>Mastering my fear of Saturday

>When I was younger, Saturday morning was not for wimps in our house. We got up, got dressed, and went to the grocery store or started putting our initials next to the chores we wanted to do on the list. You snooze, you lose! And then you have to clean the little bathroom or dust the dining room chairs. (Remember, Emily & Leah?)

In high school, Saturdays in the fall were mainly for marching band competitions around Illinois, and in the spring they were for doing homework, working, or camping with family.

In college, they were for working and homework, and later lesson planning. And visiting Aaron in Champaign.

So now that I’m an adult (when exactly did that happen??) and my husband is not here, I have to conquer the Saturday on my own. Yes, the Saturday. It’s hard to make myself not feel guilty for crossing off a ginormous list of to-do’s, even on the day everyone looks forward to during the week. Before you jump to conclusions, yes, I’m a little bit crazy.

Thankfully, my “part-time” (uhhh 36 hours a week isn’t exactly part-time, but nevermind the minor detail) job keeps me busy most Saturdays. The last one I had off was two weeks ago, but I was busy with the 10K, my cousin’s wedding and my brother- and sister-in-law’s party.

Today I woke up at a decent time, around eight. Actually got up, showered, got ready. Stopped by Starbucks, went to Jo-Ann’s (so funny how at your workplace you’re not easily recognized in your street clothes), spent a good portion of my morning at Borders, spent time with my parents at the campground, went for an awesome 6.73-mile run (let’s just call it seven, shall we? ;)) and then watched a movie over Skype with my husband.

I relaxed today, did what I wanted, when I wanted to. Got some dishes done, though can’t say the same for laundry. All without freaking out about having “nothing to do” and being “bored”. All without pining away for circumstances that are still far off.

One small step for mankind, one giant leap for Elizabeth.

>Engaged to be engaged… to be engaged.

>From the start of our relationship, Aaron and I always said that if we weren’t moving in the direction of marriage, then the relationship should end. Hence the title of this post.

The story of our engagement is pretty funny. He was in Master’s Commission in Urbana for the first three years I was at Bradley. The third year, 2007, in April, he came home on a surprise visit for my birthday (with flowers in hand, too!). Because I like to see how much I can get someone to reveal about the surprise, I half expected it.

During that weekend we talked about a date for our wedding, because we had been dating for almost four years at this point (at the time it was my goal to finish school first, and Aaron needed gainful employment). We talked about various dates, the soonest one being that coming winter.

We were on the phone after he had gone back to Champaign, and I got kind of antsy. (Ladies, don’t try this at home.) Like any girl would think, right?, I kind of assumed we were engaged since we were talking about a physical date on the calendar. Silly assumptions…

I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I do remember me telling him something to the effect of “I am not getting off this phone unless I know if we’re engaged or not.” And he asked me to marry him. I still cried, haha. No ring, no big build up of events.

Six weeks later I went to go pick him up from Urbana at the end of May. We bought my ring at a department store, on sale, with my credit card. When we got in the car, he still asked me again to marry him and put the ring on my finger.

Looking back, I shake my head in mere amusement at my impatience. Ladies, it is so important to let your man take the lead! It still makes for a funny story, just like how I dated his younger brother two years before we even got together… maybe another post for another day on that one.

Here’s a picture. Forgive my total lack of photography skills.

It’s a sapphire in the middle. I did not want a diamond, and honestly we couldn’t afford a ring at all, let alone a diamond. But I love it and I will never “upgrade”.

I just had my wedding ring sized this week. I was lucky and was able to wear it out of the store since I used to be a size 7. Now it’s a 5.75. We got the wedding band at Helzberg for about $90. Helzberg soldered them together for us. My ring came back to my today looking like new! It’d been dipped (white gold rubs off eventually) and the dents buffed out. Now I don’t have to worry about losing it this winter when my hands are freezing 100% of the time!

In studying the jeweler’s work, I was reminded of our funny engagement story. And technically, we just paid for my ring with paying off that last credit card. Interesting how things come full circle. So, two lessons come from this series of events. One, never charge a piece of jewelry. Dumb dumb dumb. Two, let your man lead!

>It never gets easier…

>…but I feel more at peace.

I used to get really indifferent and apathetic about being apart, almost like I didn’t care if we talked, or saw each other. Now, it’s a peaceful thing almost, like the pain of being apart is a memory. You remember that it hurts but you can’t really feel how much. I thank God for bringing us both that peace.

Aaron and I have been apart now longer than we ever have in our relationship (seven years). The longest we went before this was from January to April of this year, desperately waiting for spring break.

We’re not desperate anymore. We can see reasons for why we’re apart, and we will appreciate each other so much more. I tear up because I love my husband so much. He’s been the greatest gift I’ve ever received, besides salvation of course. I look forward to having our babies and managing our household.

Aaron is such a patient man. Lord knows that I can be stubborn and downright nasty if given the chance, and he’s gracefully (at least in speech, not sure in thought, haha) dealt with me these past seven years. Because of the love and kindness he shows to me, especially when arguing, I’ve become a better person.

He’s never responded to my yelling. If I want to get a point across to him, I have to behave like a decent human being. We never leave when we’re fighting, and never go to bed angry. Those are two of the huge secrets of success in our marriage.

Even if we’re not reunited until the first of the year, I know God will sustain us and give us strength. I’ve known since day one, literally, that we were meant to serve God mightily together, even more than we could apart. I believe that all we’ve been through (and 4.5 of 7 years long distance) speaks of God’s power. He’s preparing us for the future, whatever that may be (I just know it’s big!).

I know some people just cannot understand “how we do it”. Or why either of us would choose to “put up” with this. Because, you know, this has been a choice. We could have been together when we were dating if I’d have transferred to U of I… we could have been together in Arizona if I hadn’t continued teaching… we could be together right now.

But we know that the decisions we’ve made have been thought out carefully and we’ve weighed the pros and cons. We know God will be glorified in our respect of authority. This is not to say that others who choose to do something differently will not be blessed, not at all. But for us specifically we believe that these particular decisions are the best for our “family”.