I've realized that, in the past year, I've had very little to say in the public forum about my personal life. That is in part because I don't feel the need to publicize everything that happens and also in part because I want to find the right words. Images so often seem to state what my vocabulary seems unable to do. However, I want to share this story with you all - it's one of my favorites.
April 30th, 2017, (a year ago today) my parents questioned a young man at length in our dining room - trying to get to know him and his intentions with their only daughter. (That's me, by the way.) The conversation took about an hour and a half, which felt incredibly long. To some, this may feel like an old-fashioned and silly thing, but it was important to me that my parents have a say in this decision, especially since I had ignored advice they'd given in the past and regretted it. They are full of wisdom, and they love me, so I would have been a fool not to have them involved. At the end of the "interrogation," my parents gave their permission for us to date.
This man's name is Joseph. He's an adventurer, a dreamer, and has a strong character I admire with all my heart. He is constantly serving others, even if it is inconvenient for him. He doesn't take himself too seriously and makes me laugh all the time. More importantly, from the beginning of our relationship, he has ensured that our focus remains on God. I could spend a great deal of time talking about the attractive attributes I see in him, but I'll limit myself for the sake of keeping this brief(ish).
Our relationship has always been long-distance due to Joseph's work. Whenever he was able to visit Knoxville, we made the most of our time together. Looking back, it's crazy how much we were able to fit in this past year - kayaking, rock-climbing, water-skiing, swing-dancing, biking, camping, and plenty of hiking. We made sure to fit in some more "normal" activities as well, knowing that life is often made up of the mundane things like cooking, yard work, and so forth. While the distance has been difficult, I believe God has used that to help us learn how to communicate better and be patient with one another. That isn't to say we have it all figured out (marriage will be a life-long learning process), but that being apart so much forced us to be more intentional with what we say. We've written quite a few letters back and forth, spent numerous hours on the phone, and talked on FaceTime when we both had WiFi.
On December 1st, we got engaged. If you want more details on that, you'll have to head over to our wedding website. The very short version is that, I didn't see it coming, Joseph was very sweet, and I said yes. In some ways, it seemed quick to be getting engaged after dating 7 months. Then again, my parents met, got engaged, and were married in approximately 7 months...so it's all about perspective. The months since have been filled with some wonderful premarital counseling with a couple from our church, planning for the big day, and figuring out where we'll live after the wedding.
Speaking of the big day, it's less than a month away! We are in the last stages of preparing for the wedding. It has had its difficult moments, but it's been encouraging to see friends and family members willing to help us (my mother and Joseph's mother are making most of the food!) and counsel us. We are well aware that the wedding is just the beginning, and basing our marriage on God's word is the most important thing - not having the right flowers or the perfect tie (there's a story there, believe me). May 26th, here we come! And all the days afterward.