Thursday, May 02, 2013

In Which Cinderella Meets a Prince

I can not believe that it's been 4 months since I last blogged. Seriously now, that is just wretched of me! This morning I was chatting with my Grandma, whose enjoying the sunny south (as Ohio is still trying decide whether or not it wants to bestow warmth on its chilled residents), and she decreed that I simply MUST blog because it's been far too long. Now when one's Grandma mandates such thing one must jump to the task, so I promised her that I'd blog. Today. Except that "today" is technically "tomorrow" since I'm writing this post after midnight. Still... no bed for me until I do this thing. Grandma, thanks for the motivation for your pitiful-excuse-of-a-blogger granddaughter! :)

Oh good heavens.... How to fit 4 months into a measly blog post!? Truth be told, that's terribly overwhelming so I'll skip a few things and mention that I have been keeping busy with my Bright Lights discipleship group (we're pushing 30 girls and I am THRILLED to see how God's working in their lives! Discipleship is exhilarating, rewarding, exhausting..! Ah, no words adequate.) I'm also continuing to enjoy leading worship from behind the piano at my church, and I am working part time as a nurse aid at the nursing home I've been employed at for 6 years. (Ha! So grateful to still have that job! My employment has been VERY sporadic between traveling the globe, following Jesus on the adventures He's taken me!)

Okay, on to fun stuff. Because this girl does not mention "Cinderella Meets a Prince" in a post topic unless she has very juicy and intriguing things to chat about. ;) SO- The story has to begin back in November when I was sitting next to my friend Sarah on the long flight from the US to Asia. As usually happens when I haven't seen a friend in a while, the topic "is-there-anything-at-all-even remotely-interesting-making-blips-on-the-radar-of-your-love-life" came up. I laughed. "Sarah, not only am I not in a relationship... I really and truly don't even KNOW any guys! And that's not even an exaggeration! God would have to do some crazy miracle for ME to be in a relationship anytime soon." (Forgive me if you are a single guy I know and you are reading this. I'm sure I just momentarily forgot about you and that forgetfulness was not, I assure you, intended as a slam. Just accurately retelling the story...) I told her that I knew it certainly wasn't because I didn't get out enough, because the past few years I've been gone almost more than I've been home. Our happy conclusion was that God's perfect timing for a romance hadn't come for us yet... and when it did, He wasn't going to be limited by who I didn't know or how far away Prince Charming might live, etc. 

I think He was smiling a little as He overheard us. Because I hadn't even returned from the trip when my dear friend RuthAnn mentioned in a Facebook message that I ought to meet her friend Ryan. It was my last few days in Australia and I was about ready to head home for the holidays. Oh, RuthAnn.... puhleaseI TOTALLY blew her off.
"Is he tall, dark, and handsome and loves Jesus? Then if you think he can contend with all the Aussie men who are clamoring for my hand, set me up!" I smugly smiled to myself, but was inwardly a little curious since RuthAnn and I are VERY close and I thought that she knew me better than to try to set me up with someone based on externals or cheesy compatibility comparisons. Her response came a few hours later. "GIRL...he's tall, dark, handsome, AND INTERESTED!" 
WHAT!? She actually took me seriously? Mentioned me to this guy? Crazy girl! 
Kind of intriguing... 
But still pretty far fetched. 

I could get very wordy, because I'm having fun blogging again, but I won't. Long story short, Ryan made Christmas '12 a little tumultuous for me by not contacting me until the evening of the 25th... but that is TOTALLY okay, because he's the kind of guy who prays about decisions before jumping into them and he didn't even want to contact me without asking the Lord for wisdom. Wow... that was my first clue that he's not ordinary and that he's a wise, thoughtful, and Godly man. 

I've had lots of other clues to that effect since. :) We've been dating since February 1st and I'd have to say I'm pretty much the happiest I've ever been in my life! :) My family, friends, and coworkers are accusing me of having a "perma-smile" and I can't really deny it. :) 

( *Cough!* As evidenced by the fact that I just unwittingly put three smiley faces in a paragraph three sentences long. Nope, can't deny the perma-smile.) 

Ryan and I have been enjoying the journey as we seek God's face together, glean counsel from those we love and respect (particularly our parents), and have a blast getting to know each other better! He's studying at Cincinnati Christian University and plans to graduate with his Masters in Counseling next year. He is also the dean of men at GBS, another Christian college in Cincinnati. He has a passion for God and a heart for people that is challenging and motivating to me! He also happens to be a blast to be with and I love every minute of the visits we have when either I drive down to Cinci or he drives up to W-worth. 

If you've read my blog for any length of time you know that Christ is the consuming fire in my heart. I've been awed and amazed by the goodness of God in bringing me a guy with whom I love Jesus MORE than I did when I was walking alone. Far from distracting me from my faith dating him has made me so aware of areas I can grow in and ways I can nurture my love for the Lord... and wow, I can't think of a better complement to pay Ryan than that! :)

I'm looking forward to seeing where the Lord leads us from here and in the meantime just enjoying the journey. It's kinda' fun to be dating Mr. Wonderful. :) I have so many friends from so many places with whom I wish I could just sit down and chat about all these things. A few pictures and the small description I've written here is a pretty inadequate way to introduce you to Ryan, but if you click here you can hear him sharing a testimony from his life with his college chapel a while back. His story is one of grace and the ability of God to bring beauty in the midst of unimaginable pain. I would recommend you to listen to it even if Ryan WEREN'T my guy... but well since he is I guess I'm even a little more biased. ;)

I could gush. Could I ever gush. But I'll stop for now because I know from experience that gushing is usually only enjoyable for the gusher and not so much for those being gushed upon.

But I DO wish you could see how my heart swells with gratitude to Jesus for the way He's leading... the way He HAS led... the way He will lead. His ways are best. His guiding hand never falters. His "no's" are just as kind as His "yes's" and His "yes's" are impeccably timed. No matter what life brings I will continue to say "the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; BLESSED be the name of the Lord!" 

Well, over and out for now... thanks for stopping in.

OH, wait... Pictures! :)

Our first picture together, at the Rainforest in Cleveland.
(Yes, he's a Michigan fan. Get over it.)
Making new memories at a childhood favorite... The West Side Market in Cleveland. 

Looking at old pictures. Too fun! :)

Yep, we're a good match.

With Ryan's mom at a school banquet in March

Ice skating... I hadn't been in years but this guy is an old pro and since he held me up, I had a blast!  :)

Conquering the rapids in the Smoky Mountains, with my parents too! :)

Ready to go to see the symphony in Cincinnati 

Shooting clays with my dad