Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Holy smokes!! Just when you think you have everything figured out, God steps in and shows you the REAL plan! :) I never saw this coming and was completely blown away by the most wonderful man I have ever known. I am so excited to say that I get to marry my best friend!

There have been many requests for the proposal story beyond the basic “He asked me to marry him and I said ‘yes!’”. ;) Continue on, dear reader, to discover how the man I love became my fiancĂ©!

Since we were going to be apart on Christmas, Dan and I had decided to have our own celebration the weekend before (Dec. 17-20) while I was visiting him up in Germantown. Since we both had 4 gifts for each other, we also decided to increase the excitement and prolong the festivities by giving out only one gift per day. After battling Beltway and 270 traffic, I made it to Germantown Thursday night and met Dan at his apartment complex. We grabbed dinner at Panera and exchanged our first gifts. He gave me a Fresh Cut Roses Yankee Candle (it smells heavenly!) and I gave him my flight itinerary for my trip to Michigan (he knew about the trip but not when I was actually going to get there). After dinner, I got to watch him play soccer and took some pictures.

Day Two brought lots of errands for me. I had left my dress clothes in St. Mary’s county and we were going to the Kennedy Center so I had to find a new outfit (Thank goodness for Kohl’s and DressBarn!). I also dropped all my Christmas letters in the mail and got a box off as well. I finally had a chance to breathe in the afternoon for about an hour. Then I got ready and met Dan at his office where he gave me a tour, finished up a few things, then we grabbed dinner at Noodles & Co and exchanged our 2nd gifts. I gave Dan the next Ted Dekker novel in the sequence he’s reading (“Saint”) and he gave me a beautiful ornament to start our collection that says “Our Christmas Together” with a charm that says 2009 at the bottom. It was absolutely gorgeous and so touching! Thank goodness for waterproof mascara! We then rode Metro to the Kennedy Center and enjoyed a lovely performance of Handel’s “Messiah” by the National Symphony Orchestra. When we came out, it had begun snowing! I love those first few hours when snow begins to fall and cover the world in its soft, peaceful blanket. However, I do not enjoy snow in heels! :P

Day Three put us square in the Blizzard of ’09. Dan had told me to be prepared to go out in it though so I layered up and we jumped in the car and made our way into D.C. I was so thankful that day that Dan was from Michigan and knew how to drive in snow. We got stuck a couple of times but it never took more than a couple of minutes to get unstuck. It was also a learning experience as I got to observe Dan as he helped other people get unstuck as well. Such a wonderful man! :) We drove around in D.C. looking for a place to park so we could get out and see the National Christmas Tree and walk around but everything was marked so that we couldn’t park. So it ended up being a scenic drive around in D.C. in what I thought was a valiant effort to go see the Christmas Tree. Turns out my love had ulterior motives! ;) When we got back to Germantown, we exchanged our third gift. I gave Dan a calendar I had put together on Snapfish with photos of us throughout our relationship and he gave me the DVD of “Up”, one of our favorite movies and the only one we’ve seen in theaters. We reference it quite frequently in our day-to-day conversations. :) The rest of the evening was spent around a table of delicious food with good friends in fun conversation.

Day Four typically would have meant going to church in the morning but all activities were cancelled due to the snow so we made another attempt to get to Downtown D.C. This time, Dan found out which parts of the Metrorail system were running and we went to the closest station that had parking. While they were running reduced trains and it took longer than usual, we finally made it into D.C.! It was an absolutely gorgeous day with a beautiful blue sky and sun sparkling off the fresh snow. We walked around to the National Christmas Tree, the Washington Monument, and the World War II Memorial. Then...we went to “our special place”. :) Dan pulled me close and we started to dance and reminisced about the past year and everything that had happened in our relationship. We laughed at the funny moments and recalled the ones that were near and dear to our hearts. Then Dan began to sing to me. I absolutely love hearing him sing any time but it was even more special when he started singing the chorus of one of my favorite songs, personalizing it by substituting my name into the lyrics.

When he was done, he reached into a small pocket and withdrew a ring box and opened it to show me the most beautiful ring I had ever seen. I’m told I sucked in a deep breath when he opened it. ;) Then he asked that wonderful question “will you marry me?” as he got down on one knee. According to Dan, I almost didn’t let him get down to his knee before answering. “Yes! For the rest of my life, yes!” I don’t think I said anything else for a solid ten minutes. He left me speechless! All I could do was laugh and cry and hold him tight as we continued to spin around and almost fall in the snow out of excitement! He held out the ring and allowed me to put it on and it seemed simply perfect. “I get to marry you!”

The next half hour consisted of much joy and some picture taking. I was told I was NOW prepared for my trip to Michigan for New Year’s (Dan had been telling me for two weeks I wasn’t ready). Then he asked me if I was hungry. :) We made our way to one of our favorite restaurants, Olive Garden, where we celebrated and Dan got to open his fourth gift from me: two tickets to a Washington Caps vs. Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game. Up until now, we had held off on calling anybody so that we could spend some time celebrating together. After we left the restaurant, we called both sets of parents, siblings, and a couple of other people. Due to the snow and icy road conditions, I ended up staying Sunday night in Germantown so we got to spend a little more time together that evening.

So there you have it! :) The love of my life is now my fiancé and we are in the very beginning stages of planning our wedding!! Words cannot express my excitement at the fact that I get to marry Dan! That I get to marry this wonderful man is such a blessing, entirely orchestrated by our Heavenly Father.

“Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf!” Psalm 66:5

Soli Deo Gloria!

“Now you’re my whole life, now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you, Meghan
Like the river meets the sea stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then...”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Factual Friday: “And His name shall be called Wonderful...”

Fact: Handel wrote the first version of “Messiah” in 24 days!

Tonight, Dan and I will be attending a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C! Last year, I attended the same performance with my mom the night before Dan joined us to see the National Christmas Tree. I guess you could say this marks one year since he began pursuing a relationship with me. :) What a difference a year makes!

I think many people are familiar with portions of Handel’s “Messiah” (mainly the Hallelujah Chorus) but last year was my first time hearing the oratorio in its “entirety”. With many existing versions, there is no one that is considered truly “correct” or “authentic”. The arrangements are adjusted to account for what singers and instruments are available. Some use fewer instruments or substitute some while others use different configurations of the basic soprano/alto/tenor/bass grouping (for example, a contralto and a bass-baritone). Handel himself reworked it several times to accommodate such differences.

There is simply something overwhelming, though, about hearing Scripture sung in the soaring Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center. That God’s Word can still be proclaimed openly in such a public venue is such a wonderful freedom. It brought me chills last year to see the entire audience stand when the first strains of the Hallelujah Chorus sounded. I know some are simply following convention but still, to see all those people standing at the triumphant proclamation of Christ’s coming is remarkable.

As we enter the last week before Christmas, I pray that you will set aside time to be still and ponder God’s gift. Curl up with a cup of hot chocolate (or chai, in my case) and spend some time just staring at your Christmas tree, thinking of the most precious, wonderful Gift of all.

Merry (almost) Christmas!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Wisdom of Elliot

“Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living.”

This quote from Jim Elliot has been a wonderful encouragement to Dan and me in our relationship. It’s easy to imagine the “what ifs” when 100 miles and two hours separate us. But dwelling in them forces us to lose out on the beauty of the here and now, the excitement and uniqueness of the moment we are in. God has blessed us mightily and to diminish that is to say that what God has given is not good enough when, in fact, it is more wonderful than anything we could have imagined.

So while I may continue to ponder the “what ifs”, I must not give them ground to affect my attitude or thankfulness for where I find myself now. I have received wonderful advice and encouragement from a young married friend of mine who has inspired me to treasure the situation I find myself in as it is one I will never have the pleasure of being in again. A wise young woman indeed! ;)

I am eagerly anticipating next weekend when I will get the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with the man I love. But many things lay between now and Thursday and many of them MUST be accomplished before then (like wrapping his gifts). Even as I revel in the anticipation of a wonderful weekend, I know that the here and now still remains so I will take each day as it comes, grateful that God only brings one at a time.

I encourage you now, as I have been encouraged, to treasure the moments you have now and lay aside the worries of tomorrow, for today has enough worries of its own. (See Matthew 6:34)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Below are two examples of the above quote in context. The first is two paragraphs from the letter that Jim Elliot wrote to Elisabeth and the second is her reflection on it sometime later.

"Your ’sense of loss’ at our not being able to share things these past few months is not new to me. I know it, and often tell Him about it. And such thoughts as ‘If thy dear home be fuller, Lord…’ are a consolation. And then the realistic facing of non-accomplishment comes to me and crushes to silence all telling. For if, really, we have denied ourselves to and from each other for His sake, then should we not expect to see about us the profit of such denial? And this I look vainly for. It comes to this: I am a single man for the kingdom’s sake, its more rapid advance, its more potent realization in my own life. But where is that advance and that realization? I am willing that ‘my house on earth be emptier,’ but not unless ‘His house be fuller.’ And I think it right that we hold God to his bargain. I err, of course, in making visible results of our separation the final test, and, in truth, rejoice in seeing beyond results which are obvious. But I reason thus that I should be more importunate in prayer, more dogged in devotion, and should not get, as you say, to a ‘weary acceptance of things as they are.’

Besides this, there is the somewhat philosophical realization that actually I have lost nothing. We may imagine what it would be like to share a given event and feel loss at having to experience it alone. But let us not forget-that loss is imagined, not real. I imagine peaks of enjoyment when I think of doing things together, but let not the hoping for it dull the doing of it alone. What is, is actual - what might be simply is not, and I must not therefore query God as thought He robbed me - of things that are not. Further, the things that are, belong to us, and they are good, God given, and enriched. Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living. It is true that our youth is fast fleeting, and I know the rush of wants, the perfect fury of desire which such a thought summons. All that it involves - this getting on to thirty - brings a push of hurry and a surge of "possible" regrets over the soul. And, Betty, this is just exactly what we have bargained for. Obedience involves for us, not physical suffering, perhaps, nor social ostracism as it has for some, but this warring with worries and regrets, this bringing into captivity our thoughts. We have planted (in our integrity) the banner of our trust in God. The consequences are His responsibility." ~Jim Elliot, in a letter to Elisabeth

“…all of these were things I myself longed to do, and longed desperately to do with him. ‘Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living,’ he wrote to me, and those words have helped me very often since. We accept and thank God for what is given, not allowing the not-given to spoil it.” ~Elisabeth Elliot, “Let Me Be a Woman”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Factual Friday: New Year’s Countdown!

Fact: This New Year’s Eve marks the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

Ten years ago, the biggest news story was the Y2K bug that was predicted to take down computer systems everywhere when the year switched from 1999 to 2000. Now, it seems a little silly since life went on as usual when 2000 came and 1999 went but at the time it was a big concern. My grandmother (an artist) even drew a picture for my brother of a foot stomping a moth that represented the Y2K bug (it had Y2K written on its body and wings).

What a difference a decade makes! Hard to believe I was just starting high school then. Graduated from there in 2003 and ended up at the University of Maryland that fall. Then graduated from UMD in the spring of 2007. Found myself in Colorado Springs that fall for a wonderful semester at the Focus Leadership Institute (the reason this blog was started). Came home, moved to Germantown, worked for WeatherBug, got laid off, moved back home, hired by a defense contractor, and started dating Dan. So many twists and turns that only God could have orchestrated and guided me through.

As we stand three weeks away from the beginning on 2010, why not take a moment to examine how God has moved in your life over the past year? In the bustle and rush of Christmas, it can be easy to float into the New Year without much reflection. Don’t let another year begin without taking the time to thank God for the moments He has granted you with the ones you love.

Psalm 144:4 “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.”

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Factual Friday: Eight is great!

Fact: Dan and I have been officially dating for eight months! :)

If you had told me a year and a half ago that this is where I would be now, I probably would have laughed at you. I had recently moved to Germantown, found a great church, and was enjoying my job. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that path would lead me through a layoff, back home, and into the arms of the most wonderful man I know.

Eight months ago, the D.C. cherry blossoms were in bloom and so was our relationship. That day seems so long ago and yet so recent at the same time. So much has happened in that time and I know there are still many more adventures to come.

As we approach Christmas, I hope that you will take time from your busy schedules to spend time with those you love. Whether it’s a spouse, significant other, a sibling, or a friend, I hope you will spend some time in their company celebrating how God has worked in your life this past year. It’s so easy to get busy and overlook the importance of slowing down and remembering the true reason for our celebration: that God became a man and dwelt among us in order to redeem us to Himself. Merry Christmas!

Soli Deo Gloria!