Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Love Story: The Beginning/Dating

Today is an exciting day! Today is (500) Days of Joshua! Today is day 500 of marriage. Isn't that so fun? I think so :-) The flowers I posted around Valentine's Day have been coming one a day nonstop since February 12. They are beautiful. I'm pretty sure they were a countdown to today. Day 500. (We are both big fans of the movie (500) Days of Summer, incase you might not have caught the reference.) To celebrate: a continuation of Our Story.....

My Joshua moved to Lowell in September of 2006. He went to Bethany Bible College for his degree in Religion. He then spent a year in Central Asia, in a beautiful country called Azerbaijan. He met a family from West Michigan who was also there for a short time. That family, the Gorveattes, invited Josh to come back to West Michigan to check out church planting (starting of new churches in communities that need a "revival" if you will). Because Josh didn't know exactly where God wanted him when he got back, he decided to check out West Michigan. Loved it. Moved out here knowing only the Gorveatte family, and started checking out church plants. Impact Church, (our church now) is a church plant. He checked it out. Loved it. Came to the college group and... met me!
Then we fell in love and got married. Just kidding! It's better than that. When Josh started coming to the college group I was a part of, there were many ladies who were single that attended who were quite attracted to him right off the bat. To be honest, it really turned me off (mostly because I saw myself in their reaction so clearly) but I was in a season of my life where I was really trying to be content with singlehood, and I was. So. I set out to not like him. Nope. All of the other girls could like him but I was just going to be his friend.

I did pretty good.. for a couple months. Then, I started to kinda like this guy named Josh. He had such a good heart... and loved the Lord... and he was really good looking..... BUT just as I let myself get maybe a little crush on him, he started dating someone. A truly lovely and beautiful gem of a woman who resided in Ohio. I once again resolved to be his really good friend. and I was. I would ask about their relationship. Hoping all was going well. I really truly did. I myself went on dates during that time, but was never "satisfied", I guess. My big sister Lindsay said once, "Leslie, the reason you've been single for so long is because you are so picky!" Which was a 100% accurate statement. :-) (Love you, sis!)
By the summer of 2007, we were both single. Josh was now the youth pastor at Impact Church. I decided to help out with the teens (I had been feeling like it was what God wanted me to do) and I started showing up at different youth events. We really were just friends.
Of course, though, the lovely girls of our youth group jumped all over the fact that we were both single. "Leslie!! We totally think you and Josh should, ya know, go out! You are perfect for each other!" I immediately stopped that conversation. "Girls," I said, "I need to correct you right now. Josh and I are just friends. If you get a sense that we like each other, it's because we do! We are great friends! I respect him, he respects me, but nothing more is going to come of it. Ok? I don't want to hear any more about that." I really meant it, too. He was going to live overseas eventually and um, that was not something I was ever interested in. (More on that, later)
They heeded my rebuke and didn't say anything else about it. I was sure to fill Pastor Josh in on the silly comments that the girls had made and reassured him that I set things straight and let them know that we were clearly, only in the "friend zone". (He told me months later that he was really disappointed when he saw how emphatically I explained to the girls that we were only friends. He had, in his words, started thinking that there could be potential for more than that... I, meanwhile, kept pressing onward all aboard the friend train.)
Well... we were around each other a lot more. I felt myself getting attracted to him. I didn't want to be! I really desired for emotional purity in our relationship. So, I confessed my feelings to my brother, Brian, and he was sure to set me straight:

"Leslie, you're just friends, don't look into things any more than that."
"But Brian, he texted me! Josh McCracken never texts girls! Ever!"
"Ok Leslie, but that doesn't mean anything. Keep your heart in check."
"Fine. You're right... you always are...."
Pretty soon after that, though, Josh suddently took up an interest in swing dancing (my #1 passion at the time). We went dancing together... you know... just so he could learn... right? Then, there was this movie we both wanted to see. Well hey since neither of us was doing anything... no one else could probably go... so why bother inviting anyone else right? ...right?!
Wrong. They were what I like to call "pre-dates". Unofficial dates. Our first official date was a Friday. He ran into me at the coffee shop and said, very clearly, and I quote:
"So, can I take you on a date tonight?"

I think my outside voice said someting coy and cute, like... "Yes". My inside voice, however, screamed like a giddy school girl "yes yes yes yes yes!!!" hahaha

At that point, I finally (finally!) allowed myself to get excited. Really excited. Really really really excited.
Ohhh it makes me smile just thinking about it... :-) Here are some photo our from our time in the friend zone. Little did we know...





At a retreat with the college group we were a part of.






Our first picture together. Me in my chubby phase. (I can say that, you know, because I'm no longer in the chubby phase, so there!)




At another event with Plugd.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chewbacca.


So.....
we went to a movie the other day.
Saw Invictus.
(GREAT movie, by the way.)
Totally not the point of this post, though.

The point IS that, on our way out the door...
we noticed a large display of lifesize cardboard cut outs of movie characters.
Edward Cullen, Jacob Black, Marilyn Monroe, Nicole Kidman, Yoda and..
Chewbacca.

At that moment, I had one of the greatest epiphanies of my youth leader life, thus far.
We need a mascot.... we need Chewbacca.
So we got him. A mere $35. I say it's an investment.
He is going to be at every youth event from now until... forever.
He made his debut at our Storying Dinner last night:


I must confess, he is really a little creepy to have around the house.
Which is why he stays in the office, facing the wall.
...and maybe occasionally in front of a window
(You never know who might be walking by... glancing in the window...)

I'm still working on my Chewy "call".
It is an art, my friends.
Josh has mastered it.
I have not.
Mostly because I feel really stupid when I try it.

::sigh::

I will persevere! and maybe post a video if I ever get it...


We have a lot of fun :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Forever Valentine

I've always really liked Valentine's Day. My mom made a fun celebration out of it every year. We had an awesome scavenger hunt and had to figure out riddles to get to our final prize (usually candy.) She taught us to celebrate love. Family love, friendship love, romantic love.. it should all be celebrated.

Josh and I don't make a huge deal out of Valentine's Day. I'm not sure why, we just have never made it out to be a bigger deal than it is. We try to show love to each other year round. We go on dates regularly (one perk of the whole not-having-kids-thing) and we get little gifts and surprises for each other on more than just holidays and birthdays. I'm not saying that to be all "We're better than everyone else who makes a huge deal out of Valentine's Day!" Because we absolutely are not. I think it's great that there is a holiday to remind couples of their affections for one another. I think we can all agree that it can be easy to forget. It's just our philosophy on marriage.

Anyway :-)

On Valentine's Day 2008 we went out to dinner and I was secretly hoping he would take me to look at engagement rings....

He didn't. haha. Silly me.

Valentine's Day 2009 he painted a poem on the wall in the basement. He left it up to me to find it. It took me a very. long. time. It makes me smile every time I go to the basement (which is good because I usually go down there to clean up cat poop and could use a smile)

It will be written there forrrr-eh-ver.
In 2010...

Houdini holding a card. When I say "holding" I mean, I set the card next to him right before he ran away but I caught this picture before he did :-)

I was given a single yellow (friendship) rose dropped off at my work on Friday

A single white rose (purity) was handed to me on Saturday...

A red rose (love) handed to me on Sunday

and daisies waiting for me at work on Monday

All together now!

It's true, I love him.

P.S. Does anyone else have a difficult time posting blogs? I'm always accidently posting them, then deleting them, and then rearranging the pictures (which takes quite a while) and then adding spaces in the paragraphs...... 10 years later.... I've got a post!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Best. Prank. Ever. (Honestly, I can't stop laughing)

Seriously, this is one of those stories we will laugh about forever!

So last night, Michigan got this huge snow storm, right? Well, I was over at my parents house, hanging with the family, when conversation came up about how funny it would be to call in to the local news station and make up a fake organization to cancel. After throwing several name ideas around (not thinking it would ever come to fruition, of course) my mom throws out, "How about the Lowell Breastfeeding Club?" Next thing I know, my 16 year old brother,Brad, is online looking up the number to call it in.

He dials.
The call is answered.
Brad: "Uh, Hi. My wife asked me if I would call in and cancel the Lowell Breastfeeding Club tomorrow. Yeah, it's supposed to be at 3:30, but the roads are bad so she's just going to cancel. and yeah, we're having a hard time getting ahold of our members. Yep, the Lowell Breastfeeding Club. Ok, thanks a lot."

We all just started cracking up laughing as soon as he hung up. I had tears in my eyes. Then... we waited to see if it was actually posted.

Oh about... 10 minutes later... it showed up online!
Naturally, we all just about fell over laughing so hard that it actually made it online.

About 5 minutes after that, we waited as Kent County scrolled through the "L's" and then....we saw it:
and honestly, I think we all just about peed our pants.

It's still up this morning.

Finally, to put the icing on the cake... this just kills me it's so funny.... People have updated their Facebook Status' about it! They are saying things like this:

(and I quote)

"What the hell is the Lowell Breast-Feeding Club???? and why is on the school closing list??? Way to make Lowell look stupid lol. Ughhhhh.." End Quote.

Or...

"Lowell breast-feeding club is closed today. Since when is there a breast feeding club in Lowell?!?!"

Or....

"Ok so I was looking at the school closings, tell me why there is a lowell breast feeding club lol... I'm not saying it's not a real club. But why didn't I know about this!!!!"



I called my mom to share the facebook status' with her. I couldn't even talk I was laughing so hard. I have a family that has an awesome sense of humor! I love them so much. I don't think any of us will ever forget this one....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Our Love Story: The (Very) Beginning


Our love story started long before Josh and I ever met.
Josh's parents, Dave and Verlee, prayed for his future wife for many years.
For my protection. My purity. That we would find each other in Gods timing. That I would love their son and complement him like no one else could.
(I truly believe their prayers saved me from making some serious mistakes as a teenager, too).
Not only were Josh's parents praying for me... but Josh was, too
For his bride. That we would be brought together. That we would love each other wholly and completely and as best as we possibly could. For my purity.
and I KNOW that he is not just saying this because I have letters.
Letters that he started writing when he was 15 years old.
To me.
His future wife.
About how much he loved me already.
About.. his dreams for us.
Atleast 100 (Possibly more, I don't want to exaggerate) of letters.
For me to read on our wedding night.
and on our honeymoon.
Even now, whenever I want to know the depth of his devotion to me and his love for me
I can pull them out,
and read about how this man that I married
loved me and committed his heart to me 9 years before he even met me.
When I was 19, I started writing letters to him, too.
(We were both inspired to do this by Eric and Leslie Ludy, authors of "When God Writes Your Love Story". I only wish I had started sooner.)
Like I said before, I know with certainty that Dave and Verlee were praying for me, too.
Because Verlee bought me these socks.
Years before I met Josh.
To give to his bride some day.
Who she was praying for regularly.
(and I cherish them)
Wow, I almost started crying right now...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Climb Time

Last Saturday, we made our annual pilgrimmage to Indianapolis to meet up with 4 of our best friends. We drove down from Grand Rapids, Rob and Kate drove up from Kentucky, and Chris and Rachel drove over from Ohio.

We went to a place called "Climb Time"

It was a lot of fun! My profession (massage therapy) caused me to not participate as much as I would have liked. As soon as I got there my hands and forearms assessed the walls and said something like, "ummm, yeah.. after everything you put us through all week, I quit!" So, I enjoyed watching more than climbing, but I DID make it up a few times :-)

Anyway, it was so nice to have a little break from the craziness that was January. I can hear you thinking, "But Leslie, didn't you guys just go to Mexico?". Yes, we did. aaaaaand then we got back. aaaaand then the poop hit the fan in a few of our teens' lives, and we needed a break (already) to have someone encourage and nurture our tired hearts and spirits. Our lil' trip did just that.

(Youth ministry = kind of challenging, actually)

I digress...

Here are some pictures from a fun weekend! Enjoy!


The ladies: myself, Rachel, and Kate




The men. Joshua, Chris, and Rob.


Coming down...


Going up...


Josh is a very good climber!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Blanket Fort

Joshua and I made a blanket fort last week.
First, we went on a date.
Then, he surprised me with me a new computer!
A little netbook I have named Lil' Blue.
(To go with the theme of our other gadget's names.
My iPod: Lil' sassy and Josh's iPhone: Lil' sexy)

Anywayyyy.
I got the idea from this blog.
It was so fun!
Josh constructed the fort.
I added the stars to its ceiling.
We both slept in it.
and BOTH of the cats loved it!





"Look at the stars... look how they shine for you..."

I have never seen Houdini so relaxed in Josh's presence before. I'm 98% certain it's because he felt protected and covered by the fort. He likes to be under things and hiding. Silly cat...


This was a picture that was supposed to be of the three of us, documenting the important occasion of Houdini not being scared poopless (literally) in Josh's presence. Josh got cut out...


'Twas a fun night!