Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Myrtle Beach.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Josh and I were in Myrtle Beach last week vacationing with Josh's family.  We had a lovely week of relaxing on the beach, playing games, putt-putt golf (I actually took 2nd place!) and just spending some quality time together.  We didn't bring our camera out with us nearly as often as we should have, but here are a few snapshots from our time with family.

Josh taking a "shot" of Olive Oil.  We visited a specialty food store and all they sold was olive oil.  You can see behind Josh a few of their containers for sampling.  They must have had at least 50 in the store.  I didn't try any.  Something about drinking straight olive oil just kind of grossed me out.  It was a very original store, though!

Pictures from the boardwalk.  These fish were in the lake/pond the boardwalk surrounded.  There was a  dispenser of fish food available to throw in for a mere twenty-five cents per handful.  This steady stream of food was, of course, responsible for the large amount of naaasty carp in such a small space.  They were quite gross to look at, but I just couldn't help myself, the $0.25 handful of food was too enticing.  I had to feed them.  I wanted to see the frenzy of fish as they fought for the tiny pieces of food.  It was probably the best quarter I've spent in a long time.  It was satisfying.  and gross.  and funny.  There aren't many things that only cost a quarter that give you that many different experiences.

We also had a lengthy discussion about how much money would it take for us to jump in.  (We regularly have "How much would it take for you to....?" conversations). I don't think I settled on anything specific but I did decide it would have to be in the six figures.  Yep, I think I would jump into that swarm of fish $100,000 at the very least.  What would it take for you to jump in?

These guys were making a video to Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA".  Quite funny.  Mr. Sparkly-Hat knew every word of the song.  

Julie on the boardwalk.

Josh deciding whether or not he wanted to try to run through the rapidly changing water fountain.

Watching fireworks

Dun dun dunnnnn!  Preparing for Irene.  This notice was at our condo a few days before the storm reached shore.  Myrtle Beach didn't get hit but we did end up having to leave a day early to beat the elements and the evacuations.

Verlee laughing :)  I love this picture!

Singing with the ukulele!

On the beach.  

We had such big waves because of the hurricane!  We knew we were swimming a little recklessly when a native South Carolinian who happened to be swimming next to us came up after a huge waves and said things like:

"Wooo-Eeee!  I've neva seen waves this big befo!"


"This is sorta death defyin'!"

I think it was after that second statement that I decided I would head in to water that was a little more shallow.

Also, I finally figured out how to handle my beach hair.  I discovered this style of Maiden Braids on Pinterest and I have to be honest, it is one of my favorite ways to wear my hair now.  It takes less than 5 minutes, it is super easy, it works with any type of hair (as long as it's long enough).  It stays in place all day long.  If you have long hair, I highly recommend trying it.  I wore my hair like this when it was salty from the sea and I didn't feel like going through the usual 'wash/blow dry/straighten and/or curl the heck out of it process'.  I also wore it in the car so I could still feel "done" while we traveled.  I am loving it and I just had to share it with my long-haired friends.  Click here for the tutorial!

and of course, my hurt hubby.  At least he still looks cute with his matching little blue booty, right?

It was a very fun vacation!  We're happy to be home and get back into a routine again for the next month.  We are very relieved and excited to share that we received an offer on our house for a little more than our asking price!  (Does that ever happen? Ever?) So we will be moving and packing up our home this month.  and by "we" I mean, I will be packing and moving stuff and recruiting our friends to help.  Mr. One-Good-Leg-and-Arms-Busy-With-Crutches isn't going to be much assistance in this process.  I have, however, delegated all laundry folding duties to him.  So... that's about even, right?  Good thing we don't keep score in our house!

::sigh:: Huzzah!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shark Attack.

Today Josh got attacked by a shark.

Okaaaay that first statement isn't true.  Josh did, however, have to go to the Emergency Room today.  He's been having problems with his left foot all week.  It started out as a sore-ness, then it bumped up into an "I-can't-really-walk-properly-ness", and today peaked at "please-take-me-to-the-hospital-ness".  

We were at the beach and the waves were getting huge from Hurricane Irene, so Josh decided to walk back to our car to get his boogie board so he could ride them.  I proceeded to swim with Julie, and didn't notice his absence for the first five minutes.  Our car was a 2 minute walk away for a healthy person and probably a 4 minute walk away for Josh, so when he had been gone 10...12...15 minutes... I started to get a little concerned.

Not concerned enough to get out of the water and go check on him., of course.  Just concerned enough to turn around and search the beach for any sign of him, and then turn back towards the awesome waves.

(Doh! Wife failure #1)

Finally, a woman with a thick French accent got my attention between waves.  I couldn't figure out why she was trying get my attention but I made my way back to shore. As I walked back, I honestly was racking my brain trying to figure out what she could have possibly wanted to say to me and I settled on:

She must like my bathing suit and want to know where I got it.

(Wife failure #2 and a rather embarrassing personality flaw if I might add... I would delete that part of this story if it wasn't so darn funny and ridiculous of me to think that.  Cheers to the never ending battle of my self-centered life as a sanguine! ::sigh::)

Unfortunately, she didn't want to know where my sweet bathing suit is from, she wanted to tell me that my husband was on "zee boardwalk" and thought " 'e 'ad broken 'is foot".  Crap.  I made my way quickly up to the boardwalk to see a stinkin' ambulance with its lights flashing.  I felt a little nervous then and ran down to my Love but got there to find that he was sitting up, calm as a duck, patiently giving the paramedics his information.

Here's the real scoop: He had been walking along, boogie board in hand, when all of a sudden he heard a snap in his ankle and was only able to take a few more steps when the pain caused him to pass out.  Some people nearby saw him and called 911, but he woke up just a few seconds later.  

Isn't that really scary? Let me answer that rhetorical question for you: Yes, it is scary.  Fortunately, he didn't further injure himself by passing out, but we were definitely done at the beach for the day.

The ER was full of very friendly and very helpful people, and Josh and I actually had a reasonably pleasant time there.  After getting an x-ray and checked out by the Doc, it was determined that he didn't break anything but probably tore a ligament.  The fact that Josh passed out due to the pain is an indication that this is a pretty serious injury that might require surgery when we get back home.

So, there you have it. The story of the time Josh got attacked by a shark (wink wink!).  Here's hoping that he won't need surgery and that my very active and mobile and capable husband will be able to rest and heal quickly!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Look at what I got todayyyyyy :)

A Ukulele!

I have been thinking about getting a ukulele for a couple of months now.  I'm pretty sure it takes me about two months to convince Josh (and myself) that I actually want to try something for real. (I am a very impulsive person, I'll have you know).  This definitely wasn't an impulsive purchase because I was getting rather obsessed with getting this magical little instrument.  Every song that has a ukulele in it I would imagine myself playing around a campfire with friends or dueting with Joshua.  Can you see the fun that is in store for us now that we have it?  You better believe it.

I think I'm going to name it "Precious".  Mostly because I just watched all three Lord of the Rings movies last week and partly because of my obsession with acquiring this little instrument.  

The first songs on my list to learn are:


So far so I've got all the chords down for these songs, it's just the strumming and the switching between said chords that are slowing me down.  I suspect by the end of the week, I'll be sitting on the beach with an open, dollar-filled case serenading passers-by....

...or, at the very least, singing songs with Joshua and not having to stare at my hands.  Sounds like a plan, eh?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

kingdom minded.

"When a woman has a kingdom heart, she has an active understanding of what matters most to the heart of God. She lives in the balance of passion and contentment. She learns to love well, give without regard to self, and forgive without hesitation. The woman with a kingdom heart may have a duffel bag full of possessions or enough treasures to fill a mansion, but she has learned to hold them with an open hand. Hold everything with open hands. I don’t think we are ever allowed to grab hold of anything or anyone as though they matter more than the kingdom of heaven. When you hold relationships with open hands, then people come in and out of your life as gifts of grace to be cherished and enjoyed, not objects to be owned and manipulated. And then when you hold your dreams with open hands, you get to watch God resurrect what seemed dead and multiply what seemed small."

Found here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Backwoods Boy and a Fairytale Princess.

Well, I might not be a Fairytale Princess, (please tell me you've heard the song I'm referencing in the title... Please?), but the more time I spend in Josh's hometown in Pennsylvania, the more I am convinced that he is more of a "backwoods boy" than I had originally thought.

We've spent the past week here PA and it's been a great time!  Saturday we went to a family wedding, Sunday we spoke at two churches, and we've been meeting with friends and family for lunch and dinner almost every day this week.  It's been very productive week for us and overall a very encouraging time.

At a picnic with family.

Josh and his cousins.

We are heading down to South Carolina for a family vacation tomorrow.  The whole fam is preparing and packing and getting things ready around the house for our departure.  Yesterday, we both spent some time helping out around the house.  I mowed the lawn while Josh did the most backwoods-y thing I've ever seen him do.  Split wood.

Backwoods Boy
Hubba Hubba!
It was pretty hot, if I'm being completely honest.  So naturally I took some pictures of the action.  As I was photographing, he asked me if I wanted to give it a try.  Being the delicate flower that I am, of course I didn't! (ha).  It looked terrifying and dangerous, but I am easily persuaded to try new things and before I knew it, I was wielding the heaviest axe I've ever held.  Quite possibly the only axe I've ever held, but that's not the point.  After expressing my concern over missing the wood and cutting my foot off at the ankle, Josh encouraged me ("Have a little more self control than that, Les") and I was on my way.

Backwoods Girl

As I'm sure you can tell, I didn't actually split any wood.  It was worth a shot, though, right?

Tonight we end our adventures in the backwoods of Pennsylvania.  We're going to a bonfire with a few of Josh's high school friends.  I feel like I need to send a warning out to all of the animals within a 2 mile radius of the bonfire.  Warning!  Boys with guns! They will kill *you'ns! (*'you'ns' being the slang word for "you guys" or "y'all" in this area).  But I wouldn't want to squelch his backwoods heart now would I?  So I will resort to sitting close to the fire with the ladies (or maybe even inside) and praying for the survival of the chipmunk and raccoon population in Central Pennsylvania.  Will you join me?

(*Backwoods Boy Edit and Disclaimer:  Josh would like me to publicly acknowledge that he is aware that the above pictures of him splitting wood are not proper wood-splitting form.  The form depicted apparently is a "I'm kidding around and splitting wood" form.  While still an effective way to split wood, I, Fairytale Princess, have been informed that this is the "stupid looking" way of doing it.  I hope you can forgive me for potentially misleading you in your own wood splitting endeavors, dear reader.) 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A cage.

Last night, inspiration hit me while watching the second movie of the Lord of the Rings series.  The warrior Aragorn approaches Eowyn, a beautiful woman and niece of the King (who also has warriors heart) as she is swinging a sword.  This is their conversation:

Aragorn: You have some skill with a blade.
Eowyn: The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.
Aragorn: What do you fear, my lady?
Eowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.
Aragorn: You are a daughter of kings, a shield maiden of Rohan. I do not think that will be your fate.

Nor will it be mine.

I am thankful that I don't have to live life in a cage of fear.  I'm thankful that I'm still young enough that the chance and desire for a life of valor are not yet beyond me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Speak Now.

On July 28, Katie and I went and saw one of my all time favorite artists, Taylor Swift, in concert.

This picture from the stage was posted on Taylor's facebook page.
 I became a fan of hers back in 2006 when I first started hearing her song "Tim McGraw" on the radio.  I specifically remember telling a friend, "Yeah she's only like 17 and I hear she even writes all of her own songs!" Which, in todays musical culture, is pretty awesome.

Her first appearance on stage.  Ohhhh how I was wanting that dress!
Katie and I went and saw her in concert back in Fall 2008.  She and I had absolutely terrible seats, but still had a blast the entire show.  We decided that if we ever went to see her again, we would spend extra money to get seats that were up closer, where the fans actually stood up and were excited during the concert.

Last summer, my mom miraculously and inexpensively got tickets for her and Katie to see Taylor during her Fearless tour.  I hadn't made it a priority to go see her, so I missed her on tour that year.  They had fantastic seats and got them for next to nothing, and Katie came back to report that it was, in fact, a billion times better being up close.  Who knew? :)

Her second set and wardrobe.

Taylor's most recent album, "Speak Now", came out fall 2010.  I got it just in time for our big trip overseas, and listened to it nonstop the entire time, I'm pretty sure.  There was even a pretty wild experience we had in the airport in Istanbul, one that made me arrive at our gate and quickly turn on some Taylor Swift.  Her album helped me to forget that I was thousands of miles from home (as well as my comfort zone) and to remind myself of home, and country music, and America.  It's weird how music can have that affect on me! 

Anyway, when I heard about her coming to Grand Rapids, I knew that Katie and I had to go.  My departure for another country in 6-8 months was reason enough to make this concert a HUGE priority.  It was going to be my last chance to see Taylor for THREE years!  So like I said, we had to go.

Dress and Set #3

A lovely, flirty, twirly dress.

Except her show sold out in less than two minutes. I searched and searched and searched for tickets online.  I finally found a pair that I thought were reasonable for a cool $175 a piece.  ('Reasonable' of course being a relative term and for many of you, that probably sounds more like 'outrageous').  Katie and I were pretty excited though because, having learned our lesson in 2008, we decided we needed to get good seats.  We chose seats on the Center Floor, Row M.  Considering the fact that the letter "M" is the 13th letter in the alphabet, we were certain we had 13th row seats.  Which would have been awesome, except they weren't.

During her song "Enchanted"

They were much, much better!  When we arrived, Katie decided that she wanted a t-shirt, so she waited in line to purchase it with our cousin Jackie.  I wanted to hear the opening bands and scope out our seats, so I left her there to figure out where exactly we were going.  When I finally got on the floor, I started walking up looking for Row M.  I kept getting closer...and closer... and closer to the stage.  Still, the rows were only on "R.. Q... P..." and I was very confused.  We weren't supposed to be this close! We had row 13 tickets.  At that point, I decided to recruit some help in the form of a Van Andel Arena Employee.  What came out of my mouth was, "Can you help me find my seat?".  What he probably heard was, "Hi, I don't know my alphabet."  He humored me, nonetheless, and escorted me forward...forward...forward... and stopped at the fourth row.  The letter "M" written in chalk underneath our seats to clearly indicate that he wasn't playinga cruel joke on me, and that I DO know my alphabet backwards.

I could have hugged the man.

I held my breath and sat - stunned - in our amazing seats.  I couldn't wait to tell Katie! Looking back, I wish I would have waited for her so we could have experienced that super exciting moment together.  Being the sanguine that I am with my ever present need to connect with the people around me, I just turned around and exclaimed, "I had NO idea these seats were this good!" to the girls behind me.  They hadn't either.  Turns out the alphabet lettering for the rows started side stage, and at row "J" the rows crossed across the center. Who knew?! We paid way less for our seats than people in rows A-I, and we had significantly better seats.  After giving everyone around me high-fives, I settled in and listened to the first band.  As they were switching sets, I went and found Katie and shared the great news with her!  She purchased her shirt and we made our way down to our seats.  Her jaw literally dropped when we sat down.  It was such a fun moment, seeing the pure joy on her face!

Hitting a giant bell playing "Haunted"

There was a person in it who danced hanging from ropes a couple of minutes later.

We both really enjoyed the first band, Need to Breathe, and had a fun time getting to know the people around us.  In front of us were a mother and daughter.  The little girl had actually babysat all summer to pay for her $300 ticket herself.  More high fives. To our left, the Valla brothers who are huge Taylor Swift fans.   Actually, the pictures here on this blog are from them!  Once the show started, I realized we weren't getting very good pictures and it's not as fun going to concerts (or living life) through a camera lens all the time.  I looked over to our new friends and saw that they were getting amazing pictures, and asked if he would send some to me after the show.  He said yes, and I just crossed my fingers hoping that he actually would.  Well, he did!  He sent a cd that arrived yesterday with 139 pictures on it.  Isn't that so awesome?  I really think it is.

Now I don't just want a ukelele... I want a SPARKLY ukelele!

Anyway, the show had started and Katie and I were having so much fun singing and dancing and jumping and it was just a blast.  The entire concert was more like a theater production with dancers, trapeze artists, fireworks, and not a dull moment.  The entire performance was 100% choreographed and executed to perfection.  I was very impressed and highly entertained.  I love it when artists make a show unique for each city they are performing in, too.  She threw out a couple of fun changes to her lyrics (For example, changing a few lyrics and referencing that Taylor Lautner, the topic of her song "Back to December", is from Michigan during that song.)  The whole thing was quite clever and quite fun.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  She even did a cover of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" as a tribute to the great music that has come out of Michigan:

A couple of times throughout the night, I turned around to see what the entire arena looked like.  I have never had such good seats at a concert, and it was crazy imagining what it would be like to stand on a stage with that many people cheering for you.  It was a full house!

I probably would have had this look on my face, too.

At the end of the show, the fearless one of the two of us, Katie, ran up to the front row.  She listened to the last song and came back when the show was over.  As she got back to our seat we had a conversation that blew me away. 

Katie: "I got a guitar pick!"
Me: "What?! No way!! That is so awesome!!"
Katie: "Yeah, but I gave it away."
Me: "...What?! Why??:
Katie: Well, there were these two girls standing next to me, and they were reaching out to touch Grant (the guitar player) and he was reaching back, but they couldn't quite meet.  So he stood back and decided to throw his guitar pick to them.  He threw it, it went to the side and landed at my feet.  The girls were looking everywhere and I just picked it up, and they didn't know I had it.  I decided to give it to them because, ya know, I already got a guitar pick last year and he was trying to throw it to them.  So I thought it was only fair that they should get it."
Me: (Jaw dropped) "Seriously?  You got a guitar pick and then you gave it away because the other girls wanted it and the guy intended it for them?"
Katie: Yep!

Grant, the guitar player who threw the pick, is on the left

I was (and still am) completely blown away by the young woman she is becoming.  She really didn't think this moment was a very big deal, but I did.  When anyone anywhere is handing out freebies, the situation become an Every Man For Himself experience.  I mean, we've all seen when cheerleaders start throwing out XXL tshirts to a crowd, everyone gets on their feet screaming and waving their hands around as if it was a helicopter rescue on the RMS Titanic.  All they need is to see FREE and CATCH IT and they turn into gladiators fighting to the death for their prize.  It's kind of embarassing to think about, actually.  So when Katie did something that was very kind and very selfless in a moment where the prize isn't just free, it's from a famous guitar player, I was completely blown away.  I think it is an indication that something at the very core of her is very good, and very thoughtful.  I was just so proud of her in that moment. I keep bragging about it to anyone who will listen.  She is SUCH a special girl.

Floating over the crowd.  It looked quite fun, actually.
So anyway, it was an incredibly fun night.  There were a couple of times when I actually got a little emotional.  Not because of Taylor Swift or anything, but because I was having so much fun with Katie.  The fact that Josh and I are leaving so soon is making us rather intentional about building amazing memories before we go, and this was definitely one of them.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I don't get honked at anymore.

As a teenage girl in a small town, one of my favorite activities to do with friends was "go for a walk" on Main Street.  This was, of course, in hopes of finding cute boys driving by who mutually thought we were cute and would honk at us to show their approval of our hotness.  I know I'm not the only one who enjoyed this as a favorite warm weather past time (::ahem:: LINDSAY), but there was something that was simply intoxicating about being found pleasing to the eye by passers by.

I vividly remember the first time a car full of guys honked at me.  Looking back, I'm 99% positive they were mocking me (leaving 1% doubt is actually being quite generous), but I didn't realize it until many years later.  I was in 6th grade (the first clue I was being teased, not admired) and riding my bike down Main Street (The riding-my-bike part being the second clue).  I was wearing my biger than average gold rimmed glasses and happened to be wearing my Hanson t-shirt.  If I remember correctly, and I do, it even said, "Mmmm-Bop", on the back.  Clearly, I was the vision of beauty.  As I passed by the old furniture warehouse, I received my first ever honk.  I. was. thrilled.  I had finally arrived.

Eventually, I outgrew my Hanson t-shirt, blossomed into a young woman, and the fact that young men were honking at me wasn't completely insane.  It was, however, intoxicating.  I wanted to be wanted.  I found so much gratrification and affirmation in it.  It was something that I don't think I was ever fully cured of during my teenage years.  Ohhh sure, I was temporarily treated for it during relationships in high school and such, but without affirmation from the opposite sex, I was so unsure of myself.

Fast forward to life today.  I'm 25 now, and I noticed recently as I walked down the very same Main Street that I haven't been honked at in a while.  A long while, actually.  The last time it happened I remember being completely thrown off and unsure of the dress I had chosen to worn that day.  "What was it about this dress that made them honk?", I asked myself.  It was the first and last time I have ever worn that particular thrift store find.  When I am honked at now, it's usually by a friend who is driving by and we make eye contact with just enough time to exchange smiles as I begin to lift my hand to wave at their rear view mirror.
Fast forward 10 years from my first story.  I was 22 years old and newly engaged.  It was an August day and I was walking to the post office in Grand Haven to mail wedding invitations when a car full of guys pulled up to a stoplight and made a disgusting comment about the size of my chest.  Dis-gus-ting.  My initial reaction was to turn and give them the finger (something that is very much out of my character!) but I suprised even myself with what came out of my mouth.  I turned and looked at the boys in the car, pointed my finger at them, and said in a firm, bold, and slightly elevated voice, 

"Honor women.  Honor them."

Just then the light turned green and their shocked faces drove off towards the lakeshore.  My hands were shaking with anger but my heart was soaring with surprise and self satisfaction at my response.  Where did that come from?  I still don't know.  But I have a feeling it was just what they needed to hear.  Men are rarely called up and out to honor the women in their lives, and after showing me such a dishonor, I hope their hearts were convicted.  

 It is such a relief to be with a man who loves me enough, so I don't have to go looking for it elsewhere.  His attention is enough.  His affection is enough. I hope this is true for us always.  Just last night as we walked through the mall I thanked Josh for the gift of being loved.  Being loved enough eliminates my need to be noticed by men, yes, but it also eliminates my need to feel competitive with other women.  I find myself complimenting women more and not feeling threatened by them.  There is so much freedom in being loved, and being loved enough.

I realize now that part of life is finding out who I am and trying to live that out every day regardless of the opinions of others. 

I want to wear clothes because I like them and they make me feel great about myself.  I want to do my hair every day and try new things with it so that I feel pretty and 'finished'.  I want to wear high heels because I LIKE HIGH HEELS even if I AM 5'9.  I want to ignore exclamations like, "Wow, you're so tall!"  and I want all 69 inches of me (71 if I'm wearing heels) to walk gracefully and confidently.  I want to take care of myself for my own health and my own well being but also so my husband always thinks I'm bonafied f-o-x.  I want to do all of these things knowing that the only head I am trying to turn is Josh's, not another man, and for that matter, not other women.  (It is also a temptation to not dress/act/look a certain way for the affirmation of compliments from women too, isn't it?)

I want my self esteem and self worth to never again come from people looking on the outside.  It will be difficult, I know, and sure, it's nice to receive compliments because I am a woman, after all.  I just think our need for approval, especially as women, is downright crippling

I haven't gotten the hang of this completely, because I realize that a lot of my self worth and feelings of confidence come from myself and that is a process that will continually challenge every woman til the day she dies, and an entire separate blog post, I'm sure. I'm just thankful that I've narrowed the audience with the most weight down to two: Josh and me.  I want to continue to strive to disregard the preferences of others and press on finding the things that make me, well, me

Friday, August 5, 2011

Memories with Katie: Baptism

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of baptizing Katie.  It was such a special moment for her which made it a special moment for me.  Once every summer, our church offers everyone the opportunity to be baptized in a local lake.  There is usually quite a turn out because there is something much more Biblical and special about getting baptized outside in a natural body of water than in a hot tub in our worship space.

A couple weeks before the baptisms took place, I was sitting in church with Katie when an announcement for "Baptisms at the Lake" flashed on and off the screen.  Suddenly I wondered out loud, "Katie, have you ever been baptized?"  She hadn't.  "Do you think you would want to?"  She had been thinking about it.  We decided to get together that week to talk about what getting baptized means and what it's all about.  A few days later, we were hanging out at Ella's Coffee Shop discussing if it was the right time for her to "take the dive" as we so eloquently call it at Impact :)

Katie thought about it for a couple of days and decided that now was the right time for her.  At our church, anyone you want can baptize you, as long as they have been baptized already.  I let her know right away that she did NOT have to pick me to baptize her.  She could pick any of the many women who have impacted her life to do it, and my feelings wouldn't have been hurt.  As much as I wanted to be the one who was with her in that moment, I wanted her to have the freedom to pray about and choose who should do it.

Needless to say, when she finally asked me to do it I was THRILLED.

So on July 17, Katie and I sat together on the shore of Pebble Beach with a couple of hundred others watching the nearly 20 people who had chosen to be baptized that day. We sat, whispering, trying to figure out exactly how we were going to do this.  ("Ok ok ok, I am going to say this, and then you say that"...)  Because, you know, we didn't want to leave any room for error or embarrassment!  Finally they called her name.  We made our way in to the water.  As we waded out into the deep, Katie said under her breath, "Wow this is a really stoney beach." Which made perfect sense... since we were at Pebble Beach, of course.

Standing knee-deep in the water, I was able to share a couple of words about my sweet sister.  I shared about how special she is and how she is beautiful inside and out.  I briefly talked about how she loves people, even the not-so-easy-to-love people, in her school and in the world.  I held the microphone out for her so she could read the verse that she chose as her "Life Verse":

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Getting baptized is the outward expression of an inward belief.  It is showing, publicly, that you have died to yourself, and are living for Christ.  It is evidence that you have been washed clean by the life and death of Jesus Christ, and are planning to live for him.  I am so, so happy that Katie made the decision to follow Jesus with her whole life and her whole heart and that I got to be the one to guide her through such an important spiritual experience!