Happily Ever Afterall

Guess what I have to tell you?

Something big.

Something exciting.

And something that's making it so very hard to pack and clean my house the way I need to do!

Because I'm giddy and smiley and excited.

Because I'm getting about 2 Facebook alerts on my phone every minute.

Because I'm marrying my best friend and the love of my life.

And we're both so excited and looking forward to our life together.

In fact, I think that's most of what we talked about all evening long!  How perfect our life will be together and how blessed we already are!

So how'd he do it?

How'd I know that's what you'd be wanting to know!

Well, my ring came in Wednesday and after passing my approval, it was whisked away and into his possession, where he lovingly taunted me with it all night long!

And then he brought it to town this weekend, too, "to show his sister", so he's taunted me with it more.

And since he told me he wanted to surprise me I instantly ruled out this weekend, because there was no way I was going to be surprised knowing he had it with him here in town!

But he managed it anyway because this afternoon after spending time with my parents we came back to my house to pack some more stuff up and move a few small furniture pieces out of the house; I was picking on Jason about him supposedly passing up the perfect opportunity to talk to my Daddy this afternoon (apparently it's very intimidating to talk to a girl's dad and ask his permission to marry his daughter).

Anyway, I'm picking on him and walk into my bedroom and am digging through clothes in my closet to change into before we start packing and I turn around to find Jason on one knee behind me.

After kissing him and hugging him and realizing that he straight-up surprised me when I didn't think he could, he slipped the ring on my finger and Ty ran in, finding me hugging Jason and threw his arms around him as well!  I explained to Ty why I was hugging Jason and explained to him that we were going to be getting married.

Ty might've said something like "Oh, cool" before he ran back off into the living room to play the Wii.

But he's mentioned it to me several times tonight and seems excited that his Jason is going to be a more permanent part of our lives.  He's asked to see my ring again and tells me, "I know what that's about, Mama.  That's about you and Jason getting married and we get to be a family!"

That's right baby.  We're going to be a family.

A happy, complete family.

Out With It

Or part of it at least!

A little secrecy could be fun to maintain for now at least.

Soooo, part of all the vagueness and lack of activity around here for the past few weeks can finally, publicly, be attributed to the fact that I've thrown together a job-hunt, apartment-hunt, and day-care hunt in three weeks time that has absolutely astounded me.

It all started when, three weeks ago, Jason made a comment he's made several times now, but I've never taken seriously.

"Why don't you guys just move up here?"

But you know how men are, they can't say it like they actually want you to do it, they have to say it where it kinda almost sounds like they're kidding....just in case you think they're crazy.

So I considered he was kidding.

But the day that he mentioned it three weeks ago I just had a moment where a lot of things over the previous week or two kinda clicked together and resulted in me saying, "Find me a job, an apartment and a daycare and I will!"

And that night when I went home, he got online and started emailing me job openings.

So I thought, 'What's it hurt to look, right?'.

And I never expected anything to come of it because everything would just have to fall into place in such a short window of time for anything to happen this summer, because moving Ty during the school year is something I wanted to avoid at all costs.

And two weeks after that conversation I had made numerous calls, sent even more resumes by fax or email, and did tons of online searches for jobs, apartments, and daycares.  And they all have to be in close vicinity of each other.  But the problem is, until you have one nailed down, it's kinda hard to nail the others down, except to know that I wanted the daycare and house to be within a certain school district.

Probably the district in Hot Springs with the fewest apartment complexes. And even fewer openings. But there was one that had an opening for July 1st. 

And they were supposed to call me when it was emptied out and where we could look at it.

But another couple came along and put money down on it before it was even available to look at.

Which took us from one apartment available (in a good area we could be comfortable in) to none.

But the job fell into place in the meantime.

It just so happened that I'd contacted every government and hospital office in the area who all had no openings, so I broadened my search to include doctors offices, school offices, real estate offices, and insurance offices.

And I finally got a call back.

An insurance agent for State Farm called me and talked to me for quite some time on the phone.  He seemed immediately impressed with my resume and I just had a good feeling all throughout me when I got off the phone with him.

So when I was in town last weekend, I met up with him and we talked for an hour-and-a-half and he offered me the job that I just really felt I was meant to find.

So with one nailed down, I tackled the others.

A good friend of mine got me into contact with a good friend of hers in hopes that she could help me with a job, however, she had no openings but was a wealth of help in the day-care department and ended up leading me to two wonderful little daycares that I'm going to try to check out this weekend and make a decision on for sure.  Both have availabilities earmarked with Ty's name for July 6th (his birthday, actually) and I'm going to get back with them as soon as I make a decision for certain, though I am leading much more heavily towards one than the other.

That just leaves one last thing to nail down.

A house.

Because a job and daycare doesn't do much good if we don't have somewhere to live.  And Jason's apartment complex won't let him move out of his 1 Bedroom apartment into a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment.

It's in the wrong school district anyway.

So I kept calling and kept calling and the only places with anything available are wanting $100-$150 more a month than we should really be spending, especially since I'll have to pay on my home-loan until we can get it sold.  Or we could just throw all of our money away (and then some) and rent some of the $1200-$1600 a month apartments that were available.

Who needs food anyway, right?

But since we like to eat, we're deciding to be a little more reasonable.

Not having any luck finding apartments outside of the few I'd already checked with, I decided that I had nothing to lose by contacting a Realtor.

So I Googled Real Estate companies in the school district and shot an email to one that looked good and I explained my situation of having a job that I'd be starting on July 1st (my new boss was great enough to give me a little longer to get things situated and hopefully get moved over here before I start).

This little act wound up being one of those God things.  As if the past few weeks wasn't full enough with a hundred different God things with the way everything was falling together!

The Realtor got back with me and instantly went to work.  Since there were no apartments in our range that were available, he set out looking for houses in our price range and sent me some listings.   I got back with him and told him the ones I liked and he started making calls to see who would work a deal with us to get us into the house by July 1st, even if it was on a temporary rental basis until paperwork was completed to buy the house.

And in doing that, he's brought us to two houses that we're pretty interested in.

That we're going to look at tomorrow.

And I couldn't be happier and more excited about it!

We've had some hiccups and some unexpected obstacles to get around (in more than just this, believe me!) but literally EVERY obstacle or diversion that has come up has been God working to change our attention from where it was to where He needed it to be.

We're on our way to a life together.

We're on our way to our own Happily Ever After.

And I don't think it's possible that I could be any happier or more excited about anything than I am right now!


Holy wow.  It seems like the past few weeks have been full of changes.

Big changes.

Little changes.

Potential changes.

Just a lot of changing.

(Which is why I keep hearing David Bowie singing that song in my head over and over again!)

Anyway.  Things have been changing it almost every way it seems possible.  Plans and calls and decisions are being made and it's all fun and exciting and very interesting to sit back at the end of the night and see how things are unfolding in big ways in little spans of time.

I'm being vague, yes I know, but the changes aren't the point of my story so just trust that I will tell you what I can tell you when I can tell you.

The point of my story is how utterly amazed I've been and how amazed my God has made me this week, because any time that a stumbling block or an obstacle or a wall comes up and gets in our way, it has not stopped anything.

Which amazed me in itself.

But instead, those obstacles--or whatever they've presented themselves as--have instead turned things and guided me/us to where it now seems we were intended to be going in the first place.

It just continually amazes me when I can see how God has been a million-steps-ahead of me the whole time.

It leaves me in awe to see how something from yesterday or three weeks ago or five months ago or two years ago or even ten years ago can turn up and have an impact on today.

We come into each new day thinking that it will be its very own day, untouched, untainted, unaffected by anything.

And yet before it even gets here, our every yesterday (thanks to a creative, thoughtful, and caring God) has shaped and perfected and created the perfect today.

Things are changing.  But they're exciting and wonderful changes.

And someday soon, when things change a little bit more, I'll be able to tell you more about it.

Until then.... ;)

Everything Changes

I've been laying low for the last little bit.

I have tons to say but nothing that I really can say at the moment.

So I've laid low.

But last night I was laying in bed thinking about how much life changes.

And how sometimes it's a slow change.

Like last year, when I was waiting on Jason to come to my house for the first time...I was so nervous because I knew that I really liked him but I wasn't yet certain on how he felt.  I was talking on the phone with one of my girl friends who made the comment that in a matter of minutes I could be meeting The One.

Which only served to make me more nervous.

At the end of the night I still knew that I really liked him, but I didn't have any more idea then than before as to if he'd be The One for me or not.

Over time that changed, because today I have no doubt whatsoever that he is.

And then there are other times when life changes in the matter of a moment.  Like the moment a child is born.  Or the moment that a loved one dies.  Or even the moment that it takes to make a decision.

Life is always changing.

And it's always changing for the better these days.

Life Ain't Always Beautiful

I started typing a blog tonight that was titled "Learning to Live With Me" and it started out about how I've used that title many times over the years, usually when I've discovered a part of who I am that I was ignorant of before, or when I've become contented with a part of myself that I'd previously been dissatisfied with.

But the blog wasn't about either of those things, it was about a cute little comment my Jason made tonight about how it's tough adjusting to a woman's way of thinking (in regards to how much information we ask for from men and how little we actually get) and how he was the one who's learning to live with me for a change.

But that title took me down another road.

Because that title is from a song written by Gary Allan in the wake of his wife's suicide in 2004.

And I started thinking about all the wonderful and often-heartwrenching songs he's put out since then that have connected with me because of the suicide that my family and I have been surviving for almost seven years now.

{Read more here if you don't know the story}

For any of you who have read my writings for an extended period of time you'll notice that I always use the word "survive" or "survivor" in terms of those left behind to deal with a suicide.

Because that's really all you can do.

Before December 14, 2003 the term "survivor" (to me) was reserved for people whose lives had been torn apart and irrevocably changed from some great catastrophe such as war or cancer or vicious and violent crimes.

Before December 14, 2003 a survivor was heralded, in my mind, as this great and mighty person who faced whatever evils life brought their way and they overcame and they triumphed and they were victorious.

And survivors are exactly that.

But sometimes a survivor is someone who was broken and hurt and completely overwhelmed by whatever evils life brought their way.  Sometimes a survivor isn't the victor, they're just someone who refused to give-up because they saw just how much giving-up could hurt.

Sometimes a survivor isn't the person who endures terrible times just to come out alive on the other end of it, sometimes a survivor is the person who endures those times and, eventually--when they're able to pick themselves up--chooses to live beyond it.

Jerrid's death was a time-marker in my life.

Without even trying to, I have mentally classified every major event in the 21st century as 'before Jerrid' or 'after Jerrid'.

Before Jerrid, life was more about me and less about others.

Before Jerrid, I was more focused on what I was doing and where I was going and less about what I should be doing and where I should be going.

Before Jerrid, I wasn't so focused on what kind of example I was to others, but what kind of excuses the examples of others could give me for being less than I knew I should be.

Before Jerrid, life was more about superficial beauty instead of real, true, inside-and-out beauty.

After Jerrid, I heard the song that this title came from and something settled inside the hole that was formed in my heart on December 14, 2003.  I chose to see life as Gary Allan wrote it.  Sure, it's hard sometimes, but those hard times have a way of really putting the shine on those good times.

Life ain't always beautiful, but it really, truly is a beautiful ride.

Life ain't always beautiful,
sometimes it's just plain hard.
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart.

Life ain't always beautiful,
You think you're on your way,
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day.

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.

No, life ain't always beautiful,
Tears will fall sometimes.
Life ain't always beautiful,
But it's a beautiful ride.

Life ain't always beautiful,
Some days I miss your smile,
I get tired of walking all these lonely miles.

And I wish for just one minute
I could see your pretty face
Guess I can dream, but life don't work that way.

But the struggles make me stronger
And the changes make me wise,
And happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.

No, life ain't always beautiful,
But I know I'll be fine
Life ain't always beautiful,
But it's a beautiful ride.
What a beautiful ride.

-Gary Allan