. As it turns out, Jesus even uses people with stuff...big and impact people for Him. Isn't that something?

Thursday, March 01, 2007


"The wise mentor knows that being aware of what is not known is important in order to begin to learn. To attain true knowledge and wisdom, we must remain open and empty, allowing ideas from other people to rush in. To be empty, to recognize how little we know, is to be abundant."

-Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch "Mentoring: The TAO of Giving and Receiving"

I am currently reading a book called "Bridges Out of Poverty" by Ruby Payne. There has been some down time at work, so a coworker recommended I read that book in order to have a better understanding of where most of our clients are coming from when they walk through our doors. The book has been very insightful, and I recognize so many of the stories in the case studies presented. With each story I read, I see the face of someone I know, someone I am only just now beginning to understand
In 1986, my family moved up here from the Detroit area. It was quite a culture shock when I began to realize that the way people lived up here was far different from what I was used to. The lifestyles people lived, the choices they made, the always-open invitation for trouble in their lives was always so baffling to me. I never understood how people could live this way.

Today, I read the quote above, and it moved me very deeply. It reminded me that, though I have learned much, I still have much to learn. It reminded me never to become so confident in what I know that I think I know it all. It reminded me that a man I knew, who had just served 25 years for murder, taught me of my own ignorance after he found a home for a kitten. He thanked me for trusting him with the kitten. I never told him how unsure I had been of his intentions or ability. His heart was far more trusting and gentle than mine.

I'm not sure he ever killed anyone. I'm not sure it even matters. I only remember him for the gift he gave me, of showing me all that I do not know.

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