"I haven't seen you much on Facebook lately, I'm hoping that means you're out enjoying life!" This was recently said to me by a dear friend & mentor.
I have been a little absent from my social medias lately, but I've really been AWOL from my blog for sure. So.... I thought I would take this opportunity to catch everyone up with the happenings of my life.
My friends that know me best know that I am shamefully a closet reality show watcher. I used to watch Survivor religiously. I'm not sure why I liked that show... The whole premise of the show is to manipulate everyone you know. Shortly after John died, I wrote a blog about being a real Survivor. I guess I couldn't get out of my head that this was a new category given to me in the obituary. What does it mean to really be a survivor?
John & I used to talk about the future all the time. We used to talk about what it would look like to be grandparents. We wondered what "retirement" would look like for a ministry family. Just lots of "future things" made up our hopes & dreams. However on December 30th, 2010 all thoughts of future hopes & dreams ceased. I entered into a new world of just being a survivor. Scratching & clawing to make it through each new day trying to find victory in the many overwhelming challenges God was allowing me to experience.
It's been a very long 2.5 years! Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago, especially when I see how much the kids have grown since that day. At other times it seems like it was just yesterday that we were talking about the new year (of 2011).
Today I'm a chemistry teacher, certified in every science, ESL, and GT. I'm currently working on my Master's degree in school counseling. This past August the kids & I finally got our own house. And yet, I still felt like I was just surviving each day... Moment by moment. Still no talk of "future things."
Yes, until recently. I can't tell you how many people have eluded, hinted, suggested, asked, about God sending someone new for me to love - someone I could share life with again. To be honest I wondered too. Would I be like Ruth in the Bible who was given another chance at love & happiness or would I be like Anna (Luke 2:36)? Who was married 7 years and then died a widow at age 84.
As I looked around, I wondered if a man that would meet all of my expectations even existed in Lufkin. Every Sunday, from the choir loft I would do my standard cursory glance across the sanctuary. Just to see if I noticed a new single man worshipping with us that day. Each Sunday brought the same reaction... "He's not here today."
However, all of this changed when a dear friend of mine introduced me to Alan. I know that if you're my friend on Facebook you've seen us together & may have wondered... Who is that? Is she dating?! What is going on?
(Oh... by the way... to say, "Are you dating?" implies to me that I'm seeing many different people in a casual manner. Let me certainly clarify that I NEVER did this!!!)
So... I'm going to answer some of the questions I know are going through your minds....
Where does he live?
How did you meet?
We were introduced back in September. His sister used to live in Lufkin. She & her family sat right next to my parents every Sunday for years. My sister taught with his sister in Lufkin. After she moved back to WA, some mutual friends of ours went to visit her. While there, they met Alan. They then thought we should "be friends." He contacted me on my birthday! What a nice surprise!
So is this serious?
Yes! We spent months corresponding - emails, Facebook, texting, phone calls, and now we FaceTime every day. Much of our early conversations were like any other relationship, just regular getting to know you type of stuff. However, given the trials & tragedies we both had "survived"... We were also sharing how God was healing us & keeping us in His perfect peace even though our lives looked nothing like we expected.
Alan loves The Lord with all his heart. He has an active & daily walk with God. We encourage each other often with verses from our own personal prayer times.
We're both finding that we do remember what it feels like to laugh. I must admit that when I talk to him my cheeks often hurt - from all the smiling & laughing. I guess I hadn't realized that those muscles had become dormant.
What about your kids? Do they like him? Does he like them?
Yes! I don't have the space here to tell you all the neat conversations I've had with the kids about him.... But they truly adore him. They've shared with me that they don't want me to be alone forever. Yes! He loves them too... Course - what's not to love? LOL!!
So... Washington?! Seriously? What's going to happen?
I initially wrote this blog on the plane to Washington - on my way to see him Mother's Day weekend. I wanted to show it to him before posting it, just to make sure he liked what I had said about him.
When I got to Washington I received the best Mother's Day present! We arrived Thursday afternoon. We had a great time just hanging out - the four of us. For dinner we had a cookout - so the Franklin kids could meet the Finch kids. Of course his 3 boys are 18, 20. and 24 - and mine are almost 9 and 6.5. Eventually it got dark and it was time for the Franklin children to go to bed. We always stay with Alan's parents when we go there - so I tucked them into bed, gave them their Daddy blessing and kissed them goodnight.
Then Alan & I sat out on the back porch to enjoy the beautiful Washington weather and gaze at the stars. Moments later, he was down on one knee - asking me to marry him! It was a beautiful night! Oh, of course I said yes!
I'm very happy to report that my life is no longer like the realty show Survivor, but instead... More like the movies... I'm finally heading Back to the Future! We find ourselves talking about "future things" all the time and what a feeling to know that we both will be doing much more than just surviving... we will be doing our future - TOGETHER!
I know many of you have MANY more questions. You've been lighting up my cell phone with calls, texts and filling my inbox with them all. I'm happy to answer them - but perhaps I can streamline them a bit here.
Stay tuned for Part II - the answers to more questions.....