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V is for…

It’s here – that day when candy stores and florists and jewellers have booming business and all kinds of cutesy things are said and sweethearts everywhere do their best to be nice to each other long enough to make it through dinner…

Okay, that’s cynical. Especially since I really am a romantic at heart, and I love the grand gestures and being made to feel special and all that stuff that makes a girl feel “all warm and fuzzy inside.” If my man didn’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’d be disappointed.

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The adorable part of Johnathan's gift to me last Valentine's.

But you have to admit the day is a bit more hyped than it’s worth, really. All that awful candy in the dollar stores? All those sub-par chocolates in heart-shaped boxes? All those gushy mushy sappy cards?

All that when, really, all you have to do is something special. I love the premise of a day set aside to do something special, something sweet for the person or people you love. A day to celebrate love and friendship, to be grateful for what you have.

Since I have two midterms to write today and one on Thursday, me and the man that I am grateful for are celebrating the day of love on Friday. I’m hoping to cook some delicious (and hopefully not completely non-nutritious) food, and maybe convince him to make the to-die-for dessert me made last year (seriously, seriously amazing!), and we’ll probably curl up on my couch and watch a movie. Ahh.

Lovebirds
::smooch::

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Celebration: Why I’m a Lucky Girl

(In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, my weekly Celebration post is about love… ::collective aw::)

It’s been a long time since I dedicated a whole blog to Johnathan. In fact, it’s been since I called him the Mystery Man. Way too long.

Our first date, October 09
Our first date, October 09

I guess there are a few reasons for that, not the least of which is the fact that I didn’t blog a whole lot during those formative weeks and months, and now it’s been, like, forever!

We’ve been together for almost two and a half years now. Whoa. Feels like forever. I counted months the first year, and after that I stopped counting and the months started flying by.

Now we’re kind of old news. But still good news.

The newness has worn off, but now there’s a depth that is very valuable. A depth that means we can be kinda mean to each other and know that we won’t get dumped because of it.

In all those years of pining for a man, I don’t think I realized what a committed relationship was really like. I didn’t realize that you could get to a place where you felt comfortable enough to let all your neuroses hang out… and then be forced to face up to them when your partner calls you out about them. Turns out I have a lot of neuroses.

I also didn’t realize that there were men like Johnathan: dedicated, caring, through-and-through honest, and honourable. He’s also a fanTAStic gift-giver who can blow my mind with his creative surprises. He likes to tease me mercilessly, which drives me crazy, and I often don’t catch on before I get indignant, but it is fun when we have a tease-off, usually when other people are around to watch how ridiculous we can get.

Birthday surprise 2011
Possibly the biggest birthday surprise ever! (2011)

Despite my neuroses and his teasing, I trust Johnathan implicitly. I love his family. I love his passion for old cars. I love him!

I’m a lucky girl.

Love...

Introducing Wordless Wednesday

I am no photographer.

But I like to dabble anyway.

There’s only so much you can do with a digital point-and-shoot, after all. Or a smart phone. Still, every week on Wednesday, I’d like to join some members of the blogosphere in posting a photograph, with few words, if any.

The Wordless Wednesday movement was introduced to me by this mommy blogger, one of many who are attempting to share a photo that says so much no words are needed. That’s a pretty large and impressive feat for a blogger! But I’m gonna give it a try.

So. The introductory post. It should be poignant and memorable, characteristic of what you can come to expect as the weeks go by.

I’ve been thinking about what photo to share since I posted yesterday’s blog about the downside to social technology.

What I’ve come up with is…. a sentimental one.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, here’s my first ever PhotoShop-vintage-effected shout-out to my main man, Johnathan.

Love...

 

Countdown Calendar

On March 1st, my man went to Thailand. Alone. With a backpack. For three months.

Since we met, we had virtually been in constant contact via text message, and the longest we had been apart was for a week this past January.

When Johnathan told me about his plan to go away, I knew he had to. I also knew I’d miss him like crazy. But I have already done a lot of traveling and I understood that he simply had to go and see the world. He needed to have his chance.

After long months of planning, he left two weeks ago tomorrow. He’s been to Bangkok and Kuala Lampur and has seen some amazing things, with so much left to see and do!

Meanwhile, my life goes on as usual. Well, yeah, I’m seeing some people I normally don’t get the time to, and staying up way too late and “reading” books on tape, but I didn’t realize the degree to which I haven’t been on my own in almost a year and a half. My apartment is so empty without Johnathan laying on the couch telling me to get back to my studying!

I’m lonely. Perhaps it’s especially hard considering how much grief I’ve gone through over the past few years. So, I’m in a bit of a distraction mission, filling my days and weeks to the brim.

But when I come home and everything’s so quiet and no one “sees” me quite the same way he does, I needed something tangible, something fun to mark the time.

So I made a countdown calendar and hung it on the wall of my bedroom, and now I look forward to crossing off the days and weighing my accomplishment of getting through three months alone.

I can do it!

 

“LOVE YOUR MAMA”

The A&W sign was referring to the Mama Burger, of course, but I thought it appropriate that I would see this message in lights today, January 13th, the day when I remember just how much I still (and always will) love my Mama.

Three years ago this morning, my amazing mother left this world for a better one. At least, that’s what I believe. Mom would never have expected me to stand outside in the middle of winter to take a moment of silence in her memory, but it has become a little ritual I treasure.

It was a not-so-snowy day in January, 2008, that my siblings and I trekked out to the end of the rock breakwater at the Cove in Goderich to have a private memorial together before the funeral. We each held a flower, which we took turns tossing into the open lake. It was beautiful and nostalgic. We read some meaningful prayers and poems, and took lots of pictures. For me, it was the beginning of an annual tradition.

One year later, on the coldest day of the year, my siblings and I gathered for dinner, then trekked out to the Maitland Bridge, under which flowed the only open water we could find. What a difference a year makes! Once again, we spoke a little, then dropped cut flowers into the river, where they would be carried into the lake.

Last year, only a few of us managed to get together. This time, we wrote little notes to Mom, put them inside plastic containers, and attempted to break the ice to get them into the lake, but wound up mostly just shattering our containers and scattering our notes. Still, we remembered our mama, who left us too young. There were flowers then, too.

Today, I’m the only sibling “in” Goderich, and I didn’t make any plans ahead of time that I could invite my siblings to, so it was only my boyfriend Johnathan and I. We walked out on the pier, my hand holding tightly to 6 stems of yellow mums, and Johnathan’s hand holding tight to mine.

We broke the think layer of ice with a nearby rock, and then stood back to ponder. And cry. And sob. Then I dropped the 6 stems one by one, imagining that they represented each of my mother’s children, and Johnathan held me and we cried some more.

It’s amazing to have a partner that loves you so much he will stand with you on a freezing winter day out in the cold and hold you as you sob, and even cry with you, for a person he never met.

I don’t think my mother ever had that kind of love on earth, and I ache to think that she didn’t get to meet Johnathan or see how well I am loved.

Still, I learned today that she was satisfied with her life when she came to the end of it, at peace with how she was leaving her family and her friends.

I also learned today that she accepted the otherworldly task of embracing and taking care of a friend’s baby who had died at birth, once they were in “the great beyond” together. I know she has plenty of babies to embrace in Heaven, and now also her father and brother Dean.

I wish she could hug me, though…

Times, How They Change

I ran into a guy I went to grade school and high school with at a bar tonight. We’ve been living and working in the same area for a couple years now, seeing each other occasionally but never talking, and tonight he finally got up the nerve to talk to me.

In grade school, we were both in Talent Pool (the smart kids’ special group). I also remember doing a project together about sumo wrestling, which I had previously known nothing about. I was totally intimidated by his creative mind and seemingly unlimited knowledge of music and culture.

In our last year of high school, we were in a hilarious 4-character Chekov play, playing opposite each other as bickering suitors. During the last scene, we were urged by my character’s exasperated father to kiss already, so the bickering would stop. And kiss we did. A simple peck, to be sure, but there was actual lip contact. I was embarrassed at the time, thinking he’d be annoyed to have to get that close to a lowlife like me.

Fast forward several years, and I’m together. I’m confident. I’ve traveled, I’ve had life experience, and I’ve finally discovered what my great passions are. That which I do, I do well. Now, people notice when I walk into a room. Guys flirt with me. Girls are intimidated. I still find the phenomenon a bit strange, but it is nonetheless true.

As I said, this co-student of mine and I have been co-existing within the same area for a while, but haven’t spoken. I thought he’d be like, “Oh, it’s that Sarah Koopmans”. Tonight he spoke to me, and I asked him why he hadn’t said hello before. He said it was partially because he had been thinking, “Holy @#$%, that’s Sarah Koopmans!”

My, the times, how they change! I’m grateful that people do, too, with myself at the top of the list.

A Day to Remember: Sunday, January 13, 2008, 9:45 AM

Some days should be forever etched in your memory. Other days you remember and you wish you didn

I am a Fly

A discussion with a friend tonight led me to dig up something I wrote ages, or at least six years, ago, that I think merits sharing:

They say that love will happen when you least expect it… but how could it possibly strike me unawares when I am constantly looking for it, ever watching for its arrival? All receptors are on full alert, technicians ready to receive and store incriminating data. I am a satellite registering and measuring love’s radiowaves. I am a fly, with huge, magnifying eyes, able to see an approach from any direction. I constantly change position, leaving no area unsearched, no rock unturned in my search for love. How, thus, could it find me unawares?

And yet, I know it must.

(Oops) I did it again

For those who are on the forefront of Facebook gossip, here is my statement. For those that aren’t, you (hopefully) heard it here first.

Written Friday, August 24th, The Day It Happened.

I did it again. If there were a how-to book on doing relationships poorly, I

Maybe? Man? Might? Missions?

As I’ve ranted before, this time in my life, too, shall pass. I won’t have to live with my mother forever, and this cancer phase will cease to be The Way It Is. Question is, “then what?”

Everyone, somehow without even knowing who everyone is, agrees that being home is the best/right thing for me now, but what’s the best/right thing for me then?

Or the questions I almost dread to ask, “What if the Next Thing isn’t ‘ministry’ or ‘missions’? What if it’s going to school and working? What if it’s moving to another country, for a guy, and even maybe marrying him?” Do I cease to be a “missionary”? Will I have given up my calling? How do I retain the feeling of sanctity, or holiness, when I regard my life’s path, as I have in the past several years? Is it important? Is there something I might be missing?

I’m confident that with these impending decisions, as with many major ones before them, I’ll know which path to take. Yes, it seems mystical perhaps (Jimi certainly thinks so), but it’s what I’ve grown into over the past several years.

Major decisions have often been accompanied by anxiety, but usually it’s just a matter of time before I get to a place where I’m confident of the direction I should take. Yes, it’s possible I had already opened the door and simply stepped along the path, but still.

After a few months of deliberation (granted, it’s not much in the grand scheme of things), I’ve decided that I definitely do want to marry Jimi (and the heavens opened and a mighty host of angelic beings descended and lovely harmonies were heard resounding throughout the earth). He is an amazing, unique, indescribably perfect-for-me man (See my other Jimi blogs for more girl-sigh-fodder). I don’t want to lose him, hence my decision to move to Indy, hopefully in a handful of months.

The thing I haven’t totally reconciled in my heart/mind is how moving to Indy in order to be near the man I love affects my “calling” and my otherwise “missions-y” bent in life.

When I left after having served only 6 months of a 2-year commitment, having previously been sure I’d stick around for 3-5 years, I never thought my path home wouldn’t turn me right back around towards Kona, missions, and YWAM; towards a life of living by faith and donations, continent-hopping, and great teaching.

I miss it, obviously, and I’m not ready to write it off. Not sure I’m even comfortable with a “maybe” I’ll go back to Kona and/or YWAM. I’d kinda like to know for sure before I make any truly binding decisions (“Till death do [me] part” from a dude).

Might it come down to laying it aside (and trusting God with it, hoping he’ll give it back to me) in favour of the man and a few years of work and school, even if it’s in one place (drudgery, drudgery, drudgery), that place possibly being the beautiful Indianapolis?

This decision, too, shall pass, and other, scarier ones will takes its place (To buy a house or not? To have a kid in 2 years or not? To get a loan or not?) Meanwhile, I continue to deliberate.