Monday, December 19, 2011

The Best Day

When I look back on December 10, it still seems surreal that I got engaged at 4 pm that day in the forest behind my parents’ house.  I can still hear their voices up on the balcony as Shea held me in his arms and told me he loved me. Needless to say, I was not expecting this at all, considering the night before we had a conversation that convinced me we were not getting married anytime soon.  I was pretty down about that all morning and decided against going Christmas shopping (my intended endeavor), which really threw a kink in Shea’s plans to set up the proposal site.  My dad came over and asked me to run to Wal-Mart to get my mom some brown sugar.  She and my aunt were doing some baking that day, so I didn’t really question running the errand. I gladly did so.  I knew Shea was supposed to come over at some point that morning because Dad was going to “help” him fix an oil gasket on his car. 
Upon leaving Wal-Mart, I received a phone call from Shea asking me where I was.  He had come over and dropped his car off. Then my dad and him went to the Christmas choir practice.  I hated that I missed his visit to my house, but I knew he’d be coming back over for enchiladas that night. 
About 2 hours later, Shea came over and hung out while I put up laundry and cleaned the house.  He said we should go canoeing and I was like, “Ok!”  We had gone before and it was really fun.  I was looking forward to it…except Shea was trying to convince me to take a shower beforehand.  I was in sweats with a ponytail on the top of my head.  I didn’t understand the logic of showering before we went canoeing.  I said, “I’m just gonna smell like the outdoors. Why can’t I shower after?” He quickly replied with, “You don’t want to have to worry about showering afterwards, especially with all your guests.” This should have been an indicator to me that something was up, but I was still completely oblivious.  I said, “What guests?” He told me that my dad had invited his parents over (not unusual, We’ve had them over plenty of times.) I then proceeded to tell Shea that I needed to vacuum still.  He volunteered to vacuum while I showered.  So I showered and fixed my hair and I ALMOST didn’t wear make-up, just because I didn’t feel like it and I knew we were JUST going canoeing. But I decided to anyway.  I left my phone over at my apartment and skipped out the door.
 Shea stopped at his car, which was in my dad’s shop with the hood raised. He put on his coat and piddled around there for what seemed like forever. I couldn’t figure out why he kept taking so long.  Then I saw that his parents were already at the house and it was pretty early. We went in and said hi. They asked what we were doing and I quickly replied, “Going canoeing.” His mom remarked, “Don’t fall in! Its cold out there!” Shea jumped off the porch, later regretting his decision to do so and I climbed down also. Both of his hands stayed in his coat pockets as we journeyed down the hill.  I asked why and he replied with, “Because they are cold.” I had envisioned us holding hands on our jaunt down to the pond.
Then I stopped…dead in my tracks.  There was something against one of the trees.  It confused me.  I wasn’t expecting it.  I asked him what it was and he told me to go see. I said, “No, what is it?”  He again replied, “Go see.” A vase of beautiful white flowers sat beside a large wrapped window.  I began to unwrap the window and saw in script, “I can see our future…forever…Marry me?”  He had also included several pictures of us throughout this year.  I quickly turned back around to Shea on one knee and replied, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”  He said, “I haven’t even asked you anything yet.” Out of complete and total excitement, I was just answering the question on the window. I don’t remember what all Shea said, although I know it was incredibly sweet. 
I do remember him pulling the ring box out of his coat pocket and sliding that beautiful ring on my finger. He explained that it was called the “Love Eternal” ring and that under the diamond setting was an “Infinity Circle” that spins. For as long as it spun, he promised to love me that long too.  I also remember hugging him and asking him if we could just stay down there forever.  We finally decided to make our journey back up the hill and as we did, he carried the window and I carried the flowers.  With arms wide open, my parents greeted us, and the hugging commenced.  His parents kept taking pictures.
Still feeling surreal, we began calling loved ones and dear friends to tell them the joyous news.  My heart had a hard time handling all of the excitement. It was overflowing. As we discussed later on, all of the puzzle pieces to the past week of mystery came together.  Shea had gone “shopping” on 3 different days, which made it difficult for me to see him.  Of course, I did not understand, nor have a clue this was about to happen.  That Tuesday before our engagement, Shea knew he wanted to marry me.  Out Christmas shopping with his parents, his mom asked if there was anything else they needed to do. Shea just looked at her and she knew. 
That same Tuesday morning, I was on my way to work and started to pray. It was so important to me that I not idolize being engaged to Shea, nor idolize our marriage. I knew that I wanted so badly to be married, but I also knew that God’s timing is always perfect. I surrendered these things to God that Tuesday morning, desiring to serve Him in all of this. I truly believe that God was waiting for me to surrender all that I had harbored in my heart. Once I surrendered them, I feel as though He compelled Shea’s heart to pursue this engagement. When I asked Shea about it, he said, “All of a sudden, I just knew that I needed to ask you.” The Wednesday before, he waited 2 hours for my dad to get home from work, so he could talk to him. 
I love our story with all my heart. Even though I made it so completely difficult for him to propose.  What I love even more is that God’s handiwork is woven throughout.  I will never forget the rush of emotions. Shea’s promise to me. The thought he put into his proposal. (down to the elbow patches on his shirt) I cannot wait to marry this man God has chosen for me.  My prayer is that we continue to grow in His grace and that our ultimate focus is Christ.  I am grateful for the opportunity to share all of this with you.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sanders Family

One brisk fall morning I had the pleasure of taking these sweet family photos.  Their daughter Bailee was such a natural in front of the camera!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

list five// things i'm thankful for

gratitude.  its kind of the theme of november [along with unshaven men], but i'm wishing gratitude to be the theme for my life.  so here's to the beginning of intentional gratitude.  letting people know i'm thankful for them and why.  being aware of all the wonderful things around me.  being loved by an incredibly huge God who holds me in his hands.

things i'm thankful for::
(in no particular order)

  1. my sweet first grade class
  2. craft night and the dear friends who come
  3. hot tea & peppermints
  4. argyle socks
  5. grace in places unexpected
  6. letters from my Compassion children 
  7. shea allen harborth [oh how i love him so!]
  8. family that is supportive and encouraging
  9. community on sunday mornings
  10. having a place to call my own

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

720 square feet.

I should have posted this a while ago, alas its just now getting posted.  I took an Abydos writing class for three weeks of my summer.  This story is one of the byproducts. Enjoy.

720 Square Feet
Spiral notebook in hand, I came ready to write the World’s Longest To-Do List.  We only had three weeks, but three months of work ahead of us.  “Ok, what else?” I asked Mom as we discussed everything that needed to be done in that 720 square foot apartment.  After quickly jotting down all our to do’s, we went to work.  Granddad left everything when he remarried four years ago, and it had, for the most part, remained untouched.  We cleared out all of the furniture, shelves, and other memorabilia left at our disposal. Goodwill seemed to be grateful for our charitable contribution. Mildew covered the walls, windows, and doors, so our plan of attack involved hot, soapy water and a rag to wash down every surface in that 720 square foot apartment.  I ached with anxiety to be in there.  This was more than just a move; it was a declaration of independence.  For the first time ever, I would be living on my own.  I had already been busy making plans and dreaming about the craft nights I would host later this fall.  Back to reality, Emilee!  Walls still needed to be painted, and floors still waited to be installed.
Scoping out a collection of white paint chips at Wal-Mart, I was quite intent on getting the perfect shade.  Heaven forbid, it have too much of a brown or blue tint!  After much deliberation, four gallons of “Swiss Coffee” were mixed for my 720 square feet. I also purchased one quart of chalkboard paint for creative endeavors.  We began painting in the craft room, working our way around to each room.  The cabinets, painted last, desperately needed a face-lift. After several hours of painting, Mom exclaimed, “Its truly amazing how a fresh coat of paint really livens up a place!”  For certain, the apartment’s appearance had drastically improved.
Unfortunately, the old vinyl flooring had seen better days, well worn and scratched with its 80s sitcom motif.  We made plans to have new vinyl flooring installed.  The vinyl was a good deal and would only take a few hours to install.  At 9 am last Tuesday, the floor man called, “Um, Ma’am, yes, um, I’m at this here Upshur County sign and there’s not a driveway here.”  He was right.  There’s not a driveway at that sign. We used that sign as a landmark when giving directions the day before.  Mom replied with a grin on her face, “ If you’ll come about 10 more feet, there is a driveway to your left and a mailbox clearly labeled ‘Wade.’” Once he came inside and measured, he discovered that their new shipment of vinyl would not be enough to cover my 720 square feet. Sigh. I started to feel like this humble abode would never be ready. Luckily, my amazing dad had a plan: installing laminate, hardwood floors ourselves. Sure, laminate would be cheaper, but time was of the essence.  “How long would it take?” I wondered to myself. We began early the next morning after watching a tutorial on YouTube. Our DIY confidence was boosted; now if only my patience would remain.  Snapping wooden pieces together was a tedious process.  Each nook and cranny had to be cut around to accommodate this fancy, new flooring. I only thought the paint had transformed this place; really the floor did. It looked “schnazzy.”

The final touches were falling into place.  “When can I move in? Can I move in yet?” Like an excited child at Christmas, I probably asked at least 1,000 times. We already started bringing boxes over. Boy, do I have lots of stuff—especially for one person!  On Saturday evening, the waiting finally ceased and we began moving things inside. We moved and moved and moved some more, until our bodies ached so much that we had to take 2 Advil each.
720 square feet. 720 square feet previously filled with junk, shelves, and furniture, now was replaced with my various boxes and large collection of treasures.  Surrounded by every thing I hold dear, I think about all that has just occurred. With plenty to unpack, an abundance to clean and organize, my mind becomes overwhelmed and my Wal-Mart list continues to grow.  Surprisingly though, I am still ecstatic.  These 720 square feet are finally mine! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

sweet baby layton

I took this sweet baby's newborn pictures last November and you can see them here.  She is still just as beautiful.  Her dad is a fellow Mesquite firefighter and works with mine. I am so excited about watching this little girl grow up!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mommy-to-be: Kesha

This sweet girl is having a baby. We've been friends since she started coming to bible fellowship.  I have found that there's always room for Kesha's sassiness.


She will tell Kyra all about craving McDonald's ice cream during her pregnancy and how they made many trips there together before she was born.  :)  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Aiden Worth Tucker

I have the blessing of working with this precious boy's momma at school.  She had Aiden right at the end of April, so 2 weeks later we were snapping photos.  Love him!