A New Spin on Holidays

The holidays are definitely different now with a significant other.

I had been single for many years, and it was never more poignant than around holiday time. But this year is different. I’m especially thankful that my fiance was thoughtful enough to propose before the holidays so we could spend them together engaged (even if it makes for perhaps a busier time wedding planning). Spending Thanksgiving weekend with my fiance and my family made this year one of my favorites. It was fun to introduce him to my family traditions, as well as think through starting our own. We put up a tree in his apartment, filled with all of my childhood ornaments; this tree is our first tree together, so it was really special for both of us to decorate it.

I also had lots of time over the 4-day weekend to work on some wedding crafting. I love the idea of a DIY, handmade wedding, so there are lots of things that I’m making myself or having others help make. I was able to finish all of the favors, get the invitations ready, and make all of the guys’ boutonnieres, all with some help from my fiance, of course. My parents took our engagement pictures this weekend as well (sample posted above). I’m very pleased with how things are coming together for the wedding, but more importantly, I’m excited about starting a new life with my best friend.

In other happy news, my future husband will be starting a new job in January that will allow me to be a full-time wife at home once we are married. I’m so thrilled about being able to devote all of my time to being domestic and pursuing my artistic endeavors, which is a dream of mine. This means that my fiber arts will have a significant increase, since I will be able to devote myself full-time to it as well. God is so kind to us, to allow my fiance to get a really great new job, which will allow me to work at home. I’m excited to begin this new adventure of marriage in just 73 more days (not that I’m counting or anything).

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Engaged: A Love Story

I have some exciting news to announce: I’m engaged to a wonderful, godly man named Paz, and we are getting married February 9th, 2013! I thought I would share our love story on my blog, since I’ve been pretty sparse on the details thus far (all pictures are from our engagement weekend):

Back in October 2008, I had just gotten involved in the singles ministry at Sovereign Grace Church, where Paz was also going to church at the time. It was a tradition for the singles to go out to lunch after church on Sundays, so the first time I went with the group was to Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert. Paz sat across from me at a picnic table out back under a gigantic tree. I remember him introducing himself, being so warm and inviting, and talking about wanting to climb the tree despite the sign prohibiting it. We interacted for a few months after that in group settings, but nothing really happened between us and neither one of us was on the other person’s “radar.” We lost contact after the summer of 2009 and only saw each other once or twice through mutual friends at parties and other hang outs.

 
Fast forward to July 12, 2012. Paz had just gotten a haircut and sent a picture to his sister to post on Facebook. She coyly added the caption “my studly and single brother.” After seeing the picture, it prompted me to look at his profile page, where I saw that Paz had moved to Dallas to go to seminary. I prayed for him the rest of that day and then sent him a brief message of encouragement through Facebook that night. Meanwhile, Paz had felt as though that day might be the day that he met his future wife. When nothing had happened, he started to go to bed that night and shrugged it off. Until a notifcation of a new message from Facebook came through. Paz got my message and responded the next day.
After a few days of messaging and texting, we both separately began to see that perhaps this could be something more than friendship. We set up a Skype date for Tuesday, July 17, 2012. That night, after talking for 5 hours, Paz asked me to begin pursuing a relationship with him. For six weeks we dated long distance, using every means of technology possible to communicate with each other and have “phone dates” (which just aren’t quite the same as in-person dates). We were both thrilled when Paz got the opportunity to move back to Phoenix at the beginning of September, and we began counting down the days until we could be reunited.
 
On August 31, 2012, Paz surprised me by moving back a day earlier than originally planned. We were so excited to finally be together in the same state and go on our first real, in-person date. The first week that Paz was back, however, our relationship was tested when Paz began having health issues and was hospitalized for a week. God gave me such strength and faith to get through this time of uncertainty of how to care for Paz, and by God’s grace it only brought us closer together as a couple. As Paz was recovering and healing, that meant that fancy and adventurous dates were really out of the question for us. So we began a new routine of simple at-home dates and just having times of normal everyday life together. We both agree that God used this time to build on our foundation of friendship that had already been growing and growing the previous weeks. And as our friendship grew, our love for each other blossomed as well.
 
On Friday, November 2, 2012, Paz and I went to dinner at Joe’s Farm Grill, the place where we met 4 years ago. After dinner we walked to a nearby park. I sat on a bench with my eyes closed as Paz read to me a love poem that he had written to me; it was an acrostic that spelled out “would you marry me?” (which I didn’t see until afterwards, because my eyes were closed). When he told me to open my eyes, he was on one knee with the ring in hand, and he asked me to marry him. I said YES! To celebrate, we went to Flagstaff that weekend to enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery and visit good friends.
We are so grateful to God for the way He brought us together, and we pray that He continues to bless us as we enter into marriage together. We believe, as the Bible says, that marriage is a reflection of Christ’s love for His Church, and we look forward to practically living that out every day together.

Two are better than one
because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him— 
a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Popcorn & Pumpkins

My boyfriend has converted me to air-popped popcorn on the stovetop. It has become our new favorite treat so far this Fall. For Halloween we enjoyed a nice quiet evening in, watching cheesy “scary” movies, eating popcorn, and cuddling on the couch (and I did some knitting of course). I’m starting to see that the holidays can be more fun when you have someone special around.

Neither one of us had ever carved a pumpkin before, so this year we finally got the opportunity. We were invited to a friend’s party, and with little pumpkin and knife in hand, carved our first pumpkin together (note: the face my boyfriend is making displays that freehanding a pumpkin-carving design is harder than it looks).

The next thing on the agenda is a weekend trip up to Flagstaff to visit friends and enjoy the cooler weather. Or, as I put it, to frolic in the forest. Handknits will be worn, knitting will take place, and pictures of trees and the beautiful scenery will be posted later (frolicking may or may not actually happen).

Leaves

The mornings are chilly when I leave my apartment for work. I keep a cardigan with me all the time now, but sadly not quite cool enough for a hand-knit one (new goal: knit a lighter-weight cardigan). The Christmas stockings I’m knitting are coming along nicely; I just wish there were more hours in the day to knit. Yesterday I was enjoying being outdoors on my lunch break, and I noticed the different green shades of the leaves on a nearby tree. Seeing the variations of color made me miss living somewhere that the leaves truly do change color; it also inspired me and now I want to make a graduating green something out of yarn. I love this time of year.

Blessed

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  
(Psalm 103:1-5)

{So blessed to have this man in my life}

Home-Making

My roommate and I are settled into our new apartment now, and it is truly starting to feel like home, now that all the boxes are unpacked and the furniture arranged and things are actually hanging up on the walls. Since we wanted to entertain right away, it was definitely great incentive to get everything set up as quickly as possible. We haven’t even been in our apartment two weeks yet, and already we’ve had people over 3 times. I love having a place to extend hospitality and just hang out with friends.

Our spacious apartment (read: over 1200 sq feet! no joke!) is great for having people over, and great for accommodating two adult roommates (with lots of stuff, since we are well passed the teenage years). I’ve also enjoyed my opportunity to use the kitchen and bake yummy things.

 

It’s also nice to live closer to each of our workplaces. Our church (where I work as a full-time secretary) is literally less than 2 miles away, so I’m able to come home for lunch. It’s great having the flexibility to do a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher or just watch a little television (while knitting, of course) on my lunch break. And now that I’ve cut down my commute time from almost an hour a day to about 10 minutes, I’m able to squeeze in more time for yarn, even with the added task of making dinner every night.

 

And I truly underestimated how nice it would be to have 2 separate closets in my room. Clothes, etc in one, yarn in the other. My stash has never been so organized, or all in one place, and it makes me ridiculously happy.

Another thing I love about my room is that since I downsized to a twin bed, I’m able to use a quilt that my grandma and great-grandma made by hand. Growing up, my house was always very homey, so I’ve always wanted my place to feel the same way. Having plenty of handmade touches definitely does the trick.